Thursday, July 19, 2007

I've been holding out on you.

Scott put a whole mess-load (around 80) of pics up on Flickr. They're from the past five months. The photo set is here but note that it's in reverse chronological order... if you know how to fix that, please leave a comment. I spared you the shot of my (or is it considered Nate's? maybe it's both of ours) placenta, burgeoning in a bowl at the hospital, as well as many dozens of shots taken by Tallulah. The girl has no sense of composition. Or even of how to keep her finger out of the frame. But damn does she loves the camera.

So enjoy the photos. The Family is getting excited about our annual Quaker retreat at Lake George next week. Should be full of swimming and running around and sleep troubles, but we have to take the good with the bad. As my friend Alice's mom used to always say, "laughter is always followed by tears." So, so true.

And! It's time to start feeding Nate "real food." That's in quotes because the nasty fluffy rice-powder that smells like pennies doesn't really count as food to anyone past the age of five months. I'll be attempting to spoon some thin gruel into his gob this very afternoon. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Death and sad music.

Apologies for the lack of posts. We had the memorial service for my grandmother, which involved a lot of work in advance on my part: I had to transcribe an hour-long interview I did with her seven years ago. And then we had to make the actual 7-hour trip up to New Hampshire. We stayed at my dad's cousin's house, an 18th century farmhouse plus barn and working organic farm set on a hilltop. Gorgeous. We picked broccoli right out of the ground. There was also a puppy. I'll try to get pictures up on Flickr soon.

But the memorial service itself brought up a lot of questions for Tallulah. I had tried to prepare her for it in advance, but I had forgotten that she had no experience with churches and church services. The whole solemn scene, plus the "sad" organ music and hymns, clearly freaked her out a bit. Plus she kept asking, finally, "why did Gramma Neanie die?" and "where is she now?" during the actual service, while the minister or one of my parents spoke and Nate squirmed and fussed on my lap. The questions continued for days, and many stories were requested (and told) about people/animals dying and memorial services and the relatives being sad but remembering happy times with the person, etc. We focussed on how "Gramma Neanie's body stopped working because she was very old," trying to forestall the leap of logic that will eventually lead her to "someday mommy and daddy will die, too" and "someday *I* will die!" (I hope to get a handle on these in my own mind at some point.) It seems to have worked, as have our vague descriptions of an afterlife in which the dead person is happy all the time; she never panicked or had nightmares, at least, and the questions about it all have ceased, at least for now. She was a delight at the reception after the memorial service, though, taking off her shoes and trying to walk in some swim flippers she took from a Sunday school display.

Still. I am sadder than I expected about my grandmother Nean's death, considering that I knew that for many years she had been looking forward to the end of her physical suffering and frailty. She was the grandparent I was closest too, even though visits with her always made me anxious; she doted on me and my sister, as her only grandchildren, and put us under a lot of scrutiny, I felt, because of that. And she was a rather traditional person with very specific ideas of how things should be. My sister wrote a great post about her here.

My grandmother's wish was to have her body cremated, and my parents picked up the box of her ashes right before the memorial service. It was in a white paper shopping bag with a green clip art image of a droopy shade tree on it. It was strongly reminiscent of the image on the card our veterinarian's crematorium sent us after our cat died. Seeing it made me physically and existentially ill; a person reduced to a small box of ashes in a shopping bag. I know, it was only her body. But the truth is that she is completely and utterly gone.

We will return to the New Hampshire farm in the fall to scatter Nean's ashes. She wanted them scattered in the same spot -- a wooded mountainside stream in upstate NH -- as her husband's were scattered. After that I don't know when, if ever, I'll go back there again.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Language policegirl

Walking home from day care. The store I need to buy nursing pads from, Boing Boing, has decided to close 15 minutes early.

Me: Man! I can't believe Boing Boing closed early!
Lula: Dang it, Mommy! Boing Boing closed early!
Me: Shoot! Boing Boing closed early!
Lula: (seriously) Mommy, don't say shoot.

(At least I didn't say the word "stupid," which Tallulah has forbidden to be used in her presence.)