Monday, September 24, 2007

Picture September

Well if I'm obsessed with the bitter sweetness of summer ending, Jim Gaffigan (The Pale Comedian who does the Hot Pocket bit and who happens to be my friend's baby daddy...) waxes poetical about why he is glad summer is over. Here , he shares his musings on sausage legs, men who wear purple crocs and the dramas and traumas of sunscreen usage and abusage. Other than celebrating the death of the fruit fly colony in our kitchen, we are marking the last days of September by eating warm cherry tomatoes off the vine, hanging laundry to store away the fresh sunny smell, hitting the homework (who's desk is more organized?), reading lots of books, preparing for our favorite holiday, Halloween of course, getting out the sweaters and hats, spending some time on our front porch doing art, finishing projects started at the beginning of summer and just noticing the way the light slants in through the hallway window.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Baby Boom

Congrats to my sister and Pete on the birth of their baby girl, my lovely new niece on the westcoast. Miss Olive Fiona was born on Labor day (how fitting), a fiery, Irish beauty. Can't wait to meet her! And down the way, the experienced Hip Mama herself, Ariel Gore gave birth to her second child, a baby boy at the end of August. Also, congrats to Olivia Drab who, after experiencing painful miscarriages and reproductive conundrums, gave birth to a *perfect* baby girl. Reading up on Brooklyn Girl's first month of being mom to a newborn daughter and 2 year old son, I am reminded of that blurry but intense, often teary, completely awe inspiring, rugged terrain of the the postpartum months, when the hormones crash and the tedium descends and the realization that, gee this doesn't really let up does it? sets in. Whew, it gives me the goosebumps just thinking about it. All I can say is that my heart goes out to you all. The storms pass, eventually those newborns sleep for 3 then 4 then a glorious 5 or 6 hours at a time and you'll wonder what the heck is wrong with the baby. But it is a tough and often isolating time, so, forget the housecleaning, catnap when the babies do, eat good food, take those friends up of the offers to bring over food or hold the baby while you shower or escape the house for a few hours, breastfeed lying down, cosleep if it gets you more rest, forget the experts and listen to the baby and yourself. Watch good movies, order out often, put the inlaws to work, kick a few laundry baskets at 2 a.m., let the baby cry it out if you need to - it won't kill them, try a sling, swaddle the babe, get some breaks and know that what you are doing really, really matters!!!! But you already knew that, didn't you?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

End of Summer Rituals

Some of the suggestions I have heard so far: back to school shopping and makeovers (for those inclined), pedicures for summer feet, planting indoor herbs or flowers, sitting and reading under an apple tree, star gazing, cleaning/organizing and eating brushetta with garden fresh tomatoes and basil. No one suggested moving to warmer climes, but it has crossed my mind.

We spent most of the weekend getting ready for school: stocking up on items for Juj’s daily cold lunch, picking up the last of the school supplies and replenishing diapers at the daycare center. We harvested a few small heads of purple cabbage (dang slugs got a hold of them and I didn’t want to waste any beer on them) and cherry tomatoes and set the alarm clocks for a little earlier. Of course there will be plenty of time for fall activities such as hikes along the river, trips to the pumpkin farm for gourds and caramel apples, hearing the rustle of leaves along the sidewalk, the rush and energy of cooler nights, but I am getting ahead of myself here.

On Sunday, my parents and I, along with Juj, took a trip on replica of a 1800's schooner, organized through our local science museum. The sailboat was built by volunteers and is a combination of the types of boats that sailed the great lakes transporting lumber in the days before steam engines. Four towering 150 year old white pine trees were given by the Menominee Nation and stand as the tall masts, holding ancestral spirits inside. It was a glorious day, the lake glistened as we helped hoist the sails and listened to the first mate direct the vessel: "ease the sheets, idle hands aloft," and I thought of the romance of the sea, the immigrants and slave ships, of words like doldrums and poop deck, expressions like "three sheets to the wind, loose cannon and walking the plank." That is before the nausea kicked in as Juj and I explored the sleeping quarters and galley. Indeed, Terra firma is the place for me. Even though the schooner winds it’s way through the St. Laurence seaway to the Bahamas during the winter months, I myself am staying put, with my feet on the ground and dealing with the changing seasons and new routines. What's your "end of summer" ritual?