Thursday, May 31, 2007


Ok. So this is so totally NOT a post bitching about housework, I swear. I have to let y'all in on a little secret: I don't DO a lot of housework first of all because I have the best husband in the world, who gets up before Harry and me and unloads the dishwasher, puts away laundry, makes sure the trash and recycling is caught up, does a load of laundry, etc-- he'd make the bed if Harry and I weren't still in it-- and second because a cleaning person comes a couple times a month to do the big stuff. I may play the part of the disenfranchised hausfrau from time to time, but that is so not who I am (hellooo? I am writing a book about abortion and Planned Parenthood that will CHANGE THE WORLD, remember. I just happen to have an office at home. Oh? and Ben-- sometimes he vacuums the stairs FOR FUN because that is how awesome he is). I promise, this is not a post about the sexual division of labor because in our house, there is no such thing. Case in point: yesterday was garbage day, and I brought the cans IN after Ben took them OUT. Ha! Suck on that Dr. Freud-- we both do inside and outside tasks (but yes, the in out thing does sort of apply-- and the suck on reference, totally penis envy, but whatever-- analysis is so passe). Well, I guess we still do grapple with the sexual division of labor, since the cleaning perosn is a woman, but I swear we do not have an exploitative relationship, or maybe that's what I tell myslef to go to sleep at night.* Anyway... I am going to bitch a little about some of my mundane work because, well, that's what I do.

There's one task I do about 5 times a day that is starting to drive me insane: cleaning up Harry's food mess. Wiping the tray, scrubbing the seat of his chair, cleaning between the slats of his chair, wiping up countless drops of milk from the sippy he flings on the floor time after spitty time, rinsing his dishes, trying to sponge off his sippy cup, so he can finish his milk later, rinsing any empty containers that can be recycled, cleaning off his face, arms, legs, tummy, and whatever other body part was exposed during the meal/ snack even though he DETESTS the wash cloth and would prefer to leave little food particles everywhere instead, carrying all the dirty wash cloths, bibs, towels to the laundry room and the recycling to the garage. And the floor. Oh, god the floor! Sweeping up all the crumbs, spending some serious time on my hands and knees wiping up oatmeal, waffle, pureed whatever, ravioli-- anything wet or squishy, then quickly drying and buffing the previously wiped areas, so that Harry doesn't walk through the wet marks and leave grubby little foot, hand, and knee prints all over the house. Then, because I am an obsessive compulsive cleaner at heart, when I am on the floor wiping, I notice that the table legs are dirty, or the chair legs, or the legs of Harry's highchair, so I clean them. Or maybe from my vantage point, I notice a glob of food under the dishwasher, or a paticularly offensive handprint on the slider, or a non-gleaming bit of cabinet-- and then, I am off! A mad woman with a rag (or Pledge wipes, which, seriously, clean every surface and smell so oogd. You should all buy some Pledge wipes ASAP). No wonder Harry follows me around wiping surfaces. Oh? And? When I clean up breakfast (as opposed to morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, or dinner)**, I have an extra special reward: a seriously poopy diaper. It's really gross because Harry smells sweet like oatmeal or waffle or fruit and shitty at the same time. Totally reminds me of my childhood: My brother Ben used to crap his pants during breakfast, too (but only til he was 12 or so), and it always smelled like shit and syrup, and I couldn't eat maple syrup until my late teens.

The thing is, Harry is so fun at meal times. He can use his spoon and drink from his cup, and he loves to explore different food textures. He's a great conversationalist, too, chaning the tone of his babble to mimic us and pointing at different things and saing "This?" so we'll tell him the proper noun. He laughs his way through meals and snack and offers us bites of his food (and by offers, I mean demands that we at least pretend to eat and enjoy whatever nasty spitty blob of grossness is hanging from his grody little hands-- but with such a sweet, foody smile). I don't want to let my growing hatred of the clean up affect his fun, carefree meals-- which is why I am bitching HERE instead of trying to curtail his mess in any way because messing is learning, right? And oh my god forget Freud and bring on Spock because if that's not permissive parenting, then I don't know what is. It's not often when praxis and theory converge so eloquently, but I am not just writing about the ideology of intensive mothering (in ye olde dissertatione-- the silly spelling makes it fun not terrifying). I am LIVING it.

Here are some breakfast pics which do not to justice to the mess, could never help you experience the smell, and completely explain the adorableness.
Starting out clean enough

Some sticky refuse on the tray


Asking me NOT FOR THE FIRST TIME BY ANY MEANS what the fan is-- perhaps "fan" is not a satisfacotry answer. Round and round thing that also lights up? This? It? That?

Gloriously messy spoon feeding-- and he is definitely poopy here

Scheming about how to climb up to the knives. Only a matter of time, huh?

Cruisng with the chair

Happily backing me into a corner by the dishwasher

Thinking it's time for a pants change

This, apparently, is my dancing face

*Even though we were both overwhelmed by the amount of housework in this place, it was really hard to come to terms with getting help on a moral/ethical level. I took a class on care work a couple of years ago and I read Nickle and Dimed, so I really had to ponder the feminist implications of a housecleaner, and I am still uneasy, and I always clean the toilet bowls before she comes because seriously it's the least I can do.
** Ben OF COURSE also deals with Harry's meal mess, so don't think I am the only one who cleans the kitchen because that's just not true.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Poll: Cutest Harry

There are pictures of each kind of Harry below the poll!

A) Dinner Time Harry

B) Bath Time Harry

C) Play Time Harry

Oh! And check it out-- Harry is so totally a foot model

Monday, May 28, 2007

Look! It's Our Feet!

We have had a lovely, relaxing weekend-- chilling on campus, buying tons of crap for our camping trip next week, going to the zoo. We barbequed tonight (by we I mean Ben) -- and while Harry hated his burger, he did eat a turkey and cheese sandwhich for lunch-- he even liked mustard. For some reason, watching him eat the sandwhich made me realize how big he's getting-- not the cruising and standing and stepping, or the out-grown shoes, or the expanding vocabulary.

Yes, Mom, I'm still breastfeeding. But check him out-- artificial milk straight from the can-- ha!

And he eats minnows

He's also wayyyy too cool to hang out with his parents. Seriously, what if he sees someone he knows.

In all, an exhausting day on Library Mall. And for real, people, he drank a bottle and found the empty can in my bag-- we're not that lazy.

Harry's new kicks

And a better view of his whole ensemble

I'm pretty sure this lion posed just for me.

Goat. Pig. And the beginning of a petting zoo era. Quick! Somebody pass me a Chanel-soaked hankie.

How cute is this?

According to some drunk smelling guy, the ostrich just laid this egg like 15 minutes ago. I have no idea if that's true, but check out the big egg.

Guarded by this guy

Harry used Ben's shoulders as a table on which to enjoy his animal crackers

Little baby feeties

Traveling incognito

Practicing for Dancing With the Stars

Harry's new thing: give him a wipe or a paper towel, and he'll "clean" something. Here he is wiping the screen door.


BratFest 2007-- a rockin good time.

Well, maybe not "rockin," since we showed up an hour before the entertainment started and had to make do with hearing that wretched "Strawberry Wine" song about sixteen times in a row over the PA system. Really loud. And also not rockin because there was a smelly old horse show (not the official name) running with Sunday's Fest, and Ben found a shortcut to the brats through the horse stalls. Our new catchphrase is, "That's horse shit," which has remained funny for over 24 hours and will probably make an appearance in Harry's limited vocabulary. It's actually fortuitous that we missed the entertainment because as we were making our way back to the car ("That's horse shit!"), a family with like 7 kids (oh my god-- how did that happen?) asked us if they were going the right way and if we knew a shortcut (did we ever) because their daughter's class was dancing on the main stage in like 20 minutes.

This guy's hair is sooo awesome. No, you're right. That's horse shit.

Harry couldn't have a brat because he might choke.

Also, Harry broke his dancing devil, the one that used to sing "Hot, Hot, Hot," and now just sputters "H-H-H" because after his grandma taught him to dance, he literally danced until satan dropped. Dad-- got anymore of those at the store? Harry'd really like to shake his groove thang again.

And Harry's grandma and grandpa came to visit, and we forgot to take pictures. We were distracted by me knocking a giant Pepsi onto Harry's grandma's lap (sorry!) and by Harry taking 3 steps from me to his gram-- awesome, huh?-- but still no excuse. We promise pictures next time.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Yesterday, an Unusual Day

On Thursday, May 24th, Harry's day dawned like any other: crap pants, eat waffle, show Tiger a good time.

His mid-morning horsie ride came to an abrupt halt when Dada called, but Harry was resigned to this routine morning interruption, and he handled it with aplomb.

When Harry's Mamama helped him into his clothes sometime after Walk, Nap, and Snack, she remarked casusally, "Hey, Harry. This sleevless green T-shirt goes so well with your mullet and your shit kickin' jeans," and Harry nodded his head amicably, not really listening, hoping she'd be quiet soon and give him a cookie or offer him some milk and a cuddle.

Later that afternoon, however, this conversation would haunt Harry, as he realized that what he had interpreted as a breezy discussion of his Wisconsin waterfall was more judgemental than inane. Happily digesting his turkey with rice and vegetables lunch, Harry found himself strapped first into his Roundabout-- still, not out of the ordinary because his afternoons were usually filled with parks, shops, and cafes, all of which he had to reach by car-- and then into a small yellow chair that looked like a taxicab and moved up and down, but it was jerky, this up and down, not smooth like the otter he liked to ride round and round, up and down on the Zoo's carousel. Harry had never before sat in such a chair, one that came with its very own shiny steering wheel.

Harry relished the reckless unfamiliarity of the taxi chair, drving fast and taking care to guide his yellow car around sharp turns.

A few minutes into his ride, a woman with a scratchy voice and a tan put something silky around Harry's shoulders. A cape, she called it and told him he was just like a super hero. Harry strongly doubted this assertion as mist from a water bottle slicked his mullet to his cheeks, ears, and neck, and he lost his hands under the folds of the cape, losing, too, his ability to drive his yellow taxi chair.

Harry sat very still as the woman moved in a slow circle around him, stroking his wet locks with her fingers, scracthing his scalp with her comb, and snipping off the ends of his scraggly aubrun hair with her sharp scissors and whispering clippers. Harry sensed the gravity of the moment, and he watched his mother hovering nervously with her camera.

When the woman stopped moving around his head, she handed Harry a mirror, and he looked with delight at the Handosme Baby, glad to see his old friend and noting the Handsome Baby's distinguished look. Something about his reflective companion had changed, but Harry couldn't put his spitty finger on the source of Handosme Baby's extra handsomeness.

Harry and his Mamama left the shop with a small bag of wet hair and a certificate assurning them that "Harrson" had gotten his first hair cut, and Harry wondered if Harrson was the Handsome Baby's name because, come to think of it, HB's hair looked shorter, trendier, chicer. After Harry got home and had some banana chips and milk from a sippy, the rest of his day took its normal shape, much to Harry's relief. Deviation from his norm always made Harry poop, and an afternoon poop, in and of itself, was deviation from the norm and the beginning of messy cycle.

After a mismatched dinner of revolting ravioli and intriguing taquitos, Harry began the sissyphean task of ascending the stairs to his room for Playtime, making it halfway several times before his parents carried him. In his room, Harry investigated the junk in his closet,

struggled off of his Mamama's lap,

and sat contentedly in the middle of all of his toys, crawling from pile to pile until Dada picked them up and Mamama undressed Harry and plopped him in the tub

where he sucked the moisture from his wash cloth and wondered why his parents cling-wrapped the shower wall.