Saturday, May 29, 2010

the end of May

I get really steamy-eyed and dreamy this time of year. It's the end of May. Three days in a row, for every year of my life as far back as I can remember, I recognize:

05/28: The anniversary of the death of my mum's best friend Karsten. She died when she and Mum were high school seniors so I never met her but there's always been a picture of her in Mum's house, and my older sister is named after her.
05/29: My Mum and Dad's wedding anniversary! Today marks thirty-four years. Amazing.
^ My parents in 1976.
05/30: My younger sister's birthday. I've talked about her here, about her death and her birth, which happened in that order.

This year I'm feeling nostalgic about my pregnancy since Liam is about to turn three years old. THREE! YEARS! OLD! I'm thinking about that big heavy belly I had, about the way I waddled, about the contractions I'd been having for weeks- about the fact I hadn't yet met my baby! And now he's almost three and he's... what are the words?... BEYOND AMAZING. Ridiculously cute.

Also, a luna moth appeared on our doorstep this morning and has spent the day there.
This moth means something, and it makes me smile.

Friday, May 28, 2010

au naturel

A recent Dooce post (I know her name is Heather but I always refer to her as Dooce in my head) got me thinking about personal hygiene- particularly my own bathing habits.

And how you probably think I'm kind of dirty if you're the kind of person who showers a lot.

I've never really been a shower-every-day kind of person. I thought it was weird that my best friend in elementary school took a shower every day before she came to school- I mean, we were eight years old, you know? Pre-puberty, pre-body odor. The time before school was meant for eating breakfast, getting dressed and walking to the bus stop, but only after sleeping as late as possible.

In high school, I lived in an old farmhouse house that did not have a shower. There was a bath tub, but no shower. I took baths because that was my only option, and I hate baths. They are so boring and I feel like I'm sitting in a big pot of Nora Soup. (It was a novelty for me to sleep at a friend's house and use an actual shower. In fact, when I moved out at the age of twenty into my own apartment I once took two showers in one day JUST BECAUSE I COULD.) So in high school, because I would sleep until the very last possible second and because I hated sitting/stewing in the bath tub and because I was not an athlete that produced a lot of sweat, I took a bath every other day or so. Whenevs.

When I reached the end of my early twenties my body had taken great strides in maturing. FINALLY. My skin was less oily, therefore so was my hair. I didn't need to shower every day. Or every other day. So I didn't. I must have been a cat in a past life, or maybe I drowned, because I just don't like being wet unless I am swimming. (Which maybe means I didn't drown in a past life- I don't know. Maybe I was a deep sea diver, dry under my wet suit. Sure, that's it. Deep sea diver.)

Plus, my hair- man, my hair. It is so healthy. It's not actually good for your skin and hair to bathe every day. All that hot water, all that soap. It dries you out. I know it's the norm here in America to shower every day; Gabe cannot even function if he doesn't shower every morning because it helps wake him up and start with a clean slate. Me, I'm a European at heart, or as close to it as I can pretend since I'm only the eleventh person on my mum's side of the family to be born in the States instead of in France. My mum was the first. Oui, oui.

So that's my confession: I'm dirty by most standards. I do not shower every day. Well in the summer I'll have a stretch when I do, when it's the most humid- or when I have sand from the beach stuck in all my cracks and crevices. But when I can get away with it, I let my body do its thing. (Within reason because I do have a husband to share a bed with. You know. No one wants smelly armpits with their lovin'.)

And it's not gross. I have healthy skin and my hair is in pretty great condition. I use deodorant and WILL shower if stinky. Every other day works for me. I know I'm not alone (Hello, Dooce!) and there's been conversation among one of my birth clubs on Babycenter where I learned that many other moms of infants and toddlers skip the daily showers because, well, it's just not necessary.

As long as I'm not offended by the smell of my own body, I'd rather spend time building towers out of blocks, reading story books, going outside OR EVEN HOUSE CLEANING instead of wasting soap and water and feeling like a soaked, pissed-off cat in the rain.

How about you? Are you squeaky clean every day or are you a "dirty hippie"* like me?

*I've actually been called this. No offense to other dirty hippies.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How to know when you might be more interested in a kid's show than your kid is.

This is a recent text message conversation between me and Gabe.

NORA: Yo gabba gabba is coming to portland, omggggg
GABE: Whaaaat
NORA: Im hyperventilating over here
GABE: When and how much!
NORA: Sept 24 and i cant find the price ahhhhhhh!


It is time to rock and roll.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Give back to the soil to see what can come up from the spring."

Here I am, in a photo that Gabe snapped a couple of days ago, expanding my garden with a pitchfork and a trowel.


It's a lot of work. Poking at the grass, lifting it in sections to separate the roots, shaking off the soil.

I really love growing things. I love my houseplants, and I loved my little and slightly unsuccessful garden last year. The process of preparing a patch of soil, dropping seeds in, and caring for the little sprouts to eventually pick and eat your own vegetables? Amazing.

The smell of the dirt is intoxicating. Finding bugs is exciting. I found the most magnificent worm the other day! He was long and shiny and I transferred him over to the compost pile, hoping he'd make a happy home there. Gabe, Liam and I watched him for a few minutes straight, captivated by the way he (she?) moved.

I'm expanding the garden so I can (in theory) grow more, and my dad is going to help me build a fence to keep out the small animals who stole my goods last year. Liam is just as emotionally involved in the garden as I am- yesterday he asked me repeatedly when we were going to head to the yard to "work the garden"- and he helps me in ways that he can, like moving little rocks and removing some of the dried grass and using his little hands to plant some seeds himself.

Having dirt all over my hands and watching things grow is downright spiritual to me. It's a gift. LIFE comes from the ground. We all have roots on the bottoms of our feet, sucking water and nourishment from the ground. Kneeling, hands in the soil, growing my own food with the help of my son- I feel like I am myself photosynthesizing and creating oxygen and growing deeper, thicker roots. I am sucking in the rain and soaking in the sun.

Living. Giving life.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ambien, take me away.

I hardly slept last night.

As I was drifting off to almost-sleep shortly after midnight I was startled to full consciousness by the figure of a man standing in my room, which turned out to be the silhouette of the closet door.

Then Gabe woke me accidentally when he came to bed later. I slept, kind of, from around 2 am until 3:30 am when I woke up, too warm, shoulders sore, eyes burning from fatigue yet unable to keep them closed for long.

I tried sleeping on the couch. I tried that until around 7. I watched part of an infomercial about a magical melon from France that has immortalized Cindy Crawford's face until I found some Cosby re-runs. I dozed a few times between 7 and 8.

During one such doze, I had a dream that I can only attribute to the fact that I started watching Dexter a couple weeks ago and I'm already nearly done with season 3. There was an empty parking lot, a bank/car robbery, a getaway slowed by sleet on the roads, a ticket from and a sassy comment to a cop, a thrilling and liberating uphill jog (???), an illegal entry into a secure building- and then Dexter Morgan himself, ending some killer's life and then rescuing me from whatever I was running from.

Thank you, Mr. Morgan.

At 8, Liam tiptoed into the darkened living room and touched my shoulder and asked me if I was awake. I put my arms around him and he cuddled with me, resting his cool cheek against mine and we whispered our Good Mornings and I Love Yous to each other.

We kept busy today: a bike ride, a trip to the cemetery, a little shopping for art and gardening supplies (and I scored a new bedding set for $20!) and repotting some new house plants. I'm so tired I almost fell over while I was vacuuming. Literally, almost fell over.

I am currently unable to convince Gabe that some Ben & Jerry's will cure me (Strawberry Cheesecake? Coffee Heath Bar Crunch? Cherry Garcia? Yes, please.) and I don't want to risk passing out in the frozen food aisle at Walmart if I go myself, so I'm just going to go to bed early tonight and hope I can get to my garden work tomorrow.

And maybe dream about Dexter Morgan again. Woo woo!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

moving on

Instead of talking about the several weeks that have passed postlessly I'll talk about the present. Particularly, today. It's Mother's Day!

I am fortunate to be married to a man who knows that one of the best things he can give me for such an occasion is the gift of rest. I stayed in bed until almost ten this morning, and I later napped on the couch for a while. (He also gave me flowers earlier in the week that are still blooming brightly in the kitchen, and this weekend he gave me some things I needed for my garden.)

Most importantly today I am aware of the reason I celebrate Mother's Day for myself: Liam. He is almost three years old. He's about half my height (I'm 5'7" - I am not short) and already about half as smart as me. He just needs to learn to read and write, and he'll be a flippin' genius, I'm sure. He just stuns me daily, and even through the occasional whines and disobedience and sass, he's a smart and funny sweetheart who delights in cuddling, reading and making us laugh.

Recently Gabe and I were being goofy together (the kind of goofiness that is funny to us but no one else, because we've been together for a long time and we can be comfortable that way so I won't try to explain the whole context) and this happened:

ME: Obvi!
GABE: Totes!
LIAM: [from out of nowhere] URBAN OUTFITTERS!

One of my favorite things about Liam, though: he's a hand-holder.

Liam's been holding our hands since he was a newborn. Very early on he learned how to soothe himself by holding our fingers and rubbing the tips of his thumbs against our fingernails. He still does this; during quiet time as we cuddle on the couch, when he's sleepy in the car, when we're holding him at a store. It's come to soothe me and Gabe, too, that gentle friction that reminds us of when our rapidly growing boy WAS still a tiny baby. Even when he's not thumb-rubbing, he likes his hands to be in ours, as we take walks, or push the shopping cart, or simply move from the living room to the kitchen. His hands are so warm and soft and I want to eat them. The other day while we were having lunch at the table, he pushed his chair closer to mine, then reached over to hold my hand and continued eating wordlessly. The kicker? He linked his fingers through mine AND I DIED.

Liam's done a lot of changing in his time since birth, but I'm glad that holding our hands is not something he outgrew.

Happy Mother's Day to me.