Not a morning baby

Scene: in bed with Maggie this morning after Tom left for work, me reading and playing with her while she lies under her blankie.

Maggie: Babble babble.

Me: Are you telling me a story?

Maggie: AWOOOOGAH! [Ed. note: my three month old really does sound like a Klaxon horn.]

Me: You are a funny lady.

Maggie: Babble babble SNORT babble AYAYAYAYAY.

Me: You have so many new sounds!

Maggie: Babble babble… [silence].

Me: Everything ok down there?

Maggie: *snores*

And I thought getting her down for a nap would be trouble.


Saturday Thoughts

Some random things that I really love:

Listening to the father next door play with his son and his son shrieking “Again, Daddy, again!”

Maggie’s reaction when she starts nursing, whether it’s a quick snack or a long tank-up for the night, which is the same as a grown-up tucking into a fine gourmet meal: a full-body, face-relaxing, body unclenching “Ahhhhhhh.”

Tom playing a certain classical arrangement by Andrew Bird and Maggie’s immediate Pavlovian reaction: from irritable fussing to enthralled silence in under a minute. Seriously, that piece works EVERY TIME.

Mythbusters on Netflix InstantPlay.

Emails that say “We would like to print [or reprint] your article, how would you like to be paid?”

Reading issues of Budget Traveler while Maggie eats and dreaming of the places we’ll take her.

Putting a little of Maggie’s Method Baby Rice Milk and Mallow Shampoo into mine so my hair smells like marshmallows too.

Fridays spent at baby yoga, getting an iced decaf Kona coffee and sandwich at Coffee Gallery, and then ahi poke and Hawaii rolls at sushi date night at Banzai.

The way Maggie’s face lights up when Tom comes home for the day and says “Daddy’s home!”

The way she falls asleep next to me under the thick cotton baby blanket my aunt knit for her.


We had a wonderful time on the Big Island. Maggie was better than we could have dreamed, and saw amazing lava formations and some of the most diverse landscapes in a single geological formation that I have ever seen.

But first, a word (or several) on our lodgings.

Tom and I, being budget travelers, have stayed in some spare rooms. Not dives, just…plain. Stripped of amenities. On our trip to northern California we slept in a budget B&B, in a tent, in bunk beds at a budget hostel, and on the grass at Crissy Field with the Avon Walk. (Side note: the grass at Crissy Field is possibly made of magic, and was more comfortable than any bed we slept on in the city.) This B&B on the Big Island was no exception; rooms with gapped floorboards plopped down in a working farm, complete with corrugated roofs and windows with screens that can’t be shut. I thought it was charming and set about unpacking.

Now, I grew up in rural Maine, and I know that there is nothing noisier than the country. Insects, animals, you name it, it makes noise. I have heard moose rutting near my window and can tell you it is louder than any car alarm. More nasal, too. And there are insects. Tons and tons of insects that crawl on you and bite, and you just learn to deal and ignore them. But I forgot after years of city and suburban life.

Imagine my horror seeing a parade of wee tiny ants scuttling along the baseboards and through the floor, close to where my baby was going to sleep in her travel bed. As an immediate cancellation would cost us $300 and we’d still have to find a place to sleep, I decided to choke back my disgust out of cheapness. (Not once was my baby bitten by anything, by the way, although my legs are covered with various welts.) We settled down to sleep and enjoyed the cool mountain breeze figuring “Well, non-biting ants, no harm done, that’s not so bad.” Maggie slept like a stone in the brisk air.

There are worse things than ants. Oh yes. There are roosters.

Roosters are an aspect of Hawaii that most tourists do not experience. I can’t explain why they are so prevalent, I only know that they are everywhere: as pets, as part of working farms, as feral entities unto themselves. And they cannot tell time. And if a rooster lets off on one property, the NEIGHBOR’S ROOSTER responds in kind. And this goes on for hours.

In retrospect the ear plugs left by management ought to have been our first clue, but motherhood has sapped my once-formidable deductive powers. Six a.m. arrived and we were wide-eyed after waking every half hour or so to that unholy bird.

After two nights of this, we finally stopped panicking that the baby would wake when the rooster cried. Maggie seemed to be rather resilient. But the farm was not done with us, oh no. Late that night we heard the unmistakable moaning “Mrrrroooooooow” of the farm’s tabby. Clearly, her time of the month had come. Listening to a cat in heat provided a welcome break from the rooster…until the rooster chimed in. And the rain started. Between the cats screwing, the rooster crowing, and the rain on the corrugated roof, we had quite the symphony. A disturbing, unpleasant symphony, one that had us dreaming of deep-frying chicken.

Leaving the next morning to check out, the rooster crossed our path in the driveway. We decided to do the humane thing and not run it down, but oh, it was tempting.

But the farm was not yet done with us. For breakfast that morning they served a high-fiber baked oatmeal. Fiber and I have a complicated relationship, and soon I was running all over the airport in Kona looking for Pepto, Gas-X, anything to quell the gurgling reports from my belly.

See, it wasn’t enough that THEY are noisy. The farm’s final joke was to turn us into noisemakers too.

I kept a pair of the earplugs.

Dear Sir

To the scandalized gentleman at Target today:

You know, I’d prefer not to feed my baby in public. My comfy chair, pillow, and best burp cloths are at home. But hey, I have to leave the house now and then and my baby has to eat. So I’ll make a deal with you: I’ll continue to feed my daughter by wearing her against me in my very discreet and all-parts-covering baby wrap and going to a secluded corner, and you try not to work so hard to look underneath the cloth. What do you think I have under there? Shoplifted pillows? Hoffa? Let the diaper bag and empty car seat in the cart be your first clue. Deal? Deal.

No love,

Future World Traveler

Darn skippy.

In other news, we discovered that our closet shelving unit was not bracketed or mounted to a stud in any way, shape, or form. We discovered this when the whole bloody enterprise collapsed after we reorganized. One of the nice things about living the way we do and moving so often is that we can really pare down what we need and take with us. Because we *clearly* need to downsize again, on this go-around we’re donating a ton of bedding, clothing, and my wedding dress to various consignment and Goodwill shops.

On the one hand, I’m sentimental about my dress. On the other, I haven’t looked at it since I got married 2.5 years ago and we certainly made no fuss about Tom’s rental tux, so…donated. I feel better knowing that someone will be able to put it to use either for their special day or theater company or whatever, and if Maggie really wants to see it we have photos. My mother’s wedding dress wasn’t kept and I never felt a sense of loss for not being able to see it in person. Maggie is her own person and I would never presume that she would a) want to have a traditional marriage and wedding in the first place, b) have the same body type as me, or c) not want to choose her own special dress according to her own tastes.

Besides, I’m not entirely sure that it’s real sentimentality about the dress or the fact that it was exponentially more expensive than the tux and therefore my frugal Yankee soul is scalded by the idea of giving it away. There’s really no use in getting sentimental about objects. Everything can break or be lost, ultimately you can’t take any of it with you, and the chances of your next-of-kin caring about something the way you did aren’t very high. Photos, letters, the family silver or crystal, jewelery, that sort of thing I understand. Things that carry tradition through their repeated use, or things given or made by family in order to be passed down. But a dress that’s worn once and then never again? Out the door.

And it feels nice to purge and be light; everything in our home fits in two 8’x8′ shipping containers, and that’s only because the couch needed its own container. That’s what we’ll try to teach Maggie as she grows: don’t buy it if you don’t need it, use it as much and as for as many purposes as you can, and if you don’t use it in 12+ months, sell or give it away if you can or trash it if you can’t. Onward!

Lucky Duck

We are recovering from about 5 weeks of houseguest fun, in which I saw more of downtown Honolulu than I ever have and drove a packed minivan–complete with infants and toddlers–through Waikiki at rush hour. But before I get into that, I have recently been informed that I will be a stay-at-home mom for the duration. The magazine I worked for laid off all but one employee and is going up for sale. All things considered I’m glad I don’t have to put Maggie into daycare, and I’m looking for ways to fill the hours. So far: joining a local photography club, baby yoga classes, possibly joining the Hawaii Breastfeeding Coalition, and considering going back to school for my graphic design certification. Possibilities!!

In the meantime, we are going to the Big Island to prepare for Maggie’s big trip to Maine in September. I am really looking forward to excellent Kona coffee straight from the source.