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If you have small children, I fervently hope you are already familiar with Sandra Boynton’s Belly Button Book. It’s a very funny board book about hippopotamuses and their deep love of belly buttons, and it’s been in our bedtime rotation since before W. could walk.
And when I say “our,” I mean that specifically, as I have recently learned that nobody else gets to read this one to him because nobody does it as well as I do. YES! I RULE!
Naturally, upon learning this, my first instinct was to create a YouTube video of myself reading it so other parents could try to learn to be as awesome as I am. Because I am always selfless. Sadly, I was distracted from this shiny object when my actual son asked me to read him the actual book.
This would be the first time I’d read it with the knowledge that I was the preeminent Belly Button Book reader in the household and possibly – PROBABLY – the world. Naturally, half of me was all, “YES! I’m gonna nail this!” and the other “But what if I choke?”
But as so often happens in parenthood, this turned out not to be a story about me at all. I did perfectly fine, but the show will now be stolen by the little dude.
In this book, there is a baby hippo. The baby’s role is mostly repeating one phrase again and again, so it’s an excellent role to assign to a child. It goes something like this:
Usually Wes is an excellent Bee-Bo deliverer, but today when we got to his first line, instead he sang:
While a Sandra Boynton/early Kinks collaboration has long been a dream of many, the time travel involved has put lesser mortals off trying. Not my boy, though. He continued to sing that line every time “Bee Bo” came up.
Then the one different piece of baby-hippo dialogue came around. (“Boon” for balloon, for the record.) I delivered his cue and game him an “OK, smart guy, let’s hear it” look.
“Waterloo sunset’s fi-i-ine…”
Having a child who mostly likes to listen to the Kinks, David Bowie, Richard Thompson, the Old 97′s and the Divine Comedy is not, I have to say, the heaviest burden in the world.
Last night, W. was tearing around the bedroom, singing “You’re the MOMMY OF THE FUTURE MOMMY OF THE FUTURE MOMMY OF THE FUTURE.”
Then he would stop, announce, “Because you pose for photos like this,” suck in his cheeks and pooch out his lips, and go back to running: “And DAT is why you’re the MOMMY OF THE FUTURE…” and so on and so forth.
I have two thoughts on this:
Hey! I do not!
That sounded a lot like a rudimentary Frank Conniff composition.
(I realize only about six of you will get the second one, but I think it’s worth it.)
Also, I think I have a new blog tagline.
One entire week I’ve spent tweaking a long, detailed entry about how I really hated “Julie & Julia.” A WEEK. I finally realized that I wasn’t having trouble editing it because it was a terrible piece of writing; rather, it was because I just revived this puppy and do I really want to kick things off brutalizing something I disliked that most people seem to love? I do not. We’re not about the hate here, people.
(I will say THIS about THAT: Had I read the first two lines of Roger Ebert’s review before going out that day, I would have known immediately to spend my movie money elsewhere. Those lines were, more or less, “Have you ever wanted to spend a 3-day bus ride sitting next to Julia Child? Just asking.”)
So I’m going to talk about things I love. I love Project Runway! And it’s back, in a new expanded format. Last week’s All-Stars competition was fun to watch up until the judging, which was insane and wrong, but I’m over it now. Then there’s the series proper, which I’m optimistic about this season – so far I’m rooting for Louise Black, because she made this:
…and, well, I’m considering a Lotto habit that would, if successful, allow me to hire her as my personal stylist. I do recognize that the creation of clothes that I want to wear is not always a path to the top on PR (I still have flashbacks of the judges quizzing Chris March on who exactly would want to wear human hair as I tried to figure out what I had to do to get my hands on that dress [it was strips of hair extensions, it wasn't even gross, but I felt a little Cruella about it]). So I’m trying not to get too attached. But whatever happens, we’ll still have Tim Gunn to root for all season long.
If you also are seriously into PR but you haven’t visited Lifetime’s site for the show, you must go there – unlike its sad old broken Bravo counterpart, it has tons of extra content that’s really worth watching.
What else do I love? I love the new album by The Duckworth Lewis Method, a collaboration between The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon and Pugwash’s Thomas Walsh that is all about – well – cricket. I was frightened by that initially; my favorite sport is, after all, avoiding anything to do with sports. But then I heard the first single and was utterly powerless under its spell.
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If you can’t watch right now, I’ll say if you like early Kinks, the Zombies, XTC or cricket, this is the CD for you.
In local news, I am still obsessed with the lunch I had today at Mani’s Bakery. I got a sandwich called “The Regular” on rosemary bread and it might have been the pinnacle of the sandwich-based narrative of my life. And then there was the caramelized apple cake! We were alarmed by the $9/slice price, but then we saw a slab go past and realized it practically demanded to be shared; huge and overwhelming, yes, but quite delicate in flavor. Mani’s is a health-conscious bakery and cafe that tends toward the whole-grain and fruit-sweetened, so if you’re not that kind of eater it may not be up your alley. If you’re on the fence, this tip may help: When deciding between fruit-sweetened desserts, you’ll rarely go wrong picking one that’s supposed to taste like apples anyway.
I’m going to count this as a clearing-out-bad-karma entry. Back soon!
(That was a metaphor. I am not really on a plane, and is that even impressive anymore?)
Often, when blogs go suddenly quiet, it indicates a crisis – illness, a death in the family, some sort of massive stress. That’s certainly been the case here in the past.
Which is why I’m doubly happy to reveal that since my last post, I have made massive progress on both the health and career fronts. And as of last night, for the first time in nine goddamn years, we live in Los Angeles proper again (the only place I’ve ever been interested in living).
“Proper,” in this case, means near our friends, near the restaurants we like, near the good shopping, near a whole lot of movie theaters, near the music venues we like – near enough to everything that we can make evening plans and actually be able to go home after work to change and get fed. Proper means that we can walk to almost everything we need or want; there are a dozen restaurants within a mile that this vegan-with-food-allergies can get a really good meal, that I know of.
Now that I’ll have a whole life to talk about again, I plan to post a lot more regularly. Oh, don’t worry – I’ll still provide notes from watching TV with my kid. I know that’s why you’re really here.
OK, one quick Wes story: This morning was unnecessarily confrontational. Finally, I convinced him to take a nap by lying down with him on my bed. He was still pretty rageful, but he finally settled.
“Mommy?” he said, turning to me. “I love you.”
“I love you too, sweetie.”
“And you’re not my enemy.”
“No, I’m not. You’re not my enemy either.”
“Yes I am!” [and... out like a light.]
More soon, promise!