Monday, February 28, 2005

Chez Sherpa's

We went to Sherpa's an “Adventurers Restaurant and Bar” last night. (Sunday is our date night.) The restaurant is in an old house in downtown Boulder and is owned by Pemba Sherpa and run by Sherpas. Feeling adventurous, we decided to try the Nepalese and Tibetan food instead of the more familiar Indian offerings.

The atmosphere was nice, the service was fantastic, the food good, not blow-me-away good, but hearty and satisfying. I would definitely go there again. The atmosphere was marred only by the conversation at the next table. Not that you could really overhear it, but I was riveted.

At the next table was a mother with her grown daughter and, I believe, her son-in-law. The older woman was classic.

First I overheard her saying something like (I could hear her pretty well, but not perfectly, so this allowed me to interpret everything she said in the most unflattering light), "I mean to have someone sucking on you when they are two and they can talk about it? That's disgusting!"

Breastfeeding? Was she talking about breastfeeding?

Sure enough, she went on, "I mean your poor nipples will be down to your knees."

I felt like going over there and showing her that this was, in fact, not the case.

Then I heard her say, "I didn't let you cry enough, I will admit to that." At first I thought she was talking to her daughter about some time that she didn't allow her daughter to mourn, didn't listen enough, just jumped in to solve her problems. But then I realized with a shudder that she was talking about when her daughter was a baby. “I didn’t let you cry enough," did I hear right? Maybe she said, "I did let you cry too much," or even "I did let you cry, I will admit to that" (implying that it was not her best moment).

This was followed by the classic, unbelievable line, "But you do what you want, it's up to you, do what you think is best---what both you and Josh want." I would hope that Josh was the young child (not present) but it could have been the son-in-law, implying the child had no say whatsoever in the matter.

Well, there's support for you. That’s how you do it. Just add a “do what you want" disclaimer at the end. No problem!

The daughter behaved impeccably all evening. She used soft, dulcent tones. I said a silent cheer when I heard her order more wine. Doing what she needed to do to get through the evening, I thought.

Other pearls of wisdom from this mother included, "she really needs to go on a diet and get more exercise," "…antioxidant…” and “…yoga..." This woman was not super overweight or unfit, but she had nothing to gloat about. She knew what was best, though, that’s for sure.

I wanted to hop up and say something to the daughter like "I breastfed both my children until they were ready to stop and I don't regret a minute of it." I fantasized about confronting the woman or just tripping and spilling my wine all over her. I thought Greg and I should start a loud conversation of our own about how great the kids are and how happy we are that we didn’t let them cry, etc. I secretly prayed that the daughter had just written off a certain amount of advice from her mother after years of such bombardment. In the end, when we paid our bill, I just aimed my index finger at her words and said "pow." I am not adventurous enough.

But then there’s this blog….

Sunday, February 27, 2005

The bright side (...not)

I'm sitting in the car, watching the boys at the playground. It is a bit cold and I am more interested in listening to Fresh Air on the radio than freezing on a park bench. Rees is doing a great comic act for his brother: riding on the bouncy frog and then sliding down its back in an exaggerated fall, frog left bouncing back and forth on its spring. Kadin laughs, egging him on, and he is off to his next performance.

Meanwhile I listen to Terry Gross interview Eric Idle, known for his nudge-nudge-wink-wink Monty Python skit. He talks about the genesis of the song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" and how that has now become a sort of British national anthem for their sports teams when they underperform. For the movie, he says, "they were all going to be crucified and it was looking pretty grim, so we had to do something." He wrote the ironic song to fill the gap.

Then he discussed the tragedy of his father's death. Eric was only two and his father---who had the very dangerous job of rear gunner in the RAF---was returning from his tour of duty in the war. Back in Britain, it was the holiday season and the soldiers were encouraged to hitchhike home rather than take the train, because the trains were too crowded and could also be a target for bombers (don’t quote me on the details here, but something to that effect). The lorry that gave him a lift was in a serious accident. He died on his way home on Christmas Eve. Eric was only two. He said he didn't remember it, but he did remember the impact it had on his mother, and she fell into a deep depression from which she never recovered.

Rees is performing on the frog again, its wacky wobbling the finale to his artistic fall. Terry is asking Eric about the connection between comedy and growing up in such tough circumstances. Eric Idle replies that he has thought about that a lot and researched some of the psychology behind it. He thinks there really is a connection. "When I take my 9yo daughter to the playground, I can tell," he says, "the kids who are being funny are the ones whose mothers aren't there."

Ugghhh! Ouch! Rees is being funny, performing for and entertaining his younger brother, and I love it. But I AM THERE! Great. I wonder how I have abandoned him. And yes, I have had my urges to be a more distant mother, but really, I gave it my all. I was there for him at every opportunity. And now he has to go and be funny! He is making me look bad!

Maybe because I just heard that, maybe because he just asked me to, I get out of the car and chase Rees around the playground for a bit. Then my train of thought turns to how, if I am there for him, I am stifling his comic genius, so if he has felt abandoned at times, it's a good thing as it will feed his comic potential. You know, I’m trying to look on the bright side.

Back in the car, I think about how well the boys get along, and I remember my friend Clare's theory about how chronic family crises actually have the happy result of decreasing sibling rivalry and bringing the children together with a strong bond for life. I comfort myself with this thought when I feel the kids are fed up with me.

Then I look again and see that I have happy, funny children, who like to play together. Period. There are so many ways we crucify ourselves as mothers! I decide not to believe everything I hear on the radio.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

R#x quest

I sent a deposit check off to the woman I met at the cat show whose D3von R3x* Queen is having kittens. I briefly wished for a second that my checks had some sort of cat motif on them and was just as quickly grateful that they didn’t. No sooner had that thought left my mind than I wondered if she would look on me more favorably if I included a photo of the family or the house or both.

There is something about these breeders that seems hard to penetrate and makes me want to prove that my intention is pure. It is no easy task getting a cat from a breeder. It all depends on “availability” and some breeders take deposits and keep waiting lists and some don’t so it seems like you just have to get to know them and be in their good graces and on their mind when the kittens arrive.

And I just don’t get breeders. It’s like the people in “Best in Show” though that was about dogs. It's a whole different world. They spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about and learning about something that I know very little about. They see things I don’t see, they know things that have never occurred to me. Their whole lives center around something I don’t have at present and don’t know how to get. And that makes it very hard, to say the least, to keep up a conversation on my end. What DO they talk about?

And on top of that, it just seems wrong to buy a kitten when there are so many cats that need homes. But, due to allergies, that is the way it is. I need this strange, hypoallergenic breed. I figure if we get a cat, then we can skip getting a steady stream of little scaly or furry things in cages. Cats are the best as far as I am concerned, except for my slight allergy, so chink away I must.

I started this quest nearly a year ago when we bought the house and were finally settled. At the time it seemed there were too many obstacles to breech. But slowly I have made inquiries, gone to cat shows, emailed and called around and this spring (spring seems a good time) I know of three potential litters within a day’s drive. I feel this is the opportunity, so we are going for it. First the cats need to have their kittens, then we know how many and if any are available (and hope we don’t get the worst of the litter---my line is “a healthy kitten with a good disposition is most important to me” but, if truth be told, I also want a female calico if that is a possibility!). Then the kittens spend 12 weeks with their mother to learn how to do all those cat things. In short, our getting a cat is still a ways off, but we’ll keep you posted.

*Something Cathy taught me. God forbid that someone searching for D#von R#x would find this blog and learn of my ambivalence! That would really put a damper on my chances.

The Person I Admire the Most...

A piece of paper with this heading came home in Rees' Friday folder (the kids around here all bring home a folder on Friday with their work from the week, news for parents, a place for parents to write notes back the teachers, etc.) Under the heading "The Person I Admire the Most..." was a central circle for the name of the person and around that circle other circles for the qualities of this person. And the person was...

Drum roll please....

No, it wasn't me or his father, it was...


Here, unedited, is how Rees filled in the other circles:

Describe the person: small, funny

Why would I like to be like this person? I like beaing small

What kind of things does the person do? he playes with me

How does this person make the world a better place? he saves things that can blow away

Qualities: he remids me of things to play

Why: If my mom and my dad are bote busy I can play with him


That just made my week.

Welcome to my blog

This blog was inspired by C. A., my blog mentor. Thanks, Cathy, for being such an inspirational and enthusiastic blogger. At some point I will probably figure out how to link to her blog, but for now, this is it. Welcome to my blog!

(3/3/05) I think I figured out the link thing!