Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ander Beats the Heat Boothing with Jek

Actually, it was that 89-degrees-bouncing-off-the-asphalt sort of heat that can't really be beaten.

He was tired and cranky, and thus hyper and prone to tears.

I was hay-fever-y and cranky, and thus spacey and prone to scolding.

Not a good combo for a play-date with a grownup friend, but Jek (LA native that she is) is a pro at making the best of a heatwave. She patiently toured Ander around her garden, showing him all its hidden wonders (popping seed pods, towering sunflowers, bunches of grapes, black bumble bees), and gathering seeds in wee bags for him to plant at home. He even got to pick the first ripe tomato of the summer (and eat it too!).

Then we were off to Eat Well (where we did just that), chosen for its kid-friendly diner food, air conditioning, and proximity to Pull My Daisy's black and white photo booth. We actually used up the last of their photo paper -- wasting eight potentially hysterical poses before we figured it out! Ander also scored a very cool t-shirt, which he decided he needed to wear right out of the store.

Since we were just across the street, a visit to Giant Robot seemed a geographic necessity -- but the frustration of a bad 'blind assortment' toy gamble tipped poor Ander over the edge. Jek prescribed ice cream. After a double scoop (Brown Bread and Tea & Honey from Scoops on Hyperion), all was good again.

Exhausting, this yo-yo-ing of emotion (but at least you know you're alive, right?)... SO HAPPY to be at Jek's house! SO SO SO HAPPY to catch her bird clock in action! SO EMBARRASSED about the exploding creamer at Eat Well. SO HAPPY about his new t-shirt! BESIDE HIMSELF with happiness about booth strips! SO HAPPY to enter Giant Robot! SO SO SOOOO SAD to get suckiest toy in blind assortment! SO HAPPY eating ice cream... And all the while his sweaty, clingy, sharp-boned body kept glomming onto mine -- damp little monkey hands on my collar bone! Auughh! Hot weather (and PMS) and a stuffy head are simply not conducive to child-snuggling.

I promise we'll be more fun next time, Jek! (And thanks for the life-saving Flonase, chica!)

First Trip of the Summer: Ferries, Fairies, Trains, and Pains

While I'm fairly certain they will mostly remember a beach-y holiday with Lady J and Miss I and Master G at Grandad and Tutu's, sprinkled with ample doses of ice cream and root beer floats, all bookended with a train and ferry boat ride, here's what happened:
  • Day 1: Moments after Zaza finished her pita and tzatziki at the Concert in the Park (first picture, above), I spun her around by the arms and dislocated her left elbow. After 2 hours of pain, a $100 'co-pay,' and a complete waste of time at the posh but kid-stupid Coronado Hospital ER, her elbow was gently manipulated back into place by a wonderful doctor at a San Diego clinic. Zaza's last words before drifting off to sleep that night: "Mommy. Mommy. Mommy, say sorry for breaking my elbow." (As if I hadn't been whispering that into her ear all evening)
  • Day 2: Tutu and Grandad's labrador retriever bit Master G on the nose (bite marks on either side of his wee nose -- no broken skin -- swelling, and a slow nosebleed). I had lectured the kids on the train ride down (and walking up the front walk), warning them of the dog's fear of skateboards, her nervousness around rowdy behavior and children under 4 feet tall, her tendency to be bite-y if food is around or if she perceives she is being challenged (i.e. stared down). But she has velvety ears, and one artificial eye, and freckles on her nose, and what 3 year-old wouldn't want to lay down on the rug and study her up close when she seemed to be resting? Master G was kind of scolded (not by either mama) for staring and causing the dog to 'snap at' him. In hindsight, I -- and certainly Lady J -- was probably entitled to be a tad more indignant. Instead (eldest children, both), we sort of mumbled apologies to my mom for upsetting the dog, and let her go on thinking that the dog had missed contact with Master G's face. But we did keep one of our adult bodies beween the small kids and the dog for the rest of the visit.
  • Day 2, Part 2: Miss I suffered some serious sand-chafing from her board shorts. (Which I made worse that evening by applying aloe vera gel that wasn't 100% aloe vera, and seems to have contained something painfully astringent.)
  • Day 3: Lady J got a 24-hour stomach bug. Or food poisoning. Or violent ice cream allergy. Whatever it was, it was bad. And she never did get to finish building a proper sandcastle (there were countless starts, which were merrily squashed under bare and merciless 3 year old feet).
But in between there was the afore-mentioned ice cream. And swimming at the bay side beach with lots and lots and lots of wave-riding on spongy kick boards. And scones from Tartine, where the kids invented their own 'coffee' drink: vanilla-mint-milk. There was the fairy fortress hidden in the hedge around the palm tree in Spreckels Park. Also, the climbing tree. And there were old Fisher Price toys to play with, and funny funny 'shows' made with MC Miss I on microphone and Master G and Ander in silly costumes. There were Transformer toys from Burger King, and cheap sunglasses, and wish-lists written on fairy cards. There was a magical statue of a Peter Pan-like boy holding a sand crab, and truly incredible balloon sculptures. There were animated movies to watch from the top bunk of the bunk bed, and this Anti-Coloring Book, and Mad-Libs, and bathtubs overflowing with sandy little bodies. And there were moments -- laying on a sandy beach mat, curled around a damp sunscreen-coated child, listening to the waves -- where it really felt like summer, when the days were warm and salt-tinged and endless.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Zaza Appreciates a Good Coffee Shop

Her first outing as an infant was, after all, to Starbucks. And when barely verbal, she would point out the car window at a green awning and shout "COFFEE!"

So here she is on an outing with Lady J and Master G to Swork in Eagle Rock, and at the Beverly Connection Starbucks after a Father's Day gift-run at Old Navy.

She likes a nice, untoasted raisin bagel with two cream cheeses -- one to put on little bites of bagel, and the other to eat straight-up with a plastic knife. If we've missed the last bagel of the day, I will get her what she believes is a cupcake but which is actually a low-fat muffin. If she can't get a boxed 'nilla milk or chocolate milk, she'll settle for a vanilla steamer or a warm (not hot) cocoa. Now and then she gets a whole cup of nothing but whipped cream, and a spoon.

She has always liked to have her own chair -- unlike Ander who sat happily strapped into his stroller for years, eating whatever I put on his tray and playing with little dinosaurs or drawing while I read the paper.

Not that she likes to stay in her chair for long. At first she sits there, very coyly, sipping her drink, trading bits of bagel for bits of my scone, dabbing at her mouth with napkins. But then she's up and grooving to whatever tunes are piped into the place. Or rearranging the coffee bean displays, or even (ack) the coffee mug displays. And then she gets cold, and prefers my lap to a sweater.

She likes to study whatever gum deposits have been left under the tables. She then reports to me on the number and color of gum blobs, and then we shake our heads and say disparagingly (together), "How ruuuude."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ander's Last Day of Kinder!!!

I told them this was their last chance to be noisy in the classroom, and then made them all jump up and yell HOO-RAY!!!

I can't believe Ander is a First Grader.

Now begins the remembering of stuff.

I've got to be on my toes (and perhaps in makeup, and in something other than t-shirts and jeans...)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ander Puts His New Gap to Good Use

  1. Blueberry Smoothie
  2. Blueberry Smoothie (non-alcoholic, I swear)
  3. Peanut Butter Banana Malted Milkshake at Milk

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Packages, Packages, Packages!

Freshly-published magic from Red Clogs Mama, and our first-of-many shipments from

Zameandad even synched up the iPod to play David Byrne's 'Stay Up Late' while I read Maira Kalman's illustrated version to the kids. I have been trying to track down a hardcover edition of this book for 10+ years, and there it was at bookcloseouts for $3.73!!!

Both Red Clogs' OUR FRIENDSHIP RULES and David Shannon's THE ROUGH-FACED GIRL held Ander's summer-hyped kindergarten class utterly rapt. Back at home, Ander and I zipped through the first 40 pages of (the wonderfully retro 50th anniversary edition -- complete with green inked illustrations and a built-in green satin ribbon bookmark) HALF MAGIC whilst laying on a quilt in the shade of the front yard oak tree.

Summer is nearly here...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ander's Camouflage Compromise

As he and I agreed a few weeks ago, I attacked it with a Clorox Bleach Pen, and thought about this, and this.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Zaza is Maggie (I, Apparently, am the Ferocious Beast -- When I'm Not Captain Hook)

Having changed into big black Mary Janes and an oversized hat (like Maggie's) Zaza reads me (the Beast) the poisoning scene from Peter Pan (this edition).

Last week, she was Wendy, while I was Captain Hook. After a long duel with spatulas, Captain Hook agreed to be nice to Peter Pan and to marry Wendy.
(I get a bit of a giggle out of the fact that she somehow seems to pick up on the whole Freudian Captain-Hook-Mr.-Darling-pubescent-Wendy thing that Barry put in there quite intentionally...)
Zaza would watch Disney's "Peter Pan" daily, maybe twice daily, if I let her. Nostalgia aside, I'm a bigger fan of "Return to Neverland" which features superior animation, a more politically-correct treatment of Neverland's Indians, and a much gutsier girl character in Wendy's daughter Jane.
But Ander and I are obsessed (his favorite word this week) with the live-action "Peter Pan" film that came out a few years ago ("WE DO BELIEVE IN FAIRIES! WE DO! WE DO!" we shout to the rafters). This is an actual film, with a young male star dressed in leaves (just like it says in the book), and featuring a mostly British cast, a stellar Wendy, and Maxfield Parish-like production design -- blessedly not a video of a stage performance with some stunted gymnast-girl-woman on a wire playing Peter (Sorry, Mom. Sorry, Mr. Barry. I just never bought it...) And Tinkerbell drinks the poison to save Peter (instead of being nearly blown up as in the Disney movie)! And Hook's eyes turn red when he's angry! And the Mermaids are properly scarrrrrrry...
(We hope Zaza shifts allegiances to the live-action version. But this leads nicely into a rant I've had percolating about the Cult of the Disney Princess... Stay tuned...)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day: Pirates & Dutch Babies

Zameandad gets major points for sharing (without too much grumbling) his special day with fuss over MY dad... Before I ran off with my folks to the El Capitan for 'Pirates of the Caribbean III' (reserved seats behind the organist! canons blowing paper pieces of eight all over the audience! Orlando Bloom fondling Keira Knightley's knee!), we squeezed in a proper breakfast in bed (that's a 'Dutch Baby' in the round pan, and apple slices with cinnamon, sugar and butter in the square pan), complete with the Sunday paper and home-made cards and gifts (including a construction paper tie, a tissue & glue-covered jar/pencil-cup, a t-shirt illustrated by Ander commemorating this morning's festivities, and an altered Target tie featuring funny-face embellishments by Ander)...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ander & Zaza Attend Their First Gallery Reception

I'll post better pics after the gallery photographer e-mails them, but for now, here's

  • Ander and Miss I in the doorway of Black Maria Gallery: Ander's portrait is on the wall behind him, and artist-mama Lady J is over his shoulder clutching a bouquet of Lotteria cards (it was funny that someone else had thought to bring anti-flowers -- we brought Jane a fox skull!). Ander is sporting a nice bruise on his cheek from an earlier-in-the-day experiment with one of Zameandad's pogo sticks (yes, I did write "one of" -- he has THREE).

  • Zaza outside the gallery: her portrait is visible through the window, and this was as close to it as she would get. (Pauli's portrait is to the left of Zaza's, and it was still wet!) Zaza is wearing an over-the-top-trying-for-Goth/Lolita vintage dress which is either perfectly suited to or entirely contrary to her mood -- not sure -- but the petulant, petulant child wouldn't talk to anyone, or pose for pictures with her portrait, or smile, or even let me put her down the entire time we were there. The SECOND she was settled back into her carseat she explained (with many emphatic hand gestures) "Mommy. Mommy. Mommy: I was shy to those scary scary people because they were scary and kept talking to me. And you wouldn't stop talking to them!" The scary people were mostly kids and parents from Ander's school, and nobody else had more tattoos or piercings than the lady who cuts her hair, so wuh-huh??? But yes, she had fallen SOUND asleep on the sofa at 7pm while I was getting ready to go, and stayed asleep when she was put into the car, and then continued to sleep for the drive to Glendale. So technically she was entitled to be a bit peevish. I guess.
It was so much fun meeting all the portrait kids in the flesh, and I think Ander had a few rock star moments as people recognized him from his portrait and asked him to pose with it.
Congratulations, Jane! We love you!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What the Tooth Fairy Brought Ander

Fairy money (unspendable in our world) and a golden acorn...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ander's New Gap

Apparently there was much wiggling and flicking and then there was a tooth and some blood -- all before lunchtime.

The tooth came home in an envelope.

It's now in the tooth fairy pillow, under Ander's big pillow.
(And a word about this picture -- we took many, and he was goofier and goofier in every one. Here he looks more prognastic than he really is, and even a tad, shall we say, 'runk-day' [he's reading now!], but at least you can see the hole in his smile...)

Zaza's Second-Ever Blow-Out

Zaza was so patient running errands from Koreatown to Robertson Boulevard yesterday, that I asked her if she would like to do something special. She asked if we could go to a saw-lawn for a haircut, and I suggested (as we just got her hair cut last month) if she might like to get her hair washed and styled instead. She looooooved this idea, and managed to stay awake in the car by looking and looking for saw-lawns on the way home. Here's what they achieved after half an hour of blow-drying and flat-ironing:

She LOVED it, of course. Oy. I really want her to love herself as-is, and I soooo don't want her to be high-maintenance. But all the pampering they give you at a salon, and the mirrors, and all the fussing over you is very very nice... And -- I admit -- it was nice to sit there and read a book (okay, a graphic novel) while somebody else did the fussing!

I was surprised by how much less hair she seems to have when it's straight, and I kept misplacing her in stores afterwards -- she just didn't look like ZAZA... (Fortunately, Ander went from afterschool to a mid-week overnight, so he wasn't scarred by Zaza's transformation.)

We skipped her bath so as to maintain the 'do today.

But then, this morning: