CJDaily's Blog

June 17, 2010

Doe, a deer.

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 10:35 pm

It’s official… I’m living in an animated film.  Not because of the adorable stone cottage in the woods.  Not because of the handsome man who cooks for me and thinks I’m beautiful when I feel like roadkill.  Not because I wear flowy dresses and wander barefoot through the fruit trees, carrying a basket of flowers.  These things contribute to the fairy-tale, but they don’t certify it.  You know what makes it all a bona-fide Disney movie?

The animals.  You can’t conjure those up.  They’re either there or they’re not.  And we have them in spades.  There’s the swallows nest up in a loose board in the front porch.  There’s the starlings who live under the eaves by the kitchen.  The groundhogs who live under the shed.  The snake in the woodpile.  The toad in the basement.  The bats in the attic.  The chipmunk in the living room.

Oh wait, what was that last one?  Yes that’s right, the CHIPMUNK IN THE LIVING ROOM.   We knew a chipmunk family, nay, a colony of chipmunks lived all over our 2 acres–under the front porch, under the gazebo, in the stone fence–you can’t step outside without sending a startled chipmunk bounding for cover.  But 2 weeks ago Jesse and I and were standing in the kitchen when I suddenly saw something small go leaping across the living room floor.

“Jess!” I grabbed his arm and hissed, “There’s a chipmunk in the living room!”

He spun around. “You’re joking.”

“I’m so not.”   The chipmunk had already made a dive for the planter by the wall and was out of sight.  Both of us were frozen to the spot.

“OK, don’t panic!  Don’t panic!”  I’m not sure which one of us he was addressing, but I did my best to remain calm, while wondering if chipmunks were as cute and cuddly as they looked.  If this were one of my favorite movies, the chipmunk would leap into my palm and chirrup his chippy language to me while I sang a song about finding my true love.  But this was not Enchanted, nor was I wearing a dress or even having a particularly good hair day, so I decided upon option number two: defensive action.  I ran and opened the side door, and then Jesse and I spent a good hour darting from corner to corner, trying to convince Pip to rejoin his family in the hollow tree. 

Actually, I stood on the arm of the futon, acting as a look-out, while Jesse brandished a flattened cardboard box to “herd” the chippy out of the room.  And then, just as suddenly as it appeared, it vanished.  The dang thing scampered under the bed and flat-out vanished.  We couldn’t figure out how–maybe it made its way out of the room when we weren’t looking, or found a crack in the wall to squeeze into, but nonetheless, it disappeared.  We don’t even know how it got in in the first place, but it hasn’t been back to visit us. 

The bats are another story.  We were in the backyard one night at twilight and Jesse pointed out a bat as it swooped by.  I was in awe, never having really seen one before.  Then  another swooped overhead, then another.  We both raised our eyes at the same time as he said, “Wait a minute… did you see…?”

I certainly did see.  Our eyes were riveted on the corner of the roof, where yet another bat had just materialized.  It simply seemed to slip out from under a shingle to fly off into the night.  It was followed by another, not ten seconds later.  And then another.  And another.  And another.  It was the Count Von Count’s dream come true.  Jesse looked less than pleased, and I couldn’t stop gasping in amazement–“Look!  Another one!  Fifteen!  Or was that twenty?  Twenty five!” 

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Jesse groaned.  “It’s like the freaking bat cave up there!”  We lost count after thirty, and Jesse was quite downhearted to discover that our house is a bat preserve.  I have decided however, that the bats can stay.  They don’t bother me in the least, and most importantly, they eat the bugs.  I’ll give them all little pillows and blankets and they can bunk down in the attic for life if it means I have a built-in army of mosquito eaters! 

But perhaps what sealed the deal for me, fairytale-wise, was last Sunday.  I was sitting at the dining room table with Belle, eating breakfast.  Perhaps it was a feeling of being watched, but something made me turn my head to look out the window to my right.

“Oh my.” I choked.  “Erm… good morning.”

The deer was standing on the other side of the window, looking in at me with unconcealed curiosity.  I was sitting there with my fork raised halfway to my mouth, and Belle peering around me in dumbfounded joy. 

“What doing, deer?” Belle asked in a hush.

“It’s looking at us,” I whispered back.  “Maybe it wants our pancakes.”

And right on cue, I kid you not, that deer licked its lips.

Take that, Disney.


June 7, 2010

Goodbye dignity, hello potty-training…

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 10:30 pm

Nobody bothered to tell me that you don’t get a second to yourself ever again when you become a mother.  Or maybe they did, and I chose to think they were exaggerating.  But I have gotten used to going to the bathroom with an audience.  It is that or try to do my business while a little body is wailing and body-slamming the other side of the locked door.  Rather distracting, really.  So, I just let her follow me into the bathroom, and she usually heads for the sink and turns on the water.  She’ll either wash her hands or brush her teeth, or both, which I don’t bother dissuading her from, as the alternative is having her stand in front of me demanding, “Lemme see!” while I am trying to empty my bladder.  And then she’ll demand to hand me the paper.  It was only with the most vehement of refusals that I convinced her that she would never, EVER, be allowed to help me wipe. 

So tonight we are in the bathroom and I am doing my thing, and she is happily standing on her kiddie-stool in front of the sink, sucking water out of the toothbrush.  I get up and wash my hands, and she grins at me in the mirror and says, “Poopy!” 

I do an automatic air-sniff.  “You have poopy?” I ask, peeking into the back of her diaper.

“No, I not done yet,” she confides.

As the check of her diaper came up clean, I realise she actually hasn’t even begun, and I say in a rush, “Oh do you wanna try going poopy on the potty?”

Unconcerned, she goes back to her tooth-brushing.  “No.”

“Oh Belle, you should really try.  Don’t you wanna try going poopy on the potty like a big girl?”


Hmm.  “Hannah and Zoe go poopy on the potty.”  (Her pre-school hero’s.)


“But all the big girls do it!  Miss Monica and Miss April do it too.” (Her teachers.)


Big gulp.  Confession time.  “Mommy does it.”

She doesn’t bat an eyelash.  “No.”

I am a little peeved.  I don’t admit that I poop to just anybody.  “Come on!  Just sit!  Just try!”


I take a deep breath and pull out the big guns.  “I’ll give you chocolate if you try.”

She chucks her toothbrush into the sink and whips off her shorts so fast they hit the opposite wall.  In a flash, she is on the potty, wiggling back and forth and chanting, “Chocolate!  Chocolate!”

“Not until you try.”  She hits me with a confused look, and I encourage her.  “Just like you do in your diaper.  Relax.”

And in a few moments, voila!  She poops, she scores!  I cheer like a crazed fan at a sporting event, and she beams with pride.  “Chocolate!  Chocolate!”  she shrieks, and I take a minute to think about whether or not I feel guilty for bribing her into this success.  I don’t, I decide, as the end justifies the means. 

I clean her up and we go share the exultant news with Boppy 1 and Boppy 2.  We call Gigi and leave her a self-satisfied message.  I consider making it my Facebook status, but can’t reconcile myself to a status about feces, no matter how triumphant.  I do have some limits, you know.

I realise this isn’t the end of the battle for us, it is just the beginning, but she’s been doing #1 so well on the potty that if all it takes to get her to do #2 is a stash of M&M’s, then so be it.  Vive la poop!

June 3, 2010

What’s in a size?

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 9:37 pm

Is there anything more humbling than coming to terms with your post-baby pants size?  Ok, or maybe your post-college pants size?  How about your post-puberty pants size?  Ahh, yes, I think we’re all on the same page now, ladies.

Here’s my problem–I don’t see, I literally cannot see clearly when it comes to my clothing and body shape anymore.  I will be browsing in a store, and hold up a shirt I like and think, “Hmm, this looks a little big.”  So I grab the next size down, and when I try it on, voila, I get stuck in it, staggering around the dressing room with my arms pinioned above my head, desperately trying to wrench it free of my rib-cage.  When finally, gasping and red-faced I escape from it, I look at the mirror in bewilderment.  Whose body IS that?  And why does this shirt look too big for me, when it in reality I could use it as a leg warmer?  I think I may have reverse anorexia.  Anorexic’s see themselves as fat even though in the mirror they are actually wasting away.  I, however, pick up a pair of pants I could have worn in middle school and think, “Oh yes, these must be my size.”

Take today, for example.  While shopping at Target, I came across a pair of capris I wanted to buy to wear at work.  Now, women’s sizes are completely arbitrary and can be totally different from store to store.  Poor Jesse was confounded last week when he surveyed two of my dresses hanging in the closet, side by side. 

“Honey,” he said in the cautious tone someone affects when talking to the seriously deranged, “Do both of these dresses fit you?” 

I looked around in surprise.  “Yes, they do.  I bought both of them recently.”

“Ok, well are you aware that this white one is a size two and this pink one is a size seven?”

“Yup,” I smiled blithely at his consternation.  “I’m a two in women’s and a seven in juniors.”

“Oh.”  He didn’t seem convinced and looked even more bewildered when I went on to say, “Of course that white one is from Banana Republic, so it’s a two.  But if it were designer, like Diane Von Furstenberg, I’d be a four or a six.  If it were from Old Navy, I would be an extra-small, since they don’t often do numbered sizes.    At Lucky Brand I’d be a twenty-seven or twenty-eight, since they do the European sizes.  And if I’m shopping in the juniors section at Macy’s it’s a seven or a nine, since they do odd numbers instead of even.” 

I watched as Jesse’s brain exploded a little bit, and he just wandered off shaking his head, mumbling something about how he’d never buy me clothing again. 

But back to my trip to Target.  My favorite jeans are from Target, and they’re a size two.  They used to be big on me until I had Belle, and then they were the only jeans that fit anymore, so maybe they’re my favorite due to lack of options, but still.  I figured if I was buying the same brand of pants, I’d stick to a two and they would fit fine.  Only, when I saw these shorts, they were odd numbers, so I grabbed a size three.  I held them up and they looked about right to me, so I took them to the fitting room.  It wasn’t until I’d taken them off the hanger and was putting my first foot into them that I looked down and went, “Woah.  These look smaller from above.”  But I gamely put both feet in and pulled them up to my knees, where they came to a screeching halt. 

Deflated, I pulled them off and put my own pants back on.  Walking back with them past the little station where people monitor what you take into the changing room, I asked the lady standing there if she didn’t mind letting me scoot out to grab a bigger size.  She agreed, and I went back and resignedly pulled a size five off the rack.

Once back in my changing room, I pulled up the fives and felt a surge of relief when they slid up over my hips.  My relief turned to chagrin when I realized that the button was about three inches away from the buttonhole and no amount of cajoling could coax the two together. 

Cheeks aflame, I slithered back over to the lady at the station and asked if I could, once again, go back and get a different size.  I think I may have seen pity on her face when I muttered, “I was a little optimistic about my size.”

“Up or down, dear?”

“Up,” I sighed, “definitely up.”

I stalked back into my dressing room with a size seven and eyed it with trepidation.  A size seven is a perfectly nice size to be, but only if you’re expecting it when you roll out of bed in the morning.  There’s nothing quite like thinking you’re a three and being rudely disillusioned by a pair of capris to shake up your day.  If these didn’t fit and I had to go back and get a nine, I would just gracefully slink away.  Possibly to throw up my lunch.  I pulled up the sevens and held my breath.  They made it over my knees, always a good sign.  They slid up over my hips, another positive.  Wincing, eyes shut, still holding my breath, I pulled the zipper up slowly. 

Success!  The button met the button-hole!  My legs didn’t look like they’d been shoe-horned into the pants, and nothing too obscene was hanging over the top.  What a relief!  I smiled in triumph at the nice lady when I exited the dressing room.  She smiled back, probably relieved that I wasn’t going to commit hari-kari on her shift.  While on the way back through the women’s section, a pair of jeans caught my eye, so I grabbed a seven and tried them on.

They fell to my feet after buttoning them.   Bemused, bothered, and bewildered, I tried on subsequently smaller pairs until I went home with the size four.  Go figure.

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