Tag Archives: kids

Cross-dresser

This is our daughter’s doll. His name is Cailin because that’s what his box said. He’s French and wears a fetching shorts playsuit year round, regardless of weather or what any particular event calls for. No black tie, no jacket. Ever.

This policy has started to take its toll on the striped suit and is causing a minor gender issues dilemma.

Let’s start at the beginning. Cailin joined the household – we don’t say he was “bought” because that demeans him – from a local toy store. A nice one too. One of those ones where they have a lot of wood toys that cost $150. The choice was between him and another over-dressed, flouncy version of him, so we went with him. He was sleeker in his cap and suit.

(The hat is a thing of the past. There was no keeping it on him. I’m not clear if this was his choice or A.’s, but the hat has been put in storage for the day when sleeping caps make a comeback among the hipster crowd, and it will be cool again to wear it. Sadly, Cailin did not arrive with a full beard or a fixie. If he had, maybe the cap could have stayed as a fashion-forward ironic statement, but on it’s own, it was just too 1850’s.)

The holidays are coming, and I’m sprucing things up around here, so I washed the… let’s call it a pants suit, shall we? And it looks cleaner but still not very interesting. So I did a minor search for a replacement. Turns out Cailin might have to become a girl. Or a cross-dressing boy.

There are two exceptions to the all-girl outfits available for Cailin: a pair of denim overalls retailing for $64 and an MC Hammer top-bottom combo that, with your eyes crossed at an Iranian night club, might suggest “male” or at least raise some questions about the issue. Given that Cailin himself cost less than $40 (shhhh), $64 seems extreme for some tiny glorified jeans. (I know I will be having this argument with A. herself in not so many years, but let’s save later for later.)

All the other choices are some version of a pink dress. So the question is, will transitioning Cailin to being a girl suddenly undermine A.’s confidence in her ability to distinguish the genders or will it be a nice kickstart to her gaydar? (Which she will not have inherited from her mother by the by. I don’t want to get into it, but I’ve all but been on a date before realizing I was being hit on.) Although cross-dressing doesn’t necessarily mean “gay.” Hoover was a fan of the angora cardigan and he wasn’t gay. Creepy, yes. Gay, no. Eddie Izzard loves the ladies and his high heels. So OK, maybe yeah: Cailin just switches back and forth.

On the other hand, maybe Cailin is transgender. In that case, we would, of course, support his decision to make the shift, and we’d have to ramp up to the new outfits by giving him hormone shots. Which, in turn, would make him really moody and hard to be around for a few months. And then there’s the cost of counseling. Huh. That route is starting to look more expensive than the $64 overalls.

Maybe I’m overthinking this and throwing Cailin into a gender crisis he’s not actually experiencing. Maybe he’s just a boy who wears the same clothes day after day after day and has no sense of style. There are boys like that. In that case, I guess my responsibility as his grandmother extends only to making sure he knows how to do his own laundry. The rest is just a lifestyle choice.

You can see how this gets confusing. What to do, what to do. Parenting is so complicated sometimes.

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Bag Lady

birkin.jpgI’ve never been a handbag girl. I don’t know anyone who is, but I have the impression that there are a lot of them out there, these ladies who spend crazy sums on the latest bedazzled clutch or giant slouchy shoulder bag and store them carefully wrapped in tissue on their own special shelves. (Who has that kind of space?) I feel like I’m always reading magazine articles or chapters in breezy books about these women searching for Birkin bags or extolling the wonders of some awful clutch they won’t be caught dead carrying in a year.

The last one I came across was Laura Bennett in her mommy book, Didn’t I Feed You Yesterday?, in which she described how her Birkin bag was her diaper bag for her five young boys and we should all follow suit. To make sure we know she’s a real DIYer and down-to-earth woman just like me, she assures her readers that she got her Birkin from a consignment shop and could never pay retail.

Well that’s a relief. I was trying to save up the $75,000 the antique one was going to cost me on eBay, but that felt like that might be too much for a diaper bag, so I downgraded my aim to $4,500 for the modern equivalent. It’s such a weight off to think that if I spend my copious free time ingratiating myself with my local consignment shop workers, they’ll ring me when one comes through for a mere $2,500. Whew.

Let’s be clear: I have never spent more than $250 on a bag, and that was only once and for a bag I have taken around the world. I don’t think I – or my budget – are cut out for the bag acquisition team. I have my own indulgences but the only thing I think I’ve ever bought in that price range is a laptop. And a college education.

Each to their own though: I have spent $95 on a single bag of groceries at Whole Foods, so I guess we all have our financial blind spots.

I am, however, on my third diaper bag, so maybe I should’ve considered an incredibly expensive, crocodile Birkin instead. Perhaps it does have everything I need. My first diaper bag couldn’t stand up to my overpacking and my skinny Air kept falling out of it, so I had to upgrade to a doctor-bag type. That lasted six months until A. got really fast and heavy: you can’t keep upright on our stairs with a bag on one shoulder and a shifting 25-lb weight on your other arm. The bag lost all the time, which must have been discouraging for it, so, out of concern for its feelings, I retired it and, with severe reservations, cut over to a backpack.

Don’t get me wrong: the backpack is the right tool for the job. But much like the hacksaw you pull out to whittle down your Christmas tree every year, it is not chic, and I look uncomfortable in it. (Don’t ask me how I end up wearing the saw. It’s none of your business.) Sherpas and small children are the only people who look good in a backpack and I am neither. The one advantage to it, besides its carrying utility, is that I have my hands free to hit anyone who tells me how silly it looks.

Not that that happens. Handbag Moms are too refined to call out their derision verbally. But I’ll bet when Junior needs a granola bar right this very instant, I can get to mine faster than they get to theirs. Now that I see that in writing, it does seem like a small win. But I’ll take them where I can get them until I can get back to my cool, green world-traveler bag which holds my stuff and only my stuff. In the meantime, I’m hands-free and my kid is cuter than all the others anyway. So there.

Modern Childhood

imaginary-friends_photo.jpgA friend told me this story about her friend’s six-year-old daughter.

A few months ago, the little girl picked her first imaginary friend and named him Charlie Macaroni. Her parents asked about Charlie regularly and got concerned when the little girl said that no matter how many times she rang him, Charlie wouldn’t return her calls. Not so much with the imaginary friend play dates apparently. The parents considered intervening in their daughter’s unsatisfactory friendship but decided her imaginary life was hers and she’d work it out.

A little while later, the little girl reported having a great time with her new imaginary friend Laura. “Excellent,” the parents thought. “A replacement for absent Charlie.”

“Who’s Laura?” they asked their daughter.

“She’s Charlie’s admin,” the little girl replied.

Well, if you can’t lunch with the boss, the secretary might be more fun anyway.

Here and There

moving_truck2.jpgYou know that phrase, “Keeping up with the Jonses”? Like, you’ve got your eye on the neighbors and are trying to, well, keep up? If they get an Audi, you need an Audi. If their kid goes to violin lessons, you’re off to the Stradivarius factory? (At which point you realize that you will also need a time machine or a billion dollars because there isn’t one and they haven’t made a violin since the 1720s and Stradivarius.com has been hijacked by a company that makes weird tunic-y clothing that you don’t want your kid wearing because how is that keeping up anyway unless you live on in a German suburb or a pricey commune?) You get the idea.

I don’t think my subconscious has really absorbed the metaphorical meaning of the phrase because my version of keeping up with the Jonses is apparently quite literally wanting to keep up with them. Like follow them around.

Here’s what: every time a neighbor moves, I feel like I should move.

It has nothing to do with where they’re moving to: the last examples I can think of were Dallas, Los Angeles and now our current neighbors are off to San Luis Obispo which was nice the one time I drove through there and spent $500 on an Apple Time Machine (because, apparently, a road trip to LA and seeing all that plastic surgery got me super worried about whether I had enough back-ups of my originals…?) but is in the middle of nowhere and just not my bag at all.

But I still feel left out. I feel like your puppy that whimpers at the door when you head to the car even if you’re going out to run a really boring errand. Why would these people want to go places if they aren’t better than here? It must be better than here. Something amazing must be going on where they’re going or they wouldn’t be going, right?

It doesn’t seem to matter that the “something amazing” might only be amazing to them and not me, like getting into a graduate program in a field I only care about only very slightly because I’m a nice person (rainforest monkey evolution) or pursuing a career opportunity I admire but would not want (portrait photographer) or moving to be closer to other people’s grandparents who would probably not be keen to babysit my child so I could go see Transformers 3 on a weeknight.

I don’t want to be left behind. Period. I’m kind of a joiner and I’m pretty competitive. I need to make sure the party I’m not at isn’t better than the party I am at.

I don’t want to get too into the psychology of it, but here’s what I think: when I was kid we moved and I hated where we moved to, so I’ve wanted to keep moving on ever since. Which is weird ’cause really if I’d have just stayed put in the first place and I’d have been happy, but some switch got flipped and I got hooked on, “Change is good!” It probably didn’t help that home life was kind of a wreck, so “elsewhere” was generally pretty attractive.

So travel I did and I moved around a lot for a few years. Turns out “there” is often just a different version of “here” as far as your head is concerned, so eventually I settled in New York, which worked out well, because “there” and “here” converge in New York. It was the perfect location for a here-and-there-r: I never felt bad coming home because New York itself was so great, and I never felt like the people who were leaving were really going anywhere better because where could be better than New York?

Then I got cocky and left myself, assuming I’d be back soon. That was eleven years ago. San Francisco isn’t bad – I definitely think it’s better than Dallas or LA – but I’m back to my puppy at the door behavior whenever anyone goes.

Of course the other part of the move envy is that I’ll miss the people who leave. If they were jerks, I’d probably wave from the porch, secretly snide. But our neighbors are great. Two little kids, helpful, willing to chat a bit on the sidewalk. It’s quiet without them and I’m sad to see them go.

Like a number of parents I’ve known, they’re going to where help is – multiple grandparents and siblings to assist with kid care – and maybe we’ll eventually do the same. I’m going to start working on getting all my grandparents and the siblings to move to Brooklyn so when we get there, we’ll be all set. That’s almost the same thing, right? Then everyone gets to move! Winners all around.

The Best Laid Plans

plan_pool2.jpgI had to miss a baby shower this weekend whose invitation included a request that all the guests bring the expectant mom three beads to include in a rosary-like chain she would use for calming meditation during her labor. I was supposed to assign and then explain a meaning to each bead, for example, “This one represents your patience, which is one of the reasons I think you’ll be a good mom.”

I can see that, from one angle, this is a charming and useful idea. As a carrier of a tiny plastic fawn all through kindergarten, I’m down with security objects. And, against all odds, I’m a convert to meditation. (Don’t tell anyone.)

If someone had tried to give me such a chain when I was pregnant, I would have thanked them politely. I might have even taken it to the hospital with me as a reminder of my nice friends. I also definitely would have wrapped it through another chain of beads, each representing a readily available pain killer or surgical intervention my hospital offers.

I say, do whatever works for you, and what works for me is being as close to medical assistance as possible. I regularly discover bruises of unknown provenance on my arms and legs and the door frame between the kitchen and living room knows my clavicle pretty well, so it’s reasonable to expect that beads might not cover my needs while having a baby.

One of the hundreds of things that “Prepare Yourself for Your Baby!” web sites and books recommend you do before your nine months is up is lay out a birth plan. It’s a “what I want” list from the time you arrive at the hospital door to the time you leave, hopefully 48-72 hours later. There is generally a template included with spaces for preferences ranging from the absurdly specific (overhead lighting) to the pretty basic (painkillers or not) I filled one out. It prompted me to think through the specifics of the upcoming, er, blessed event in the order they would likely happen, and that was useful.

What is less useful is attaching yourself to any of those things actually happening. And if there is anything that the principles of Buddhism have taught me and the experience of parenthood have backed up, it is that the sooner you get comfortable with this reality, the happier you will be.

I know exactly one person whose birth plan went as planned. For everyone else, including myself, things started going off-plan almost as soon as they left the starting gate. I think this is pretty common across all plans – birth, career, life, vacation – and the key to success, despite the deviation (gross or minor), is to detach from the plan almost as soon as you make it.

It’s a neat trick, that.

In my experience, the more I plan, the more attached I get to that exact plan, and the more specific my expectations become. The more specific my expectations become, the more disappointing any divergence will be, even if it’s a really nice divergence. I mean seriously, who would not want to take a two-hour detour to the World’s Largest Ball of Twine? It’s right there for Pete’s sake. Forget your plan – go already!

Of course, it’s good to start with a plan – it helps clarify your desires and helps you think through details that might otherwise be forgotten. But the process of making it often leads to getting fixed on things happening in just that way. So, after years of Type A planning ending in feeling weird and disappointed – what I (try to) do now is

Plan. Not too complicated. Think through things step by step. (Type A extravaganza!)

Re-set.

  1. Make a note of the 2-3 priorities that actually matter. (Birth plan goal? Healthy baby. Vacation plan? Get some rest. See that one play with – whaddaya call him? – Spiderman? Oh – scratch that.)
  2. Related: if the 2-3 things involve reservations, make ’em. Also, book your flights.

Re-plan.Take the “not too complicated” part and your priorities to heart and remove half a dozen things to create some open space. (Hang gliding at 6AM? Maaaaybe…)

Settle down and get happy. Your “plan” = “desirable options.” Print it, put it in your folder and refer to it for reminders, ideas and course correction. But not self-punishment.

That’s my plan for planning. It works for me. But feel free to bead on up if that works for you. And if you just have to have a seventeen page birth plan including your own lighting system, a cooler of the sushi you haven’t been allowed to eat, and your personal umbrella holder guy, go for it. And good luck!

Action Jackson

ateam_poster.jpgSince my early crush on Han Solo, I’ve always liked action movies and I haven’t gotten over it. What right-minded girl doesn’t wish she were dating Jason Bourne? He has everything: abs, mental illness, multiple passports. What’s not to love?

Yeah, sure, I went through a grandiose phase in my teens (Greystoke: Legend of Tarzan, anyone?) and I saw a serious lot of drama and tragedy and just all-out weird shit when I studied film in my twenties, but I think I settled out into the middle when I hit my thirties. Comedy, action, rom com, some documentaries and drama.

(I’m still puzzled at why I stopped watching the edgier films when I got together with R. Maybe it coincided with my getting happier. Or because it’s harder to talk to your boyfriend when you’re trying to read subtitles or follow a plot that involves more than a dodgeball.)

Here’s the weird bit though: after we had A. last spring, my tastes narrowed even more. R. and I used to go to the movies a lot pre-A., but when we started going out again, about two months after A. was born, we had to be choosier because we got out less often. So what did we see? The Losers. Then The A-Team (punctuated by me saying, “This is the best movie EVER,” repeatedly to an uncomprehending R. Apparently, there’s no making up for missing out on Dirk Benedict when you were a twelve-year-old girl.) Then Iron Man 2. More recently, Red. Unstoppable. Limitless. The Mechanic. (Statham = reliable awesomeness on a stick.) God help us, we even saw The Expendables which you could tell from the trailers was going to just flat out suck and totally lived up to that expectation.

What is going on??

I have a couple of theories, naturally.

  1. I’m trying to keep my adrenaline up to keep up with the baby. Although taking down an assassin with a book and an armoire in Tangiers does seem to require more aerobic exercise ahead of time and more specialized skills than bending over 175 times in a day to pick up a 22-pound weight and trying to aim a rubber spoon accurately between two windmilling arms. Or maybe not.
  2. I haven’t fully recovered from ten and a half months of interrupted sleep and only super-bright explosions can keep my attention. Mumbling French people have no chance. Ditto, angsty teens, worried lesbians, bickering couples, and men living alone. Especially with beaver puppets. Bring the fire power, people.
  3. I have exhausted my interpretive abilities trying to guess if our tot is hungry, thirsty, tired or reaching for a wall socket, one of her books, or the large glass container of sugar that has recently come within her reach in the lower kitchen cupboard (deadly, much less interesting and bodily harmful, respectively). I have nothing left to apply to complicated emotional situations involving very attractive people I don’t know and who seem to have really very nice lives off-screen from what I can tell in the four and a half seconds I have to read up on them in Us Magazine in the grocery check-out line while R. pays and the baby is momentarily distracted by a passing balloon or piece of lint.
  4. I have become shallow.

Or maybe it’s just a phase that will pass when Astrid gets a little older. Then I can start watching Bugs Bunny with her, which demonstrates far greater depth I’m sure than my umpteenth viewing of The Bourne Reluctancy. In the meanwhile, if you need me, I’ll be at the 8:10 showing of The Fast Five.

If you can’t beat ’em – and I definitely can’t: look at them for Pete’s sake – you might as well join ’em.

Exposure

expletivebubble.gifOK, so you’re in your car with someone else and you live in California so you are constantly getting cut off by $#&*!, um, let’s call them “people” driving 4 mph in a 35 mph zone who have no idea where they’re going but decide that this left turn, yeah that one right there 20 feet away, must be the one they need to take even though they’re in the far right lane, so they nearly kill everyone in their path, not to mention slow traffic speed to a standstill, so they can make their turn.

What do you do?

Take a breath? No.

You yell. You say bad words about stupid people and curse this state’s lax law enforcement and poor driver’s education that allows clearly incompetent, aimless people on the roads with the rest of us.

I’m not saying this is the most constructive response for my blood pressure, but you don’t know: maybe my head would explode if I didn’t let some of the steam out.

In the last year or so though, there’s been an increasingly large wrench in those mechanics, namely that the passenger with me is very small, facing backwards in the backseat, unable to see the offending event, and, even if she could, unaware of traffic laws (written and unwritten). So she understandably believes that the loud expletives from the front seat must be meant for her, same as the little chunks of cheddar cheese that magically appear over the back of her seat with soothing reminders that we’re “almost there”.

It’s probably good that I learn to curb the yelling now before she starts imitating the content which could lead to some X-rated exchanges that’ll get her kicked out of preschool in a couple of years.

Generally, I’ve been trying to keep a handle on what goes into her ears while I still can, but, even before she falls in love with ska and playing the trumpet in the basement, it’s already a seriously heavy lift.

I’ve refrained from introducing A. to our music list beyond our classical collection because she’s always been sound-sensitive and our tastes veer towards heavy beats (too loud) and complaint rock (too whiny). She prefers easy to understand single voices with obvious instrumentation. Like Raffi. And cowbell.

But I can’t listen to that indefinitely, so, since she’s gotten more noise-tolerant lately, I tried our local techno radio station last week. Ah, Rihanna:

” ‘Cause I may be bad, but I’m perfectly good at it. Sex in the air, I don’t care, I love the smell of it. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me.”

Let’s let the issue lie of what the hell she’s thinking putting out a song like this after her personal experience with getting the crap kicked out of her by a boyfriend and take up what a one-year-old mind would make of these lyrics.

Probably nothing, right? But I’m not starting that sex-me-up diet this early. She’ll get that from billboards, magazines and the internet soon enough.

(Not to be old-fashioned but, holy God, what twelve year olds are wearing these days is the equivalent of what I wore to college parties when I was feeling particularly sure-I’ll-go-home-with-you. I was walking behind what looked like a pre-teen yesterday and I wasn’t sure she was wearing anything between her giant sweatshirt and her Uggs. Going entirely pantsless is pushing the, “But I’m not cold!” excuse a little far, isn’t it? No? OK. Whatever. I guess any sentence that includes the phrase, “these days” marks me as uncool already. And A. is only one. That doesn’t bode well…)

I switched the station to NPR. The voices are soothing and A. bounces to the theme music. But then I had to turn that off too: a steady stream of bad news, and particularly graphic bad news, about civilian casualties in Libya, pedophilia, tsunamis, reactor meltdowns and the infallibly depressing coverage of our dysfunctional Congress aren’t much better than S&M enthusiasts.

I guess it’s back to swearing and Raffi. At least it’s preparing her for fending off bullies and chatting with longshoremen. That’s something, right?

Recovery Time

weeble.jpgDo you remember Weebles? “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”?

By the way, I always thought they were “Weeble Wobbles,” not “Weebles,” which goes to show how effectively that advertising phrase caught on plus how important it was to me at six that everyone have the dignity of a full first and last name.

If you’re not familiar with them, Weebles are egg-shaped plastic “people” with a weight in the bottom. When you tip them to the side, they pop back upright, (unlike real eggs which untidily roll off the counter to their deaths. Which is a bummer for a small child looking for a good time from an egg-shaped friend.) The Weebles’ resilience makes them seem perky and well-balanced. Or out-of-touch, like that friend you have who smiles no matter what and sometimes you think she should really get some therapy, just in case one day it all backs up on her.

Anyway. A. is like that. Not the crazy, the resilience. Like most babies, when she tips over, she pops back up, but it’s not just the fall down/get back up. Her emotional recovery time is remarkable. When she gets shots (not shot, shots), she cries for twenty seconds, looks sad and is on to the next thing. She bumps her head and cries a little if we look worried. Closes a drawer on her fingers? Tiny short-lived weeping. Isn’t allowed to put her fingers in the wall socket? Complains, moves on.

For a while I thought maybe she had that thing that was on House that one time where that girl couldn’t feel pain so her mom had to keep track of her all the time because she could break her leg and not know it or burn her hand and not notice. Sure it’s rare, but so what? A. could have it. She’s special.

I kept asking R. if he thought maybe that’s why she didn’t seem to mind cold diaper wipes when all our friends’ babies freaked out at chilly wetness. It seemed like a reasonable explanation and not an overreaction at all. Like when you have a sore throat and go to Web MD and find out you have dengue fever because you maybe feel like you also have dry mouth and had a headache that one time and the medication you’ll need is still being tested but would cause serious liver damage so you decide maybe you’ll just take some Robitussin in case it’s just a sore throat.

(To read side effects lists, you really have to be surprised that anyone at all still has an intact liver. Liver damage is on pretty much all of them. And all the patients on House end up needing a new one at some point in the episode, so there’s probably a shortage if you do damage yours.)

A. must have gotten that snap-back ability from her father or the good will of the universe, because I definitely do not have that. I have a quick trigger and a long recovery cycle. I’m trying to get more Weeble. Except for the bottom-weighted thing. And the egg shape. That’s just unflattering.

“Rear-Facing Car Seats Advised at Least to Age of 2”

This article appeared in The New York Times last week, a few days after my birthday and a week before A.’s first birthday. The gist of it is that the powers that be have revised their recommendation on when to turn babies’ car seats around to face front. It used to be age one. Now it’s two. This is not good news and I think they should just take it back. It’s our birthdays, for Pete’s sake. Have they no consideration?

Here’s the thing. I had a plan. It was a good plan, a birthday plan. A pre-party plan.

A.’s birthday is tomorrow, on a a party-unfriendly Wednesday, so her party isn’t until Saturday. So what was I planning to do to mark her actual birthday? I’ll tell you: stuff that she would actually notice like turning her $#*&$! carseat around so she can see where we’re going and not recline backwards in the backseat with the sun in her eyes, that’s what. I was also planning on feeding her eggs, honey and nuts all at the same time (which you’re not supposed to give them until they’re one ’cause of that whole allergic anaphylactic shock nuisance). And maybe sushi. And give her a set of nice kitchen knives.

OK, maybe not so much the knives. But the other stuff.

Goddamit. Stupid National Highway Safety Transportation Board and their dumb ideas.

A. hates facing backwards and I get it. It makes me carsick just thinking about it. And paranoid. I hate not seeing where I’m going. I never take the back-facing seats on trains. and I always take the seat in restaurants where I can see the door. It’s like I was in the mob. I want to see who/what is coming and I want to know how to get the hell out of here when and if I have to. Don’t freak out: I’ll take you and A. with me if you’re there. I just know you’re not casing the joint as well as I would, so just give me the seat already and order your sandwich.

You know that scene in movies where the agent/assassin ticks off all the cool stuff he knows just from walking into the diner? Like how many windows there are, the license plates of all the cars outside, the weight of the guy at the counter, who’s carrying a gun, and why that lady is crosseyed? That’s some mad skills and I want ’em. I used to memorize the license plates on the cars next to us when my mom left us in the car to run an errand when I was, like, eight. Seriously. You know, in case I was interviewed later by the police.

Speaking of which, maybe they’d be interviewing me because my mom left a couple kids in the car while she ran errands.

Anyway, I’m just saying, A. might be better protected in a car accident if she’s facing backwards but is she better prepared for a carjacking where she’ll need a clear view and access to those kitchen knives? Am I right? The article doesn’t mention that scenario anywhere in their assessment. They just go straight for the Swedish stats on babies’ injury and survival rates in rear-facing seats being the best in the world since they force their kiddies to sit with their legs up the backseat until they’re two. Which is weird ’cause the Swedes are tall, so their kids have gotta be basically sitting in a V position by the time they turn them around, right?

Oh, and for the record, I wasn’t going to flip her around because of some misplaced sense of milestone achievement like the interviewees imply. I was going to do it out of concern for A. being able to see where we’re going and my elbow joints which have to bend the wrong way to give her even the tiniest snacka. They don’t have to be such jerks while they’re ruining our birthday plans, do they? No. They don’t. Thank you.

So here’s what it shakes out to: I spend another year reaching over the top of the car seat to feed A. pieces of cheese and driving only west in the morning and only east in the afternoon so she isn’t blinded by the sun coming in the back window. Or I get tinted windows. Like on the immaculately white CSI SUV that came after we were burglarized. (They parked it laterally on a street where you’re supposed to park perpendicular. Bad ass, right?)

Hey. Maybe that’s the birthday plan. Instead of getting A. a puzzle with farm animals and turning her car seat around, maybe I’ll get her an armored Escalade with blacked out windows. Awesome. That’ll come in at about the same price point, right? You only turn one once, right? I’m totally doing this. It’s going to be great. Happy birthday, A.!!!

Relationship Development

radio_flyer_car.jpgMy daughter, age nearly one, appears to be drawn to self-possessed men. And by “men,” I mean, “boys aged one.”

This is good news since I was concerned she would be drawn to terrorists and drug dealers, since girls gravitate to men who look like their fathers, and, let’s face, it, R.’s long hair (straight, well-kept, not diminishing), and beard (very trimmed), might not represent the most savory general category. Worse: she might be drawn to hippies.

So far though, she has selected two gentle, sandy-haired boys as her favorites. They’re both quiet but outgoing and both of them can walk, which is very attractive. (The whole “standing man” thing and so on.) One even has a car, which can be crucial. I’m glad she’s picked someone with his own transportation – that should make things easier for dating. Fortunately, it’s open-top and lacks a back seat, so there’s no danger of shenanigans.

The other boy has a rocket, which is the equivalent of a motorcycle for a toddler, don’t you think? But there isn’t room for two, so that’s not so friendly.

I don’t think she should really be exclusive with anyone at her age, but it’s nice she’s selected only slightly older boys and not the ones who dive off the sofa onto their heads.

Our nanny has gotten A. a car of her own for her upcoming birthday, so we’ll see what that does to the relationships. Maybe she’ll just drive around in the afternoons instead of heading to the local sandbox. Maybe she’ll meet someone in the suburbs. I just hope he’s not a tiny hippie. If I smell patchoulie in that car, that’s it.