Friday, March 28, 2008

The Grandest Baby in the Easter Parade

Ah, Easter--the best christian candy holiday there is. Being an old lady, I do get nostalgic for Candies Past, specifically the sugar eggs with the dioramas inside. Not that you eat them or anything. Just that they were so pretty and unobtainable. I see some knockoff ones every now and then but they never seem to be as exciting as the ones at that bakery in the Midway Mall that had the unbelievable Hungarian Tart cookies...

But enough about my childhood--let's get to my child's childhood. This was Donny's second Easter. He was 5 days old last Easter and, frankly, we were in no shape then to worry about sugar eggs. This year was much more festive. Donny got a basket with some stuffed plush Peeps and a book called Bunny and Me. It's a little insipid but the photos are cool. I lost my get up and go before I got to the husband's gifts but I did get him the chocolate he requested. He didn't get me a basket but he won points for filling my casket shaped cake pan with candy and and Aleister Crowley CD.

Easter dinner was up at the in laws. Ceil, the president of Donny's fan club was there and, as usual, she had to exclaim over Donovan. The adjectives "Perfect!" "Gorgeous!" and "Magnificent!" were used repeatedly. Donny got some more goodies there including a basket all his own that had some little rubber ducks in it. Good choice for The Boy Who Likes To Throw Things.

All in all a nice holiday. Can't wait till next year when he can actually hunt for eggs. Did I mention I like Easter?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

He Can Always Get By On His Looks...

Before I post Easter photos, I wanted to talk a little bit about Donny’s 12 month Developmental Check up. Because the boy was so small when he was born (4 lbs 12 oz) and because he had a couple early stays in the hospital, it was suggested that we take him to see the Developmental Specialists at West Penn. His first appointment was when he was 3 months old and, if I’m remembering correctly, it consisted of a nice lady with a big box of toys fussing over him and putting different toys in front of him to see how he’d respond. She and the doctor gave me lots of advice about interacting with Donny which, as a gal who had never even played with dolls, was very much appreciated. The sixth month appointment was very similar but with even more fussing—I fully expected the doctor to pull out a checkbook and ask how much I wanted for the kid. Both he and the toy lady seemed to think Donny was fine but, since insurance was paying for it would I like to come back? I said yes and floated out holding what, in their medical opinion, seemed to be the best and smartest baby in the world.

Yesterday when we went in for his 12 month appointment, everyone seemed rushed. The nice doctor wasn’t there and the doctor who was there I had a vague memory of having met and not much liking. The toy lady did her thing, and I answered the doctor’s questions as best I could. I realized as I spoke with the doctor that I have become very antagonistic around doctors. That’s not a bad skill to have but it needs to be applied consciously and selectively and here I was just slathering it on willy-nilly. While I’ll admit my bad behavior, she did say some pretty dumb things. She seemed very surprised that we weren’t feeding Donny any meat yet. “What do you do for protein?” I explained he gets eggs and beans and lots of leafy green vegetables. When I mentioned lentils her response was, “Lentils!?! That’s weird. Do you cook them?”

“Do you cook them?” And this woman is licensed to poke people with needles.

At the end of the appointment they said I didn’t need to bring Donny back and did I have any questions. I did have a question as I had looked thru the file that was handed to me when I filled out his paperwork and on a couple of the forms a box was checked that said “Missing Developmental Milestones.” No one had said anything like that at the last two lovefests—I asked them what that meant and what did I need to know. Both ladies looked a little taken aback but, hey—if you don’t want to get busted, tell the nurse you have passing out paperwork not to give the parents their child’s medical file to write on. The doctor lady said that, because he’d had a couple of setbacks so early on, he would probably walk and talk a little later than most kids. The toy lady assured me that what they look for isn’t so much milestones as progress and that he had made a lot of progress. “If we needed to see him again, we’d tell you.” I decided to believe her.

Of course, that evening when we got home, I was telling Mike all the things the doctor asked me that got me flustered, one of which was, “Does Donovan mimic you?” She used the example of Patty Cake and, bad parent that I am, I don’t do patty cake with Donny because its dumb and I get embarrassed. About 5 minutes later we were playing with the boy and I did one of my usual jokes with him, which is to throw my arms up in the air and say, “HOOOORAY for Babies!” Damn if he didn’t throw his arms up in the air! I did it a few more times, just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, and he mimicked me almost every time. And it was damn cute, I have to say.

“Missing Developmental Milestones” my ass. You know what you can do with your Patty Cake, chica…

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Return of The Red Lipstick

Its a long story but let me try:

I'm a founding member of Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails. We are a guerrilla women's history action collective that teaches people about women's history via celebrations and booze. LUPEC started right around the time Blue Ruin started. Blue Ruin was a woman owned erotic art gallery (and yes, you naysayers, both stared in Pittsburgh...). We supported them, they supported us but, sadly, Amy and Tamara closed the doors to Blue Ruin a few years ago. LUPEC decided that one of our events for Women's History Month 2008 would be a tribute to Blue Ruin. It would involve reusing huge photos of strippers from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s that LUPEC had used for another women's history month project a couple of years ago.

The show was put up, literally, in an hour. 2 days before the opening. Tonight was the One Night Only event and it went really well.

If you havent noticed, I've gained a significant amount of weight since I stopped breast feeding. If you also haven'nt noticed, this new life of mine is high on fun and drool but sort of low on art and dressing up. It was nice to know I can still shake out the closet and come up with something. Plus, all you white ladies who want high pigment red lipstick: Black Opal is the brand for you. You'll need to cut it with some gloss but, once its on, it won't budge.

So yeah: LUPEC and Blue Ruin. Together again. It must be Spring...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I Have a Crush on Bing Crosby

Cool Mom Picks hipped me to Kiddie Records Weekly. Some of you may remember that Mike and I have been working up an mp3 library for Donny of Old Timey Music. In that same spirit, Kiddie Records Weekly has over 3 years worth of old kids story records online for all to take and enjoy for free, free, free!

One of my first picks was "The Happy Prince," a fairy tale by Oscar Wilde. Oscar Wilde's fairy tales are beautiful and decadent and tragic and Catholic and funny, all at the same time. The idea of Orson Wells narrating them was delightful but Bing Crosby? WTF was he doing there? Bing reads the part of the Happy Prince and, by God, he IS the Happy Prince. I listened to the story twice today, which meant I got to hear Bing say "Sparrow, Little Sparrow, stay with me just one more night," six times. What is it about his voice? Unfortunately, whoever it is voicing the sparrow has this really creepy cartoony voice. It is, in fact, the voice of some cartoon character that I'm just this close to remembering. Anyhow, Mike and Donny and I had a good time this morning listening to "Gerald McBoing Boing," "The Unsuccessful Elf" and "Babar." Mike is a Babar expert and he proclaimed the version I downloaded superior to the one he grew up with: Dang.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

What A Wonderful World

The past week was pretty rough--Donny was teething, Mike and I were coming down with nasty sore throat colds again, Dad was back in the hospital--so it was a relief to have nice day today. Donny woke up smiling this morning and was just in a great mood all day, which was a relief because Mike had to work so it was just me and the boy. Donny took a well timed early nap that allowed me not only to wash a bunch of bedding but to also have a good long phonecall with my ex-pat friend, Sharon. After that, I woke the boy up, fed him my awardwinning Roasted Root Vegetable Baby Food, gave him a fierce scrubbing in the sink and dressed him in his longsleeved black onesie with the Mexican skeleton on the front. We went into Oakland as I had to go get some stuff from my office. No great shakes adventurewise but we had a good time on the bus and running around with the stroller.

After we visited my office we had some time to kill before the next 54C so I thought we'd make a reconnaisance mission to the Children's Room at the Carnegie Library. I had only seen a glimpse of it from down a hallway and I was very happy to see it was much bigger and nicer than I had imagined. The rooms are nice and bright with lots of nooks and crannies for sitting and reading. There were some play areas set up for little mouthbreathers like Donny and, a sight to warm to cockles of my old lady heart--there were three little locked cabinets with a Beatrix Potter display. The displays consisted of a set of the little Minton figurines and a tiny model with pussywillow catkins made into rabbits. That's so oldschool it made me misty. There was also a whole wall of parenting books, which is actually a fiendishly clever idea: "Go look for Silver Pennies, honey. Mama will be right here looking up how to get you to stop shoving your Grandfather's hearing aid batteries up your nose..." I think Donny and I will have to go back some Saturday and take a closer look.

We came home, played blocks some more and took a nice nap together on the big bed. Mike came home and joined us for awhile.

I like this parenthood thing.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tough Times for Donovans

I got a call last night that my Dad is back in the hospital after two falls in that many days. Am I a bad daughter for not being more upset? After our last visit it was very clear that he needs more care than he can get at home and, while I know he hates being in the hospital, its best for him and for my Mom as well.

So I'm not a bad person, right?

As far as his namesake, things have been a bit dicey as well. This teething thing is pretty bad. Donovan's been so congested (a symptom of teething I had not known about before) that he's slept in his carseat for the past three nights. If we lay him down, it sounds like he's gargleing--so sad.

Tonight, Mike and I have tickets to go see "Wait, Wait! Don't Tell Me!" at the Benedum. Kirsten is up to babysit. I'll be curious to see how much fun I can have after I check in at home and also how sociable my boy will be after a full day of daycare and sore gums.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dust and Strangeness

Off site storage for the Archives where I work is about 3 blocks away from Donny's daycare. Granted, they are long, stripmall type blocks but they are walkable. I spent most of the day at offsite storage going thru boxes of film. Actual film. Like movie film on reels. It was fun and I found cool stuff but now I'm all itchy. I feel bad that I'm going to go pick up my kid and get god knows what sort of dust on him.

I also want to let you all know, in case there was any doubt, that 11 month old boys are not allowed to celebrate easter. I tried to find some seasonal clothes for the boy and: Nothing. I really do sympathize with my friends who had daughters and nieces and who are constantly confronted with Disney pink princess plastic crapola. The opposite end of the stick, however, is the lack of fun boy stuff. Trucks, puppies, tools, sports and camo--that's all we get. And if you think easter is bad, you should have seen me trying to find a non-girl-specific Valentine outfit for him. It can't be done. Its so bad that, when I went to buy Donovan an easter basket, there were actually CAMO EASTER BASKETS?!?! How's that for a mixed message? Its no wonder I'm drawn to the 30s and 40s when kids stuff was kids stuff and not nearly so gendered--or at least the gendering was more about kids and less about what adults are afraid of.

Did that make any sense or has the vinegar syndrome fumes from the film made me loopy?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Winter Storm Warning Is In Effect

It snowed today--not the Armageddon that the newscasters predicted but enough to make me glad that it was Saturday and the boy and I were indoors. It was a fun day, as can be gleaned from the fashion show shot of Donny in his Aunt Shirley hat, but it was also a rough day. The boy has a top front tooth coming in and he ended up getting all fevery, drooly and snotty. Some baby tylenol and a couple deep naps seemed to help.

He is now officially giving me his pacifier. A couple of weeks ago, I was ready to assume he was playing with his pacifier without really sharing it. Today, tho, he stuck it in my mouth. Three times. Did I mention the drool and the snot? Thanks for the drool, fool!

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Want to know how to cheer up a couple of crabby octagenarians? Take their 11 month grandson to visit and let him play Monkey Bars on Granpa Donovan's walker.
Sometimes you know when a story is going to be retold and retold and retold and (PLEASE not AGAIN) retold. The Using the Walker as Monkey Bars will definately fall into that category.

The visit was'nt as dour and awful as I thought it would be. It was obvious everyone had had a rough week/month, but my Dad was much more with-it than I anticipated and my Mom seemed upbeat as well. It probably had alot to do with the boy--kind of hard to get an actual reading on the barometor with him around, if you know what I mean.

Still, tho: quite the relief.

I was going to take a photo of what's left of 7th Street, which is not much. Now when you look out my folks' kitchen window, you can see all the way to the High School's side entrance. It looks like it was built in the 1940s. Too bad they're going to knock that down too. Hmmmph.