January 2007


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I think Winifred is starting to rub off on me.

It’s a little scary, actually. As if dealing with Bunny’s ever developing neuroses in addition to her finely honed ones wasn’t bad enough, now I have to see them spewing forth from within my own psyche as well.

Everything I do from how I hang up the laundry (not color coordinated) to how I prepare Buddha’s baby food has been rather strictly predetermined.

So I think initially, these little time managing habits started as a way to circumvent her freakishly fastidious moods but now it’s like I have my very own set of bizarre and anal rules that I must live by.

This must stop.

I refuse to turn into her.
The only problem is I don’t know how.

Coming up with these little tricks to complete the tasks has been my coping mechanism for avoiding friction with Winifred and without them, well, I’m afraid of what could happen if I slipped and continually forgot to stuff the diaper covers.
But I’ve noticed myself becoming more and more preoccupied with getting things done at the right time, in the right order, that I’m continually having less and less time to actually spend playing with Buddha. There must be another way.

I’ll be damned if I let her screw with yet another aspect of my life.

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When Buddha was a newborn there was only one place where he was guaranteed to sleep: My Chest. His mother, for all her attributes, is not a calm person. Nervous energy just courses through her. And little Buddha felt it. Even now, he rarely sleeps for her and then only if she nurses him into a comatose state. So, in order to lessen the already heightened state of anxiety that Winifred is a permanent resident of, I would, during the first post-partum months, work my somnolent magic on the babe and he would sleep on me.

I happen to have an abnormally comfy bosom. No, really. I say this in all seriousness, because it is both a blessing and a curse. It is not purely a result of their size either, for they were used as pillows long before I graduated from my B and then C cups. They just happen to be insanely cozy. Bunny described it so eloquently one day when he told that if his pillows ever got stolen, he’d be okay, so long as my breasts were availabe for him to sleep on.

Initially, my amazing soporific powers were envied and coveted by one and all in Calamitous Casa for I was the only one who could assuredly put the wee fat one to sleep. So grateful for this supernatural ability was Winifred that she would actually schedule me to come over purely for napping purposes. I would put the baby to sleep, go climb in the spare bed and quite literally get paid to nap.
Glorious.
Not only was I living the American Dream but I was actually helping people in the process. Good times.

It was a win-win situation, for the most part. Buddha’s sleeping gave Winifred a chance to sleep and that made her a remarkably more bearable mama which in turn created lovely ripples in the rest of the house for life is much more pleasant for everyone when Winifred is rested and (relatively) calm. Plus, a rested Buddha is a much more pleasant Buddha to be around. And less crying is really good for everyone involved. And me, well I of course, got paid to sleep which is the sweetest deal there ever was.

Unfortunately we hit a snag. My inimitably comfy breasts caused us quite a conundrum, for whenever my chest was an option, Buddha would simply refuse to sleep anywhere else. He acquired rather remarkable super baby radar capability that warned him whenever we so much as thought about putting him down in his crib. To make matters worse, his fastidious sleep aversion worsened to the point that on days when I was not there, he would just not sleep. And no good can come from an infant on a sleep strike.

So slowly, things began to change. I would rock him and sing him to sleep just like before but once he was in his REM cycle I would very carefully, put him in his crib. This precarious game of sleep training was not a fun task, for me or for Buddha. If I transferred him too soon after his eyelids drooped shut, he would not be deep enough asleep and he would wake up, incredibly angry and intent on not falling asleep so as not to be duped into his crib. But if I waited too long, a similar scene would occur. A very delicate game it was and it lasted for months, but we finally got into a rhythym and now Buddha very rarely wakes upon being transferred to his crib. Of course, he is still dependant on me to put him to sleep but I’m still reeling from our last sleep training and am hesitant to force him to self soothe. That and I not-so-secretly love our pre-nap snuggle time.

Yesterday, Buddha came down with a nasty fever and cough. He’s congested and miserable and he refused to sleep last night except for three hours between five and eight in the morning. He began to stir shortly after I got there at eight this morning. Winifred nursed him while I readied Bunny for the day. He didn’t go to school since he too was feeling under the weather so Winifred took him shopping with her. At nine thirty, Winifred and Bunny left the building. I fed Buddha a few bites of oatmeal and yogurt but even that wasn’t doing anything for him. So I went outside to the backyard, sat in the swing and at nine fifty he was out. Twice he nearly woke himself up when he choked on his own phlegm, but I was able to soothe him back to sleep before he fully awoke.

Then the damn gardeners showed up and rudely decided to do their jobs so we were forced inside rather than sit and have mowed grass and gas emissions flung in our faces. The head gardener’s loud voice, referring to me as “Honey” and asking me to go inside woke Buddha from his slumber and for the next fifteen minutes I cursed Ricky under breath as I rocked him back to sleep. Literally, not two minutes after I was convinced he was out, did Winifred call my cell phone to say she was on her way home with Bunny and groceries. I said okay and that I was going to seclude us in the bedroom, so Buddha wouldn’t wake up.

Calamitous Casa is a fortress. Winifred lovingly calls it “the compound.” Not only do they have a very sophisticated alarm system but every window has a shield. This comes in handy for nap time because with just the flick of a switch, the shields for a room can be lowered and we have instant night time. Well what’s a girl to do in a pitch dark room, a warm little baby in her arms and the nice lulling noise of an air purifier for company?

Naturally, I climbed in bed, adjusted Buddha on my chest and fell right to sleep, breathing in the scent of his soft little head. Only hours later when his weight on my bladder became unbearable did I shift him out of my arms and hurried to the bathroom. It nearly roused him but I very deftly managed to croon back to sleep.

Four hours. For four hours he slept in my arms. Just the two of us, cuddled close, his hot little forehead close to mine, his chubby little fingers tangled in my hair and wrapped around my neck, his head against my heart. It felt so good, so lovely to be back there. And I felt a little longing for the times we had when he was just a wee, new little guy. The nostalgia bubbled inside as I cradled the not-so-little-anymore baby in my arms. My arm went in and out of numbness as I lay there but I didn’t really care. He’s so active and energetic now; our cuddle time has greatly diminished. It was nice to be able to just hold him. To be. And even though, he’s older now, more independent, it was nice to know that I’m still his favorite place to sleep.

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I love my cousin Sarah. Tomorrow is her 25th birthday. She has a total of four service days left before she is out of active service in the army. She already served in Afghanistan for a year and I’ve been holding my breath hoping that they wouldn’t send her to Iraq. Technically, they can send her ass over there at any time in the next four years but I’m really hoping that’s not the case. Four days. Four days and she’s free, so to speak.

I love Sarah. Growing up I absolutely idolized her. She was and still is, my closest cousin on my mother’s side of the family. She’s hilarious and goofy and full of spunk. I love her. Historically speaking, she comes from a pretty long line of soldiers. We’re not a military family by any means but my Grandmother’s side of the family has been fighting in American wars since the time of the pilgrims. (Seriously. Her ancestors were some of the original Presbyterian settlers.) My ancestors fought in the Civil War, both World Wars and more recently my uncle fought in the first Gulf War. Just about each generation has had at least one member of the military. But I never, not in a million years, would have thought that Sarah, of all my cousins, would join the army. I’m pretty sure if someone had told me beforehand that she was going to, I would have called the cops to report some serious crack abuse. She’s more than just not the type. She’s the type flipped on its axis and covered in spray paint.

Her parents are wealthy, upper middle class folks who gave her a great upbrining and a private education. It’s not like she was fresh out highschool either. She was halfway through her Junior year of college when she joined. Besides that, though, she’s a total rebel. I’m talking piercings, tattoos, dyed hair (shaved head at one point.) She was a total free spirit, so for her to willingly sign over her life to the ultimate authoritative and disciplinary institution ever? Well that was just ridiculous. I truly didn’t believe it when I heard it, it was just that preposterous.

She came out to our family shortly after she signed up. (Ironic, I know.) Her right wing, Christian parents flipped out. It was a quite a one-two punch for them. I couldn’t have cared less and told her as much. I don’t give a flying fuck whom she (or anyone) loves or makes love to. It makes no difference to me either way. I love her no matter what and would forgive her almost anything. Almost

It’s taken four years but I’m finally to the point where I can see her as my cousin, instead of just as a soldier. I’m relieved to no end that she’s getting out. That after four years I won’t have to worry about her being killed. That she’ll be able to go on with her life. I love her so much. But no matter what, I will never be able to forgive her.

It’s horrible, I know but as much as I love her and enjoy spending time with her, there is a part of me that will always view her as an enemy. It’s not just that she joined forces with the man, she joined forces with everything that I loathe and despise in the world. She didn’t just sign a contract with the devil. To me, this was giving him a strip tease and fucking him as well.

My mom has this bumper sticker on her Toyota Prius. She got it while Sarah was in Afghanistan. My mom and I tend to have very similar opinions regarding politics except for that. See, I don’t support our troops.

Yeah, I said it.

I don’t support the war in Iraq and I don’t think that blindly supporting the the troops when they are fighting an illegal and unjust war makes an iota of sense. They are not protecting our rights or defending our freedom because our rights and freedoms have only ever been threatened by the very people who have sent them over there in the first place. No, it’s not their fault that they have been ordered there by an oil hungry maniac but they did choose their professions. They chose to be soldiers. And as far as I’m concerned there is nothing noble about being a professional killer. I can forgive just about anything, but not that.

Not that.

But I’m glad she’s almost out and that she’s safe and relatively unscathed.

I love her.

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Winifred called me this afternoon to let me know that Buddha took his real first steps, sans help, today at the library. Woot! This means I’m the de facto winner of the bet. At the end of last year we all placed bets on when we thought he would walk. Winifred guessed New Year’s, I guessed the 11th, Bunny guessed the 16th and Dr. Doormat guessed the 23rd. Bunny walked at 14 months, so we figured it would happen at a similar time for Buddha and we were right! He’s 14 and 1/2 months old, practically to the day. I’m a wee bit bitter that he waited for a day that I wasn’t there, but I’m just so excited. Silly, I know but this is sort of the last tangible milestone that marks the end of his infancy. *sniff* He’s growing up! Welcome to toddlerhood, Buddha! You’ve come along way.

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Hypothetically, if one were to give up chocolate for six weeks as part of one’s New Year’s Resolution would it be considered cheating if one ate white chocolate?
I find this akin to Animal Crackers not actually being crackers but falling more under the cookie criteria. Yes, it says chocolate in the name but it’s not actually made out of cocoa.

Oh, the turmoil!

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Buddha was filthy. And stinky. There was dried mush in his hair and I’m pretty sure little pieces of apple were rotting in his wrist rolls.
He stunk.
Bathtime? Oh yes.
Buddha loves the bath. Due in part, I’m sure, to the fact that he was born in one. Unfortunately due to certain pre-established perameters of Buddha bathing, it takes a good solid hour to complete the task. I usually bathe him during the day while Bunny is at school. Turns out winter break is very long around here. So I managed to convince Bunny to join in and the two of them had a total maniacal and chaotic drench-fest splashy, fun-filled time.
As much as Buddha loves bathtime, he equally loathes getting out of the tub. Especially if his brother is still in it. So I didn’t really pay attention to the lyrics of Bunny’s songs when he started singing. I was busy wrangling the screaming 14 month old, afterall. It was not until I was massaging Buddha with (product placement!) Burt’s Bees Baby Oil, that he calmed down enough for me to hear what Bunny was singing.

“Peee-nis, vagi-Nuh!”

At first I was a little troubled. And then Bunny added more lyrics and it clicked.

To the (very off) tune of “Heads, Shoulder, Knees & Toes.”

“Penis, vagina, kidneys, lungs! (splash!)
Penis, vagina, kidneys, lungs! (splash!)
Penis, vagina, kidneys, lungs!
Kidneys, lungs! (splash, splash!)
Penis, vagina, kidneys, lungs!
Kidneys, lungs! (splash, splash!)
Eyes and tonsils and butt and nose!
Penis, vagina, kidneys, lungs! (splash, splash!)
Penis, vagina, kidneys, lungs! (splash, splash!)”

I’m fairly certain those were not the words he learned at school.
There is really no doubt that he is a doctor’s son.