Home Decorating for New Moms

I once heard a couple discuss tile.

Italian tile.

Apparently it costs more per square

than I care

to spend.

I can’t see my floor.

I see a puzzle numbered 1-9;

there is no perfect 10.

I see nineteen books about animals,

and seven misplaced cheerios,

a spinning top with lights,

and stuffed animals lining up

to collect unemployment.

I see my son.

His back is to me.

His small, straight back.

His head is bent over

a pile of plastic blocks,

he is sorting them like so many

piles of gold,

or jewels from the dragons cave.

He turns and flashes a smile,

crawls over, clutching my sweat pants

with his grubby fingers.

My clothes are always dirty.

He crawls away and I reach

to grab his pajama foot

but he is too fast for me.

Cozy, in a “we’re trapped” kind of way…

Since Monday Flagstaff has had between 30-40 inches of snow, including 21 inches last night alone. We are expecting another 3-5 feet by tomorrow night. The university, the public schools, the airport, and the interstate are all closed. I haven’t seen the snow plow all day.

It’s a good thing I stocked up on sunscreen and lemonade.

Can You Say Bite Me?

I’m deeply concerned that Oscar is not yet reading classical literature.  I think we’ve been spending too much time playing “This Little Piggy Went to the Market,” which is a disturbing but deeply satisfying game which ends with much nom nom nom of Oscar’s toes. I can see him in therapy now:

“My mother had this really sick fascination with my toes…”

The doctor nods solemnly and writes on his clipboard, “This one can’t be saved.”

So in order to improve Oscar’s language skills we’ve been practicing our words.  Several times each day I put him in my lap and try to get him to talk. It usually goes like this:

“Oscar, Oscar, say Mama. Say Mama.”


“Oscar, say Papa. Say Papa. Say Da Da? Da?”

Silence. Crickets.

“Oscar, don’t you love your Mama?”

He looks at me, takes my hand, and lays it against his cheek. My heart melts. Then he turns his head and goes CHOMP, biting my hand as hard as he can. I involuntarily yell “OW!”

Oscar looks at me, smiles, and says, “OW!”

Letter to Oscar: Months Ten and Eleven

You’ve had many firsts in the last month. First Christmas. First funeral. First time staying with grandma while Papa and I went to see a movie together for the first time since before you were born.  First ear infection.

There are many firsts to come: first steps, first words, and the one I’m most looking forward to, first cake. Mmmm…cake…you’re gonna like cake, Oscar. I just have a feeling about that one.

I wish I could stop time. Or at least slow it down a little.

I know what it means to have a boy, and I couldn’t be more excited. Trains! Cars! Legos! Finger paints! Trips to the emergency room!

I also know what it means to have a baby, a little baby, and I couldn’t be more sad, because that time with you will soon be lost to me forever.

Why is the first year so short? Why does it go by so fast? I kick myself now, wishing so much of it away. I remember in the beginning, when I couldn’t wait for your belly button to fall off, couldn’t wait for my body to heal, couldn’t wait until you could sit up and play by yourself. Being the parent of a newborn is hard, but it’s also magical, and I’m so glad my first time was with you, baby Oscar.

As you head into the last month of your first year, I wish you as much happiness and joy and as you have brought to everyone around you.

Love, Mama

Tastes Like Candy. Deadly, Deadly Candy…

My son is trying to kill me.

He’s taking the pink stuff. The stuff that tastes like bubble gum and sits in every parents’ refrigerator. He hates it, and when I squirt it into his stubbornly closed mouth, it goes everywhere. I get it all over my fingers, and like I do when I get chocolate sauce or cookie dough on my fingers, I want to lick them. Except that I am allergic to Amoxicillin. As in anaphylactic shock allergic. It’s Oscar’s two-part devious plan. If it’s not the pink stuff, it will be the sleep deprivation.

That’s right, Oscar has his first ear infection.

I noticed his was sick on Friday night when I went to change his diaper and he felt like a hot coal. I took his temperature and it was 102, so I did what any normal, competent parent would do, I panicked and called my sister. After telling me not to call 911 she told me a about a magic substance called Baby Motrin.

I love Baby Motrin and want to marry it. Don’t tell Darin.

The Motrin helped for awhile, but then it didn’t, and I decided to take Oscar into Dante’s Seventh Layer of Hell: Urgent Care on a Sunday afternoon.

We waited for two hours while I glowered at all of the people with snowboarding injuries and thought, why are you getting seen before my son, who is clearly dying? I was like Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment.

After waiting for two hours we finally got called back to the exam room, where we waited for another hour. This was worse than sitting on a plane with Oscar for three hours, because there were no peanuts. We finally got out of there, prescription in hand, and headed to the pharmacy. There they asked me if Oscar was allergic to any medicine.

“I don’t know,” I said, “He’s never had any medicine.” Then I added, “I guess that’s how you find out, huh?”

The pharmacist nodded cheerfully and told me to keep an eye out for a rash or trouble breathing. I took him home, gave him the medicine, and hovered over him for awhile making sure he didn’t die.

Now he’s back to his old self, which means doing his Russel Crowe imitation. He throws his food, trashes his crib, and gets into bar fights.

I’m trying to send him to military school, but they only take kids who have been potty trained.

Happy New Year!

Due to holiday travel, a family funeral, and getting ready for teaching my spring semester classes, this blog has been terribly neglected. But I promise more frequent posting (and cute Oscar pics) in the coming year.