Saturday, June 27, 2009

the back 40

So I turned 40 a couple months ago. I try not to get too hung up on birthdays or age, but just so my entrance into this new decade would not be too sobering (literally or figuratively), J threw me a big party. I think I have already mentioned that he is the chef in our house, and he takes that job seriously, so planning the menu for this fete was no small matter of picking up a couple of trays of cold cuts from the supermarket. Oh no. J cooked up a biographical feast, complete with explanatory table cards. I already posted these to flickr, but I thought I'd share them here, too, because they make me feel good about where I've been, where I am, and what is to come.

The only thing I would add is peanut butter crackers. Not exactly sophisticated party fare, but these were/are a staple of my own childhood and Iris' (Kai, of course, is still too little for peanut butter) which somehow brings us full circle with this mother-of-small-children phase of life I now find myself (up to the ears in Polly Pockets) in.

(recipe for chick pea chili here.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

paradise lost, odd socks found

There once was a time, a happy well-rested time, when I did not mind hearing Kai's first cry o' the morn, because I knew all I had to do was sleepwalk the couple steps to his crib, bring him back to our bed, and nurse him till he conked out again. Then, with a belly full of warm milk, he would sweetly slumber for one, two, sometimes even three more hours, some days allowing me to get up, shower, and actually make my hair presentable before he came to with gentle coos and baby-babble.

No longer. Now that Kai is a crawling, standing, baby on the move, he cannot wait to start his day of tearing our house apart. His first crow is at 6 a.m., sometimes even earlier, and his first nursing, instead of lulling him back to la-la land, just fuels him for marauding around our bed and standing at the (unscreened) window, threatening to defenestrate anything he can pilfer from our nightstands. This morning he was up at 5:47. I know that is a bright, bouncy hour for some of you (insufferable morning people!) out there, but we are not morning people in our family. Even Iris has been sleeping in till 9:30 since school ended for the summer. I keep telling myself this is a phase. A baby phase. Surely Kai is not expressing some renegade recessive early-riser gene. Surely he will rise (late, of course) to his proud sleeping-in heritage. But when?

Meanwhile, I am pleased, if kind of grossed-out, to report that I have solved one of the mysteries of the universe: I now know where the odd socks from several loads of laundry have disappeared to. The other day I was taking a load out of my front-loader when I spied (with my little eye) a bit of red fabric at the edge of the drum. I pulled at it, and lo and behold! one of Kai's red baby socks came out of the seam between the drum of the washer and the rubber gasket that seals the drum to the housing. (Are these the proper, technical washing machine terms? I have no idea.) Intrigued, I stuck my fingers into the channel under the gasket, and felt more fabric. Pulled some more, and all together, I retrieved five small socks from this secret, unseen place, all of them gunky and linty from their untold, insufficiently-rinsed tumbles with the family's dirty laundry.

Now that I know where those socks disappeared to, I can rest easy. Until 6 a.m., at least.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

and to think that i saw it on mulberry street

I do not actually live on Mulberry Street, but for a couple weeks every year, the block around the corner from my house effectively becomes Mulberry Street when a huge mulberry tree goes into fruit (is that the botanically correct term?). For years, we have simply avoided the purplish-black, seedy sludge formed by the hundreds of overripe berries the tree rains daily upon the ground by crossing the street, but this year, with two berry-crazed kids, we thought, why not? And we picked a colander-full. (As for asking the tree's owner, the house is a rental, we only picked from the branches that were hanging over the sidewalk/street, and if you saw what an invisible dent a pint or so of missing berries makes, you wouldn't accuse us of denying anyone their fair share.)

Then the very next day, there was this article about urban fruit foraging in the New York Times, making us feel unexpectedly au courant with our re-purposed plastic blueberry clamshell full of pilfered mulberries in the fridge. See? We're not poor berry thieves – we're urban foragers!

And then, a block farther down the street, on my route to Whole Foods, this:

Makes me smile every day.

In other news, Kai can crawl and pull himself up and he has – brace yourselves! – two teeth, with two more on the way.

The better to eat mulberries with, my dear. I get more than love bites now when he gnaws my chin, his unmistakable hint that he's ready to nurse. And the summer yawns before us now that Iris' school has ended. School – that's a whole 'nother subject for another post, and maybe I'll actually get around to posting it. Then again, I don't want to make any promises I can't keep.