Finn's bottom two teeth are about to fall out and I swear to god it freaks me out.
It freaks me out that he is old enough to tongue his naked gums soon.
A hole where his teeth once erupted as I rocked him back and forth across many midnights.
Across the vast canyon of babyhood that only lasted for like ten seconds when I turn my head and think about it.
When I turn my head and strain my left eye.
trying to see the past
trying to hold down the future
it's not new
and to the more seasoned veterans of the asphalt jungle
it is old news
The release of the young to the others.
We stood there today and felt quite awkward just like we should have.
Standing there and really fighting back the tears
with a hand on his small shoulder
nudging him to the teacher
to the new important adult in his life
to someone else who will tell him things
and see his mouth open with amazement
tiny teeth sparkling
We stood there and it was like the adults were all struck mute-
only able to motion to their young.
like hand signals in baseball or something
Everyone was just waving and blowing kisses and acting strange.
and there was a lot of flash photography involved
We stood there and watched the ten seconds it took for the Kindergarten class
to disappear in tidy formation into the brick schoolhouse...
I looked until his blond hair snapped around the corner and he was gone from me.
We all then
and walked to our cars
and pushed our strollers towards the future.
Today we walked the route to school. Practicing. It was a sweat 14 minutes, but not all bad.
Our route takes us through the very posh Frank Lloyd Wright Mid-Century modern village near our home. It also entails a wooded staircase and a path through a tiny forest.
It is very quaint.
It is kinda charming although my ass cheeks are throbbing.
We did the whole power walk thing on the way home. Snow is going to suck.
I am strangely aware that in four days I am going to be initiated into some new society.
The playground moms.
I see them at the playground after school.
They look cool.
I am an ass throbbing misfit.
For the record-Finn is very excited about school.
I am the nervous one.
and in four days he will put normal clothing on
five days and week and start school
he runs along the whole highway of my heart like this
and it is so perfect that it is almost as if Van Morrison
songs emerge from the ground and float him
inches above the green green grass
and he is just up there
and all I can do is stare
and he just walks around with this certainty
and tells me things are fine
and I believe him and all I can do is just open my eyes
and drop my gaze
settle in and look
I will look at this person
my Sugar-baby with champagne eyes
My head may explode.
I met this cool woman over the weekend at the baby expo here in town and she is a herbalist and botanist and all sorts natural goddess. She is pregnant and about to have her first baby and just like I always do I got her to talk to me about interesting and private things. It's a gift.
She could walk into a field and have that baby by herself I am sure of it.
She was so interesting to me.
She talked about her birth plan a bit and how her umbilical cord will stay intact for a time after she gives birth. How the baby and her will be strung together until it is truly necessary to cut that cord.
I feel like I have that phantom limb today.
Like I can feel this sensation between us.
Like we are still tethered and nerves are shouting to my brain to hold on a bit longer.
Don't go Finn.
He's so ready.
He told me this morning when I dropped him off that he was "kinda over preschool".
Alright. I told him that he only had three more weeks and he nodded with his eyes closed just like my father does.
He unbuckled his seat belt from across his lap and jumped quickly out of the truck.
He kissed me and ran into the school with his teacher.
He did not look back and somewhere deep inside of my guts I feel that pain.
I feel that pull.
title post- License to Drive 1988
Like the place yesterday when I had the boys with me while dropping of orders to Whole Foods and Blaise screamed NO MOMMY over and over and over the whole damn time and Finn traveled between abusive older brother and eccentric child chanter of COOKIE COOKIE as I tried to talk shop to the buyer.
I felt like a big loser in the arena of hip mama.
But, I loved them so much afterwards.
We sat in the cafe and ate Skyr (holy shit it is my favorite thing right now!)
and they sang to me sweet songs and they seduced me with their toothy grins and I forgot that they had made life difficult. Man- I think they learned that from me.
Anyhoo...This is our favorite book this week.
title post- Wizard of Oz 1939
last year this week- a good one though...we are doing it again
We made a pendulum paint machine today. That is what Finn named it. He actually named it a pen-din-din swing machine. Anyhoo, we experimented with tying several paint bottles and other bits from the recycling bin filled with paint upside down under a tree branch with twine and letting em swing!!! We had a blast with our trial and error art lesson. It was a bit of expansion from the Pollock lesson- more "out there" art. We found that water and paint mixed in a milk jug works well but can be very messy. We don't like soda bottles, but we like paint bottles! We used some of dad's old paint canvas and then some kraft paper. I think these would make excellent wrapping paper for upcoming birthdays! I might even use it to wrap some of these in for the etsy shop.
We didn't go into much science with the lesson- more fun that anything...but for older kids you could talk about pendulums and science. I recall going to a science center each year with my school and they had a giant Foucault Pendulum and it was mesmerizing. It was in the main lobby and sometimes I would wish to not even go into the building, to just stay and watch it swing. To just stand and organically learn Newtons 1st law of motion. To open my eyes wide at the thought of rotation. I would love to see that exhibit again.
To mark each birthday I take a photo of the boys with a prop.
I call it the yearly click.
Finnian's prop is an old shirt of Joe's. It is making for a great growth series I think as I fast forward in my head and imagine him standing in some backyard all lovely and tall and distracted and really wanting to be done with the picture.
He will be 18 and the portraits will be finished and he will run off and not look back.
But some day when he finds his nostalgia, when he wakes up and his invincible skin has rubbed all off and he is broody for the irrecoverable past. Someday when all he wants in the world is to reach backwards to prove it was once really quite so simple and perfect- well then he will have these to remind him of his mama and all the love and hope she had for his future.
And he will smile and show them to his lover and they will hang them in their house and
he will tilt his head and wonder was he ever really that small.
Yes you were.
Happy Fifth Birthday Finnian.
3rd year bday shot by the fabulous Tenille King
This is the last day that you are four years old. Four was pretty much the most delicious year ever. We talk now like old friends. You are still yet under my spell and believe me to be a beautiful princess. You know what you like and what you don't like. You are a bit odd, but you come by it earnestly. You are excellent at the art of manipulation. You fall for the same joke over and over-(oops you dropped yr pocket). You like good music. You infuriate me sometimes, but can listen to me explain why now. You and I both practice saying "I'm Sorry" to each other anymore. It's not a one way street. You are fussy like daddy and ask me insane questions like if I have washed yr fork with soap. Yr heart is on yr sleeve like mommy. You are learning. You are opening up to this vast world. You comfort us now. You can make me stop whatever in the world it is that I am doing just to stare at yr loveliness. You still love pancakes. You are a good brother. You don't have any worries. Red is yr best color. You are protected. You are loved like mad.
I had to come inside after this photo shoot and hold a dishtowel in my hand and then to my face all dramatic like I was in movie or something. Overcome by yr growing up. It was like a fleeting moment of pain. It was bizarre. God- sometimes I wish I were normal.
title post- Harriet the Spy 1996
While taking a break from prepping taxes (oh the hell) I tried on some spring clothes.
I need something cute to wear to Finn's 5th birthday party this weekend.
Finn said he wanted to take my picture. I said OK.
We had a fashion shoot with yo gabba gabba music blaring.
These are the things we do when Blaise naps.
These are the small moments of time reserved just for him now that he is a big boy and thinks sleep is for the weak.
These are the tiny slices of a day that sew us together
that wrap us tighter in love everyday
that make it impossible for me to even sorta
remember life before him
was I even alive back then?
yeah, my legs are hairy and my floor is so dirty that it is appalling- but he took some good shots for almost five I think-
Blaise will be two in a few days and I went and took his yearly click today.
The same date as last year. (how sweet is he?)
I am taking a photograph each birthday with a prop so I will be able to watch them grow and to give them some cool photos in their adult life.
Finnian wears his dad's shirt in his yearly click and Blaise wears an amber necklace.
I wrote about birthday traditions and ideas last year here.
I did not make this idea up as I recall reading about a woman who dressed her baby girl in a vintage Pucci shift and took photos. She hung them on the staircase. It was gorgeous seeing her grow into the dress.
So you should do it too!
And don't fret if yr kid is a bit older and yr just starting.
Just think of collections.
Many of one thing is always cool.
No matter how many.
The Yearly Click:
1. Choose a prop that the child can grow into or outgrow for drama.
(like a dress or a shirt of an adult in child's life or a piece of jewelry or something fun like a clown nose even!)
2. Commit to keeping the prop in a safe place and taking a yearly shot on the child's birthday or birthday time frame.
3. Write the age and date on back of print! yes PRINT it out! My mother and grandmother told me to write the dates on everything and I laughed! Now I am screwed with several photos and it has only been 4.5 years with Finn! Seriously we do not remember all that we think we always will.
6 months old and 8 months old look the fricking same to me now!
4. Display them! (staircase/wall/nursery)
5. Have fun and guess what? Yr creating amazing memories for the future! Yr an archiver of lovely.
title post- My Girl 1991
Today was the first day of Finnian's introduction to The Rolling Stones.
I am slowly working him through the canon of rock and roll
(you know like Chuck Berry through the Dead Kennedy's)
and he already likes some of the Stones- but today we sat through all the best songs.
We jammed the Gimme Shelter like mad folk and did some art to Wild Horses and ate lunch to Angie and you get the picture...
title quote- Dead Poet's Society 1989
Finn was invited to tour the cool hot rod shop where his BFF Jack's uncle works. It totally rocked. I instantly felt cooler than I looked in large sweatshirt and athletic shoe get-up as I talked shop to the boys. My dad restores antique cars and I know some lingo. Like I could scan the room and point out a Charger and talk about chrome. I was impressed with the place- they do some cool stuff there. It made me wanna wear a coverall.
A friend of mine gave me a new red moleskine journal last week. I have been looking at it for days, unable to crack the spine because I am not sure what I want it to become for me.(Another vessel for lists or a small wish book or a to do list or ideas for writing?)
It is always so exciting to have the clean slate of possibility.
I am thinking I may use it to record the amazing dreams that Finnian tells me about each morning. It has been a few weeks now that he has apparently started recalling his dreams in clarity or he is just now choosing to share.
He has told me with sleepy rapture of his dreams that have ranged from simple play dates with friends to giant megazord characters who roast marshmallows on their tails to assorted candies and sweets and even to sad little vignettes of death. It is fascinating. I can only wake and sorta remember a feeling of a dream. I can sense if my dream was something pleasant or not. I think my brain activates with a jarring start the moment I wake. I am jealous of Finn. He wakes peaceful and doesn't have so much shit in his head yet to take away the dreams. Lucky boy.
I walk into his bedroom and hold my breath. O dear God. He is gorgeous still, but bald on top and his bangs are shorter than mine were during my brief but startling Parisian Pageboy year.
At least he didn't shave his eyebrows off like my friend
told me that her kid did before picture day at school.
My mom said I cut my own hair too.
Rite of passage I suppose...
You wanna go hat shopping Finn?
It was cold enough to break out my lil baby today. My two dollar coat I got at a thrifty store many years ago. It has been all over the place and always makes me feel good. I plan on wearing it to the post office today and to other such errands.
I am teaching Finn random foreign words like bella and fili. That way he can greet me in the morning and tell me how lovely I look and ask for a kiss in Greek. I told him ladies will pull sweets from their handbags if you tell them how lovely they are. I am so naughty! But, twice this week he has complimented older woman and one gave him a quarter and one a lollipop at the copy shop. He is going to be dashing when he grows up like his dad.
I think we are going to learn how to say some French words today. I can still read a bit of French from my long ago studies, but can't speak it. I hate how the brain when fat and lazy loses information. Like I also used to know how to say "Please take off yr dress" in Russian and I just can't for the life of me remember anymore...
P.S. Mama's Village is writing again. I love her!