Thursday, July 19, 2007

Come On In, The Water's Fine

For me, signs of insanity of any level are frightening. I heartily listened to my father when he preached to "live like video cameras are on you constantly". His meaning was actually to not be hypocritical--live at home with the same manners that you give to the outside world. What for him then was simply a preventative to say, nose-picking, turned into an intense paranoia for me that has led to forty-plus years of carefully edited The Real World, Laura.

Thusly, I have tried to teach my children my father's view, sans the performance. If you wouldn't do it in front of others, don't do it at all. So if you have some strange tendency or quirk, don't hide it, learn to not do it. And then I bear Olivia. A child who gains the most solace in life by her family, her stuffed chicken, and a furball.

A furball is a hand-picked, personal piece of OCD, comprised of the white wool carpet that covers our living room. At an early age, she rolled around on the rug and pushed herself up on it, triumphantly rising with a fist full of white fibers. As she learned to walk about the house, one furball in each hand aided her balance. I kept pulling them out of her stubborn little mitts, envisioning that the day would inevitably come when she wouldn't be able to attend freshman year without them. They are an uninvited guest everywhere, to wit:

Today I caved in. I threw away this morning's little ball and she looked at me so pitifully.

"Come on," I sighed. "Let's go make you a new furball."

Sunday, July 08, 2007

My God Where Have You Been or, Somebody Give Me Joan Rivers' Phone Number

The last week has given me the opportunity to do previously neglected things. Small things, like the laundry, the dentist, and convincing three credit reporting agencies that I am NOT, I repeat emphatically, NOT Laurie A. Smith. (It was bad enough that she stole my identity and racked up substantial debt, but what really fired me up is that no, my birthday is NOT in 1943, Jesus Christ can't you tell, thank you very much.)

This abundance of time is due to a. an absolutely exceptional way that I have been attacking my chores around here; b. my son is away on vacation and what a time-zapper an eleven-year old's life turns out to be; and c. my daughter has grown into a toddler. I am able to breathe again.

This is not the section where I brag on Olivia's intelligence (although may I tell you that at 22 months she recognizes her alphabet, can count to twenty, and just finished Pride and Prejudice--since the sole reason I had a daughter was to marry her off to that perfect man Mr. Darcy, since I missed out on him). This is the section, however, where I tell you that I have been untethered from an infant with the accompanying jars of babyfood, two naps a day, and inability to go anywhere because of my own obsession with the fact that I am not having any more children and I don't want to miss one moment of this!

This WAS her.

And this IS her now:

Actually, this is her around three months ago. I am astounded (yet again, you would think I would remember from the first time) at how quickly the time flies by. One moment you're grinding up peas in a food processor and the next you're both perfecting her routine on skates while you toss grapes she catches in her mouth. (Agenda next month: teach her to strip her own crib and wash the sheets.)

I love, love, love, love, love being the mother to two children. It is so different than being the mother to one. I had time, before, to do things like shop, hang out with friends, work, blog. Now, none of it. And I have never loved life more.

Jake has gone through so many changes lately (I wish I could blog about them but this is my blog not his, and I don't want anyone to read this and find out too much about him). Let me just say that he has been a kind, respectful, stand-up kid through a time when he had to deal with someone challenging him and not saying kind things to him, defend his character staunchly twice, and stand by someone through a hard time and be completely selfless. His feelings still got hurt, and I will work hard to make sure the take-away moral for him is not that the nice guy finishes last, but rather the nice guy finishes happier. Meanwhile, if he would just clean his room.

This is him now:

And this, according to Equifax, is ME now: