Monday, October 11, 2004

Giving thanks

I really should be sleeping right now, or working, but I'm in serious blog withdrawal, mostly with the sense of sadness that all those clever things I thought to write over the last few days have lost their urgency (and, in some cases, their cleverness) and are soon to be forgotten, without ever having been read by you, dear Reader.

I'm grumpy and tired.

Yesterday opened up a floodgate of feelings of incompetence in the motherhood department, mostly because I have no idea where in this town (or any other, for that matter) to get my baby a decent haircut, sensible shoes, and a spiffy autumn hat. As if somehow I should've been imbued with this privileged sociogeographical knowledge along with some of those other weird mommy instincts that may or may not have some some basis in biology. It's all about survival of the fittest, but the fittest, it seems, are not about the shoes and the hats.

The mommy-failure syndrome was offset slightly this morning: effortlessly and not yet caffeinated I made muffins for breakfast! Of course they were of the instamix just-add-water variety, but Helena didn't know that, and she loved them (and me by extension).

It's a little confusing that Helena pronounces "muffins" in very much the same way as she does "mouse." We are slowly getting the hang of this language-communication problem. Context really is everything. We did not have mouse for breakfast, nor are there any muffins in Fantasia (a recent discovery of Helena's. Yes, I know it's Disney. Just shoot me already.).

We have verifiable counting! One, doo, fwee (but sometimes twa — that's "trois" — she's bilingual, don't you know), fo, and then we fall off track a little and skip to six, though I wonder if it might not be "cinq," and on to eight and nine. She's taken to "counting" spontaneously, usually to accompany stair-climbing.

Helena is fascinated with the diapering process, trying to practice it on herself and any poor toy she sets her eyes on. Today it was creepy-doll stretched out on the change table. Helena got her hands on the handiwipes, pulled a few out of the box, thoroughly wiped creepy-doll, and made a big show of disposing of the wipes in the waste basket before blanketing her doll with the cloth diapers I still keep around.

(It's been almost a year since creepy-doll came to stay. I can't get over how creepy this doll is, in a very Gorey way.)

I should tell you about The Most Incredibly Brilliant Blog in the World. It's a little lacking in brilliance, and it's not updated nearly as often as one would like, but there you have it.

About a week ago, I played sick for an evening (I even lost my voice for a few hours); I wrapped up in blankets and read in bed. The Grim Grotto, the eleventh in a series of unfortunate events as chronicled by Lemony Snicket.

Maybe cuz I was sick, maybe I'm simply tiring of Count Olaf's antics and the "cleverness" of those Baudelaire orphans, maybe I've lost my sense of wonder at the world. It just didn't grip me. Not the way the previous book showed real character development and plot-thickening.

Still, it was a veritable fungal delicacy, made all the more appetizing after the fact. Coincidentally, a few days ago I was editing a chapter on fungal infections. Spores in the lungs. This greatly enhanced my appreciation of The Grim Grotto, not for the supplemental knowledge per se, but for a fuller understanding of the grimness, a deeper immersion into the story's ambiance.

For the record, there is somewhere in the world, someone striving for peace.

J-F's been taking Helena to the park weekend mornings, so I can try to get some work done. I miss the park.

Weekday mornings when we're getting her dressed she starts talking about going to the park and feeding the ducks, and this makes me feel incredibly guilty, as if I'm depriving her of one the basic joys of toddlerhood and instead cruelly shipping her off to a heartless government institution for the day.

But most days of late, when J-F brings her to bed in the morning — Helena has her bottle and we try to wake up and there's always a cat or two hanging about and I genuinely feel that I'm surrounded by love — so much of it — where did it come from? — it makes me want to cry.
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