Friday, July 20, 2012

Tragedy averted

The other day I stuck Taran in the car to take him somewhere, but honestly I can't even remember where because the whole memory was wiped out by one beacon panic moment of almost losing the beloved K Bear.  K is an essential part of every aspect of our day now - accept for maybe baths - and I find myself in an almost daily panic about what would ever happen if he were to be lost. We bring him on every car trip be it five minutes or five hours and K has helped get us through many a hairy car ride. So anyway, we were driving somewhere and I was late, partially because I was running around the house looking for our trusty pal. When we got out to the car, I threw him on the roof (yes folks, gasp at my thoughtless blunder because you can probably guess where this story is going) so I could strap the little guy into his carseat. And then I drove away. Fast. And didn't return for several hours.
By the time we got home from....Ah yes, it's all coming back to me now, the annual food truck was bedtime. And if K is a trusty partner-in-crime for many a fun activity throughout the day, he is an absolute vital man-on-board for the journey into dreamland. As soon as we pulled Taran out of the car and I didn't see K lying beside him I knew something was terribly wrong. This is the moment I have been dreading; trying to explain to my two-year-old son the inevitable loss of his beloved companion by his scatterbrained Mom. If there is one image that might help you know how this little bear is cherished, think of Taran sitting in his little chair in the living room corner, caressing K's fur and kissing his worn nose, exclaiming "That's nice" after each tender smooch (which is what we say I guess when we see him do this) and "Love you". This is a multiple-times-a-day occurrence.  Before Joe could even fully process what happened I was half-yelling "get him in the house and ready for bed. I've got to find  K Bear!". This is so ridiculous. We're talking one foot of grungy, fluffy faux fur, stuffed with polyster and I felt like I had just ax-murdered a dog. I was in such a panic it took me five minutes to figure out the best course of action: Drive down the street? I might whiz by too fast and not see him. Walk? Too slow.  I even got as far as pulling my car half way out of the driveway then jumped out to grab my bike instead, then realized my car was actually hanging out in the street so I dropped my bike (in the street of course) to pull the car back into the driveway. Basically, I'm just really hoping the neighbors weren't watching this fiasco.
As it turns out, K was lying in the yard three houses down. A few major tire tread marks across his nose and belly, but otherwise intact. I even had time still to handwash him, throw him through the spin cycle, whir him in the dryer on high until he was fluffy and toasty and still be upstairs to read Taran one final bedtime story and get him down for his usual bedtime. With K of course. Now the next time I bring up to Joe that we really need a back-up K, maybe he won't scoff at me.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

"Eat. In the mouth."

Today was a super exciting day in the Tien household - we took Taran's new birthday wheelbarrow and harvested our first potatoes and beets out of our garden! All of us were equally excited to push aside the mounds of straw and dirt, revealing the pale, speckled kennebecs hiding in the soil. Taran was jumping all around calling out "Get another big one! Get another big one!" Many of them are still just the size of a fava bean, but a few were quite large and are now sitting on our counter waiting to be roasted with lemon thyme from our herb bed and candy onions that we picked up at our farmers market yesterday morning.

It's been an exhausting week trying to catch up with all the work we couldn't do when we were in Cleveland last week to escape the heat during the week long power outage. Joe and I are both feeling like limp rags so a kick-it-around-the-house weekend has been just perfect. Plus you never know what amazing things you'll see right in your own backyard.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Happy July 4th everyone!

It's been an eventful week around here so I've been a bit remiss about my blog entries. Last Friday night, an insane storm blew in and knocked down trees throughout the city and beyond. Not surprisingly we lost power, but when it still hadn't turned on by morning - and between temps in the upper 90's, no electric, and a toddler - Joe and I made a split decision to pack up the car and the child and all the food we could salvage and take the 2.5 hour drive North to Joe's parents house. That was 7 at a.m. and by 8:45 the wheels had hit the pavement and we were off. We live in a 1915-built house in an old neighborhood that is notorious for losing power for up to a week at a time.

 Once we were able to hear the news we found out that 660,000 people were out of power within the surrounding area and the outages are ongoing 6 days later. Although I received a text from neighbors this evening letting me know the power was back on, we decided to stay put through the weekend. As it turns out two of Joe's closest high school buddies are also in town this week with their wives and kids who are all within week/months of Taran's age. Plus, we planned to have family drive down to see us on Saturday to celebrate Taran's second birthday, but it seems sort of silly to have them drive down in two days when we are right here, right now. So anyway, we walked into the house on Saturday morning and my father-in-law informed us that our area of Columbus and surrounding states had experienced a "Dorito". I was a bit bewildered to what he was referring but it turns out there is a storm system called a "Derecho". ("You say Dorito, I say Dorecho" la la). Who knew? No one I've talked to has ever heard of such a thing so I certainly don't fault the man for being a bit perplexed by the name. But it was quite serious and winds reached upwards of 90 miles an hour. I guess that explains it. It couldn't have been a more perfect week for the power outage to happen - I'll spare you the details and just say that any other week it would have been impossible to leave with work, but this week, all the stars aligned or something and Joe and I were both able to leave with not too much finagling. And Taran couldn't be more thrilled. As far as he's concerned every morning at Ye Ye and Nai Nai's is Christmas morning. So he's been waking up at 5 am and immediately asking to see them. I keep trying to explain that waking up earlier won't help him to see them any faster, because despite the force and enthusiasm of their love for him, they still manage to sleep until a reasonable hour so he might as well do the same. So far, this message has not struck home. I do love that he loves being around family so much. He's just been this radiant ball of joy since we got here. An exhausted ball, but a radiant one.

He's just as happy as can be as long as his posse is near.

Sometimes his unbridled enthusiasm can lead to some sticky spots. This seems to be particularly true when it concerns his interactions with other toddlers. I love that he wants to "hold the hand" of everyone he meets. And for those who are old enough to be amused by this, it's no problem. Yesterday at the playground, for example, he heard a couple of boys talking on a platform high above us. He of course wanted me to take him up to investigate and before I had even finished climbing the ladder he said to one of the eleven-year olds perched up there..."hold the hand?"

Luckily, the boy was super friendly and great with little ones and was totally pleased to hold Taran's hand and play with him.

I think the distinguishing feature for when it's been ok and when it hasn't comes down to body size. Taran will very nicely ask to hold the hand, but then, without waiting for an answer, he will snatch the unsuspecting victims hand up and shoot off in a mad tear, unwilling participant bumping along behind him. Not surprisingly, this has led to a few tears being shed by the small, hapless participee in question (yes, I know, it's not a word and spell check is yelling at me, but you know what I mean). To see Taran's face in response is totally heartbreaking. He's totally crushed and upset that whatever friend he's wanting to be near is a) crying and b) doesn't want to hold his hand. Ugh. This is not one of the joys of parenting. Because how do you explain to a not-quite-yet two-year old about boundaries?! I was totally in an out-of-perspective funk after this happened several times this week with different children, thinking "Are these the kinds of experience that put a black spot on our souls? When our joy and our passion run face first into a wall, is that how we get jaded?" Yes I know, I know, totally melodramatic. Blame it on the sleep deprivation. But seriously. Our kids will have to have their feelings crushed sometimes in learning about the world and learning to exist harmoniously in relationship to others. As I was driving along pondering all this one day, a song came on my cd player that the whole family loves, including Taran (It's the best when he tries to sing along without knowing the words and his mouth is opening and closing in an imitation of singing with a lot of made up words thrown in). The words reminded me that life is a double-edged sword and that the beauty in life can only be experienced because we also know pain. Somehow it felt like Taran was sending me a message in loving the song. Like he understood what the song was saying and that he chooses to eat life in all it's complexities. I know... deeper than a two year old is capable of. But I felt better after I had the thought.