Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dora Live

Dora appeared to be wearing a fat suit, which is the only detail of the show that really surprised me. It was an awkward fat suit, too-- not very fat, very flesh-colored, only padded on the bottom. She had a definite FUPA in her orange shorts, and I wondered just how much she loathed herself, deep down, to accept the role of Dora. I mean, there aren't even any programs distributed at the show. She's just that actress in the awkward, flesh-colored, lower-body fat suit who jumped around and pretended to be a map-reading preschooler for 85 long minutes. The rest of the cast, though, suffered more severe indignities. Like Isa, Benny, Tico, and Swiper, who performed in giant mascot-like plush suits and danced their stuffed asses off. Poor Baby Jaguar who actually had to crawl around on all fours. The blue morpho butterfly lady who spent her whole time onstage suspended by wires, flapping her wings to talk. The map, whose arms and legs stuck awkwardly out of her rolled-up costume. She had a pretty face, and she sang just off-key and hammily enough to let us know that back in the day, she was the absolute star of her performing arts high school's spring musical. Every spring. And Boots the monkey, who danced in giant red plush boots that made Uggs look sleek and dainty and had to swing his left arm constantly thanks to some idiot choreographer's intense need to communicate "monkey" at every moment of the show-- even though the guy was wearing a frigging monkey suit and frequently found himself hanging upside down from clumsy-looking wires. I think the second act was delayed a few minute because Boots was engaged in some ritual self mutilation. And who could blame him? He cuts because he hurts. The only character who had any sort of corporeal dignity was Diego, who wore cargo shorts and a preppy jungle vest and regular tennis shoes (Dora, Boots, and the Map all sports outsized stuffed footwear). But he spent most of his time cavorting across the stage conversing with a howler monkey, a whistling tapir, and the aforementioned flappy butterfly, so I guess he got his.

If he could read, Harry would be entirely unamused by the above description because he is nothing if not slavishly, solemnly devoted to Dora and her special guest star Diego. (When Map announced that a surprise guest would be making an appearance in the second act by telling the audience of hushed, anticipating children that Dora's cousin would be dropping by, Harry grabbed his cheeks and screamed, "Cousin Diego! I told you Diego would come, Mama!)

After scolding me three days before the show for being so "spendy" when I had a conversation with Harry about the kinds of things we could buy in the theater lobby, Ben bellied up to the concession stand and bought one of every stuffed thing they sold, plus a flashlight and an $8 mini-bag of Goldfish crackers. Harry's favorite souvenir? The paper star that an usher gave him. OF COURSE.

Ben and I both got a little choked up during the show's opening number because Harry was so happy and excited. When each character appeared onstage, he screamed their names in delight and disbelief. When the theme song began, he looked at us as if to say this-is-the-very-best-thing-that-has-ever-happened-to-me-and-almost-makes-up-for-that-baby-brother.

We all decided to wear jeans and jackets.

We went out to dinner at Bin 36 in downtown Chicago after the show. We've been to that place before, and it's very loud and casual, and the hostess assured me they had a children's menu when I called to make a reservation. Plus they have lots of wine. And it was a 5 minute walk (with a toddler-- without him, even shorter) from the theater, so we thought it would be perfect. When we walked in, however, we realized that Harry isn't one for cloth tablecloths and napkins or candles on the table. The hostess led us to our table, and he said "Wow! I have 2 forks!" So he's not one for courses, either. We were seated right next (like on the same banquette) to an older couple who were splitting a bottle of wine and had their heads bent towards each other in quiet conversation. They did not look happy to see us or our high chair. We almost left and went to the Potbelly across the street from the theater because we weren't sure if Happy Harry or his evil twin Tantrum Harry would be joining us for dinner-- also we have become really skittish about dinners out since Jack's colic days when we frequently ran out with our hot food in a box mere moments after sitting down. Then we stopped going to places where you get hot food or sit down. We ordered Harry a lemonade and some fries as soon as our waiter came within shouting distance of the table. When the drinks arrived, Ben reached across the table to help Harry with his plastic lid and knocked his wine EVERYWHERE. Hilarious! Even the couple next to us laughed. Then Harry spent the rest of the meal listening to me read him some books and making polite conversation. Also he had wine all over his sweater. Ha!

W parked our car at a hotel that was in between the theater and the restaurant, even though we have had bad luck parking at this particular place. When we had our Matrix (which I totally miss, by the way), this place lost our valet key and never found it. Wen we returned for our car after dinner, they, um, couldn't find it. Ben sort of lost his shit and started loudly inquiring as to its possible whereabouts and sweating under the heat lights in front of the revolving doors. So Harry and I went into the lobby to pee and throw pennies in the fountain until Ben got his wish.

Harry passed out so hard on the way back to St. Chucks that we put him to bed. In his wine soaked sweater, his blazer, and hist belt (also his socks, and all his shirts and his jean. IN HIS CLOTHES, is what I am saying). He woke up the next morning laughing at his get-up. And demanding to be changed into his jammies.

This guy?

Not invited. He hung out with the J grandparents. His grandma pointed out-- quite rightly-- that feeding Jack a bottle is like feeding a lamb or a calf. He doesn't like to be held, nor does he use his hands to help hold the bottle. Instead, he sits up or hangs out on all fours and sticks his face out for the bottle. Very cute.

I just asked Harry what his favorite part of Dora Live was, and he took the plastic Spiderman's web he had been sucking on out of his mouth long enough to say, "When her sang 'We did it. Woohoo.'" So there you have it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bribery-- a dirty, dirty business

Next time I bribe Harry, I am going to have the promised item stashed away in a closet somewhere. That way when he does the thing I've spent months trying to bribe him to do, I don't have to use my making dinner/ folding the laundry hour to throw both kids in the car and rush to Toys R Us in the rain. At Toys R Us, by the way, I put Jack in a cart only to discover that the cart was short one working seat belt-- no belt is not an option for Squirmy McCreepylongarms. To get a new cart at my Toys R Us, you have to walk around the seasonal toy display, past all the checkout lines, out the exit, across the front of the store, and back into the entrance because all the carts are in the lobby. So, I just attached Jack to my hip and held Batman, Batman's giant Batcave (which Harry calls Batman's house), and two cans of processed Gerber snacks that caught my eye on the way to the Imaginext aisle in my free hand. This didn't leave me any hands with which to wrangle Harry, but he was so excited about Batman's house that he happily followed me to the check out line. Then I dragged all the crap and both kids back out into the rainy parking lot. My sweats got all wet and gritty on the bottom because my Pumas are so flat, and I am barely tall enough to ride rides (by the way, hell yes I was wearing sweats. I was also sporting rain-induced puffy hair and an inappropriately sheer pink long sleeved T-shirt that nicely showed off my polka-dot bra. Especially when it got wet), and Jack DID NOT LIKE the rain on his face. I got everyone (by which I mean both kids-- it's not like I'm Octomom or something, but "everyone" sounds more dramatic) buckled in and shoved the giant bribe bag in the passenger seat because it wouldn't fit anywhere in the back and my does-not-fit-through-doors double jogging stroller was hogging the trunk and realized that my keys were gone. I dumped out my diaper bag and reassembled it. Twice. I got out of the car and checked next to both carseats (I often toss my keys next to them while I am buckling them in) soaking my pants up to mid-shin. Finally, I called Ben-- not that he could do anything for me. I just needed someone to scream at. He wisely let the call go to voice mail-- he has excellent instincts about that sort of thing. We straggled back across the parking lot into the store, Jack screaming his protest, and Harry asking me eleventy billion times if we could go home and play with Batman's house. My keys? Not at the checkout line. Not on the Gerber processed snacks shelf. Not in the Imaginext aisle. I would have definitely called Ben to scream at him again, but I left my phone in my (unlocked) car. Bummer. Seconds away from joining Jack in his weeping, I spotted my keys by the front door of the store-- in the basket of the cart I rejected because of its missing seat belt. We dripped our way home to make dinner, Harry demanding that I free Batman's house from its box, Jack whining a sad, sad song in between bites of Puffs, and me ringing out the cuffs of my pants because I was too lazy to change and because the sweats just went with my over all look.

All told, that was one expensive poop in the potty. Also, I am pretty sure he crapped his pants while I wrote this.

Monday, March 23, 2009


OMG. So glad. Can open windows. Wear short sleeves. Go to parks. Paaaaaarrrrrrrrkkkkkkkssssssss!!!

Can have picnics.

Eat jungle gyms.

Can climb,



But it's like 30 degrees and rainy today. Spring FAIL. Boo hiss.

Am printing a re-re-re-re drafted copy of my dissertation right now. Less than a month until it goes to committee, and just thinking about my defense makes me want to vom.

Oh! Hello to the reader who got here googling "jacked up horses." Awesome.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Walking the Plank

Thanks to the poor, poor, poor, poor planning of the concrete company our (poor, poor, poor, poor planning) condo management company hired to redo all of the sidewalks, walkways, and front stoops in our development, we have a plywood ramp outside our front door. We've had this ramp, actually, since the day after the first snow fell-- way back in November. That's because the day before the first snow fell, some jackass jackhammered up our front stoop ad walkway, and it's been a frozen wasteland here ever since.

Which is totally cool with Pirate Harry, arrrrgh.

Because he can stomp right out his front door and down the plank, matey.

He's even wearing the gross hat that his pirate pumpkin wore around Halloween season. Gross because we left the pumpkin on the porch until it literally rotted into nothingness. Ashes to ashes and all that.

His feet are blurry he's moving so fast to plunder and pillage (wait-- do pirates plunder and pillage, or am I thinking of vikings? Are vikings pirates?)

It's cold out here. Let's just steal some music online and call it a day. Arrrrrgh.

Monday, March 16, 2009

11 months-- woah. That's almost a year.

11 months. No way. Cannot be. I feel like this whole year had zipped by. It really does seem like I was JUST hugely pregnant with this little guy, dragging my fat ass to campus for lecture twice a week (with Harry who hung out in the Sex Out Loud office with Erica) and teacing discussion discussion all day Tuesday. OMG. I was so fat and slow and generally bummed out.
And of course so excited to meet Jack, who certianly doesn't disappoint. Wow. Those pants are wayyyyyy too short, huh?

I just read an entry from around this time ast year, when I was so excited because I finished my dissertation's first draft. I was excited about my 5th chapter in particular, which is funny because that one's so bad I'm STILL rewriting it. Ha-- Jack thinks tht's funny. He would.

I realized today that Jack gets read to about 96% less often than Harry did at that age. Sorry about that, little buddy.

To assuage my guilt I read to him tonight before bed (instead of staring at the internet while feeding hm), and he didn't know what to make of his books. He thought they might be some sort of illustrated cracker.

See look-- he's trying to read THE WRONG SIDE of the paper.

Unlike Harry, he is a really good sharer.

In just 30 days, he'll be 1. Wow.

I'm telling you, I can remember this

and this

like these pictures were taken this morning. I must be getting old.

PS: Jack's paternity could never be questioned-- have you seen those crazy long arms?
PPS: That is not a normal baby color, huh?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekend-- and Ben finally got to celebrate being so frigging old

Study Blue got sweet new digs-- we totally dig them.

Ben and Jack checking out Ben's new office

Ben's view-- totally awesome. I bet he eats State Street Brats like 6 times a day. Basically every time he catches sight of the place out of his peripheral vision. And soon he'll be so fat he'll have to air-lifted out of there. Also, one of his coworkers said they were looking forward to bird watching from their new offices, and I started talking about preventing birds from crashing head first into the ginormous windows and leaving gross brain-prints on the glass before they thudded to their little birdy deaths. He meant they were going to watch skanky undergrad joggers pass by the window. Oh.

This vending machine is so cool. I was kind of bummed when I found out it doesn't actually charge 1982's prices. Or have Crystal Pepsi.

Harry was super excited to hang out in the lobby and put his feet up on the table. He said he wanted to talk at us which is a perfect way to describe his conversational skills.

One floor below Ben's new offices? URBAN OUTFITTERS Very convenient (ha! as if I shop there! I am like 10 years too old to even go inside there with my stroller. The music's too loud anyway. But the Potbelly next door? Ideal.)

Aaaaand there's a private dorm above Study Blue. Bird watching indeed.

Harry ordered his own drink at Jamba Juice-- he asked for a red one. Even though he did the ordering, he was so confused when I suggested we leave so the giant line of students who staggered in for breakfast drinks at like 11 could sit down. He said, "But where's my dinner?" He'd been waiting the whole time for his food to show up, the hungry little guy.

Whatev. I gave him a nutritious Pez snack.

Batman does not like to be mocked.

This hat? Also came with a cape and a wand. Awesome.

The loneliest birthday celebration ever. But don't feel bad for Ben-- his friends from work came over after the kids went to bed, and we pigged out on party food and drink. And Ben was suuuuuper hungover this morning and smelled like booze.

So I made him get out of bed, go to breakfast in time for some early bird specials, go to a park, and then to the zoo. Best. Wife. Ever.

Jack has finally stopped puking. We took him to the doctor on Saturday and found out he has lost 1 and a half pounds, the poor guy. He ate today, though, so we hope he's getting back to normal. He was also in a better mood than he has been the last few days. On the way into the doctor's office, Jack was saying, "Baba? Baba? Baba?" and sure enough,when he listened to him breathe, the doc said his little tummy was growling. Then he ate 4 ounces in the car. He talks!

That's it. The whole weekend. Well, plus five little words that no one's husband likes to hear: Gap friends and family coupon.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Puke That Ate Ben's 30th Birthday

Remember that one time when we got really sick on Christmas and had to cancel it?

Well, yesterday at 5:20, Jack started barfing everywhere. We were really optimistic, though, despite the vat of vomit he spewed around the kitchen and bathroom. We didn't think we'd have to forego Ben's 30th birthday party bashes, so I still went to Trader Joe's and bought a shitload of party food on my way home from work. We were so happy that Jack slept until 5:20 a.m., at which time he woke up starving, chugged six ounces, and went back to sleep. Today, our lovely babysitter came over and I went for a massage and a workout (ahhhhh), and all was lovely. I came home to begin getting dressed for the dinner party we were hosting at our favorite steak place (leopard print minidress, hot pink satin evening sandals and toes painted to match). Step one in THAT process was a snack, so I strapped Jack into his high chair so he could join me and all of the sudden-- tidal wave of puke splashing all over me, him, and the freshly washed floor.

After that the details get a little fuzzy (wahhhhhhhh! I want to wear my pretty dress!!!!!!!! wahhhhhhhh!!! I got a hair cut yesterday!!!!!! wahhhhh! My nails match my shoes! My nails match my shoooooeeeesssss) and Harry woke up from his late afternoon couch nap (don't even get me started on that new trend) in the foulest mood ever. I tried to shower with Jack (because I was covered head to toe in massage oil, treadmill sweat, and vomit), but Jack DOES NOT LIKE THE SHOWER. DOES NOT LIKE. DOES NOT.

We cancelled the dinner party (apologies again to everyone, especially those of you driving in from Chicago), and then we cancelled tomorrow's family lunch party, too. So tomorrow, we'll be huddled around a birthday cake that feeds 16 shoving cake in our mouths with both fists. Unless, of course, we've all caught whatever it is that Jack has. Then I imagine we'll be violently expelling cake. Either way, I'm super excited about the frosting.

Tonight? We're going to finish Ben's birthday by drinking a bottle of Dom and playing Mario Tennis on the Wii. Also, we have some sushi, taco dip, a hummus quartet, tiny meatballs, mini tacos, itsy bitsy pita pockets, a dazzling array of crackers and chips, and chicken salad that we need to eat. And some Over the Hill plates, cups, napkins and centerpieces to use. Also yard signs. A giant number 30 for the kids to color. 30's to hang from the ceiling. A pink princess birthday tiara Harry picked out for Ben to wear. Favor bags for Harry, Jack, and their cousins. Good thing I drew the line at the personalized candy favors. Also, do I have a receipt for that crap? And oh shit, someone better cancel the party tray from the sandwich shop, or else we're going to OD on nitrites.

Happy Birthday, Ben. I guess Friday the 13th IS bad luck, huh?
At least he got to enjoy his Snuggie (yes-- it's on backwards)

Hands free to drink wine. Awesome.

Oh look-- it's Pukey McYarfsalot

Here he is crawling across the gym playroom to greet me like a little human baby puppy.

Okay. That's all for now. I'm feeling a bit queasy.