Saturday, February 26, 2005


I swear, we are not hard core snobberific competitive parents.

But we do want our child to go to pre-school. We like school. Pre, post, ski, whatever. We are school kind of people. I did some preliminary investigation into preschools around here after being prompted by a neighbor, and my eyes are still bulging from sticker shock. Seriously, for those prices I expect Organic Chemistry to be directly implanted into her brain. Has play dough really changed that much?

So. Some of my mom friends were talking last week, about this toddler co-op they're thinking of joining through a local college, which would start in the fall. You go with your kid once a week, and finger paint and what not, and the parents are required to have a certain amount of involvement in running the program. As they get older the program changes, and you leave them there a couple days a week for the pre-school part, to do their important finger painting and block stacking and whatever else 2 year olds do(and in my world we also hire some perky early education grad student named Susie to take care of Claire Helen once a week, and then I go off to legal aid to save the world part time, and won't it be wonderful? Please do not burst my bubble. It's such a pretty bubble, and I like it.).

It's community based; it's artsy; it's cheap. It's just our sort of thing.

I called the location nearest to us, which has a forty-seven person waitlist. Last year they let in two people off the waitlist. The next location away has a sixty-two person waitlist, before registration has been opened to the public. SIXTY-TWO!!! Julie, the coordinator for the first co-op was shocked- SHOCKED I tell you- that we were not already in an infant co-op. Which you sign up for BEFORE THE CHILD IS BORN. So Julie here was shocked that I had not considered which pre-school Claire Helen was going to attend, while she was a fetus. I gave no thought to fetal education planning. Insanity.

However, a few of the co-op locations have in their by-laws (preschools have by-laws now, you know) a Schlub Acceptance Clause, meaning they leave a few spots for non alumni/ non sibling/ non infant co-op goers- i.e., us. The way you get one of these coveted spots is through open registration, which is next Saturday. We are to show up at 9:45 (No latecomers allowed) to the specified location, and collect a random number. Some grand poobah will then randomize those random numbers (why? I really do not see the point of that.), and call random numbers by groups, at which point we will rush the tables for each of these co-ops, and desperately try to sign up as fast as possible for as many wait lists as possible(or, there is the slim chance that we'd get one of these Schlub Spots. I am not holding my breath.). We will rush. The tables.

Randomized groups of well meaning, dignified, young, urban parents will be rushing and possibly elbowing to get to Julie the co-op coordinator and her bountiful list next Saturday morning at around 10 am.

I really hope that someone brings a video camera.

Claire Helen, who sometimes crawls, but only as a part of her locomotive dance, certainly not a go-to step, and who also occasionally likes to sit in the high chair and point at Betty so I will call her over to receive Cheerios, says hello from beautiful, sunny Seattle. I think I've forgotten to mention that she's been signing for milk for a few weeks now. We keep meaning to teach her other signs, but nothing motivates her quite as effectively as the boob.

Lunch with Dad at a sandwich shop in Pioneer Square. Posted by Hello

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Intense people watching. A pretty standard Claire Helen in public expression, actually. Posted by Hello

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Last night on the phone I heard Mat telling our friend Vinny(Hi Vinny!) that Betty could not actually climb trees.

This is obviously untrue, and puts me on alert that Betty has him completely fooled and plans to use him in one of her evil dog schemes. Betty is an evil dog genius who can of course climb trees. The FBI is currently not investigating unproven allegations that she is responsible for the "Reality TV" craze as well as Nancy Pelosi's bad plastic surgery. Tree climbing is child's play for her. And she did! I saw it! Those stumps are like 5 inches wide and 3 feet off the ground. She was totally using other branches to get up to them.

Betty, mild mannered family pet by day, evil squirrel toy destroying dog genius by late afternoon. See the cape? Obviously evil. Posted by Hello

A mugshot of the thug. Posted by Hello

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Scheming with her evil sidekick, Stuffed Dog. Posted by Hello

Our onlooker looking on, horrified. Posted by Hello

Oh the humanity. Posted by Hello
But you don't want to hear about me or my dog, do you? Nobody really wants to hear about other people's dogs. I will tell you about Claire Helen. We were at the zoo with some friends last week- mostly mothers of 18 month olds, so Claire Helen was very popular- she discovered a sort of patty cake. She sticks out her hands, and gets the adult (stranger!! My child! Boo Radley's long lost cousin!) to "give her ten," and then the adult is supposed to stick out a hand or two, and she "gives them 5" or 10, depending on the number of hands presented. And so on. She was crestfallen when the store clerk at the Gap wouldn't play with her, but she is so far refusing to play with her father or me. This is a stranger game only, apparently.

She's a musical sort of kid. We go to this symphony program for babies(hosted by identical twins who DO NOT LOOK ALIKE. This blows my mind, and I'm sure it will Claire Helen's in a few years when I tell her about it), and she does her rockin' out dance through the whole hour, even while trying to eat the program. When she's in the right mood, lately, after I call Betty away from whatever trouble she's getting into- I say "Betty Betty!"- when she sees Betty trot into the room, she bounces on her butt and says "Bum bum!" Only you have to imagine it with umlauts over the u's. When I get out the Cheerios in the morning, she immediately fixates on the big yellow box, and each appendage starts twitching wildly, separately. Her brow furrows, and she looks at the box and I very intensely. She's not glad I have the Cheerios out, but rather *afraid I won't give her any*. Poor monkey.

I call her monkey. All the time. Also:
monkey puzzle tree*
punky monkey
punky puzzle tree
sleepytime monkey
Claire de Lune
Claire de Looney tunes
Looney tune-y

She can pull herself up to standing (but only in the very slippery very hard very dangerous bathtub, of course.) and appears to be able to crawl (but this one only in the crib. And only when very angry.). I am not ready to call her "bum bum" antics a first word, but I'd be willing to bet a quarter that in another month or so you'll hear that something like it, referring to Betty, is her first word. She loves that dog, evil dog genius or no.

Lately I have been seeing the term "slacker mom" all over the news, the way I used to see "attached parent." As a public service announcement, I would like you all to know that we will not be buying into this parenting craze, either. I could tell you were wondering, and I am sure read the recent NYtimes op-ed piece thinking, "What do Mat and Stephanie think about this?" It's how you read all of your major newspapers, I'm sure.

I hope you all had a wonderfully romantic Valentine's Day. We made a fancy French dinner** which we were able to eat at the very near reasonable hour of 10 o'clock, after some mild (as in, "that's a mild gaping headwound you have there.") sleep struggles with baby. We are working on it.

*Not an imaginary tree. An actual evergreen native to the Pacific Northwest and the western coast of South America. They are funny looking.

**Neato goat cheese crepes and a chocolate souffle, thanks for asking.

Sunday morning the grown ups had blueberry French Toast, so the babies in the house got to have mushed up blueberries. They went over fairly well, and now she'll never have to buy lipstick. Posted by Hello

Betty telling Claire Helen the secret to getting past the baby gates Posted by Hello

Hee Hee. BIG pile of baby laundry; itty bitty baby. Posted by Hello

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Chillin' with her froggie. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, February 09, 2005