Dead.

On our way to the grocery store this afternoon, we were held up by a police car, lights flashing.

“There must have been an accident,” he said, but when we were finally allowed to move, I saw that it was a funeral procession, which, of course I had to explain. And then of course, I had to describe. And then — OF COURSE — I had to Google Image a hearse and a coffin and a person in a coffin.

I opted not to show him this one, which was the first image hit.

I opted not to show him this one, which was the first image hit.

“He doesn’t look dead,” he said when I showed him this. “He’s all dressed up.”

Full disclosure: he wasn’t dead. He was a guy at a “coffin expo” in Japan, having climbed into a fancy coffin to, I don’t know, test it out?

“Well, that’s what they do when someone dies, usually. They dress them nicely and make them up and then people who are close to the person who died can go in and look at him or her one last time and say goodbye. You can touch their face or kiss them if you want. But you don’t have to.” This is where I silently thanked God that we are not Christian and won’t have to suffer many wakes. Jewish funerals are closed casket, but there is usually a few minutes beforehand for the family to take a peek. And then, y’know, shiva. No mirrors, lots of deli platters and more rugelach than you can shake a stick at. It’s not a bad party, to be honest.

“What is all that stuff?” he asked.

“Well, sometimes they make the insides of the coffins very fancy with pretty pillows and satin sheets. Usually Jewish people are buried in plain wooden coffins with no fancy stuff.”

“I want a plain Jewish box,” he said. Surprising, really, given his propensity toward fancy. I would have put money on him saying he wanted a glittery rainbow coffin lined with cotton candy. (That’s totally what I want. Someone take note.)

I'd settle for this one, if I had to. Clouds can substitute for glitter. But I'm not budging on the cotton candy lining.

I’d settle for this one, if I had to. Clouds can substitute for glitter. But I’m not budging on the cotton candy lining.

This conversation went on and on as he talked about being underground and why all the people drive from the funeral to the cemetery and what is a funeral anyway? And how do they know how to write down what to say (eulogy) and people who die don’t have to be lonely because also goblins live underground!

And then, you guys. Then he goes, “When I die, I don’t have to be sad because I will always be with myself. Because I am The Who and I won’t have to say, ‘I miss The Who’ because I will always be with me. And you can love yourself forever and ever — even underground.

Aaaaaand, scene.

Missing.

Y’know what this blog’s been missing?

A couple of things, actually. The first is photos. Because I made a decision a long time ago not to post pictures of The Who’s face here, it takes a bit of effort to get photos that are both interesting and blog-safe. I used to (and sometimes still do) take photos that explicitly avoided his face with the blog in mind, but I have been doing less of that lately. iPiccy is my dreamy boyfriend. But as dreamy as he is, he still requires some effort. Still, photos make everything better and it’s not fair to you that you’ve been subjected to a bunch of wordy posts without any shiny eye candy for your effort.

The other thing it’s missing is frequency. Blogs are best (to me) when they have a serial quality to them, a la Life With Roozle. Here are the things we’ve been doing and they’re interesting just because I’m writing about them in a regular sort of way (and including photos, thank you very much.)

So, here’s my pledge: more photos, more frequency.

(I feel like I’ve made this pledge before.)

Here are some of the things we did at the end of the summer.

We went to NYC to meet a friend, whom The Who has really only met once, but to whom, I think, he has an innate connection. On Saturday, March 22, 2008, I found myself at a birthday party next to a friend of a friend. We had both inseminated the week before and were both in the middle of the exact same two-week-wait. And now, these two boys, born less than a week and close to 100 miles apart got to meet for what was, for all intents and purposes, the first time. To see an off-broadway kids' show that they are both now obsessed with.

We went to NYC to meet a friend, whom The Who has really only met once, but to whom, I think, he has an innate connection. On Saturday, March 22, 2008, I found myself at a birthday party next to a friend of a friend. We had both inseminated the week before and were both in the middle of the exact same two-week-wait. And now, these two boys, born less than a week and close to 100 miles apart got to meet for what was, for all intents and purposes, the first time. To see an off-broadway kids’ show that they are both now obsessed with.

That same weekend, we discovered the "Jewish Children's Museum" in Crown Heights. We were clearly the oddballs there with our natural hair and ankles both in full view, but we had a ball. (A matzah ball, quite literally. I can really get behind a museum cafeteria that offers most of the fixings from my grandmother's kitchen.) Here is The Who tucking his prayer (which he carefully wrote out) into the "Western Wall" at the back of the museum.

That same weekend, we discovered the “Jewish Children’s Museum” in Crown Heights. We were clearly the oddballs there with our natural hair and ankles both in full view, but we had a ball. (A matzah ball, quite literally. I can really get behind a museum cafeteria that offers most of the fixings from my grandmother’s kitchen.) Here is The Who tucking his prayer (which he carefully wrote out) into the “Western Wall” at the back of the museum.

As we are wont to do, as soon as we are allowed, we took a hayride into the local apple orchard and picked a bushel. (Or a peck? A bunch? A boxful? I am unclear on these weights and measures.) It was hotter than I expected it to be that day and I was sure I was going to get stung by a bee in my armpit as I stood in the middle of the trees, reaching for the best of the honeycrisp. (Yes! Honeycrisp! They're usually picked out by the time we get there, but we managed to get the last of them this year.)

As we are wont to do, as soon as we are allowed, we took a hayride into the local apple orchard and picked a bushel. (Or a peck? A bunch? A boxful? I am unclear on these agrarian weights and measures.) It was hotter than I expected it to be that day and I was sure I was going to get stung by a bee in my armpit as I stood in the middle of the trees, reaching for the best of the Honeycrisp. (Yes! Honeycrisp! They’re usually picked out by the time we get there, but we managed to get the last of them this year.)

We've done sticker charts for a while now and, frankly, they've lost their appeal and their effectiveness. Pompoms (which I know are pompoNs, but it sounds like tampon and I refuse) are tactile and new and colorful. He is very motivated by the pompom jar and has already filled it once, earning himself glitter alphabet stickers, a glow stick, and mini decorative rolls of tape. (Thirty pompoms takes a while to earn; the prizes have to be worth it. They're wrapped like presents, too. I'm a little jealous.)

We’ve done sticker charts for a while now and, frankly, they’ve lost their appeal and their effectiveness. Pompoms (which I know are pompoNs, but it sounds like tampon and I refuse) are tactile and new and colorful. He is very motivated by the pompom jar and has already filled it once, earning himself glitter alphabet stickers, a glow stick, and mini decorative rolls of tape. (Thirty pompoms takes a while to earn; the prizes have to be worth it. They’re wrapped like presents, too. I’m a little jealous.)

So now you’re all caught up. I promise to keep doing stuff like this.

4 Things.

  1. Still thinking a lot about The Who and his sensitivity, but I’m in a much better/more sane/more comfortable (for me) place about it. Writing about it, talking about it in therapy, crying through The Butler every time there was an exchange between the son and the father, and watching an awful lot of Friday Night Lights, where a young man reveals his genuineness from underneath his tough-guy exterior in almost every episode has brought me to a new level of understanding. A margarita-soaked chat with WestPhillyMama and 2 latte-infused chats with other friends have also helped me. He’s a sensitive boy. He cries when he is hurt. He’s 4, I know. This may not always be the case, but it might. What he needs from me is to be a mama who helps him to hold his feelings and allows him to express them in the best way for him — however that makes me feel. And, not surprisingly, once I really embraced that notion, the crying stopped getting under my skin.
  2. It’s Fall. For real this time, guys. It’s 64 degrees at 5pm. I’m chilly without a sweater. The Who is wearing pants instead of shorts. I am simultaneously delighted and sad about this. Warm beds/cool bedrooms is one of my favorite feelings, but so is happiness. And mostly my happiness disappears as summer does. In the meantime: pumpkins! Warm lattes! Leaves!
  3. I have 8% of battery left. I’d like to write more, but I intentionally didn’t bring my power cord with me so I’d be limited online. Now it feels like shooting myself in the foot.
  4. And one last thing: speaking of shooting — can everyone quit that shit please? Stop shooting people up. In neighborhood watches, in NavyYards, in schools, at marathons, all of it. Stop destroying people with weaponry. Seriously.

Girlfriend.

So, I had this thought today that totally took me by surprise.

Lately, The Who has really been coming into his own and showing some real signs of his blossoming individuality. Louis CK does this bit about people who ask about your baby and how the answer is always just, “I don’t know. She’s a baby. I don’t know anything about her yet. Have you ever met a baby? That’s exactly how my baby is.” (Caveat: don’t click that link if you’re easily offended. Louis CK is offensive. And also hilarious. The part I’m talking about is from about 0:42-1:40.) And I completely relate. It takes a long time to know your kid because it takes a long time for a kid to know himself. I mean, sure. There are some things I could have told you about The Who when he was younger. He has always, for example, liked to be making physical contact when he was eating. Even as an infant in a high chair, he would reach over to hold my hand at mealtimes. And now? Same thing. We sit side-by-side on a bench at the dining room table and he always sidles up right next to me. But, in large part, I didn’t begin to know who he was until maybe, like, last year.

Anyway, he’s awesome. (But we already knew that.) He’s got a funky sense of style (t-shirts and neckties; fedoras and button-downs), a killer sense of humor (after flipping his johnson over the waistband of his jammies, he said, “my penis is on vacation; it’s just hanging out”), and a very, veryVERY inquisitive nature. He’s also, lately, drawing and crafting and creating constantly. And the other day, started making up songs (complete with a “signature” final riff) and busting out the harmonica. He says he is going to be a “singer/songwriter” when he grows up (and sometimes says he already is a singer/songwriter.)

Tonight, while he was in the shower, belting out his latest opus, I had this vision of him as a teenager. Or, maybe as a young man. Harmonica, fedora, spiral-bound sketch book. Sandy hair, sort of shaggy. A girlfriend.

Record scratch.
A girlfriend? Why was that part of the picture I had of him as a cool young man?

Ok. This part’s hard.

I have a kid who loves nail polish and sparkly things. Although he has long maintained that blue is his favorite color, it definitely runs neck and neck with pink. He loves rainbows. He thinks he has a uterus. (Well, ok. Actually, he used to think he had one. I’m pretty sure he understands now that he doesn’t.) I also have a kid who has two moms, has attended Pride for three years running, has vacationed in Provincetown for five years, and who says things like, “most people think purple is a girl color, but I like it anyway and that’s ok.”

It sounds kind of awesome as I write it out and, of course, it is. He is awesome. He is unique and cool and really confident and happy to be himself, which is ultimately all I ever want for him. But as his love of glitter and crafting and purple nail polish with a turquoise accent nail has increased, I have begun to let some unattractive thoughts creep in. Most notably, what if he’s gay? (which really translates into what if he’s “too” effeminate?) I worry, I realized, that he will be made fun of. That he will be out of the mainstream. That he will not be — or feel — “normal” and that this will lead to a lifetime of hardship and unhealthy overcompensation.

I want him to be himself. I do. I want him to be a rainbow-loving, two-mom-having, artsy-farsty, singer-songwriter, harmonica-playing kid who grows into a rainbow-loving, two-mom-having, artsy-farsty, singer-songwriter, harmonica-playing man.

With a girlfriend.

I don’t have much more to say about this right now. It’s a whole ‘nother layer of parenting that I just get to think about and chew on.

Man. I used to think life was complicated before I had a kid…

School.

I miss him a little. I’m not gonna lie. And isn’t that a kick in the ass? Spend every waking minute waiting, waiting, waiting for the first day of school drop-off and then miss the little fucker? I do, though.

But I also missed this — listen:

 

 

 

Aaaah.

It’s amazing how accustomed I had become to time alone at regular intervals. I’m not going to say I took it for granted because I always knew how lucky I was to be able to go to a movie in the middle of the day or get periodic manicures at noon or even do grocery shopping alone. But I don’t think I fully realized how crucial regular quiet awake time was. Being alert, rested, sharp, AND alone? There should be no limit to the things I can accomplish.

I’m at Panera now because it’s what I do. I have many lists to make. Many things I want to do, but for this moment, I am just going to finish the best breakfast sandwich ever assembled (Panera really does breakfast sandwiches better than anyone else), let the coffee take residence in my system, and enjoy the next 8 (!!) hours.

But, I do miss him. Kinda.

Home-cation

I was setting up to write a post about our home-cation until I remembered that I kind of just wrote one of those.

Holy holy, I am ready for school to start. I have had fun, I really have. We have done some awesome things and as we start the preliminary investigations for his fifth (FIFTH, PEOPLE!) birthday party, I am reminded about how short time really is and how few our days like this really are.

The last time I [semi] publicly complained about all the constant kid-time, a friend of mine messaged with a note about enjoying all the precious moments and how so soon they will be gone — not a message that’s unfamiliar to me. It seems that all parents of older children want to tell parents of younger children about how the younger days are fleeting and that we should stop bemoaning the lack of free time we have and try to soak up all the wonder of youth. Or something.

I rarely receive this messages well, mostly because they always come on the heels of a complaint, which happens when I am at the very end of my rope. It’s like eating seven cakes and feeling like you want to vomit and then having someone tell you that you should eat more cake and stop complaining about it because someday there will be no more cake. Or something. I mean, who wants to hear about more cake when you feel like ralphing up seven cakes?

I got the message, though (this time and all the times it’s been given to me in the past) and I know that I will miss these days we have now. So, I tried very hard on this staycation to be present, to be playful, to give him a fun two weeks with his mama, despite what I have been feeling (which has been a fairly even mix of exhaustion, illness, frustration, and sensory overload.) I mean, this is not to say that I haven’t lost my cool a little bit or that I haven’t made some choices that I wished I hadn’t, but overall, I am happy with our home-cation. It was exactly as I had imagined it would be and he is happy and smiley and ready — as am I — for the first day of school. (YES.)