Saturday, February 25, 2006

This is how children learn:

The other night, The Kid and I were watching the Olympics, waiting for figure skating to come on and meanwhile watching skiing. Aerial skiing, I think. I was distracted, doing other things while watching. The Kid interrupted me from my own private world by asking me, "Mom, what's a delt?"

Thinking that he'd just heard about an injury of some athlete on the TV, I told him that delt is short for deltoid, which is a muscle somewhere around the shoulder, or arm, I think (I should look it up to know for sure, but I don't really care).

The Kid sat back with that info, and I thought we were done. A minute later, The Kid asked, "So, if it's a muscle, what does it mean when we say, He who smelt it, dealt it?"

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Things to Smell about Denver

I'm a Denver native. I LOVE this city. It's a cow-town, but I love it.

You know how people who have been married to someone for a while can be both replused and endeared to a habit of their lover? For instance, let's say the wife likes to hum when she does the crossword puzzle on Sunday mornings. There's a point in the marriage where the husband has to get up and drink his coffee in another room because if she hums one more fucking time... But THEN, their marriage gets to a point where if she does NOT hum while doing the crossword puzzle, the husband gets all disconcerted and starts counting the children and making a serious inventory of his life because something is clearly missing. Then she starts to hum, and he's all good again.

Well, I have that kind of relationship with Denver.

There is so much to list about this city that I love, but to help set the mood, and to justify my deep feelings, here are a few:

  • We live on the edge of the Rocky Mountains. To the East: Plains. To the West: Rockies. I love the dusting of snow in the hills, and how sometimes you get this gorgeous reflection on the hills back to the city when the sun rises. I love that I'm a twenty minute drive from a different climatic zone.
  • It is sunny here at least 300 days per year. NO JOKE. That rocks.
  • I love Mile High Stadium. I love walking down the ramps after the Broncos win, I love getting sunburned at a game in December. I love the view of the mountains on the one side, and watching people on the roller coasters at Elitches on the other. I love the feeling that you get, that you are a Denverite, when you get goosebumps on the season opener, and look out on the city, or the mountains (again, it depends on where you're sitting), and just feel like you're home.
  • I love the casual-ness of the city. We are generally more laid back here, and to that, I say cheers.
  • We love beer here. Fat Tire, Dale's Pale Ale. Our mayor is a brew-pub owner. We almost had a Coors child as a senator, but he's a punk, and we knew better.

Now for my weird dependent funky love thing about Denver:

When it is about to snow, the city smells like crap. And when I say crap, I mean it. It's like the stockyards of Kansas somehow are mystically transported to the Denver-Metro area. I can't explain it, but bring clouds, and 20 degree air to 5,280 feet above sea level and that's how you make eau de poop.

This morning, it had dusted snow, and all day flirted with the possibility of starting up again. We're supposed to get a good snow in the next day to two days (just in time for the three day weekend, right?). The Kid and I walk out of our house and to our car this morning and it was instantaneous. Oh, the snow poop smell, I thought, and then thought, Ah, how comforting. Yea! The snow-poop smell!

I told The Kid, "hey, it smells like snow!"

No sooner had I said this and The Kid grabs his sleeve and starts gagging. "UGH, mom! It smells like poop out here!"

So, 1) I now know I am no longer crazy and YES, indeed, the city smells like poop prior to a snowstorm, and 2) all is right with the world. Someday, The Kid will come to love the snow poop, ah, yes, he will...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day, Yo.

I have a friend that calls this day Black Tuesday (or Thursday, or whatever). I just like to call it VD, but that's because I'm secretly Beavis.

Mine was horribly romantic.

Um, not so much.

I did help out in the classroom for The Kid's party. It was pretty amazing to be back in that classroom to see all of the kids and their behavior. The last time I spent more than 5 minutes in the classroom was on Halloween, and it's pretty miraculous to see how all of the kids have grown and matured. I even had a moment with the class bully, you know, the one that looks like Scott Fargas from A Christmas Story. We glued a heart onto a foam bear, and it was a beautiful moment. Apart from the fact that 5 and 6 year olds are undeniably cute, just hanging out with them was instantly endearing. They really have learned how to behave at school, and that was pretty amazing.

But then we got out the cupcakes, and all hell broke loose.

I worked from home for the remainder of the day. And when I say worked from home, I really mean it. It was amazing. I was so in the zone.

For dinner tonight, The Kid and I had Little Neighbor over for dinner, so his mom and her boyfriend could have a date. Our dinner was terribly romantic. We ate fish sticks and french fries. Only, I had to tell Little Neighbor that they were chicken-fish sticks, and that The Kid and I just call them fish sticks for short, because really, who has the time to say chicken fish sticks, what with all of the time it takes to cook them? So, we ate chicken fish sticks (fish sticks for short) and watched the Westminster Dog Show. Can I just say that watching the Westminster Dog show is in my top 5 sporting events every year, including Olympic years? I'm so not kidding.

I quite honestly couldn't have asked for a better Valentines Day. But THEN, we topped it off with dilly bars from DQ and I seriously think that my life has become complete. Dairy Queen, you complete me.

Even Little Neighbor had to agree with me on the excellence of the day. He told me tonight that his dream is to eat chicken fish sticks with ketchup, drinking milk. Ah, dream big, little one, dream big.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Party like a Rock Star Scare

So, the Harry Potter birthday party for The Kid's 6th went off without a hitch on Saturday.

I invited about 24 people to invade my mom's house. She had just remodeled the guest bathroom and bought new furniture, and the 10 or so 5-13 year olds managed to have a pretty rocking party without destroying any property.

Mr. Lady's children were in attendance, and apparently they all got the memo about wearing red, black and white. They are so super color coordinated, that perhaps they can use this as their first album cover when they form their band in 9 years. They're so like the White Stripes here, minus any scary facial hair.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

6 Years Ago RIGHT NOW

I was sitting on the floor in my mom's front room, watching Four Weddings and a Funeral, talking on the phone with my sister, and getting ready to change my life forever.

Peggy said, "Are you totally sure it's real? Let's talk for a while."

I went into the kitchen while we were talking, rummaged around in the kitchen drawers and pulled out a funnel.

"No, really," I said, "I feel like a funnel. Like, I can feel that my body is a funnel."

No. I wasn't stoned. I was in labor.

Peggy had done this labor thing twice, and was wise. "Let's try and get some sleep. Call me back if it keeps up."

I remember hanging up with her about 11:30 pm. Which is what time it is right now, as I write this.

I went to lay down, but The Kid was coming. There was to be no laying down. I called Peggy back, probably about 3 minutes after she'd fallen asleep, and told her I'd be needing her. Soon. I went back to Hugh Grant, my focal point, until Peggy showed up.

The labor went all night, I just remember not being able to do one thing for very long because whatever worked during the last group of contractions wasn't going to work during the next, and I also remember repeating, "I didn't expect my hips to hurt this much!" Because labor hurts in your hips, yo. Your hips are growing, right there. If I could have kept still and hadn't had a full layer of pregnant blubber over them, we could have watched them expand, like bamboo. So, you know those jeans you liked before you got pregnant? The skinny ones that hugged your hips in that perfect way that probably helped you get pregnant in the first place? You've got two choices of what to do with them now:
1. Goodwill.
2. Learn how to quilt.

We got to the hospital about 5am, and after an uncomfortable period where the nurses had to check to see if I was "really" in labor (um, yo.) we got down to business.

I don't want to get too bogged down in the whole labor part of this story, but I must write about transition. For non-labor-minded folks, transition is the rapid-fire period of labor, usually after the cervix has dilated to 7cm (it generally needs to go to 10), where contractions last longer, and you get pretty much no break whatsoever in between them. I chose to go through labor without the aid of drugs. At the time I was full of hippie zeal for "natural childbirth," but now I know that I was just psyching myself up for single motherhood. Kind of a little test of endurance, I guess. That said, I will strongly suggest non-drug childbirth to anyone. It is truly ecstacy. In the few moments I had to think (as opposed to tend or react to the pain), I thought of Saint Theresa of Avila, the Spanish nun who believed that Christ had entered her body and she reached a mystical orgasmic state of pain and pleasure from God's power. The pain of labor just takes over your body, it is NOT unbareable, your body knows how to deal, but you can only lay and let it happen. I really loved this. [Keep in mind, last week, I got a paper cut on my thumb and complained about it for 3 days, I'm not some kind of freaky pain-lover, generally.] It was such an extraordinary challenge in self control. I think I got only about 3 "good" meditative contractions during the two hours that was transition (this is all more hippie stuff, and I promise, I'll be done soon). But it was ME in my most primal. There were and are no words. Just a strong recommendation to try it, if you are into having babies and all that stuff.

[Okay, and as another total aside, I just had another totally different kind of mystical experience. I went through a couple of sites to find the best photo of Bernini's St. Theresa, and settled on that one because it included some of St. Theresa's own text (she wrote a book, kind of). Then as I was editing, I went back to the site, and I notice my friend Chelsea's name in the upper corner. Chelsea is a dear friend of mine, we lived together in Ireland, although there is much more to how we knew each other than that, she is my true 6-degrees-of-separation friend. It is from her final project as a performance artist/dancer (and I honestly thought that she went to UT to study math) at the U. of Texas. Chelsea also just had a baby, named Oscar. What a crazy world wide web coincidence.]

After about just about 12 hours of labor, The Kid entered the world, perfect and pink and wide-eyed. And The Kid is meant to be the main subject of this post.

I remember very little after he was first born, just exhileration, exhaustion, and I remember naming him.

I remember touching his perfect tummy, trying to keep his baby hat on him, and his wrinkled fingers and toes.

But mostly I remember his eyes. I looked in his eyes tonight before he went to bed. I think he's lost some of that infant-wisdom that is just there for the few days after a baby is born, but he's still wide-eyed, he's still so present.

Happy Birthday Kid. I love you so much. There are no words. Really, I tried. I can only hug you, and kiss you and live for you and breathe for you. I do everything for you, ultimately.

There's so much crap around right now about mothers "losing themselves" in parenthood, as if the kids ask for that. I lose myself in The Kid all day, every day, with no damage done to my identity. He and I aren't the same person. I have a lot going on that isn't really for or with The Kid. So I do have stuff that makes me feel like me. But I've also recognized that being The Kid's mom is being me. So these moms on Oprah, who don't know what they've done with their lives, filling their lives and their kids lives with soccer games and ballet lessons and whatever else they do with themselves that gets them lost, I just have to say sorry. Sorry you've compromised your love for life. Look in their eyes, you'll see it. Why else are you here on earth?

Ah Kid, I keep rambling trying to find better words or better ways to describe this, but I'm unable. I can't believe I'm about to quote Faulkner, but Addie had it right in As I Lay Dying:

And when I knew that I had Cash . . . That was when I learned that words are no good; that words dont ever fit even what they are trying to say at. When he was born I knew that motherhood was invented by someone who had to have a word for it because the ones that had the children didn't care whether there was a word for it or not. I knew that fear was invented by someone that had never had the fear; pride, who never had the pride...

Kid, I'll leave it at that. I just love you. Happy Birthday.

Yeah, but did he sleep that night?

Shannon's comment below about spiking the punch at The Kid's birthday party on Saturday reminded me that I wanted to tell you all about this.

I have no particularly interesting comment, just felt it necessary to show you that it happened.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Molly G, Party Planner

The Kid turns 6 on Wednesday, February 8th. We are planning to have a party for him in one week from today. He, of course, wants a Harry Potter party, which is great. If I'm going to have to spend money on corporate branded party hats, plates, napkins, balloons, etc, I would rather have a portion of that money go to the brilliance that is JK Rowling, rather than one of the focus-group created craptastic cartoons that litter our television stations. He's having a party whose theme is derived from a BOOK, yo. I must say that I am pleased with that.

Okay, that said, could it be any freaking HARDER to come up with games associated with Harry Potter? The books, for those of you living under rocks, are about MAGIC. Magic that happens in a magical land. And we don't live there, and we can't do magic. So, The Kid and my neice keep coming up with party games that would somehow require levitation, dissappearing objects, etc. I keep trying to think of traditional party games that I can somehow "transfigure" into a Harry Potter-type activity. So, I sit around thinking of words to substitute for Duck and Goose: "Gryffindor, Gryffindor, Gryffindor, Gryffindor, Slytherin!" or Red Rover: "Dumbledore, Dumbledore, send Timmy on o'er!"

What we have accomplished: We took a fantastic trip to the natural history museum last weekend (it was fun, yo. We made up a game of having to find something that started w/ each letter in the alphabet.), and purchased one of those ubiquitous-at-museums bags of shiny rocks to give out to each kid as a prize (a sorcerers stone). I originally wanted to make them find them, as a scavenger-hunt kind of thing, where they have to acheive little goals to get to the point that they find the sorcerers stone, kind of like the first book, but I'm having a hard time with that, as we are having the party at my mom's house and what if it's cold, and that's just a lot to plan!!!

Also, we do have a pinata. It's a wizard's hat. So we've got that going for us, which is nice.

So, I guess the point of this post is that I need your help, yo. I need to figure this crap out this weekend. What could the "tasks" be for our scavenger hunt? The problem with 6 is that most of our invitees will not yet be reading. This makes it hard. I've hit a creative party planning slump.

Please! Help Me!