Sunday, June 24, 2007


So we're down to about 8 weeks until Baby August is born.

The backyard has been successfully transformed. But now it is time to turn inward, to renew the inner core of the family, to transform ourselves intrinsically.

Long story short: I painted the nursery. I finished Saturday afternoon while the Monkey napped.

The Monkey Mama was out getting a pedicure with a girlfriend. Except they didn't get pedicures, they got lunch instead. Which means they might have rescheduled their pedicure date. Oh well.

This is part of a pattern lately, where I try to make time for the Monkey Mama to sleep in, go swimming, attend yoga practice, meet girlfriends, or work late at the office. Sure, it means shouldering a little more of the parenting burden. But here's the reality: things are about to get unreal for the Monkey Mama. She is about to re-enter the land of the 24 hour day. She is going to have to metabolize an extra 500 calories a day...or be depleted by nursing. She is going to have an attention-seeking older child to engage. I can spot her a few weekends of breathing room.

Another transformation: we ordered some wall-to-wall carpeting for the kids' (!) rooms. The wood floors are 100 years old and showing it; the carpet should make floor time a little more comfortable. For me. The carpet is wool, so there are fewer nasty chemicals offgassing, a longer useful life, and a more sustainable presence in the landfill to which it is ultimately destined.

Another transformation: the Big Boy Bed is in position. The safety rails didn't come yet, so the mattress (natural latex foam) is on the floor. But the bedframe is in the basement, waiting to be assembled.

The crib is disassembled and waiting for the new carpet, the new room, and the new baby.

Poo-poo in the potty

There were loud rejoicings at our house a few weeks ago: the Monkey went poo-poo im the potty. Seeing that faraway look in his eye, I prompted him to go to the potty for his bowel movement -- instead of concluding bathtime in a particularly unwelcome way. The timing was right, the location was right, and the result was long hoped for. Rejoicings!

Some days later, he communicated to the Monkey Mama not only his desire to go poo-poo, but to go poo-poo in the potty! This was even better: cognition and communication to go along with elimination. A very good day indeed.

Of course, we're not batting 1.000 -- nor do we expect to be, not for another year or for however long it takes. No pressure, Monkey Man!

Scoring a point for each respective parent depending on whose hand he is holding at the moment of elimination, I am currently leading the Monkey Mama 2 to 1 (with one tie).

But who's keeping score anyway?


Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Mulberries Were Sweeter Then

A few weeks ago was mulberry season in DC. There's no mistaking it: find a piece of sidewalk stained purple with dropped berries, look up, and there is a mulberry tree with berries so ripe that their own weight pulls them off their branches. And since I walk the dog and the Monkey every day, we have every possible opportunity to wander under the mulberry trees along our way. I reach up, gently pinch a thin-skinned berry, and give it to the Monkey. Or maybe I eat the berry, to make sure it's safe...and to taste it.

His clumsier fingers break the berry, but he gets it into his mouth and warbles "More!"

This year, the big mulberry bush near our alley had been cut back. That's great for everyday passage down the sidewalk, but it's a drawback during mulberry season. I reached up as high as I could, but I could only snare a few berries. I tried being a little crafty, tugging the highest branch ends I could reach to bring the berries along the middle lower, but there will still few I could reach. And maybe the weight of the Monkey -- so much greater than last year -- keeps me closer to the ground.

Another mulberry tree on the next block was similarly out of reach.

It was better last year. The Monkey and I had stumbled upon a giant mulberry tree in the middle of a marshy forest overlooking a river. The thick, swampy air lent a little spice to the sweet, inky juice of the mulberries. There were so many that the Monkey had his fill, and my own shirt and chin were stained.

And before I knew it, most of the mulberries in the neighborhood were on the ground or gleaned by birds.


I was worried that tilling the soil and laying down sod would kill this year's crop of fireflies. (They lay their eggs in the ground, you know.)

Not to worry: there are like a million of them in our little 500 square foot back yard.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Porchblogging: Vegetative Edition

I've got a number of posts I want to write in the near future, but for now I will attempt to content the readership of this blog with some pictures of the backyard project.

Also, I have posted a rare (for this blog) picture of the Monkey himself.

I finished the walkway, amended the soil, and installed the sod. Then we slipped away for a nice Memorial Day weekend.

The sod looks great, but sometimes I miss the meditative, uniform, Zen garden-like quality of the brown mulch. I think I will especially miss it when I have to start mowing.