Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We are a Baby Gate Free Home! - - for now at least

This past Monday, we took the baby gate down from the top of our stairs and who freakin' knew - - we took it down and our girlie went up and down the stairs, two different trips, without assistance nor an escort, and without a single utterance of protest! She did it with great enthusiasm and confidence.

BACKGROUND INFO: A couple weekends ago, I had gone upstairs without her, cheerfully calling to her to come follow mommie, but she remained downstairs. In fact, she threw herself on the floor and she began to cry. Calling for her from upstairs, I encouraged her to come on up, that she could do it, but I could hear she wasn't convinced, still crying. I kept calling for her, maybe for a minute or more, but her crying only intensified. I came halfway down the stairs to see what was going on and to ask her, "Ahhh, what's the matter punky? Why are you so upset?" I found her clutching one of her polar bears, a lil' heap on the floor, absolutely in tears, sobbing, and refusing to come even near the stairs, begging me for help. This was something new and shocking - - this was NOT how my lil' chica had dealt before with my going upstairs without her, asking her to follow me: She used to simply follow me.

Over the past couple months she began asking to be carried up or down the stairs, and over the last month it got to the point where she would always ask -more like demand- that she be carried, and she would almost panic when forced to negotiate the stairs without immediate, direct assistance from one of us. Not without over-the-top encouragement would she even attempt the stairs, and more often than not, she wouldn't approach the stairs to go either up or down them unless one of us was right there with her to go the way alongside her.

I'd been curious as to where her new reluctance to use the stairs was coming from, but after the aforementioned weekend, I became worried and downright concerned as to what the heck had changed for her. For the past two weeks I began to suspect she didn't want to deal with the baby that gate at the top of the stairs, fearing it as an obstacle that throws her balance off, not wanting to risk a fall.

The fact that she went up and down the stairs and up and down again, all on her own each time, in the first ten minutes after the gate was removed, um, yeah, I think it's safe to assume the gate had indeed been the problem.

Earlier tonight, aiming to retrieve a favorite book of hers that she'd left in her room, she headed up the stairs all on her own, and once she got to the point on the stairs where she would have to turn and continue to move further up and out of my sight, she called down to me. With a brilliant and sparkling smile, wide-eyed and focused on my face, she nodded her head assuredly, telling me she'd be right back.

How Time Passes: It's Complicated

The past couple months have been a blur. And although we have a number of different things going on, I see two things most prominently in my mind reviewing this year to date - my aunt's face, heartbroken and conflicted, and my two-year old daughter, wide-eyed and smiling with pure and earnest interest spread across her darling full and rosey cheeked face. And these two things in my mind's eye are in juxtaposition to one another, and they remind me of the on-going duality of life which is this in my book:

Life sucks - - It's ugly and excruciatingly painful, brutally cruel and violently atrocious, totally unfair and unforgiving, unfeeling and wholly dismissive. And yet, Life can offer the most beautiful and pure moments, and the most splendid and blissfully simple joys.

It's complicated (nodding my head).

Before leaving for work this morning, while scrambling around the house to get us all out the door for work on time and the sweet potato's timely delivery to preschool, I had a lovely lil' brief texting convo with the angel boy-O's mommie, Wendy - - she has her hands full right now with life-changing events underway, as do we, and we were exchanging comments on the details of our latest news, and she wrote: "Oh wow. I don't know whether to say yay or boo," to which I responded, "lol exactly!" And then she wrote: "Well, I do believe that things will work out in the best way possible."

And then she wrote, "Ask [insert my honey-man's name] to tell you the 'How do you know this is a bad thing?' story from Japan." "Still something I kind of live by."

I wrote back to her: "omg LOL I have heard that story sOooooOOooooo many times!"

Wendy's reply: "HA! Glad to hear it's still out there."

Me: "oh yes, like alllll the time."

Wendy: "I have to say, I remind myself of that story when I feel like I'm getting screwed and it really puts things into perspective. We are living proof of the truth of that philosophy right now..."

Me: "Totally, amen sister wife"

Okay, so I just googled this: "Chinese Taoist farmer story about how do you know it's good or bad" -No, really, that's what I typed, really! Anyhow, I found several versions of the Taoist/Chinese farmer story, although the central message is the same across them all. I've included further below the most prominent four versions I found, the first being the closest to my honey-man's version, although my honey-man does note Mongolian nomads and Mongolian invaders specifically, and his version has a herd of horses returning to the village with the first horse, and the villagers tell the farmer he and his family will be rich. Furthermore, as with the first version here, the farmer in my honey-man's version always counters the assumption something is either good or bad, which is exactly what my honey-man often does whenever I'm facing something and attempting to determine it to be either 'good' or 'bad' - - which can sometimes be infuriating when in the moment (lol), as it can either totally dampen a happy celebration, or take away from one's need to complain/be mad, but yet, more often than not --grudgingly at times-- I have to admit he's been right to challenge the assumption!

Version 1:

This farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to console him over his terrible loss. The farmer said, "What makes you think it is so terrible?"

A month later, the horse came home--this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer's good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, "What makes you think this is good fortune?"

The farmer's son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. Such bad luck! The farmer said, "What makes you think it is bad?"

A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer's son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbors congratulated the farmer. "What makes you think this is good?" said the farmer.

As told by Executive editor, Elise Hancock, in the Johns Hopkins Magazine, November 1993, page 2, in section entitled Editor's Note.

Version 2:

A man named Sei Weng owned a beautiful mare which was praised far and wide. One day this beautiful horse disappeared. The people of his village offered sympathy to Sei Weng for his great misfortune. Sei Weng said simply, "That's the way it is."

A few days later the lost mare returned, followed by a beautiful wild stallion. The village congratulated Sei Weng for his good fortune. He said, "That's the way it is."

Some time later, Sei Weng's only son, while riding the stallion, fell off and broke his leg. The village people once again expressed their sympathy at Sei Weng's misfortune. Sei Weng again said, "That's the way it is."

Soon thereafter, war broke out and all the young men of the village except Sei Weng's lame son were drafted and were killed in battle. The village people were amazed as Sei Weng's good luck. His son was the only young man left alive in the village. But Sei Weng kept his same attitude: despite all the turmoil, gains and losses, he gave the same reply, "That's the way it is."

As told by Chin-Ning Chu, in "The Asian Mind Game: unlocking the hidden agenda of the Asian business culture -- a westerner's survival manual," New York:Macmillan Publishing Company, page 182. (1991)

Version 3:

A man who lived on the northern frontier of China was skilled in interpreting events. One day, for no reason, his horse ran away to the nomads across the border. Everyone tried to console him, but his father said, "What makes you so sure this isn't a blessing?" Some months later his horse returned, bringing a splendid nomad stallion. Everyone congratulated him, but his father said, "What makes you so sure this isn't a disaster?" Their household was richer by a fine horse, which his son loved to ride. One day he fell and broke his hip. Everyone tried to console him, but his father said, "What makes you so sure this isn't a blessing?"

A year later the nomads came in force across the border, and every able-bodied man took his bow and went into battle. The Chinese frontiersmen lost nine of every ten men. Only because the son was lame did the father and son survive to take care of each other. Truly, blessing turns to disaster, and disaster to blessing: the changes have no end, nor can the mystery be fathomed.

The Lost Horse,
Chinese Folktale.

As told by Ellen J. Langer, in" The Power of Mindful Learning," Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley, page 99-100. (1997).

Version 4:

Huainanzi - Daoist Farmer

近塞上之人有善術者,馬無故亡而入胡,人皆弔之。其父曰:「此何遽不為福乎!」居數月,其馬將胡駿馬而歸,人皆賀之。其父曰:「此何遽不能為禍乎!」家富 良馬,其子好騎,墮而折其髀,人皆弔之。其父曰:「此何遽不為福乎!」居一年,胡人大入塞,丁壯者引弦而戰,近塞之人,死者十九,此獨以跛之故,父子相 保。故福之為禍,禍之為福,化不可極,深不可測也。

Translation (see above link for annotations and comment):

Among the people who lived close to the border, there was a man who led a righteous life. Without reason, his horse escaped, and fled into barbarian territory. Everyone pitied him, but the old man said : "what makes you think this is not a good thing?"

Several months later, his horse returned, accompanied by a superb barbarian stallion. Everyone congratulated him. But the old man said: "what makes you think this is cannot be a bad thing?"

The family was richer from a good horse, his son enjoyed riding it. He fell and broke his hip. Everyone pitied him, but the old man said: "what makes you think this is not a good thing!"

One year later, a large party of barbarians entered the border. All the valid men drew their bows and went to battle. From the people living around the border, nine out of ten died. But just because he was lame, the old man and his son were both spared.

P.S. Thanks, Wendy ~ I needed that. I hope everything goes without a hitch this week.
Love you!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why I Love Mah Honey-Man ~ Reason 67

Because I think he has entirely forgotten how to change out his own bath towel for a new one, and I wonder sometimes if it weren't for me, how long would he continue to use the same bath towel, week after week. And every time he sees he has a new bath towel on his towel rack, and a new hand towel as well, he always thanks me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Her Top Ten, Plus One or Two or Three or More

Here's a listing of our lil' sweet potato's Top Ten favorite songs, using the one to two words she'll say to refer to such songs/artists, and each is paired with either the actual song title she either wants me to sing or what she wants to be played. DISCLAIMER: Although all this doesn't truly qualify as a list limited to a mere ten top songs, whatever, its my blog post:

Popular = Refers to the song's actual title, which is from Broadway's Wicked. For over 3 months' time it was her #1 request whenever we were in the car and she wanted me to always sing along to it (and still does). She'll contribute one or two lyrics to the sing along effort, here and there, always timing her "popular"s and the one "pop-u-LAR" perfectly. I think the record for the most times we've played "Popular" on consecutive repeat during any one drive is 10 times and this happened just last month -and it could have gone on longer, but my honey-man gave me a desperately pleading look come replay #10, so I then gave her a "last time" warning... and she cried. But daddy was happy!

Cuppycake = a song that's no more than a minute long, sung by a little girl, Amy Castle, and it's sickenly sweet and toohtahlee adorable to the Nth degree, given to us on a mix CD for xmas '09. She likes to both listen to it and to have me sing it - - sometimes she does NOT want me to sing it though. I can't compare to the original, honestly. I've been singing and playing this one for her for over a year, but only in the last couple months has she put in requests for it by name. Link HERE and lyrics must be shared:

You're my Honeybunch, Sugarplum
Pumpy-umpy-umpkin, You're my Sweetie Pie
You're my Cuppycake, Gumdrop
Snoogums-Boogums, You're the Apple of my Eye
And I love you so and I want you to know
That I'll always be right here
And I love to sing sweet songs to you
Because you are so dear

Florence = referring to Florence + The Machine and this is currently her #1 request in the car, but it could be any 'Florence' song from Lungs, although her favorites are 'Dog Days are Over,' 'My Boy Builds Coffins', 'Cosmic Love,' and 'You've Got the Love' and the only one she refers to using anything more than 'Florence', is 'Rabbit Heart' -which she asks for as "Raise Up"- - So yeah, she basically likes the entire album, so I count it as one of Top Ten, as she refers to all of it as 'Florence.' SIDE NOTE: Her father isn't all that fond of 'Florence' tho, so I take great joy in the fact that our lil' sweet potato requests 'Florence' all on her own without any need of suggestion [<--- read as 'coercion' there] from mommie. Oh, and one time when 'Kiss with a Fist' was playing, she spoke up sllooowly and quietly from the backseat, "uhhh ohhh" and then declared, "She's mad!"

Mayer John = much like 'Florence' this is how she refers to anything by John Mayer, but "Gravity" is her favorite 'Mayer John' song due to the remarkable and miraculous calming effect it has upon her when she's fuzzy, as well as his entire Continuum album. We've kept this CD in the car for over a year because of its healing powers over her.

Jiggle = this is for Woodie Guthrie's "Little Sack of Sugar" - to be sung by either mommie (me) or Elizabeth Mitchell's cover which we alllll love at our house. The lyrics are darling so I must share ~
Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle
Little sack of sugar I could eat you up

Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, pickle, pickle, pickle, pickle
Little sack of sugar I could eat you up

Hey, hey, hey, little sack of sugar
Ho! Ho! Ho! Little sack of sweet

Hee, hee, hee, my pretty little angel
So pretty, pretty, pretty I could eat your feet

Hey, hey, hey, little honey-bunny
Ho! Ho! Ho! Little turtle dove

Hee, hee, hee, little sack of 'taters
So pretty, pretty, pretty I could eat your toes


Hey, hey, hey, my tootsie wootsie
Rangle, tangle, dangle and a honey and a tree

Ho! Ho! Ho! My butterfly-flitters
So pretty, pretty, pretty I could eat your nose

Chorus (begin quietly and then pick up in volume and speed)

Goo goo google and a coo and a cuddle
Kick your foot like a bicycle pedal
Pretty little hoe down and a one eyed frog (hold long on the 'frog')
So pretty pretty pretty I could gobble you whole (hold on the 'whole')

Chorus x 2

MacDonald = ONLY the funk version of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" by Rufus Thomas or a family sing along.

Truly = this is actually something she only knows by my own lil' version in which I've inserted her name, however the original song, an old parlor song, "I Love You Truly" may be better known from ole' Perry Como. It was something both my mum and my Grams sang to me as a child. Lyrics please? Well, there posted on Wikipedia (which I linked above), but okay (I'm such a nerd):
I love you truly, truly dear,
Life with its sorrow, life with its tear
Fades into dreams when I feel you are near
For I love you truly, truly dear.
Ah! Love, 'tis something to feel your kind hand
Ah! Yes, 'tis something by your side to stand;
Gone is the sorrow, gone doubt and fear,
For you love me truly, truly dear.
I should note that I do not sing the lyrics of the second verse in any way - - instead, I sing this:
I love you truly, truly I do
You are my angel, my baby, that's you
You are my sweetest flower, my (insert her name which refers to a flower)
I love you truly, truly I do
Hush = as in "Hush, Little Baby" and for this one, we have some of our own additions, like buying a pony and some hay, and if it doesn't let you ride, momma's gunna buy you a car to drive, and if that car don't start, then we go into the horse and cart.

Lullaby = Brahm's Lullaby, better known by some as "Lullaby and Goodnight. This one, like "I Love You Truly," but worse, I have my own lyrics, only borrowing the tune and the "lullaby and goodnight" repeat.Harp = this refers to a song from Putumayo's Celtic Dreamland compilation CD called "The Dove's Return" by Áine Minogue that involves a great deal of absolutely gorgeous and quintessential Irish harp playing, and she loves it come bedtime while we rock in her chair together a bit before I lay her down for bed. I tend to play it when I'm sick and can't sing.

Sunshine = "You are My Sunshine," of course, but sung in the style of Elizabeth Mitchell.

And the one song she asks for by it's entire name, and she asks for it every night as her last song, is "Rockabye Baby".

P.S. Doh! I almost totally forgot, because it's been a while since this last had a strong listening streak, but it should be mentioned... She LOVES Jason Mraz - - anything by Mraz is golden for her! So much for 'top ten' although I was already pushing it in terms of defining any of this to a mere ten. She loves so much music.

The Things She Says

"What'r you doing?" -either wearing a happy, wide-eyed, look of intrigue with eyebrows raised or a look of pure puzzlement, brow furrowed, and can be asked of anyone she meets

"You sad?" - look of great concern and sympathy, bottom lip protruding a little

"You mad?" -look of great concern with a furrowed brow - - unless she's the reason for the upset, in which case she totally hams it up with a squinty-eyed, heart-melting smile

"Mommie, you sick? (little pause for hugs and pats) You better now? -initially a look of grave, grave concern drenched in profoundly heartfelt sympathy, followed by immediate hugs offered and little wiggling pat-pat fingers on one's neck and shoulders, after which she a big hopeful smile lights up her face.

"No, I don't like that" -frowning with disgust and shaking her head 'no', her chin tucked down into her neck and nose wrinkled, and this response could all happen in regards to either food or clothing

"I taller now!" -spoken first thing in the morning when we come in to claim her from her crib

"Let's go to Yogurtland! We got to Yogurtland now!" -squealing with excitement, hands in the air

"Let's go to Canes! Canes for chicken and french fries?" -trying hard to be suggestive and persuasive with a very hopeful expression, eyebrows raised and little head tilted sideways

"Mommie, I put my shoes in my shoe basket. Lowlypop now, mommie! - - please?" - initially very demanding tone but throws in the way charming kiss-butt smile at the end along with the sugary sweetly spoken 'please'

"Where's my baby Merry? She lost?" -very concerned for her favorite baby doll's welfare, and she will not STOP until we locate Merry

"I don't eat Play-Dough" - shaking her head 'no' with an enormous and mischievous smile and playdough in her teeth

"Look! My artwork, mommie! Look at it!" -smiling and repeatedly and proudly pointing out whatever art piece she's made

"I'm your daughter" - spoken with the most darling full-cheeked smile, usually followed with some kisses and/or hugs and/or cheek to cheek cuddles

"I'm my brother's sissy! I love him!" -spoken with pride and sheer glee

"Noooo, no go home now! Go to TJs mommie please?" -spoken initially with panic, with a quick switch to her most hopeful and persuasive tone she can muster

"Let's go people!" -spoken at near-shouting level and really wide-eyed with a little hand grasping at the front door handle when we're all about to leave home to go somewhere

"No, I'm an ice cream girl" -spoken sometimes in response to being told she's a good girl

And there are so so soooo many more - -

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

For the Love of Kitty Kats ~ #12

"A cat pours his body on the floor like water. It is restful just to see him."

- William Lyon Phelps

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

It's Been a While

I haven't written much of substance in a while. Granted, this is my self-proclaimed outlet of silliness. Nonetheless, sometimes I manage to write something good, something to be remembered. For months and months now, I've neglected to write much of the day to day, week to week, month to month details of my life that keep me going, that keep me believing.

For the month of March, I had hoped to revive my blogging and to make a big time effort to chronicle a number of my lil' sweet potato's accomplishments. Of course, I absolutely delight daily in my darling daughter, who is now TWO years old, but I've failed to detail so many delightful toddler tidbits for months now. And there are a gazillion other things to write about, to be grateful for as well, but over the last 3 weeks since my cousin was murdered, it's been hard to feel much is blog-worthy.

However, if anything, more now than before, I should sense greater meaning in the simple stuff, even the somewhat mundane, and write about whatever and whenever I get a chance. I guess I have been a bit too busy to write, but I've found hours to check into Facebook and Emmett's 'In Memory' group. I dunno.

Blogging, albeit silly stuff, it facilitates my personal effort to cherish all that I have and to enjoy it all to the fullest --as Emmett would want me to and he would expect no less of me... he was such an insistent and stubborn ass with the heart of a lion!

I hope with the April month I'll take more time to observe and note, to reflect and share.

It's just been so hard to think past all the disbelief that he's gone now. The pain can be paralyzing. My heart aches most for those hardest hit by this loss: His wife and 5 lil' children and his estranged parents. My dear aunt - - I want to help and don't know how, as none of it brings him back, and that's all she wants. It is absolutely heartbreaking.