Every day that Charlie (my Charlie) has preschool, he comes home tired. He unbuttons his coat, slips off his shoes and asks if he can watch a Charlie Brown video--it's sort of Charlie's version of having a cocktail after a long day at the office. Since I am generally surviving on very little sleep and pretty tired myself these days, I usually say yes to his request for more Charlie Brown. Today the kids watched Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown. This led to a discussion at dinner about being in love and what that means. Can you be in love with spaghetti and meatballs? Does this mean you're going to marry spaghetti and meatballs? I was in and out of Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, but I guess there is a lot of love talk in that movie (or at least more than in, say, You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown).
While I do like spaghetti and meatballs a lot, I would not say I'm in love with them. I do not want to marry them. I do have a few things that I am in love with at the moment, though. And if I weren't already very happily married to Brandon, I might consider marrying them (in an imaginary Emma and Charlie world where you are allowed to marry things, food and/or your own baby). Here's a list of what I'm in love with at the moment:
- The Miracle Blanket. I was about to give up on ever sleeping more than an hour at a time...and then the miracle blanket came into my life. It is like a little straight jacket for babies and it is amazing how much it helps them sleep. Teddy started sleeping long stretches the first night with the miracle blanket. He even put himself to sleep in it one night! Amazing! I am dedicating my first book to the miracle blanket.
- Teddy's room. I didn't set up a nursery for Teddy right away because we only have three bedrooms--one is Mommy and Daddy's room, one is Emma and Charlie's room and one was sort of a man room/guestroom/place to put all the unsightly toys and mismatched furniture. It was really a cute room as you can imagine. For some reason, before Teddy was born, I thought we needed to preserve this room so that it could fill its many functions. And I figured Teddy would be in Mommy and Daddy's room for a while anyway, so why mess with the ugly man/guestroom? After being in Austin for Christmas for two weeks, I came back and saw our house with fresh eyes and realized the ugly man/guestroom was valuable square footage that could be turned into something much more useful than as a place to put guests and husbands and piles of stuffed animals. So, I decided to move Teddy's hammock bed and changing table into that room and move the TV into Mommy and Daddy's room. Having a TV in our bedroom is not really the most romantic thing in the world, but it was either we have the TV there or put it right next to the other TV in the living room and pretend like we're living at the gym or a sports bar. Teddy's room is still pretty sparse, but I kind of like its sparseness. I kept the futon in there just in case we ever have any guests. So basically there's a futon, a changing table and a baby hammock and that's about it. I have some watercolor pictures that Emma did a long time ago hanging on the wall in frames. It's still pretty bare, but I love going in that room now. Somehow it makes Teddy feel so much more real to me. He takes up a room--he's not just crashing over in the corner. Plus, I love how clean and simple the room is. It feels like starting over in there. Like a blank slate.
- Cheese. Not just any cheese either...parrano cheese is the one I want to marry. I tried it for the first time a month or so ago when I was in Whole Foods with Charlie. Charlie loves cheese and he always wants to try the free cheese samples at Whole Foods. His young palate did not approve of the parrano cheese and this was apparent by the way he pulled an already sucked on piece of cheese from his mouth and handed it to me. I, however, loved this cheese. It was a beautiful moment in Whole Foods when the cheese and I were first were introduced. I don't know if you're familiar with parrano cheese (I wasn't until Charlie pointed it out), but it is a combination of sort of a Parmesan-y and a gouda-ish cheese. It's described on wikipedia as "mild and nutty, combining salty and sweet flavors." It's the kind of thing that you eat and you are just so thankful that someone cares enough to make stuff this good. It really does restore your faith in humanity (and cheese).
- Teddy. He exceeds all baby expectations. I can't say enough good things about him. I'm totally head-over-heels for Teddy. Sure he has his moody times, his I don't-really-care-that-you-have-a-million-things-to-do-I-want-you-to-hold-me times. But don't we all? I love that he sucks his knuckles sometimes when he's sleeping. I love his crazy hair and his eyes that are a million different colors at once. I love that he is not stingy with the smiles or the cuddles. I love how he tolerates the fierce love of his brother and sister. I love that he has come into our family and made it into this new, wonderful thing.
- Alice Munro. I asked for the Alice Munro book Runaway for Christmas. I got two copies of it. (Thanks, Uncle Bradley once again! And thanks Gigi & Granddad!) I have been reading it and I'm about halfway through maybe. Alice Munro is like the parrano cheese of short story writing. Her stories are nothing short of perfection. You'll start out reading one and you're like hmmmm....this is a story about old people in Canada. Surely this story will be boring. But it isn't. Each one takes you to an unexpected place, the character that you thought would have nothing to offer you is in fact as complex and real and human as if they were sitting right next to you. The way her stories unfold is nothing short of a miracle; when you get to the end of one you realize that, sort of like your own life, things couldn't have happened any other way. Love, love, love that Alice Munro.
- Tina Fey. I'm so glad Emma is growing up in a world with Tina Fey in it. If I had known Tina Fey existed back when I was in high school I think it would've given me so much more hope, so much more to shoot for. Who knew that when I was in high school watching Teen Witch on HBO for the zillionth time, Tina Fey was too? Did anyone else see Kenneth's "Top That" rap on 30 Rock last week? I was beside myself with excitement when I saw that. My anti-TV friends are going "what?" right about now. I won't bother explaining the Teen Witch reference. If you know what I'm talking about, then you'll know how funny it was. It felt like a Tina Fey shout out to nerdy, funny girls everywhere. It made my heart soar. I also loved her "suck it" speech at the Golden Globes. Top that!
- Brandon. What can I say here that won't make everyone want to puke from mushiness? I love him for his patience and his acceptance of me, for his devotion to our family and for his uncanny ability to make me not only happy, but content. I love that we find the same things funny and the same things not funny. I love that he will watch the Golden Globes with me (and seem genuinely excited when Kate Winslet wins) when (yet another) playoff football game is going on. Lately what I love most of all is that he can always put Teddy to sleep with this little dance that he does that's like swaying and bouncing all at the same time. It takes a real man to dance like that. I love you, Brandon...more than spaghetti and meatballs and more than parrano cheese. Even more than miracle blankets. Now that's saying a lot.