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« November 2006 | Main | January 2007 »

w December 28, 2006

Next, A Clown Car

Gene was a pretty freaking awesome dad and got both girls Christmas presents independently, not leaving all giftage to Mom, and while Peabo was momentarily entranced by her new silver rattle (yes, I know. We have THOSE GIRLS), the real hit came in the form of Bean gifts. She really has been digging her pile of new crap, but the funniest, for all of us, is the kazoo. One of Dad's finds was a "band in a bucket"...your usual complement of tambourine and shakers, but also a hollow wooden "fish" with a little mallet, a harmonica, and a kazoo. Oh, and spoons. Anyway, I just handed her the kazoo and we kept saying, "you have to hum into it sweetie, not just bite at it".

Bite bite bite. And then all of a sudden...hum. Hum. HUMHUMHUMHUMHUMHUM!!!!!!

It's pretty much the most hysterical thing I've heard all week, particularly when she laughs while humming.

by Heather Hoffman at 9:54 AM

w December 27, 2006

Dead Eye Peabo

It's rather uncanny how she manages to spit up straight down the front of my shirt, nearly every time.

I don't mean down the outside of my shirt. In case you were wondering.

It's a good thing breastmilk doesn't smell particularly.

by Heather Hoffman at 11:09 AM

w December 24, 2006

Father Christmas Smileth On Me

I usually make a Christmas pudding every year, from my grandmother's recipe---it's all very figgy and festive and Englishy and all that. Needless to say, this year, no pudding was made, but Gene reallyreallyreally likes them. Good news is, you can buy pre-made ones; they aren't the best puds in the universe, but if you pour enough hard sauce on them, they fit the bill just fine. I called the local British food store to discover that they were sold out (natch); thought, well, maybe we'll try our luck at one of the more esoteric markets around---but needed to hit Safeway first for the bulk of our Christmas groceries. Hidden in the depths of one of the aisles was this strange little kiosk with, well, I don't know what to call them. Items of a non-typical American nature? Some were British, some were other foreign items, some were probably American but it was hard to tell. Anyway, I made a quick pass and saw no figgy pudding, but that wasn't really a surprise; as Gene was standing in the checkout line I thought I'd go back and see if there was another kind of dessert item that might fill the gap.

Being the klutz that I am, I knocked over some cookie cutters or something, and as I bent down to pick them up...what is this? Tucked in behind the foremost items was ONE pre-made pudding.


There was plenty of hard sauce being offered, so I snagged the pudding and some accompaniment and bolted back to checkout triumphantly. The other good thing is that these pre-made jobs are a reasonable size. Unlike say, the results from my recipe, which generally run to one very large pudding and at least one smaller one, sometimes two. We have been known to eat figgy pudding well into the new year, and it does sort of lose its appeal after a few months.

Gene is happy.

by Heather Hoffman at 10:38 AM

w December 23, 2006

Thank God For Baby Carriers

Unlike the Bean, Peabo is a baby who utterly refuses to be put down. UTTERLY REFUSES. On occasion, I can put her in the Moses basket for 30 seconds so that I can go to the bathroom, or *very* occasionally she will fall asleep and stay asleep in the car seat, so I actually got a shower a few days ago after getting home from picking Bean up at school. She also doesn't appreciate it when, even in a carrier, I sit down to do something, say, update this blog. Right now she's in the Bjorn, hollering at my chest---actually, it's full on sobbing and screaming. You'd think I was poking her with hot needles. This isn't colic, because she's not inconsolable; she's perfectly consolable so long as I am putting in major, major physical effort. I keep telling myself this will help me regain a pre-pregnancy body, but to tell the truth, I'd really rather be able to put her down for like, 10 minutes and not have a major meltdown. She won't even take to the swing (or as some friends call it, Robo-Grandma) or the bouncy chair. Nope. Actually, I take that back...occasionally we can get a few seconds in either one. I keep telling myself that this won't last forever, that there will be a point where I wish she would want to hang out with me constantly (ha), but at the moment, it's a bit hard to dredge that attitude up. Partially it's hard because I can't spend very much time with Bean, at least not without simultaneously tending nearly exclusively to the baby, and that just tears me up.

Sometimes Peabo will allow someone else (Gene, my sister) to carry her about, but those moments are kind of few and far between, and she'd better be in a damn good mood, damn it, Mommy. Or dead to the world. I seriously don't know what people do who don't have baby carriers like slings or Bjorns. I'd never pee or get a glass of water. What kind of irks me, though, about the whole fascist movement of "baby carrying" (which I clearly totally subscribe to, but work with me here) is that it often touts non-Western examples of babies who are carried everywhere and "hardly ever cry". Right, well. Let's not ignore the fact that those non-Western babies are also growing up in perhaps tribal societies or at least geographically close extended families, which means there are OTHER hands to take said babies and throw them in carriers, or arms, or whatever, while Mom gets work done, or maybe sleeps, or eats, or whatever. I completely agree with baby carrying. It works to keep your sanity reasonably intact. But I'm not going to romanticize the shit out of it, because that's just as bad as listening to the shrieking.

On the upside, she has started to intermittently smile, and these aren't just gas bubbles. Granted, sometimes she smiles at the dog, or the couch, or a lamp, but they are still awesomely sweet, and go a long way towards making sure I don't leave her out with the recycling.

I'm kidding.

by Heather Hoffman at 12:38 PM

w December 11, 2006

A Pox On Your House

Fortunately, there isn't one here, at least not of the fowl or small nature, but the Bean does in fact have a lovely rash all over her chest and back, which, coupled with a mild fever last night, caused me to wail "nooooooooooooooooo!!!!"

Good news is, the rash hasn't progressed anywhere else, hasn't changed shape, color, or other appearance, and she is in remarkably good humor (and fever free). We did go to the doctor's today to check on this, just on the off chance it was something that needed tending to, but tooraloo, it was fine. Well, in a manner of speaking. She looks absolutely vile when her shirt is off, but we just won't walk around half naked in public. The craziest thing is that, if one has a rash, one has to enter the doctor's office through the side door, presumably to avoid infecting other less poxy children in the main waiting room. Double strollers don't fit through that door, or, well, they would fit through the door, but there were a bunch of nurses' desks in the way, so we left the stroller outside and I portaged both kids (crying, natch) into the exam room. In passing, there is something about a double stroller that kind of feels like buying a minivan---the jig is up. You are now officially a suburban breeder. It's a nice stroller, though, and fits through doorways without desks in the way.

All I could think, though, while we were driving to the clinic, was "Oh my god...we have to go through the LEPER'S ENTRANCE". And then I started laughing uncontrollably, which I'm sure made me look like a complete lunatic.

by Heather Hoffman at 1:39 PM

w December 10, 2006

Slacker Christmas

Where would we be without online shopping? I ask you. I have actually managed to get most all of my Christmas shopping done while Peabo snoozes on my chest, so thank god for laptops as well. Fortunately the nephews and niece are teenagers, so money is all that is needed there; the adults on the list are getting donations to Heifer International for their "big" presents (socially conscious AND it doesn't clutter up the house), the kids are not being spoiled rotten, etc.

But then there are the stockings. Stockings are important, at least in my book...always fun, the first thing you open, blah blah blahdiddycakes...but do I want to drive all over town picking up tchotckes for three people? I do not. However. I discovered this fantastic site wherein you can buy pre-collated stuffer assortments based on age, gender, interests, or just customize your own stocking (which is what I did)...and then it all shows up on your doorstep and you pop it in said stockings, and Bob's your uncle.

Go here: Plumpstocking. I know that website sounds kind of gross, but trust me, it's worth it if you are having a slackass Christmas like me.

by Heather Hoffman at 6:04 PM

w December 09, 2006

Christmas in California

I've lived out here nearly 10 years and yet, there are still moments of culture shock. One happens every year in fact, which, under close scrutiny, is kind of lame of me, but...I've noticed that lots of people here put up icicle lights on their houses. This was new to me moving out here, and I admit my first thought was "are those supposed to represent...ICICLES? Like, the things you don't get in California outside of Tahoe and north?" For some reason, it just seemed odd to me, possibly because I grew up with the urban legends of icicles breaking off the eaves and driving themselves into your skull (I swear this is true, the older kids would always tell this story). They are not benign creatures, although they are good snacks in a pinch.

Anyway, generally speaking, those of us from northern climates don't know from icicle lights. And every year I am momentarily startled by their ubiquitous appearance. I do, however, like the lights in palm trees. Very festive and far more what I expect to see out here, dammit.

by Heather Hoffman at 1:39 PM


Why Trade Up

In beds, that is. I now understand why practically everyone, once they have kids, ends up with a king size bed. We had both girls in with us this morning, and even though one isn't a whole lot bigger than a largeish house cat, it was surprisingly, um, cozy.

Item for the new year: buy a king size bed.

by Heather Hoffman at 10:00 AM

w December 05, 2006

The Soundtrack of My Life

It's a tad cacophonous. You've got the newborn wailing for whatever reason she can come up with this minute, the four year old wailing because she thinks we don't love her anymore and we're *certainly* not paying the right amount of attention to her, all the while playing with a toy that has about four thousand different tunes all playing at once, the TV is playing some kids' show with PEPPY HAPPY MUSIC!, the dogs are barking at squirrels or perhaps dust mites, the phone is ringing off the hook, the computer room is making curious whining noises...I'm not sure I even remember what quiet sounds like.

It's a good thing we love our kids, truly. I don't want to harp on the shower situation, but I'm not sure I remember what it's like to be clean every day either. Is this too much information? Gene is out of town for a few days, and this is kind of the baptism by fire for having multiple kids, I guess. We're doing okay, but as a friend said the other day, when you have two, and only one parent, you move from man to man to zone. I think I understand what he means there, but you know, Canadian rules may be different. God only knows, football makes about zero sense to me.

Where was I going with that? God only knows. I fear the next few months of posts may be pretty random stream of rambling consciousness, for which I apologize in advance.

But I'd like the Bose life sounds canceling headphones, I think.

by Heather Hoffman at 1:20 PM