Monday, June 30, 2008

camping and wedding!

We spent a lot of time in the woods recently. Two weekends ago we were cabin camping in Sonoma, at the beautiful Valley of the Moon camp. And last weekend, we were in the mystical woods near Shelter Cove, way up on the Lost Coast, for the gorgeous wedding of one of my dearest friends. Minkie did beautifully in both situations-- she's a versatile girl!

It's really fun to parent Paloma as she grows and talks more. She's saying "Nooooo" and "Yeah!" in totally appropriate ways! It's really exciting to communicate like this. I've said it before, but... parenting really does get better and better. At least, when you're finally getting full nights of sleep again, it gets saner!

SIDEBAR: People who say, "Oh, you'll regret it when she talks back to you!" can shove it. (Can you tell that my pet peeve is parents who say "Just you wait" to me? Seriously, people. It is so annoying when parents/grandparents stealth-complain or condescend to me. Have you run across this?) Also, in positive news, I've also had total strangers come up to me on the street to say that parenting keeps getting better, even with their teens. Yep.

Into the woods!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

the butt-erfly!!!

I totally forgot to post the picture of the butt-erfly we did for Father's Day! I traced her butt on a piece of paper after a bath, and we colored it in for Dada. He loved it. :)

parenting not in a vacuum

As Paloma grows, I can see that there will be many, many times when she's exposed to things I wouldn't have said or done in front of her. Gasp- different ideas!! I know, I'm sounding sooo over-protective.

It's just that I just had a little bit of a knee jerk reaction when I heard her playing with two slightly older girls (10, 12) who came over (they were all being watched by my mom while I worked). Their mom is a conservative Christian, and they sang her "Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes" -- but ended it "All for Jesus!"

Ok, which isn't some terrible weird message, and we're Christian too, but we're not the crazy weirdo right-wing anti-intellectual media whore kind. If you know what I mean, and I think you do. So anyway, it made me raise an eyebrow.

But I realized that as she grows, she's going to come into contact with all sorts of wacky folks and people who tell her, straight to her face, the wrong things. When you have a physicist dada and a law trained mama... well, let's just say we share valuing the truth above all else, including our own egos. We're quick to admit we're wrong when the other is right (this is easier to do when both spouses do it!). And that's all to say that we want to raise her with these values too-- a commitment to truth, facts, compassion, hard work, etc. Not just believing whatever she hears.

So I'm hoping that she learns to think critically and remembers what we teach her, what values we hold dear. Not that we're always going to be right, but... you do the best you can as a parent, and hope it sticks at the needed time. So when some other kid, other parent, even a teacher or random stranger tells her something totally off-kilter, I can still be comfortable that, one day a few years from now, she can figure out for herself what's real and what isn't.

She's currently only 20 months old (my baby!) but she understands everything, at least on a literal level. Which is what concerns me... it seems like such a formative time in her brain. But at some point I have to let this go, let her absorb everything as her brain is wont to do at this point, and accept that a loving and thinking atmosphere at home will help her become the person she's meant to be.

Paloma lately

It is so fun to parent Paloma as she grows. I really think parenting gets easier (at least physically) as they grow. And it is a lot easier to deal with the emotional ups and downs of growing up if you're getting a full night's sleep! There are things I love about infancy, but it really takes a ton of energy. Also, there are all the questions about how best to deal with career moves. I'm keeping the faith that it all works out somehow.

Paloma is into identifying "girls" and "boys" ever since I pointed out the difference earlier this week. She gets it right about 75% of the time, I'd say, and to be fair, it's not always totally obvious one way or the other anyway! It's funny-- I only said something about girl/boy once, but she immediately picked up on it and started labeling.

She also sorts people into mamas, dadas, nanas (grandmas) and babies. Anyone under, oh, 7 or so, is a baby. Anyone who looks older than around 50 is a nana. All others are mamas and dadas. Interesting!

And she LOVES singing, dancing and playing her tiny keyboard (attached to a songbook). Sometimes she does all three. I've tried to take a video of this, but once she notices the camera, all she wants to do is get behind the camera. One of these days I'll post a video!

Until then, here are some new pics:

In the second one, she's holding on to a couple of stuffed sea creatures (starfish, seashell) that a friend made for her. They were SO cute!! I'm totally inspired to make a bunch of these things. She's a really fun child, but she has her serious side. As you can see. :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

terrrrst fist jab!

This is HI-larious. I mean, really. I was laughing and laughing. FOX "News" can be entertaining! That is, when the lazy opinion pieces and careless "reporting" aren't so galling as to raise my blood pressure. When they hire people who can actually think deeply and carefully, I might tune in for info. But until then-- I give you yet another way the Obamas are plotting to bring down the US! The victory fist bump!!

(Don't worry, that's a link to the UK Guardian.)

I'm sorry. I just can't type this without giggling. Man, when I need a break from intelligent news sources like CSPAN and Gwen Ifill, I know where to turn!

beautiful film for Father's Day

Ok, it's not the whole film. It's just a trailer for a film coming out in a couple years. But the trailer is so beautiful, I had to share. If there's a dad/father figure in your life whom you love, and whose parenting you admire, you'll want to share this.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

quick elegance on a dime

Just the article I needed-- how to create an elegant living space without spending a fortune. I'm not into shabby chic or Ikea, but I find that our mishmash of stuff might say to the untrained eye, "I'm a shabby chic freak who dabbles in Ikea worship."

Ok, we're not that bad. I've been intentionally kind of draconian about not buying or even accepting donations of crap. So, yay me, good first step.

But it's nice to find a useful article with pointers. Nothing's new, but the advice is put together in an easy to use, non-threatening way. The fundamental thing here is to eliminate clutter. So basically, to achieve elegance:

Step 1: Remove all clutter. Even things you don't consider clutter, remove. The walls should be stripped bare, everything small removed. Only large furniture remains.

Step 2: Remove drapes (especially if old, musty, out of date). Paint a wall (or use these awesome wall decals).

Step 3: If you must, bring back a few things you removed. Group like things-- three photos together, a few candles. This looks less like clutter and more like an intentional collection.

NOTE: Do not bring everything back!!

I'm going to add the necessary but unmentioned Step 4: join freecycle and get rid of all the stuff you realized is subtracting from your overall elegance.

I realize this is just a variation on the old "remove clutter" theme. But I think it's useful, and it does help pare down to the nicest things we own-- a gorgeous yellow vase from a DC antique shop, a handcarved wooden box, a laptop and lots of empty space is ideally all that would be on my desk.

And it was, after an interior decorator had her way with my home office. Now it's creeping back toward clutter-- not much, but enough so that I see that this is an ongoing task. Yay!

p.s. The photos suck, so don't look to them as an example. They represent the best in 80s decorating...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Panties for Burma!

This is hilarious. And it also sounds effective- so I had to share!

Women friends-

Your panties are needed for Burma! Women of Burma are tired of all the nonsense that has been happening with the military dictatorship-it is beyond ridiculous...peaceful protest, military resistance, diplomacy...all have been attempted and have not succeeded and so outrageous means are now necessary.

It is believed in Burma that contact with women's undergarments will rob men of their power. General Than Shwe-leader of the regime is especially fearful of women's undergarments. For more information visit Panty Power and the Panties for Peace campaign intends to bring down the regime one pair at a time and you can help now!

So clean out that underwear drawer ladies, write a message to the junta PEACE NOW!, DEMOCRACY NOW! (or whatever you wish)-or glue one of the military generals faces provided on the Lanna Action Website and send them off to the Embassy of Myanmar Address:

The Union of Myanmar. 2300 S Street, NW, Washington DC 20008. Telephone: (202) 332-3344

Please also take a picture (of the panties and/or you sending them off) and send to me so I can share with friends in Thailand-I know the instigators and was lucky enough to be involved when the plot was hatched! (NOTE: I don't know who the Kristen is who wrote this up. So, no need to send Wordydoodles your panty photos! :))

Women in Thailand, England, the Philippines and around the world have already taken part and now is time for the US step up our panty diplomacy! Circulate this to all who you know who wear panties-post it on your blogs and websites-send early-send often!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

butt-erflies for Father's Day

Ok, I know you're just dying to find the Greatest Father's Day gift there is. I have an idea for you-- if your baby daddy has a sense of humor, and your kid is still small enough for this to be not breaking some kind of law.

People, I give you-- Butt-erflies!! Yes, a very crafty (and hilarious) mama who participates in an online mama forum I'm on came up with this one. She paints each of her young kids' butts, then has them sit on a piece of paper. Then decorates it and makes it a card. Have a butt-erfly card for Father's Day! Watch it grow year to year!

I think P would not stand (or sit) for this, so I'm going to try tracing her butt on a piece of paper and making our butt-erfly that way.

Don't say Wordydoodles never did anything for you. ;) Come on, this project is worth about fifty-six thousand four hundred and two laughs, which will bolster even the strongest marriage/partnership.

Funny variation-- you could keep this and compare it to one you do after Thanksgiving, because, you know, forget about the turkey made by cutting out your hand tracing. Everyone knows the best new thing this Thanksgiving will be Thanksgiving butt-erflies!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Carousel or bust

You will probably never see Paloma smiling on a carousel. At least, I haven't yet. It's not because she doesn't like them. No, Paloma *loves* carousels. She loves them so much, with such deep intensity, that when one is near, all her focus is on it. When she's strapped onto her animal friend, her anticipation is so ridiculously focused, she could probably power a laser. The girl isn't interested in wasting energy smiling for me or anyone-- not when there's a carousel needing her undivided attention.

And let's not talk about when the ride is over, because it's heartbreaking. For me! I have never, ever seen her sign "more" more frantically than yesterday, when her beloved panda gave out on its bounding circles. Derek was standing next to her, and I was at the sidelines taking pictures. The look on her face was disappointment the likes of which you may have seen, oh, in the Olympics. Maybe on a passionate- but losing- soccer team. A team who thought they had won-- but then had their medals stripped. For a technicality. Then multiply that by eleventy billion. That was the look on her face.

Open mouth crying, tears pouring down...this girl is a dedicated carousel connoisseur. Since March, she's ridden carousels:

- in a random mall on the drive to Santa Barbara. (Her first time ever. She was terrified at first, then cried when it was over.)
- Park in Santa Barbara near the beach (it was historic)
- Tilden Park, Berkeley (another historic one)
- Kennedy Park, Hayward
- Oakland Zoo

Not bad!