October 2007


I went shopping with Emma today to look for something she can wear to her Great Grandmother Mary’s memorial service this weekend. We didn’t find anything, but she was such a trooper about being strapped into her stroller the whole time, that I took her to Borders so she could crawl around a little and play with her favorite things in the world, books.

Not long after we arrived, a grandmother arrived with her 8 month old grandson. We started chatting and moved the kids to the floor so they could play if they wanted to. Before we could say much to each other, the babies crawled towards each other, touched foreheads, and… wait for it… gave each other a kiss. It was a typical baby kiss, open mouth and fluttery eyelashes, but it was unmistakable. His grandmother and I looked at each other in amazement. I asked her, “Did they just give each other a kiss?” She confirmed what I already knew.

The babies crawled around, following each other and kissing every now and then for a good 40 minutes. The grandmother and I tried repeatedly to get pictures of the kissing, but our camera phones were just too slow for the kids. At one point she told me that they had been at the bookstore a week ago and there was a little girl there that her grandson had no interest in at all. (No chemistry, I guess.)

I am still completely blown away by it all. There was an amazing and clear communication going on between the two that was not meant for the rest of us to understand. It was beautiful and sweet and gentle, and it brings tears to my eyes now thinking of it. I love that my baby, who just a few months ago couldn’t even see past my face, has already developed an inclination towards love and affection and friendship. The capacity for kindness and the ability to love are, to me, the most important traits a person can have. I am incredibly proud of the kind and gentle person Emma is becoming.

So, I have been thinking for a while about all the toys and baby equipment I had on my mind a year ago. The ones that I thought we would need and use forever. One year ago, I couldn’t even conceive of a time in my future when I wouldn’t need a Baby Einstein Activity Center.

But now I find myself, a year later, looking at the defunct toys lying around my house and wondering “How the hell did that happen so fast?” And then I start thinking about the toys that at this time next year I will be cursing myself for buying. Then I realized that there are at least two of you that read this blog that might be willing to impart your toy knowledge to me so I don’t make the same mistakes you did. And maybe there are one or two of you who could learn from me?

So here goes:

  1. The previously mentioned Baby Einstein Activity Center. The screaming that occurs when we dare to place Emma in the thing reminds us immediately that “I AM TOO OLD FOR THIS NOW!!” She does like crawling through it however. She seems to love tunnels these days.
  2. The Johnny JumpUp thing we bought at Value Village for $2.65. It hang from our doorway for a long time and provided me with many hours of meal preparation and kitchen cleanup while Emma stayed occupied. Alas, now she just wails when we put her in it.
  3. The OTHER activity center we bought. Ok, I know most kids don’t need two activity centers, but sometimes PARENTS do. This one collapsed for travel, unlike the Baby Einstein one, although it had horrific lights and sounds (and a cell phone?) that made us want to throw it out the window. I guess we thought we would take it to Gama’s when she watched Emma, which we did a few times, and it was great when we went to the beach. So maybe it was worth getting? In any case, its time is up. See number one above.
  4. The Aquarium Lights and Sound Swing. I put this together with my sister Lexi the night of my baby shower and we oohed and aahed over it. At that point, it was really hard for me to imagine the little creature in my belly being big enough to fit in the swing, let alone be able to appreciate the fish swimming above her. Well, she did get big enough, and she did appreciate the fish, but now, not so much.
  5. And finally, all those little doodad things to hang from her car seat handle that I convinced myself were absolutely necessary for her DEVELOPMENT and her GROWTH. Uhyeah. I think she might have looked at them once or twice, but needless to say, she doesn’t even have a handle on her new car seat, and when I give her the doodads now she gets super pissed and throws them out the window.

Ok, your turn, ’cause you know, Christmas is coming up and I have no idea what to get my almost one year old. What are the five (or three or two) toys/accessories/equipment you were using one year ago that are no longer used? Don’t forget to mention how old your kid(s) are, and if you feel so inclined, let me know what your kid(s) DO love to play with. (And Doodaddy, bugs don’t count.)

Update: Oh oh oh – how could I forget the Baby Einstein Play Gym? I think Emma used it for about 7 minutes. Now it is collecting dog fur in the corner of the basement.

TreesRed Sox…World Series…Ellsbury, Pedroia, Dice K…no time for appropriate blogging…too busy laughing at my ridiculous husband doing happy dances all over the place.

But, um, could someone help me out here. WHAT is the deal with the pine trees in the bullpen at Coors Field? Seriously, the players are all warming up in the forest…

Things I learned last week about being a sick mom with a baby:

  1. Being sick with a baby at least doubles the amount of time it normally takes to get well.
  2. Your baby, ahem, really doesn’t care that you are sick.
  3. These things are the GREATEST. Really they are great anytime, but they are especially handy when lifting your head makes the room spin
  4. Nyquil is BAD. Apparently it makes mucous thicker, which is exactly the opposite of what you want mucous to be. Inasmuch as you want mucous to be at all, you want it to be thin. And then you want it to dry up. Ban Nyquil from your medicine cabinet and get yourself some Mucinex, stat, Mucinex D for those of you taking notes.
  5. Sleep when the baby sleeps. This won’t be hard. In fact, the baby will probably have to reach over the play yard and smack you awake when it is time for lunch.
  6. Don’t be stupid. Ask your family, friends or even that nice lady at the grocery store checkout to watch the baby. Every minute you are not in bed sleeping extends the overall sick period. Take advantage of the non-sick around you to get a little extra healing time.
  7. Keep the baby happy. By any means necessary. Crying – hers or yours – makes your head hurt.

What have I missed?

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Emma’s great-grandmother, Mike’s grandmother, passed away last Wednesday. It has taken me this long to mention it here partly because I have been sick, but mostly because it is hard to know how to do her justice in just one post.

The first time I met Mary I thought to myself – “Please let me be just like her when I am in my 90’s. Oh hell, just let me make it to my 90’s.” Mary didn’t miss a trick. She heard and understood every conversation that occurred anywhere in her vicinity and usually had something to say about it. She loved crossword puzzles, and even at 95 years old, did one every day. She also loved bowling – candlepin was her specialty up until just a few years ago – and she proudly displayed her trophies and the scorecard from her perfect 300 game.

She was married to Stanley – who I never got to meet, but have been told was a lot like Mike in many ways, which made me feel like Mary and I shared something unique. She and Stanley moved into their house before Mike’s mom was born, and Mary didn’t leave until just over a year ago, more than 60 years later.

I could go on and on about Mary and how great I thought she was. She was funny and pretty and honest and she raised a wonderful daughter who in turn raised two wonderful sons. We all loved her and are going to miss her, but I am so grateful that I got a chance to meet her and know her even if only for a fraction of her long life.

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