Saturday.

I just spent two frustrating hours trying to resize and clean up scanned coloring book images. In fewer than ten minutes, I will have to gather my patience and help The Who come to terms with the fact that the time has come to take off his bandage. (Never a willing bandage-remover, our Who.) When that is done, I need to make a grocery list and either put in an online order or go to the store. This is not shaping up to be a very satisfying Saturday.

 

Listen. 

There is no way to say this in beautiful prose or pithy little parenthetical sentences:

The situation with the [complete fucking lack of] gun control in this country is disgusting and terrifying. 

In the past two days, I have heard two stories that have made me not want to leave my house with my child. One story about playing at a playground that I wouldn’t give a second thought to playing at, only to have the playing cut short by a cascade of nearby gunshots. And another story about suburban newscasters shot dead on camera, live, in front of a fucking shopping mall. 

Y’know, sometimes when The Who is doing something he knows he shouldn’t be doing, he goes and does it right under my nose to be sure I know that he is testing the boundary. He is looking for me to tell him when enough is enough. 

Apparently no one is cares enough about people shooting at unarmed young black boys wearing hoodies or members of the trans community. Apparently, they haven’t hit our limit yet, so the unmonitored gun-carriers had to go and shoot out a storefront next to a playground.  And go shoot two white twentysomethings on THE FREAKING LIVE LOCAL NEWS.

Did they find the limit yet? Can you see me now, Mama? Are you gonna let me keep doing this, Mama? I’m right here in front of you, Mama. 

Jesus. I hear the message loud and clear. Why don’t we all? 

Today. 

There are days that you anticipate for so long — look forward to, but dread at the same time. And it’s hard leading up to those kinds of days. Wanting them to hurry up and arrive and also never to happen at all.

Since The Who was about two and I knew for sure that his cute little outie belly button was in fact a hernia, I’ve been waiting for the day to come where it had to be repaired — mostly because I like neat bundles. I like concrete solutions. And I don’t like waiting. So, as soon as he turned 6 and his pediatrician confirmed that it wasn’t going to close on his own, we started the process that led us to this day.

Here is where I give the disclaimer that I know that this surgery was incredibly easy, incredibly mild, incredibly short, and incredibly low-risk. I know there are children and parents all over the world that contend with much bigger medical issues. We don’t. And don’t think for a second that I am not acutely aware of that all the time or that I’m not incredibly grateful for our good fortune.

With that said, as today approached, I sort of came undone. Last night, I believe I actually made myself sick with worry, as I sat under blankets on the couch, shivering and sniffling, certain I had a fever. (By morning, I was completely fine. Astounding what the subconscious can manifest.)

The thing that had me most in a tailspin was The Who’s fear and how the best I could do to assuage it was to stroke his hair and remind him of the doctor’s credentials and confidence (The Who, being The Who, is pretty comforted by those sorts of things.) But I know what it feels like to be rolled away from your people, alone into a cold operating room, and I did not want him to have to feel that. (All the things about understanding that life is about experiencing a range of emotions can be inserted here. I get it. But my heart hurt for him. If I could have gone in his place, I gladly would have.)

He woke up in the middle of the night last night, slurring that he was scared. And then again this morning, as we leaned in for our last kisses, he whispered it again: “I’m scared. I’m so scared.”

As it turned out, and as we all suspected when we were thinking rationally, it went off beautifully. He felt no pain, he lost no blood, he didn’t wake up nauseated (though later he did develop a migraine, classically accompanied by vomit) and we couldn’t have been treated more kindly or respectfully by the doctors, nurses, and staff. They all spoke directly to The Who, explaining everything, they let him move at his own pace, and they were incredibly mindful of his “queerspawn” status, referring often to his “moms” and never once asking to whom he belonged biologically and giving us both equal regard when it came to authority and consent.

While this was certainly one of the hardest lead-ups, it actually turned out to be one of the best days we have all had together in a long time, reminding me of how well we often function as a family unit and how lucky we all are, individually and as a team.

Go team.

    
  

Parentheses.

What they say about watching pots is 100% true.

I’m waiting for the water to boil so I can cook something I’ve never made before in the 25 minutes I have before we’re meeting friends for frozen yogurt. (They haven’t seen each other in eight weeks; it’s a reunion. And also a pre-surgery well-wishing.) (The Who is having surgery tomorrow. Have I mentioned that before now?)

I have the PMS and this month, like many months (but not all months) I have the incarnation of it that makes me completely intolerant to touch — mostly from little hands and bodies. And, unfortunately (this week, though fortunately mostly) I have a very physically affectionate little boy. Hair twisting, light finger drumming, the laying of his cheek upon my arm (that’s a big one.) I. Can’t. Stand. Any. Of. It. Today.

I (re)explained PMS to him — all technical-like with the notion of possible pregnancy and the uterus and the hormones. And then the havoc it wreaks. (Is it too early for a boy to understand PMS? He’s going to be dealing with it for the rest of his life, probably.)

I’m making pierogies. Have you been wondering what it was that the water was boiling for? It occurred to me as I was dropping them into the water (which finally boiled while I was writing that first part; I knew that was the key) that I hadn’t said what it was I was making. I didn’t actuallyeven make these. They’re farmers market pierogies. They might be good, but half of them split open when I peeled them from their separating paper. Raw dough and everything.

(How long do you boil raw pierogies?) (Nevermind. I googled.)

They were a little mangled, the pierogies. They’re sort of the dumpling equivalent of how I feel today. I’m kind of holding it together, but some of my caramelized cabbage is leaking out and sullying the boiling water.

Anyway. It’s all about the surgery, I think. And I’m not even really worried about it. It just feels like one of those Important Moments — capital I, capital M. Last night I posted a picture of The Who’s first to-scale drawing. Worthy of note! I captioned it, “Baby’s First Scale Drawing.” The newest in a series of “Baby’s First” photos that I will probably continue to post until it is neither cute nor appropriate to post about your child’s first experiences any longer. (“Baby’s First BJ!” Not so much, right? Which reminds me of a question I often ponder: at what age does it become inconsiderate to remark on someone’s physical growth? Could I say, for example, “Look how BIG you’ve gotten over the summer!” to a colleague?)

Anyway. Dinner’s done and we’ve got a family of five waiting for us at the fro-yo shop. And then tomorrow, feel free to send us all your woo (in whatever form that takes for you) around 9am.

Pierogi out.

Bullets.

  • My current binge-watching series is Medium. I am temporarily ignoring the problematic things that Patricia Arquette said at the last big awards show and choosing instead to just enjoy her delightfully imperfect teeth.
  • My rental is a Buick Encore SUV. I can only think of the new Buick ad campaigns every time I climb up into it. “This is not your father’s Buick.” Except my father never owned a Buick and, even though I am quite enjoying my ride these days, neither will I.
  • (Maybe, at one point, my father owned a Buick. But not in my lifetime.)
  • We’ve got ourselves a new synagogue. We spent two hours there today, looking around and meeting people. I kind of loved it. On our tour, though, as we walked around the building outside, I saw my first autumn leaf on the ground. It reminded me that I’ve heard acorns on the roof the last few days. And it was dark when I got home at 9pm last night. I am feeling very conflicted about the impending season change.
  • Our days this week have been full of errands. Tomorrow, my boy gets a play date. He’s been incredibly patient.
  • I can’t believe it’s almost time to edit that “first day of school” Lego sign from last year.Photo Sep 02, 10 50 01 AM

Cache.

The Who has been pretty obsessed with maps this summer. This isn’t entirely new; he’s been really into maps and globes and travel and distance for a while, but on the trip up at the end of June, he discovered Mapquest. He always knew about it, but he really discovered it on that drive and since then, has been asking constantly to be my navigator. He loves following the line, telling me when to turn, and translating distances (e.g if Mapquest says “.25 miles” he says, “in a quarter mile.”)

The plus side of this new habit is that I have a pretty reliable navigator now. He has gotten me places that I had no idea how to get to without directions and can tell me things like what our eta is and whether or not we have been rerouted due to traffic. Also, I don’t have my phone at my side in the car and can’t be tempted to text at red lights, etc. If a text comes in, he tells me who it is from and can even read it for me if I ask him to. The downside is that we almost instantly ran out of data because Mapquest is always running. During the first couple of weeks, our phone carrier emailed me three times to say they had added another gig of data at ten bucks a pop. Finally, I got smart about it and changed our plan. Hopefully that’s enough to sate his seemingly insatiable desire to navigate.

One of the most fun days he had during this trip was the day we walked a section of the Freedom Trail. “In. twen. ty. feet,” he said in his best “Mapquest Lady” voice, “take. a. sharp. right. onto. Free. dom. Trail.” (After ten different “Con. tin. ue. on. Free. dom. Trail.”s, I finally had to ask him to limit his navigation to actual changes in direction.)

He’s spent every restaurant meal drawing maps of invented islands and archipelagos, drew an exact replica of the MBTA map, and reproduced maps of Boston and New England, paying special attention to the different harbors and bays. When we went to the library to borrow a few books for the month, he chose Boston tour guides and maps and studied them, intent on estimating distances and directions from place to place. And then, this morning, my uncle gifted him with a paper map of the United States along with a compass watch and an opisometer.

Photo Aug 09, 12 27 25 PM
I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner: geocaching.

So, since we had some time this afternoon, we decided to try to find our first cache. Since we’re newbies (and since we were both wearing sandals and dressed for our later dinner reservation) we stuck to “park and grab” caches, but when we’re back home, I suspect we will take some longer walks and look for some more obscure treasures.

Photo Aug 09, 3 50 16 PM

Our first find, tucked into a wall and behind a loose stone. It was a tiny tin with the log, a folded dollar bill, and a juice cap.

We looked for four today and found two. Not bad for our first time out.

We took the dollar and left a dollar in change.

We took the dollar and left a dollar in change.

I’ll tell you what: having a kid means finding yourself interested in things you would never in a million years think you would care about. I’ve known about geocaching for years, but not until now has it ever seemed like something worth doing.

The second cache we found had a bunch of random stuff in it. We took an eraser and left a quarter and a leaf from a nearby tree.

The second cache we found had a bunch of random stuff in it. We took an eraser and left a quarter and a leaf from a nearby tree.

We also signed the log.

We also signed the log.

Not a bad way to end our epic trip. Tomorrow, we hit the road back home. Mapquesting it all the way, I’m sure.

Bullets.

  • All I want to do is draw lately. I love the look of a completed coloring page and the satisfaction of a completed book is nearly unmatched.
  • I’m about 73% ready to go home. Maybe by the end of tomorrow, it will be more. It’s kind of nice to anticipate sleeping in my own bed, showering in my own shower, and buying and cooking my own food. (Who would have thought that one of the outcomes of this time away would be that I was looking forward to shopping and cooking again? I might need a month away three times a year to keep the magic of housewifery alive.) (WordPress doesn’t think “housewifery” is a word, but in my head, it is. It’s pronounced like midwifery.)
  • Shopping! I almost forgot that I’m supposed to be putting in an online grocery order to be delivered when we get back…
  • …which will be tricky with no working credit card — damn you credit card number swiper! I’m glad you got a couple of tanks of gas and a meal at IHOP, though, if that’s what you needed. My fantasy of your story is that you’re on the lam from the law, traveling from California through Arizona, and ultimately into Mexico. Good luck with that.
  • I kind of can’t imagine having crammed anything more into these past six weeks. We’re tired. We did and saw so much and went so many places. We have a years-old tradition of making a photo album of the noteworthy things we did during the summer; this year’s might be a multi-volume set!

    We saw:
    The Bunker Hill Monument
    The Paul Revere House
    The Boston Massacre site
    Old North Church
    The Old State House
    The State House
    Quincy Market/Fanueil Hall (twice!)
    The USS Constitution
    Plymouth Rock
    The Mayflower
    The Ducklings statues
    The Tortoise and the Hare statues
    The Paul Revere statue
    Fireworks (twice!)

    We went:
    Swimming
    Fishing in the Charles River
    on a city bus tour
    on a Plymouth trolley tour
    on a whale watch
    on the Swan Boats (three times!)
    on the T (a lot)
    to The Aquarium
    to The Museum of Science
    to The Franklin Park Zoo
    to LegoLand Discovery Center
    to the movies (twice)
    to The Boston Common
    to The Public Garden
    to The Haymarket
    to The North End
    to Theatre Camp
    to Cape Cod/the beach
    to multiple Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thrus
    to a 4th of July Parade
    to the library (twice)
    to Copley Square
    to the Boston Marathon Finish LineWe got:
    Three haircuts (collectively — well, two cuts and one color)
    Five new Lego sets
    Ten new books
    A new game
    Many postcards
    Many small trinket souvenirs
    A build-your-own volcano set
    Two migraines (collectively)
    Zero sunburns!

    We hung out with:
    Six kid-friends
    Seven adult-friends
    Four babies
    Two cousins
    One uncle
    One aunt
    Two great-aunts
    Two great-uncles
    Two grandparents
    A bunch of second cousins, third cousins, second cousins once removed, first cousins once removed, and first cousins twice removed, and
    Three dogs.

    I need a nap just from writing that list.