--Making more tea
--Checking the baby monitor
--Researching a new cookie
--Managing logistics for a book club brunch
--Googling for recipes
--Updating the blog
--Going down Wikipedia's rabbit hole (cookies, again)
--Turning up the heat
--Turning down the heat
--Emailing Sarah Quigley
--Ordering pool passes
--Paying preschool bill
--Researching preschools for autumn
--Trying to decide whether Oil Baby is a girl or boy
--Updating "writing resource" spreadsheets
--Checking to see what kind of rubbish a former friend is spewing on Mommy websites
--Talking about writing
--Rejiggering the upstairs stereo system
--Watching high schoolers walk from the bus stop, 30 feet apart, and enter houses adjacent to each other
If that were my to-do list for the day, however, I would be kicking ass and taking names.
My girl is the one in striped navy tights under blue jeans. With a teal corduroy skirt, short-sleeved purple unicorn shirt and a sweater her grandmother knitted two years (read: sizes) ago. Her socks are mismatched (unless they were designed to be worn mismatched, in which case she refuses to wear them at all.) Occasionally she wears a 24-month shirt that wound up in the wrong dresser. Most ensembles include one or more pieces of flair from the dress-up basket. And her hair is perpetually unkempt because she refuses pigtail holders, barrettes and headbands.
None of this bothers me in the least.
But this week we pulled the doll house out of storage. Among the M&D posable dolls are eight or ten (read: nine) vintage strawberry shortcake dolls. Now, 2008 lacks the dexterity and patience to dress them, so I do as I'm told for copious amounts of wardrobe changes.
This week we celebrated Blueberry Muffin's birthday with a surprise party in the pool, which used to be the bowl we used for popcorn. Everyone needed to swap clothes for the party.
I cringed when Blueberry Muffin wound up in Lime Chiffon's hat. I didn't balk when 2008 paired a cute pair of green polka-dotted capris with one of the baby's striped pajama shirts and proclaimed it Blueberry's perfect ensemble. I did entertain a gripping inner argument about whether anyone else should wear Strawberry Shortcake's brown shoes, though I didn't needle 2008 about putting tights under those plastic shoes so they would fit.
I fought pretty hard to let 2008 direct our play time. (And I waited until 2008 and 2010 moved on to the music table before I redressed the dolls in the proper attire. About some things, apparently, I am particular.)
I love helping people find whatever it is they're seeking: jobs, girlfriends, the perfect birthday gift. My mind is constantly trying to pair people with things they need.
It makes me feel useful.
One of my college friends just found me on Facebook. He's a classic geek, and I have always adored him. Thing is, 1977 also is a classic geek, computer guy, mathematical genius and all that. I really, really think my college pal would hit it off with my husband.
But how can I pull off that kind of match? He lives in California, and online relationships are weird when they're new. If they could have a cyber-beer, I think they would become best buddies. Make it happen, Internet. Everyone needs new friends.
If your toddler has never removed her own diaper and smeared poop on herself, her toys her bed and her furniture, she will.
Expect this rite of passage on the morning of her big sister's fourth birthday party, shortly before guests arrive.
Bonus fortune: the scent will linger under her fingernails until you trim them.
Little 2008 is challenging my perceptions. I used to loathe Halloween, because I hate asking for things. When 2008 went trick-or-treating for the first time, I ditched my Halloween baggage to revel in her joy. She got to dress up? And people gave her candy? And she rode in the wagon? AWESOME.
Today, she turned Valentine's Day around for me. Opening her valentines--and treats! More than at Halloween--she was radiant. "Dominic made this for me!" "Elise wrote her name!" "Hope sent treats!"
She wore hearts, and our house is covered in pink and purple and red. We ate special pancakes and made up silly songs about love and family and Valentine's. She loves it all. Valentine's Day really can be about fun love.
I know my kids feel loved, and not just because we tell them every day. We are nurturing their childhoods, and I am proud of that. But today, 2008 feels loved by her friends. She knows other kids think of her (maybe) as often as she thinks of them. She treasures those valentines, Disney characters and all.
And, on the way home from school, there were no tears when she let go of her mylar balloon. "Maybe it will land in someone's yard far away. Someone who doesn't have a valentine. And then he will be happy."
Yes, sweetheart, he will. And a very Happy Valentine's Day to you, my sweet 2008.
. . .but something about this project makes me deeply uncomfortable: http://sincerelyhana.com/projects/switcheroo/
It's not the gender bending, because who cares? It's not the vaguely detached expressions on their faces. Maybe it's that they didn't exhaust the clothing combinations in the groups of two and three.
Or that my spouse and I can't fit into each other's clothes.
Everyone is getting hitched!
In the year I graduated college, I knew 17 couples who were marrying, and this year rivals that. Of course, this year has the second (and third) marriages you would expect in our mid-30s, so it's not quite the same. You are wiser. Smarter. Older.
You require less advice, so I have exactly two pieces of advice for happily engaged couples:
1. Decide what wedding element is most important to you, and be sure you get exactly what you want. Most of us can't afford the ideal cake, perfect dress, bridesmaids' dresses that make them ALL look fabulous, nutritionally-balanced yet delicious dinner, imported flowers, string quartet, finest champagne andstorybook venue. Choose one (or each choose one) and allocate an appropriate sum to it.
(If you couldn't agree on a single element, this second piece of advice is particularly important for you)
2. Spend more time planning your marriage than planning your wedding. Your wedding is one day of your life. It is one day you will scarcely remember except in photographs and others' anecdotes, particularly if you have a large wedding. Large weddings mean you won't get to talk to most people, you won't get to enjoy your nutritionally-balanced yet delicious meal, and you won't get to relish all the details until far later. It is one day.
Your marriage, though, needs bolstering. Talk about money. Talk about children. Talk about politics, and decide how important they are to you. Talk about religion. Talk about sex. Talk about love. Talk about life goals and where you want to be in five-ten-twenty-fifty years. Talk about how your in-laws look, because chances are your spouse will look like them in 30 years. Identify what's important to you. Lay your expectations on the line. Spell out your traditions and explain what you expect of your future spouse. Share the secret dreams that you hold deep in your heart, because on days you do not believe you can achieve them, you will need your spouse to believe in you.
Every woman I know has too many pairs of shoes, and most have an excess of purses, too.
I think this is an issue of self-image. When a woman isn't interested in putting an actual number on her current dress size, she can buy a bag! And no matter how fat and dumpy she actually gets, shoes always fit.
Unless her feet grow during pregnancy. Then all bets are off.
I blog rarely, because I'm busy writing books. When I do blog, I focus on writing, friendship, family, and books. Because my family's best nicknames are private, I use their birth years for shorthand: