Friday, December 29, 2006

It's HERE!

What's here? OMYGAWD! My new computer, that's what's here.


(ouch, I never squeal, that hurt.)

Yeah, I decided on another PC instead of a Mac. I'm an old dawg and I don't like learning new tricks. I have a great time teaching others to roll over and play dead - but having to deal with the 'close' and 'maximize' buttons on the left instead of the right? Fuhgedaboudit. Not for all the hot dogs and peanut butter cookies in the world.

Besides, this one was cheaper than a Mac and I'm cheap frugal.

But isn't it lovely?

Don't you just want to lick it? Go ahead. Visualize yourself running your tongue along its nice, shiny new screen. Ahmmmmmmm.

Stop looking at my lack of a manicure. I just bought a computer, I can't afford a manicure.

I haven't even booted it up yet, I've just been sitting here caressing it.

When the UPS guy showed up at my door with box in hand I was so excited I nearly humped his leg to show my appreciation. But I could clearly see from the expression on his face that that type of behavior would be frowned upon.

Spoil sport. His loss.

This computer could not have come at a better time because two nights ago while, ahem, "borrowing" some music from one of Mr. C's co-workers for my iPod (Don't steal music, kids, because that is wrong: another Public Service Announcement from your friends at Chicky Chicky Baby and "Weird Al" Yankovic), I ran out of hard drive space. No shit, I ran out of space on my computer. That should tell you how chintzy my old Inspiron is. This new one blows the old one out of the water. I won't get into them, but this new Dell has all the bells and whistles that your everyday bored SAHM, with a fetish for cheesy 80s music and gigs of photos of her precious child, would want in a computer.

Sure, I had to sell a lung (guess I shouldn't take up smoking now, eh?) and Chicky will be wearing garbage bags to school one day, but this is one luxury that Mama just can't live without. Which got me thinking. What other luxuries can a skinflint frugal gal like myself no longer live without?


First - My black Coach tote, or as I like to call it, my funeral bag. This bag is perfect for when you need to carry a sippy cup or two, some diapers, a few bags of snacks and a couple of toys but still look fashionable. But in a respectful, I'm-in-mourning-but-don't-I-look-fabulous way.

Second - This year's Christmas present, Frye boots. I call them my shit kickers, however, if anything nasty gets on these bad boys I will plug up the offender's pooper with the tip of the right one. I could ride a horse in these suckers but since that won't be happening anytime soon I'll just have to pretend. Yeehaw!

Third - My Dyson Animal. Is it a luxury if it's necessary?

Fourth - Books! Glorious Books! I promise you, my pretties, that I will not forsake you for the new computer. Much.

(Jenny said on her blog not that long ago that she could tell all that she needed to know about a person by their books and their refrigerator. I don't think you need to be a psychoanalyst to figure out who I am.)

Fifth - Elmo's World DVD's. Worth their weight in gold because they help me maintain my sanity.

Sixth - My dogs. You'd choke on your tongue if you knew how much money I've spent on those freakin' animals. It started when we purchased Fisher as a puppy and it's gone downhill from there. But tell me you could have resisted this face:

Gotta love me. Now hand over the credit card, Ma.

And last but not least - Mommy Juice.

'Nuff said.

Since this will be my last post before the new year I will raise my glass of Shiraz to you - hell, I'll raise the whole bottle - and toast to a very Happy New Year for you, my virtual friends and your families. May your cupboards be stocked, your glass always full, your children well behaved and gorgeous, your closets bursting with sexy footwear and your bounties plentiful.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I'll just knock out a wall or two

Can you hear that? Why, it sounds like sighing. It is! It's the sound of parents everywhere expressing their relief that this holiday season is over.

Thank you, Jaysus.

No more freaking shopping, wrapping, hiding, ripping, throwing, and rejection of toys for the boxes they came in for another year. Or until their children's birthdays. But we won't think about that right now. No, for now we will look over the mountains of toys and clothes boxes and stand in horrified solidarity while thinking...

Where the hell am I going to put all this crap?

Yes, where indeed.

Mr. C and I joked that we would need to add another room to our home to house the excess of gifts that Chicky received on Christmas. Unfortunately, neither one of us was laughing.

The holiday started innocently enough with a quiet Christmas Eve spent with my in-laws. We cooked them dinner...

(oh, please remind me that if I ever utter the words "We should use the good china because it's a special occasion" to knock some sense into myself with a gravy boat. That stuff has to be hand washed. Guess what hasn't been done yet? I'm waiting on one more Christmas miracle. It could happen.)

... and then exchanged a few gifts. Her grandparents bought Chicky a toy school bus, that sends her into fits of convulsive terror when it's turned on, and some clothes. Their not ones for excessive gift giving so the evening was very low key and manageable.

Then we went to see my family on Christmas Day and manageable became chaotic quicker than you could say "Ho, ho, whoa! Slow down there."

At one grandmother's house (my mom's mom) there were a minimum of 30 people, all having 30 different conversations, and many gifts for the first great grandchild/grand niece born in over 10 years (not including the children of my older cousins - the Jehovah's Witnesses - which we don't count because we never see them anyway. Hey, don't blame me. They chose religion over family. I can not be held accountable for not knowing their kids' names.).

Then it was back in the car to my Nana's house. I took one step in the front door and noticed that Santa's toy bag had exploded all over her living room. I have no photographic evidence of the mound of toys my father and his girlfriend (yes, those people) lovingly acquired for Chicky, for a few reasons. One, we took video and we're hoping that will suffice in lieu of photos in years to come. This happened mainly because it was the end of a long day and in the frenzy of bows and paper ripping we forgot to take out the digital camera. And also because we didn't have a wide-angle lens to capture it all. A picture wouldn't have done the spectacle justice, anyway. The pile was ginooooorrrrrmous.

I think, quite literally, that my dad and his lady cashed in their retirement money and spent it all on Chicky. I spent our time together on Christmas Day alternating between feelings of horror and deep affection for my dad. There were so many gifts that I felt guilty for accepting them all on behalf of his granddaughter, who lost interest in opening them halfway through the process. But on the other hand many of them were carefully picked out by him without any help from a female in his life, and if you knew anything about my father's history of gift giving you would know that this was a huge accomplishment. He sat there, quietly but with a proud look on his face, and watched his only grandchild rip open the paper with a "Weeeeeee!" and an "Oooooh" and marvel at the toys inside for a moment before moving on to the next.

Was I happy that I tricked Chicky into wearing her Santa suit? You bet your sweet bippy I was.

(Quick aside: She wore the damn Santa hat for three days up until the actual day but when the time came to put on the whole ensemble she took one look at the hat and ran away. And I wasn't kidding when I said I had to trick her into wearing the rest of it. But she did. Sigh.)

Now it's over for another year. I may have to get rid of some things in my home to make room for the toys, like all my furniture, but I'm happy with how it turned out.

How was your holiday?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Dear Santa, (a very Chicky Christmas)

I'm not sure who you are or why I'm supposed to write to you but my mom (you know, the looney one who always asks for a puppy for Christmas, even though she's, like, a gazillion years old now and we already have two big dogs) insisted that I needed to leave you a note along with the cookies and milk on Christmas Eve.

First of all, listen, dude, that's my milk. Hands off. You're lucky I'm sharing my Snickerdoodles with you. And from all the pictures I've seen, you could really use some more vegetables in your diet. I know! You can have my carrots and broccoli! I'll save some for you. If the dogs don't get to them first they're all yours.

My mom has been trying to explain to me who you are and what you're all about, but I'm only 20 months so I hope you'll cut me some slack if I don't stand in front of you in awed reverence at some mall. I've made it clear that there will be no sitting on your lap so my parents aren't even going to try this year. However, I think they're conspiring for next year so I'll warn you - I might pee on your legs. I'll just say sorry in advance so we can avoid an awkward scene later.

Mom keeps telling me stories about how you come down the chimney (uh, what's a chimney?) and leave these things called "presents" under that green, sparkly thing I'm not supposed to touch. And I guess you leave more of those present things in that big sock with my name on it. Okay, big guy, I'm going to let you in on a little secret - socks are for taking off right before your mom or dad try to take you out of the house. You get bonus points if you give them to the dogs to chew on. Yeah, they love that.

I guess this is the time to tell you that I've been on my best behavior all year. Okay, so I pull on the dogs' tails and I throw toys at the cats... and maybe I throw a few tantrums a day, but I really do try to keep it down to one or two. It's just so frustrating to be a toddler these days, what with all the pressure and stress I'm under. My mom drags me to music class and playgroups. She doesn't let me watch Elmo whenever I want. And she tries to make me eat, ew, healthy food. What's so wrong about wanting to eat nothing but crackers? That's what I'd like to know. I'd like to think that my cuteness makes up for all my naughty days. I'm planning on riding this cute thing for as long as I can, so get used to it.

Okay, let's get down to the nitty gritty: The toys. My mom and dad would like you to bring me lots of wooden toys that don't require batteries and are supposed to be, um, educational? That's great and all, I like blocks as much as the next kid, but what I really want is one of those TMX Elmo dolls. That little red monster rocks my world. Can you make that happen, Santa? Dad said I didn't have a snowball's chance in H - E - double hockey stick of getting one (whatever that means) but I know you'll come through for me. Santa's my homeboy. Aw yeah.

(Actually, my mom would really like you to bring me a "vocabulary". Whatever that is.)

Before I go, please don't forget to share those cookies with the reindeer. I always share my food with the dogs, it drives my parents crazy but it just seems fair. You know? If those deer are pulling your fat butt around all night it's the least you can do.

Thanks, Santa. You're okay in my book.



P.S. - You're supposed to be magic, right? Can you do something about getting me out of having to wear this horrible outfit?

No offense, Santa, you can pull it off and I'm sure your suit is much nicer, but this just doesn't work for me. If you make it go away I'll make sure Mom and Dad leave you something good under that cookie plate, if you catch my meaning. Buy Mrs. Claus something pretty.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sometimes the fodder is hand delivered to your door

My father left me a message yesterday on my answering machine. Mr. C got to it before I did. "Your Dad called this morning," he said.

"What did he say?"

"You'll want to listen to the message yourself," he said with a mischievous twinkle in his eye.

Sure, my father lives a bit left of center most of the time, but we're used to his idiosyncracies, I could not imagine what would be so funny on that message that my husband would not relay it to me. So I picked up the phone and dialed in.

"Hi, T__. Listen, P__ (his girlfriend) bought an outfit for Chicky. She thought you'd like to have it for Chicky to wear on Christmas day. It's a Santa outfit with a hat and everything."

A Santa outfit.


The message went on from there, but honestly I stopped listening after I heard the words "Santa outfit". I sat, slack jawed, while the rest played and Mr. C grinned. I couldn't get out of this one. How could I diplomatically say thanks but no thanks? I didn't want to put my active toddler into a red polyester velvet-like ensemble on Christmas Day. I had already purchased clothes for her to wear, clothes that would be appropriately festive yet would hold up to a day full of cookies, cakes and candy canes. An outfit that Chicky would not protest when I tried to put it on her and would not itch her delicate toddler skin or give her a rash. But someone else went out and bought her a special outfit that could only be worn once, so it had to be worn. A bit presumptuous, yes, but what can I do? I'm stuck.

My father and his girlfriend delivered the Santa suit to us this morning and it is as awful as I had imagined. A jacket-like shirt with fake belt, elastic waist pants and a hat with a white pompom, all trimmed with fluffy fake fur usually reserved for dime store teddy bears and all 100% Polyester. P.'s parting words were, "I can't wait to see her in it."

I can't even put the hat on Chicky's head without her breaking into terrified sobs. Getting her into the rest of the outfit is going to be so much fun.

Mr. C laughed over the message but when I told him that Chicky would have to wear the Santa clothes he stopped laughing. Yes, she has to wear it. My father's girlfriend had the best of intentions when she purchased it and she is genuinely excited to see my daughter toddle in the door on December 25 decked out like a miniature St. Nick.

Ho ho ho. Won't that be great?


Before my mother died she would often tell me stories of the purple fur coat that my grandmother had bought for me to wear on one of my first Easters. It was unseasonably warm that day, much too warm for a fur coat, yet my mother insisted that I wear it because not only was it a gift but it was an expensive gift. Apparently I cried the whole time because I was hot and uncomfortable but she would not take it off of me. I was wearing that coat, dammit, sweat and tears be damned. History does have a way of repeating itself, doesn't it?

These are the things we do to our children when someone gives us an inappropriate gift. I won't force Chicky to wear the outfit if she truly hates it but we're going to give it a try. If we can get her to leave it on for even 10 minutes we'll chalk it up as a victory and move on. Maybe we'll even snap a few pictures to save for posterity. And many years from now I'll tell her stories of the year I made her wear a Santa suit because someone bought it for her and it had to be worn. Hopefully we'll all have a good laugh over it.

I'd love to include a picture of my daughter here in her new clothes so we all can enjoy together but I still can't get it near her without Chicky running away in fear. But I'm going to keep trying. She's got to wear that outfit, dammit, just for five minutes whether she likes it or not.

Even if it is the most horrible thing I've seen in a long time. Oh lord, it is awful.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Mrs. Chicky's guidelines for holiday decorating

This time of year I love driving around at night, enjoying the effort that many people have gone to to show their Christmas spirit. I really like gawking at the brightly lit houses, and nothing pleases me more than that totally over-the-top house with the lights strung from chimney to walkway and everywhere in between. After years of doing this I have come up with my own guidelines for outdoor holiday decorating, because I enjoy forcing my opinions on sharing my love of the holidays with others.

You know what? Don't think of them as guidelines, think of them as friendly recommendations*. Yeah, friendly recommendations from a person who thinks she knows better than you how your house should be decorated.

Feel free to add to this list (and I will feel free to disregard your additions if I don't like them).



When decorating your home for the holidays you can't go wrong with white lights. You'll be announcing to the world that you lack imagination but at least your neighbors won't point and whisper about your lack of taste.

Also, if you're doing white lights, keep that theme. If you're doing colored lights, ditto. Mixing colored and white lights lets everyone know that you're lazy and couldn't be bothered to go out to buy matching lights.

If decorating your home with colored lights go with the multi-colored strings. Or you could go for the green, white and red ones, those look very festive. And they announce to the world that you love Italians.

If you decide to go with blinky lights I say go for it. Why not? Who says they're tacky? You should go all out and outline every window and door with those blinky little suckers. Especially if you have no problem with your neighbors having crazy light-induced seizures. Good times.

Nothing says "Peace on earth and good will towards man" more than a giant spotlight illuminating the obscenely large wreath on the huge front door of your McMansion. It also says "Hi neighbors! We're loaded and have lots of disposable income!".

If the lights on one half of your house go out, please fix them. Immediately. Looking at them insults my delicate sensibilities. There's nothing worse than a half-nekkid house at Christmas time and lopsided decorations, which, coincidentally, is what I call my tahtahs.

Plastic, lighted nativity scenes on the front lawn are tacky.

Giant inflatable snowglobes are tacky.

Fake, lighted palm trees are tacky.

Plastic reindeer pulling a plastic Santa on a plastic sleigh are tacky.

Put them all together, though, and you've got tacky awesomeness. Throw in some colored, blinky chaser lights and you'll have transcendent tacky awesomeness. With seizures.

If astronauts can see your house from space you have no right to bitch about your electric bill. Don't bring it up, we don't want to hear about it. Just keep your credit card number on file at the electric company so you won't be tempted to learn the amount of money you're spending on lights instead of helping starving orphans.

If you're going to the trouble of putting out lights on the bushes in front of your home at least place them nicely. If you just toss a couple of strings all willy nilly like you're just begging for someone to steal them in the middle of the night. I don't know who that someone could be, I'm just saying.

When putting electric candle lights in the windows be careful of the color you choose. Again, white lights are the safe bet. If you chose to go with red don't be insulted when people refer to your home as "The one that looks like that house from The Amityville Horror".

Same thing goes for strings of lights in all one color, like red. Unless you want your home to look like it was possessed, then in that case go right ahead. Just don't invite me over for a holiday party.

Decorating your home for the holidays is a competition and should be approached as such. There can only be one spectacularly lighted home in your neighborhood. You should consider it your duty to crush your neighbors holiday spirit by eclipsing their puny decorating attempts.

If you decide in the end that you just can't hang your lights yourself and hire a company to do it for you then don't be surprised that someone eggs your home. I don't know who, I'm just saying.

Merry Christmas!

*If you see yourself in some of these recommendations, don't worry. I see myself in some of them, too. You can guess which ones.


If I haven't yet scared you away with my judgements I wanted to thank those of you who gave me such great ideas and help on starting my business. There's a special place in my heart for you and if you were to come to my home you'd be covered with wet, sloppy kisses. From my dogs. They thank you too.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Behold! The incredible groveling woman.

A while back I alluded to a real estate hunt that Mr. C and I were on but then went no further with an explanation. My bad. I didn't forget that I promised a follow up I just didn't know how to explain. You see we're not hunting for a new home, per se, but a space where I can open my own business.

My own business. I've got to let that sink in a minute.

My. Own. Business.

Where I would be the boss and solely responsible for any losses or gains (oh please, many gains), where my name would be on all the bills. And checks, too, hopefully. That's a lot for me to wrap my brain around. Sheesh.

I've searched the real estate sites, casually, for more than a year; ever since my bosses used my new motherhood against me and edged me out of the piece of the business that I had made successful for them to promote someone who would work the ridiculously long hours for much lower pay.


It's a long sorted story that I wrote about a long time ago and I don't really feel like dredging it back up to link to it. You'll just have to work with me here. It sucked. They, the people who pay me my paltry sum every week, suck. They've lost sight of the need of their customers and have focused on the all-mighty dollar. They lie to their customers. Repeatedly. The bottom line is I continued to work for them in a limited capacity to keep my foot in the industry door. Well, that door is getting heavy and my foot, not to mention my ethics, are getting crushed. It's not enjoyable to teach my classes anymore. Mr. C wants me to quit. And I cannot continue to think of that day when I might open the doors to my own business, I need to act. Now. It's time. I need to do more than come up with possible business names and logo graphics.

Although, when it's time to print the company logo on shirts for me and my employees I'll be so ready.

Today I was contacted by a realtor by way of a MLS site where I had requested information on commercial property. I know what type of building I want. I know the towns I would consider. I know how to run the canine-related side of the business.... But I don't know how to start a business. Does that make sense? Where do I start? Who do I talk to? I need help!

(No, no, that won't do...)

I. NEED. HELP!!!!!

(Yeah, that's better.)

I'm sending out a call to all my blogging friends: If you have any advice for me on starting a business - A real one. Brick and mortar, as we used to call it back in the corporate days - I would appreciate any kernels of wisdom you would bestow on me. Ask your friends, if you know of anyone that owns their own business (again, brick and mortar) and wouldn't mind taking the time to pick their brains and relaying that information I would sincerely appreciate it. Know of another blogger that is their own boss? Please point me in their direction. Websites, books, helplines, anything... I'll take any direction I can get.

I'm begging. No, it's not pretty. But I need, I need, I need.

It just occurred to me that many of you might not know what I do for a living. Silly me. I work with those of the canine persuasion. I want to open a place where my four-legged friends can frolic and play. Then get a long hot bath. And learn good manners! Yeah, that too. And a place where their owners can drop some cash on some good chow, fun toys and accessories. Sigh.

I don't mean to be vague, but I fear the Google.

*Making a crazy Mel Gibson-like face*

The Google. It's everywhere. It watches us constantly. I must take care not to attract the Google's attention. So when I said I don't mean to be vague? I lied. I'm being very vague on purpose to protect myself from the wrong people finding this.

Okay, I'm done. That face doesn't suit me.

So, please, any little bit of help would guarantee you a special place in my heart. I don't have much else to offer except online help for your pooch. I would do that for you. Happily.

Thank you.

(Wow, these knee pads did come in handy. Who knew?)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Eat your heart out Salome

This week in Chicky holiday pictures (because I'm totally copping out of writing an actual post):

Bring me the head of Frosty the Snowman

So that I might give it a big smooch.

Yeah, it's a snowman pillow. I have a snowman pillow in my home, and Chicky loves it. You wanna make something of it? It makes her happy and when it comes to that face...

"Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee."

Even if it is horribly tacky.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Come for the funny, stay for the crazy

There are no words to describe how touched I was by your supportive words and introspective comments (especially the long ones that you wrote) on my last post. And yet I'm going to ramble on anyway, as is my perogative because this is my blog.

(Cue the Bobby Brown music.*)

I know it's the holiday season and what you don't need as fellow mothers, parents, bloggers, and stressed-out adults during this season of busy malls and tight budgets is another reminder of how tough your job is and how gloomy life can be at times, so that is why I thank you for hanging in there with me. The holidays bring us such joy and happiness, but let's face it they'll also drop an anvil on your head when you're not looking. Although, the anvil will probably be wrapped in pretty ribbons and bows. Gotta keep our depression festive, know what I mean?

If you've lost an important loved one to death or distance the highs and lows are even more pronounced this time of year. You want to remember the happy times by telling tales and stories of that special person, but it is impossible to reminisce without remembering that the person you're sharing stories about is no longer with you. So you go on - and when I say "you" I mean me - ignoring the elephant in the room, not wanting to inject sadness into this already difficult season, until the weight you (um, I) carry is too tough to bear. And that's when you (I!) end up with a crazy headache after being struck in the ol' noggin.

Where the hell is my Advil?

I had hoped to rid myself of some of that heft and pain with that last post but I am afraid I may have taken my finger out of the proverbial dam, so you may be showered with introspection and tears if you come to close. If you dig that kind of stuff I welcome you to my pity party with open arms. If you plan on staying I ask that you keep an open mind and that you bring some spirit to this party. And by "spirit" I mean alcohol. Large quantities of alcohol. Because nothing helps a crying jag more than getting snackered on red wine and margaritas.

So, to reiterate...

...'Mrs. C, what did you do to this filet of horse to make it so tender?' 'It's an old family secret, you beat it with a stick until it's good and dead.'...

Please take your posts about your children and print them out. Put those pages in their baby books or another special place and save them for when they're old enough to appreciate your words. Write what you can in their baby books, fill in the correct spaces and such, but also leave them something more tangible than dates and growth charts for when they become parents and they need to hear that you were a crazed howler monkey (because they were crazed howler monkeys) during their first few years of life. Because when they're parents, and dog willing you're still there for them, you'll be sticking your righteous nose in to situations that will piss them off. They need to know that you screwed up a bunch of times, too.

[getting off my soap box]

Now then, just because this place will be littered with wadded up Kleenex and chick flick DVDs ("Beaches" is on the docket for today, tomorrow it will be "Steel Magnolias") doesn't mean there won't be funny moments. What's more fun than laughing through our tears, right? I fully intend on keeping up appearances and pretending like there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. I've been doing that for most of my life, so why stop now?

(Remind me to tell you about that time when I fell down a flight of basement steps, cracked the back of my head open on a stone wall and had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital on a backboard but all the while kept cracking jokes. Huh, I guess I just did. I guess I got carried away. Get it? "Carried away"? Backboard? Heh. Is this thing on?)

If you want something uplifting right now (I get the instant gratification thing, I have a toddler) then go check out Her Bad Auction. Go see what a bunch of women can do to make sweet, sweet lemonade out of the sour lemons that life insists on handing them. The auction is in honor of Her Bad Mother's nephew Tanner, who has Muscular Dystrophy, and proceeds will go to Muscular Dystrophy Research. The bidding on 30 amazing products and services (to date) begins on Wednesday, December 13.

So what the heck are you still doing here? Dry your eyes, little ones, and go spread some holiday cheer dammit.

*Nothing makes me happier than a high-top fade. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Just me

Upon my mother's death I became the owner of many things, among the most important items is my baby book. How meaningful and necessary it has become to me now that I am a mother. How crucial since I don't have my mother to tell me these things herself and how the book frustrates me for the same reason.

It's your standard baby book in many ways - words and dates written in my mother's hand, pictures lovingly placed in the correct spots, now set free to slip around the yellowing pages because the adhesive has long since dried and lost its hold. Cards from my first birthday and plastic, throwaway bibs from family dinners at local restaurants that have long since closed up shop. Memories on every page. My mother's memories of my first years of life that she saved for me.

I am now the owner of those words and pages, but I am not the owner of the memories. Those were my mother's and they went with her when she died. Reading the book is like looking over the mementos and notes that will become the biography of someone I've never met: The card that was used on my rolling crib to identify me from the other babies in the nursery of the hospital where I was born (Baby Girl A__. Room 103. Time of Birth: 9:45am). My height and weight progression until age 5 (At 18 months: H - 32.5 inches, W - 22lbs, 10oz. Exactly the same size as Chicky at her 18 month appointment). Important milestones - First steps at 15 months (Chicky took her's at 14 and a half) and first words (Dada, Baby). It's all fascinating to me, but the dates and times and charts could be different and I wouldn't know any better. I don't know this newborn baby referred to on these pages or the toddler in the pictures. I have no memory of her. She looks like me and there's my full name written out many times throughout but she is better known to others who knew her then.

I have a love/hate relationship with this book.

I love it because it has been such a comfort to me during these first years as a mother. When I worry if Chicky is becoming too skinny, since she refuses to eat anything but Cheerios some days and her pants keep falling down her butt, I look at my baby book and see that I was the same way at this age and I turned out (relatively) okay. I look at the pictures of the smiling baby I was and see Chicky's face. I recognize the nose and the smile. Yes, we do look a lot alike. She is my daughter.

But I hate this book because it taunts me with what is not written. They are just notes, a few words to record dates and information for posterity. It doesn't explain what happened on these days. Who was I walking to? Why was I drinking from a cup so early? It says in my baby book that I was potty trained at 18 months. How is this possible?!

(Apparently my mother was a bit of an overachiever, but I'll never know for sure.)

I long for the answers to these questions but I'm also looking for guidance in my current life and I can't forcibly pull either one from the pages of this book. Even if I shake it hard and watch the tokens fall to the floor, I will not find what I'm looking for. I can closely look at pictures with a magnifying glass looking for clues and try to read between the lines but that will only get me so far. The memories are gone, save for the pieces recorded between the pink flowered covers. Gone with the person who should be here to tell me that my daughter is progressing just fine, the one who should hold my hand when I'm stressed out over tantrums and milestones, or take my frantic phone calls when my daughter won't sleep. Gone with the person who should be the one to tell me that I'm doing a good job, that I am a good mother regardless of how I feel on any given day. Gone with my mother before I knew how badly I was going to need them.

It's all gone, except for the book. There's Just Me.


*The title of this entry is also the title on the cover of my baby book.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Hot and Wet

That title will surely bring the perverts out in droves but, alas perverts! This is not the site you're looking for. If you're looking for websites dedicated to buxom women frolicking in hot tubs please keep searching. Because what I'm referring to is my daughter's favorite new words. Hot and Wet. Never used in conjunction, but separately and often nonetheless.

A year ago when I cuddled and snuggled an infant Chicky Baby I had thoughts of what her first words would be: Dada, Mama, Baby, Dog, Cat, Bye Bye, that kind of stuff. Well, so far she does say Dada and Mama, Baby (actually, it's more like "Bubbah". My child 's dolls apparently all hail from Arkansas.) and Bye. But will she say dog or cat? Not even if you hold her down and scream those words in her face for a half an hour.... Uh, I'm assuming. Then again she's surrounded by dogs and cats so they're no big deal, it's not like she runs around saying chair or table.

Right? That's why she won't refer to these animals as anything but "Go" and "Git". Right?

But this is not about her inability or unwillingness to say those particular words, it's about her overall inability or unwillingness to say most words. Frankly, I'm a little worried about her development and though the rational side of my brain is screaming "She's still really young! There's plenty of time for her to learn to talk! When she does start to talk you'll be wishing she would shut up! You're being a stressbag! A freak mama! You're a cliche!!!!", the stressbag/freak mama side of me is winning out. I want my baby to talk. I need her to talk. Not just to help us communicate. I want to know that her development is on track.

Maybe it's the company we keep; we're often around other toddlers around the same age as Chicky who have extensive vocabularies, some who are speaking in full sentences. Their words are clear, their meaning heard and understood, while I'm still trying to decipher what my own child is trying to say. Are these freakishly advanced children? Is there something in the water around here? Because Chicky refuses to drink much water, but I'll force it down her throat if I have to.

I've heard from friends (and some of you here) that their children didn't speak until they were 2 or 3 years old. My husband's uncle didn't speak until he was just over 3 years of age and he's a genius. But this is cold comfort to the woman whose child can't say "ball" at almost 20 months.* The child who insists on calling Elmo "La La", and milk "Wah Wah". I know she's still a baby and she'll catch up, I do know this in my heart of hearts, but it's frustrating and sadly I'm starting to take it personally. She's a smart girl, she understands everything I say to her and can complete simple tasks if I tell her to do something once, so obviously I'm not doing something to help her development.

Yes, somehow I've made this whole thing about me. How do you like that?

* She calls a ball "Bah Bah", her baby "Bubbah", a book "Buh buh". A bit confusing, no?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I am nothing if not accommodating

The incomparable GGC (and her delectable little man, Archer) tagged Chicky and me for our first ever mother/daughter meme. Since the woman has made me weep with her words I figure the least I can do is comply with her request: List Five Things You Didn't Know About Mrs. Chicky and Chicky Baby.

Since I'm the Mama and I bore that child, I get to go first. That seems like small consolation for my pain and suffering but I'll take it.

Five Facts About Me:

1. For my entire life, up until I got pregnant, I had ridiculously skinny feet (quadruple A). Not only were they skinny but they are also long and because of those two attributes my father called me "Kangaroo Feet". Thanks Dad, the bill for therapy is in the mail.

Last week I tried on a pair of dress shoes that I have only worn twice, once right before getting pregnant and once during my pregnancy - and guess what? They don't fit anymore. Thirty something years of bitching and moaning about having such skinny feet that most shoes wouldn't fit me, and finally finding pretty shoes that fit and don't look like old woman orthopedics, and the damn things don't fit anymore. Ain't that a bitch? On the flip side, I guess Dad can't call me mean names anymore.

(If he dares make a joke about my expanding ass I'll kill him.)

2. I love fried bologna (mmmm, fried pork parts) and picking at the turkey neck on Thanksgiving. Heh, don't knock 'em until you try them.

3. I have an unnatural fear of heights. Never, ever, ask me to go on a rollercoaster or ferris wheel. My husband calls it a "crippling" fear, and he's correct. It's so bad that if there were a million dollars on one side of a ravine and I had to cross a suspension bridge to get to it... Well, let's just say that there's no shame in being poor.

4. I'm currently drinking a 2005 Marlborough (New Zealand) Pinot Noir, and you know what? It's not half bad. I bet it would go nicely with fried bologna.

5. I watched an AKC dog show on television while in the hospital in labor with Chicky Baby. What? I'm a dog trainer, people. (see #1 about CB)

Five facts about Chicky Baby:

1. Even though we have two dogs, and seem to find dogs wherever we go, Chicky Baby has little interest in them. In fact, she's more interested in cats. I wonder if she's bitter about the dog show and this is her first act of rebellion? What's next? Black hair and white makeup?

2. Her speech has been slow coming but in the last few days she has deduced that whatever goes in to or comes out of the microwave or oven is "Cook", the rain drops on the car windows is "Wet", and today she patted her chest and said "Hep" (help). I teared up. I was so overcome with relief.

3. She has the most expressive face of any toddler I've ever met.

4. Her favorite foods are cheese ("eeeese"), graham crackers or any type of crackers, actually ("Cah cahs") , bananas ("banas"), apples ("Ah-pulls"), peas and chicken. With the exception of the last two I think she prefers the first foods because she can ask for them by name.

5. She's going to hate us when she's older for this year's holiday card:

Yes, that is the actual card that we are sending out this year. With the greeting "Wishing you much happiness this holiday season". If my in-laws have a problem with it they can blame Mr. C. I just took the picture.

I have to give props to those of you who gave your two cents and especially to Penelopeto who came up with the brilliant tagline for the screaming picture: "She just found out she's not getting that pony". That line made Mr. C and me laugh out loud. If we hadn't just ordered the cards right before I read your comment we might have gone with it.

So, there you go. Don't you feel like a better person now that you know these things about us? Huh, don't you? Punk.

Now, (rubbing hands together. Laughing maniacally.) who do I want to know more about? Hmm?

*tapping fingers together like Mr. Burns*

I tag Jen and her little one, Jonathon and E., and ECR and the Boss. Don't let me down, people.