Monday, May 11, 2009

Just Another Manic Monday

Yesterday was a fun day, though. Woke up, took care of the Brooklyn Baby Baby so the Brooklyn Baby Momma could stay in bed. Changed the diapers, fed her, or tried to -- she's gotten to be quite picky with me about what she eats.

Eventually Randi woke up and I made her breakfast while she sat with Stella, or ran with Stella or crawled after her. Made breakfast, gave Randi her presents, including a nice cardigan sweater, and then she tutored.

After that we hit the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. The cherry blossoms were gone, but the Japanese were in full bloom and as big as salad plates. They smelled absolutely divine.

Though the flowers were gone yesterday was a gorgeous day all the same, with a nice gentle breeze, lots of sun and slightly bracing air. It was a great gift from god on Mother's Day. Thanks God!

As we sat on the grass there, Stella looked up at the trees, pointed at them. She doesn't like grass, so she snuggled close to us. I would lie on my back and hold her up and she'd scream in delight and then collapse onto my chest, burrowed tight, for a few seconds at least. Then we sat together and enjoyed being three, realizing how precious this moment is. But we realized more. Without trying to kill it by writing about it, Randi and I both knew, at the same time, that this was what everything had lead to, why things had gone as they did, that our lives were really leading to that moment, on the grass, together, us three as a family. If you'd ever done illicit substances, and god knows I sure haven't, it was a moment of clarity akin to when you feel the heart of the world pulse through your veins, the wind, the leaves, the breeze the one beside you, the girl, the woman, the man. Everything became very still, and very calm.

Following that we got back in the car and Stella Bella took one of her totally unpredictable naps. She slept in the car for over an hour, and we didn't want to jostle her so we stayed in the car, too.

When Stella finally woke up we went to the playground and swung her in the bucket swings, her screaming, so happy. Looking, again, at the sun.

Then we sat down again, lakeside, on the grass, as people grilled all around us, mmm, it smelled so good. We wanted to ask for a few handouts, maybe they could throw a burger over their shoulders to us, and we would catch it in mid-air. But no luck, not that we asked.

It was getting late, so we drove back to our pad, and played with Stella, she had naked playtime, and then it was time for her bath. I tried to brush her teeth, but without much luck. She does have teeth now, though, as there are two of them. Bottom front, very cute, except for when she used them to bite my finger, or Randi's nipple. Which she does, quite a bit.

Then, one more topper on the day. Randi's great friend Colleen was kind enough to agree to babysit, and she dropped by. It was supposed to be a surprise, but Randi had smoked me out that afternoon, by asking if we could go to Five Guys Burgers. In a moment of utter lying I said I didn't want to go. Randi knows I love that place, so she smelled a rat.

But, even though the surprise was ruined, or "fucking ruined" as Simon from the "Real Housewives of NYC" would say, we made it to the Farm On Adderly, in Ditmas Park anyway, for a truly great dinner.

It was one of those perfect days. But nothing less than Randi deserved. She's been working so hard on herself and this marriage, that it makes me more proud to be married to her every day. It was an honor to share Mother's Day with her. Stella even slept the whole time Colleen was over. Now THAT'S a Mother's Day present.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

10:00 p.m. Wednesday Night

Right now Randi is nursing the little one, who just woke up screaming and crying, for no real reason that I could tell. It's times like these that I know she is still very, very hooked on the boobie. At over one year old she's a little old for this, I fear, but it is what it is. Hey, we've never had a kid before and even a year in we still don't have all the answers.

Tonight we had pasta primavera for dinner, which was really nice, healthy and even tasty. Our apartment has been rather cold the past few days, as NYC is experiencing a rather wet and rainy spring, more's the pity.

Oh, the Brooklyn Baby Momma just came out.

Our idiot upstairs neighbor is banging and banging around upstairs, doing god knows what. These days we suspect he either has a girlfriend or his wife came back, if he's ever been married. We don't really know. You know, we're not really friends. The last time Randi went up there to tell him to turn it down it was 11:30 p.m. at night and he answered the door clad only in a banana hammock. So, you know, we're not tight.

Other random thoughts:

I lift Stella up when I get home, like my dad used to do to me.

Mother's day is coming up and I asked mom if we could meet up with her on Saturday, so that we could have a nice day in Brooklyn on the actual day. I got my mom a pretty cool gift, but I won't disclose it here yet, although there is no way my mom would ever learn about it, since she doesn't have email.

Outside my door I hear lots of loud talk in some kind of Slavik language. What's being said, god only knows.

My barber believes that black market gun and ammo sales are going through the roof right now. Oh, summer ought to be a blast.

New thought: If I don't do whatever it is I think I want to do by age 40 I will go into teaching.

Another new thought: They had Twitter 100 years ago. It was just called the telegram.

Okay, short and sweet tonight. Sweet dreams.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday Night In Stately BBD Manor

You know, I did write the second part of my last fact checker piece, but I have been on the fence about posting it as I still work at the firm I wrote about. Pooping where you eat is typically not a great survival strategy. So this might have to stay in draft form ever more. Sorry fact-checking fans!

Just got finished watching the season finale of the "Real Housewives of New York City." Why, oh why, do I do this to myself? I first start out watching these reality shows with complete contempt and then, you could set your watch by it, I develop a rooting interest in the show. It happens like that! For example, Randi and were flipping through the channels one boring evening and there was some ballroom dance show featuring British school kids, with one endearingly dorky little prat who looked like a pint-sized Prince Charles. That was it! I was hooked, and Prince Charles was my boy. It took about five seconds.

It was thus with the Real Housewives of NYC. I started watching the show as a joke, because I had to see just how spoiled, self absorbed and arrogant some human beings could be. Not to mention dumb. And the answer was: much more than even I realized. But then I got into it, of course, and I saw that I had been too harsh. Sure, Simon and Alex were little more than clothes horses and social climbers, but he didn't seem that bad, in a way. Jill reminded me of every nasally Jewish chick that I spent my summers with in the Catskills, which made me kind of like her, although I didn't like them. Bethany was pretty until she starved herself to death. Ramona seemed kind of dumb, and still does. And the Countess LuAnn was so out of touch it was enjoyable. And then this season Kelly, a striking but astonishingly ego-driven former model came on the scene to round out the dysfunctional picture. And, sadly, I was hooked. No matter how petty their rivalries, how pointless their endless self promotion and "branding", no matter how intentionally vapid all their lives seemed and likely are, I watched it until the bitter end, and I will almost certainly watch the reunion show next week. Because it looks like the Countess is going to give a smack down to Kelly. Oh snap!

But this blog is about parenting, and Stella Rae, right?

Well, things are working in our favor in the sleep department, in that most nights are actually pretty good, touch wood. I do realize, of course, that I just jinxed us. I am very sorry Randi.

As for Stella herself, she is just starting the rudiments of walking, which is really cool. She crawls like a champ and verbalizes a few words very well. I figure not having teeth yet is probably getting in the way of her enunciating sounds more clearly. I say this based on my close observations of toothless beggars.

She's grown a lot longer, and has a full blond mop of hair, after being bald for the first six to seven months of her life. Sometimes when I look at her little face I see me, sometimes I see Randi and a lot of the time I see Stella herself, as she is.

I look forward to the day when we can walk and talk together, and when she wants to snuggle and sit on my lap. As of now she isn't so into the snuggling, it's just not her thing, but I know that Randi and I can be counted upon the brainwash her in that department sooner or later. Snuggling rules.

When I get home from work it's usually naked playtime, when Randi takes off Stella's diaper and lets her roam around the apartment free from the confines of the diaper industry and their products. Often I will sit down with her on the floor and put her in my lap and read her a book or two. It's really sweet to sit with her like this, and she loves her books! I do need to add here, though, that often these little sessions will end with her peeing in my lap. I put a towel down under her tush, but it's to no avail. I still get wet ankles. But I do it anyway, because otherwise I just wouldn't get all that much together time with my little girl.

Anyway, back to the books. "Barnyard Dance" and "Snuggle Puppy" by Sandra Boynton are two favorites. "BD" has the rhythm of a square dance in its prose, so we tap our hands on our legs while I read. She will actually start tapping in advance of me opening the book, so she knows I know which books she wants me to read. It is amazingly cute.

She also is a big fan of the works of Eric Carl. We have "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," of course, but also "The Very Quiet Cricket," "The Very Busy Spider," "Have You Seen My Cat?" and a three part book about living in the air, on the surface and in the water. These are beautiful books, and Carl is some kind of genius. I think my favorite is "The Very Quiet Cricket" which has lavish illustrations throughout. And it has a nice message, which is that when the time is right and you meet that special other being they bring your inner music out of you, often in ways that you yourself could never have imagined.

Sometimes I feel that I am just getting to know Stella and she me, but mainly I think this is because she is changing so fast, it's hard to keep up. But other times I realize that she has known me every day of her life, and we just are as we are, and that's good. On occasion now when she is feeling extra affectionate she will lick my face, but I think my rough beard gives her kind of an unwelcome surprise.

And at other times she shocks me. Last night, for example, nothing we did could get her back to sleep. She nursed at about 3:30 a.m. and every time I picked her up off our bed to take her back to her crib she started to arch her back -- which is always a warning sign -- and cry. But I couldn't allow her to comfort suck all night, and roll around our bed, as it's dangerous.

So I carried her back to her room anyway, despite her protests, and cries. Then once we were inside her room and I closed the door I held her and rocked her. No dice, more crying. Then something unexpected started to happen, she started to root around my hairy chest, looking to comfort suck.

Okay, I thought, this is kind of weird, but if it makes her sleep ... I let her suck on my upper pec and continued to rock her. Then I got tired of standing, she's pretty heavy you know, and sat down in our gliding rocker. Normally she HATES when I sit in the chair with her, but last night she was okay with it, as long as she could keep sucking. And after about five minutes she was fast asleep. It was weird, but it worked and it allowed me to get some more sleep. But I really hope this doesn't become a pattern.