Monday, January 27, 2014

Getting Pretty (FAIL)

I tried to take Zach to a popular portrait studio today for some littleness pictures.  You know, before he's no longer little.  He is getting longer and more triple-chinny by the day, and I know I'm not taking enough pictures to have a clean conscience.  For it is prophesied that one day will come the hour of RECKONING of the COMPARISON of the BABY BOOKS among siblings (Isaiah 13:44).

Once upon a time we took James' first formal portraits at about 3-4 months, Will's at about 5-6 months, and Elise's at about 2-3 months, so I figured we were due for Zach's.  Round two is traditionally at 12 months of age, so as long as we go before that, we're good.

But today's attempt failed gloriously.

I'd gathered all of the flotsam and jetsam necessary for baby portraits--cute clothes, extra clothes (in case he were to Hot-Karl the clothes he was wearing originally), diapers, wipes, drool cloth, decorative baby shoes, etc. Then, I remembered that I also need pictures of myself--headshots.  Non-hideous headshots for bloggery and garden-variety vanity.  A lovely opportunity to make an effort, appearance-wise.  I threw on some ill-fitting clothes that I didn't used to muffin-top out of, applied eyeliner, mascara, and chapstick, and blow-dried my hair.  Wow, was I getting gussied up now!  Zach obliged by screaming his head off for the duration of the prepwork; he might be getting a tooth and is very, very mad lately when I dare attempt to put him somewhere other than in my arms.

Then, despite our having napped generously this morning, he fell asleep just as we pulled into a parking spot at the mall.  No matter!  I would have my headshots done as mine-angel slept angelically in his carseat, I thought.

Nope.  He woke up in the middle of my session.  Right when I was crossing my arms in front of me for a sassy, no-nonsense, cute Mom Blogger pose.  Dang it when kids get in the way of your sassy, no-nonsense momming!  Also, in case you are wondering, it's impossible to "smile with your eyes" or whatever it is they want you to do when they take your picture, when your five-month-old is yelling boldfaced apocrypha and obscenities in baby language.

But the picture lady persevered and got 'er done.  She probably deserved a medal for how quickly she got me in and out of the portrait area.  And the pictures themselves weren't half bad.  It was just....the subject matter.  I looked...pissed off.  And not at all sassy and authoritative and cute.  So, despite the picture lady's heroic efforts to squeeze me into the schedule and portrait me rapidly and everyone having to listen to Zach scream while Mommy tried to Smize, I didn't buy squat.

We're going back on Friday afternoon, Zach and I.  I might have to bring backup staff (i.e., our older kids) to entertain Zach so I can attempt to prettify myself again.  Gosh, it's hard being a woman of the leisure class sometimes--scrapbooks and blogs don't create themselves, you know.

Edit: I forgot the best part.  I ripped the @ss and crotch of my skinnypants (the ones I had to forcibly put on; that should've been my first hint that they didn't fit anymore, I suppose!) as I was bending over to pick up Zach-attack.  People heard the fabric ripping over the angry Zach noises, I think.  Well, at least I got some mild exhibitionism in that day, if nothing else.

Here's the portrait that Joe took of me later, with his cell phone, once the kids were in bed and it was the hour in which all mothers rejoice.

Say, "Nobody is screeeaaming!"



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Biceps

James:  I don't like it when you swear.  How about this--every time you swear, you have to do ten pushups?

Me:  That's a good idea.  Do you think I'll get really big "guns?"  (Flexes arms)

James:  (smiles patronizingly)  Nowadays, they're called "biceps."

Sunday, January 19, 2014

MORE Things My Children Are Never Allowed to Watch (And Why)

Sam & Cat:   My not-quite-seven-year-old daughter has adopted protagonist Cat Valentine's annoying, overly-breathy voice and insipid persona for everyday use.  Also, why should two eighth-graders be living by themselves?

Rabbids Invasion:  Because it isn't nice to laugh at the frustrated, speech-delayed bunnies.

Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat (2003):  A bastardization of a classic in children's literature.  And WTF is going on with your creepy, botoxed cat face in this movie, Mike Myers?

Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000):  Same reasons as above, but it's Jim Carrey in Grinchface for this one.  Woulda been better if it were just Carrey's own Grinchy facial expressions, without the latex joker jowls.  Also, G-d dammit, Cindy Lou Who is supposed to be aged 2, not 6.  You just don't mess with a masterpiece.  Ted Geisel might have appreciated the Martha May Whovier sidestory, though.

Sid The Science Kid:  Too inane for even its 3-5 year old target audience.  Something awry with Teacher Susie's eyes.  Unintentionally hilarious explanation of food decomposition in episode entitled, "It's Not Scary, It's Decayed" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCD4h8Pp7qM).

Sanjay and Craig:  I'm from the Ren & Stimpy era of kid TV shows, and I still find this show to have a disgustingly large amount of vomit humor (not that a bit of well-placed vomit humor is necessarily a terrible thing, but snake-vom shouldn't be a recurring gag).   Not sure what the deal is with "Baby" Richard.

Annoying Orange:  Reasons too obvious to list here.




Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Other L-Word

We have lice.  LICE.

There.  I've said it.  Of course, it had to happen right after we bought a brand-new set of couches (our very first real furniture that didn't come from Goodwill or someone else's garage--please note we'll have been homeowners for 10 years this coming fall).  Now back to vacuuming, doing a metric ton of laundry, slathering a little baby's scalp in preventive oils, and forcefully raking a tiny comb over people's heads.  And nit-grabbing.  And shuddering in disgust.

See you in, like, a longity long time.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

MSU Baby Names

*Update: Joe's cousin just welcomed a gorgeous little baby girl with an adorable MSU name: Breslyn.  Go Green!*

I tried to write another article for Nameberry but they rejected it (*hangs head*).  I wrote it because I got really excited about MSU-inspired names while we were at the (cough! cough!) ROSE BOWL, in ROW SEVENTEEN, watching one of the most exciting sporting events I've ever seen.  In case you didn't hear, somehow we won.  Must've been all the team spirit demonstrated by the fans, methinks.

Amazing seats courtesy of Chuck and Kay; amazing weather courtesy of Pasadena.
Anyway, here's the article.

Spartan Spirit!  Notable MSU Names

Michigan State University beat Stanford in a 24-20 nail-biter at the 2014 Rose Bowl.  In honor of this spectacular upset, here are some wearable, MSU-inspired names for little Spartan fans.

Boys:
Malcolm (G. Malcolm Trout):  George Malcolm Trout was a renowned dairy researcher, emulsion chemistry expert, and developer of the process by which milk is homogenized.  He was a food science professor at Michigan State for half a century.  Could his last name, Trout, be worn on a boy, as could Bear, Fox, or Wolf?

Izzo (Tom Izzo):   Well-beloved basketball coach who has led the Spartans to six Final Four appearances and 16 consecutive runs in the NCAA Tournament.  Mateen Cleaves, Plaxico Burress and Earvin “Magic” Johnson are other high-achieving Spartan men’s athletics names.  Speaking of sports leadership, on the heels of Finn and Flynn could be the last names of venerated former athletic director and football coach Clarence Lester “Biggie” Munn and Olympic sprinter Savatheda Fynes

Willie (Willie Laurence Thrower): The first black quarterback to play in the Big Ten, Willie Thrower was said to be capable of hurling the ball over a distance of 60 years.  His skills were instrumental to the 1952 national championship win for the Spartans.  Although Connor Cook and Mark Dantonio were the major names of the 100th Rose Bowl Game, maybe the nickname name Willie will catch on in the U.S. as well as Freddie and Alfie have in the U.K.

Brody, Wilson, and Mason are dorm-inspired names that enjoy a healthy popularity outside of the MSU crowd.  The enormous Brody Neighborhood consists mostly of freshman living quarters, but on the upside, it is close to the iconic Red Cedar RiverRed, Cedar, and River would be much better names for contraband guinea pigs smuggled into a Brody Complex room than for triplet boys, though.

Vim: In the fight song refrain “Spartan teams are bound to win/ we’re fighting with a VIM (Rah! Rah! Rah!)”, there is a word of relatively recent (1843) origin.  According to Mirriam-Webster online, vim is “robust energy and enthusiasm”.  These days, it seems to have little usage outside of lyrics and poetry (as in Dr. Seuss’ “vigor and vim” in Horton Hears a Who), but vitality is an attribute that is hoped for by many parents.  See also: Johnny Spirit (a.k.a, John Sheldon), legendary body paint enthusiast and die-hard MSU sports attendee who has embodied superfandom since 1993; Eli Broad, cum laude graduate, billionaire, and arts philanthropist.


Girls:

Linden: A tree, a famous East Lansing street near the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Grand River, and an excellent place to party.  If you adore your Aunt Linda who went to Michigan State (I do!), consider naming your little girl Linden and calling her Lindy for short.

Maude Gilchrist, Elida Yakeley, and Mary Anne Mayo are three important women in early MSU history for whom the West Circle residence halls are named.  (Elida may be a variant of Elidi, which is thought to be related to the Ilida Valley in Greece.)  Accomplished female graduates also include HGTV and Food Network founder Susan Packard (’79, ‘81), an advocate for women in business, and Julie Aigner-Clark (‘88), 2009’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

Lou Anna (Lou Anna Simon):  This sweet double-barreled name consists of the cute Lou paired with the evergreen charmer Anna, and President Lou Anna Kimsey Simon has been a boon to the university with her aggressive support for research in the sciences.  (Full disclosure: Dr. Simon is my distant relative.)  Names with a farm and country feel, like Lilah Mae and Lulah Mae, are all the rage for baby girls in mid-Michigan right now (at least among my large extended family and that of my husband).  Another name with notable family ties is Clara Bell Smith, late mother of NBA player and former Michigan State All-American Steve Smith; the Student Athlete Support Services center (Clara Bell Smith Center) was named in her honor.  Perhaps Clara Bell or Lou Anna will inspire the names of the next generation of women in the MSU family. 

Hannah (John Alfred Hannah): An administrator and longest-serving president of the university, Hannah is largely responsible for having brought MSU into the research age.  He also served as president of the USAID and as an administrator of the UN World Food Council.


Aggie: Agricultural College of the State of Michigan was founded in 1855 as the first land grant university in the United States.  Owing to the school’s agricultural science roots, “Aggies” (farmers) was its original nickname.  This evolved to “The Michigan Staters”, and ultimately, the Spartans, after the school transitioned from Michigan Agricultural College (MAC) to the names of Michigan State College and Michigan State University, respectively.  Texas A&M, Utah State, and New Mexico State currently share the Aggies nickname.  Aggie is decidedly girly, but the retro Mac might make an adorable unisex nickname for a baby born into a family with an affection for East Lansing.

Me, Joe, and James, at the alumni meet in 2004.


Zach, rooting for the home team in 2014.