Fruit and vegetable stands are a big, let’s say cottage industry, in my patch of PA. Because many of the proprietors have more farm smarts than book learning there are often interesting interpretations of the English language on the hand-lettered signs they display to promote their produce.
I lived in the greater DC area for four years after college. Upon returning to Pennsylvania as an adult, I found the presence of these stands comforting. They were just part of the backdrop of my childhood and adolescence when my world was small, and it didn’t occur to me that it wasn’t the same everywhere. As an adult, after living in a more urban area, I appreciated more the culture of the simple grow, sell, eat these stands are part of.
On my new commute, I passed a stand run by an older gentleman. The plywood and black paint sign boldly and cheerfully let all passing cars know that there were Lops for sale. That would be lopes or cantaloupes if you need an interpretation.
Every day, I would pass this man and just dream of sneaking back in the dark and adding the “e”. And possibly an apostrophe. He became the lops guy in our house. He was a consistency to both my and John’s drives to work. I think I stopped once or twice for some produce, but not really all that often. Mostly because he only took cash, and I never remembered to stop at the ATM. His stand was on the edge of a very large field of weeds and wild flowers. It was the last green before a long strip of trucking industry based around the intersection of three major highways. I kinda grew to love the Lops guy.

Then one summer, he wasn’t back. Hm. There were vague rumors that he was sick. He wasn’t back the next summer either, and without being told, I knew what had happened. The sultry summer drive became a little less interesting. The field faded into the backdrop having lost its little splash of color.
Lops guy must have owned the lot where his stand was located. And a couple years after he was gone, the heirs or whoever sold the land. Now it is townhouses. They are better than another huge trucking depot or gas station. But still, it’s less green, more human being. More backdrop than stand out.
I wish I had remembered to stop at the ATM more.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Jedi Mom

I was solo for bedtime last night, and it was Friday. I have a tendency to be a little more lax on Fridays, so I didn’t push sleepy time too hard. Leila was out by nine, and CJ held on until nine thirty. John got home, and we were in bed around ten thirty.
At eleven, CJ started fussing. I waited. Fussing turn to crying. I got up and got him back to sleep. I started to nod off. Leila starts fussing. I waited. A little more fussing. In my half stupor I start thinking I can comfort her from where I am. I start imagining waves of motherly comfort exuding from my body, riding currents of air, permeating the walls and crashing over my children like the surf on the sand.
Leila stopped fussing. I hold my breath. I have to breath again and still quiet.
I am a Jedi! I can control the moods of children who I can’t even see. I shall be honored and teach other parents how to Jedi parent. Yoda would bow to me. It will be a parenting revolution.
Then Leila started screaming. Loudly.
On a sigh, I get up and go to physically parent.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Where earrings are swallowed and barbaric yawlps are heard

I’m cross-posting this over at Daddy Runs a Lot.

It had been a very, very long day. For the most part, the kids had been good – they woke up in a foreign house (we spent Saturday night in northern Virginia with friends), spent several hours in the car, got fun & sun in Grandy’s pool1, and we were hitting the “home stretch” for bedtime.

I’m not a stickler for routine. I have some friends who have the bedtime process working like a well-oiled machine, and I envy these friends . . . except when something goes astray. When the routine is broken, the meltdowns are truly epic. And, I’m pretty sure that these kids are being set up to be drug addicts. But, I digress. I don’t have a bedtime routine. Sometime between 7 & 8, it’s time to gauge the situation. If one kid is over-tired and throwing a fit, I’ll place said kid in a death grip and fall asleep cuddle until the kid’s fight to stay awake dies. If the kid is truly off the walls, I’ll throw said kid in a stroller and walk around the block. But, for the most part, I’ll simply let the kids play until they’re showing signs of imminent sleep.

When both Duffy & I are in the room, and sleep appears imminent, both kids have the same pattern. They’ll start with one of us, and we’ll feed them milk, but when they realize that they’re falling asleep, suddenly they need the other parent to hold them. Not uncommonly in this exchange, they’ll find a second wind. Last night was no different.

Duffy had Leila, and I had CJ, and things were going pretty good. I thought CJ was about asleep when Duffy took out her earrings because Leila was tugging on them. I did something stupid & CJ awoke with a bolt. He walked over to Duffy because, obviously, I was using some sort of black magic to nearly have him asleep, and he wanted none of it.

Duffy now had both babies, Leila nearly asleep, when CJ saw something on the floor that had to be investigated. So, Duffy put him down, but he then saw the earrings sitting on the snack table.

He grabbed one.

As toddlers are wont to do, he put it in his mouth.

I sprang into action.

I saw the earring in his mouth, and then put my finger into his mouth to sweep it out.

He bit my finger.

I recoiled.

I put my finger back in his mouth, and the earring was not there.

He bit my finger again.

There was but a split second that he could have spit the earring out, and I still hold hope that he did just that, but I think it’s safe to say that a bead, dangling on 14k wire is in a toddler’s digestive system.

This was not something I was used to. And I had no idea what to do. I have medical professionals that I’m “close to” via Twitter. My mother is a retired operating room nurse. My father-in-law (he of the pool) is a physician’s assistant. We made the decision to call my father-in-law, and he basically told us that, if he really swallowed it, there isn’t much to do but wait for it to pass.

Yeah, through the other end.

An emergency room visit would only yield an x-ray, to confirm what we already knew. For now, we just needed to wait.

Duffy hung up the phone after talking to her dad, and the two of us scoured the room, trying to figure out if, maybe, he did spit things. It’s safe to say we were freaking out, though not nearly as badly as we might. It was a bad situation, but it wasn’t horrible.

In the middle of all of this, Leila, who had been sitting in the middle of the commotion, playing with a set of blocks, decides to up & stand on her own two feet. The commotion stops as Duffy & I stare, slack-jawed, at our daughter.

Because she must be the center of attention, she started babbling at a volume that only she can reach. After her little nonsensical monologue, she sat back down and resumed the block playing.

You know that scene in Dead Poets Society where they’re reading Whitman? “I sound my barbaric yawp”? Well, this certainly felt like Leila sounding her barbaric yawp.

In the aftermath, diaper changing ought to be fun today. I’m very hopeful that things will pass without incident, though I fear that the earring will never be worn again. And, I think we’re nearing the “two toddler” stage, despite very clear instructions to my little girl that she’s done enough growing up already.

1 Duffy’s father’s name is Randall. Grandfather + Randy = Grandy

Is That a Pink Plus Sign?

I never thought I would see that little symbol. But there it was on a day late in October 2009, five weeks before our adoptive son was due to be born. Well, it ended up being two weeks before Coltrane’s arrival that Leila made her presence known. So nothing has really gone according to plan, but when does it ever?

Approximately nine months later, I was numbed from the chest down, holding John’s hand when we heard our daughter for the first time. I spent the rest of the day attempting to breastfeed. Because of the anesthesia, every time I tried to look down at her, I threw up, so I was feeding her with my head tilted back. I must have been a pale, clammy mess because the next day everyone just kept saying how much better I looked. So apparently, it was a rough day. I never noticed.
Happy Birthday, Leila. You are my wonderful drama queen of a Little Miss. Thanks for being my daughter.