The late, lamented Nora Ephron's Heartburn is based on the disintergration of her marriage to journalist Carl Berstein, when their eldest son was two years old and she was seven months pregnant with their second son. In the novel, the main character Rachel discovers her husband is having an affair when she finds a book of children's songs inscribed to her husband Mark by his mistress Thelma:
"My darling Mark," it began, "I wanted to give you something to mark what happened today, which makes our future so much clearer. Now you can sing these songs to Sam [ed: Rachel and Mark's two-ear-old child], and someday we will sing them to him together. I love you. Thelma."
Now I'm sure there aren't any pleasant ways of learning about your husband's new lover but this one strikes me as particularly unpleasant and unsettling. It's as if Thelma has written her a personal note: "I plan to steal your husband first -- and then your child. Just you wait until you pop out the next one." Rachel, distraught, later has the following telephone conversation about the affect of her despair on little Sam with her great friends Julie and Arthur:
"Where are you?" said Julie.
"In New York," I said. "At my father's."
"Where's Sam?" said Julie.
"With me," I said.
"Does he know what's happening?" said Arthur.
"I don't think so," I said. "I've been crying for eight hours now and he hasn't even noticed."
"I know," said Julie. "When Alexandra was two I cried for eight months and she never noticed."
Sounds like a depressing story but it is actually very funny. Will finish the book tonight and watch the movie tomorrow, perhaps. RIP dear Nora.
(I was amused to discover when reading up on Nora that apparently after her marriage with Bernstein ended in such an upsetting way, she'd happily tell anyone who asked who Deep Throat was. Weird that the media insisted it was such a secret for so long.)
We found Vivi's Indian tea party dress for ten bucks at Kinder Klozet, a local children's consignment shop. The owner Lyn's good friend is from India and her father sends his granddaughter TEN fancy Indian dresses every Christmas. The tags were still on this one.
We were going to have her dress as Alice in Wonderland and I had a special blue full tutu skirt made for the occasion, as well as an apron just like Alice's, but Vivi took a dislike to the expanse of the skirt. (The outfit probably cost $100 in total and she preferred the $10 one -- take note, other mothers with Ideas.) I'll try to get a photo of her in it later, when she's up to it. She even has a pair of white gloves to go with it.
So Sylvie's having a vaguely Alice in Wonderland themed tea party for her third birthday this week, and I have been having a lot of fun planning it. Perhaps too much fun. One of the things I was most excited about was making (or ideally, having someone else make) this pink cake iced with roses (found here). I just showed Vivi the photo and she smiled and said she liked it but that she wanted a Barbie cake. Horrors. First of all just ugh and secondly I am not a big fan of Barbies. But it is her birthday, after all, not my own personal fantasy extravaganza tea party day. Do you think I could get away with cramming a Barbie doll into the top of that thing?
We seem to be talking about breastfeeding and birthing here all the time lately, weirdly, since we are done with that phase. But the kids are still very interested in the subject and clear information and a healthy attitude about the whole thing will help to prepare them for their own future families. I just happened upon these Mamamor Dolls and I think they are hilarious, adorable, and informative. The babies have little snaps for mouths that attach to nipples, also made out of snaps, on the moms. (The designer should consider using pink, red, and brown snaps instead of silver ones, though.)
Some of the dolls also show how the babies are carried in the moms' bellies and how they come out. Some of the babies come complete with detachable umbilical cords and placentas.
There are even VBAC dolls, which also have a slot in the stomach through which the baby can emerge. Which reminds me of a conversation Luke and I had on the weekend. It was the kind of conversation that should have been an exchange of information expressed in a matter-of-fact, healthy manner, but it got away from me.
Steph (witnessing Luke putting shreds of a red balloon that has burst into his mouth): Luke! Never ever ever put pieces of balloon in your mouth! They can get stuck in your stomach and KILL you. And especially not red ones! A surgeon won't be able to find the red pieces in your stomach because they look just like blood and all the other stuff inside you.
Luke: How about if I chew this yellow one? Yellow wouldn't be hard for the surgeon to see...
Steph: Absolutely not! I don't care if yellow is an easier colour for the surgeon to see. It is NEVER a good thing if you have to be cut open.
Luke: All girls have to be cut open when they have their babies.
Steph: No they don't. Just sometimes, when the babies won't come out their vaginas. And it is NOT a good thing.
Luke: Ewww. They come out their vaginas?! Ewww. I came out your VAGINA? (starts laughing)
Steph: No, you did not. You wouldn't come out properly so they had to cut my stomach open and take you out that way.
Luke (still laughing): I came out your vagina! Ewww!
Steph (laughing too, but getting annoying and starting to shout): No! You DID NOT COME OUT MY VAGINA!
David (entering the room, says mildly): Well, now the whole neighbourhood has that clear.
Luke (continuing to snort and giggle): Did you come out of your mother's vagina?
Steph: Yes. Yes, I did. (muttering) Everyone comes out of their mothers' vaginas and it is natural and beautiful. That is what the vagina is for.
Luke: But you just said that I didn't come out of your vagina.
We got this fancy dress at the Giant Baby and Children's Sale last Saturday for 4 bucks and it may very well have been the best 4 bucks we have ever spent. Vivi has worn it pretty much every day since then. This is the selection of jewelry she almost always wears with it. The pony bandaid is a deliberate choice. She asked me to take pictures of her in this outfit today. The pursed lip thing is something I'm afraid she picked up from me when I look in the mirror.
This is one of her more artistic shots. When she viewed this photo, she expressed displeasure about the slightly rolled sock so please keep that in mind when judging the styling here.
During the shoot, she inexplicably ran to get a comb, which she matter-of-factly inserted in the keyhole and proceeded to pose next to. During further discussion I gleaned it is supposed to be Alice's key.
Fiddling dramatically with the "key."
Pose with light switch.
A slightly Toulouse Lautrec effect.
So this Goyte "Somebody That I Used to Know" song and the Walk Off the Earth cover video are everywhere and those of us with kids are particularly familiar with both of them. (We happen to know a two-year-old who immediately dons a suffering expression and begins singing ALL THE WORDS every time it comes on, which is often. Hi Eden!) The parents of the kids featured below videotaped some of the many, many, many times the song was requested by them during car rides.
I never should've let Luke watch Marie Antoinette as such an impressionable age.
Common Sense Media is asking for your stories of moments when you wish your child hadn't seen something on television, in a movie, or online. I shared the story of my own horrible moment like that here. Please do go read it and if you like it, vote for me! Or share your own and vote for yourself. (I did. You can win a $500 Amazon gift card!)
There are a couple of trees in our yard just crying out for this Fairy Door. You can buy the accessories -- the little windows with the flower boxes and the lantern, which LIGHTS UP AT DUSK AND TURNS OFF AT DAWN -- but I'm wondering if they're overkill. I should've ordered this for Easter but I didn't and now May Day is tomorrow. Perhaps for the summer solstice? (Also, don't you think "Fairy Door" would be the perfect name for a gay bar?)
Can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama, Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir (is that a thing?) about her relationship with her mother. Maud Newton talks to her about it in this really intriguing interview.
AB: One of my earliest, most powerful memories of my mother is playing this game where I would be a crippled child like the kids I would see at the orthopedic wing of the hospital when I would go to get my fallen arches checked up on. I was just fascinated with these children, with their external signs of disability, their crutches and braces and big shoes. There was something about that that I needed to reenact, and my mother entered into that imaginary space so willingly with me and in such an encouraging way. Even though I knew there was something weird about having this fantasy about disabled children, she didn't sensor it. She encouraged me to go with it, and I feel like she probably did that with me in lots of imaginary games as a kid but for some reason this is the one that I remember the most vividly. And I speculate in the book that it's because it was a fantasy that she shared to a certain extent as well.
BNR: And when your OCD was making it really difficult to keep the diary, your mom would write down your entries. I remember that from Fun Home, too, and both times it gave me chills. The devotion implicit in it.
AB: Oh my God, that was another pivotal moment. She would sit there and write down everything I said. It was amazing. It also becomes weirdly this template for my relationship later with therapists, other women who would sit there and take down notes on what I was saying.