Modified: 2008-03-14T04:26:18ZCopyright: Copyright (c) 2008, shug
2007-11-16T18:31:33ZI just got a phone call from a friend, and when she told me she was calling from Switzerland, I could feel myself starting to talk louder and louder until I was screaming, just in case she couldn’t hear me...
I just got a phone call from a friend, and when she told me she was calling from Switzerland, I could feel myself starting to talk louder and louder until I was screaming, just in case she couldn’t hear me all the way over there.
2007-11-16T03:20:34ZIt’s been almost two years since we discontinued occupational therapy for Leta’s gross motor skill development, and since then she has shown remarkable progress. Her gait is strong and mostly balanced, give or take a few stumbles here, a wobble...
It’s been almost two years since we discontinued occupational therapy for Leta’s gross motor skill development, and since then she has shown remarkable progress. Her gait is strong and mostly balanced, give or take a few stumbles here, a wobble there, but that has nothing to do with her development and everything to do with the vodka.
She’s learned how to run, mostly in circles around the living room while singing songs in Spanish, and because we have a full staircase in this house, one that leads downstairs to her bedroom, she’s learned how to climb stairs, albeit while holding firmly to the railing. She’s fully capable of going up and down the stairs by herself, but she’s always clamoring for one of us to hold her other hand. We indulge her occasionally because she’s known to transport two tons of plastic crap from one hovel to another, but then there are those moments when we force her to do it by herself, force her to make that epic trek up fifteen treacherous steps alone, and what do you know, this causes her to lie on the ground and writhe. So unpredictable, that one.
Yesterday morning I forced her to walk down the stairs alone, and when we both got to the bottom she was so exhausted from complaining about it that she said, “I need to lie down on you, Mama.” Recounting this makes it seem a lot weirder than it actually was, but I got down on my back right there on the floor, pulled her into a snuggling position on top of me, her head tucked under my chin, and we lay there together while she regained composure. Three minutes later she stood up and said, “I’m okay.” I imagine that this will become more complicated, say, when she’s in college and is frustrated about her Calculus homework, and she’s lying there on top of me on the floor of the lobby of her dormitory.
In the last week or two Leta has finally learned how to jump, and I know that this doesn’t seem like a big thing as this is how crickets spend their entire lives, but it is a huge thing, a joyous thing, a now-we-can-exhale-that-breath-we-were-holding-for-two-years thing. I’m sure she picked it up at school, saw the other kids propelling themselves off fences or cars and decided, hmm, I wonder if this strange phenomenon would enable me to reach the Skittles in the cabinet above the refrigerator?
So she comes home from school one afternoon and goes, oh hey, you over there, come see what I can do. And then she bends her knees and launches her body three centimeters into the air. I’m sorry, but that is not enough warning for such an event. “Come see this” and a welcoming wave of the hand is not a gesture that does this sort of milestone justice. She should have driven an ATV through the front door and hurled a flaming chicken at my face. Then I would have had the heads up that hey, maybe I should pay attention.
It’s not a high jump, no, and I won’t be signing her up for any dunking contests, but when her feet leave the ground there is a tiny, measurable block of air that separates her feet from the earth. The distance from here to the stars is a lot bigger than that, I know this, but if you take that enormous distance and convert it to centimeters, well then Leta just got a little closer.
2007-11-13T22:34:22ZAs we walk into the lobby of the gym I look over a table piled high with an assortment of magazines. I want something to look at while I’m chugging away on the elliptical trainer, something that requires no reading...
As we walk into the lobby of the gym I look over a table piled high with an assortment of magazines. I want something to look at while I’m chugging away on the elliptical trainer, something that requires no reading or thinking, something that will eat away at my brain. I’d rather concentrate on WHO WORE IT BEST? rather than how many calories I’m burning per minute because the way Natalie Portman looks in that minidress is so much more inspiring than the idea that I just sweat my guts out for what? 10 calories? What is that, a single corn flake?
I pick up the most recent copy of People magazine with Owen Wilson on the cover where I’m to find an article about how he’s trying to pick up the pieces, how he’s taking his life back after reports last month that he tried to commit suicide. He’s smiling brightly in the photo they’ve chosen, and when Jon sees that I’ve picked it up and am thumbing through it he doubts out loud that Owen Wilson would have given People an exclusive interview. About his suicide attempt. Isn’t that a story you save for Matt Lauer?
“I can guarantee you that they have assembled this entire story from ‘close sources,’” I say, having thumbed through more than my fair share of these.
“What kind of close sources?”
“His dog-walker, maybe the kid who mows his lawn. People in his life who know these things.”
“They’ll have a quote from someone who served him a latte, and she’ll be all, ‘He seemed very happy when he asked for soy milk! Even said thank you and left a tip!’ And we’re to assume that this is significant evidence that all of his emotional wounds have healed.”
And then I started thinking, you know, you just hope they never get his hairstylist to open her mouth, because then every one of his deep, dark secrets would be plastered as headlines: COLLECTION OF BELLY BUTTON LINT NOW SIZE OF SMALL WATERMELON. Or I guess I should say, I hope they never get my hairstylist to open her mouth.
2007-11-12T20:15:03ZAs usual, the time change last week completely screwed with the pace of our daily schedule, and by mid-week when I thought we were nearing the end of the transition Leta fell asleep in the car on the way to...
As usual, the time change last week completely screwed with the pace of our daily schedule, and by mid-week when I thought we were nearing the end of the transition Leta fell asleep in the car on the way to the grocery store. At 5:30 PM. For those of you who have children I probably don’t need to go into too much detail about what that did to her bedtime, and what that delayed bedtime then did to the mood she was in for the next… oh wait, she’s still upset about it. For those of you who have never had to worry about the sleep schedule of an incorrigible, three-foot-tall shin-kicker, let’s just put it this way: this time change? It’s like running at full-speed on a treadmill while balancing an egg on the end of spoon that you’ve got clutched between your teeth. And if you drop that egg? Everyone dies.
One afternoon last week when I arrived at Leta’s preschool to pick her up, I walked in to find every single kid dead asleep on their individual cots. Usually no one is asleep, especially Leta who is normally sitting at the snack table eating pudding and then using the end of her ponytail to wipe her face. I’m thinking this is how she winds up pooping entire strands of hair, and why we’ve had to have a particular discussion over and over again, the one that goes, “Leta, what happens when you eat hair?” and she goes, “It comes out of my bum.”
Don’t want hair to come out of your butt? THEN STOP PUTTING IT IN YOUR MOUTH AND SWALLOWING IT. How can I be more clear than this? Do I need to draw a diagram? Here, let me demonstrate: eat this bowl of corn.
I motioned to the sea of sleeping children, and the teacher said something about how this time change never fails to mess up every kid’s schedule, makes them crazy and tired and in need of Toddler Valium. I nodded as I crossed the room to rouse my child who was noisily sucking her thumb. A few other parents showed up as I softly patted Leta on the back, and just then a girl Leta’s age hopped up, walked over to her little sister and violently jerked her off her cot. The teacher immediately took her by the arm before she sat on her little sister and demanded to know what she was thinking.
“It’s just… I’m so cracked out!” she shouted.
The teacher bit her mouth shut so she wouldn’t laugh, and the room was completely silent as I glanced at the other parents in the room to judge what would be the right reaction. That’s when a father of one of the boys in the room looked directly at me and said, “Aren’t you glad you were here to witness that?”
Absolutely, yes, but more relieved that it wasn’t Leta asking for “a goddamn drink of water.”