Friday, June 29, 2007

The Morning Toilet Slam and other Chart-Toppers

Many times before I became a mother I heard or read that I would never be able to use the bathroom alone once I had a child. No one mentioned that when I went to use the bathroom, my 11-month-old would put his head down and crawl as fast as he could after me, pull himself up on my legs, grab the toilet seat, and slam it back and forth against my spine several times as I sat trying to do what I was there for.

This is just one of the more hilarious things that Noah is doing these days. Everything seems like a small science experiment to him now, to be figured out, repeated many times and preferably loudly, until it is well understood. His endless repetition of "Guck!" for "Duck!" has now been replaced by "Dat! Dat! Dat!" ("What's that? I want that! Look at that!") He can turn light switches off and on, he can hit the garage door opener, he is mesmerized by the ceiling fans in our house. It is not just electronics and machinery that catch his interest though. We must, every time we go out for a walk, stop in across the street at the neighbor's so Noah can see the 5 rescue chickens who live there now - Marie Antoinette, Bertha, Betty, and two others who also have names but I can't remember them. We stop there on the way out for our walk ("Dat! Dat! Dat!"), and again on the way back ("Dat! Dat! Dat!"). Now that Noah can stand on his tip-toes and see out our living room windows, he points to our neighbor's house and tells us ("Dat! Dat! Dat!") that he is thinking about the chickens and needs us to get off of our rear ends and get him over there to commune with them. We visit the chickens on average 5-6 times a day now. And did I mention that he cries EVERY time we leave the chicken lady's driveway? He loves those chickens.

In the spirit of late-night television master Dave Letterman, but in the length a tired mother can muster, here are the top five most funny things that the off-and-running Noah has brought to our lives recently. In some cases, these are things that we have brought upon ourselves, because let's face it, parents have to have fun too...

5. Meet "Nigel", one of Noah's alter-egos - a fluffy-coiffed Brit with sideburns who emerges when Noah wakes from his morning nap after going to bed with wet hair from his post-breakfast tubby. Cheerio!

4. The Pope wave. At least, Matthew says it's the Pope - I only recognize it from Italian mafia movies. When Noah waves, it's underhand and out in front. A joy to behold, especially if there is a slight delay so that the person who waved at him first is long gone before Noah gets his own mitt up.

3. Noah sitting up trying to find his bee-bo amidst his tummy rolls and almost rolling over on his head. Thank you Sandra Boynton for introducing us to a shorter and much funnier way to say "belly button."

2. Shrieking and shaking all over with excitement when he sees our cat Sidney, who looks back with all the interest of a meatloaf. Day in and day out, this dynamic remains. Noah the hysterical fan and and Sid the aloof rock star. Until, earlier this week Noah woke early, crawled to the end of our bed where Sidney was sleeping, quietly sat next to him, and leaned over and kissed him while we watched. Then he did it again, and again, and again. We thought, success! Noah has learned to be gentle with the cat! That afternoon he was back, going after Sidney on the windowsill with one of his best screech voices.

And the number one (1.) things that Noah is doing that currently floats my boat? Can anything top the morning toilet slam?

Chasing Noah in his Tot Rider II. He sits in it and is off faster than the Road Runner, going around the loop on the first floor of our house. He finds me, hiding behind the front door with just a foot or hand sticking out, and when he does he screams and races forward, laughing wildly, until he runs the Tot Rider II into the wall or a chair. I run by him, mock screaming and waving my arms, to hide behind the wall in the kitchen, and then to crouch by the island in kitchen and then back around to the front door again, wherever he knows I will be next. This is the game we now play daily and it gets both our heartrates up, if not from running around, then from all out laughing.

This is the goods. Laughter makes these memories great.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Paper Trail

Eight years
of trainings and task forces,
creating curricula,
selling ideas
and myself
now boils down
to this -

shelves of 3-ring binders,
final reports,
quality improvement plans
and meeting minutes.
Suddenly it's all just history.

It feels both grinchly and sad to take it with me.
I know it will not benefit others if I keep it
and know as surely that it will be thrown away
if I leave it behind.
The next person will have her own vision.
Things in her office will need her handwriting on them.
I sort through all the drawers
and understand that "the work" as we all label it,
the passion we all share,
the movement to which we all belong,
doesn't live in these folders and files.
They are dead
and I am gone.

I relegate the boxes to a table and file cabinet
in my basement
and pray that it all meant something more than this.
Please let it be more, with a now
and a future.
Let it be the setting sun on the Atlantic
that plays with the waves until its last beams can't reach
and then still is only moving on to brighten other places.
Let it be something that lasts,
a few of the cobblestones
laid down on the road
that leads women out of darkness and danger
and into the light.