Sunday, February 28, 2010


me in the studio pregnant with Toby...Why paint a wreck?

"No Mama! I'm allergic to apples!" Steel announced this morning refusing to dip the apple slices in her little bowl of cinnamon sugar opting instead for the straight cinnamon sugar. Jack Peter was the first to invoke the power of allergies. He'd had a disturbing playgroup. His barely walking, little sister was zooming down the slide with all of the other little kids. He's risk-averse, so no zooming. A day later we were driving by a playground. He announced from his carseat, "Mama, I'm allergic to slides." Maybe I'll try it next time someone is placing an order, "I'm sorry, I'm allergic to bud vases." I'm starting to compile a list of my life-threatening allergies: low threadcount sheets, too-puffy pillows, anything low fat or sugar free, pastel baby clothes, sour milk-especially in conjunction with leaking sippy cups, uncomfortable shoes, visible earwax, drywall...Sleepy suits that button instead of zip render me anaphylactic.

Speaking of sleepy suits, we are on our third kid, and we still get baby gifts. It's alarming. It's not that I don't appreciate them, but I didn't know that I was supposed to give baby gifts. I get really nice ones from people I worked with 20 years ago who live across the country. Have people been waiting for me to walk away at parties and then saying, "She doesn't give baby gifts."?

I went to a party last week with my husband. In social situations I normally roll my eyes and blame my inability to focus on chasing children. Pottery and parenting are both time-consuming and strangely solitary. When I do get out I've been in my own head for so long I scare people with the stuff that comes out of my mouth. I could hear a faint sound of velcro ripping as people extricated themselves from talking to me. I particularly remember someone excusing themselves as I was lamenting my DIY eyebrow waxing. I used my husband's dirty boxers from the hamper to rip the sugar wax off. A pair of boxers is not the most precise hair removal tool, so I'll be relying on an eyebrow pencil for a couple of weeks.

Being 40 means it's futile to glam up anyway. I try and look OK; I wear white to hide the milk vomit, but I'm always covered in clay, puke or boogers, so why bother? I do have a botoxed friend. When asked how it looks, I surprised myself by replying, "She looks younger and happier." Maybe I'm just too stingy to try and look really good. New Englanders pride themselves on their frugality. They boast about how low the thermostat goes at night. My dad's nightly ritual as he turned the heat down was a low whistle imitating the sound of a bomb falling. When he'd hit the desired 61 degrees he'd make a quiet sound of an explosion.

Maybe I'm also allergic to hairdryers, nail clippers, make-up, shampoo and exercise.

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