Friday, August 26, 2011

35 and Glad of it.

I'm 35 now. (And thank you for all the birthday wishes, dear friends!) Unless I plan to live to 140, I have to admit that at this point, I've reached middle age. I hereby call in those bets. (ahem *MOM* ahem)

From what I see on the internet, 35 is a milestone. Apparently, at this age, I'm supposed to be going to yoga everyday, eat nothing but organic low fat, free range foods, spend no more than 4 hours a day cavalierly listing my hand crafted, sustainable, upcycled, eco-friendly art on, save the polar bears, and teach my child mandarin so he's prepared when the Chinese take over. I should weigh about 10lbs more than I did at 18, and I should begrudge those 10lbs, and bitch about them constantly. (even tho those 10lbs are all in my chest, and all that's keeping me from looking like a 16 yr old boy.)

Well. I've got the Mandarin thing covered, thank you Joss Whedon.

Meanwhile! Back in reality world! Here's what I did today:

I woke up late and snuggled enticingly with my husband. Right about the time things were about to get really relaxed, the dog barged in our room to inform us that, while he could wait for food, he needed to go OUT. NOW. The door hitting the wall alerted the toddler (who is 2.5 yrs, but the size of an average 4 yr old) that we were awake, and he began rattling the hook lock on his door. (yep, we lock him in his room at night.) Apparently 'play quietly in your room time' was over. I got up, shooed the dog downstairs, free-ed the kraken (ahem. toddler.) and then carried him, complete with sodden diaper, downstairs to care for the dog. Why? Because when a 130lb dog has to go out, and you weigh the time it's going to take you to change a diaper against the size of the dog mess you're going to have to clean up? You let the kid wait a minute.

Then, clad seductively in a giant t shirt and granny panties, I changed the toddlers diaper on the kitchen floor. I let the dog in, fed him, and then caught the 35lb toddler as he threw himself, cannonball style, at me. (For the first time today. Keep track of how often this happens. I did.) I plopped Sawyer in a chair, let the dog back out, found cereal, fruit, juice and "Baby" (Sawyers dinosaur) and made breakfast, with stuffed toy companion, for my toddler.

Next, I went upstairs, (left the toddler, the dog and the cereal alone together. LIVING DANGEROUS!) and roused my teen. This involved throwing shoes and threats of punishment. On my way back down, I grabbed a pile of laundry.

Back in the kitchen, I dropped the laundry and caught the toddler in mid air (that's twice) before sitting him back down, starting a load of wash, folding what was in the drier, running the dishwasher, and finally making myself some food and water, and starting the coffee maker.

After breakfast (organic black beans on home made toast. At least I get the food right!) I wiped Sawyer, Baby, Oden, the chair and the table down (in that order, and with the same rag.) and sat down to work on etsy with a cup of coffee.

Typing is hard when a 35lb toddler keeps grabbing your arm and swinging from it great ape style. I gave up on working, packed a diaper, wipes, a cup, a snack, a book and Baby in to a diaper bag, caught the toddler again (3rd time.) and loaded him in the car.

First stop? Mr Singhs. I set the kraken (ahem. Toddler.) free, and got another coffee, a water, and paid for my gas. Then I went in to the back room, and found my son, where he was hiding behind the mop bucket. He yelled "I FOUND YOU!" and launched himself at me, knees tucked up like a ball. Again. (that's 4)

I suggested to Gina (the Saturday girl at Mr Singhs.) that we might want to keep that door closed, in the future, and went out to pump the gas. Immediately, a fire truck went by. Followed by a police car. Followed by a billion bikers. The weekends poker run was headed through, so I sat Sawyer on the hood of the car to watch. He promptly made a 'shooter' out of his hands, and started picking off the bikers as they went by, complete with recoil. I tried to stop him, but then noticed that the early 20s boys in the car next to ours were laughing hystericly at the little boy 'shooting' the bikers as they went by, and figured, what the hell. My guess is that he 'got' half of them. My boy has aim. After the second fire truck and police car, Sawyer launched himself at me from the hood of the car (5) and I plopped him in his car seat, and buckled him in before he could get away.

Thanks to a divine intervention, I was able to achieve a life long dream today. With all the windows down and the radio cranked, I screamed the lyrics to "Radar Love' along with the radio as I peeled out of the toll booth. My 11 year old station wagon doesn't peel easily, and I don't listen to the radio much any more, so that was seriously a gift from god. Thanks, god.

The divine intervention was the grace before the storm, as I drove in to downtown Portsmouth. Apparently, I missed a notice. Everyone who has never driven a car before, never been to Portsmouth before, never seen humans before, or never worked a four way stop sign before is supposed to get in front of me at 10.30 on a Saturday morning, on my way to the farmers market. Then they should rubberneck, stall out, consult their GPS in the middle of an intersection, slow down to take pictures of hipsters, and generally scare the bejeeesus out of me. If it weren't for Radar Love still playing in my brain, it would have been obsecenities out the window. So, thanks again, god.

Safely parked in the muni lot, I unloaded my favorite stroller from the back.

here's the thing: We have 3 strollers. One is a nice, used tricycle jogger, which I like because it compensates for a long stride, but loathe because it gives me carpal tunnel to steer. BUT, it was free. The next is a cute little number with four wheels and a recliner, which I have lent out and don't remember to whom. It's handy, but a little unweildy, and no good for tall people. The last, my favorite, is an umbrella stroller. It weighs abotu 2lbs, is stained and crusty, has no storage, and is far older than Sawyer. I got it for a buck at a yard sale, but new, it's about 10 bucks. It is my favorite thing ever. Tristen had one just like it, and the only flaws in the design are that it's light enough to tip over if you don't balance your bag carefully on the back, and that it's too short for a tall person to walk fast - you kick it constantly. But for a'city run?" it's perfect.

We entered the farmers market. We saw friends, we got honey sticks, we chatted up friends, we listened to music. Then we bought tomatoes, and saw more friends. Finally, we rounded the corner and came upon Mecca.

Zachs Corn.

For anyone not raised within 20 miles of York, Maine: Zacharias Farms, or Zachs corn, is the best, yummiest, tastiest, most sought after corn in southern maine. It's also the biggest employer of teen farm hands: My first job was selling corn at a roadstand, and I'm SOO EXICTED that I no longer have to drive to the back of nowhere, that Zachs has made it as far as the farmers market!

I parked Sawyer, content with a honey stick, and started digging in to the pile of ears. I've got a little experience wit this, and found the best of the best while I chatted with the man running the stand. (Kates next eldest brother, class of 92, FYI, Yorkies:) At my knees, Sawyer yelled " Mom! Mom! Bees! Mom! Bees Drink! MOM BEES DRINK!" until i finally bent over. Sure enough, I'd parked him in front of a display of sunflowers. Which were covered, end to end, with bees. Dozens of them. About 6 inches from his face. I backed him off a foot, and then we talked about 'bee dances' and drinking nectar while Mr. Zach totaled our purchase.

We made our way down the hill, through the lot, and across the street to the porta-pottys. I, renegade that I am, left Sawyer strapped in his stroller, OUTSIDE THE PORTAPOTTY, where I couldn't see him, for a full 30 seconds. I totally got dirty looks for that. From other moms. Who thought it was more sanitary to bring there kid in *with* them? Um, ewwww. I'll play the odds on kidnapper outside a park filled with parents paying attention vs. FLESH EATING MICROBES any day, thanks.

Now it was time for the BIG THING. We went to the BIIIIG playground. The one with sections for big kids and little kids? The coooool playground, near the Saturday market, where all the cool kids go. I parked Sawyers stroller, and set him free. And then. And! Then! I Sat on a BENCH!

yep. I didn't chase him all over the playground. I didn't referee his disputes with other kids over see saw rights. I didn't play 'drive thru" with him (as I saw another parent doing, ordering a pretend burger and fries.) I didn't climb in to the tree house and protect his cute littel chin from accidental bruising. I just sat. When he moved to another jungle gym, I followed, and sat. When he needed help up a rope ladder, I was there. Then I sat down. And what I saw, was this:

Sawyer wanted to play with the 'wheel" (It's like a ships wheel, kinda cool). He walked up to the boy playing with it (his age, but waaaay smaller.) and said "HI!". The boy shoved him in the chest and said "NO MINE!" The boys father looked up from his iphone and said "No, Boy, you have to share." and then went back to his iphone. I stayed mum. Sawyer approched again, and again, the other boy shoved him. "NO MINE!" he yelled. The father didn't look up.

Sawyer approched a 3rd time, and this time, when the Boy tried to shove him.. Sawyer took a step to the side. the Boy missed him, and stumbled forward. Sawyer took a couple steps and started playing with the wheel. Boy, confused, wandered back over, and played with the other gizmos. In seconds, they were playing together.

The dad never looked up from his iphone. And also? My boy? NINJA!


I've driven to Newburyport and back three times this week. That's 3 more times than I've made that trip in the last 2 years. Day one, I worked with Lil... whom I first met when she was 3, and who is now somehow this incredibly beautiful, capable, put together young woman, totally able to run a large jewelry store. How on earth did that happen?

The next couple days, I just drove back and forth, delivering. Yesterday, I took Sawyer to the riverwalk there, and let him look at the boats. He made friends. Lots of friends. Friends with dogs, and people, and the harbor master, and fishermen... His vocabulary consists only of nouns, but he gets his point across.


umm, Hi!


I'm fishing...

FISH! FISH! NOM NOM NOM! (Sings a little 'fishing' song in the style of a Pteranadon..)

do you, umm, like fish?

FISH! WHERE FISH? YAY! (Looks in bucket, sees fish already caught) HEY! HEY! GOOD JOB! (Gives two thumbs up to random fisherman, continues down the pier... repeat ad nauseum for an hour, with the same enthusiasm for fish heads, seagulls, an elderly couple, and a shitzu.)

It is absolutely impossible not to be in a good mood when confronted by Sawyers relentless cheerfulness. He really, really, loves people. And things. And animals. And food. He is the most cheerful person I've ever met. He thinks strangers are his best friends that he has not met. This, occasionally, makes life interesting.

This morning, on the beach:

(Me, laying on my belly in the sand, taking photos) Sawyer! No! You can NOT shoot us with the water gun! No!

Sawyer nods, turns, and starts running. It's a big, flat beach, with no one on it. I let him go. Take a picture. Notice in the LCD screen that there's a person in the picture, and that Sawyer is headed straight for her. Look up. Yep, he's barreling towards a complete stranger, about 200 yards away, and he's carrying a loaded water gun. I take off running.

He's gotten a few shots off before I catch up. That little guy can MOVE. The 'victim' is laughing hysterically, running in circles, trying to evade ice cold ocean water. I send up a little prayer of thanks that she has a sense of humor, and grab the salty gunman.

"Sawyer!" I say. And then stop. Where was I going with this? I told him he couldn't shoot US with the water gun, and he went and found other people to dampen. How do I explain this one?

"The watergun is for MONSTERS Sawyer, only monsters!" I say. "NOT PEOPLE."

I get a confused face in response, so I turn him bodily towards the water and say

"Monster! In the water! GET IT!" And he takes off running, again.

"Sorry," I say to the lady who is now catching her breath.

"Oh, don't worry!' She replied. "I saw him coming at me with that water gun, and I had to play along. That was fun!"

I have no idea what to say to this, besides, thank you so much. Who gets shot with freezing water by a 2 year old stranger and isn't upset? this lady. Who can pick the playmate out of the crowd? My kid. Thank you, God, for putting those two together this morning.

We spent the morning eating blue popsicles, (Smuf tongue!) digging, building, swooping through the waves and 'fishing' like a Pteradon, and learning to body surf. Yep. He tried it. On his own. With no board. If he could have closed his mouth, instead of screaming in glee, it would have been perfect. Instead, he was happy as a clam and had a belly full of water when we left.

We came home at noon, after making friends at: a hotel, where I'd left my shorts (that's the whole story. Sorry, wish it was more interesting.) and Sawyer conned the desk lady in to reading him the paper; the cops outside the hotel, who gave him a wave and a quick buzz of the sirens for no particular reason, and the drive through lady at Starbucks, who offered to babysit, any time, after Sawyer said 'Thank you' f. or his snack.

I put the kid to bed. I worked. I got him up. we drove to Newburyport and back with thankfully no adventures. We went to Hannafords.

I, being out of my mind, let Sawyer get in the 'car cart'.. which is a giant, hard to maneuver plastic car on the front of a grocery cart. Sawyer knows how to work the seat buckles, so that's useless.. which led to him both: Leaning out of the cart, waving one arm, and yelling: "ALLL ABBBOOARD!!" for five aisles... AND randomly leaving the car altogether, and wandering off at high speeds. Thankfully, there was a grand-parent type couple in the pet food aisle who had a long talk with Sawyer about their cats, our cats, our dog, their dog, and eventually played with him using a cat toy surreptisiously taken from it's wrapper. I'm not making this up. Very nice people, and they were laughing and smiling when we left, so I guess Sawyer did his job.

Commence checkout. This is a tag team effort between me, the clerk, the supervisor, and Jonathan, who happened to be standing there and whom knows Sawyer. Between us all, I managed to pay for the groceries, and only had to run and grab Sawyer from the doorway once.

Now, we've got the car cart. Which is, big, hard to maneuver, and loud. I lead Sawyer to the corral IN the store, and we ditch it. Which leaves me with a bag of ice, a bag of groceries, and a bag of dogfood. Really, I need a cart.

"Sawyer" I say. "Let me put this stuff in a little card, and we'll take it to the car."

"OK!" says Sawyer, promptly heading out the door, alone.

I whistled and slapped my leg. "Hey! Here BOy!" I called.

Sawyer stopped, turned around and came back to me. And then I realized what I'd done. I looked up, already prepared to crack up at myself, in to the eyes of another mom, who had an infant in one arm and a toddler by the hand. We locked gazes, and both began laughing, until we were both weepy. Because, when it's 100 degrees out, and you're that tired, and someone catches you whistling for your dog when you mean to catch your kid, what can you do?

I hope she's at home right now with a glass of wine, telling her husband all about it.