Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Night Terrors!

Lil Pet just had one of her night terrors again and it wasn't from reading Babar before bed (The Little Elephant That Was Shot and Killed For His Ivory.) I came home from class about an hour and a half after she went to sleep, heard her crying and found her sitting up in bed, forlorn and inconsolable. Usually I can just lay her back down or put her on my chest and she will fall back asleep, but not tonight. Her whimpers turned into screams, back arching, coughing, groaning and flailing. Now I start to panic. Stomach pain? Reflux? Nightmares? Teething? Nothing I do stops her screaming. Not the turning on of the light, not the holding and the soothing, not the offering of a bottle, nothing until I go into the bright bathroom and show her the toys and the tub and her toothbrush, which she reaches out for. I put some baby toothpaste on it and she accepts. JB and I, both baffled, frustrated and concerned, lay down next to her and finally, she sleeps.

This used to happen much more often and fits descriptions of night terrors: early in the sleep cycle, during the non-REM sleep when they are transitioning between stages of sleep and apparently get stuck. They are only partially awake and non responsive to parental attempts to soothe. This is part of the reason why we have co slept with her for so long, because being woken up by crying and wild thrashing is terrifying for us as well. I guess we are supposed to ride them out, keep her safe without picking her up (which can make things worse) and make sure she gets enough sleep during the day.

On less terrifying note (I hope), I started my spring semester last week. I’m taking 3-D design with an instructor whose motto is ‘we do it right, cause we do it twice’ which sounds about right. (I am attempting to build my first 3-d object out of cardboard and my brain is resisting the idea of the possibility of any more than two dimensions). The other class, which I apparently am really going to need, is yoga. It just happened to fulfill a non-visual arts requirement and worked out well with my two fabulous babysitters (momma and papa-in-law). It is the Iyengar method, and so far I am not a huge fan of that rope wall (looks too much like a torture device), or all of those blankets, blocks and wraps used to get into really uncomfortable positions I can’t seem to get out of without a non-graceful thump to the ground, but I’ll give it a try. I’m sure it will stretch me in more ways than one.

I’ve been tinkering with the new blogger templates and thought a new look should start out the new year. Thanks to Jennifer for the ‘children’s books you’ll never see’ tip (sorry, I couldn't link everyone to "C is for Condoms, Horton Hires a Ho!, Paddington gets Tanked and The Little Engine that Couldn't Because He Was a Worthless Bum Like Your Father!), but you get the idea. Oh, and forget about Pedro, vote for Jim!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Milk Eyed Mender

New Music for Monpon - Joanna Newsom (thanks steph!) I absolutely love this album - the music and lyrics are heartbreaking and beautiful. Joanna plays the harp and has a bjork like voice that sounds like she is 10 and as steph said you'll either love or hate. Listen here and read on from the Milk Eyed Mender:

Sprout and the Bean (Lyrics) Video
I slept all day awoke with distaste and I railed, and I raved That the difference between the sprout and the bean is a golden ring, it is a twisted string. And you can ask the counselor; you can ask the king; and they'll say the same thing; and it's a funny thing: Should we go outside? Should we go outside? Should we break some bread? Are y'interested? And as I said, I slept as though dead dreaming seamless dreams of lead. When you go away, I am big-boned and fey in the dust of the day, in the dirt of the day. and Danger! Danger! Drawing near them was a white coat, and Danger! Danger! drawing near them was a broad boat, And the water! water! running clear beneath a white throat, and the hollow chatter of the talking of the Tadpoles, who know th'outside! Should we go outside? Should we break some bread? Are y'interested?

Sadie Sadie
white coat, carry me home. Bury this bone, take this pinecone. Bury this bone to gnaw on it later; gnaw on the telephone. 'Till then, we pray & suspend the notion that these lives do never end. And all day long we talk about mercy: lead me to water lord, I sure am thirsty. Down in the ditch where I nearly served you, up in the clouds where he almost heard you And all that we built, and all that we breathed, and all that we spilt, or pulled up like weeds is piled up in back; it burns irrevocably. (we spoke up in turns, 'till the silence crept over me) Bless you and I deeply do no longer resolute and I call to you But the water go so cold, and you do lose what you don't hold. This is an old song, these are old blues. This is not my tune, but it's mine to use. And the seabirds where the fear once grew will flock with a fury, and they will bury what'd come for you Down where I darn with the milk-eyed mender you and I, and a love so tender, is stretched-on the hoop where I stitch-this adage: "Bless this house and its heart so savage." And all that I want, and all that I need and all that I've got is scattered like seed. And all that I knew is moving away from me. (and all that I know is blowing like tumbleweed) And the mealy worms in the brine will burn in a salty pyre, among the fauns and ferns. And the love we hold, and the love we spurn, will never grow cold only taciturn. And I'll tell you tomorrow. Sadie, go on home now. Bless those who've sickened below; bless us who've chosen so. And all that I've got and all that I need I tie in a knot that I lay at your feet. I have not forgot, but a silence crept over me. (So dig up your bone, exhume your pinecone, my sadie)

How beautifully layered with imagery and that simple, emotive language.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


So I couldn’t help but get a cookie when I stopped for bread at the store today. I know sweets are on the no-no list but it is hard to go cold turkey. It reminds me of trying to quit smoking back in the day, but at least one could get cranked up on zyban, the patch or nicorette gum (or all three for that matter and don’t forget the tea) but refined sugar? One could go about with those small packets of equal or the like and rip one open when the urge hit, but really how healthy can that be? (Go stevia!) Me, I prefer my sugars refined, especially in the rounded, mounded, sweetened cookie form.

I truly have been existing entirely off cookies for the last month. It all started with Christi’s snickerdoodles, which arrived shortly after Jane’s peanut butter cookies with the chocolate kisses on top. Judy, for her part, always has pepperkakors (Swedish gingersnaps, which are to die for...) in the oven. It continued rather obscenely with Lee’s white chocolate chip cookies, Paul, Kathy and Joe’s handmade caramels (which technically aren’t cookies, but content wise...), Lauren and Lynn’s snowflake basket of frosted Christmas cookies and the like, and finally Jamer’s numerous batches of oatmeal chocolate chip delights. This doesn’t even account for the heavenly key lime pie Jen made, Katy’s flourless chocolate cake and Aunt Grace's "famous" cranberry pudding.

So, as I pushed the stroller across the half frozen, still green grass at the park today, I realized that I’d probably been on a sugar high for the entire holiday season and now perhaps I’m coming down. Not with the flu or with a cold but with the bright cold reality of January - the month after the gluttony! I thought about change and new phases and how warm it was when the wind wasn’t blowing. Little Pet and I stopped to look at the blueness of the lake and the bare tree branches and the minuscule balls of snowthat looked like Styrofoam that collected an old brown leaf. We listened to the chimes blowing in the wind and admired art mobiles in someone’s back yard and I realized how much I needed a cold, bright, clear January day.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Blue Christmas

Friday, January 05, 2007

In with the new

Well, the temperature never dropped - it has been as mild as March as the New Year opens. Since the final book projects were completed a few days before Christmas eve, we dove face first into the holiday craze. These last few weeks have been intense in the way only family vacations can be, with clusters of social engagements required of large extended families and long stretches of unstructured "together" time interrupted only by the flu-like symptoms that blew through the house this week. The smell of puke still lingers, somewhere, though I don’t know where...

It is amazing what an extended winter break can do to parents - JB misplaced his phone and wallet, glasses and pager numerous times, and managed to mail a handful of bills without stamps. I seem to have been scattered and absorbed into the structure of the house itself, a arm left in the washer, a leg or two attached to the vacuum cleaner, hands always busy catching things or toddlers as they fell, or came undone or spilled. Juji too was affected and was witnessed crawling around on the floor repeating "salsa, salsa, salsa" over and over again for nearly a half hour.

Silliness and lethargy came next, after the forgetfulness and the vomiting. I was guilty of defacing the school newsletter with Juju while JB chased after Lil Pet who kept finding and eating batteries, magnets and a ping-pong ball. She ran away from dada chanting "salzsa, salzsa..." When that flu-like bug invaded, we all lazed on the couch eating saltines, drinking white soda, slurping Popsicles and watching the sweetest "Charlie and Lola" video from the library. Everyone was ready for the structure of school, work and just plain routine as Juju finally returned to school today.

As for me, I’ve got a few weeks before the next semester begins and will enjoy being free of "assignments" and "due dates." I really struggled to find time to create the projects for my studio classes and realize that I only want to do one studio class per semester with the little toddler at my knee. She says "mama" so sweetly and intensely now, it is clear who belongs to who.

I am breathing a sigh of relief as January arrives and the "festivities" slow down. I plan on watching more junk tv (how I used to love Scrubs!), taking regular showers and trying not to sleep in my clothes (those old ADL’s again), eating something other than cookies and trying to air out the sick house, which now just smells like vomit and Lysol. Yuck!