Sunday, April 29, 2012

Very Fairy Birthday Party

A few months ago I talked Zoey off the ledge of an Addams Family-themed birthday party. I just couldn't wrap my head around a bunch of 6 year olds moshing to the music of The Cramps, so I steered her a bit more toward Gary Glitter and we settled on A Very Fairy Birthday Party. Done and done.

First things first, we set up a fairy crown making station. Easy peasy me-so-pleasey, I bought wire floral garlands, butterflies and faux cherry blossoms, then cut and molded the garlands into halos and snipped the flowers into 1" blooms beforehand. Then I set out the blooms and butterflies in terracotta pots along with some pre-cut wire, along with the deer from Zoey's room just because.
Here's Zoey showing her friends what to do, with my friend Rosalie photobombing through a pair of tinsel wings.
The resulting fairy crowns made my inner 6 year old burn with jealousy. I totally would've tossed a kitten if I hadn't already made myself one at home. p.s. "toss a kitten" is my new go-to phrase for throw a conniption. It's all kinds of marvelous.

Anyhoo, here is the just because deer modeling Zoey's fairy crown:
The girls then started decorating sticks they found to make fairy wands, and once again my head nearly fell off with the sheer creativity of kids. 6 years olds are simply Gen. I. Us.
I love this shot, like a few fairies copped a squat to chit chat.
Once? When I was 6ish, I made my family a cake and put the whole egg in, shell and all, and for some reason my family likes to tell this story whenever I bake. Incidentally, I had a made-up restaurant when I was little called Zuzu's. The only thing on my menu was grilled cheese which my mom actually made, but I bring it up only because I was thinking the other day how strangely close the name Zuzu's is to Zoey and Ozzy. Clearly my penchant for z's began at an early age. All that to say I made cupcakes and decorated them with butterflies so no one would suspect they were Duncan Hines.
Mandatory photo of the birthday girl blowing out her candle:
It didn't hurt that we had the party in an actual fairy ring, a grove of old growth redwoods in a perfect circle. Something about the center redwood either rotting out or burning down a thousand years ago, then a bunch of shoots grew in a perfect circle. Either that or magic, hard to say.
In case you've ever wondered what a gang of fairies looks like, it's pretty menacing...
This pic pretty much sums up the day, though. Lots of shrieking, which is the way one should start year 6.
Gratuitous shot of the party favors. Zoey and I made each girl a fairy terrarium complete with fairy, moss, cherry blossoms and plenty of pixie dust. Special shout out to the few days I spent on Pinterest before I lost...interest. What? I just pin shit--cute dresses and rings, shoes, art--and nothing shows up at my door in 5 to 7 business days? Hmph.
And just because I have noticed the slippery slope slide this blog has been taking with regards to a certain someone's second child syndrome, here's a shot of Ozzy, wingless and glitter-free but somehow just as magical.
Don't worry, little man. We're staring down the barrel of 1, t-minus 30 days and counting. Pretty sure your dad's already noodling on a Dukes of Hazzard-theme...


Monday, April 23, 2012


Dear Zoey,

The next day you were 6.
Which is how it happens, I know. Not surprising or terribly complicated, but unbelievable all the same. You are 6. April 24, 2012. 1234567891011121314151617, you count up to anything now, 6 not even a catch-your-breath number to take pause. Numbers a game played with in tangerine cuties. What's 10 minus 4, you say, only I am not supposed to know the answer as you arrange the cuties on the table. 6, you say, triumphant, a little boastful even as you pretend to juggle though you close your eyes to catch. The next day you eat bruised tangerines for lunch.
The last photo of 5.
6 has brought swagger, and if I could bottle that swagger, I would. Spoon a bit of swagger to you each night before bed as preventative medicine, doubling the dosage in a few years. You wear glitter with stripes, zebra print, rainbow, shorts over pants because it is your "signature look." I admit, there are days when I try to talk you out of wearing your bathrobe belt as a scarf, though I know I should stop. Let you own yourself. Celebrate your spirit because soon enough there will be people who try to crush it, or at the very least poke at it with toothpicks. I will do everything in my power not to let them, but even more importantly, I will not let myself be one of them.

You found an old Ice Cube CD the other night and put it on your karaoke machine. Said that you knew it had the bad f word, but you wanted to dance to it. So you did. So you did.

The next night you asked me if I knew what the b word was. I cocked my head, curious, but you told me it was bunny.

6. Caught between bunny and fuck when all you want to do is dance. Look at yourself in the reflection of the window as you pop your head and arms and jump, feeling bad-ass krumping in a Rapunzel shirt.

When I grow up I want to be just like you.

You are magic, Zoey, your huge hazel eyes fringed with impossibly long eyelashes and I see you watching the world around you, amused. And I see the world watching right back, entranced with the girl who feels bad for the trees when we make her eat salad, who calls her brother baby potato and still thinks it's pronounced earthquick.

And so I will put you to bed tomorrow night, your first day of 6, after telling you the story of when you were born. How they pulled you out of me, a pressure released, how I looked at you and fell smack hard deeply in love with breathing, turned my head and puked, and then turned back to stare into those big, big eyes. And I will tell you again that when they pulled you out of me slick, your tiny baby fingers tore a piece of my heart and took it with you, how no matter where you are, no matter how old or how far, you will always have a piece of me, my sweet, sweet girl. My Zo.

Happy birthday.

Apparently I was too cranky to write 5. But here's 4. 3. 2. (1 was before I started the blog.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

How High?

I get an A+. Like, I totally aced this part of the Motherhood Test (and you just know we're all being graded, right?). Gold star, smiley face, good job! Because I think I taught Zoey how to read. Slash, not in a way that has both of us in tears.

It's like this: I took a pile of notecards with words and taped them all over the house. Then I made it a game. Can you find the word jump? Zoey scampers off to find the word, somehow not realizing she is also learning. And here's where I get extra credit...the cards each have a simple sentence on the back using the word on the front of the card. Jump over the log! I am sure there is something somatic going on what with her thinking this is a game so her cerebral cortex is open, synapses zapping happily along, but she is actually reading these sentences. Jump for joy! Yay! Chest bump, Van Halen Jump! Whatever. More often than not we mothers berate ourselves for what we're doing wrong...working, not working, snapping, not sleeping, sucking at playing with Barbies (I really do hate playing Barbie), so I think it's equally important to focus on what we are doing well. And right now I am excelling at teaching Zoey to read.

Though I did just notice that the title I gave in homage to the card I have pictured is also a play on the fact that it's 4/20. Dude. Baby steps. Better motherhood one flash card at a time.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cone of Shame

Apologies for the lack of posts but I have had pink eye. And I know what you're thinking, that pink eye does not necessarily preclude one from writing or the internet. If anything, the www is positively made for those with communicable diseases. Yet if I put my ear up to my computer screen I can hear you there like the ocean spiraled inside a seashell...whhhhhhnnuuu all hollow-like, the rhythmic recoiling with the mere mention of pink eye. I mean, you can feel it right now, can't you? Your eye? It itches a little bit? How good it would feel to rub the inside corner hard. But don't touch it! Whatever you do. Don't touch your eye while reading this post.So yes. Pink eye. It is not cancer or flesh-eating; it does not permanently disfigure. But for a few days you can see how it might be maybe, a sliver. The way people look at you either too hard or away, annoyed, disgusted, curious. Cautious. The way your presence leaves imprints. This is where your wrist touched the counter, fingertips on a pen.

Talking about beauty can be ugly. I am not saying I am beautiful. But I don't disappear either. Normally I am me and I am good, people smile my way, sometimes more. And then my eye crusts over and I am gone. Like that! In public, I look down. At home I avoid the mirror. The only way I exist is inside, what I think, how I feel, which is fine when I forget, if a little itchy. Then at night when I go to bed I wonder what it would be like to never have a mirror again, to never have seen a mirror at all. How might self-esteem change without the concept of reflection? Who would I be if I were only my insides?

Can you see me here again? My ear against the screen? Don't worry--I am not contagious anymore. Wwwwwhhhnn...did you know that if you put your ear up to a stranger's head you can actually hear them say what the fuck? Because I wonder what you think, who you would be if no one saw you.

I am in love with the color in this photo from Frida Kahlo's own personal collection. Through her countless self-portraits, she seemed fascinated with the play between physical and self.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

You Dig? I Dig.

I was totally dorking out on Don Draper today, thinking about how this season is supposed to be 1966, how he just turned 40. Which means that if Don Draper were still alive today he would be 86, that is if he didn't die of emphysema first and wasn't a fictional character on the teevee.Anyway, I saw this article titled The Story Behind Don Draper's New Digs, and even though I despise the term "new digs" I quickly got past it when I saw the pics.
Maybe it's because my house was built in 1979, has a butterfly roof and the stone facade around the fireplace reaches the ceiling, but I am "digging" this look. I guess I'm a little grateful that my seriously outdated house might kinda' sorta (but not really) be thought of as cool. Question mark? Yeah, not so much, but I did have that fridge in avocado green and burnt orange shag carpeting when I was little.
So that's that then. Dollars to donuts Don Draper lives in a retirement community in Palm Springs now.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Another One for the Baby Book

Monday, April 9th, 2012. Zoey is officially way cooler than I am.Please no one tell her this until she is 19 years old. Although let's be honest: look at that picture. She totally already knows it.
And yes, she picked out the entire outfit. When I tried to tell her that maybe zebra print didn't go with the pattern on her skirt or the illustration on her shirt, or perhaps it clashed with the sequin tie (?!) and cardigan plus the glitter gladiator sandals, she told me that I don't know modern. Only she pronounces it with 3 syllables: ma-der-ehn. Excuse me whilst I take leave in my comely horse and buggy, verily young sprite.
And yes, I covet her sandals. Target. And no, they don't come in grown up sizes. I checked.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Remind Me Of This Come August 30th

Zoey has discovered my old photo albums. Alternative first sentence of this post: I have slowly been watching my friends turn 40. Which came first, the memory or the fear? Chicken or egg, I turn 40 in 5 months, a fact that has turned me into a liar as I tell everyone I am going to face it without shame. 40, you guys. At least with 30 there was thirtysomething, hanging on to a thread of hip with Hope and Michael Steadman. Remember them? But 40. 40 is clunky, orthopedic, the something now just the story of what has happened.
What happened in this picture? Zoey asks, and so I tell her. This was my birthday. A place called Beauty Bar. 27 or 28, I think, though I don't tell her that one of the guys with us that night died years later in a car accident, or that another of the guys later became addicted to heroin. We ate Moroccan food and belly-danced. It was a great night. I tell her, and it was.
Did you used to have curly hair? she asks me, and I say no, this was Halloween, I think. I hope, the eyebrows as questionable as the wig. This was a Halloween spent with the only couple we knew at the time who were actually married. We were 24, and the couple later divorced, the guy married the girl with whom he had been having an affair, though whom seems too proper in that sentence. They later split up, too, another story of what has happened since.And then this. Kinda hard to explain to Zoey what is happening here. We were 18, our first summer back home after college. A get together with high school friends, probably one of the last times we all hung out seeing as how it had all already started to turn strained, the car accident of my two best friends lurking in the shadows. Fault and blame, guilt, all of us too young to know how to deal with anything but tongues and tight shoulders, the sour taste of beer. I look at this photo and wonder what I am thinking, me with my Stussy hat. God, I loved that stupid hat.Another hat. This time in Costa Rica. I remember the heat of the black sand, how sweet the Fanta tasted, how fat I felt as I sat there which kills me. I was 27. Bryan and I were playing gin rummy. My bikini was pink and red, reversible, and later I accidentally left it at this little place we stayed at with tons of hot Brazilian surfers. I loved that bathing suit, but I felt fat and scared, had panic attacks walking down the street of a small Costa Rican town. I called my mom from a payphone in Playa Hermosa and I wish more than anything I could tell this girl to relax, she's fine. You're fine. I'm fine.
Oh, how we had fun. And if the photo albums are to be trusted, all we ever did was smiled. Laughed. Drank. Ate tapas and smooshed our faces together for pictures. I have made a point of not posting photos of any of my friends (you're welcome, friends), but god, we were all so freaking pretty. Close-ups with no wrinkles, no pores, smooth skin, shiny hair. Blonde, even. Mommy, why do you have blonde hair? And really I have no answer. Because I could, I guess. I shouldn't have--lord knows there was a year or two of blonde I wish I could take back, but there it is. Because I could.
We all could. 18 and 26, 27, 30. Photos of Italy, Greece, Mexico, night after night after night out in the city getting drunk. I am glad we did it, all of it, the stupid hair and mistakes. Not knowing much but most of all not knowing what we had, probably the reason we look so free. Which is why I guess I am reaffirming my lie about turning 40 without shame.* Because this is all I have now, and someday I am sure I will look back at photos of me with my 5 year old girl and 10 month old boy and marvel at how young I was. Am. Now.

*Fine print: I do not turn 40 for 5 months. No shame, but also no sense in speeding this up.