Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Good news/bad news

The good news? There's now an interim location for daycare--two, in fact, one for preschoolers and one for infants and toddlers--starting at some vague point next week. Rumor has it, on Tuesday.

The bad news? It's a 20-minute drive away, and the teacher who collects Z. on Mondays and babysits for her until we get home is going to be several miles away in the other location, so the childcare arrangements that allow us to go to couples therapy are now officially all shot to hell.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Routine disruptions

Toddlers are people who, despite the chaos they engender around them, love order in their days because they need to predict what's coming and what's expected of them, and they need as much help as they can get. (Don't we all, really?) Z. has been matching colors since she was walking, and the order in which we prepare for school must not vary, and she has other small rituals that get her through her day: leavetakings are especially hard for her, and she has formulas she says (sometimes embellished with a hug or a kiss) to make this transitions manageable. "Dat one is foah somebody else," she says as she replaces an item on a shelf in the store. "We can do dat anuddeuhr day" she says about an activity that won't fit into the schedule. And so, somehow, she handles the things she wants but are not permitted to her. Not infallibly or without tears or fussing. But she gets through.

Every night, I sing Z. "Goodnight Irene" before she goes to sleep, and I sing her different words to the last verse depending on what's going to happen the next day. If the next day is a school day, I sing about that. If she's going to stay home with us, I alter the words to reflect that, instead. Z. is still shaky on the days of the week and how they arrive in an orderly, predictable pattern, so our song is part of how Z. keeps track of her schedule.

For the past week and a half, I have done a lot of improvising on that verse.

Z.'s daycare is closed for repairs, and the search for an alternate site is ongoing. Meanwhile, the 70 or so children who go to her school are improvising, and in that time Z. has not had one single day that looked like any other day. I have been home with her in the afternoon for naptime, but in the morning we have made different arrangements with swapped playdates or pooled childcare, and one day I simply stayed home all day, alone, with her.

We are suffering, she and I.

Neither of us is getting any exercise. Neither of us is getting any significant space from the other. I am getting almost no time alone, and I am having to cancel or give up various parts of my own weekly routine that help keep me sane. Therapy, for instance. I was at work for about five hours all of last week and less than one hour so far this week. A. leaves the house before Z. and I wake up so I've showered, oh, three times since Z. has been home.

That is the context in which we left town and had a car accident on Saturday.

Tomorrow is the first day since all of this started that we have somewhere for Z. to be all day.

I'm actually looking forward to going to work.

Imagine that.

Name that literary allusion

Z: What do you want fwrom me? I'm only just beginning to live!

Points if you recognize the book, and I swear, she chose it all by herself at the bookstore, (not-so-)vaguely disturbing sexual overtones and all.

Edited: The book is The Amazing Bone, by William Steig, and really, you need to check out the sample pages to get a sense of the flowering, blossoming, blooming, pollen-drenched world that Pearl walks through with a bone hanging out of her open purse. I mean, come on.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Da Storewy of da Tiyeuhr

This is because Z. thought that her aunties Lo and Co "must peuwrhaps want to know how we got into da tiyeuhr."

We were driving along the Turnpike on our way to see baby Jo and there was a tire in the middle of the road. Mommy swerved the car so we wouldn't hit the tire too badly, but she couldn't move too far because she didn't want to hit any other cars, so we did hit that tire a little bit. There was a big jolt in our car and we heard some loud crackles, like plastic breaking, but we were all okay and nobody was hurt at all.

We moved the car to the side of the road so that we would be out of the way of all the other cars and Mama got out to see if the car was broken. It was a little bit broken, but not too much. Mommy called the people who help you when your car is broken and they sent a policeman and a tow truck. The policeman came right away, and he moved the tire out of the road, but we had to wait for a long time before the tow truck came.

When the tow truck came he put a big hook under our car and he pulled our car up and up and up onto the ramp, and then the ramp went up and up and up and we were in the car on the back of the tow truck. The tow truck took us off the turnpike and then it put our car down and we waited for another tow truck to come.

The next tow truck had room for us all to ride in the truck, so we climbed up into the truck and it was so high up it had stairs to climb. Then we drove to where the mechanic looked at our car, and we all went inside and we sat on the couches and we were so glad that we didn't have to be in our car anymore.

After awhile, we got hungry, so we went outside and we walked along the big road to a diner, and it was hard to have to hold Mama or Mommy's hand that whole time we were walking. Sometimes Mommy was nice and gave Z. uppies. When we got to the diner, Mommy had a sandwich and Mama had a sandwich and Z. had fruit and cottage cheese. There were televisions at the diner, just like there was a television at the mechanic's place, but the television at the mechanic's place was showing better TV.

We walked back to the mechanic's place and we were still very, very tired. Mommy read her book and Mama did some knitting and Z. watched television and then after a long time the mechanic said our car was all fixed and we could keep driving again. But it was too late to see Auntie Lo or Auntie Co or Baby Jo, so we went right to Grandma and Grandpa's house and we had some dinner and we went to sleep.

And the next day we visited Auntie Lo and Auntie Co and Baby Jo and even Maggie. So it was okay in the end.

(But boy, oh boy, are Mama and Mommy going to think twice the next time it makes a lot of sense to drive somewhere on shabbos.)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Will someone toss her a cape, already?

Z. is naked except for diaper, between the removal of pj's and the application of actual clothes.

Z.: I put on my spauwkellies! And now I'm not cowld anymore!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Like all of you, there are various things that happen in my life that I prefer not to write about for the entire googling public, out of concern for ethics, privacy, or both. The discerning reader will notice that I have almost never written about a staff member, for instance, and I rarely mention members of my family other than A. or Z. And so on.

However, there is now so much that I've put out of bounds on this blog that I'm wondering what's left. I'm coming up on my first anniversary of blogging in a few weeks, and I'm wondering not so much whether I will have run out of things I want to say, but whether I will have run out of things I feel I can say, at least in public.

It's made me wonder about this whole venture of musing out loud for an audience that can choose to stay invisible. I'm not a shy person, I'm quite able to take care of myself in a crowd of strangers, but I am fairly private about my inner life. I tend not to pass along relevant events in my life to my therapist, for instance: Z. fell down the garden stairs two weeks ago and I spent an evening in shock and PTSD flashbacks as a result. I got to my session and other things were uppermost, and I just never got around to telling her. For that matter, I never got around to telling the blog either--well, okay, now I did, and I'm fine, everyone--but it does seem like I'm not doing a very good job figuring out this whole opening-up-to-an-audience thing.

There was a point last summer when I realized that if I kept on blogging as I had been blogging--commenting frequently, clicking through links, committing to daily posts, putting a lot of focus on my stats--I might attract a reasonably large number of people to this blog, and if the audience became large enough that I felt like I didn't have a sense of who was reading, I would start writing quite differently. I decided I didn't want that to happen, so I became more of a lurker and Rhymes with Javelin has remained a sort of sleepy backwater of a blog. (I like to think of it as a blogger's blog, for the discerning, but hey, we all need our delusions.) I'm fine with that--usually at least one person is willing to say something about what I put up here, so I don't feel like I'm writing into a void, but the group of you I'm imagining out there reading this, you feel fairly cozy and friendly to me.

Yet there's more and more I don't say. Because I know people will find me by googling for "correct pronunciation shotput," or "ezpass mylar," or for various unlikely occasional rhymes. And because people who sorta kinda know me in real life may well find me and suddenly, a post or two of reading later, they are more intimate with me than I'd choose for them to be, and more intimate with me than I know that they are.

So I'm wondering, especially those of you who've been at this awhile, how do you handle the whole balance of exposure and intimacy?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Vocab update

The following words are now officially in Z.'s active vocabulary:


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Danse Russe

A long time ago, E. pointed out to me that when I stay up into the middle of the night and on into the early morning hours, what opens up for me is not simply more time in my day, but time of a different quality.

E.'s comment has been sitting with me for all of these months, as I've been paying more attention to the rhythm of my wakefulness. My life is not much the same one I was living when I wrote the post she responded to that day--as far as sleep goes, the most important difference is that Z. is now sleeping through the night almost every night; therefore, I am, too. When I lie down, I now expect to sleep until morning, and I do, almost every night. During the years of broken sleep that started early in my pregnancy, sleep was not much more restful than waking. Other women look to the end of nursing as when they get their bodies back, but this is it for me. Sleep has become worthwhile again. The circles under my eyes are less fierce than they were, and I can imagine a time when they fade altogether.

I made a commitment, this Fall, to go up to bed when A. does, and to the extent that I'm able to honor that commitment, I am asleep before midnight, sometimes before 11. But I'd say about once a week, often twice, I'm not going up to bed at anything like a reasonable hour for someone who intends to get a toddler to school by 8, knowing that toddler takes a good two hours to get to school some days. Instead, I am staying up for hours past midnight, and sometimes until so late that there seems to be very little point in sleeping when A.'s alarm is going to go off so soon.

So there is something about those hours that I need, and those nights when I seize that time, I need at least two hours after my last human contact, my last email or goodnight kiss.

As the people I love go to sleep, I'm freed up to fritter. There are nights I've spent importing cd's onto my computer, nights I've spent reading the New Yorker, nights I've spent re-reading love letters, nights I've spent knitting and absorbed in the latest mystery novel, nights I've spent researching a topic I only just discovered I needed to know everything about, nights I've spent in tears writing email I knew I wouldn't send, nights of alphabetizing, shopping for clothes, doing laundry, sorting yarn, cleaning the stove. And one night last Spring that I spent washing the kitchen floor with a sponge, listening to NPR turned down low.

I have not yet danced naked before the bathroom mirror (yet!), but I have sung to myself "I am lonely, lonely./I was born to be lonely,/I am best so!"

Who shall say I am not
the happy genius of my household?

And you, my friends? Are you ever also lonely, lonely, and best so? Tell me all about it.

(All due credit to Wm. Carlos Williams, and tonight I am going to bed now, and not two hours from now.)

Worried about the polar bears

The tulips and daffodils are coming up.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I guess she picked it up in school

Mama is opening a small package.

Z.: Dat comes in Bubble Wrap! Dat's Bubble Wrap! Is dat BUBBLE WRAP?

S.: (laughing) Yes, sweetie.

Z.: Can I have it when you open it up?

S.: Sure.

Z.: Oh, thzank you, thzank you, thzank you, thzank you! Thzank you, Mama! Thzank you!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Fish recipe (contains no fish)


You put it in a bowl. Den you stirw it and mix it and stirw it and mix it and stirw it and mix it and stirw it and den it fawlls out of da sky and PLOP! it goes on da dauuuwgs! Plop, plop, plop, PLOP, PLOP, PLOPLOPLOPLOPLOP! PLOP!

*or, alternately

Grwape juice

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

One hundred and two

My mother loves finding patterns in numbers, so this is for you, mom:

Today is January 2nd, 01/02. It would also have been my grandmother's 102nd birthday. Mind you, she didn't want it to be: after her 90th birthday she often told people what a shame it was that "they made you live so long," but she hung on to 99. She started out at 5 feet, half an inch, and by the end she was a tiny, wrinkled person, still pronouncing a few words in a Scottish accent (shoogar) despite having spent most of seven decades in this country.

I think the thing she was waiting for was to know that all of her children were grandparents. A week before she died, my cousin's baby girl was born and so all of her children had grandchildren. I think after that she felt like everything was set and she could go if she had to.

My grandmother taught me how to knit. Not how to purl, just how to knit. I figured out how to make stockinette stitch on my own (that would be "flat knitting instead of bumpy" to all of you non-knitters out there) and she assumed I'd figured out purling. Eventually, I did.

My grandmother was also my first correspondent. I was seven, and she gave me stationery with my name on it, and sometimes she would send me stamps.

She gave me a way into yarn and a way into words, a way into art, though she would not ever have called herself an artist.

She was Presbyterian. I broke with Jewish tradition and gave my daughter her name. I consider it the best decision of my life.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Get your butt in gear

Wednesday Whining is waiting for you. And this week I'm hosting, so I will be embarrassed if you don't comment. Really. I mean that. If my own commentariat won't follow me there when it's my turn, good lord, I'm not much use as a host, am I?

Plus, I'm a lot funnier over there. Honest.

New Year's Day

Now that it's 2008, I figure I'm off the hook for the year-in-review post. 2007 just had me spinning at every turn. I need a whole lot of distance from the past twelve months before I can figure out how to talk about it as a year. Come to think of it, I've had a lot of years like that lately. (Hmmm. Maybe I should have been reviewing 2005 or 2006? Oh, wait, that's pretty much what I've been doing in this space since I started this blog.)

Instead of looking back, or at least instead of looking back beyond this week's anniversary effect that I can't avoid, I've been thinking about the year coming up: the things that I need to make happen, the things I've committed to doing as leaps of faith, the things that I can't control but I am hoping will happen through some combination of will, generosity, and serendipity.

There are things that I am currently letting slide, too, and I need to sort through them, figure out what I have to delegate and what I have to do and what I have to accept won't happen and what I have to simply take off my list, even knowing that sooner or later it will be back there again, in order to have a little less weight pulling at me.

In lieu of resolutions for the year, I'm going to try to set some monthly goals. I'm thinking about concrete things that I can measure, rather than large abstractions I want to embrace. I'm hoping that taking care of the details will add up to changes in the larger picture, but I'm not real confident about predicting in advance what direction those changes are going to take. That, at least, is one thing I learned from 2007. Life will surprise me.

But goals that can be reviewed and renewed or changed from month to month, that I can let go of and move on from regularly, that seems like about what I can handle. It could be its own discipline

Okay, thinking about my list, here's the one I'm putting up for public accountability in January:

The Living Room Project: address the piles of cd's in the living room, get rid of redundant electronics, clear off the built-in bench, find more storage for toys, and figure out a routine for keeping it a functional space in our house.

Anyone want to join me in the Resolution of the Month Club? Just put it up on your blog. We'll all see how we do.