The Chase Is On. (A Video)

Remember this video from a couple of years ago? I have a new one in the same vein. Unfortunately, I cut off the end somehow, but this is how it goes every night lately around these parts.

These are my boys:

Here’s another one:

Rest assured, Murray still gets to chase Em around as well. No one here will ever forget about Murray even if Murray wants us to forget about Murray. He’s a VERY popular kitty cat these days.

Elliot Has A Bath In The Kitchen Sink

Isn’t he cute? I’m biased, it’s true. But I want to eat him every minute of every day.

He’s now 9 months old! Why does time fly so fast after you have kids? SLOW DOWN, LIFE.

My Family

Em’s teachers recently asked all the kids to bring in pictures of their family. I had to send two along since we don’t have any shots including all four of us. Are we a minority here? Is this common? I’ve been curious. Anyway, that’s no longer the case. Last Sunday, at my graduation, my father offered to take a shot of all four of us.

We need to remedy this. I think a professional portrait might be in order.

Tales About Nothing

Emory has an imaginary friend named Nothing. Nothing is with him most of the time and travels with us in Emory’s pocket. The existence of Nothing has spawned some pretty profound, existential conversations as of late. Here are a few of our more recent conversations.

Conversation One

Em: “Nothing is in my pocket.”

Me: “Oh yeah? Do you want something in your pocket?”

Em: “No. Then there won’t be room for Nothing.”

Me: “Oh. Right.”

Em: “But if you hold Nothing in your hand, something will fit in my pocket.”

Conversation Two

Em: “Nothing told me everything last night.”

Conversation Three

Em: “I want Nothing in the bath with me.”

Me: “Really? Won’t that be boring?”

Em: “Nothing is NOT boring.”

Me: “Oh, right. I’ll go get Nothing.”

Conversation Four

Em: “Nothing is keeping me up.”

Me: “Then why are you still awake?”

Em, a little confused: “Because of Nothing! Can you tell him to be quiet?”

Me: “Nothing! Hush!”

But then yesterday Em had to have a little talk with me. I think I was getting too good with Nothing. You see, Nothing tells me stories perched from the palm of my hand. And I always give Em some details and he always loves it. But I guess I’ve been getting too good at talking to Nothing. Because Em listened to me go on and on. When I was finished, Em politely said, “Mama? You do know Nothing isn’t real, right?” Which is a profound statement in that of itself.

But Nothing is very real to me.

The Comfort Of Strangers. (I’m Her Ghost.)

We live on the fifth floor of an apartment building that overlooks several houses and backyards. We chose the fifth floor because of the view. And over the years we’ve gotten to know the people who make up that view even though they have no idea who we are. I take a great deal of comfort in this view and the people who live here. It’s like a rerun, an old movie, a longtime friend.

There was the naked couple who ran through the first snowfall of 2009. They moved out two weeks after we moved in and I still kind of miss them.

There was this:

There’s the girl who has so much sex and with several different guys, we have often wondered if she’s a professional. There’s the family of five, the lawyer, the guy without an air-conditioner who leaves his door wide open at night. He has a massive back porch, perched on the roof of four-story walkup, but never uses it. I covet his porch. But I bet he covets my central air.

There’s the gay couple, the couple who fosters dogs, the NYU student with the pet rabbit. There’s the little hispanic girl who rides her tricycle in the afternoon, the one my son loves to watch from our bedroom window.

There’s the polish couple who smoke together in the kitchen, then disappear for weeks on end. There’s the old Brooklyn lady who hangs out her window on hot days wearing a muumu. She watches people who are unaware, as we watch her.

There’s the doctor with the Flickr doormat, the couple next door to him who has a fat cat. They all share a backyard. Sometimes they combine parties. The yard is often illuminated with white lights.

There’s the guy on the third floor above them who BBQs on his fire escape almost every night and during every season. He sips Coke, hangs out his window and flips different cuts of meat.

I love these people. I love watching them come and go and work and play. I love their pets, their kids, their oddities. It’s the living equivalent to a blog—I feel like I know them, they haven’t the slightest clue as to who I am or that I’m even out here at all.

But there is one person within this view I cherish more than everyone else. She brings me the most comfort. And I want to explain why, put it in writing, I don’t want to forget her.

For the first several weeks of Elliot’s life I slept on the sofa. I wanted Toby Joe to get as much sleep as possible since he had to return to work right away. Elliot has always been a pretty good sleeper, but he does get up at night to eat. One of the feedings that remains relatively constant, and has since the day he was born, is the 4:30 AM feeding.

In the beginning, I had a case of the baby blues. And while they weren’t nearly as bad as what I experienced with Em, they were there. And that 4:30 AM hour was a particularly lonely one. It was February. The sun wouldn’t be up for hours, and I was alone with a baby who didn’t yet know I exist. The apartment was dead quiet, even the cats were in other rooms snoozing alongside other warm bodies. So I would nurse Elliot and look out over our view in search of some life, something, anything. There was a streetlight on Bedford Avenue, the occasional taxi cab, a hall light or two gleaming up through a domed skylight, otherwise, everything was dark.

This city really does sleep, contrary to what they say.

I would lie awake, staring outside, watching and waiting. And all my little TV screens, all my friends were sound asleep. All but one.

She wakes up every morning at 4:30 AM. I haven’t any idea what she does for a living and I can’t really see her. I can’t really make out her features, or how old she is. I know it’s a woman and I know she wakes up every weekday morning at 4:30 AM to go somewhere. I know it takes her a long time to get ready.

Besides work, she doesn’t get out much. She’s often home on Friday and Saturday nights all by herself. Her TV flickers and glows in the evening and usually goes dark around 11 PM. Sometimes she falls asleep with it on and it remains on all night. I guess her TV is her company. I get that. I’d have done the same if we had a bigger place.

For the first few months of Elliot’s life, when I was alone at 4:30 AM and feeling a little blue, I would sit with her. I wouldn’t bug her. I couldn’t. And she didn’t know I was there. But I would sit with her. I’d send her messages like: What is your name? Why are you always alone? Are you lonely? Where do you work? Why does it take you so long to get ready? Do you take vacations? Who are you?

What is your name?

Are you lonely?

Elliot is nearing 6 months of age. I’m floored by this. Six months! Time really does fly especially when the punctuation involved is generally the same. And my friend? She’s still out there.

I don’t get to visit her much anymore. But I do still sit down with her from time to time and I do still send her messages. She still takes forever to get ready. And I still feel comforted by her light, her ritual. And, yeah, her.

This woman has no clue who I am, that I know anything about her existence at all. But I really needed her company. My only hope is that she finds some of her own.

Updates on Random

I’m so sorry for my lack of updates. Between the lollipop business, Elliot, Emory, and pastry school, I’m having a great deal of trouble finding time. But check out this picture of my family? These bastards keep getting in the way of blogging. I know, right? It’s a good thing they’re cute.

I’m also in the process of trying to secure an externship in NYC and that’s been a bit difficult. I’m having to rewrite my resume to reflect my food industry experience. So to any potential bakery/chocolatier looking to hire me, it appears I have been a total slacker since 1997.

I don’t know how to do this. So if for some strange reason you’re reading this and you have any leads, or you’re thinking, Michele would be awesome working HERE! Please let me know. I’ll send you lollipops.

We took our vacation. Elliot rode up with Toby on the train, which worked out well. Emory and I picked them up in Providence. Elliot only had to be in the car for about 45 minutes. That was doable and there wasn’t as much vomit and tears because we SANG TO HIM ON THE TOP OF OUR VOICES THE ENTIRE WAY. We sounded completely insane, totally nuts. But it worked somehow.

Here’s a picture of the house we rented in Rhode Island.

It was great. Except there were a lot of ticks and mosquitos. I picked one tick off my boob while breastfeeding Elliot. That was disturbing.

Here’s who delivered our eggs.

Let me tell you, egg lovers, there is nothing better than a fresh egg. I baked with these suckers, too. It was awesome. Now to finally leave this city, buy a farmhouse and raise some damn chickens!

And lastly, here’s a self-portrait taken with Em. Can you see all my gray hair? That’s what happens when you have kids apparently. Or cats.

I’m going to try and find time to update more often, even if no one is reading this anymore. You see, I have used this blog for over a decade to answer questions about our lives together. When did we get married? Oh yeah! Did we really live in San Francisco at one point? Hot damn! Yup. Wait, we have kids? When did we have kids?

Speaking of kids, and looking back over the blog, I’m amazed at how much I’ve aged in 4 years, how many wrinkles I have attained in that time. I’m aging like a president. But it’s worth it.

Edited to add: Holy crow! I just now realized it’s Tuesday. I will upload something featuring Murray as well. I still get emails letting me know how much he is missed.

Some Pictures and a Video.

Toby took this without my knowing and I love it. How come it’s always the pictures taken without my knowing I enjoy the most? Probably because I stick my tongue out or make an ugly face when I know someone is taking my picture. Anyway…

My father took this of the boys while we were visiting. It sums up how Emory feels about Elliot. Emory adores his little brother. And Elliot definitely likes Emory the best. No matter what, he smiles for his big brother.

In the last couple of weeks, Elliot has started laughing a lot. And it’s just wonderful. Here’s the first video I got of Elliot and Emory laughing together.

Emory was given a bike by my parent’s neighbor, so he’s been riding a lot. We went to McCarren a few days ago and got caught in the rain. So we tree-hopped to avoid getting soaked. It was an amazing moment for me. The smells and sounds brought me back to my childhood; I was right there again! But I was surrounded by my own offspring. It was a moment I will never forget. Anyway, I took a bunch of pictures as the rain fell. Here is one of them.

Driving and Puking

Elliot hates the car. I am not sure how to put this, really. Everything I write here sounds like an exaggeration. But it’s that bad. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Here’s the situation. He tolerates the seat just fine and has sat in it, NOT moving, for a bit without so much as a fuss. But as soon as the car starts to go, he screams. And it’s not a normal scream. It’s a terrible, nonstop cry. It’s the kind of cry with no sound at times. It’s a deep sob filled with hysterics. He cries so hard he vomits. It’s freaking horrible. I can’t say it enough, horrible.

Thankfully, we live in a city where driving isn’t necessary. So he’s only ever taken four roadtrips. Both trips were to my parent’s house in South Jersey. And both times he screamed and vomited the entire time he was awake. (He slept for an hour each way, so that’s good.)

We’re not sure why he’s doing this. Toby thinks it’s motion sickness and I’m starting to believe him. I don’t think it’s just that he wants to be held. (He loves being held!) You see, he does this thing with his bottom lip when he’s in pain. I’ve only ever seen it four times. Once when he was a newborn and they drew blood from his heel; once when he had his first (and only, so far) vaccine; once when I took off the tip of his thumb while cutting his nails (He looks like Edward Scissorhands because I am NEVER doing that again); and once in the car while puking and screaming.

He doesn’t get sick on the subway. He is perfectly ok with the subway. Toby jokes that he’s a true New Yorker: hates driving, prefers public transportation.

He doesn’t have to drive much which is good. But we’re supposed to go to Rhode Island in July and there’s NO WAY I’m driving with him in that state for four hours. NO WAY. So we’re faced with taking the train to Providence and renting a car from there. (The house we’ve rented is about 45 minutes from Providence.) But that means lugging with us two car seats and goods for a family of 4. The other option is to have Toby take him on the train and Emory and I drive and pick them both up in Providence. That way we can bring a bunch of toys with us and the car seats aren’t an issue. Honestly? I don’t know what to do. And I’m not sure why I just shared all that meaningless information with the Internet!

Has anyone had this happen before? Did your little people outgrow it? Someone said it might be acid reflux, but then wouldn’t he feel that way in the seat without driving? The whole experience is freaking awful and it breaks my heart to see him that way. If he’s sick or in pain or whatever, I don’t want to force him to do it. And I haven’t even begun to explain how it makes Emory feel.

Any information on this would be helpful. I’m at a loss here.

My Boys.

Sorry it’s been so long. But look at this chin! I can’t stop smooching his fat little head. I kind of wish he was a more difficult baby and less squishy cute, because he has me wanting more. MORE BOYS!

His favorite person is Emory. No matter how upset or grumpy Elliot is, if Em talks to him, he lights up. He adores his big brother. And Emory wants him to GROW UP ALREADY! So they can play.

My Em. He’s my buddy. I love my buddy.

We’re heading to New Jersey for a few days to hang out before I return to culinary school. So I’ll be updating a lot next week. There’s a pretty important anniversary approaching and I really want to write about it. More to come!

House of Sickness

Forgive me for the lack of posts; it’s been a crazy couple of weeks. First, Elliot got sick. (It had nothing to do with a vaccine; he hasn’t yet received one.) He just came down with Em’s cold, as did I. But having a sick newborn sucks. There’s nothing you can do for them and they have no idea that things get better. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I have no idea how parents with chronically and/or terminally ill babies continue on. But that’s depressing, so enough about that.

Anyway, Elliot had a fever and many of you know if a baby under 8 weeks of age has a fever above 100.4, you’re supposed to take them straight to the ER to rule out something more serious like bacterial meningitis. But we held out and I’m super glad that we did. Basically, the on-call pediatrician explained to me that if we take him in, it’s a huge workup, one that includes a spinal tap. She said that as a doctor, she has to tell me to take him to the ER. She went on to say that as a mother of three, she would wait and see if he started to act strange. Like, if he stops eating, becomes lethargic. She said stop taking his temperature every 20 minutes and just wait. She said try and get him to sleep to see if that would lower his temperature. So, that’s what we did.

An hour later his temperature was lower and we were in the clear.

Anyway, he’s fine. He’s sick with a cold, but he’s fine. It’s lingering too, which sucks because he’s relatively miserable and congested. And I’ve tried saline and suction and it works some, but not for long and not enough. And hearing a newborn cough? Terrible sound, just awful. It’s been a long couple of weeks. I’ll leave it at that.

So, I haven’t been able to update too much lately. When I do find spare moments, I’m off to make lollipops.

I have so much to report, so many updates. I hope to find time at some point. It’s amazing how much more work having two children is, especially since Emory is out of school this week. I was warned that two would be more work, but holy shit! Yeah, everyone was right. I’m not complaining, but this might explain why I don’t have a great deal of time to update the blog or post pictures. It doesn’t help Elliot is still very much attached to me! Although, things have gotten better. I figured out how to use the Ergo AND the Maya! He’s also getting more and more used to being away from my body. So, that’s good.

For example, right now he’s in his crib next to the oven. It’s not on, but the oven fan is! And that’s on full blast. Kid loves white noise. The dryer puts him into a coma.

I should be able to write more in the upcoming days and weeks. I hope to, at least.

Happy Passover and Easter! Spring Break or whatever!