Just for the record.

Dear Eliot,

Since this incident is the stuff that family lore is made of, I thought I'd better record the pertinent details so that they can't be exagerrated, stretched, blown out of context, and otherwise used against me for the rest of my life.

Yes, in this month of February, the year 2008, I dropped you on the floor. I didn't mean to. I'm very sorry.

We were sitting on the couch, you on my lap, and I was struggling to pull up one of your tiny little socks that had slipped almost entirely off and was dangling from your toes. (See, I was trying to keep your feet warm, because I love you and would never do anything to intentionally harm you. OH, the GUILT, the GUILT!!!) I had one arm around you and I was using both hands to try to tug the sock back on. And you arched backwards with no warning, and in a split second you had flipped end over end, out of my arms, off the couch, and onto the floor. It was maybe a fourteen inch drop, at most. And you laid there on your back with your face puckered and started to howl.

And your daddy jumped off the other couch where he had been sitting and scooped you up off the floor and held you close to his chest and patted your back and tried to console you, all while glaring at me like he might tear my arm off and beat me with it. He yelled WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING???

Duh. Isn't it obvious? I got mad at the baby, so I threw him on the floor. This is what I was thinking, but didn't say. I would never say that, Eliot, even in jest. Your momma would never say such a thing.

I struggled for a moment to know whether to laugh or cry. Because honestly, you were fine. You were okay. But watching your dad check you over for bumps, bruises, or broken bones, acting like a savage momma bear all the while...it was just about too much. All at once I knew, in a way I really hadn't known before, that your dad would do anything in the world for you. He loves you every bit as ferociously as I do. He would fight to the death anyone who ever tried to harm a hair on your precious head, me included.

But twelve or so years from now, when he starts up with the "Remember that time Mom threw you on the floor...?" stories, please don't believe him. I swear to you, it was fourteen inches, not four feet. I wasn't angry. I wasn't drunk. I was just trying to put your sock back on. So whatever Daddy says, don't you believe him.

That man may love you, but he's a dirty rotten liar.


And the spam marches on.

My newest favorite email subject line, from one "Robert Lockwood":

We have solution for you squid acts

What does this mean? I really want to open it.


I'm such a health nut.

My chocolate chip Poptarts had 7 vitamins and minerals. And now I read that my peppermint chewing gum HELPS FIGHT CAVITIES BY STRENGTHENING TEETH.

I am feeling so healthy and fit right now.

If Anne Frank's diary is a hoax, then I'm just going to eat this chocolate chip poptart and cry.

It's clear to me that I should not be at work today. Yet here I sit, munching on a chocolate chip poptart, a mountain of papers and books covering my desk.

It has been one hellacious week already. Grandma died early Monday morning. (And I wanted my first post this week to be a tribute to her, but *sorry Grandma* I'm too stressed and I have to let off some steam NOW). In between phone calls in the dark of night and Eliot coughing, coughing, restlessly coughing, none of us slept that night. Monday afternoon we rushed Eliot to the ER, Eli driving so fast down the highway that if there'd been any police around, he'd probably still be sitting in a jail cell. I've never been so scared, watching my son struggle to breathe, his little tummy pushing in and out as he used all of his chest muscles to draw in air.

And leaving him with Eli today so that I could come in and try to get my classes caught up from missing Monday...I should be there in the pediatrician's office with them now. But instead I'm here, where I forgot to bring my folder with my lesson plans in it, where the computer system in the classroom lab is on the fritz, where I'm more drawn to surf the web and read Yahoo non-news and blog than grade papers.

Where my first student is late for his scheduled conference that I dragged my sorry ass in here for...

But what I really want to talk about now is Anne Frank. I mentioned to my officemate that I'm more drawn to read Yahoo news than to do any work and that my brain is not functioning today and I just want to give up and crawl under my desk and eat that jelly bean. To which she replied, Hey, have you seen Yahoo news this morning? A picture of Anne Frank's "one true love" has surfaced. And I started singing the praises of Anne Frank and how I came to know her and love her (it was a book fair, around 4th or 5th grade, and Mom begged me to pick a different book, but I insisted on it, was drawn to the image of her face on the cover).

And then Officemate replied with an enumeration of the reasons why this picture is probably total crap, and in fact, Anne Frank's diary is probably itself a total hoax, etc.

Which is just more than my poor heart can take today. I told her not to dare suggest that Anne Frank's diary was a fake. I stamp my boot at you! I declared, as I stamped my boot at her. (Yes, I'm wearing snow boots to work, along with my little black funeral visitation dress. It's a lovely image, I can assure you.) Such a suggestion is tantamount to telling a kid there is no Santa Claus. Anne Frank is my Santa Claus! I further informed her, my voice getting louder and more shrill as I continued the boot stamping to demonstrate my childlike devotion to Anne.

My tantrum concluded with I need chocolate! and I made my way to the second-floor landing vending machine where I briefly weighed the advantages of Nutty Bars versus chocolate chip Poptarts, opting for the Poptarts, because they are A GOOD SOURCE OF 7 VITAMINS AND MINERALS.

So now I'm sitting here, sniveling, and wondering whether the chocolate smear on my dress is very noticeable. And whether a quick scrubbing with one of those brown paper towels from the ladies' room would make it better or worse.


Guilty pleasure.

I just drained a tall hot chocolate from Starbucks, the evil $3.00 coffee conglomerate who has moved into a corner lot across from our grocery store and will surely put our local coffeeshop out of business in no time. Yes, I paid $2.65 for a cup of hot chocolate. On a Sunday, no less. There is so much about this that is wrong.

And yet it felt oh so good.

The sweet nectar of warm liquid chocolate sliding down my throat, heating me from the inside. Yum. Part of me says this is a total no-brainer. Why wouldn't I buy these things ALL THE TIME? Sipping that stuff is almost like having an orgasm, only it's much faster, it doesn't wake the baby, and I don't have to take my clothes off.

And yet, that little paper cup represents so much that I can't stand about this world. Rampant consumerism, the selling of "cool," smarmy yuppie type people who buy things to feel superior, farmers not getting a fair price for their coffee beans while rich corporations charge exorbitant prices for the finished product and get fatter and richer while the farmers struggle and starve, local businesses going broke while the big chain stores thrive, shall I go on???

But despite all of this, I still found myself in the Starbucks drive-up lane this morning. How did it happen? Well, basically it's because I am lazy and don't live the values that I preach. I left my office and drove homewards, knowing in my gut that I was going to stop at Starbucks. Knowing it, but denying it all the way there. I told myself that if I wanted an overpriced drink that I could just as easily make at home I'd go to the local coffeeshop.

And the devil rachel on my shoulder said, yeah, but it's out of your way. you'd have to go down to the square, and there's never any good parking down there. and you'd have to get out of the car. starbucks has a drive-through...and it's on the way home.

And the angel rachel on the other shoulder said, rachel, you have hot chocolate mix at home, you don't need to spend the extra money. it will feel good at first, but then the regret will kick in. don't do it. just go home.

And as usual, I squelched the angel voice, told it to get lost, and pulled into Starbucks as evil devil rachel laughed a deep throaty laugh. mweuh ha ha ha ha.

And damned if that hot chocolate wasn't delicious.


Distraction and trickery.

It's getting more and more difficult to feed Eliot. He's getting quite sick of baby food and wants whatever we're eating, which, unfortunately, is usually total crap that I'm not thrilled about giving him. At breakfast this morning he clamped his lips shut and kept turning around and pressing his face against his highchair back, trying to hide from the banana-strawberry tapioca loaded spoon. I managed to get him to eat a few Cheerios, but then he started flinging them off onto the floor, so I finally broke down and gave him a poptart. But then he was pissed because I broke the poptart into pieces, when what he really wanted was the entire, intact poptart.

I've begun to learn that the name of the game in getting food in the child is distraction and trickery. If I can get him interested in picking up Cheerios and the relative novelty of feeding himself, then I can sometimes sneak bites of what I really want him to eat in between the Cheerio bites. And when that didn't work this morning and the poptart didn't satisfy (because I was NOT giving him a whole poptart and then having to Heimlich him), I gave him a sippy cup with water to drink/play with. I'd tip it up for him and give him a drink, and then when he opened his mouth for another drink, I'd slip a spoonful of tapioca into it instead. Very tricksy indeed.

This whole sneak attack routine reminded me of when I was little and Mom used to trick me into eating stuff I didn't want or didn't like. That woman would lie through her teeth about whether she put nuts in the cookies. And when I'd call her on it, she'd claim, "Rachel, they're chopped so fine, you can't even taste them." To which I would inevitably retort, "If you can't taste them, then WHY put them there in the first place?"

But the worst was definitely the homemade ketchup. Mom would make homemade ketchup, which was this incredibly time-consuming, labor intensive endeavor that made the whole house absolutely REEK. We ALL hated homemade ketchup. Hated the way it made the house smell, and hated the taste of the stuff when it was done. It tasted like it came directly from actual TOMATOES. Ugh. To get us to eat it, Mom would save and wash out empty Heinz bottles and then refill them with the noxious stuff. I swore I would NEVER DO THAT TO MY KIDS.

Never put nuts into their chocolate chip cookies, never replace their beloved smooth red sugary ketchup with tomato paste, never give them Tylenol crushed up in jelly.

Ha. Yeah, right. If I could fill a Heinz bottle with banana-strawberry tapioca and squirt it into Eliot's mouth and get him to swallow it, I would totally do it. Except it'd be a Brook's Rich N Tangy bottle. I'm strictly a Brook's Rich N Tangy girl these days.


Spam I am.

I rarely ever get actual email anymore. You know, from real people. I get floods of advertisements from places I've shopped online, places I haven't shopped online, places I never want to shop online, etc. And the obligatory prescription drug and porn spam. I always get my hopes up when yahoo tells me I have (8) messages in my inbox, and then I blow out a frustrated breath of air and roll my eyes when I see that, yet again, it's just a bunch of junk. Except just now I was delighted to log in and find a message from one Aileen Gomez whose subject line promised me that by opening the email, I could "get a bigger copulation organ today." How exciting! And timely, because coincidentally, I was just bemoaning the smallness of my copulation organ and wondering what I could do to get a bigger one.

But seriously, I love that phrase "copulation organ." Has that phrase ever been used before in the history of humankind? I can only imagine that it's supposed to entice me to open the email out of curiosity to know exactly what a copulation organ IS. It's so much more subtle and classy than those subject lines that proclaim, "Enhance your penis naturally!" or "safe and fast penis enlargement." Because a copulation organ almost sounds like it could be a musical instrument. (I have to suppose it's a woodwind.) I honestly had to restrain myself from clicking on it. I really wanted to click. Like, to reward the spammer for his/her creativity.

And, as a bonus, I now have a new phrase to add to my vocabulary. This could do wonders for my dirty talk. I think I'll practice tonight--"Honey," I'll whisper in a deep, throaty voice, "Would you like me to stroke your copulation organ?"

That is SO sexy.


"I heart my ma ma."

This is Eliot getting his first taste of refined sugar. Yum! Ma ma sent Valentine's Day cookies in the mail, with a guilt-trip laden note saying, "I hope your Mom lets you eat these cookies. They're really good." So how could I not?
Note the devious grin even as his mouth is stuffed with pure sweetness. He was so caught up in the momentary sugar high that he didn't even cheese for the camera as is his usual way.
By the second half of the cookie, he got so excited that he squished it between his fingers in a squeal of delight, crumbling it to death and mashing it into the highchair tray.
Can't say as I blame him. They WERE really good.


Ten months and growing.

Eliot is ten months old today! He's crawling, though slowly. His daycare provider calls him "the turtle." He thinks about where he wants to go before he starts out and then slowly and deliberately makes his way towards his destination. He's a very detail oriented baby, if you can believe that there is such a thing. Rather than knocking down block towers right away, he leans forward and slowly tries to remove the topmost block without knocking the others down. He turns toys over and over in his hands and examines them. He enjoys taking the colored rings on and off the stacking post.

Last night I gave him a bath for the first time. I know that sounds crazy, but I've had a phobia about it ever since he was a newborn and Eli just took over the responsibility of bathing him. It was kind of their bonding ritual. But Eli is working twelve hour shifts now and I knew he wouldn't be home in time to give Eliot a bath for the next three days, so after supper (an extremely messy supper), I took him into the bathroom and stripped him down while the tub was filling. I tested the water with a temperature strip to make sure it wasn't too hot and then slowly eased his naked little body in feet first so he could get used to the feel of the water. He sat and happily played with his bath toys while I washed his face and body and shampooed his hair. After I let go of the stress of worrying whether the water would be too hot or too cold, or he would be too slippery and I'd drop him trying to get him out, or whether I would get him clean enough or whether I'd get the shampoo rinsed out of his hair thoroughly enough...
I actually quite enjoyed it. There isn't any one thing I can think of in the world that's cuter than a naked little baby playing and grinning and splashing around in bathwater.

After the bath, I put him in his fleece footie jammies and combed his hair and then set him down to play on the living room floor with some toys as I was talking on the phone. After a while, he started getting cranky, so I sat down next to him and pulled him into my lap and started patting his back and rocking back and forth. Usually he'll permit this for a few moments before wriggling out of my grip and going back to playing, but last night he stayed quiet and let me rock him. Not ninety seconds later I looked down and saw he was drifting off to sleep. I held him in my arms for probably twenty more minutes before lying him down in the crib.

What a gift my little boy is.

Conversations I'll miss when Eli goes to third shift.

2:30 a.m. Eli crawls back into bed after giving Eliot a bottle.

"Do you hear that noise?"

"What, the humming?"

"Oh, good. I thought I was going crazy."

"Sounds like something outside."

"Go investigate!"

And since I've been lying there not sleeping anyway, I get up and wander out to the front porch, trying to spot the origin of the humming noise.

Back in bed.

"Did you find it?"

"Inconclusive. The porch is very cold. Mumford is asleep on the couch. That's my full report."

"Hunh. You'll need to type that up and submit it to either me or Mumford in the morning."

"I guess I'll submit it to Mumford, since you'll be at work."

"That's not good."

"Why not?"

"Because Mumford's much tougher than I am."

"So you're saying I better mind my p's and q's?"

"More like your kibbles and vittles."





Quick recap.

There is much going on in the Heicher household these days. Let's see...in good news,
last night I went to a performance of The Vagina Monologues with Elecia. It was the third time I've seen it and I loved it once more. Very inspiring. If they do it again next year, I really want to be in the cast. I could so totally do that.

I made Valentines today for a few very select beloved family members. Only a few, because it was very difficult to get Eliot's (and Eli's, for that matter) cooperation with the stamping. Those boys just don't appreciate handicrafts like they should.

And, Eli bought me an electric blanket to keep me warm on the nights he'll be working third shift. I'm under it right now, and so toasty! :-)

On the other hand...
Eli will soon be going to third shift. (Yeah, I said that already, but it bears repeating in the bad news category.)

Eliot and I are STILL battling colds.

Our washing machine broke yesterday.

Today I found out I have Hashimoto's disease, which basically means that my immune system thinks my thyroid is the enemy. It also means I'll probably be getting my blood drawn every month or so from here to eternity. (Ew, punctuated by deep, shoulder-shaking shutter)

Hmmm...just thinking I should have done bad news first, because it's rather depressing to end on that note...

So, to lighten the mood, here's my favorite YouTube video of all time. It makes me indescribably happy to watch this. It also makes me want to teach Eliot to speak in a British accent and stick his fingers in people's mouths. Oh, wait. He already does that last part.


One crucial vowel.

Apparently, food is supposed to go IN the baby, not ON the baby. That's IN, not ON.
We've been doing it all wrong.


Some days you get the barn, and some days the barn gets you.

When I arrived to pick Eliot up at daycare on Monday, one of the other kids came running up to me blabbering faster than I could decipher, pulling on my pantsleg, and from what I could tell, the main thrust of the story was "ELIOT IS CRYING BECAUSE A BARN FELL ON HIS HEAD!" Once I disentangled myself from the kid ambush and reached Eliot, I could see that he was indeed sitting on the floor with tears and snot streaming down his face, furiously sucking on someone else's pacifier. (That part isn't as bad as it sounds. I'd been distracted trying to leave that morning because Eli drove off with Eliot's carseat in his truck and I had to dig out and use the old pumpkin seat from the nook above the stairs. In all of the commotion, we left the house without our nuk and had to borrow an extra one from our daycare lady.) Eliot looked up at me with his big blue eyes and an expression on his sad little face that said, "Momma, A BARN FELL ON MY HEAD."
So daycare lady explains, that, yes, Eliot was lying in the floor playing and pulled the Little People barn down on top of himself by accident.

My first reaction was an overwhelming urge to grab the barn, yank open the door, and do a wind-up and fling it across the road old-school Karil-style, but while screaming, "You'll never hit my baby in the head again, Little People barn motherfucker!!!" But I thought that might not be a good example for the kids, so I restrained myself.

Eliot was alright. After we got home and he had time to calm down, I could see that the bump on his head was very small (the rest of the redness was just from the crying). And then today it wasn't even noticeable unless you knew just where to look for it.

So I guess I won't have to sneak over in the dark of night and stomp the barn to smithereens.

But if it ever comes upon me in a dark alley, it sure enough better run the other way. That cute little mooing door won't be enough to save it from my momma wrath.


Sick day.

I've been down with the world's most evil cold for the last few days. It started on Friday but got so bad last night, I just laid in bed shaking with fever. I could feel every contour of my body under the covers, the same way when you get a chill you can feel every hair on your head standing up. Ick. It was terrible. After I finally got to sleep, I woke up a few hours later drenched in sweat. Double ick. So today I've been lying around napping and watching hours of Mythbusters. Eli went out and bought me various cold medicines, fruit popsicles, and The Princess Bride on DVD. Apparently to make up for the fact that when I groaned, "I think I'm gonna croak," last night, his response was "I wish you would." And then he refused to sleep in bed with me and took to the couch instead because I was "getting germs everywhere."
He has been nice today about taking care of Eliot so that I can rest, though, and I guess we're going to watch some Super Bowl commercials and then The Princess Bride.
It's storming outside--lightning and thunder, the whole bit. So weird for February. Anybody still not believe in global climate change??? Triple ick.


Just another Friday at the office.

Oh, go on and shut your channel already.

One of my favorite scrapbooking blogs has posted on it today a quote from Martha Graham that I found particularly inspiring:

There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time this expression is unique and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it! It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

So often I end up quitting on something because it isn't THE BEST, it isn't PERFECT. I like this idea that not only should I give myself permission to create and express myself, but in some way I actually have an obligation to do so. Seriously. It's for the benefit of THE WORLD. Then again, I often come across "expressions" of others whose business needs to be to shut their channel already. Shut it! Just shut it!

Anywho...just something I'm thinking about today.