It's about time. Now cut it out!*

Einstein

So the guys at work have started reading my blog. (Hi guys! Where have you been in the last year?) This creates a state of affairs which is weird with a strong potential to become completely freaky.

Take today's lunchtime for example – your usual lunchtime chat somehow turns into discussing one of my latest posts, and I sit there while one of my coworkers relates to the others a piece of my life.

Wow.

The entire self/others space/time continuum has just been breached. (OMG I'm such a geek. Space/time continuum. Sheesh.)

I mean, I know this blog thing is about sharing my stories with others. And I want people to read this blog. But, dude, I didn't realize people actually, you know, like, READ this thing… and REMEMBER.

Seriously though, I am aware of the fact that writing about my life + having people read about my life = people knowing personal things about me which I didn't tell them personally, but the platform allows for some distance to be kept, and when a reader sits in on lunch with me it's just… well, takes some mental adjustment on my part to accommodate that.

Or at least some dessert.

Photo Credit:Eric Chan

(By the way, if you're wandering, Einstein is here because of the Space/time continuum. GEEK.)

*I don't really mean that you should cut it out, coworkers. I like the fact that you're reading me. Now go through the archives to find all the nasty things I've said about y'all in the past**

**Not really.

Two caterpillars peas-in-pods and a butterfly

UPDATES BELOW!

This is what we got so far for the Halloween contest.

Look at them, aren't they cute?

picture-135 ABE-halloween
I don't know the names of these two cuties, Columbia, enlighten me! These are Shiloh the butterfly and Elijah the pea in the pod. Thanks, Columbia!

 Persefanie Carter-McGill
Nakia's Persefanie

ADDED (1):

Caleb
Caleb

Zoe
Zoe

Check the Flickr group for more…

Gimme more! Show me that baby in Halloween costume!

The Shift

shift

When I was about 15 I had a really bad fight with my boyfriend. It was the worst fight we had in the entire two years of our relationship. I don't really remember the details, but I remember we didn't talk for a few days and I remember that I was very distressed and upset over it, as any desperatly-in-love fifteen years old should be when she has a fight with her boyfriend.

After those few days of silence we found ourselves sitting in his car, shouting at each other and trying to figure this thing out. What upset me the most was that I couldn't understand why it was such an intense situation, it didn't make sense to me. I couldn't put my finger on anything I have done or not done that should have made Boyfriend angry to that extent. Logical girl that I am I was trying to understand from him what had happened, and through a none-too-coherent string of explanations and accusations I suddenly realized it had nothing to do with me.

It turned out something happened to him, that had no connection to me and he was very angry and upset and almost traumatized by it. And he was getting it all out by fighting with me. That moment, when it dawned on me what the problem was I was torn between two contradicting impulses: my anger at him that was still very much present, and the an instant sense of compassion for him and his pain and my need to comfort him and make it go away, because I love him.

Why am I telling you this? ("Why is she talking about her old boyfriend and all?" asks A. while trying to not grit his teeth too laudly.) I'm telling you this because that conflict between anger and compassion is coming back with a vengeance. Ulysses has a knack for making me go absolutely insane within milliseconds. Then I will be angry at him. Then he will break down and sob miserably. Then I will remember that he's acting like that because he has some hardship that he is unable to express. Then I will collect him from his puddle on the floor and comfort him and try to understand what the problem really is.

That moment, when my view is instantaneously shifting, I am able to really feel his pain through the layers of my own anger, tiredness, impatience and frustration. Then anger will evaporate, replaced by concern and tenderness tinged with just a little bit of guilt. That moment is at the same time rock bottom and breathtaking height of being a parent. That moment is something I want to never lose.

Then, when my boys are teenagers and are actually TRYING to be misunderstood, I could REALLY mess with their minds by UNDERSTANDING them.

Shouldn't it become easier at some point?

Lately I've discovered I suddenly have girlfriends. I KNOW – amazing, right? Ever since high school I never did that girlfriend thing where you have a group of girls you feel comfortable being silly with and going out for drinks and talking about, you know, girlstuff. I think I swore off that girlfriend stuff after my high school girlfriends decided they will not be talking to me for 6 months because, what was that reason? Oh yeah, because I preferred my boyfriend to them. So you can imagine how surprised I was to realize that, hey, this cool bunch of girls are my friends! And they're girls! I guess that make them my girlfriends! How did that happen?

If I come off as socially-inept that's because, well, I am. Or at least, I spent a large part of my life thinking that of myself. I have very vivid memories of myself feeling awkward in social situations, not knowing how to connect to the other people around me, and they all came swiping back at me last week when I went to pick Ulysses from his new school.

I was there for about 10 minutes, and he did not play with one single child. I talked to my parents, who pick him up once a week, and they said they never saw him play with anyone either. Then the black vortex of childhood memories and parental guilt swallowed me whole.

"My baby is alone," I cried to A. "Alone, drifting, with no one to play with, doesn't know what to do, how to make friends, going every day to a place he feels horrible at! I know how he feels, I was exactly like that! My poor baby! What will we do? I'm such a bad mother, letting him go there!" And so on for the entire weekend: I cried when we went for a walk, I cried when we went for coffee, I even woke up in the middle of the night to cry some more. Yeah, it was a fun weekend for everyone.

When A. had enough of my lovely nervous breakdown he made me promise that on the first occasion I have I'll talk to Ulysses's teacher and find out how bad things were. On the next school day I caught her for a quick chat, and I must tell you, it's a bizarre combination feeling immensely relived and really stupid at the same time.

Yes, she said, he is by no means the star of his group, but he has many friends. He plays very nicely with others, participates in the activities and feels very comfortable voicing his opinions and needs. He likes being by himself sometimes, and that is okay.

Note to self: Your child is not you. Don't project your issues on him.

Easier said then done…

Show me that Halloween baby

Halloween 2007

Hey Hey Hey, did you think we're going to let you go this Halloween without a Tiny Love Blog Contest? Well, we aren't.

We want pictures! Of your baby! In Halloween costumes! Can I stop with the exclamation points yet? Did you get the excitement? How about the question marks? Can I stop with the question marks too? Okay.

The drill is simple:

1. Pick your favorite picture of your baby in Halloween costume.

2. If you have a flickr account, upload it and add it to our flickr group.

3. If you don't have a flickr account, just email me the picture to shiri at tinylove dot com (replace at with @ and dot with .) and I will upload it.

4. You can submit your picture by November 7th. The winner will be chosen by you from the 10 pictures we will choose. Voting will begin November 8th and end November 14th.

5. The winner will receive this Muscial Stack & Play game. Which is tres cool.

Let's go, show us some cuteness.

Halloween! Yay!

pumpkin

I'm not sure if I shared it here yet, but Halloween is my favorite holiday. First, it's in the fall, which is my favorite season, (cold enough for soups, warm enough for long walks) (wow, that came out kitschy.) Second, it's three days after my birthday, (yay, my birthday! Who hasn't heard about my upcoming birthday yet? Outer Space, it's my birthday soon!) And third, the costumes! I lurrrrve the costumes.

Those of you who read me regularly know that I'm a wannabe crafter. I want to be, but I can't because I'm hopeless when it comes to the actual crafting. That doens't mean I don't waste my time reading craft blogs and daydreaming about the day the Angle of Skills will come to bestow some fine motor skills upon me.

On the up side, my journies through craftdome have rewarded you, beloved reader, with the gift of many Halloween related tips, crafts and easy-peasy costume ideas.

A good place to start is at Parent Hacks where you can gear up on hacks and tips from other parents, like swapping costumes instead of buying expensive ones that will only be worn for 10 minutes. From there you might want to head on to Rookie Moms for more thoughts and ideas on celebrating Halloween with babies.

If you wnat some inspiration, take a look at this chicken on etsy. Also on etsy, for you wacky colinary types, sushi costumes for baby.

Some simple costumes ideas and instructions can be found at wisegeek and at essortment. Also, there an article on how to turn a stuffed animal to a baby costume here. Sounds a bit… spooky to me, but hey – it is Halloween.

If you got some skillz, you might want to try making this adorable pucca costume at zakka life, or perhaps even attempt the reversable superhero costume at Puking Pastilles.

I hope you have a great holiday!

Photo credit:Stephanie Costa

More thoughts about blogging

They say one of the greatest thing about this blogging thing is that it enables you to foster real friendships online and really bond with bloggers you read on a regular basis.

I always thought, oh well. I guess I'm just not really the type to "bond" online. I mean, I love reading other blogs, and there are at least 50 blogs I read on a regular basis, but I don't really get the friendship thing. Take dooce for example – reading her is like watching your favorite TV show. The writing is brilliant, you relate with the characters, you never miss an episode, but there's still the distance that separates you emotionally from what happens.

However.

Earlier this week, while going over my feeds, I noticed an update from my favorite blogger, The Dad from Looky Daddy! As always I clicked ahead getting ready to enjoy my routine dose of the funny, but alas, it wasn't a day for the funny.

His little girl had a serious seizure and was rushed to the hospital from which he was posting as she was sleeping beside him, monitored. Thankfully, she has since recovered, and things are looking better. Yet, reading The Dad's post about it in real time was a shocking experience for me. I felt as though something happened to a friend of mine, and I was scared and worried for him for real.

Like me there were dozens of others. Regular commentors as well as delurkers coming out to offer their support. And that is what so great about blogging. And that is what so great about The Dad: he has the funny, fo' sure, but he also has the real, the honest, the truth.

If you don't know his blog yet, go there now, give him some love, and on the way read some of the funniest funnies out there.

Happy Birthday, Ulysses.

ulysses

My Child,

Your smile makes me happy. Your laughter makes my heart twice as wide with joy. When you sing to yourself I want to just grab you and kiss you all over, but I don't want you to stop, so I don't. When you tell me a story I usually get lost in the middle, but to hear you choosing your words so carefully, using expressions I know you heard from me, and expressions I have no idea were you heard, is fascinating to me.

But that's not why I love you.

Watching you when you sleep reminds me of the baby you, and fills me with tenderness. Watching you play with one of your innumerable cars and vehicles puts me at awe of your creativity and imagination. When you play with your little brother and you both laugh with glee, I know I need nothing more at this moment than to just stand there and look at you.

But that's not why I love you.

You are independent. Not in the sense of not needing my help, but in the sense of doing things your own way. And your way is never the common way. You don't feel you have to be like everybody else and I adore this about you. It frustrates me sometimes, but I am so proud of you for being like that.

But that's not why I love you.

I can see your weaknesses too. Your impatience. Your clumsiness. Your way of being shy at first and not opening up until you feel a hundred percent comfortable. Not one to walk in a room and say "Here I am. Love Me." It makes me want to protect you, to shield you from the hurt and frustration and disappointment life can inflict on you. But I know that you must deal with those challenges by yourself, and I know you will succeed, and I know it will help you grow into the amazing child you are becoming.

But that's not why I love you.

I love you for no reason, my child.
I love you because you are my child.
I don't need other reasons.

Love,
Mama.

Theoretical Foodie

food

Cooking is not one of my hobbies.

Correction: cooking is not one of my hobbies anymore.

Once upon a time I used to love to cook. Me and A. had this tradition to make a good dinner every Saturday. We would start the day by going over our favorite cookbooks, deciding on a menu and then take the subway downtown to hunt for groceries in little italy and chinatown. After spending the morning and early afternoon shopping we would go back home to cook our dinner and eat it. It was a lovely weekend treat and a fun thing to do together. Cooking was fun.

That was before I had to feed four people on a regular basis. Before the menu planning and the daily grocery shopping and the dishes, sweet lord, all those dishes. Also, cooking for kids? So. Frustrating. For Ulysses I used to try experimenting with new flavors and interesting healthy snacks. Nada – the kid only eats pasta. With no souse. The Dandelion had some promise, eating all kind of meshugene stuff like spring onions, calamary and, can you dig it – tomatoes. Still, he distinctly prefers his food "deep fried and smothered in chocolate" as the fairy godmother puts it.

Standing in the kitchen for three hours and coming out with a pile of dirty dishes and a three course meal my kids wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole is just not as fun as it seems to be. Occasionally, the tickle for cooking something special and interesting and different will become irresistible, and I will succumb to its lure, only to come out of the other side of the experience swearing to never more. Give me 10-minutes-wonders, give me readymades, give me my MIL's food in easy-to-reheat containers. I'll be the happiest person ever.

Looking at food, now that's another thing. Looking at the dirty is not like actually doing the dirty (and I mean dirty dishes of course. What? Oh no, you didn't! Get your mind our of the gutter, this is food we're talking about!) If you're into this kind of stuff, here's a taste (get it? Taste? I kill me) of some lovely cooking photos:

Photo credit: Mark at The Trial

5 steps on the way to blogging abyss.

error-reboot-plz.jpg

1. Stop posting regularly for two months.

2. Three days after resuming posting, have your blog shut down due to a bug in the wordpress platform. (Or something to that effect… the techies weren't very clear on this point.)

3. Make sure to have that bug happen on the verge of the weekend, right when there's no one available to fix it.

4. Have blog down for 72 hours.

5. Write a smart-alecky post as an explanation, instead of the simple "sorry, this blog was down due to technical difficulties."

Check, check, check, check and check.