Friday, April 21, 2017

twenty-two weeks

We did the math. Frankie and her siblings were born right around the time I got pregnant.

Madelyn was so excited, she was sending us photos even before she was even allowed to pick the dog up, after the requisite eight weeks. And after she brought Frankie home, I'd get cheery texts on Thursdays like, "Happy 15 weeks!"

Gray and white, Frankie is an Italian greyhoud with a tail that has so much wag that my two-and-a-half year old can't stop talking about it. In fact, Ro talks about her a lot when she's not around.

"Who's the most beeeyeeeaaauuuutiful dog in the world? FRANKIE DOG!"

I think the feeling was mutual. Frankie would bounce around from couch to floor to kitchen to couch to Ro, to dining room and back. The dog is taller than my kid when standing on two hind legs. Then she'd come to a rest--right on my growing belly. I swear, that dog knew I was growing a child earlier than almost anyone else. I always felt like she was saying hello to the son the rest of us have to wait until August to lay eyes on.

Having a dog-niece is the perfect situation for us. We are hardly home, either at work or at Nani's house, so it'd be unfair to keep any animal alone for so many hours. But Madelyn's dog could come and play, giving our kid the joys of having a pet without as much responsibility.

Madelyn tried to keep up with the dog's boundless energy with walks and nonstop playing at home. They were together 24/365--a perk of working from home. In fact, at 13 weeks (right after they put in the cerclage to keep my baby inside), Jon built Frankie a "doggie deck" so she could sit next to Madelyn's work desk, watch the happenings outside and nap in the sunlight. You know, re-energize for pushing boundaries. Like any growing child.

They'd come over on the weekend, chasing each other (and Ro) around the yard, catching the ball or Frisbee. But last time, a few weeks ago, Frankie found a way out through a gap in the fence. Madelyn chased and called her for a long time before bringing her back home. Madelyn was visibly weary and worried, just like any parent of a toddler I have ever known. Frankie just jumped around and played as if she hadn't given us a scare.

Tonight, Jon was taking the laundry to the washer when I heard him yell in a strange tone. I hobbled downstairs, not fast at all, but he wouldn't say what had been in that text message. He was dialing. I could hear Madelyn sobbing hysterically on the phone, and I only understood "Frankie. Hit by a car." Ro was prancing around us, sing-songing something about princesses. She heard the name and stopped to ask, "Is Frankie coming over?" Even though Madelyn said not to, Jon got in his car and drove to the city. I sat on the floor and cried. Ro gave me a hug, because "that's what makes people feel better when they are sad."

Ro realized something was wrong. Normally, it's rare that anyone but her father is allowed to do the bedtime routine. But she let me rock her and hold her. I didn't let go until long after she fell asleep. All I could think about was the incident at the mall. Ro and I had met a friend to play at a series of tubes, slides and climbing blocks semi-enclosed in the center of the mall. Everything was going fine until I saw my usually shy toddler smile at at me, turn and bolt away at top speed, right out of the entrance to the enclosure. I don't walk very well right now, let alone run, so I couldn't possibly catch her. Ro got about 15 stores away from her bellowing mother and almost turned the corner before she decided to stop. I cannot describe the pure terror that rocked me to the core.

So I have an idea how Madelyn may have felt when Frankie squirmed away from her efforts to put on the leash at the park, eluding her for 20 minutes before running right into the street. It's something she has never done before, and will never get the chance to do again. My heart breaks for Madelyn. And my heart aches for my child, who will likely not stop asking about Frankie for a very, very long time to come. Rest in peace, Frankie. I wish we had more time.






Monday, November 21, 2016

improvising

The thing that solidified how much I loved the Jumping place where we had Ro's birthday party is this: The young people who work there saw that my homemade banner, which was actually recycled from her Wizard of Oz birthday party last year (and I intended to hang in her room, which has yet to be decorated), was missing one of the letters.

So they created a solution.

The "I" is made out of paper and taped onto the banner.

Good work, kids.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

it was a jolly holiday

I'm not sure how I feel about putting Ro's photo out there so blatantly anymore. However, I want to show you that I slapped together a damn fine Mary Poppins costume on the evening of October 30. Again, my brain only activated at about 6 p.m. when everything brewing in my head the weeks before finally clicked:

  • She inherited a nice wool coat.
  • I found a lovely light, thin maroon scarf at the $5 store.
  • Madelyn got her some nice, shiny "ladyshoes."
  • I found some paisley fabric ("carpet" fabric is hella expensive!)--this was my only purchase--and made a "carpet bag" from scratch. She still wanted to carry the Halloween candy bag she got at daycare instead. 
  • I sewed a parrot head out of felt.
  • I took her lightweight Cubs baseball bat and a small styrofoam ball, then cut off a leg from my RAGGEDY old scrub pants and fashioned a feather-light umbrella.
  • My crafty sister-in law, M, had made us a bunch of paper flower prototypes before our wedding (FIVE years ago), which I had saved. I sewed them to a very Mary Poppins-shaped hat, courtesy of my mom's sister in India (the hat was part of a very India's-take-on-a-western-dress ensemble. It's glittery.).
  • I made a clip-on bow to put on the neckline of her white onsie top. 
  • I sewed her a long circle skirt, also in navy. 
  • I braided her hair on top of her head.
She's holding the "umbrella."


If only that bag had unlimited treasures like the real one did. 

You'll have to imagine what it looked like with the coat and scarf, but I thought it was pretty cute and nearly everyone figured out who she was supposed to have been (save for one lady who said My Fair Lady?)

I have to figure out what I want her to be next year...unless she decides to have her own opinion. But for now, she's all about Mary: this kid demands "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Supercalifragilick," or "Jolly Holiday" (her favorite) at least 10 times a day. But heaven help you if you substitute Ro's name in the lyrics when you sing along. "NO! MARY!"

"Practically perfect, in every way."


Saturday, November 19, 2016

jump

My kid turned 2 on Halloween (the same day Jon turned 39). We dressed her up as Mary Poppins and took her around to four houses where she refused to say "Trick or Treat," and wasn't even much into the candy. But she did realize it was her birthday--AND DADDY'S--and really enjoyed the balloons and cake.

Everyone in our lives was annoying me about a birthday party. I was hoping to get away without one this year, because, well, she's TWO. But after it seemed we would be having a series of dinner parties for which the house needed to be presentable and a meal/entertaining would be necessary for each, i booked a Jump Around/Bouncehouse/Pump Up place. They decorate, serve the kids food/drink and let them play their hearts out on all this inflatable equipment and other crazy toys. What's not to love? And the entire thing is completely done in two hours.

They have the system down to a science.

Ro is coming out of her shell. She was confused about why it was her birthday again, especially because I had just reinforced that "every day is not your day" and "this present is for someone else; you don't get to open presents every day" 72 hours prior to her party. But she went with it, and had a blast.

I was almost paralyzed by sensory overload. I think in my old age, I'm losing the ability to retain focus in any situation whatsoever. Perhaps it's because I don't sleep anymore. I felt a little shellshocked when it was over.

Friday, November 18, 2016

remarkable

Today I celebrated cc's birthday with her for the first time in YEARS. She's always traveling so one week she's in Turks & Caicos and the next she's in Newfoundland, Canada. Jet-setting around isn't quite as glamorous as it sounds, but it does sound exciting.

Ro stayed at her grandparents, where she dropped a deuce in the potty for the very first time. While I was sad that I wasn't there, it's likely it would not have happened under my watch anyway. It breaks my heart that my mother and the daycare lady are potty-training my child (for the most part). It adds to the guilt pile I have tied around my neck, slowing down every step.

Life is much shorter than any of us really care to recognize, while we have it. CC took a leap of faith and I pray that it brings her all the happiness she deserves. We should all be so brave.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

it only took five months

Part of the reason I took so dang long to visit my friend and her beautiful new baby is because I had wanted to make a "rainbow" quilt, but didn't want to jinx the pregnancy by starting on it until I knew the baby was out and both of them were safe. 

But sewing with pins is treacherous with a busybody toddler, so I only got to work on it when I felt like staying up all night (we are already up superlate because madam Ro does not sleep well). So I'd carve out a little time here and there, but mostly feel like a bad friend for taking so long. 

I stayed up three nights in a row to finish, but then sewed the binding on backwards--it's supposed to show on both sides. I didn't realize it until I had taken the quilt out of the dryer the day we were going to visit. I am very disappointed in myself. 

It's not a typical rainbow, but my friend got the gist right away.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

that old library is now a Korean church

I got roped into hosting a "facebook party" where the representative holds prizes and cutesy quizzes and we all spend an hour virtually looking at kids books online. I want to buy ALL OF THEM for my kid. And by "for my kid," I really mean, "for me."

Here's the thing: I have always been obsessed with books. I clearly remember being three years old, climbing down the steps with my mother of the downtown library in the old, yellow-stone building. I remember thinking to myself that it was my favorite place in the world. I made my mother bring me there as often as I could. The librarian knew us and would show me cool books. Now I realize I was probably the only brown three-year-old looking for books, so I'd be pretty hard to forget.

Later, there was Nancy Drew. I made it a mission to read every single one of the "old," hardcover series. And I'm pretty sure I did it. The Mystery of the 99 Steps, I believe, was my favorite. I had to google to remember the plot, because all I could remember was "the secret of the 99 steps." They went to France! There was intrigue! There was danger! These girls were doing it for themselves! What's not to love?

As a pre-teen, I often found myself escaping into books anytime I wasn't supposed to be doing something else. Like being in school, or taking a shower. I read at the table (until they yelled at me), under the covers with a flashlight (until they yelled at me). I always took a book to the boring family parties where the closest kid to my age was my brother, whose novelties I could enjoy plenty at home. I sat in the corner and tore through whatever I had with me until it was done. And then I'd sullenly look at whatever they had on tv and be forced to socialize. It's funny, because I'm actually an extrovert.

Much later, I was reading for a living.

Now, I never get to read non-board books. Not even for work. I've had The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks sitting on my nightstand for two years. Perhaps, now that I've removed the Facebook application from my phone, I'll get around to dusting it off.

Or instead I'll dive into the mountain of kids books I'm ordering. At this point, my attention span is more suitable for preschool-level reading, anyway.