Surcie

A Little Treat, Just Because

Monday, April 25, 2005

BLOGGING AT A NEW LOCATION

This blog has relocated to a new home. Please visit www.surcie.typepad.com (Notice that the middle word is TYPEPAD now, rather than BLOGSPOT!) Thanks!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Mr. Clean Will Clean Your House And Everything That's In It

I've always thoroughly enjoyed the fact that Pipsqueak likes to pretend to clean--he dusts, vaccuums, sweeps the floor, washes windows, etc. Aside from the fact that this pastime is cute and entertains the company, I'm banking on him being a big help around the house when he's a bit older. If Pipsqueak manages to get his hands on a papertowel or Handi-Wipe, he's instantly off to wipe the glass coffee table in the living room. But apparently, he doesn't understand the difference between a Swiffer cloth and the Kleenex that mama just used to clean his messy nose. No, he didn't attempt to blow his nose with the Swiffer cloth. Let's just say, the coffee table and two glass end tables, along with the front of our gas fireplace, and the storm door all look a lot more smeared than usual.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Oh My Papa

The only thing I'm able to think about right now is my dad. He's back in the hospital. It seems the stents that were put in an artery to unclog it (following his heart attack a few weeks ago) didn't do their job. If you're a praying person, would you please say a prayer for Cal? Thank you.

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Small Things

(Inspired by a favorite blogger)

Small Things:

Red, yellow, and purple tulips blooming in the backyard

Being gifted with a fist-full of dandelions picked by Punkin Head

Watching a toddler learn to sing

Eskimo kisses

Wide smiles from my 8-month-old nephew

Perfect, tangerine-colored roses from Safeway, of all places

Female cardinals in the birdfeeder (They may be drab-looking, compared to their striking, red male counterparts, but we know the red ones wouldn't exist without them.)

Funfetti birthday cake and ice cream

Vinyl placemats in Popsicle hues for dining al fresco

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Birthday Greetings

Between my dad's birthday, which was March 31st, and my husband's, which is Saturday, I can report that I've reviewed Hallmark's entire line of Birthday Cards for Dads. And let me tell you, it's baaaaad.

These are two of my, er, "favorites:"
For a dad who loves to work with his hands. . . (Open to find a bandaid.)

Dad, I was going to wash your car for your birthday, but since you always say, "If you want something done right, do it yourself. . ." (Open to find a miniature yellow sponge.)

The rest of the cards are for the dad who:
1.) works hard by fixing things, mowing the yard, or going fishing; or
2.) doesn't give up control of the remote from the comfort of his recliner.

Hallmark needs to employ some writers who:
1.) actually know their dad
2.) don't hate their dad, and
3.) don't use Archie Bunker as their inspiration for the Archetypal Dad.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Ode to Jo Jo

Doodlebug and I sat on a flowery area rug in Pottery Barn Kids (I know. How very caucasian of us.) and waited for Singing Lady with Guitar (not her real name) to begin a performance for the gathered moms and tots. Nearby, a little girl pulled a "Jo Jo" doll out of her mom's diaper bag. Doodlebug instantly pointed and asked me, "Doh Doh? Doh Doh?" My kid adores Miss Jo Jo Tickle, star of "Jo Jo's Circus" on The Disney Channel. I barely open the door to retrieve him after his naps when he's asking, "Up-pa-pa? Doh Doh? Up-pa-pa," because he can't wait to go upstairs and watch Ti-Voed episodes of the show. He clearly wanted to touch and hug the little girl's doll, but he doesn't yet understand the whole concept of No, That's Not Yours. So, I did what I always do when it looks like things could get ugly in Toddlerville--distract. But then the little girl's mom and the mom's friend had to go and sing the theme song to Jo Jo's Circus: "Hey, hey! It's Jo Jo's Circus! Jo Jo, Jo Jo's Circus! Hey, everyone! It's time for Jo Jo's Circus!" (There's more, but this is all I can muster.) It was strangely comforting to hear them sing, actually. If my brain is liquifying, it's good to know I'm not alone.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Gock?

This morning, Mugwump greeted me with the request (or was it a command?), "Gock!" He could tell I wasn't getting it. So, he repeated it louder, just to make sure I wasn't hard of hearing. "GOCK! GOCK! GOCK!" I could tell he wanted to say, "Come on Mom, you know what I'm saying." It did sound somewhat familiar. Could he be asking for yogurt? But last I heard, that sounded more like "guh-guhr." Maybe he's saying "outside?" But yesterday, that was "uht-chuh." I think I may need to devise some sort of Glossary of Terms in order to keep up with him. Tonight, he's saying what sounds like "bwish," slurred. I'm pretty confident that's "fish." I may remember it tomorrow, but I can't make any promises.

Little Boy. Little Boy. Little Boy.

If I admit he's a Little Boy and not a baby anymore, that means I'm admitting that he's growing up. Which means he'll be leaving his father and me. Not soon, of course, but sometime. And at the rate time seems to be passing, sometime will be here before I know it. First, he'll go to preschool and then full-fledged, rest-of-your-youth school. And then he'll go away to college. And then he'll get married. So, I haven't wanted to admit he's a Little Boy of Almost Two. But yesterday, his little boyness was confirmed.

Last year at this time, he wasn't yet walking. So, this is the first Spring he's spent in our backyard. There is much at kid-level for a curious Little Boy like him to explore back there--including rocks, twigs, moss, and lots of dirt. (Oy. We'll have to bathe him twice as much as we did before.) Last night, when it was time to go inside, he put down the dead branch he'd been dragging around and shoved his hand toward me, presenting me with a small, grey, juicy slug. Babies don't present their mothers with slugs. But Little Boys do.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

If it's chocolate, it wants me to eat it.

As an adult, I'm only mildly amused (if that) by much of the things that sent me into laughing hysterics as, say, an eight year old. Similarly, the things that embarassed me have changed, too. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

One of the reasons I think adulthood is better than childhood is that I can say "I love" in reference to something (rather than someone) without having a twerpy classmate ask, "Do ya wanna marry it?" That question always made me regret my declaration. Though the classmate was the one asking the lame question, I was the one who ended up feeling like a big dummy.

Since I am no longer eight, I would like to take this opportunity to formally proclaim my l-o-v-e for chocolate. And yes, if it was possible to marry chocolate, I would, for I already am in a life-long, committed relationship with it. All forms of it. (With the exception of white chocolate which isn't actually chocolate at all.) It is my drug of choice because it truly does take the "edge" off. (By now, my life should be edge-less, but alas, it is not.) As a youngster, I preferred the milk variety. Now my tastes lean toward dark, and the darker, the better. I will gladly eat cheap chocolate, but the one who gifts me with Vosges wins the key to my heart. Speaking of my heart, the isoflavones in dark chocolate are a health benefit that justifies my consumption. God must love chocolate, too.

I also l-o-v-e cheese, and I have beheld its power at every possible opportunity during my lifetime. As a youngster, I enjoyed the Velveeta variety (which isn't actually cheese at all). Now I prefer stinky cheese, and my current favorite is Maytag Blue Cheese. (Those washing machine folks sure do know how to make a good cheese.) I would marry cheese, too, except that I have high cholesterol. So, I'm hoping to fall in love with soy cheese. But I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Singin' and Swingin' and Merry Like Christmas

My husband and I don't often let Gumdrop go into our bedroom. It just seems like I should have ONE place in the house where decorative tchotchke is displayed on the end tables, where books are safely tucked in their case. But once in a while, he does enter our domain and, needless to say, he doesn't leave the place as he found it.

Yesterday, Gumdrop noticed something on my bedside table that he hadn't seen before--a small, heart-shaped blue Wedgewood dish. It had belonged to my grandmother who died last December. My aunt brought it with her when she came to visit recently, knowing Grandma would be pleased that I had it. Gumdrop snatched it up and ran to the bedroom window where he tapped it gently on the sill. Next, he set it on the treadmill, just long enough to admire it. And then, deciding it had already given him all pleasure he was going to get, he brought the dish back to me and took another item off the table.

It was a small bag made of fabric. White and irridescent with satin drawstrings. The kind a bride might use for wedding favors. Gumdrop knew it held something fun, but he didn't know what. It contained (among other things) dried, red rose petals which he gently touched through the bag. And then, in a flash, he was off! He ran out of the room, laughing and squealing, swinging the bag by its strings. The look on his face dared me to chase him. When I followed him out to the den, he was standing on the opposite side of the coffee table, swinging the bag over his head and singing, "WHEE oh! WHEE oh!" Forunately, I was able to get the bag away from him without incident.

My grandmother never had the chance to meet Gumdrop, her first and only great-grandchild, before she died. Still, she adored him and talked about him with friends and strangers alike. If she was watching us yesterday, I know she was getting a huge kick out of seeing him run around the room and laugh with abandon while swinging a bag of her "cremains." She'd be laughing, too. I can just hear her.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Say What?

I could eat this little Dumplin' up. I just want to nibble his neck and gnaw on his cheek, but he won't sit still long enough to let me. The fact that he's becoming more assertive (thus, more irritated with me) at this age dims in the light of his utter darlingness.

Yesterday, Dumplin' asked me, "Up-pa-pa? Up-pa-pa? Do Do? Do Do? Deedee? Deedee? Deedee?" Trans: "Will you please take me upstairs so that I can watch 'Jo Jo's Circus' on the TV?" Okay, so Dumplin' didn't actually construct a sentence, but I knew what he was saying. And he loved that I got it. He did not, however, love the fact that I replied, "No, honey, we're going for a ride to the bookstore right now."

The language barrier can be frustrating at times. Dumplin' seems to understand me just fine. Apparently, I'm the one with the problem. It took me a good five minutes to figure out what he wanted after lunch the other day. Though five minutes may not seem like a long time, it is an eternity a toddler who believes his deepest yearnings are being completely disregarded by his neglectful mother.

Dumplin' was sitting in his highchair, pointing to the kitchen asking, "Uh-dee? Uh-dee? Uh-dee?" over and over (and over) again. What could he be saying? Some cheese? I get some cheese. He makes it patently clear that cheese was not what he asked for. I am clueless. A lost cause.

And then, it hits me: "Brush teeth! Do you want to brush your teeth?" Dumplin' smiles and nods rapidly. We both feel relieved. We brush his teeth. Not only is he brilliant, but he prizes good hygiene at an early age.

I pray he'll be this excited about deodorant when he's thirteen.

Speaking of teeth, I've had this little ditty in my head all day, courtesy of '70s Saturday morning cartoons on ABC:
They call me yuck mouth
'cause I don't brush!
Oh, I like my teeth like this,
They call me yuck mouth
'cause I don't brush!
How about a little kiss?
I got some beef in my teeth,
got some chicken, too -
OW! That's a cavity!
(Hey, that's new!)
So if you don't brush your teeth
then yes, you too will be a yuck mouth!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Good Enough Mother

My Little Thumbsucker and I skipped church and spent the morning at the local Mass-Market Bookseller where I bought two things: a book by Harvard Medical School on how best to feed your children and a postcard. And the more I think about that postcard, the more the book--or rather, my perceived need for it--just seems dumb.

I bought the postcard for myself. It features a famous black & white photograph by Dorothea Lange entitled, "Migrant Mother" which was shot in 1936 in Napomo, California during the Depression. The woman in the picture is only 32, but she seems to have aged prematurely. She and the two children who cling to her look ragged, dirty, hungry, weary. And though I have seen this photo before, I only now notice the infant lying in her lap. This image brings tears to my eyes.

Wanting to be a "good mother" to my 21-month old is always at the forefront of my mind, even though I can honestly say I haven't quite known what is Good Enough. Am I a good mother even if my boy isn't in a toddler tumbling class? Even if I'm not registering him for early preschool? Even if I don't force him to eat veggies he hates because he loves fruit?

Migrant Mother wasn't worried about living up to some stupid ideal of mothering perfection when her picture was taken. She was worried about surviving. Her family lived in dirt and slept under a canvas tent. I don't know what, if anything, she was feeding them, but it sure as heck wasn't a Harvard-approved meal. Regardless, I feel certain she was a good mother. I see the toll that worry took on her face. I know her children loved her and looked to her as their source of comfort. How could anyone judge her harshly? She reminds me of how good I've got it and how Good Enough a mother I am. I'll put her portrait where I will see it often.