two boys, a pooping pug and a therapy poodle for Hulk

Today was the first full day by myself with both Adam and Oliver Fern (Adam has Mondays off from preschool). It was not that bad except I worried a lot Adam would be bored because normally he and I do a lot of reading, playing and walking adventures and clearly our normal activities would be limited with the wee one. I will say this- Adam makes a great lackey. He enjoyed being given various orders and I simply delighted in having what amounted to a remote control robot to fetch me things from here or there during the times Oliver was flailing about and clawing me like a wolverine pup, ready to scream any moment for the bottle of milk in my hand.

The day as a whole went relatively smooth, but it started out with a couple bad bumps in the morning. First, Lucy pooped in the house for the first time in a couple years (and the other time was probably due to stomach upset). It was our fault: We forgot to let her out last night. The little poop egg she laid was as traumatizing for her as it was for us. It was a few hours before she could look me in the eye.  Secondly, Oliver’s first nap of the day was a gothic nightmare. I was so upset after going up to soothe him for the 255th time (sleep training) I threw the upstairs phone against a door and it broke into several pieces: I felt so alone and over my head the moment just before the phone broke. But I felt a lot better after my attempt to obliterate it. I went into Oliver’s room and he finally fell asleep as I softly hummed and patted him on the chest. When I went downstairs Adam asked me in his heartbreakingly innocent way what the bang was and I told him I dropped a book and he went back to his coloring book none the wiser, though he chastised me for being too noisy for Oliver’s sake. For some reason, over the years the second handset upstairs has been deemed by my Hulk alter ego as expendable during times of extreme stress. I don’t know why, it just makes the perfect target. Uniden phones seem to hold up the best. Panasonic, our current system, has not been fully evaluated as the handset is still laying on the floor upstairs with the battery cover fallen off. Diana didn’t say anything tonight, at some point she will. She tends to initially have a don’t ask/don’t tell policy about a broken upstairs phone, regarding them as so much the occasional collateral damage.

For the rest of the day, naps were much easier. It usually took Oliver less than five minutes to fall asleep. Before lunch we walked down to Madison to a music school where I wished to inquire about piano lessons for Adam. The school is located in an old bungalow behind a French restaurant. Nobody seemed to be home even though the door around the corner in back was wide open. Adam was disappointed but the scooter ride home made up for it.

We went for another walk-and-scooter in the afternoon and ran into my mom’s friend Nell, who is the sweetest person. I must have stared too long at the dormer on her house (I’m always wondering if they’ll paint the shakes on it) which looms high above the sidewalk, because halfway down the next block I turned around and she was following us with a big smile on her face. She was accompanied by her cute toy poodle who is a therapy dog. I always like to talk with Nell because she’s bitingly honest about her life and how things are going, she told me about a trouble she’d had and on our way home I felt like I suddenly had this weird clarity into my own recent stress. Nell’s a beautiful woman, she has long silver hair.

Today our new Katsura trees were planted in the parking strip, we got rid of the two very declining crabapples. We waited until the last minute to get the Katsuras and got stuck with tiny specimens, but it turns out getting rid of the crabapples was even more addition-by-subtraction than I realized so the Charlie Brown trees don’t bother me.

We didn’t make it down to the Japanese Garden yesterday. But here are a few pictures from last week when Adam and I went down together, it was very dark and late in the day. I really liked this serious face, it’s my favorite kind of portrait. I like smiles and friendly faces, but often in portraits I find them distracting from the essence of a person unless it’s a totally candid moment. Maybe that’s why I always enjoy pictures of babies who are smiling, they’re being completely honest with you. At any rate, I have a policy to never ask Adam to smile and he takes it to heart when he knows a camera is pointed his way. It’s probably a good thing, because he cannot pretend smile without passing out.

I’ve been taking pictures of him on this bridge every year since he was a wee little lad….

The path here is probably my favorite place in the Garden in autumn.

Adam’s sitting where a little creek flows down the hillside.

2 thoughts on “two boys, a pooping pug and a therapy poodle for Hulk

  1. Striking scene for portrait work; the colors are amazing. Adam looks so grown up! I thoroughly enjoy your style of writing – the details you include paint a full picture and bring the reader into the moments shared. What a gift – and your recorded memories will certainly be cherished treasures for Adam and Oliver in the years ahead.

  2. That picture of Adam with the leaves in front of his face is awesome, I really like it. Sorry to hear about the upstairs phone and your day of frustrations. I have been known to throw cell phones, so at least the landline types are cheaper to replace. Also, poor Lucy! The no-eye-contact existence of shame is all too familiar around here.

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