STICKY

PERHAPS WE LEARNED SOMETHING.....
…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy these Reviews, Responses, Works of Fiction, and Retellings brought to you by one who hopes to someday join the ranks of those who have written something worth reading.
(Kaylia Metcalfe)


Also, don't forget to visit Kaylia's Official Website where you can get information about Kaylia's upcoming events, and learn more about her free lance writing and other publications.

Checking in

Oy.

Ella's separation anxiety is really difficult to deal with.

Thankfully her teething seems to have paused for now... She is sporting 6 teeth; four on top, 2 on the bottom, none even remotely the same size.

She is snagle tooth baby!

She is also jibber jabber baby with no words and Taking Baby Steps baby... only 3-4 at a time, but still!

We have settled in quite nicely to the new apartment.

I am getting used to the stairs. Ella has finally gotten used to waking up in her new room. (Yay!)

We love going for walks... and we go for one every morning. Yep. Every morning. Not sure how long this will last, but for now it is nice.

Really? Life ain't too shabby right now. Of course I need more time, of course nothing is as clean as I want it to be, of course I wish my short story collection was further along...

But really? Things are going well.

Hope the same can be said in your neck of the woods.





Face palm for the day

I'm in the grocery store with Ella. Our cashier is a young guy, early 20s, white, friendly. I have seen him several times because Ella and I go to the store multiple times a week. (Don't judge, mommy needs her walk.)

Anyway, he smiles at me and then he says something along the lines of “Your baby is really cute.”

Quick Humble-Brag moment: My baby is cute. Very cute. I can’t go anywhere without people stopping me to tell me so. Really. /end Humble-Brag.



“Thanks” I say, distracted by the credit card machine.

“What’s her name?” he asks.

Ok, I know this is a fairly typical question. I get it a lot. It is right up there with “How old is she?” BUT, but I still find it slightly odd. Do strangers normally ask my name? No (thankfully). Why ask her name?

Maybe I’m just paranoid and weird. Whatever.

“Her name is Ella, I say.”

“Bella? He asks me, “Like, from Twilight?”


“No!” I say, with probably more venom than necessary, “Ella. EL-la. With an ‘e’.”

He still looks blank, so I clarify further, “You know, like Ella Fitzgerald.”



He looks blanker still, but he smiles anyway, “Oh, I don’t know her. What’s she been in?”

“She’s not an actor,” I say feeling both flabbergasted and annoyed, “She was a musician.”

“Oh!” His smile is even bigger now, “That’s cool. What band is she with?”

“No man,” a voice behind me joins in, “She was a solo act. Like, from a long time ago.”


The Rastafarian man in dreads is now also smiling at me. “Hey man, I think it’s cool that you named your baby after Ella Fitzgerald.”

I debate correcting him, we didn’t name her after Ella Fitzgerald, they just both have the same name, but before I can he cranes his neck around and takes a good long look at her.

She, oblivious to this whole thing has been lounging in her stroller casually eating Puffs and watching the world go by with a look of apathy. She’s bored by shopping and adult conversation apparently.

“Oh.” Mr. Dread Lock Hair looks confused. “Is her daddy black?”

Let me just say here that both Matthew and I are pale pale white people. And Ella, Ella is the palest of all because I smother her in sunscreen when we take the trash out. You don’t want to see the amount she gets covered in before an actual walk.

 


Also, what the hell?

“I blink stupidly at him for a second. “No… her daddy’s a big tall German.”

“Oh,” he looks crushed.

As I push the stroller away he calls out after me, “That’s ok, it’s still cool that her name is Ella. Bye Ella!”

Ella just smiles her toothy grin and pops another Puff into her mouth.

She wasn't just any old singer, by the way, she was a GREAT singer.



Ella Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996), also known as the "First Lady of Song", "Queen of Jazz", and "Lady Ella", was an American jazz vocalist[1] with a vocal range spanning three octaves (D♭3 to D♭6).[2] She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.

Fitzgerald was a notable interpreter of the Great American Songbook.[3] Over the course of her 59-year recording career, she sold 40 million copies of her 70-plus albums, won 13 Grammy Awards and was awarded the National Medal of Arts by Ronald Reagan and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George H. W. Bush.


Things we lost in the move:



My hairbrush. Actually... all three of them. Poof, gone. No accounting for where or why or how.

A shelf for one of the bookshelves. It is a rather decent sized piece of wood. how it could have just wandered off, I have no idea.

My kitchen broom.

My favorite small paring knife. One of the only sharp things in the kitchen that doesn't activly frighten me. Gone. I'm unreasonably bitter about this.

A box of push pins. This is just random and slightly annoying.

Outlet covers (the baby proofing kind). I KNOW I had a box of them.

A roll of black trash bags (unused)

Ella's toothbrush. She had two, now she has one. It is the one that isn't shaped like a toothbrush so really, Ella had a toothbrush and now she has a little plastic banana thing with bristles on it. Poor kid.

Most things are easily replaced. But the mystery goes on. I sort of imagine all these random items (that would have been packed in very different boxes) finding each other at the city dump (because I am assuming that they all got accidentally thrown away... except the shelf, that I jsut don't know.) I imagine them all in a little circle talking about how they miss the family they used to belong to.

The hairbrushes will adopt the baby toothbrush.

The push pins will play with the socket protectors.

The knife will vow to keep them all safe.

The trash bags will turn into a fort.

They will all live happily ever after.

...

Oh.

I guess the other thing I lost in the move was my sanity.

Ahem.




Ella and the Vacuum Cleaner (a story without a happy ending.... yet)


Once upon a time there was a baby named Ella who had colic.

Her mommy knew she had colic because Ella cried. A lot. The doctors and the websites all said that if the baby cried more than three hours for more than three days every week for three weeks… it was colic.

Baby Ella did indeed cry that much.. and more!

So, her mommy knew she had colic… but there wasn’t any sort of cure for colic except for time and patience.

And the vacuum cleaner.

For some reason, listening to the vacuum cleaner would sometimes, only sometimes but still, calm baby Ella down enough to let her fall asleep.

Eventually, baby Ella grew out of her colic and her mommy sighed a HUGE sigh of relief.

Nowadays Ella is almost a toddler. She loves to play and listen to music. She is a very good sleeper (even if she doesn't always want to go down for her naps).

And Ella hates the vacuum cleaner.

If her mommy tries to use it while Ella is playing in a nearby room, Ella screams in terror.

If her mommy tries to use it while Ella is safe in her high chair, Ella screams in terror.

If her mommy tries to use it when Ella is upstairs playing happily in her crib, Ella screams in terror.

Terror. Big body shaking tears and gulping sobs of terror.

The kind of crying that takes nearly half an hour to quiet or sooth away.

So her mommy got crafty: “I’ll vacuum while she is asleep!” she thought, “After all… baby Ella is a good sleeper. She sleeps through parties, TV shows, the door bell and me hammering together a bookshelf! She even slept through kids playing with fire crackers right under her window!”

But Ella has a 6th vacuum cleaner sense. Even asleep, she hates it and will wake up SCREAMING if her mommy tries to use it at night.

Ella’s mommy is at her wits end and the floor is in desperate need for a cleaning.

Can you help Ella’s mommy find a happy ending? She would love you forever!



Roll for Dex and give yourself a -10 for "Baby Interference"

I think Ella's mission in life is to make my life just a bit more dificult so that I appreciate myself and such more. Examples?

Working out.

Not the easiest most fun thing to begin with. One must be motivated to clear a space on the floor, insert the DVD into the player, and then you know… actually DO it. (Yes, there have been times when only steps 1 and 2 have actually happened.)

But working out on the floor while simultaneously being a human jungle gym for a chunky 9 month old? That is more difficult.

Upside: when I finish, I am much more pleased with myself.

Building furniture: Or in my case, assembling particle board furniture, but whatever.

It isn’t all that hard to do… alone. But doing so with a 9 month old who wants to either eat the screws, deep throat the screwdriver, climb on the pieces, or, you know, use mommy has a human jungle gym WHILE doing it? Yes, difficulty bar raised again.

Which makes it that much sweeter when the darn thing is done and the cubbies are inserted and it looks so darn cute in the living room!

 Cooking:

I do cook… and lately I have been cooking while playing baby hopscotch in the kitchen.  Baby hopscotch involves keeping her entertained with her toys, not dropping things o her head when she suddenly barrels into my legs, not stepping on her, keeping her out of the cat’s food and water, keeping her out of the cupboards (the child locks are in the mail box that we don’t have keys to yet… another rant for another day), and still following the recepie or adapting the recipe or saying “crew you” to the recipe and just randomly throwing things into bowls and pots.

Which does make eating a healthy meal at the end of the day very satisfying… even if it isn’t the meal you meant to cook and even if the tuna noodle casserole suddenly has peaches in it.

Anything involving books.
Reading.
Packing
Unpakcing
Shelving
Sorting

It matters not. If the task involves books then it also involves Ella either undoing whatever I just did or redoing it based on baby logic. Or hiding books under the couch. Or bopping me in the head with “Brown Bear” while I am trying to read anything else. Seriously, my daughter has a major love for “Brown Bear”

Talking on the phone

She has figured out that the phone makes fun noises and even more fun noises if she makes noise at it. So…all conversations now take place on speaker so she can gleefully shout out her feelings on the subjects of blocks and the cat to whoever is on the other line. This is great when I am talking to my mom, my aunt, or my Maifan-San. Not so much fun when talking to Comcast or my editor.

I love my daughter. But, I might just love her a little more once she isn’t always attached to my knees with her baby gooey death grip.

Nah, I’ll probably miss these days.


Probably. 

Learning about Sensory Bins





I had read about sensory bins and how they make for hours of fun (and learning) for little ones.

But I had never seen one or done one.

Yesterday was awful. She's teething. She's still not used to the new place. Daddy is out of town. It's hot. Very hot. And there is something like 13 hours of awake time that has to be filled up.

Eating, while time consuming, only takes so long.

Ditto with bath time and such.

We take a morning walk most days; we go early before the worst of the heat and if we miss it, well that's even more time we have to entertain each other.

My point is that E-Fish and I spend a lot of time together in this apartment and it wears us both down.

Like yesterday with the 3.5 hours of fussy clingy no sleeping tired screaming baby.

It sucked.

After she went to bed last night, I revisited the whole sensory bin idea. I looked 'em up online. A few looked relatively easy but I don't have anything that would work as the bin part

Enter our morning trek to Target to get diapers and yogurt. I found, in the dollar section, this:








Hey! I thought, that could make a bin!

After our walk and our snack and with two hours to go until morning nap, I set it up outside.



Actually this photo was post-fun, but you get the idea

Towels, bin of water, random things that pour. Water.

Add baby

Instant fun!

She played for around half an hour. We got soaked. It was awesome.

Next time I'll change up the toys a bit (but having 4 seemed the tight number)...




...and I'll have a towel and dry clothes ready for when we are done.

I am going to eventually try the bin with cornmeal or oatmeal. Messy. But fun.

So hooray for trying new things!

And double hooray for happy baby.And happy mommy...



see how happy I look with my new bin!

(No photos of her during play as there was way too much water flying about)

PS: Our morning fun was made possible in part by the awesome blue canopy we now have in our backyard. Hooray for shade!!!!

A July Morning of Awesome

I suddenly realized that I'm having a great morning so far.

I mean, sure, no one wants to get up before 6 with a crying baby. Yeah. Crying. She used to wake up happy, she used to play in her crib and over the monitor I would hear coos and giggles. I peeked once, she was playing Peek A Boo with herself and her bunny.


Not anymore.

Now she cries and needs cuddles and then pretty quick she wants her bottle and for someone to play blocks or piano with her. So okay not an ideal start.

And then I tried to lay her back down and she got her leg stuck in the bars and it hurt and she was stuck.... More crying.

But eventually I had accepted that we were up and I had even found clothes that fit her (this is getting harder to do as she keeps growing. .. She is 9 months old and wearing 18 month clothes… and the wonderful people who have been nice enough to give us hand me downs seem to all live in cold climates because she has feety pj’s and pants to last a lifetime but she is lacking on summer wear. ANYway….)

She was playing pretty happily (as long as she is less than 2 feet away(or closer most times) she can play “alone” and I prepped the stroller for a walk. I had decided to visit Panera Bread for coffee and for a break from our apartment.

See, in case you live under a rock and have missed the outpouring of complaints on Facebook the West Coast is going through a bit of a beat wave. As in it has been 108 or higher for days now. Like over a week. Don't worry. It's going to cool off to a mere high of 100 by the weekend. And then stay there for a week. 

What this heat wave means for E-Fish and me is that we are pretty much stuck inside our house by a sort of “cruel yellow face that burns us” sort of house arrest This, just days after we moved to a new area with tons of stuff within walking distance. Because irony works like that.

So I thought that since it was before 8 in the morning and thus wasn't quite 90 degrees (yet) and because I had just done the math and had realized that I had something like 12 hours in which to keep E-Fish occupied and since the thought of spending another minute in this apartment was threatening to make me burst into tears.. I decided we would go out for coffee.

The walk to Panera Bread was quick. Only about 7 minutes. On the way we were greeted by three people: the apartment fix-it crew in their golf cart, a middle aged man on a bike, and by an old man in a wheelchair sitting on his lawn and watching traffic. Friendly greetings and a bit of a breeze was vastly improving my morning.

At the restaurant I managed to get a free muffin just by getting one of their free loyalty cards. Mood: pretty sky high at this point.

E-Fish and I enjoyed our breakfast of muffin, puffs, wagon wheels, and coffee (just for me) and chatted. Baby chat is something very special. She babbles at me and sometimes I babble back, but I usually try to actually talk to her. I told her all about the other two times I had been to Panera Bread (thankfully she can’t understand me) and then I told her all about tomorrow being the 4th of July and what that meant. 

She told me all about her muffin and her puffs and how she likes to watch the people throwing their trash away (we were stationed near the trash cans).

As we were leaving I decided I could use a bit more coffee. I wasn’t sure if Panera Bread was the sort of place where one could get free refills… and the line was ong with a fraxled looking cashier… so I did what any sane woman would do: I asked a man in line if he came there often.

Yep.

“Excuse me, do you happen to come here very often?”

He blinked at me.

I realized what I had just said and got a bad case of the giggles.



I explained that I was just trying to figure out the refill protocol and he laughed too and assured me that refills were quite free. Relieved and still feeling a bit mirthful (and now sporting a full cup of coffee) E-Fish and I headed out.

Since we still had some time to kill before the sun tries to kill us, I thought we would stop in at the Grocery Outlet on our way home.

People. Do you know about the Grocery Outlet?

Oh My God.

Food, random knickknacks, tank tops, plants, colored lights, groceries…. I mean.. wow. I didn’t have time or ability to do all my grocery shopping right then and there but I did snag a new hair brush for 99 cents. My mind was blown. 



“Wow!” I kept saying to E-Fish, “Look! They have X!!!” The staff found us both adorable and were super friendly.

So, yeah.


We walked home and played some more… and now she is (loudly) protesting her nap.. but her cries are weakening and my coffee is still warm… and thus so far, it has been a pretty darn good morning.

Hope you are also enjoying your day! and if not... here's some food for thought.