Three Zinger Years

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Dear Zinger,

Happy third birthday, my love! I’ve spent the past few weeks thinking of what to write you for your birthday. I thought I could plan something elaborate and fun and recap the last year of your life with a flourish, because your third birthday is a really big deal. The planning didn’t go so well, but I’ll still reminisce this past year with you. You have grown so much, and the world anticipates all the new things you have yet to discover.

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Dadda and I worry about you all the time. We’ll keep worrying about you as the world continues to open up to you. That’s what parents do. We wonder how you’ll play with other kids, communicate your wants and needs. You do express yourself well; all it takes is one look at your irresistible face, and we can tell what you’re feeling.

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You want to be independent so badly. You’ll climb the countertops to get what you want. If you need help with it, you’ll bring it to us, at which time we realize you’ve climbed the countertop, which is a big no-no. But you’re stubborn and persistent. These characteristics will ultimately prove valuable to you in this world, if you use them the right way.

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Lola and Poppy are in town to celebrate your birthday, and you’re so eager to show them how much you know. Just last night you led Lola to the bathroom, where you brought the iPad, then brought the stool to the toilet, put your potty seat on the toilet and had Lola help you with your pants. You then sat on the toilet and went potty. Lola was so very impressed.

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Only recently have you started opening the refrigerator to retrieve one of your favorite foods, yogurt. You’re getting stronger and more resourceful, and if there’s a way to do something without our help, you’ll figure it out.

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A few months ago, we bought a house with a back yard and lots of space to play. You seem to enjoy it. You’ve found your little niches where you love to play, but it seems that you can fall asleep anywhere, which is so convenient.

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For some reason, you’ve gotten a lot more energetic as you’ve gotten closer to 3. You run, skip, jump, and dance so much more. Jumping on the couch, jumping on the bed. Running from one room to another. Going down your slide while watching one of your favorite movies. Climbing the fence, throwing rocks. Spinning and spinning wherever you are. You’ve also gotten a lot more curious in your old age, and it’s so much harder to keep up with you.

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You’re also putting a lot more stuff in your mouth that isn’t supposed to go there. Just the other day I barely saw you eat a giant booger before I could do anything about it. It really grossed me out, and we need to do better at catching you eating prohibited things. We actually need to be better at teaching you not to eat those things. Ah, parenting. Thanks so much for your patience, little one.

 

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We love how you’re participating more at school (daycare). We love how excited you get when you want to show us something. We love how often you sing and how you recognize the songs we sing to you. We love that you like watching music videos, how Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” and ‘NSync’s “Bye, Bye, Bye” are among your top favorites lately.

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So much is happening in the world. So much legitimately weird stuff. You’re oblivious to most of it, but we do want to teach you how to navigate all the weirdness in a constructive way. We want to teach you how to give beauty and goodness to the world. I know you’re only three, but you’re actually already three. You’re growing too fast. I would like to stop time just for a little bit, just for today, to really sit back and enjoy remembering the past three years with you.

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We’re having a party for you today: balloons, yummy food, family and friends. Toys and clothes and everyone cherishing your life. We hope you like it. Thank you for bringing us so much joy, for teaching us, for making us love more deeply and way beyond what we originally thought our abilities were.

This next year will be very exciting, and we cannot wait to live it with you.

Happy birthday.

Love, mom

Letter to Baby Girl: 34 Weeks

Dear Baby Girl,

There are a lot of mommyblogs out there where mothers write to their children. I have always thought this was a great idea. I love the image of you coming upon this blog and reading my thoughts about you. Words, sentences, ideas, language. Communication. These are extremely important concepts.  I suspect you’ll find these letters in the next year or so, because I have a weird feeling you’ll learn how to navigate the internet and read very quickly. Your parents are geniuses, you know.

You are at 34 weeks gestation. That’s something like T minus six weeks before your arrival. Last night after Sunday dinner at your grandparents’ I was feeling really full. So full that I turned down dessert. And I don’t really turn down dessert, even if it’s just a sliver of what’s offered. And Baby Girl, dessert last night was strawberry shortcake. You’ve had it before, and I’m sure you like it. But for some reason if I overeat my back aches and I can’t get comfortable and I have to stretch and breathe, though some relief does come when I fart. Sorry if that’s crude, but you try make more space for yourself, and who am I to get in your way?

Which leads to repeating the point that I turned down dessert. There just wasn’t any room for more food. And because I turned down dessert, it means that you’re grounded. Of course it’s not your fault: you’re a growing baby and I’m short with a narrow ribcage and discomfort is inevitable. But look here at the difference of my insides with you in it: Can you begin to understand?How can you possibly be aware of what’s going on inside my body? And it’s not your problem, really. As long as you’re cozy and eating and growing, you know I don’t have any beef with you. You know that I love you anyway. As long as there’s yoga and warm baths and massages, I’ll be fine.

You know what though? You and I need to talk about you letting me sleep. When I get a good night’s rest, I feel refreshed for most of the day. But when I get very lousy sleep, my back stays cramped and my brain stays fuzzy. Again, not really your fault — just the way things are. And not for too much longer. But you know, on those nights when I wake up after sleeping for four hours, I can work on homework because the night is still and I can somewhat focus, so maybe I should thank you for helping me along in my masters program.

I may unground you today after seeing the doctor. Depends on how I feel.

Have I mentioned how much I’m in love with you? I love the way you move around and feel your way inside my womb. We are becoming very familiar with each other and getting a sense of each other’s personalities. I like to guess what certain protrusions are from my tummy are and imagine how you’re oriented. Your father and I watch my tummy as you shift around. He always assumes any hard surface is your head, while I go between thinking it might be a sitbone or a foot. Yesterday at church I wore a dress that accentuated my tummy and we spent Sunday school watching you. The lesson was about the Abrahamic covenant and we didn’t think it would be a huge distraction to contemplate our posterity by watching you. It’s one of our favorite things to do, besides reading stories and singing to you.

Your Utah grandma and aunt threw a baby shower for you on Saturday. I’m pretty sure you could hear the commotion, but there were a lot of people there to show their excitement and support for you! You got some really cute clothes and a lot of diapers and other very cute things. Just know there’s a world out here that can’t wait to see you.

Your Florida grandma and her husband will be coming to visit. They want to be here around the time you arrive. Your uncle–my brother–wants to visit sometime this summer. Your uncle is quite a character and I know you’ll love him.

A woman stopped me in the hall yesterday after church. She told me about how excited your father is about you. This thrills me to no end. Several people have told me he gets this sparkle in his eye and a huge smile across his face and that makes my heart want to burst with joy. He marvels at the sheer miracle of you growing inside me. He points to my tummy and says, “There’s a baby in there” in a cute voice and no matter how I feel, it makes me smile.  He’s quite in love with you, too. Of course.

It’s important for you to see how much your father and I love each other. We have promised to take care of you and teach you what you need to know to thrive in this world. We also accept that you’ll probably teach us quite a few things. You’ve already taught us a lot about patience. We hope you’ll be patient with us, not only as we raise you, but during the next few weeks. We still haven’t decided on a name for you. Please don’t ground us.

Dear sweet child, our Baby Girl, thank you for blessing our lives. Your father and I can’t wait to start a new journey with you.

Love, Mom

December Did You Knows

light!

Did you know that December 1, 2012 was the six monthery of our wedding? I can’t decide whether the time is passing too quickly or just right. We’re having a wonderful time, regardless.

Did you know that Reilly had never seen Elf until December 1, 2012? We watched it for free at a movie theater, compliments of the Teachers Union. We were among 10 or so people in the entire theater, while other teachers and their families opted for Ice Age 4, Brave, and the Dark Knight Rises.

Did you know that the movie Footloose was filmed in the town where Reilly grew up? If you look at the scenery throughout the movie, you’ll see mountains that look like the don’t belong anywhere in the Midwest where the movie was supposedly set. Payson is also Don Bluth’s hometown and where Jewel was born. Did you know that?

Did you know that December 1, 2012 was also a big family Christmas party? It was also in Payson, held in a cool old building called the Peteetneet Academy. Did you know that I took pictures of the building?

Smalltown old buildings!

Carolers!

Gazebo!

Did you know that Santa is real? This kid never had a doubt.

Having SO MUCH FUN.

They Say It’s Tacky to Include Registry Information with the Announcement

This past Saturday a friend threw a bridal shower where a few of my favorite people in the world came. She and her sisters brought a lot of good and refreshing food and drink, like

strawberries
chips and salsa
veggie tray of carrots, celery, broccoli, sugar snap peas
chocolate chip cookies
ginger snaps
apple juice
lemonade
root beer

We sat around and talked for a little bit. Some people got reacquainted, like Amy and my mom. Did I mention my mom was in town? She is the incontestable coolest person in the world.
Some people got to know each other for the first time.

These people came:
Cynthia
Helen
Emilia
My mom
Maddie
Pleasy
Kylie
Amy
Reilly’s mom also came toward the end of the party.

Those people brought these gifts, most of which are from Bed Bath & Beyond, where Reilly and I are registered. As they are listed, the gifts do not correspond to the guest order:
salt and pepper shakers
placemats
coasters
finger paint
canisters
book about who to marry
bedding/comforter
hand mixer
90-minute massage

Gifts surprise me. It thrilled me to receive them. It sometimes blows my mind that people like us so much.

We played the game where two teams create dresses made out of toilet paper. I have creative friends, and they made beautiful dresses. And my mom was the model for one of the teams. She was a very good model.

Then Cynthia read us a children’s story on who to choose for marriage. It was cute, and all the advice applied to how I chose Reilly.

This is a very scattered post. And I have used a ton of passive voice. College has destroyed my thinking and writing ability.

Am I really getting married in 35 days?

Thanks, Girls

The whole evening was fun, from getting ice cream to almost getting steamrolled in the parking lot from getting pizza to violent lagamorph card games to popcorn and an awesomely ridiculous movie. These girls are great. They also got to look through my Ward Directory! to see … people. Just people. What a great group of girls: really laid back, really smart, very different personalities. Instafriends, nonetheless. I’m glad they like me. I guess the friend who introduced us figured they would.

Thanks for coming over. Let’s do this again sometime, yeah?

But maybe a bonfire before then …

In About an Hour

I’ll be attending a pajama party at some club south of Center Street with a few Frenchie freshies. After lunch at Cafe Rio, a few of us headed back to my apartment to speak a little more French. I don’t spend a lot of time in my living room, but I got to looking around and saw some poker chips tucked away on a bookshelf. So after we talked a bit, I asked the group if they wanted to play poker, so I got out the chips and some cards and we played a few hands. Of course it’s totally different than playing online poker in the middle of a computer lab. Um. Then one of the girls had to leave (it was me and two other girls and a guy), so we kept talking a little bit more, just in English, and I asked what else they wanted to do. The vote was for Wii Mario Kart. So we raced a few rounds of that, and it was a lot of fun. Then the other classmates received a text from a girl who couldn’t make lunch, so we talked just a little while longer before they left to go hang out with her. This girl, the one who couldn’t make it to lunch, just texted me about the party, and I just happened to come out of the shower and am in very modest pajamas: a t-shirt and warm pajama pants. So I said I’d come. They’ll be picking me up.

A lot is being left out of this entry: dialogue, banter. I’m still on a boy break, by the way. The other blog is clear on that.

Earlier in the day I did tell my classmates if they ever needed a chaperone, they can give me a call. Looks like they’re taking me up on the offer.

Sleep well, mes amis.

//

Sorry, People

I’m a couple of days behind. Be sure to scroll down to check for backdated posts in the next few days.

Had a going away party this evening. It was fun. Having so many people you love get together and laugh brings me great joy. I’m glad everyone seemed to have a great time.

Everyone’s gone now. The air has settled.

Tears are freely flowing.

Good night.

I Got to See Ray Today

And we walked to avoid the Parade for Puerto Rican Day
And we threw back and forth some wordplay
And it made me wish even more in New York I could stay
And is it fair to rhyme day with today?
And we had something to eat after we found our way
And then he went to see if he could watch the Yankees play
Or whatever it is they do, whatever they say
Because that’s not baseball, so we should pray
That their luck changes to match their outrageous pay.

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So we said goodbye and hugged. And I got pretty emotional crossing Lexington Avenue at 42nd Street. *Sniff*

I’ve had a headache since Friday, and today I took some medicine and drank a caffeinated beverage to alleviate the pressure. It took a while for these chemicals to kick in, but once it did, I was a bit more laughy and eager to learn the Oompa Loompa dance from that Willy Wonka movie.

Then, mostly against my will, I watched Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights. If you want an incredible ensemble cast with a decent cameo and amazing acting, please do NOT watch this movie. If you would like to know how to express your utter happiness when you’ve found true Cuban, latin-dancing love, find another flick. Or write your own. And have your friends be the actors. Because the movie you make would be so much better than what I saw. I don’t know. Maybe I’m being too harsh.

Then I went back uptown to a potluck dinner. I came just in time for games. We played one of those question games where you had to guess who wrote the answers.

At this party I learned a lot of stuff about people!
First celebrity crushes were:
Ricky Shroeder
Bon Jovi
Jennifer Connelly
Casper the Friendly Ghost
Christian Slater
Kirk Cameron
etc.

First tapes bought with one’s own money were:
Bon Jovi (not the same who crushed on him, who happened to be a guy)
Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
Billy Joel’s Stormfront
Beauty and the Beast
Soundtrack
Weird Al Yankovic
etc.

Animals people wanted to be:
Eagle
Eagle
Cat
Dolphin
Killer Whale
Manta Ray
Lamb
A dead animal
etc.

I also learned what a zebra sounds like. That was fabulous.

Can you guess which of those are mine? My first celebrity crush? The first tape I bought with my own money? The animal I want to be? Can you guess which ones are Becky’s?

Seems Much Longer than 71 Seconds

So I have this friend. She’s kind of a new friend; I’ve only known her about a month. Her name is Deena. She’s one of Becky’s roommates. She’s managed to find a nice little niche in our ever so exclusive clique. She couldn’t bribe us to join, so she convinced us she could be a backup dancer for Mechanical VIOLET. Anyway, Friday night we’re all hanging out at Becky’s and Becky had to work late, remotely from home with her Blackberry, holstered to the back of her jeans, but in order to keep from falling asleep in front of the television we decided to go for a short stroll around Herald Square. My former neighborhood. With my former neighbors, the tourists. I love the thrill, the freedom of doing silly things in public, and it doesn’t lose its magic in a place where it’s accepted as perfectly normal. But we might have gone a smidge too far when we decided to talk to some pedicab drivers, who then decided they wanted our phone numbers. I mean, they already knew our names because we told them, and they already copped feels on our calves. You know, to make sure we were in good enough shape to drive a pedicab. Because that’s always been a career option for me. So, we pretty much had no choice but to come back (escape) to Becky’s apartment and have one of the best dance parties I’ve ever attended. And Deena pretty much sealed her position as our backup dancer.

Deena tells the story much better

Also, be very impressed with Becky’s photo editing skills.

Don’t forget to watch the video. But I’m also giving you the choice to forget watching it.

American Memory

She sat at her computer. She’d been thinking all day what she could do. It was Saturday afternoon, November 15, 2008. Her mom and stepdad had left just the day before. She threw a pretty big party three days ago. That was a lot of fun.

It had been a little more than two weeks since her interview. Her officer told her she passed the test, but she was anxious because for some reason she had two (2) alien registration numbers. Why would she have two? She didn’t even know about that second number until her interview. Her mind raced, her heart seemed to stop. It was 1982; she was six years old. She wasn’t supposed to worry about her status in America.

She brought her thoughts back to the present. She was going to a party that evening. It was going to be variety-show style. She considered only showing up as a spectator, but it sounded most everyone was going to perform. The butterflies fluttered in her stomach. She knew she had to do something.

She had an idea of what she would do. She spent the rest of the afternoon working on her act. She paced the words. She tried different speeds until one felt right. She snapped her fingers.

She took a shower.

She put on a cute shirt and her good jeans.

She did her makeup.

She stepped out and hopped on the subway uptown.

She arrived at the party destination. People were still setting up the living room. There was a posterboard that listed those who wanted to perform. Someone asked her where she wanted to be in the lineup. She said she wanted to be somewhere in the middle. She announced she’d be doing a recitation.

Everyone could make up a name tag. The name tags needed to say “I am [something positive and catchy].”

She put on her name tag. 

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The party started.

There was speed drawing.

And song spoofing.

And sign language.

And magic tricks.

And “Thriller” dancing.

She followed the (American) Pledge of Allegiance in French.

She introduced her act by saying she was going to stay with the patriotic theme. She announced her successful interview. The crowd clapped. She said she was going to recite the Preamble to the Constitution. She said she would love it if the crowd accompanied her by humming “God Bless America.”

She snapped her fingers. The humming began.

We the people.

The humming continued.

Promote the general Welfare.

The humming came close to ending.

She decided to slow it way down, since she started too fast.

DO! ORDAIN! AND ESTABLISH! THIS! CONSTITUTION! FOR THE! UNITED STATES! OF! AMERICA!

My home sweet home.

Many cheers from the crowd. She pumped her fists in the air. The applause was loud. She felt proud. She thanked everyone. She gave a few high fives and sat down quickly.

The following act was a Russian revolutionary chant.

Of course it was.

***

SO close, people. Hours away, really. Exciting!