Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Eater Limits

"Let's try an elimination diet." 

After reviewing all of my symptoms, my doctor suggested examining nutrition as the first course of action in the restore-me-to-something-like-my-former-self treatment plan. And, as it was an option that didn't involve prescription medication, referrals to other doctors, or visits to a specialty clinic, I was game. Now I'm thinking I should have known better.  

The word should have been my first clue: elimination.  Now, when I hear "elimination" I think of poop and reality TV. Because I'm mature and sophisticated. In any case, it's not an especially pleasant-sounding word. It means you're out of the contest--toast. Except that you can't have toast because you're on an elimination diet.

Oh, the rules for the diet are awesome. It's basically no wheat, dairy, or sugar for two weeks--three in my case, because I'm just so lucky--with two servings of vitamin-powdery supplement mixed with water each day. The vitamin powder is incredible. It's a high-protein concoction that describes itself as "medical food" (which just sounds creepy) and costs more per week than I spend at the fruit market for my family of three. But it is vanilla-flavored. At least there's that.

Maybe I'm just grouchy and overly sensitive because it's Day Three of my diet, and I had to fast today. No food today--just all vitamin powder all the time. I have two more days of fasting to go, and I'm trying to change my mantra to something other than I want cake, I want cake. But it's an odd thing, being a vegan on a diet that requires cutting out whole categories of foods. Obviously, not eating dairy isn't a problem for me ("Well, we know it's not dairy that's the problem!" my doctor said cheerfully), but I'm also not supposed to have any soy or peanut products, and lots of fruits and vegetables are off-limits. On the one hand, I can imagine this being a completely miserable process if I were accustomed to eating lots of beef and cheese burritos (red meat, also off-limits), but on the other hand...c'mon! I've already cut a bunch of things out of my diet. How much more could I possibly cut out?

Lots, it turns out--and with surprising results. Three days of no wheat, sugar, soy, or caffeine, and I feel oddly rested. Maybe it's from cutting myself some slack since I'm "detoxing," but I feel shockingly good. Like, way better than you should feel when you have headaches from caffeine withdrawal and you're hardly eating anything. I actually have some energy for the first time in a while, and only an inkling of depression. That's the best part: my moods aren't completely out-of-whack. 


We'll see what the next few weeks reveal. Rob is going to be out of town starting at noon tomorrow, and I'm not looking forward to restricting my diet while planning and preparing delicious homemade meals for Westley to throw on the floor. That seems like a first-class ticket to depression, or at least some sort of at-home parent despair. On the other hand, it wouldn't it be simple if all of my unpleasant symptoms were just related to something I ate? 


Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Westley will be 18 months old in less than a week. He's a big, tall man. I'm struck by his bigness on a daily basis, lifting him out of his crib, holding him across my body to nurse, balancing him on my hip. Trying to get him dressed is like juggling a Jell-O-coated Slinky, feeding his muscly octopus arms through sleeves while he thrashes and flails. All of his pants are real pants now--no snaps up the inseams for easy diaper changes--and his T-shirts are vaguely T-shirt-sized.

Rob calls Westley "the littlest of boys," which first referred to his tiny baby self. "We've got a boy!" I said, looking at him for the first time. But how could any boy be so incredibly small? Now he's the littlest of boys in a different sense: no longer a baby, all grown up, a boy.

But as I moved some things around on my side of the bedroom this evening--not really tidying up, but arranging things into piles--I found Westley's shoes mixed in with mine. And I was suddenly overwhelmed by his smallness. It didn't seem possible that there was a person in my house whose feet matched up with those shoes. He's not a baby any more, but one of his shoes still fits neatly in the palm of my hand. 

My feet are are foot-sized; Westley's are little


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Maiden Voyage

I went to the dentist this week, and I'm thinking about changing my name again. That's two agains: the change and the thinking about it. (I'll get to the dentist in a minute.)

I changed my name when I got married. At the time, it seemed like the right thing to do. And since I was tackling a number major life changes right then, I was overly concerned with getting things "right," sometimes to the detriment of my sanity and happiness. I think I was convinced that there was a set of rules to follow for as long as you both shall live, and it was bearing down on me. Maybe that's what "the weight of tradition" is all about. I had the weight of tradition on my shoulders.

While I definitely felt an internal pressure to change my name, doing so was a choice I was happy with at the time for one main reason. Rob and I talked about having children together something like two weeks after we met. When it was clear that we were going to be together for a while, we were also pretty sure that there were kids in our future. I didn't like the idea of having to explain repeatedly that I was so-and-so's mother, and this was his last name and this was my last name forever and ever amen. I realize that I wouldn't be the only parent in history not to share a last time with her child, but the ease of being Mr. and Mrs. His Last Name was extremely alluring.

So really, I changed my name because I'm lazy.   

Then: Mr. & Mrs. His Last Name, 2005

The problem is I hate it. Not the name itself--though, like many last names, it's a little weird and hard to spell and no one can pronounce it correctly, including the DJ at our wedding (not that I'm still bothered by that or anything). The problem is the change, and my ability to adapt to it. It's been three and a half years and I'm still not used to it.  This is why the dentist is relevant. I got a bunch of paperwork at the dentist's office, and naturally it had my name printed at the top on the Patient Name line. I couldn't stop staring at it and thinking that it just looked wrong.

I tried to explain this to Rob: "It's like someone took my name and stuck someone else's name on it."

He said, "That's exactly what happened."

"Yeah, okay." Smart ass. "It's like if someone spelled your name wrong... It just doesn't look right."

I've thought before about changing my name back, and when I bring it up to Rob, he tenses up a little. I think he worries that it means that I think the marriage isn't working out. (Sometimes I think the marriage isn't working out, but that's a separate issue.) I can't seem to get him to understand that it feels spooky and weird to have a name you don't really identify with. I miss the rhythm of my maiden name, the way it looks when I write it out, the ease of signing it after years of practice.  And while I still had to spell it out all the time, it's pronounced exactly how it looks and people have heard it before.

In seven months, when I renew my driver's license, I'm thinking about also changing my name back to my maiden name. It would actually be a pretty minor thing, a technicality.  As I understand it, a person's birth name is always that her name unless a judge gets involved in changing it. So all I need in order to prove that I am who I say I am--if I choose to go by my maiden name all the time, everywhere--is my birth certificate. Easy.
Now: Mr. His Last Name & ???, 2009

But then I start to think about everything else connected to my married name, and insurance and credit and medical and employment bureaucracy flashes before my eyes. Blinded by red tape.  And I'd feel like I'd have to explain myself to the People in Charge: "Um, yeah, so we're not separated or anything...I just like my dad's name better than my husband's. It looks better on paper."

The lazy answer, of course, is to keep my name exactly how it is.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Grandmothers Forget

As Rob was pulling up to his parents' house, I noticed a little red sporty car parked in front. If I'd thought about it for a minute longer, I would have realized on my own, but instead I asked, "Whose car is that?"

"My grandmother's."

"Oh. If I'd known your grandma was coming, I would've, I dunno, dressed more like a lady or something."  I picked some calico-and-white cat hair off my black jeans and sprinkled it on the floor of the car.

"I told you she was coming."

Westley hooted from the back seat as we parked in the driveway. He's starting to recognize places, and he loves Rob's parents' house, even though we only go there occasionally. By which I mean, if there's an occasion: Christmas, Easter, someone's birthday.

We were celebrating Rob's birthday a day early, with a vegan feast and a few presents. I was already feeling unprepared and guilty for not having anything for him to open, and worried about how Westley would fare in a not-so-childproofed house now that he's not just mobile but also fast. Rob's grandmother's presence (about which I had apparently been warned but had completely forgotten) was the anxiety icing on the dread velvet cake.

I don't dislike Rob's grandmother. In fact, I think I like her. She's the type of woman who decides, after such-and-so many years of cooking for her family that she's Done With Cooking, and gets take-and-bake pizzas and boxed vegetable souffles for the family get-togethers she hosts.  She bought Westley a tiny designer jogging suit for Christmas.  Her toast at our wedding rehearsal dinner was, "I'm the grandmother of the groom, and I thought this day would never come."  In short, she and I have a mutual understanding in that we don't know what the hell to do with each other.

Before dinner, I spent as much time as I could sitting down, babying my sore lower back.  It gets extra-double-bonus sore during my period, which, naturally, showed up just in time for Rob's birthday weekend.  Rob was more or less on toddler-wrangling duty the entire time we were at his parents' house, and I think his grandmother had some thoughts about that.

She also seemed to have some thoughts about Westley not wanting to sit in his highchair for the duration of dinner.  He's in a two-bites-of-food-is-a-meal stage, and wanted to get down and play almost immediately.  Rather than listen to him complain, Rob put him on the floor, and Westley tore off into the exercise room.  Rob leaped up after him, and when he had disappeared through the door and around the corner, his grandmother turned to me expectantly.

"So, what are you doing besides following him around?"

It was a sharp, pointy question, indicating that I had some explaining to do because my husband was chasing after our toddler at his birthday dinner.  While I sat and replaced the pot pie Westley had eaten off my plate with bean salad.  I felt my dinner in my stomach like a lead weight.  The first thing that entered my head was, Uh...nothing.  Ellipsis included.

I think I probably turned bright red.  Because it's true.  All I do right now is follow my son around.  That's all.  I've given up on trying to do anything else, because despite getting a full night's sleep most nights, I'm exhausted in the morning.  So I do that thing that people are always telling you to do when you have a tiny baby (except that I haven't had a tiny baby in a long time): I sleep when he sleeps.  Because when I don't, I just feel tired and nauseated and sore all day, and then I'm mean to Rob when he gets home.  So I sleep when Westley sleeps, and I'm up when he's up.  And I somehow manage to make dinner every night.

"So, what are you doing...?"

I felt humiliated and angry at the same time.  I wanted to say, "This wasn't my plan, you know." But I didn't really say anything, except that I haven't been feeling well lately.  She recommended taking more vitamins.

That was Saturday, and it's still making me angry.  I feel like I barely have time to drink a glass of water on most days, and I'm supposed to be--what?--volunteering at my local animal shelter? Learning to ski? What? I think there must be an age after which women forget what it feels like to be the mother of a toddler, because the shit old women say to me is ridiculous. (My favorite was the woman who scolded me when Westley looked like he was going to topple out of a shopping cart: "That's what the belts are for."  Yes, thank you, but my son can undo the belts since the clips are always torn up from holding in a zillion other wiggly toddlers!) The women in my family are the worst.  What did she want me to say?  I guess I could have told her the truth: "Well, I don't have much free time, but I spend most of it crying and feeling like shit."

When my mother was little, my grandmother snapped at her or insulted her or did something otherwise hurtful and then told her she'd forget all about being upset.  My mother replied that she wouldn't forget.  "I'm never going to forget how it feels to be three!" my mother told her. And she hasn't.  She's 61, but three is still fresh in her mind.

I'm never going to forget how it feels to be an at-home parent to a toddler.  I can't imagine forgetting feeling this physically run-down and emotionally exhausted.  But I'm vowing not to forget now. Following my mother's model, when I'm an old woman, I'll still be able to access that toddler-having-fatigue, and keep that fucked-up judgmental tone out of anything I say to the mothers I might encounter.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Good Age to Be

Yesterday at Tot Gym as I was crouching down to help Westley with a ride-on fire engine, a little girl with a huge halo of curly brown hair strode up to me.  

"What's-yer-name?" she asked, all one word. After I told her mine and asked her hers (Madeline), she pointed to Westley: "What's-his-name?" She seemed somehow slightly dissatisfied with my answer, like she'd been hoping for something more masculine or unusual.  Something she would have picked.

It seems like every time I start thinking that Westley is a big, grown-up dude with moves and words and insight, I go somewhere and run into a tall, self-assured, articulate child like this. I'm rocketed back to babydom and that bigness I thought I saw in my boy is suddenly a long ways off.  

I asked Madeline how old she was. She squinted, thinking. Her dad leaned over and whispered something to her. "Three-and-a-half," she announced, proudly.

Her dad smiled. "Yeah, but when's your birthday?" he asked.

She knew right away. "May 19th."

"So you're more than three-and-a-half," he said, and then, turning to me, added, "Everything is three-and-a-half."

I shrugged. "It's a good age to be."  

(That's all you can say, really. Because they all are, aren't they? I mean, is there something I'm supposed to be saying after getting into the my-kid's-this-old, your-kid's-that-old with other parents? Unless your children are exactly the same age and you can move on to, "Oh, when's his birthday?" and figure out who exactly is older by precisely how many days, it's a conversational dead-end.)   

At this point, Madeline's younger brother (Issac) stepped up, and after eyeing Westley asked, "Are you his mommy?"

I laughed. Sometimes I wonder, too.  "Yes, I'm his mommy."

Then he asked how old I was. His dad interjected, "Someday you'll learn that that's not polite--"

"Oh, it's all right," I cut him off, smiling, not minding at all.  "I'm 26."  

And it suddenly sounded so young.  

I've been mourning turning 26 for four months now. I know that I'm still supposed to be immune to birthday resentment, but I'm not where I thought I would be in life four years out of college. I feel like I've passed through the protective gates of 25, out of the promise of my early-mid twenties and into my late twenties. Slouching towards 30.

Hearing a confident little girl joyfully declare that she was three-and-a-half took me back to a time when we celebrated each fraction of a year for ourselves. Each birthday was such a big, exciting deal that we sang "happy half-birthday to to you" six months out just to acknowledge that you were blank-and-a-half. That half was worth something.

While I always happily celebrated half-birthdays (we had actual half-birthday parties in my family, with cake and presents), I was never one of the kids to strive for age. I always wanted to be more grown-up, but never older. I didn't like being among the oldest in my class. I think I somehow understood that is was more impressive, more noteworthy to accomplish things at a younger age. I was very pleased (though a little confused) when, as a third-grader, I won an art contest in the "fourth grade" category. My drawing had been entered incorrectly by someone on the administrative end of things, probably because I was in a grades 3-4 split class at the time.  But it still seemed like an achievement.

So now I'm in my early late-twenties--or my late mid-twenties--and I'm not sure what I've accomplished. It certainly doesn't feel like much. I don't even know what I want to be when I grow up, and I have a child, which pretty much qualifies me for grown-up status by default. I have a husband I still like being with on most days, a car that doesn't suck, two cats, no job, a nervous system that sometimes goes nuts on me, and a sweet little boy to take to Tot Gym on Thursday mornings.

"I'm 26," I answered Issac, wondering if he had any concept of how old that actually is, thinking I should have countered, "how old do you think?" instead.

"No!" he said, impishly.  "You're two!"

I grinned. "I'm two?"

"No," he said again, barely containing his laughter. "You're one!"

"I am?!"  My disbelief was too much for him, and he was practically roaring at his own joke now.  "You're way bigger than me!" I told him, and that sent him into fits of uncontrollable giggles.  Laughing, in the shadow of his sister's birthday, delighted to be bigger and older than someone.

So I'm twenty-six-and-a-third, and I can make a preschooler's day.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Raising Hell in Church

We decided to take Westley to Mass yesterday. Sure, the last time we took him he had a few moments of running around like a crazy man, but he's older now. He loves music, and there's music practically every five minutes. And since he's very capable of sitting and playing on his own, I (stupidly) figured that a bag of books and toys would go a long way in keeping him occupied through the boring, talky parts. Besides, it just seemed right to take our boy to church on Mothers' Day.  

Wrong. So, so wrong--with the exception of the music thing. Westley loved it so much that he shimmied up me like a monkey up a tree so he could see the choir better, and he hooted and pointed through every note of music, as though to say, "Are you hearing this?  It's flippin' sweet!"  But when the music ended, so did the happy boy--and how.  Basically, church seems to have brought out the devil in him.

Don't be fooled.  He's eeee-villl.

Westley wiggled and writhed and fussed and complained through every non-musical moment. He hit me in the nose, and took off running down the aisle. When Rob brought him outside or to the "cry room" to play, he made a bee-line for the church, pounding on the doors and demanding to see his Mama. He was loud, inconsolable, and aggressive: the Holy Trinity of the "terrible twos." (And he's not even 18 months old!)

Normally, crazy toddler behavior in church doesn't phase me. Not even my own toddler's crazy toddler behavior. After all, if anyone should be sympathetic to the unexpected tropical storms of baby- and toddlerhood, it's Catholics. And while no one was giving us dirty looks that I could see (not that I could see much through Westley's hands slapping me in the face), I was completely mortified. Because he was the only one. There were plenty of other babies and toddlers there, but they had all had Quiet-Os for breakfast.

We left before communion, before the blessing of the mothers, and Westley walked part of the way to the car on his own. I nursed him in the front seat to calm him down, and he stared up at me with his wide, innocent blue-marble eyes, like, "What?"

"He's celebrating Mothers' Day in his own special way," Rob concluded.

Indeed. I'm trying to decide whether it's worth it to try again next week (with a different set of books and toys, perhaps), or if I should just call off the whole family-church-going thing until Westley is older. Besides, he seems to have eclectic religious interests right now.
You say "Hey," I say "Om."

I have a toddler who loves Buddha statues, knows the Self-Realization Fellowship blessing, and brought me a wooden rosary last night to pray while we got ready for bed. I feel like he's setting up a joke.

A Buddhist, a yogi, and the Virgin Mary walk into a bar... 


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother Monkey Mind

I'm thinking about mothers.
Crazy mothers, and sane mothers.  (All four.)
Mothers making their children crazy, because they themselves are being driven there.

It's a bipolar, schizophrenic, multiple-personality re-ordering of the mind; you're always
mentally pregnant.
Thinking for two.
Is he cold, tired, hungry, happy, Buddha, broken?

I'm thinking about my mother, wondering if she felt (feels?) the same way.
Is that why she does those loving little things that make me insane?
And what about her mother, and her mother--who loved babies so much 
and had four of her own.
She would have loved my boy.

"You have to keep yourself healthy," my mother says.  "He's counting on you.
You're the most important person in his life."
But it's crazy to be the most important person in some one's life.
Because it means I can't leave him.
But I can't not die.

I'm thinking about mothers.
The women who will give birth today.
(I hope they do something special for the mothers of babies born in the hospital today.)
The soon-to-be mothers I know,
and the one I don't, balanced on a stool, too spherical to stand.
The mother with the double-wide double stroller and the no make-up in front of the cafe.
I'm thinking about the mothers who don't know it yet.
They'll get pregnant today, some by accident, some on purpose
or accidentally on purpose.
Finally, so soon, not now, not again.

I'm thinking about mothers.
Crazy with love, crazy with loneliness.
Mothers opening their chests to expose home-shaped hearts.
Trying to quiet the wandering elephant-trunk, monkey-tail mind that worries, wonders,
grasps, holds on tight.
And never forgets.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Wait for Meme

I often think that there's not much interesting about my external life.  Generally speaking, not a lot has happened to me, and my day-to-day existence is pretty mundane. Where my life starts to get interesting is inside my head.  Lists and profile-generators and getting-to-know-you quizzes that ask for your favorite this or that always feel to me like they're picking at the half-way point between internal and external lives.  For instance, the books you leave on your nightstand are artifacts of external life, while also hinting at the shape of your mind.  (Falling Up and The Joy of Sex...what does that mean?)  

Jessica at This is Worthwhile flashed, er, tagged me for this, so here you go: a little cross-section of my boring life and funny-shaped mind...

1. What are your current obsessions?
My moods, thinking about writing, bedtime, trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?
BDG cigarette jeans--unless we're counting underwear, in which case it's these unmentionables from American Apparel.

3. Last dream you had?
It was bizarre and boring at the same time.  But there was nudity, so that's something.  Rob, Westley and I were trying to use my parents' shower, which had a triangular drain, a step down, and a fold-down seat for some reason.

4. Last thing you bought?
Wine, chocolate, and Bunny Grahams.  The guy carded me.  I love being carded.  "Do you have ID for me?"  Why, of course!  [Eyelashes: bat, bat.]  Anyway, I don't think it was for the wine.  You're not supposed to eat Bunny Grahams over the age of 5.

5. What are you listening to?
A plane overhead and two laptops thinking.

6. If you were a god/goddess, who would you be?
Is there a Goddess of Introversion?

7. Favorite holiday spots?
I keep going back to one particular spot: Pacific Grove, CA.  I think my second child should be conceived at the Martine Inn.  Rob and I had our wedding there; it seems nicely circular somehow.  Like returning to the scene of the crime.

8. Reading right now?
'Surrender the Pink' and 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.'

9. Four words to describe yourself.
I hate this question.

10. Guilty pleasure?
Marathons of "America's Next Top Model."  And Bunny Grahams.

11. Who or what makes you laugh until you're weak?
Rob, without a doubt.  My brother.  Combine the two and I'm at risk for some kind of humor coma.  Westley's pretty stinkin' funny, too.
I crack myself up.

12. Favorite spring thing to do?
Opening day at Yakima Fruit Market and Nursery in Bothell.  Also:

13. When you die, what would you like people to say about you at your funeral?
"Wow, she looks really thin."  

I'm just kidding.  (Sort of.)  How about, "She had a real impact on people."

14. Best thing you ate or drank lately?
Improvised dinner, night before last.  I rehydrated some chicken-style TVP, cooked some yellow bell peppers, summer squash and mushrooms that were about to bite the dust, mixed it all together and smothered it with the Pomegranate Barbecue Sauce from Vegan with a Vengeance.  Over brown rice?  Stupidly tasty.

15. When did you last go for a night out?
Two weeks ago, Rob and I saw Wishful Drinking at the Rep.  Rob ended up on stage in a Princess Leia wig.  It was fucking awesome.

16. Favorite ever film?
Lord.  I spent a year with Double Indemnity and know it backwards and forwards.  I can tell you all about how it relates to the cultural understanding of the Oedipus complex at the time, and how the gun at the end is actually Phyllis's penis.  I guess that means it's my favorite?  Anyway, it's genius, but as far as Barbara Stanwyck films go, Ball of Fire is more fun to watch.  So there you go.

17. Care to share some wisdom?
If you don't want to know the answer, don't ask the question.

18. Song you can't get out of your head?
See 12, above.

19. Something you don't know how to do, but wish you did?
Graphic design.  Mostly because I like the way it sounds.  I always want it to mean the job of artistically preparing things to be depicted pornographically.

20. Which disease or condition would you most like to see eradicated?

21. Last thing you said to someone?
"We'll see."

22. Have you ever confronted a litterer?
What an odd question.  Not really.  I think I scolded my mother for throwing gum or an apple core or something out her car window when I was a child.  She said, kind of defensive, "What?  It's biodegradable!"

23. Pet peeves?
"Everyday" when it's misused to mean "every day."  And "literally" as an intensifier.

Rules of the game.  Respond and rework.  Answer the questions on your own blog.  Replace one question.  Add one question.  Tag 6 people.

I tag: 
And as long as she's taking questions, Carrie Fisher.  (You know, like she reads my blog.)


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fits Him 2 a T

After watching Westley's belly peek out under his shirt hems for a couple of weeks, I finally got around to buying some new-to-him clothes today.  I always suffer through some mental gymnastics when baby-clothes shopping, especially if I'm at Goodwill, where baby clothes are sorted into "Boys" and "Girls" and then by style ("long-sleeve tops," "short-sleeve tops," "pants," "shorts," and so on), instead of by size.  

I scroll through the rack of clothes, guessing, remembering: How big is he now?  That looks right.  (Check the tag.)  Yes, that'll work.  (Put it in the cart.)  Aww, I can't believe how little this thing is!  Newborn size.  He was exactly that size when he was just born.  He's huge now.  Oh, there, that's his size.  Wait, no--not any more.  I can't believe how big he's gotten...

I lucked out today, and there was a lot of good stuff in Westley's ever-increasing size.  Sadly, he has graduated from clothes with date ranges and M's on their tags to clothes with single digits followed by a T.  I thought about some 18-24 M clothes for a while (he's only 17 months old, after all), but thought again when I remembered that Westley has been eating whole bananas by himself and taking three-hour naps these past few days.  In short, he's growing like a weed.  A long-torso'd weed whose belly hangs out under his 18M-sized t-shirts.  And while 18-24 M tops would probably fit him, why not go for broke and start him on the 2Ts.

2T or not 2T, that is the question.

In the end, I bought a couple pairs of 2T jeans, some 2T shirts, and a pair of barely-worn pajamas and a hoodie in a size (gulp) 3T.  And another bit of his baby-ness bites the dust.  A moment of silence for the "M" clothes, please.  Westley's wardrobe is now marked "toddler" with a capital "T."


Monday, May 4, 2009

17 Months

Dear Westley,

I taught you a gesture for "all done" kind of by accident when you were really teeny.  Arms thrust out to the side, back straight, penguin-like: "all done."  You still do it all the time.  At dinner a few weeks ago, you put your arms out to sign "all done."  Daddy asked you if you were all done, and you said, "Uh-huh."  He picked you up, and set your feet on the floor.  You took off running towards the bookshelf while your dad and I went back to eating.  Thirty seconds later, you came back to the table with a book and held it out to me.  I told you, "Honey, I'm still eating."  You did your little penguin-flap "all done" sign at me.  I don't know if you were reminding me that you were all done or telling me that I should be all done, but your dad and I are still laughing about it.

You make us laugh all the time.  Sometimes we just watch you run through the house, and we laugh because we can't believe you.  You're too cute, too sweet, too much.

Some days I feel like my head is going to explode.  Your energy and craziness move three times faster than my energy on my most energetic days.  All you want to do is be outside, exploring.  You can walk around and around the outside of my parents' house for what seems like hours.  You can walk for miles.

Riding in the car is almost never your idea.  You'd rather walk, thank you.  You're a lousy traveler, like me, and I can already hear the beginnings of "are we there yet?" in your grunts and fussing noises from the back seat.  

Today, we only had a short distance to drive from the fruit market to home, but you couldn't stand it any more.  And you wouldn't let me help you.  Nothing I offered--books, toys, pacifier, sippy-cup of milk, promises of "we're almost there"--helped you, and you continued to whine and fuss.  I felt the early-warning twinges of head-explosion, and decided you were punishing me: "You're making me crazy!  Is that what you're trying to do?"

"Uh-huh," came the reply from the back seat.

I love you like crazy, Monkey.