Friday, October 26, 2012

Almonds Are Good For Your Heart

I saw the Worst Townie Ever at the park again yesterday. This time I didn't say a word, just stood silently twice as she stood nearby watching her older daughter while her little boy ran feral around the playground. Within the half an hour I was there, two other parents confided that they could also tell me a few stories about the Vegippie. When she finally left, the usually calm, aloof, weirdo was screaming at her daughter and making ultimatums about her near future. It looked like she might just get sent to bed without her Tofurky burger.

Back at home, Amari has been saying some pretty memorable things that I don't want to forget. I know - sounds like a contradiction - but if you're like me, there's just too much to keep track of these days.

Conversation 1

A commercial came on TV yesterday with a guy dressed up like a heart promoting California Almonds. Amari asked, "Why is he dressed up like a heart."
"I  think he's trying to let us know that almonds are good for your heart."
"You know what else is good for my heart?" I asked.
"You are," I smiled.
"You and your friends and my friends are good for my heart," she added.
Who needs almonds?

Conversation 2

Amari has been going through a phase of not wanting to get dressed. With time, it can be a less distressing experience for both of us. Yesterday, I did not have that luxury. As a result, I had to force the issue, putting her clothes on with the added challenge of dodging her kicks and half cries. By the end of it, I was pretty annoyed that she wouldn't stop, so I put her on a time out.

This has happened about a half a dozen times without much success and here's why. When I put her down she was crying and immediately got up and started following me as I walked away. I kept walking, she kept following. Finally I sat down and she collapsed in my arms and cried hard. When she finally calmed down, we left the house. On the way into town I asked her, "Hey Amari. What do you think about time outs? Do you think that's a good punishment?"
"No," she stated the obvious.
"Well," I asked, "What should I do when I'm upset and you're kicking me and not listening?"
Without hesitation she said, "You should just hug me."

There was another one, but it already slipped through the cracks of my aging brain.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

And the Winner of the Worst Townie Ever Goes To...

When Amari was just a wee lass I used to take her to our local park. I'd let her stumble around on the tan bark, covertly eat a few pieces, amble up and down some stairs, and navigate the occasional slide. On our early adventures we encountered a wide range of parenting styles - from the basic Text-a-holics (self-explanatory) to the Euphemistics (with children who are assertive and expressive rather than aggressive cry babies) all the way to the What-the-hell-do-you-think-you're-doing-this-is-a-public-placists (i.e. the tweaker dad who took off his shirt to do push-ups in the middle of the park on a cold day in November).

Today, however, I met the most annoying parent of all. You might recall her from previous entries that should have been titled "Get Your Freakin' Snot-Covered Hug-Obsessed Kid Away from Me," or "Please Wipe that Disgusting Green Disease River Off His Face Before Everyone in Toddler Yoga Gets Sick." That's right, the hippie chick with too many kids is back, getting my full attention by being a complete B-Word today. Can you tell I'm a little fired up?

Here's how it went down.

First of all during snack time, her almost two year-old from the previously mentioned episodes came over to our bench to see what was going on. My much more intuitive daughter stuck her hand out to the boy when he showed some interest in her cheese-flavored mini-rice cakes. "No," she insisted, but I interjected and turned to his mom who was approaching now and said, "He's welcome to have some if it's okay."
"Actually, we're mostly vegan," she replied, with only a hint of condescension at this point. I didn't question the mostly part.
"Oh, how about an apple from our apple tree?" I offered.
She accepted. Took the apple and her child and went back to her corner of the park.

For the next forty-five minutes, Jim and I watched her child wander aimlessly around the park while she tended to her infant and her vegan cell phone. In one instance towards the end of our park time, he walked right in front of a moving swing with child. I snatched him up, moved him to the side and gave him a few kind words of instruction about safety. Moments later mom showed up, snatched him up again, and gave us a few words of nothing.

I turned to Jim and made a list of suggestions as to what she could have said, which of course included, "Thank you...Sorry... I've tried to tell him...Vegans consider swings holy and therefore harmless," anything really except nothing.

The straw that broke this camels back, however, came a few minutes later when I went to collect my survival bag from the bench it had been sitting on since we arrived. As I approach, the Vegippie rushes over and shoves our bag of mini-rice cakes her son had obviously absconded with back into our bag.
"Ooops," I said trying to ease any embarrassment she might have felt that her son made off with our food."
"Yeah," she said with indignation oozing from her trans-fat-free pores. Then she huffed off, leaving me feeling for the briefest of moments like I'd done something wrong.
"Did you hear that, Jim?" I asked. He had, so I added, "I think I might have a mortal enemy."

For the next 15 minutes we plotted my revenge and talked about how disappointed she will be when her kids come home from school raving about the corn dogs and Salsbury steak they had for lunch. Revenge included luring her into a friendship with talk of reformed eating habits, home schooling, and how the jet streams off the coast surely control the weather. Then, I would offer her an apple again, maybe several apples, one for each little Hegan. Only my fresh, tree-picked, organic apples, would be infused with the most delicious, hickory-smoked bacon grease her children have ever had. Her whole world would come crumbling down like the wake of an anarchistic-inspired transformation.

Moral: Don't leave your gross, little kid unattended at the park all morning and then get mad at me when he steals shit from my bag. Put that one in your pipe and smoke it Aesop.

T-I- Double G Grrrrrrrrr.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

David Jacob Fishman

A week ago today, we welcomed our nephew David Jacob Fishman into the world. He was 6 pounds 14 ounces, 10 fingered, 10 toed, and absolutely perfect. Birth and pregnancy, however, is another story.

A year or two ago, probably during some insane sleep deprivation or an blindingly cute period of Amari's toddler-hood, Carrie offered to be a surrogate for my brother Jacob and his wife, Olga. They had been trying without success to start a family, and were looking into adoption and invitro fertilization. When they started the latter process, Carrie reminded them of her offer, but they wanted to try on their own first. After two failed attempts, they had one DNA package left and decided to take Carrie up on her offer.

The doctor was pessimistic, telling us the eggs were probably too old and not to get our hopes up. The process was a drag - hormone shots, long drives to and from the clinic down south, and the ultimate possibility that it wouldn't work at all. After a few weeks of hormone therapy, the zygote was implanted. Within a week, Carrie knew she was pregnant, and within 12 days it was confirmed by the doctor.

The skinny on the pregnancy and the birth is that they were not as magical, inspiring, or easy as the one Carrie had with Amari. The nausea was worse, the indigestion and heartburn came sooner, and her body ached more often. Come September, Carrie was ready to be done. Who am I kidding? Come June she was ready to be done.

Another disappointment this time around was Carrie's water broke early and before labor began. This meant that in absence of labor starting organically within the next 24 hours, she had to check into the hospital and have it induced. No home birth. No comforts of our living room. No Amari nearby until the last possible moment. Instead, a cold, sterile room that was sent to the future from the 1970's, fully equipped with General Hospital-style machines and a TV that I'm pretty sure we once owned during my childhood.

It was awful.

Then came the induced labor. Harder, faster, and more painful. Then came the multiple nurses, the male doctor, the agony, the gory details which will remain omitted here, the merciful arrival of our midwife Carla, and finally at 9:00 in the morning, fifteen hours after admission, the arrival of our 6 pound 14 ounce nephew, David Jacob Fishman.

As miserable as it all was, Carrie said that seeing Jacob and Olga adoring their new baby over the next few days made it all worth it.

But never, ever again. My vasectomy will be performed by the end of the year.

Nonetheless, welcome to the world little David.