Today a woman named Ingrid gave me a deep tissue massage. I like massages - I typically find them relaxing. Ingrid is one strong lady and at one moment I regretted asking for deep tissue massage as I was absolutely certain that she was about to break my leg. Nevertheless, I feel straighter and taller than I have in a while. That's awesome and all but I lay there thinking, "You know, Monica, you could get massages every day and it wouldn't likely change much. The tension is all in your head." I'm on a little journey just now in Florida. I actually have a little time to myself and I'm using this time to quietly think about what I might do to simplify and better my life - mostly because I want to be a better wife and mother. According to Ingrid, if I carry on like this my head will literally pop right off the top of my neck. That's not good for anyone.
The one thing I know for sure? Spending time with Ada is the best part of any day. But spending time with her when I have nothing else that I have to do? Oh my God, it's a natural delight - a pure, soul-brightening wonder that makes the medial aspect of my freakishly developed biceps (from picking her up over and over and over again) tingle and ache to hold her. Today I wondered if I bruised her thighs from hugging her with such a fever.
Before we left CA we started music class. I think we're gonna like this a whole lot. We sing the silliest songs and make noises - it's almost embarrassing but we are just a group of moms and nannies who want the babies in our lives to have a cool experience so we all play along. With giant grins we make "whooooosh" noises with exaggerated hand gestures. The guy leader sings in falsetto too, so there's that. In her fashion, my girl watches carefully, measuring the situation, before she joins in. Even after she has joined in she is off in her own world. My love. I hope she finds a way to make this nature work to her advantage (unlike her mother, who tolerates her own social ineptitude but hasn't turned it into an asset).
Before I had a baby I wouldn't have recognized this next thing as a sign of brilliance but now I do. She is so smart that she can do several puzzles at once. And she gets the pieces in the right spot on the first try >90% of the time. Brilliant! Tim taught her how to rotate the pieces. This is handy not only for puzzles but also for shape-sorting games.
The other fun thing that happens in our house is naked baby time. Before and/or after a bath she will run around the house naked. She also feels compelled to pee all over the floor the second her diaper is taken off so naked baby time is a bit of a literal minefield. I'm sure there is a way to harness this power and direct it toward use of the potty but so far we just watch her so that she doesn't pee, walk through, and slip to crack her bottom on the wood floors. Because that's usually how it goes. I can't put a picture of this up because I would inevitably be arrested and my kid placed in a foster home by family services.
Before we left I started a project. Grandpa Rick is going to finish it, I think. He's handy and a bit of a pack-rat so he has spare faucets and the like laying around. In the fashion of THIS I will turn this TV stand thrifted from Craigs List for $25 into a play kitchen using the tools at hand. Can't wait!
My girl at the airport. This was not our best trip. For the love of Mike, what ever possesses me to think that we can travel across the country with a toddler? At one point I could see that the shrieking was about to reach monumental proportions so I snatched her up and high-tailed it to the bathroom at the back of the plane (we were one whole row away). I grabbed the door by the spring-loaded coat-hanger because in my desperation to spare the other passengers ear drums it was all I could find. Of course, it snapped from my fingers, pinching me and slamming the door. As soon as it happened I thought, "Oh fart. I didn't mean that but nobody else will know it." I sat on the airplane toilet and pleaded with Ada to take her first nap in 11 hours. She thought that was a dumb idea.
So here is my disoriented heart in FL. We have all been transported to Grandparent land again. It is such a lovely place. There are push cars here. We spent the day dashing madly outside to the sun kissed walkway by the water. There are no cars and no (drunk/mentally ill) homeless people - seriously, heaven for the parent of a toddler.
Grandma Judy, Jeff, Ada and I walked/rode down to the playground. We passed by a house that is almost finished but stood wide open. I waved them ahead and I went in to check it out. In there I dreamed this grand dream. Not like this was an amazing house but for a few moments I imagined us there - in a house. With our kids and our parking spot and a yard with grass on a not-too-busy road. I see why the suburbs are appealing to young families. We too may succumb, it's too soon to tell where we will be in 18 months from now. The fantasy of my memory holds such charm but when we come back here we talk about if we could really live here again? For instance, when we gathered our luggage at the airport the experience of a woman I work with came back to me. She and her partner visited Naples, FL (where my Mom lived). When I asked her how she liked Florida, Jean summed it up as very "straight and white". Jean is Chinese and gay so take her opinion in that context. Still, one thing you really notice when you get off a plane on the west coast is the rich environment of cultures, colors, languages, and customs represented by all the various people there. I really do want my kid(s) to grow up with direct exposure to other cultures and colors and sexual orientations.
So our trip begins. A physical trip and for me a mental one with some true mind-bending and soul-searching in store. I'll probably let you know how it's going.