Thursday, June 20, 2013

Food that hasn't died

When most people think of summer, I bet they think of sun and snow cones and swimming. They feel warm and happy.  When I think about summer, I get scared and itch.
According to my extensive internet research, one out of every ten people is highly attractive to mosquitoes. Those of us in this ten percent will spend five minutes outside and get fifteen bites while our companions get none. I might be flattered if it was my face or figure that was such an insectual lure. But no. It's just the way my body processes cholesterol that brings the buzzing boys to the yard. Thanks a lot, body. Also I'm allergic. My bites swell to the diameter of a tennis ball and itch like a _____ (rhymes with itch).
This is problem enough in my native Utah or new Colorado home. But DC takes Meg the Meal to a whole new level of terror. To quote Leslie Knope, " [In Washington] It’s 120 degrees with 200 percent humidity because this is a stupid swamp town". While we're actually enjoying some pretty mild temperatures, the swampish humidity is at large and with it some freakish, monster, giant, amazonian mosquitoes. I'm sure these are the same suckers that were feasting on T-Rexes and getting stuck in amber.
In the last two weeks I've gone through an entire can of Raid and ten repellent coils. Anyone who comes near me gets a nose-full of eu de Off. My legs are covered in scabs where I've scratched bites into oblivion. Almost my entire Google history is West Nile Virus related. I swat at the air even when there's nothing there.
I'm a freaking mess.

Monday, June 10, 2013

At least most of them wear deodorant

"That was me," said Stephen, pointing to the kid in the Ramones T-shirt and black pants, slumped over, walking a good fifty feet behind the rest of his youth group who were undoubtedly touring the memorials for some sort of leadership training. 

A visit to any sort of tourist location in Washington DC during the summer months is an inevitable painful reminder of just how miserable existence is during ages twelve to eighteen (give or take a year). Whether there with their well-intentioned parents or a charter bus full of student government middle schoolers, these kids struggle with being human.

While touring Gettysburg and trying to better understand the solemn events that took place during the gruesome Civil War battle, in the distance we heard the voice of a young girl whine, "Mom, just take the picture! It's so hot out here. TAKE THE PICTURE."

An exhausted Scout leader herded his pack through the hillside of grave markers while one portly adolescent with a poor understanding of reverence barked, "Did you see The Hobbit? Hey, did you guys see The Hobbit? I memorized this song from The Hobbit," and proceeded to sing the song he had memorized from The Hobbit.

If they're not wearing scout uniforms, they're wearing matching T-shirts in the most obnoxious color imaginable. They're also completely oblivious to anyone around them who might be trying to take a mediocre photo of the FDR memorial.

Stephen saw himself in the loner Ramones kid.  I tried to find  myself among the seemingly thousands of kids we weaved through to get from the Jefferson Memorial to the MLK. There was the girl walking between groups,  muttering to herself. The girl with fluttery eyelashes walking alongside the shorter, freckled, dopey-grinned boy. The girls taking selfies next to the Potomac and the girls sticking their tongues out for a phot-op next to the sign that read "Martin Luther King Memorial". I couldn't find the exact thirteen-year old version of myself, but I know I was there somewhere. I was in a bright T-shirt, spending half my time pouting and the other half flirting, shooting disrespectful pictures, and generally taking up  a lot of space. I don't understand why anyone took me anywhere.

Thankfully we had a few moments of solitude, away from the teenage invasion. Moments when we could really soak in the grandeur of this place. 

And moments when we could feel glad to be grown ups. Or at least more grown up.

Look real close and you can see  three thousand neon shirts.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fight or flight or both

Well, we made it. Stephen, Ivy and I are now DC inhabitants, for the summer anyway. Stephen started the drive a week ago, and made it from Utah in three days. Ivy and I and a really large, overstuffed, barely passed the wight limit suitcase, flew on Tuesday.

Isn't flying weird? You're packed in a metal box with, what, a hundred strangers? And no one really wants to talk to each other and some people smell weird and some people have been flying for thirty hours straight and are pretty much walking dead, and some people have the audacity to bring a small child who can't sit still for more than three minutes at a time. Me. I'm that people. I prepared for the worst. While blessing the food at a family dinner the night before, my dad prayed, "Please bless that Ivy will be manageable on the flight tomorrow," and I opened my eyes and looked at my mom. We both had knowing looks because we were confident there was no way that was going to happen. I loaded the ipad with sesame street, packed an entire pack of graham crackers, three bottles, dolls, books, binkies, OH, that reminds me. Quick tangential story: So we barely made it through security without Ivy having a complete melt down, and I was trying to carry her, a back pack, a purse and a camera to our gate so when Ivy dropped her binky there was not way in H E double hockey sticks that I was going back for it. But then about halfway down the terminal, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to see a pregnant woman with three kids. "Here's the binky you dropped," she said. I was so flabbergasted that I rushed through a thank you and hurried away. I should have given her a long hug, shed a few tears, and told her she should run for president. I don't care if she's killed someone or sold drugs to senior citizens or driven in the carpool lane without any passengers, that woman is going straight to heaven, because she's pregnant and has three kids but she went down the escalator, grabbed the binky, went up the escalator and followed me who knows how far just so my baby would have a binky. Freaking saint.

ANYWAY. Ivy and I were the last to board the flight,  and as we finally made our way to the back of the plane, after being touched and photographed by a group of foreign tourists (it's not as flattering as it seems, they also took pictures of the baggage claim carousel) and hit in the head with some luggage, Ivy got mad. She cried and squirmed and peed and then the guy in front of us moved his seat all the way back. I sat there stirring with anger, feeling like the world was closing in on me as Ivy wailed. And then, I did something I never thought I would be able to. I tapped the should of the man in front of me and said, "I'm sorry sir, but I have a child on my lap and we don't have a lot of room. Could you move your seat forward a little bit?", he said sure and I should have hugged him and shed a few tears and told him to run for president, but I was too embarrassed. But also proud, because usually I just think terrible thoughts about people who probably have no idea that they've done anything to make me mad.
So, I was no longer having a panic attack and Ivy, who was watching Sesame Street, was no longer crying, and things were looking pretty okay. Then. THEN. I can't believe what came next was anything but divine intervention. Ivy fell asleep. Never in her 16 month life has she fallen asleep in my arms. But there she slept. For three hours. It was bliss. I watched Safe Haven without any sound. I played iPad solitaire. I sipped my diet coke at a leisurely pace without any fear of it being knocked over. I sat and stared. It was the best flight of my life.

Sure, as soon as we made it to Dulles Ivy threw up on me, and sure, we had to wait forty-five minutes for some misplaced luggage, but we made it alive.
Now we're here and we couldn't be happier.

Monday, June 3, 2013

and mark it with a b

This kid.
So stoked to be in the great outdoors

She's a full blown toddler now, complete with opinions and attitude. Ivy believes that she should be outside every hour of every day. No matter where we are, she finds the nearest door and begs to be let outside. If her request is refused, a tantrum inevitably follows, and I become the mother I've always judged who can't control her kid.

Spotting stairs

Once outside, she searches for stairs. Even though she's toppled down entire flights more than once, she still insists on scaling steps with a bottle in one hand and a leaf or toy or or snack in the other.  


She's also a comedian. She knows the doggy says "woof woof." She was barking at dogs before her first word. But when I ask her, "What does the doggy say?," she responds with "Meow," then laughs hysterically. She cracks herself up all the time. She'll mumble complete gibberish and then hunch over, giggling uncontrollably. 

She never shies away from an opportunity to perform. Her routine consists of: 
-dancing: boucing her knees up and down while flailing her arms all around 
-patty cake: "addy kay, addy kay, roe id, ab it, woo!" 
-peek-a-boo: Trying to cover her eyes with her hands and then pulling them  away and grinning

She's a stubborn little pill but a total delight.