Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday Photos You Won't See on Our Chrismukkah Card

Or, as Harry calls them, "What the eff am I doing in my skivvies all wrapped up in lead-covered lights? Haven't you heard that lead is bad for babies, and by the way these lights are HOT. I look like Chernobyl Baby. Put some damn clothes on me! I'm not an infant! Waaaaah"

Clearly, he was disturbed by the amount of time I let him fondle the lead soaked lights, and he had to flee.

We both, however, loved the post-shoot donut break

Thursday, November 29, 2007

For a Jewish Girl, I Sure Love Christmas

From the moment we opened the box, Harry was in love. With the tree. With the stockings. With the glittery, non-breakable ornaments we bought especially for him to touch. He kisses the tree every time he leaves the living room and says bye bye and waves with both fists.

Me, too.

I totally dig the holiday season. I love wrapping gifts. I'm a huge fan of those cute red Starbucks cups (and the gingerbread lattes that go in them). I enjoy getting holiday cards and arranging them on the mantle. I love snowman jammies, not to mention A Christmas Story on TBS. Lighting the menorah is cool. Latkes are cooler. Take away any and all religious significance, and I am a happy secular camper. Rudolph good. Drummer Boy not my cup of tea (or peppermint mocha, whatever the case may be).
So I say Ho, Ho, Ho (and so does Harry, by the way-- it's really cute).

Let the orgy of commercialism and consumption (like buying things, not like TB) begin!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

This is What World Domination Looks Like

Ben and Jon spent the Saturday night after Thanksgiving playing Risk-- with no physical violence this time. Lots of verbal abuse, of course.

Jon won. He now rules the world. The Napoleonic-era world.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving. What can I say? It was really fun, and the food was delicious. We enjoyed seeing the whole fam as always, and we were all very thankful for each other, which is the point of the holiday, right? We braved the Black Friday crowds, and I may or may not have made us all buy the same crazy striped sweater from the Gap-- only forthcoming holiday photos can tell for sure.

We were too busy to take very many pictures, but here's what Harry did over the weekend.

The drive, as usual, was pretty boring.

Harry liked most of the food, espeically chopped liver and his daddy's cheesy potatoes. His eating style, however, went from surprisingly civilized to ridiculous. Note that he's eating matzoh ball soup with a peanut butter cookie floating in it.

Harry did some major vacuuming.

And he heard some books, natch.

He also let his Uncle Ben toss him around

And hung out with this huge platter... Weird, I know.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hat Head

This is the helmet Ben brought back from Vegas. Excellent work, huh?

Ya think maybe he's teething? Seriously, how much of that duck can he cram in his mouth?

So, as you can see, Harry likes to wear funny hats. He has also appropriated Ben's old Ball State baseball cap, and he really enjoys his santa hat. I smell a humiliating Chrismukkah card!! Or maybe Jon farted.

Happy Thanksgiving. See you after the tryptophan coma wears off.*

* Snopes, the bummer that it always is, says this is crap and that even though turkey has a natural sedative, it doesn't make people especially sleepy. I beg to differ. I guess we'll see this year because I can conduct my own experiment. Usually I pass out drunk after dinner, but since I'm a teetotaler this year, if I'm still toe-up by 7, it must be the turkey. Or the exhaustion. Maybe my experiment has too many variables. Either way, no Wild Turkey for me, unless you mean free range.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sleep Lunching

We have pictures of my brother Ben falling asleep in his lunch when he was Harry's age. But Ben was way more dramatic about it-- he'd plunk his cheek in a bowl of soup or snore on his grilled cheese. Harry keeps right on eating, and the result is a bit more subtle. In these pictures, for example, he is feeding himself macaroni with his eyes shut. His head lolled to his shoulder a time or two, but for the most part, he managed to snooze and digest simultaneously. Pretty cute, huh?

Maybe he is bored with his menu options...

One food that's not boring? Oreos. I know, what's a 17 month-old doing eating Oreos? Rotting his little white teethies, of course. I have been having a major Oreo craving, and I gave him one ONE TIME, and he lovvvvvvved it. Now, he needs to have one in his hand while he eats lunch and dinner. And it has to be opened for him, or else he'll cry. Last night, he ate his Oreo and wanted another. We said no, and he freaked. He wanted one so bad. He searched his vocabulary for a way to express his wants beyond the plaintive "Tootie," which wasn't doing the trick. Finally, he looked at me, his face red, and shouted "Mama! Beep Beep! No No!" Of course, we gave him another cookie.

Monday, November 19, 2007


He's making his Hanukkah list because he knows the holiday comes on December 4th this year, and he's worried that his parents won't be prepared.* He wanted to check out the Circuit City ad for ideas. He has his eye on a new computer because he's almost ripped all the keys off my old one, but now he's also thinking an SLR camera would render better pictures of him.... And if he had his own iPod he could definitely touch it, lick it, and bang it on the ground-- the very things his mean old mommy won't let him do to hers.

It must be the white beard that makes him look so smart. Notice that it's frigging dark outside, and were already up eating breakfast. Bah humbug

* Harry shouldn't fret because his parents are on their game this year. I wonder if he'll notice that some of his Hanukkah gifts will come in Christmas paper... the very same Christmas paper that Santa's elves will be using.... And those elves? Really bad at corners.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sick and the City

On Wednesday, when Harry's babysitter dropped him off on campus after my class and before her class, she told me that Harry hadn't been acting like himself. I noticed that his little cheeks were really red, and I expected them to be cold from the wind, since it's a brisk a walk from the parking garage to my building. When I kissed his little face, though, I noticed it was burning hot, despite the chilly Wisconsin weather.

I got home and immediately stuck a thermometer in his ear (didn't have the heart to try the rectal thermometer, since we've been eating lots of oranges lately-- which he calls "apples"-- and they always give him a bit of a rash). 101.5. I was worried, of course, because this was Harry's like second fever ever. I gave Harry some Tylenol and called Ben, who reminded me that our weekend plans were going to be totally screwed-- and that's when I remembered: WE HAD WEEKEND PLANS FOR ONCE. REALLY COOL ONES.

I had to present a paper on abortion in Victorian America at the National Communication Association annual convention in Chicago. And this was totally not the cool part of our weekend, especially since I had to wear the dorkiest maternity suit ever and gray suede pumps that I thought looked trendy but just looked like kind of a bummer with my blah, fat suit. The cool part was that we were going to stay at a nice hotel on Michigan Avenue Thursday through Saturday and shop and take Harry to the aquarium and some museums and shop and eat fatty Chicago food and see old friends and buy shiny things while shopping. Then-- and here's where it gets super cool-- Harry was going to spend Saturday night with his grandparents in the burbs, and Ben and I were going to shop some more and go out to a grown up dinner and then attend the university recruiting parties at the Hilton. We figured we'd sleep in on Sunday, have a relaxed breakfast that didn't involve someone sticking his grubby hands in our plates to fondle hash browns or steal bacon. We were even going to stop at IKEA on our way back to the burbs and look for lead-free toys for Harry for the holidays.

So, Wednesday night, we rushed to Urgent Care when Harry's fever shot up to 102.5 AFTER taking Tylenol. The doctor was really patient with us. He checked Harry's ears and chest and throat and diagnosed "the sniffles." We asked if we could still go to Chicago, and he said, "Yeah. I am pretty sure he can take Tylenol in Illinois."

Soooo, we loaded up the car on Thursday morning, and at first, the trip was awesome. I really like Vacation Harry. He is happy, alert, and willing to go with the flow. He loved poking around the hotel room-- the fountain in the lobby was like a fantasy oasis, and the super fast elevator was the best ride ever. The view out our 23rd story window really did it for him. He spent most of the time we were in the room curled up on the window ledge, staring lovingly at the train and the building construction below us. The sounds of the city amazed him. He was all "Beep beep" and "Bam bam" and "Zhh Zhh." He said bye bye to everyone he saw, which kept him really busy.

We hit the ground running on Thursday. We went to Garrett's for a huge bag of caramel corn that I have nearly finished BY MYSELF. Ben bought a new overcoat, which is good because he had a tummy ache that disappeared after this purchase. And I totally understand because I have had the I-need-a-new-coat stomach bug a few times myself.

Here we are at a deep dish pizza place that didn't have room for high chairs. Harry and I had a love-hate relationship with his booster seat, and we both got covered with spaghetti. Ben had a love-love relationship with his wine. The bastard.

Here's Ben and Harry at about 8:30 on Thursday night-- do we know how to party, or what? Ben woke up son after I took these pictures and said, "I was not asleep." Nooooooo, not at all. We went to bed cautiously optimistic that Harry's bug was gone and we could enjoy the rest of our weekend.

Then we had the worst night's sleep ever, with Harry tossing and turning and crying (both in his sleep and while awake). We slept maybe 4 hours off and on, and I had to be up at 6 to get ready for my panel at 8 am. And to register for the convention. Which? So expensive. $170 for a canvas tote bag and a badge holder cum fanny pack. Think what I could have bought at Coach instead.

But for me? No Coach store for a new diaper bag. No ginormous H&M for trendy maternity clothes. No Nordstom. No Tiffany. No Nike Town for baby Air Jordans. Because Vacation Harry was gone, and Sniffles Harry was in his place. He woke up with a 102 fever and a bad attitude (understandable, of course).

I gave my paper, changed out of my uncomfortable shoes (which looked very orthopedic so you'd think they'd feel good, too, but no), and we hit the road. Buh-bye date night.

Here he is lounging on the couch last night watching The Incredibles because when the AAP said no TV for kids under 2, they CLEARLY did not mean sick kids. (and yes, the sexism and classism of The Incredibles does bother me, but we have a very limited selection of kids' movies. We thought Finding Nemo-- our only other choice-- would make Harry think of the fishies he didn't get to see at the aquarium-- and yes, he has that kind of a memory. We bought him a tiny dustbuster for Chrismukkah and hid it in his closet, and he totally knows it's there and sometimes stands outside the closet going "zhhhh" and crying a little. Good thing Hanukkah is early this year)

We went back to the doc who stands by his sniffles diagnosis, and Harry was been fever and Tylenol free since bedtime last night *fingers crossed*.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dear BabyGap,

I think I might be in love with you. Seriously, you are the only place in the whole mall that makes shopping for boy clothes fun. I mean, Gymboree has nothing-- except for some adorable pajamas every once in a while. Boston Store has some Carter's sleepers. Macy's has about thee Ralph Lauren shirts in the middle of their ridiculously fabulous piles of girl clothes. Children's place is occasionally great, if I can find something without a sport on it, and H&M will be good in about a year, since all their clothes are huge.

You, though, BabyGap, are consistently precious and the only place around that doesn't make me glance with envy at the girls' side. How could I when I am surrounded by tiny fisherman's sweaters,flannel shirts, flat front khakis, fleece zip-ups like Ben's, and preppy button-downs? Not to mention the gym pants, jammies, and parkas.

But it's the hats and gloves that I really love right right now-- they are all absurd and patronizing-- every single one. That's precisely what I look for in winter wear.

Just wanted to tell you how I feel. Ill see you soon-- like after nap!


PS: Here's Harry patiently modeling a few of my faves.

These are the ones we actually got. On their maiden voyage, someone asked if they were part of a Halloween costume. Success!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Mind Your B's and P's.

I realized the other day that Harry has quite an extensive vocabulary-- if you know how to speak his language. The key is to remember that most word start with a "B" and end with a "P." No, really, it gets easy after a while.

Here's what he says everyday:
Bup (cup)
Bep (bed)
Bups (bus)
Bipe (bike)
Barp (park)
Bap (bath)
Boop (book)
Brup (brush-- as in brush teeth)
Wababa (water bottle, duuh)
Broon (balloon)
Heatah (heater)
Diapah (Diapar)
Night night
Emmo (Elmo)
Bam bam
Boom boom
Butta (computer)
Beep beep
Dogga (doggy)
Woof woof
Dup (duck)
Quack quack
Brown Bear (his favorite book)
Hop on Pop (the cutest thing he says, for sure)
Gape (grape)
Bye bye
Done done (always repeats this)
Don (down)
Miiiii (milk)
Tut (truck)
No no no
Burn (he says this when we make a really stupid joke or a bad insult-- we have to prompt him to say it, though)
Pumpun (pumpkin)
Namie (Jamie, his babysitter whom he loves)
Hannah ( another babysitter who lets him play with all of her sorority sisters)
UncBen (Uncle Ben)
Gampa (grandpa)
Nama (grandma)

He can also tell you what some animals say and what noises some appliances and vehicles make, but this is not usually spontaneous. Unless the landscape guys are outside, then he's all "Zhhhhhhh"

And there are probably more, but these are his most common words. If he whines and point to the cupboard, he is really saying, "Mother, can I have a delicious cookie?"
When he grabs his high chair and tried to shake it, he means, "Mommy, will you please feed me, you neglectful idiot."
Also, he blows a kiss when we say I love you.
The trick to speaking fluent Harry is not to expect perfection-- he does not articulate that well, but if you follow these phonetic spellings, you'll usually get his drift. What's really frustrating is when he says what sounds like complete nonsense, waits to see your reaction, gets none, and then repeats the exact same nonsense a little more firmly. This continues until he freaks out and/or you give him a cookie.

Here he is in our bep with his bup. He must have played hard in the barp.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Harry: A Busy and Important Baby

When his green plastic cell phone made a sheep noise, Harry knew the call would test his patience. The only calls to which Harry assigned the sheep ringer were those from his employees, and Harry hated when they called him at home. He unclipped the phone from his sweatpants. "Bah," Harry said under his breath, sitting in the toy tray he'd removed from his Chicco activity table and answering the phone with a terse "Hiya."

"Mr. Harry! We're so glad we caught you at home!" cried a manager at one of Harry's overseas factories.
"Where else would I be?" Harry asked. "It's almost night night."
Harry took another deep breath and started at the phone, reminding himself that staying on top of his foregin operations was the number one reason he purchased this Little Tykes phone in the first place. Well that and the tiny mirror above the keypad. Harry loved that handsome baby in the mirror.

Although he recognized the harried voice on the other end as belonging to a supervisor of some kind, Harry scanned through his contacts to connect the voice with a name.

"Ahhh, that pain the ass," Harry said to himself and began to pace. "What's wrong?" he demanded. "Did someone get their fingers stuck in a spinning wheel again?" He listened to the voice on the other end for a moment and interrupted impatiently. "Child labor my ass," he sanpped. "All I'm interested in is nimble fingers-- how many times do I have to tell you that?"

Harry's walk became more purposeful as he passed the portrait of himself that he'd had hung close to his eye level for inspiration. "Workman's comp?" he spat. "Isn't that why we moved our project to your shores?" Unhappy with the answer, Harry swore under his breath. "Do I have a choice?" he asked.

Harry fumbled in his Little People Silo, pulling out a pair of socks, some dried up string cheese, and a months-old pacifier to fidget with while he did some quick math in his head.

"Listen," Harry said, feeling a bit calmer as he paced through his piles of books and toys. "I know it was an accident, but there goes my profit this quarter, you know what I mean? Do you think I'm made of money? Diapas aren't cheap my friend. Speaking of which, I've got to go. It's time for my bap and my bup, and I think I have some poopy in my diapa." Snapping the phone shut, Harry arranged his features into a smile and said "Mama, poopy," as he toddled out of the room, hoping his parents had not listened to his call and discovered his evil empire. Those liberal commie hippies-- they may not understand. When Harry heard them say things like "sweatshop," "outsourcing," or "violation of human rights," they seemed derisive. Oh well, he thought. When they were old, infirm, and resting comfortably in the best nursing home money could buy, they'd open their minds.