I slept like a top last night. I love it when that happens. I love waking up at 2:45 a.m. and knowing that the alarm is not going to go off at 5. I love slithering around under that electric blanket and then gingerly getting out of bed to go get a drink of water, pee, and check on Liv. The wood floors are cold as hell this time of year and Jack Frost has decorated all the windows. The snow looks almost pretty as it sits in pristine glory over the front yard. Almost. Not that I am fooled for a minute, though. I am a prairie girl; I've driven in snow and ice. I know that it is not pretty. Not really.
I love checking on Liv and watching her head poked up out from under her mountain of blankets (she refuses an electric blanket, prefers 4 woolen blankets instead), her mouth open, Socks laying on the blanket at her feet, his head on his paws. Sometimes, I see both of their heads poking out from under the blankets and I know he has once again coaxed her into letting him burrow under with her. They like to lay in bed and whisper, tell secrets before sleep.
And then I hop back into bed, thoroughly chilled and it is like balm to my aching joints to slide into that warm bed and to seek out Bing's warm feet with my cold ones.
Now, it is a frigid Saturday afternoon. We've just come home from grocery shopping. Bing and Liv are making pumpkin bread. Soon the house will smell like a very good dream.
Liv and I finished our Christmas shopping this morning, starting at a book store and ending at a bakery. She has noticed that I am filling the house with Vietnamese foods for Vince and Thuan's visit from Chicago for Christmas (rice noodles, tree ears, coconut milk, sliced sour bamboo), and I am wondering if it has caught her attention, too, that I am stocking up on Indian foods as well (hot sweet chutney, nirav almonds, cumin seeds, garam masala and saffron.) If she has noticed, she has not said anything about it. But, this child misses nothing. Tinton and Nirand are scheduled to fly in Christmas Eve night at nine. We are going to pretend to go looking at Christmas lights and then decide to watch some planes fly in, hoping to surprise her. But, I have a sneaking suspicion that Liv and Socks are whispering about the possibility of a visit from her father for Christmas. As I said, this child is smart as a whip and misses little. After all, she did perform as a human cell in her Montessori winter program.
My favorite line of hers was:
My basement membrane consists of an electron dense membrane called the lamina densa, about seventy nanometers in thickness...
Only in Montessori do they have winter programs like this. The rest of the schools are singing about how all they want for Christmas is their two front teeth. Not our kids. They sing about endothelial cells.
We'll see if she is surprised...
But, now, without further ado...on to the questions.
My good buddy, Eric, wants to know what the air speed of an unladen sparrow is.
Well, Eric, I am here to tell you that the average cruising air speed of velocity of an unladen european swallow is roughly 24 miles an hour.
Thank you, google.
Kristi asks if I ever regret not having another child and if Liv would enjoy a sibling.
The answer is yes. I have often wished that I could have another child. But, I was 41 when Liv was born and it was sort of a miracle. I don't think lightning strikes twice. But, when she was about five, I started hankering for another baby which shocked the hell out of me, considering that she had colic for the first four months of her life and turned me into a sleep deprived blob. I remember vividly hanging over the side of her crib at 2 a.m. listening to her scream and singing in a sweet voice She drives me crazy...like no one ca--an. She drives me crazy and I can't stand her right now...
And yes, I think Liv would have loved a sibling. But, you get what you get. And she gets me, an aging hippie mama, who is madly adoring of her. Not such a rough life.
LL COOL JOE asks: You write beautifully, so how do you tolerate reading bad English (like mine)?
Joe, I like your blog. I like it because it is honest and funny. And I don't think the grammar is poor. Actually, I don't mind reading poor grammar nearly as much as I mind listening to someone speak with poor grammar. But, my new job is humbling me. Many of my patients are very poor speakers and I love their little hearts to bits. Some of their parents speak poorly as well and I love most of them too, although I have met a few who are just a little too adept at manipulating and that annoys the hell out of me.
I am going to end this blog post with a question that I have thought twice about answering, mainly because it is very personal, but what the hell. I have written about peeing my pants at my doctor's office, right?
One Brick and Deb ask how things came about with Liv's father, Tinton.
Without drowning anyone in detail, I will try to be succinct. Well, as succinct as I am capable of being...
I met Tinton when my niece, Lisette, was in town on her way to a move to a different job in Texas. She was staying with me for a week and visiting with some friends who lived here. She met Tinton at a party and he, with a large group of friends of hers, all came over to my house to pick up Lisette to go to a movie. Tinton had just begun graduate school here on the prairie, was a very young man, yes indeedy.
Lisette moved on to Texas, but Tinton and I stayed in touch, became friends.
Liv was conceived on a night in late October when the moon was full and too much was had to drink. A one night stand. I had finished several rounds of in vitro fertilization about four months before that and had been unable to sustain a pregnancy. Had spent thousands and thousands of dollars with no success. My doctor told me that my eggs were simply too old and that my body did not seem willing to want to stay pregnant.
So, I was sort of sticking my toe in the waters of adoption, although I didn't know how successful I would be at even that, being an over 40 year old single woman.
Enough said. I became a mother and Tinton became a father because of a crazy one night stand that should have never happened. Frankly, we were both shocked. Me in a very good way...him not so much.
Liv was born in late July. 7 pounds, 7 ounces. Every hair on her head perfect. Her apgar was spectacular.
Tinton saw her once when she was a week old and again when she was 10 days old. I asked for nothing from him and he informed me that he had no interest in being anyone's father. When she was four months old, he signed off on all parental rights for her.
I was ecstatic. I think he was too. He transferred to a grad school in New Mexico and I didn't see him again until Liv was three years old. He was in town, was working on his doctorate and asked if he could see her.
I thought about it for nearly two weeks before I consented.
He came to see her and I could tell that in those three years he had changed a great deal. He was not some college kid anymore. He was a man.
The day he came to see Liv was a sunny day in November, crisp and cool. We all sat outside in the back yard and he watched her while she played in the leaves, while she sat on my lap eating apple slices and while she scowled at him when he tried to play a babyish game of peek-a-boo with her.
He fell in love with her. Pelted me with questions as she napped. Wanted to know what her first words were (light, pizza, and baby), her favorite foods (fish sticks, bananas, and toast with jelly), and what he had missed in three years (a butt load of stuff.)
He came by daily for weeks and Liv, being a shy child, took to him slowly. But, once she trusted him, they got along splendidly.
A month later, he told me that it had been the biggest mistake of his life when he gave up his parental rights and asked me if I would let him be a friend to Liv, if not a father.
I told him that he was her father and if he wanted to be that, he could. But, that she lived with me and that would never change. We worked out the parameters of their relationship and it has been a sweet part of Liv's life ever since. She adores him and he adores her right back. I have come to trust him completely and he has proven to be an excellent father. He tries hard to visit her whenever he can and she has traveled to see him as well. As she gets older, I am certain that he will play an even bigger role in her life and that is fine with me. I can't be stingy with love for Liv. I want her to have many, many good people in her life who love her and will be bridges for her to cross over. He is one of those people.
Tinton and I have become friends. We aren't particularly close friends, but we get along well. I never doubt his devotion to our child. He never doubts mine. We are joined in that way and always will be.
Tinton is a geologist. He travels a lot, freelances more than not. He makes a good living but is not settled in one place. He has a long term girlfriend who breeds dogs. (She is the one who sent us Socks.) He and Nirand work together on projects. Sometimes, Tinton teaches for a semester or two at a university. His specialty is in fluvial geomorphology and tectonics and he loves what he does.
He and Bing have a sort of strange relationship. She has some problems with him. She likes him, but doesn't want to. I think it just bugs her sometimes that she puts all this work into raising Liv and then Tinton shows up and he is Liv's hero. Tinton never ever tries to one up Bing or anything remotely like that, so I have no idea where all this animosity comes from. The last time he was here, he told me that this song always reminded him of our relationship and since he plays the piano (and the guitar), he played it for me. If dirty looks could kill, he would have been dead on the floor from Bing's glares. Maybe it is a musician thing, I dunno. She gets kind of jealous sometimes around him and Bing is not a jealous person, in general.
Tinton and I have no real relationship outside of our parenting of Liv, so I am not sure why Bing seems to set her teeth on edge every time he visits. It helps that he brings Nirand with him and Bing and Nirand get along beautifully.
So, she is not thrilled that he is coming for Christmas, but she loves Liv enough to want her to be happy, so she will endure his presence and play nice. Plus, Tinton works very hard not to step on Bing's toes. That helps.
So, that is the story of Tinton.
And yes, you can just call me Mrs. Robinson. Because he just celebrated his 32nd birthday. And yes, I am 50.
Next blog post, I will tackle what I would do if I won the lottery, what state I would live in if I moved and my worst airplane trip.