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  SING OUT, LOUISE! A year ago, I remember mothers telling me, "Treasure every moment - it all goes so fast", to which I'd respond mentally, "blow me." The clock seemed stuck somewhere between her "I hungry!" at 5am and the one millionth Oatio I ground unsuspectingly into the floorboards. Yet the shocking truth is now that Roo's two, each day her skills and language are barreling ahead faster than I can retain. Already, gone are the days of "mazagine" and "Asylon", of timid refusals to speak on the phone, of contentment over any material being read to her, even a decades-old Parade magazine. All of a sudden, her demands are precise and passionate. Today she said, "Take it easy, man" as we sat eating bagels. Thank Goddess "aminal" is still here for a bit longer, as is ordering "paghetti" at the "osterant". She likes to "be free" as she puts it, roaming the room sans diaper, even without benefit of potty training. She says she's a "big gull" now and - if it weren't for the occassional hair-raising restaurant meltdown if, woe be unto them, they don't serve apple juice - I'd believe her. So I was absolutely thrilled by the Time Out New York Kids mazagine photos as a way to capture our little family before she starts ducking us at The Mall. What's astonishing is how much pride a mama can have. Even a feminist parent who goes through every fairy tale, crossing out spurious uses of the word "beautiful" and changing gender pronouns can have their dormant mother-of-junior-miss-usa gene get triggered when the newstand runs out of copies. I furiously emailed hasty scans of the pix to everyone I've met since Imelda Marcos was daily news. Gypsy's Mama Rose burst from my chest like the Alien alien, screaming "Smile, Sweetheart! Teeth!!". The worst part? I'm not ashamed, just vapidly, droolingly sure of how brilliant the Universe can be.

  THE QUALITY OF MERCI.....Today was Sunday. When I said to Ruby this morning, "Okay, Honeybun, wanna go to the park?" she said, "No, Mama. Church." I said - and please imagine the shock on my pagan face, since the only time we've ever set foot in a church was for Gramma's funeral when Roo was about seven months old - "WHAT?!?!" But then, I sucked it up so I could be all open and accepting of whatever she wants to explore, "Do you know what church is, Sweetie Puff?" She nodded emphatically. "Ruby go to church." Roo is two. The closest thing to religion she has been exposed to in my beautiful circle of friends is Wicca. And that, in theory not in practice. Common Christianity is anathema to feminism. I am apalled by how many people have been killed in the name of organized religion. Yet, Ruby had her mind set. So I rummaged through the closet and stuffed us both into something I thought one would wear to church but was close enough to jeans to be comfortable on a rock hard pew. We went up the street to a church that I've always thought was pretty from the outside. I had no clue what time the service started, but I guess Ruby did, coz just as we walked in, the bells pealed. I grabbed us a seat at the very, very back so we could beat a hasty retreat after a few minutes. Nice cushioned pew, though. Lovely walls, too, I noticed. And the service? Kinda awesome. I mean it. There was a woman preacher (hey! right on!) named Jacqui in a bright red robe who was hilarious, charismatic, hip, totally non-judgemental and passionate; the whole thing was wreathed in music, love and focusing on healing the world through peace and good acts; the congregation was multi-ethnic, ran the full range of ages and was at least 50% gay - which always makes me feel more comfortable; the choir was glorious and at the "peace be unto you" when everyone holds hands and beams positive vibes at one another, the man standing next to Roo took her tiny hand and said very seriously to her, "Peace be with you". In her squeaky little toddler voice, she said, "Peace." If you know me at all, of course I burst into tears. After, when we were strollering to get miso soup and edamame for lunch, I said, "Thanks for that, Roo." She didn't even look up from Coco the Pig to say nonchalantly, "Merci." .......................... Isn't that the wackiest? I mean, what wavelength is she on?? My mind is blown trying to figure out not only how she knew about "church", but - if she doesn't even know a letter from a number - how did she know THAT TODAY WAS SUNDAY?!? The world is a strange and wonderous place.

  YOO HOO.... Just came back from dropping Ruby at her pre-school, utterly disgusted with myself because here it is - only her second week of school - and we were running so late I didn't have time to make her usual whole-grain, vegetarian, no-sugar, amino-acid-balanced lunch so, before racing down the block on two wheels to get her there on time, I bought her a cheese sandwich on the corner. American. On white bread. From some guy I've never seen before, dang it.... To console myself, I bought the NY Daily News and a YooHoo, which I promptly dropped when I opened the paper and saw us in the Thersday section! There's a pic of Ru and me jamming with Angela Babbin and her daughter Serena accompanying an article about moms who rock. They took the pix about a year ago (Ruby looks so little!) so I forgot all about it. I'm taking it as a sign. So today's lesson is: The Only Way To Rock In Life Is Do Your Best, Then Move On. So please forgive yourself for whatever you're beating yourself up about and have a great day. Or at the very least, have a YooHoo.

  MEET THE THOUSANDAIRE.... Even though it was a bit embarassing to watch my Tuesday, September 20 episode of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire", I was proud I made it as far as I did. All the fabulously supportive emails and calls - each of which began with a solid 20 seconds of laughing - were the best part. When I pointed to myself on the screen with Meredith Viera and said to Ruby proudly, "Look, Baby! There's Mama!" She looked up and said - I kid you not - "Where Ruby is, on the tv?" and, not seeing herself, lost interest and went back to trying to diaper Mongo the cat.

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