Saturday, May 14, 2005

Moo Cow

Genevieve fell in love with a blue and purple stuffed cow today. We were in Daffy’s picking out a dress for her for the wedding. As we passed by a bin of stuffed animals, her little hand reached out and grabbed up her new love.

The Cow winds up and twinkles out a lilting lullabye as his head gently rolls side to side. Within moments, his white fluffy snout was snot and drool drenched. Gen hugged him into her cheek as I said, “Do you like Mr. Cow?”

Of course, I don’t know if it really is a male or female cow; I took the liberty of assigning him his gender role. It’s interesting to me that I always call her poops—Mr. Poopsies. Why are poops male? I don’t want her to associate men with excrement. Perhaps I should be fair and once in a while say, “Oh, you made a Ms. Poopie!”

I’m probably aware of all this he/she stuff because I’m reading a memoir, Dress Codes, by Noelle Howey, which is about the author’s transvestite father. I always had trouble reading things that went anything like this, “My father said she was going to...” It felt stilted and strange before reading this book. Now, it makes sense and rolls off my mind no problem.

Which reminds me, there is this one old lady at the playground in the late afternoons who points at Genny and says, “Oh, he’s adorable.” I’ve stopped correcting her. Even though I can’t understand the gender confusion—I really think Genny looks like a girl—I refuse to tack fluffy bows to the side of her head just so she can be called she rather than he. And besides, Genny doesn’t seem to mind. She’ll wave to you no matter what you call her.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Genevieve’s stuffy nose caused her to wake up crying around eight o’clock tonight. I did something I haven’t in months; I cradled her against my body, sang Rock-a-Bye-Baby and swayed. After a few minutes of gasping and nose snuffing, she rested her head against my chest and brought her two favorite sucking fingers to her mouth.

Genny’s warm heavy head pressed against my left breast. Her lashes flickered on my arm. I closed my eyes and gently stepped around her small room. I felt like all was fine in the world. I asked myself to remember that peaceful moment of inhaling Genny’s soft hair. There was nowhere else I was needed at that moment and so the anxiety that usually tugs at my heart dropped away.

I close my eyes now and breathe deeply—my own nose snuffing slightly. The anxiety drops away again. So simple, to just remember to breathe.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Guaranteed On Time

Baby boogers will be dripping through my nightmares tonight. Genny woke up with a raging cold and she’s been oozing snot all day long. She soaked through three onesies and at least as many bibs, baby wipes and washcloths.

She only took one short nap this morning. She cried and screamed. And she so badly wanted to eat, but as soon as she would try to chew she had to reopen her mouth to breathe resulting in food just falling back out upon her bib.

Then there was the rubbing of the nose, mouth and eyes that spread goobers from left ear to right.

With all the dealing with sick baby I totally missed my florist appointment. I’m a tad bit afraid of Lou the florist, too. He made a big deal about me not missing the appointment and then I go and flake.

This is so not like me. I’m the type of person who shows up a half-an-hour early for all appointments. This is why I always ended up being first dancer of the day at strip clubs. No wonder bar owners loved me so much. Who’d ever heard of a habitually punctual stripper before?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


First steps. It doesn’t get more momentous than that.

Genevieve was holding onto the back of her plastic pink car. She teetered and balanced as she has for over a month now. Her toes curled under as if they were digging for stability. Then, left leg locked, Genny stepped forward.

Her face flushed with an open smile. Then her right leg scuffed its way forward. She made it halfway across the living room rug with me just assisting her legs from behind.

All the planning in her head. All the watching and studying. I can just imagine her dreams tonight—her pink feet scurrying across the playground floor, crawling up the plastic curly slide and standing upright triumphantly on the top before she plops down and slides down with the wind rushing through her crooked bangs.

I’m reminded of my own first stripper steps. I had assumed I would be able to study the other dancers before I had to perform, but I was the first dancer to arrive and thus the first dancer to strip. I had not prepared at all for my first day except for the buying of costumes and the shaving of legs and bikini area.

I stepped onto the long runway stage at The Hideaway after slipping sweaty dollar bills into the jukebox. I don’t remember my first song choice, but I do remember that it was a fast song, something that I could just move to without stopping. Before the song began I wobbled downstage to the brass pole and reached out with my right hand and clung to its coolness.

The music rumbled from far corners and I felt the eyes from all around me land on my flesh. I swallowed hard and pushed one foot forward in front of the next. I shimmied down to the end of the stage, thrust my hip out and swung my hair over my shoulder. I spun around and began to dance. My legs pushed forward by the sheer strength of my will and the fear of what would happen if I stopped moving.

Once I flopped into bed that first night my legs ached and my knees trembled. My dreams were mixed with banging music, flashing lights and quivering stripper steps.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Feeding Techniques

Genevieve’s appetite for adult food is insatiable. Tonight she stuffed handfuls of brown rice, chunks of chicken and bits of veggies into her overflowing mouth. As long as Nick and I are eating it, she wants it.

Nick asked, “Do you think anyone else feeds their kids this way?”

“This way” includes pre-biting her food, licking off any sauces for her and then dropping the prepared bites onto her highchair tray.

I’m sure there are other parents out there using our methods. And I’m sure there are other moms and dads who would be mortified to know that I suck spices off of my child’s food before giving it to her.

I will even admit to following the 30-second rule regarding toys and crunchy foods that fall onto the floor. And sometimes when her toys fall on the street from her stroller I will pick them up, brush them off and hand them back to her when no one else is looking. I’ve even been known to use tap water instead of filtered water for mixing her breakfast cereal.

In spite of it all though, Genny keeps purring and choo-chooing. She doesn’t seem to mind our parenting techniques yet, although I imagine there will come a point when she’ll rather receive her food unsucked.

Monday, May 09, 2005


I’m feeling under the weather today. There’s that fish-swimming-in-my-head feeling and that itchy eyes and ears sensation. My throat tickles and aches. Oh, and my nose is running.

It came on all of a sudden. I woke up this morning and moaned, “Ugh, I’m sick.”

It’s not like there’s any new stress in my life right now. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot, Nick lost his job last week. There’s nothing a new family needs more than an unemployed head-of-the-household.

Not that I’m worried or anything. Nick’s always able to get freelance work. I’m thinking it’s time for me to start working more, too—add on some more yoga clients and maybe start a class out here in Jackson Heights. What a perfect time to get sick.

I still managed to take Genevieve to Travers Park. She tried crawling up a slide at the playground. She tried eating a pistachio shell she found stuck in a crack in the padded blacktop. And she tried crawling through a barred fence to get to a dirty balloon.

Now I’m noticing that my body is aching so much that I can barely lift my arms. I think I’ll go crawl into bed myself.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Rites of Passage

I had a revelation about my memoir today. My current draft is written in a pretty straightforward chronological order. I have struggled with feeling like there is something missing, something wrong.

After finishing “Slow Motion” I really see how important it is to have a clear vision of from where and why I am writing my memoir. There needs to be more than just, “I have a great story to tell.” Why is the story important today? What will readers experience from reading it? What did I learn about life beyond what the physical story tells?

I am working in my head now on where my story begins in time. I am narrowing events down. Sifting through the rites of passage I experienced to uncover what other women will relate to. I am deciphering what my deepest message is.

The deepest message of the day is that Genny loves to eat rice. We visited my mom in Connecticut today and ate at a Chinese restaurant. Gen shoveled fistfuls of white and brown rice into her mouth. She made scrunchy faces at Mom and my step dad, Marc.

We also visited my dad and step mom, Pat, who bought Genny her new convertible car seat. In only one short month she will be eligible to ride forward facing. I imagine this directional shift will be a great rite of passage for her. Perhaps installing each successive car seat in the backseat of the minivan will be a rite of passage for Nick.

I’m experiencing my own rite of passage now as Genny is being weaned. Well, that’s obviously another momentous time for her as well. So many changes. So little time.

We’re all growing up.