Sunday, May 09, 2004

Little Miss Fancypants

Ack. Here I was thinking I'd just jot down a few notes while I finished up this beer before heading to bed, and I'm confronted with this completely unanticipated new Blogger look and way of doing things, and just barely skimming the news updates on these changes has already made this a much longer and more painful experience than I'd planned. Sigh.

Mother's Day rocked. I am the luckiest woman alive to be the mother of that sweet, brilliant little creature. We did very little today, and even littler that was "special," but there was a little something in the air that made it magical.

Helena, as if she knew how Hallmark had designated this Sunday, an amazing feat for one not yet 18 months old, was full of spontaneous hugs and kisses.

The three of us went to the park. A very busy park day it was. It seemed a lot of suburban families treated their moms to a picnic in the city today. Didn't they move to the suburbs for the wide green spaces? If you're going to come into the city for the day, why not enjoy one of those unique city experiences, like a nice restaurant or a museum? Do they not have proper parks in the suburbs? (Mind you, this park really is exquisite.)

Helena is perhaps still a little young for the park. The sign on the gate clearly states it's for 2- to 6-year-olds. Our last few visits she's been less a participant and more an observer. Perhaps she's had another one of those lightbulb moments, albeit a less obvious one to the casual observer (OK, to anyone. I am not a casual observer; I am her mother) — something that's made her go "hmmm" and hang back so she can test a theory or perfect a technique. Perhaps she's simply too tired to be rambunctious — she still can't make up her mind whether she wants one nap a day or two (today I had three!). (I'm toying with "scheduling" the park as a morning excursion so that she's not torn between napping and playing this way, giving them each a half-assed go.) I worry that she'll grow up to be an antisocial push-over, as are both her parents. But we're working on that.

After the park, we made a side trip to return the DVD we'd rented last night (Intolerable Cruelty — I enjoyed it immensely. Very funny, both witty and silly. And George and Catherine are sssoooo sexy.) and J-F bought me a Mr. Freeze (blue) at the d├ępanneur cuz it was almost hot outside. I had a lot of those the summer I was pregnant, but only maybe two last year. Something in the flavour makes my throat very scratchy. We found a 1-800 number on the wrapper and decided that I should call (does anyone ever call? would anyone answer?), but I promptly forgot and threw the wrapper away into the first trashcan we passed.

The only out-of-the-ordinary thing we did today was play dress-up. Kind of. Helena did the wearing, I did the dressing (J-F didn't participate). I feel like I've spent a whole month already sorting through her wardrobe: stashing away winter things and clothes that have stayed in her drawers since even before the snow; sorting those things into stuff to give away and stuff to hang on to "just in case"; pulling out season- and size-appropriate clothing from the boxes of hand-me-downs friends have given us, as well as clothing received as gifts going as far back as the baby shower. It's a tricky matter of timing, cuz today I find myself trying stuff on Helena, hoping it's not too late, hoping I haven't let a particularly fantastic gift go to waste simply by not reading the size on the label (remembering too that Baby Gap sizes things a little smaller than the rest of the world, and with hand-me-downs there's the matter of shrinkage to consider).

But I think Helena had fun. She took a real liking to the outfit from her great-grandfather: a hot pink ensemble consisting of a three-quarter-sleeve shirt/jacket and skirt/shorts. Helena chose to accessorize with my gray purse she pulled out of the closet and then wielded my cellphone, which really played up the whole power suit effect. A toddling mover and shaker.

I've been sneaking peeks at The World According to Mimi Smartypants for a couple days now. I managed to read the whole thing a couple pages at a time, when J-F was changing Helena's diaper, while I was tidying up and just happened to be moving this book from the stack in the bedroom to the pile on the kitchen table, reading it while giving it a mere sideways glance while pretending to watch TV. So now it's done, and I'm panicking that I have nothing to read on the train on Wednesday — sure, I can pick up a magazine at the train station, but I don't see a book-buying opportunity presenting itself before we leave.

I did enjoy the book, but I don't think Ms Smartypants would be offended to know I was a little disappointed. That's my own fault in a way — had I saved it for train-reading it would have served as a substitute for blog-reading. As it is, I can't think of a very good reason for reading this book, except for if you've never read her blog and don't have Internet access. Still, it was fun and easy, in the sense that I wouldn't be likely to read her blog archives straight through and in chronological order and it provides more — background? context? character? — just something more, to her current-day ramblings.

It's kind of creepy actually to be reading someone else's diary and at every other entry or so exclaiming "hey, that's me." Me too, I play violin! Me too, I edit medical stuff! Me too, I had a thing for Al Gore!

What's even creepier is that I seem to have adopted her cadence in writing this entry.

I will add to all this that for some reason I am inexplicably really, really, really bothered by the list of Dramatis Personae at the front of the book, which includes people mentioned within the book proper just once, as if a reader on first (and only) mention of a character couldn't glean from context that this was obviously someone she knows and occasionally has drinks with.

On the other hand, Helena is smitten with the black kitty-cat that adorns the dust jacket (in five places!). Silly, but true.
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