Monday, June 06, 2005


Yesterday I left A's house about 2pm and went and picked up Ocelli, my 4-year old goddaughter. Her mom and dad are in Mexico on a last hurrah vacation since the new baby will be arriving at the end of August. Her grandparents were supposed to come down and stay with her, but grandpa ended up in ICU after not wearing a proper mask while using a paint compressor.

So the Aunties stepped up.

Everytime I have one of the small children in my universe in my care I come away with renewed respect for parents. It is an exhausting prospect to spend hours and hours with a small child who wants to be entertained and has not yet mastered control of emotional outbursts. Ocelli is actualy a really easy kid to be with. She isn't defiant although that could be because I'm somewhat indulgent. She's a good eater and she goes to bed and goes to sleep and even though she's really missing her mom and dad at this point because they've been gone a few days now she's still a treat to be with.

But it is exhausting to be so aware of the well being of another, quite small person. I heard someone once describe being a parent as walking around with your heart outside your body and I'd say that's pretty accurate. Even when it's not your kid, but it's a child you love because you were there filming when her little head popped out and she looked around the room with wide open eyes, and you've known her her whole life. She's at school right now and all I want to do is go get her because she cried when I dropped her off this morning. And even though I know that once I left she settled in and is probably having a great time, especially because she's wearing, what is probably her best dress - we're talking gold trim here - it still broke my heart to walk away and see her little face crumple.

It totally sucks.

Ysterday we headed down to Long Beach to hang with friends and watch John Doe sing at Fingerprints, a super awesome independant record store. We sat on the floor up front and watched for about 45 minutes and then I had to walk with her down to the beach. Because I had said that I would and I don't lie to little kids. We made an agreement that we would go down there and but there would be no wearing of the bathing suit and no going in the water. And she pretty much stuck to the agreement so it was all good except that I forgot about the potty thing. And of course once we got across the big street and held our breath and climbed the stinky stairs and walked allllll the way down to the water, she had to pee.

There was no way we were going to make it to the bathroom. And no way we were going in the water. So I did the only thing that seemed reasonable in that situation. I pulled her pants down and had her cop a squat on the beach. And then we buried the wet spot. Just as the lifeguard drove by. He just waved.

We went back to my friend's house for dinner and John Doe came over after his performance since he is a friend of the family. Ocelli was getting bored so I asked Mia, who is six and another one of my favorite kids, to put some make up on her. Ocelli loves make up. Especially anything that has glitter. When we sat down for dinner Ocelli joined us looking a lot like Bette Davis in "Whatever Happened to Sweet Baby Jane," but you know it had provided the grown ups with about 45 minutes of uninterrupted conversation. And it all washed off when I put her in the tub before we went home.

I thought she'd sleep in the car, but I'd also promised her that we would watch The Incredibles when we got home. And a promise is a promise so she was bound and determined to stay awake and watch the damn movie. Since we got home at 9:30 I had to make a deal with her to watch half before bed and half in the morning. She could barely stay awake so she was amenable. When we went upstairs to go to bed she picked one of those singing books for me to read before sleep. One where you push the button and tinny music comes out that you sing along with. And that was fine because I know all the songs. What wasn't fine is that one of the buttons got stuck and I couldn't make the music turn off. It didn't matter what I did. I flashed forward to 3am with the sound of "tinkle, twinkle little star" repeating over and over and over from under a blanket downstairs.

I have really good hearing.

It did finally stop and we decided to go with another selection and then she passed out horizontally on the bed. And kicked me all night in her sleep. She also doesn't like to sleep with covers on so I kept waking up and pulling them back up. Needless to say I was pretty tired when we woke this morning at 7am to go downstairs and watch the rest of The Incredibles. And then there was the eating of the breakfast and the outfit selection. I may be indulgent, but I did not, for one second, believe that today was "jama" day at school and that is why she's wearing a beautiful, flowy party dress with gold embelishments, a velour jacket and Ugh boots with pink jewels on them.

But her hair was brushed (tears!) and her teeth were brushed and I remembered to pack her a lunch (turkey slices, yogurt squeezy, string cheese, celery sticks and peanut butter and a red vine). We got to school almost on time and I was only an hour late getting into the office and I will probably go pick her up a little early so we can hang out a bit before we go pick up her mom and dad at the airport tonight!

She's going to be so happy and I'm going to go home and collapse!

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