Click here for
a possibly gratuitous explanation of why my blog is called "nonBlog"
and my site is titled "Ceci n'est pas un blog."
of Five—Sunday, February 26, 2006
When the four
of us used to walk down the street before there was Ava—before
I had even imagined having Ava—I would feel like something
was a little off. It didn’t make any sense. We were a nice
little family with two parents and two beautiful daughters—what
could be wrong with that picture? But it was almost too perfect
for me, too neat, two and two. My family literally had angles.
Now we are good and messy.
We walk down the street in a mob. Everyone talks at once. There
are too many of us for a table of four; we have to wait for the
big booth. On vacation we need to rent a minivan or the grandparents
can’t come sightseeing in our car. We are a gang, a band.
You can’t mess with us. No angles anywhere. We’re
round—solid and sweet, like a cantaloupe.
Trouble in Paradise—Thursday, February 23, 2006
If you live in San Francisco
and have never been to Hawaii, you are considered strange. But
now that we are in Hawaii I think the people who thought I was
strange because I had never been to Hawaii are strange. It has
rained cats and dogs every day we’ve been here but one.
The kids are so tired of being told they can’t go to the
beach that I’m afraid they might be on the verge of staging
a violent insurrection. This is concerning because there are more
of them than there are of us.
The thing I didn’t
expect about Hawaii, other than the high water factor, is how
urban and American the whole place is. There are strip malls and
nondescript highrises everywhere you look, chain stores and white
people and choking traffic. Of course I knew Hawaii was a state,
but I was thinking it was more like Tahiti without passport control.
I didn’t expect it to be Florida without all the consonants.
All Wet —Tuesday,
February 14, 2006
Today I got a definitive
diagnosis of the problem inside my hip joint, which has prevented
me from marathoning for the last 4 ½ years: a repetitive
strain injury caused by the odd configuration of my hip joints.
The answer was satisfying in a ghastly sort of way, like finding
out what happened to Jimmy Hoffa. Also not helpful at all in that
he is still dead, and I will never run another marathon. Like
certain canines, I have hip dysplasia. This explains why, since
babyhood, I’ve been able to do all these stupid pet tricks
with my legs—putting them behind my ears and sleeping folded
up like a Swiss Army knife. My friend Pamela said, “Are
there German shepherds on both sides of your family?”
Dr. Good News told me I
don’t have any signs of arthritis and so long as I never
run another endurance race I should expect full pain relief. People
with hips like mine aren't built to be distance runners, he said.
Contortionists, yes, distance runners, no. But I can swim all
I want. I put my head down on the exam table and wept, much like
Jimmy’s daughter will when they pull her dad out of a landfill
in Staten Island. It was the end of something that gave me nothing
but joy for over a decade. Until I ran marathons I was never an
athlete, I was the kid who was chosen last for every single team
in P.E. I don’t want to swim all I want. I want to run,
and run, and run.
Excessive Quietude — Wednesday, February 8, 2006
It’s a good thing
that Ava has the talking gene, because I appear to have misplaced
mine. Whenever I am around her I am inspired to be silent. Especially
at night, when I’m trying to get her down to sleep. I’m
supposed to be singing to her and feeding her hunger for language
and all of that baby-book yada yada, but instead I go to this
deeply spiritual place where making sounds with my mouth seems
like an enormous effort.
This is a worrying thing
because of a study I read around the time I had Greta and experienced
a similar speechlessness (not so with Olivia—I was such
a stressy, chatty mommy that I’m surprised she didn’t
just bitch-slap me to get some peace). Somebody correlated the
number of words a child hears in babyhood to later success in
school. Greta is now happily kindergartening—singing, learning
three-letter words, connecting the dots—but she's not setting
the classroom on fire like Olivia did. Did my bliss make Greta
excessively contented? Am I doing the same to Ava? I find myself
forcing out the yackety-yack, unnatural as it feels, but I have
to think that a mother who is this happy with her baby has to
be better than the anxious Aggie I was the first time.
Calamity Janes - Monday, February 6, 2006
Today is the kind of workday
that was shaping up to be so intense that I started watching the
clock when our usually-punctual nanny was just seven minutes late.
I was trying to imagine how I could possibly manage to complete
the research for my SF Chronicle Magazine piece while
line-editing the new version of the book proposal an agent is
expecting to see on Wednesday while dealing with a problem at
the Opera and helping Tom strategize about how to restructure
his company after a sleepless weekend, all of which was supposed
to happen after physical therapy for my persistent case
of breastfeeding neck but before driving carpool.
By the time I finished
causing my brain all of the above damage the nanny walked in,
now 15 unprecedented minutes late, with swollen eyelids to tell
me that her favorite uncle had died during the night and she hadn’t
gone to sleep yet. And it occurred to me that having a nanny in
the house introduces a new set of female pheromones just like
when you share a triple with two roommates in college, and after
a few months you’re all getting your period on the same
day. Except that with nannies and mothers you synchronize your
crises, not your menses.
Crun, Don’t Walk -Thursday, February 2, 2006
Our one-year-old Ava, like
all Losee-Unger babies, is in no hurry to walk. She doesn’t
need to. She cruns.
Crunning is Ava’s
favored method of travel—a cross between crawling and running
which amounts to crawling as quickly as is babily possible. It’s
no wonder she doesn’t yearn to stand on her own two fat
feet with a technique as effective as this. It’s the pre-toddler
equivalent of teleporting. One second she’s there, and the
next second she’s gone.
I came up with this word
on Monday and already it is solidly in the family lexicon. Yesterday
I turned to Olivia and said, “Where’d Ava go?”
Blandly, she replied, “She cran that way.