msLaura: Modern Mama Laura Hamilton + Dan Baker = Julian Hamilton Baker & Adrian Hamilton Baker "When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her."
- Adrienne Rich

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Oh, you mean...like this?

Teaching him about cars

Julian and Adrian

Houseboy

Beach Blanket Bershon

Spring Parrots

Parasol

Chez Target

Be quiet, birds!

Separated at birth, by three years

Dr. Teeth

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June 29, 2007

Oh, you mean...like this?


Oh, you mean...like this?, originally uploaded by mslaura.

Teaching him about cars


Teaching him about cars, originally uploaded by mslaura.

They go zoooommmm!

Julian and Adrian


Julian and Adrian, originally uploaded by mslaura.

"My handsome boys", said the proud mama.

June 22, 2007

Houseboy

I have a houseboy, and it's the best money I've ever spent.

He's not really a boy. His name is Beh, he is Iranian, and he is maybe in his late 30's, maybe early 40's. He comes every weekday except Tuesday, and he washes all the dishes, cleans up the kitchen, washes and folds and puts away the laundry, sweeps and mops the floor, changes the sheets, cleans the bathrooms....he does it all. He does windows. He sweeps out the garage. He rearranged my pantry contents and wiped down all the drawers the other day, after I discovered that the Indian Meal moths had come back and were replicating in an open package somewhere.

I heart him. He makes my life so much easier. I can't tell you what a wonder it is to toss a filthy, baby-barf-covered garment into the hamper and then find that same garment clean and perfectly folded in my drawer the next day. THE NEXT DAY! Miraculous, that's what it is.

Before Beh came along it was taking me an average of THREE WEEKS to get clothing folded and put away. Most of the time I just picked clothing out of the unfolded pile in the laundry room, it never even made it out of there into the drawers.

I got the idea to hire a housekeeper slowly. First I was watching "Weeds" on DVD, and the main character is this busy suburban mom whose husband dies, leaving her penniless (and yes, that made me think about life insurance as well. Isn't TV great?) Well, to support herself and pay the mortgage, she ends up selling pot. She has this housekeeper who takes care of things, and no matter how desperate her finances get, she still never considers getting rid of the housekeeper. Because it's THAT GOOD having domestic help.

Secondly, my friend Erika just came back from India not too long ago, where many people have houseboys. I use the term tongue-in-cheek, but I don't think it's too pejorative there. It's literally the person who helps you run your house. I mean, it's an important position. So I was thinking about how wonderful that would be, having a houseboy, and why don't we consider that here?

People get cleaning services here, but I don't want a cleaning service. I want someone who comes every day and does the stuff that needs to be done every day. Like dishes. Like laundry. Like sweeping the floors. If the maids come once a week, your bathroom may be clean but you STILL have to do your dishes and laundry and sweep or vacuum. Usually they don't do that. But that's the most time-consuming stuff of all, especially with kids. And if your dishes or laundry piles up, the house doesn't feel so good to live in.

I put an ad on Craigslist, but I also saw Beh's ad there. He said that he was excellent, and he worked for a reasonable hourly rate, and he could do all kinds of tasks. So I emailed him to propose my idea of daily housekeeping, and he said he was interested. He had good references, so we started right in. He was a little slow at first, but now he just runs on auto-pilot. He comes in and knows just what to do.

He is very personable, very polite and pleasant. He calls me "Miss Laura", and Julian is "Master Julian". Adrian is "Baby". Someday he'll be "Master Baby", I'm sure.

At the end of every day he comes and tells me what he has done, and says goodbye with a smile.
"Is there anything else I can do today?"
Did I mention that I heart him? I mean, he kicks ass over the mostly surly mexicanas that we had coming to clean our house before. They would flit around the house like shadow creatures, never looking you in the eye, practically freaking out if you ever tried to talk to them. Never asked a question about how something worked, or where it belonged. And that's why those are MAIDS and Beh is a HOUSEKEEPER. Because he actually keeps house.

He was asking me about my cleaning products, and I realized that I had nothing but orange cleaner and Simple Green. Fine for me, but the man needed some tools. So I got him all the fancy Method cleaning stuff from Target. You know, Method is the non-toxic cleaning stuff in mod designer packages. Now I have to get him a new broom, because the old one is sad and pathetic, with curled up bristles.

He's a Swiffer Man. The other day he showed me his used Swiffer cloth. It was all dirty and covered in dog hair. "Miss Laura, this is why I LOVE the Swiffer. Because it can pick this up after I sweep and vacuum."

And then for emphasis, "I SWEEP, then I VACUUM. Then I use the Swiffer and all this I pick up." I have to say, I love the Swiffer too, after seeing that. He is a man after Dan's Speckmeister heart, what with all the floor cleaning.

He does have a few faults. He doesn't remember to empty the lint screen in the drier. He keeps putting my mixing bowls all over the place. But minor, minor. I'm so happy, I could care less.

I took on a part-time web design job with Dan's company. On top of that my Portable Baby business is booming, and the kids are of course demanding a lot of attention. Adrian naps, but otherwise he wants Mama to hold him. Julian is pretty much on top of me all day long. Add swim lessons, grocery shopping, other household choring, and the thousands of little tasks remaining...I am seriously overwhelmed right now. But when I can put my dish down next to the sink, or drop my shirt in the hamper and know that it will be taken care of...life is just a little bit easier.

June 16, 2007

Beach Blanket Bershon


Beach Blanket Bershon, originally uploaded by GraceD.

Have you heard of bershon yet?

"The spirit of bershon is pretty much how you feel when you’re 13 and your parents make you wear a Christmas sweatshirt and then pose for a family picture, and you could not possibly summon one more ounce of disgust, but you’re also way too cool to really even DEAL with it, so you just make this face like you smelled something bad and sort of roll your eyes and seethe in a put-out manner."

This photo is a good example of it. Can't you just hear the girl's thoughts...

"Oh, it is hard, sitting on a blanket in the sun with a cute baby, when you have all these FEELINGS."

Spring Parrots


Spring Parrots, originally uploaded by NatashaP.

Another photo by NatashaP. Aren't the colors spectacular?

Parasol


Parasol, originally uploaded by NatashaP.

Isn't this lovely? It's by an amazing photographer, NatashaP.

June 12, 2007

Chez Target

I went to Target on Monday to stock up on household necessities like toilet paper, and to buy Julian a shopping cart. His old shopping cart was a cheapo job that constantly came apart, and the last time it did it cut his finger too.

The Target cart is great. It's as sturdy as a regular supermarket cart. All metal, but scaled down to kids size. Holds quite a bit too, so I can actually put groceries in his cart and have him haul them around the store for me.

Anyway, while we were at Target I saw these incredible Buddha head statues for like $19.99. Then a household gong, on a stand! And the final kicker...a big outdoor Buddha statue for only $49.99. I saw a similar one at a garden store for about $250 just last weekend.

I can't believe that Target has turned into the place that I can buy both toilet paper and Buddha statues. And a gong! A GONG, fer cryin' out loud.

Ugh, I love Target.

When I went to check out, my checker was a pre-op tranny. A pretty bad one. She was about six and a half feet tall, all gangly, with ropy biceps, a prominent adam's apple, scraggly shoulder-length hair and garish makeup.

The next checker over had 4-5 lip piercings and a nose piercing. And the guy out collecting shopping carts in the parking lot had two nose piercings. It was like being at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's or something.

There were hardly any moms screaming at their kids, like I remember...instead the place was full of wanna-be hep cats. Trippy.

Be quiet, birds!

Today Julian was in rare form. His spirits were pretty...high, shall we say.

This afternoon I was putting together a sand and water table with him in the backyard. I had to go inside to get the drill and when I came back outside he was yelling up at the sky, "BE QUIET! STOP IT!"

I asked him who he was yelling at and he replied disgustedly, "That noise!" and pointed up in the sky.
I heard a crow caw. Apparently he didn't like the way it was cawing.

Another three year old boy came over this morning with his mom to buy a Travel Crib from me. It was like watching a parallel Julian. The boy started in with, "He stepped on my foot!" (referring to something that Julian had done possibly?) and then repeated it about a hundred million times until his mom and I were about to lose our minds. But you can't stop a three year old once they get started, short of gagging them and throwing them into a soundproof chamber.

Three year olds test the very limits of your patience. Good thing they can be so amusing.


June 07, 2007

Separated at birth, by three years


carbon copy of his brother!, originally uploaded by mslaura.

Adrian seems to be the blonder version of Julian, at least in this photo.

June 04, 2007

Dr. Teeth

Adrian's two bottom front teeth poked through today. Hooray! I think he has a top front tooth coming through too. Thank goodness, I'm ready for a short break in the teething frenzy. Being constantly soaked in baby drool is not exactly a party.

He has been celebrating the arrival of his new teeth by catching up on sleep (he's napped for about 4 hours already today), keeping his shirt dry, and smiling a lot. Also, by nursing with his finger poked in his mouth at the corner. Kind of blows that tight seal, but makes an interesting sucking sound.

I have been trying to take a pic of the new teeth, but it's impossible. They're hard to see, and I have to use both hands to clear all the lips and stuff out of the way. Then he sticks out his tongue. So I'll just include a photo of his namesake.

On to the top teeth!


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