Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

In Which Chelsa Attempts To Take A Photo Of Both Children In Costume: A Harrowing Halloween Story

Attempt the first: Both children are adorable, and they are hugging in a friendly fashion, adding to the cuteness. The fact that Max is Batman, however, is almost completely obscured, and the wings on Maggie's suit, which clarify the fact that she is a butterfly and not just a Maggie In A Shiny Leotard With An Impractical Skirt Attached, are hidden entirely.

Attempt the second: Max's Batmanhood is clearly visible to the naked eye, but Maggie's wings are still theoretical, and her tights (the best part of the costume, in my opinion) are likewise incognito. Plus, both children have expressions evocative not so much of childlike Halloween glee as wry, jaded Halloween overphotographitis.

Attempt the final: Maggie's wings are at last revealed, and her stripy tights are on display, but Max has decided that his Batman costume itches him, and that he shouldn't wear it because, "I am just a Max. Not a Batman. Not a Batmax." He has therefore switched to a festive orange shirt with a fuzzy skeleton on it, which would be fine except that no one can see the skeleton. I decide to give up and pursue more easily attainable goals. Stay tuned to see if our pumpkin carving is more successful. Happy Rainy Halloweeeeeeen!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dear Everyone In The Entire Universe,

Yes, I have noticed that both of my children have names that begin with "M". No, I did not exactly do it on purpose, and no, I do not feel compelled to pick out another "M" name should we have a third child. It just so happened that the names we liked best for a boy and a girl both started with the same letter, and it just so happened that we have a boy and a girl. I hesitated to choose alliterative names, because I foresaw conversations exactly like this one, with people exactly like you, forever, but in the end, picking names is really hard and we had to go with the ones that we liked and take the consequences. Thank you,

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Useful Parenting Tip From Me To You

Because We Care.
At great personal cost to me and mine, I bring you the following fun fact to learn and know:
Giving an already fiesty 17 month old a rudimentary crumb of an m&m, even if she sees her older brother eating a few of them and loudly bemoans the unfairness until you are a guilty, frazzled nub of a human being, is a bad idea. Unless you enjoy being awake until 4 in the morning with a hyperactive toddler. It turns out that I don't.

This public service announcement was brought to you by themagicnumber, inc.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Am Still Not Quite Sure If He Was Asleep, Or Just Unusually Esoteric

Ian to Chelsa at 12:32a.m.: I was thinking about how there are rocks in people's yards -- you know, white ones, blue ones, grey ones. And you could just get white ones, but then it would be someone's JOB to separate out all the white ones.
Chelsa (after a brief, baffled silence): What the hell are you talking about?
Ian (dreamily): You know about rocks. In yardsssss.
Chelsa: Like, decorative rocks?
Ian: Or grey ones. Like you walk on.
Chelsa: Are you asleep?
Ian: Definitely not.
Chelsa (doubtfully): I think you are. I think you're talking in your sleep.
Ian: I don't do that.
Chelsa: You're not making any sense. AT ALL.
Ian: I just think that would be weird.
Chelsa: I think you're weird.
Ian: Yeah.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

As Of Yesterday's Doctor's Appointment ...

Maggie is:
-26lbs 10oz (84th percentile)
-33 3/4 inches tall (99th percentile)
-not as big-headed as big brother (a respectable but not chart-busting 80th percentile)
-a genius of both verbal hijinks and physical comedy
-disturbingly fond of being naked in the doctor's office

Max is:
-perfectly willing to chat with the doctor about any number of subjects, provided that the doctor and everyone else in the room understands very clearly that Max is not now and will not be in the foreseeable future the subject of a well baby check up.
-still struggling to find his stride in the new, nap-free universe.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ah Ah Boo

When I say "I love you" to Maggie, as I frequently do, she smiles, or she ignores me and carries on with her mischief-making, or she continues nursing while I pet her fuzzy mad scientist hair. In other words, the fact that she loves me back is one that I have had to infer without confirmation. Until yesterday, that is, when I said, "Good morning, Maggie! I love you!", and she said "I love you" in response. (Okay, technically she said "ah ah boo", but she says it now every time we say "I love you" to her, and if her pronunciation still needs a little fine tuning, I am not going to get on her back about it.) My heart, which was already irretrievably hers for the taking, is bursting.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Happy Birthday Ian (aka Dada)!

I was going to offer you, in celebration of Ian's birthday, a list of 33 things that you may not know about Ian. But then I struggled with it a bit and arrived at the conclusion that Ian is, um, not secretive, and that there are therefore not 33 things that anyone who knows him doesn't know. I have therefore shortened the list to "3 Things You May Not Know About Ian", and without further ado:

Three Things You May Not Know About Ian:
A Birthdayly Tribute

1. Today is his 33rd Birthday
2. He was due in September, but born in October. His son was due in October, but born in September. Tillmans are whimsical like that.
3. He has been named in the top 2 places to sleep in Maggie's "Places That Are Good to Sleep" Magazine. Maggie's bed, incidentally, didn't even make the top 20.

If you know Ian, you know that his birthday, as the day in which he entered the world and therefore brightened it immeasurably, is a day that we should all celebrate on our own behalfs (behalves?) as well as his. Happy Birthday, Ian. We love you so so much and we are so proud that you have chosen to spend this and every year in our company.

Monday, October 06, 2008

A Modest Proposal

A couple of nights ago, as I was putting a woefully exhausted Max to bed, he looked up at me and said cheerfully, "Mama, you know I am going to get married?"
"Oh?" I said. It is actually not unusual for Max to speculate about his marital prospects at bedtime. There is a picture of Ian and I from our wedding near the bed, and apparently it stimulates Max's more romantic musings.
"Yeah, Mama. I am going to get married with YOU, because I love you so so much."
"Lucky me", I said. "Let's wait until you're grown up, though, okay?"
Max, who until this moment had been happily chatting away, suddenly and inexplicably crumbled. His eyes filled slowly with tears and his lips began trembling like leaves in the wind. "I'm crying, Mama", he informed me.
"I know", I said, completely baffled. "But why?"
"'Cause I just -- I just want to be little still!"
"What do you mean?"
"I want to get married and when I still am little, Mama. With you." Two giant tears rolled theatrically down each cheek.
"Okay. But why? What's your rush?"
"Because (sob), because (sniffle), because I am so so lonely when you go away from me, Mama. I just want to be with you and you don't go when I am at preschool, Mama!" And with that, Max pressed his small lips together, nestled his head into the crook of my shoulder, and fell promptly asleep without waiting to hear if his proposal was accepted.
My mother often tells me that every now and then, something that I do or something that she sees takes her back, powerfully and viscerally, to a moment in my early childhood when I woke up in the middle of the night crying and came to her, all tears and clown pajamas, for comfort. (I think that we were camping, and my sister Dillen had scared me with bear attack stories.) Although I am now an adult in my thirties, I sometimes regress for her to that moment of helpless need. I suspect that most parents have a moment like this every now and then, that just hits you sideways with its absurd poignancy, and some part of you always will see some part of your child frozen in that moment. I suspect that Max's breakdown was not really about the thwarting of his courtship of me, or even about being left at preschool, but was prompted by his non-napping exhaustion. Laying aside the practical problems with Max's plan, though (I am, after all, already married, and Max is a minor, not to mention the illegality of our proposed nuptials, and even if you can muscle your way past all of that, Max and I being married in no way guarantees that I won't still leave him at preschool every now and then), his tears really forcibly projected me ahead into a future where an oilier, ornerier teenage Max does everything in his power to be away from me as often and as emphatically as possible. Right now, Max thinks that being with me for all of every minute of every day all the time is the key to his happiness. This is often inconvenient. It is sometimes frustrating. It is occasionally heartbreaking. It is always precious, and it will be gone all too soon. And I suspect that someday, when Max is graduating or getting married or having his own children, the memory of his tearful request to be married with me will be close at hand.

Friday, October 03, 2008

When Toddlers Attack

Maggie has begun insisting on feeding herself. I am slightly torn between the desire to encourage and nurture her independent spirit and the desire to quell her obvious taste for anarchy.

Luckily, Maggie does not need my encouragement and she disdains my attempts to quell her, so it probably doesn't matter what I do, anyway.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Happy Birthday Granny!

A couple of weeks ago, I had some cleaning and organizing to do around the apartment (or, to be more specific, our laundry was threatening to overtake the entire universe and kill us all, and no, I am not exaggerating), and I was finding it difficult to get to it with both kids in the mix (or, to be more specific, now that Max is not napping and Maggie is throwing hapless stuffed creatures down the toilet any time my back is even partway turned, I am finding everything that is not vital to survival difficult to get to, and even the survival thing is questionable). My parents offered to take the kids for the day, so that I could have my hands free. It was delightful. Yes, even though I was mostly just doing laundry. But the point I am trying to make is this: it was delightful because I did not have to worry about the kids at all. Not about their safety, not about their happiness, not about whether they would be nurtured and cleaned and cared for. And rather than feeling burdened or taken advantage of, my mother's only complaint about the day was that Max got tired and wanted to come home long before my mum got tired of playing with him.
I think that I am a good mama. I know that I try very hard, and that I derive a lot of joy from the job. But it is much easier to be a good mama if you have a good mama, and I am lucky enough to have a very good one. Happy Birthday, Granny, and thank you for being there so often and with such cheer that we never have to even imagine what this job would be like if we had to do it without backup. The Tillmans 4 all love you muchly.