The Texture Of Things

The Truth, in Small Doses

July 31st, 2007

This morning, at the unfair hour of 6:41 a.m., HG peeked out of the bathroom to make sure I was going to get up with my alarm.

“Doesn’t it feel good to know that you’re the thing that makes everything all right for someone else?” he asked.*


“When you have a bad dream or some scary thoughts…”

oh, right. an hour and a half before this, i was rocking the tot back to sleep after a bad dream. i had forgotten.

“and someone comes to hold you and make it all better. That’s you.”

That’s true. That’s me. That makes the day after an already short, then interrupted sleep a lot easier to bear.

*Exact wording cannot be guaranteed. It was pre-coffee after only 5.5 hours of sleep.


July 25th, 2007

We are back from a short vacation, and now I am swamped with grading, which is getting the best of me, sadly.

As soon as I get my head above water, I’ll post a bit about some happenings, one of which is quite gross.

Egad, I’m such a tease.

For now, let me offer this vague item: I need to get myself on a diet improve my overall nutrition, but I don’t know which punishment plan to choose. Ugh.


July 19th, 2007


A Crush of Firsts

July 18th, 2007

Three is ushering in a different child than what Two offered. I won’t say dramatically different because there hasn’t yet been much of Three, but if this is the beginning of a trend, I’d like to say this:


That’s me going over a big hill on a roller coaster.

What? You couldn’t tell?

Monday, the popsicle and the ice cream cone, and in the evening playing in the neighbor’s yard, the tot climbed the stepladder to the playhouse and went down the slide. By herself. With no suggestion on my part, only shock. This is not a child who enjoys the slide. This is not a child who climbs.

And she went down it, not once or twice, but a billion times, giggling louder with each landing.

Tuesday, she went back to the neighbor’s house for an all-morning play date while I went to work. [Ugh.] This was her first by-herself play date and the first time she’s been at anyone else’s house without a parent (except daycare).

The fabulous news is that they had a rip-roaring good time and she behaved herself and had only one sad moment. Neighbor-mom heard some whimpering and asked her if she was all right. Tot responded, “I just have to be sad for a minute.” Seconds pass. “I’m okay now.” And she was. But then, how bad can your day be when you get to do exactly what you’d do at home, only with a friend and a bigger TV and a pissload more toys, namely watch Backyardigans while eating lunch? Oh. Right. Add to that the end-of-lunch treat of frozen Go*gurts, which SHE REQUESTED, LICKED, AND LIKED.

Then we came home and against my better judgment I introduced a major change in her life only two days before we leave for vacation: I coerced her to sleep somewhere other than her crib*. She doesn’t sleep anywhere but her crib or her car seat. Until today**. She had a hard time going to sleep, but she didn’t get out of the bed the whole time. I am more than a little shocked.

Post-nap and -dinner, she returned to the great out of doors to play with her neighbor friend (the few hours apart were torturous, I’m sure), where she again went sliding, but she also tried the seesaw for the first time and later chose to scale the rock wall side of the play structure in order to get to the slide.

Who is this and what have they done with my child?

*BTW, that bed is totally airbrushed. It is not even close to being that shiny.

**And hopefully for at least the next week, seeing as how she’s too big for the pack and play and she is really leery of sleeping in a bed – just ask the toddler bed that’s been in her room for the last year and a half. It’s practically emo over the constant rejection.

And Then She Was Three

July 17th, 2007

On Monday, our Food Friend came for our weekly visit and we had homemade apple juice popsicles. Tot had never seen nor touched nor tasted a popsicle before, and I was dubious because she is not real keen on the extreme temperatures. In fact, she has been known to freak out when presented with an ice cube to play with.

But, apparently Three is the first age of shocking one’s mother (followed in time by every other age, I suppose) because she licked the popsicle for some time, worrying over drips and melting-ness, but recovering nicely from those worries and licking said popsicle some more.

A popsicle. I cannot even believe it.

Then we did some finger painting, at the tot’s request (Wah?!), and then we had a second snack: sugar cones. We did not put anything in them – we treated the ice cream cones as a food. And it’s a lovely, crunchy food, too. Usually when I get an ice cream cone, I’m wrapped up in the ice cream experience, and I neglect the cone experience. Eating the cone on its own was a lot like eating a conical (surprise) fortune cookie, and that’s enough to make me happy.

It turned out to make the tot happy, too, after some hesitation, some play (bite the bottom and make a telescope), some more hesitation, and finally crushing it to bits.

Food Friend S. said, “Maybe her three-year-old appetite will be an improvement over her two-year-old appetite.” I think maybe it will.

So now it seems we have in place the two components to eating an ice cream cone.

Why is eating an ice cream a goal? Fine question, if you’re crazy. Why wouldn’t it be a goal?

Oh, wait. There I go getting defensive again. Let me approach this from another standpoint, the “What it Means to be a Kid” perspective.

I realize the tot doesn’t have expectations about what experiences are necessary to her childhood, but there are some that I would like her to have. One of them is eating birthday cake. Another is playing in the snow. Another is running through a sprinkler, or sleeping over at a friend’s house, or eating ice cream on a hot, hot day. I want her to go to preschool some day and make a mess with the paint because she’s so engrossed in finding the perfect shade of blue for her picture that the mess becomes inconsequential.

I want her to feel more carefree about these things or to at least be able to shrug off the worries long enough to simply be a kid. To fit in, to be average, if only for a few moments.

On the therapy side of things, ice cream will be a great bridge to other things. It could lead us to melty foods, like cheese or dips. It could lead us to self-spoon-feeding of liquidy foods (which could lead to her eating breakfast cereal with milk, rather than dry with a cup of milk on the side – this is important to the sleepover experience), which could include yogurt (oh holy protein, we long for your presence in our diet). It could lead us to – is it too much to hope? – the mixed textures of ice cream and cone.

But she’s three, so it’s probably all a tease.

Advances in Food Texture: Cereal Straws

July 11th, 2007

Um, I’m not really sure what the hell these things are, but the tot will eat them now, so that’s something.


HOO-fricking-RAY! I think.

Yes, they really work as straws. They’re kind of short, though, so you don’t want to start munching on them until you’re done using it to drink your milk*. If you do, it’ll be too short, you’ll be out of a straw, and the purpose (assuming it’s actually drinking the milk and not acting-like-you-want-milk-so-you-can-eat-the-straw) would be utterly defeated.

*Milk not included.

The tot does not use them to drink milk yet, and that doesn’t seem close on the horizon. (That’s fine. She can use a regular straw.) However, she will blow through them and look through them, and that kind of food play counts in the success/progression column.

As for texture/food group, I guess they are, well, I think they’re, I don’t know – mixed texture, for sure. They have a strong Frooot Looop smell, but they all have the same blended Frooot-Looop flavor. The straw is made up of flaky Frooot-Looop-flavored cereal stuff. It is lined with some kind of pressed powdered sugar that keeps the straw from getting soggy in your milk. When you bite into one, you get the immediate sensation of “hard food,” followed by “flaky bits breaking,” followed by “crunchy bits mixing with softer stuff inside.”

It’s a strange food.

It took her seeing and playing with an entire box’s worth plus two before the tot asked me if she could have the one I was eating. When she hit that last texture sensation, I could see the distress rising in her eyes, so I said, “Crunchy! Crunchy! You have to crunch it!” She resumed chewing and has been fine with them ever since.

Probably if you are not an all-things-Frooot-Looop-addict, you don’t need to buy them. If you are on the fence about them at all, don’t be talked into getting them. They aren’t that great and as far as junk food goes, there are so many better ones out there.

Unexpected Guest

July 10th, 2007

When I came home from dropping the tot off at day care, the bag of cat litter refuse was still waiting inside the garage to be taken to the dumpster, so I took it out. By then, however, it was too late and the garage was filled with mid-morning heat and the aroma of used cat litter.

[inhale] Aahhhhh, used cat litter… [exhale]

I decided, quite reasonably I think, to leave the garage open to air out for about an hour. Then I promptly forgot that I left it open, went on about my day, and discovered it still open when I prepared to go pick the tot up from day care.

And what else do you think I discovered there?



Well, not this one in particular, but a small juvenile, male Downy Woodpecker.

He was clinging to the chain that holds the fluorescent light up above the work bench. When he saw me, he panicked. He launched and flew in spastic bursts through the garage, and each time he passed the open garage door, he flew up instead of down, so he never saw the 2-car-wide exit.

I was worried for him, but I had to leave, so I secured permission from the Husband Guy to leave the garage door open while I went to pick up the tot. (We have goodies in our garage, which can be seen from the street.) Then I left, wracking my brain the entire drive to figure out how to make the woodpecker fly low enough to see his freedom.

Let me take this opportunity to say this: I love birds – the wild kind, not the caged kind. Well, I love those too, but I don’t choose to own caged birds. I’m especially fond of:
the pretty ones
the ones that eat the bugs in my lawn (You’re welcome any time, robins!)
clinging birds, like nuthatches and woodpeckers
other birds that are pretty
little ones
big ones
the ones that come to my feeder, especially in the winter
and so on

As such, I did not want this bird to die in my garage.

I decided that I needed some kind of net, so on the way home, I dragged a tot who had been freshly awakened from a deep nap* through a pet store and a hardware store. The hardware store was where we found a butterfly net (Yay!) and experienced a meltdown (Boo!). Poor tot. She just couldn’t handle the being commanded, the being urged to hurry up, the being required to do all this in the heat and without the being carried.

When I realized I was being sharp with her for no reason that involved her, I squatted down and explained.

“Honey, there is a bird at home in our garage and he’s stuck. He wants to go home to his mommy and daddy, but he needs help. He needs our help, so we have to hurry,” I said.

She looked at me, sniffled a bit, and asked, “What’s his name?”

I don’t know what I expected her to say, but I assure you, that wasn’t it.

“I don’t know his name,” I told her. “He’s a woodpecker and he’s little and he needs our help with this net. Do you think we can hurry home to help Daddy help the bird?” She agreed and we were on our way – no more fussing.

In the end, the net worked. HG had come home and tried unsuccessfully to get it to fly out of the garage. This tired it out enough that he was able to kind of scoop it and escort the little guy outside. I do hope he’s okay, and since then I have seen Downys on the feeder, so I think he probably is just fine.

*Unless you want to listen to whining and be subjected to clinging, this is not a time you want to spend doing anything with the tot, let alone dragging her in and out of a vehicle and through stores.

Dear MTV(2)

July 7th, 2007

Listen. I know you’re a bunch of over-caffeinated, self-indulged punks over there in programming and show development, so I’ll keep this as straight-forward as I think your miniature attention spans can handle:

I am old.
Stop inching Headbangers Ball later and later.
I am old.
I want to watch it.
I have some disposable income.
If your advertisers were worth my while and/or would get a clue, I could support them with my disposable income.
But I am old.
I can’t stay up until midnight waiting for a show to start.
Eleven is doable, but ten was better.
No, I don’t have Tivo.
I am old, remember?
Please put it back.
Or make a new channel to put it on.
You know, one that shows actual videos 24/7.
Like in the good ol’ days.
Do you remember those? You don’t? Oh, right, you’re twelve.
Should you be working so many hours as a minor?
Does your mom know you’re working for MTV?
Just put my show back on at ten.


P.S. And stop playing all that European garbage. Yes, that includes that one Greek band with that annoying uber-polished, magazine-cover singer. You know the one.

Happy Independence Day

July 4th, 2007

Husband Guy,
If I could write a song for us, I would. Until that day, I will borrow these words:

“…On the scales of desire your absence weighs
more than someone else’s presence.

“You make me feel uncalm and I think I like it.
[You] make me think of a song that I could not write yet.
Melodies create themselves – I’m just a conduit.
You make my heart accelerate and I’m on to it.

“For you, baby, there’s so much that I will do
to be near the sweetness on you.
Funny everything seems so new
when [I’m] with you.

“On the scales of desire your absence weighs
more than someone else’s presence…”

“Uncalm” by 311

Would I Fetch More if I Were a Zombie?

July 2nd, 2007

I’m kind of into dead bodies lately. I just read Stiff by Mary Roach, and I recommend it highly to those who are not squeamish and who are curious about dead bodies and what happens to them once they have become dead.

So you can imagine that when I saw this quiz at KLee’s, I had to go do it. Turns out I’m worth more that I thought I would be. Cool.

$5590.00The Cadaver Calculator – Find out how much your body is worth


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