Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Playing Doctor

Today Elliot had his 3 year exam. While the good news is that he's healthy and doing all the things he should at his age, it could have gone better.

He was hesitant from the moment we got to the door, but went in despite his trepidations. He didn't want to go back to the exam room, and once we were there his anxiety just continued to grow. He didn't want the nurse to listen to his heart, didn't want the doctor to come near him. I got a little reprimand (in the form of helpful advice) for not having prepared him well for the visit. We are now the proud owners of a Doctor's Tools Playset.

We made it through the Dr. part of the visit, but when she left, he wanted to go with her. I'm sure he remembered what happened last year after she left, and I'm sure it was the source of the anxiety. Unfortunately they were running a little slow today and he had to wait 5 minutes between the Dr. leaving and the nurse coming back for shots. He started out just whining a bit, but by 3 minutes into waiting he was full on crying, and by the time the nurse opened the door he'd thrown himself on the floor and was full on shrieking.

Good times.

I had to hold him down for the shots, but ultimately I don't think it was as bad as he thought because when she left, he seemed to be looking in her tray for another shot (or maybe another bandaid). We went out to the waiting room, and instead of leaving he rushed back down the hall to the exam room. I was trying not to make it more traumatic than it had been, so I tried to let him leave calmly of his own accord, but he flat out refused.

So I carried him, screaming and protesting, *out* of the doctor's office...

We got home and spent a few minutes checking temperatures, blood pressure, and heartbeats with the new MD kit. He's pretty insistent that the eye/ear checker is a hammer made to forcibly drive the bandaid down into your flesh, so yeah, the familiarizing with medical equipment is going great so far.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

She Told me Once

She told me once

to live softly
live safely
to dream in shallows
not reach for rushing

passing swiftly
pulling deeply
she told me (trembling)
what it mean
to drown

i listened because
her voice was mine
her eyes were mine
her heart was mine

one foot on shore
for only a moment
your own hands bound
you gave me this gift

my hands are my own
(she cannot take them, now)
and you left me


my voice
my eyes
my heart
were yours

and reaching in the water,
my hands are my own

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wish you were Here.

Sometimes I take pictures of Elliot, and he's way off center. Partly I do it as a compositional thing - I like asymmetric images, and reference the rule of thirds when asked why.

Looking through photos this week, as we approached and passed his third birthday, I began to see Karl in the empty spaces. I've gone back and forth in my head the past few years on the whole afterlife thing. Usually I'm fine with admitting I have no idea - sometimes I struggle to find evidence for or against. Regardless of what else it means, I do often feel like Karl is here, while I know he is not.

In planning the menu (such as it is) for tomorrow's brunch, I wanted to invite him, so I thought I'd use one of his favorite recipes. I'll be making Louies, which I haven't had in ages. I couldn't remember exactly how to put them together, so I searched his blog for "Tuna."

God, that man was brilliant.

Not for cooking, tho I did love that. Tuna just happened to bring up a great set of posts on things other than food.

I love that the results take you from bachelorhood to fatherhood. The irony in some of his Meme responses is sometimes poignant, sometimes hysterical. Not one of the posts can be read without seeing him, bigger than life, writing joyfully and loving the play of one word next to another.

(and certainly not with the prudish elegance of a scholar)

For instance...

Didn’t we cover this in the living situation portion? My sister thinks having one would do me a world of good. I am in no hurry. I know I’d make a good father, but this question so puts the cart before the horse. I like being an uncle too, so if it doesn’t happen I’m ok with that. Uncle’s have it good and are not required to change any diapers.

Do you really need to ask that at this point? We could change the name of this blog to Supersonic Gin & Tonic.

Right according to who? Fuckers. I hate that shit. THERE IS NO ONE RIGHT WAY TO ANYTHING EVER ANYWHERE AT ANY TIME UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE!!!!!! Got it? The whole universe is wide open and we’ve got all these little control Nazis trying to pretend it isn’t. Look up in the sky at night. Are your eyes on the right stars? Stupid question.

As I prepare for (or, rather procrastinate preparations for) tomorrow's birthday party, I know his absence will sting, and not only me. But I know, too, that each of us there has a little part of him inside. I hope, being all together, we can keep him a little closer to us, if only for the day.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Good Day

I wasn't able to be the first to wish Elliot a Happy Birthday. Since I taught class late last night, he slept at Mom's, so I didn't go in at 12:46 to possibly rudely awaken him by making a big fuss, which may be for the best.

By the time I got there this morning to pick him up (after 2 loads of laundry, 1 load of dishes, and a quick shower) it was 10:30. He shut down all attempts at singing Happy Birthday, but warmed up fast when I pulled a present into his field of vision.

I had ordered some Cars stuff from the Disney site, and am disappointed to say that Mater came with a broken wheel, so not 5 minutes into his birthday toys I had to take one away. Fortunately I have the coolest kid in the world, and he just rolled with it... (or, rather, without it :)

Elliot, Grandma, Poobah, and I headed out for the day's Big Adventure - a trip to the Whittle Shortline Store to play with the tracks and buy a new piece for his train at home. I was again a little disappointed to find (this was our first time visiting the store) they had very few track pieces, and mainly only their own line of trains available for purchase. Fortunately, Elliot was enthralled with their train setups and dove right in to playing. After about 45 minutes, I talked him into picking a new car (he chose a green tank car) and coming with us to have lunch, then maybe ride a train later.

This had him ready to go in no time, and on the way to the car he told us that we would be riding the train, and a boat, and eating ice cream. He sounded so certain, but only one of the three really happened. We headed to Kirkwood and had a nice late lunch at Bar Louie across from the train station. Just as we were sitting down, the Amtrak pulled in, and Elliot really got a kick out of watching the crossing gates flash and the people get on and off the train. Magically, his kids meal came with an Ice Cream Sundae. Hooray!

While we'd toyed with the idea of heading down to the metrolink so he could ride a "real" train, he seemed pretty warn out, and fell fast asleep in the car.

Since he was napping, I headed out for errands. I ran home, ran another load of laundry and grabbed the dog. Then we hit the glass studio to check on some pieces made earlier this week. By the time I got back to Mom's he'd woken up and was hard at play with his trains.

We opted for eating in, since we all seemed pretty run down from the days activities. By 8:30, Elliot seemed to be winding down and I asked if he wanted to stay at Grandma's so Mommy could finish cleaning tomorrow for his party.

He practically threw me out onto the street...

So, since Matt and Vanessa were in town, I headed to Karaoke! Who needs sleep!?!!? I completely flubbed my first attempt because I got "least complicated" mixed up with "closer to fine" and so stood there completely unable to sing as the words floated by. Lucky it was a slow and forgiving crowd. I got a chance to fix my blunder, did "Closer to Fine" and "The Gambler" and broke in on Ashley's "Put a Ring on It" because, really, who can just sit that one out? Beth rocked the house with "When You're Good to Mama" and Matt, in the most appropriately chosen Karaoke ever, sang "Great Balls of Fire." His vasectomy this week went well, but he seemed a little tender walking up to the bar...

So on a scale of one to ten, today gets two thumbs up with a groovy, danceable beat and a cherry on top.

Happy Birthday, Elliot!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Happy Best Day!


3 years ago, today, at 12:46am, I finally got to meet Elliot face to face. He was born bright-eyed, curious, and smiling, and his joyful presence has made every day since brighter.

Happy Birthday, Boo,

I Love You!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


3 years and 1 day ago, or 2 days before Elliot was born, my midsection looked like this:

Belliot, originally uploaded by jescope.

Nowdays, it's more like this:

Tonight as I was talking to him about his birthday, he thought it was very funny that he had been in my belly.

We looked at before and after photos - him in and out. Naturally, right after the out photos were pictures of Karl holding him.

"That's my daddy. He's holding me." Elliot said in a dreamy way. He sounded happy about it, but also a little confused. He said it again, "My daddy...."

He climbed off my lap with, "Hmm. Let's go find... Hmmm...."

He wondered around in the front room, then noticed his trains. "There's Edward! The big red train is pushing Edward!"

Moment over. Back to your regularly scheduled life.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Holding on to Summer

We need a few more days outside before the weather turns, so I'm thinking sometime this week Elliot and I need to go apple picking. We've tried to fly the kite a few times, but haven't had the right wind. I'm trying to come up with more outdoor things we can squeeze in in the last little bit of warm weather.

I'm also trying to fight off my annual winter blah, which has already started to rear it's head a bit. I despise the cold, and the few mornings last week I woke up and it was too chilly to get out of bed without a string of curses, well, it's not good. Besides cranking the heat and spending too much on the gas bill I don't have a solution. Something tells me moving to Boston would not make my life that much warmer...

Elliot's birthday is coming up fast, and I need to get the house in order, but the blah has me a little under motivated. I did get a lot done yesterday, but I really hope it isn't too chilly this week so I can get more done and not have my whole Saturday spent frantically trying to clean and prep.

None of this is leading to anything interesting or print worthy it seems, so I best sign off now and go do some laundry. Woot.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I love Grover

And I love this ad...

And I love them even more together.

Time to clean out the attic...

I've decided I need to let myself let some things go. I've been a little afraid to really go through and get rid of things because I don't want to get rid of things just because they were his. But the more I think about it, the more I feel like it's actually worse to hoard things then to just get them out of the house. I'm not going to get rid of anything that genuinely reminds me of specific and positive moments we shared, but having a thing just because he loved it is getting silly.

So once again when people come for Elliot's birthday there will be a few boxes of miscellany that are headed for the goodwill unless somebody else wants them. And I will make myself be okay with that, because as I start to seriously consider moving, I need to pare down.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Nearly Three

Elliot will be three on the 14th. I'm fairly overwhelmed by things on a regular basis, really, since my life became so completely surreal... So I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that my son is not in any way a baby anymore. He's a walking, talking, thinking, creative, amazing kid.

We've been going to the Magic House once a week on Wednesdays for First School, a schoolroom setting designed for kids who didn't quite make the age cut for pre-school. Elliot usually shares (sometimes agressivly) with the other kids, tho other than to force a toy into their hands he doesn't interact with them as much as I'd like. It's a fairly large group, and he's still a little overwhelmed I think. He's always excited to go, and asks frequently throughout the week about when we will go.

He's got this habit lately when he's in independent mode of letting me know I'm not needed. It's funny, because he'll be in the other room, and I'll think "Is he doing ok? What is he up to...?" And I'll peek in, and as soon as he catches my eye, he says "Nothing." It's even cuter because it sounds like "No Tin" when he says it.

So often I'll be thinking something towards him; "Do you need a drink? Do you want me to hold you? Where are your shoes?" and he's keyed in enough to my routines I guess that he answers me a lot before I ask. Or maybe I'm cued in to him and he projects the questions into my brain... either way, it's strangely wonderful.

Less wonderful is my complete lack of decision making ability on what to do to celebrate his big day. He doesn't really have playmates, so any party we have will be friends and family... so i should just do something at the house.

But, of course, lately i've been sinking a little into my cold weather funk, and that means not taking very good care of the house. So hosting a party is intimidating at best. That, and I'm still a little off balance from August and September and all the bumps and bruises those months now bring.

But I think I'm going to do my typical Sunday brunch, only with a later start and birthday cake. I'm leaning that way, and we'll just see if I've once again waited too long and nobody can make it. Less cooking and cleaning for me ;)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Count

I think in the past few years I've been to more weddings than I have friends. I'm not sure it's possible, but I'm also sure it might be true.

I've been trying to put them on a time line in my head tonight.

Karl, Elliot, and I went to:
Jon and Bridgett
Vick and Randy

Elliot and I went to:
Justin and Kristy*
Bethany and Brian
Johnathan and Jennibet
Jim and Anna*
Kelly and Jeff (me only)*
Vanessa and Matt (reception only)
Erica and Nick*
Angelica and Justin*

and tonight, Scott and Brandy*.

I tell you this because weddings are kind of emotionally charged for me, and in 3 years I haven't had much time off from them. 11 weddings in 3 years, 9 since Karl died. And I don't think I've made it through one without crying. Those with * I worked in some capacity - photographer, wedding party, or wrangling Elliot into a wedding party :)

The emotions are complicated, because joy mixes with sorrow, and all the encouraging things I want to say seem like they may twist into downers; Cherish each other because you just don't know when that 'till death may us part' might sneak up and bite you in the ass? Love each other and forgive each other, and be grateful for another person who wants to be with you, because you forget how hard it is to find that person. It's the same advice any married couple might give, but from me, widowed, it feels so gloomy.

On a side note, my hat goes off to all the single parents out there. Wrangling my son through putting on a tux and serving as a ring bearer in a wedding challenged my patience as well as my biceps. Lugging a kid, a camera, toys, treats, juice, and a gps around today, I felt a little like I was planning to invade a small country, not just attend my brother's wedding.

The point where I had a football, ring pillow, slr camera, purse, and tux jacket in my hands, and he looked up and said "Hold me, please, mommy." for a minute I felt so helpless. I had a block to go to the car, and I didn't know if we'd actually make it. At that moment I missed Karl more than ever, and sent out a little wave of appreciation and encouragement to all the other singles out there doing this alone.

Then I packed the camera in my purse, secured between the plush football and pillow. I tucked Elliot's jacket through the straps, hitched it over my shoulder, and lifted him on my other arm.

We made it to the car, and I made it through the day, through joy and sorrow, hope and frustration.

I'm ready for a little sleep, and watching the mailbox for the next save-the-date. I may just about have these things figured out.