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Friday, April 28, 2006

Quote of the Day

"It has to be official. And it has to be urine."

Name the tv show. And if you aren't watching it, why the heck not?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

No more pretending to like them

Yesterday I read a post about having a "favored" child, a child who, for whatever reason, you feel the most connected with. I commented on the post, perhaps at too great a length, but my love for being wordy and and using run on sentences can not be stopped sometimes.

I wrote, in part:

If I were to be honest I'd have to say that I see in him all the characteristics that I don't like in myself, and in my other son I see all the things I wish that I could be.

I love them both equally, but differently.

Some person felt the need to track me down and email me about my comment. It would take no less than visiting four different web pages to find my email address. One would think that any ire a trollish person would have would dissipate by that point. But one would be wrong.

I went to my email box and saw an email with the subject line "BREEDER!!!1!" I almost deleted it thinking it was yet another offer to satisfy my partner and enlarge my PENi$.

But I am so glad that I read it. Because how else was I to know what a horrible mother I am. And what a disservice I am doing to my children. And how people like me don't deserve to have children. I could have emailed the person back, you know if they left a legitimate email address, or ignored it... but I have issues with letting things just go. Also neither of those options are much fun.

The email said (capitalization and punctuation corrected for ease of reading by people with a modicum of intelligence), "What would your children think if they found out you liked one of them best?"

It was then that I realized I must do something. I couldn't just go on letting my children think I loved them ALL. So I decided to make some t-shirts. That way they, and the rest of the world, will know exactly where my feelings lie.

I made the t shirts all the same size so that when we are out and one of them does something to annoy me I can make them all switch shirts to suit my whim.

"Uh huh, you want to have a tantrum and roll around on the ground. Switch shirts with your brother."

And yes I realize I made 8 shirts even though I only have 7 children. That's in case I decide I don't like ANY of them on a given day. So just in time for Mother's day, I present shirts to show your children, and the world, how you really feel about them.

Shirt Number 1:

I am my mother's favorite t-shirt

Shirt Number 2:

I am my mother's  2nd favorite t-shirt

Shirt Number 3:

My mother likes him best t-shirt

Shirt Number 4:

Black sheep of the family t-shirt
Shirt Number 5:

My Mother drinks because of me t-shirt

Shirt Number 6:

UnlovedandUnwanted t-shirt

Shirt Number 7:

My mother doesn't love me t-shirt

Shirt Number 8:

or me t-shirt

And of course, a shirt for me:

BREEDER!!!1! t-shirt

I like to think that errant 1 gives the shirt a little something extra, saying I put a lot of time and thought into this.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

And the week has only just begun

Mistakes I have made this week:

1) Buying my daughter a ridiculously priced pair of linen Ralph Lauren capri pants... in white. Yes, white. I was blinded by their cuteness, and perhaps their whiteness, and was unable to think rationally while in that state. That is the only explanation I have.

2) Buying this daughter a Reese peanut butter cup and allowing her to eat it in the warm car on the way home from the store, while she is wearing those cute white capri pants.

3) Allowing my toddler to play with my cell phone, because what could he possibly do to it?

4) Cleaning the sticky cell phone off by soaping it up and rinsing it off under the running water

5) Upon discovering that the vibrating feature on the phone will not turn off no matter what buttons are pressed, repeatedly smacking it on the counter

6) Planting some adorable little flowering plants in front of the house without reading the name of the plant, because who really cares what the plant is called.

7) Discovering that the adorable plant is catnip and all the neighborhood cats are now in the yard eating it and rolling around on the lawn like they are stoned. There are only so many jokes one can make about having the neighborhood stoner house before it gets old and not funny and makes one wish they had a gun and accurate aim.

Learn from me, people.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Fwee, the number after two

"I love you better." you say to me as I tuck you into bed. As I walk out of the room I turn to look at you in your bed. A big girl bed. You look so small lying there among the huge duvet and huge throw pillows, and suddenly the tiny purple crib blanket hardly seems adequate, though you wouldn't dream of going to bed without it. The satin has ripped away from the blanket in several places and the soft knitted weave is beginning to unravel and fray, but still you love it.

Every night at bedtime you ask me if I can turn on the tv and "hold you". You will drink a bottle of soymilk ("Big girls DO TOO drink bottles") and snuggle up. Your little brother will climb all over us, sometimes trying to steal your bottle from you. But usually a couple of good whacks with the bottle from you, makes him reconsider. Then you hold onto the the blanket's "tail" and suck on your two middle fingers.


I have never won anything in my life. I have never won a contest, or some cash from one of those scratch off lottery card things, or even a free cup of coffee from McDonald's. I never win at anything. But somehow I won the kid lottery. And I just don't mean by the sheer volume of kids I have somehow ended up with. But rather the fact that I have ended up with kids who are far cooler, smarter, and cuter than I could possibly deserve. Really, how did I get this lucky?

I want to dunk you in my coffee, like a chocolate covered biscotti and eat you up.

I have sat down and tried to write this post about you turning three years old several times over the last few days, and each time I do I find that I end up writing more about me than I do about you. I suppose that is how it is with mothers and daughters, as we weave our entangled web of expectations, hopes, fears, and disappointments. I can't help but look at you and think of all the ways I hope you turn out different than I did. How I hope you are happy and fulfilled in ways that I can not even begin to fathom.

Three years ago you were born and I became a mother to a daughter. I had all but given up hope of ever having one and in fact had accepted my role as the mother of sons. In fact we didn't even bother with the pretense of picking out a girl name. I'll admit that after you emerged from my body in a traumatic and exhausting labor, part of which involved the doctor sticking his arm up inside me like I was his hand puppet. I had a moment of disappointment. I could never be adequate. I remember sitting in my hospital room, looking at you, and thinking, "Holy shit. Now what?"

Getting A Ride in IKEA

I was the mother of sons. I knew how to do that. I was good at that. Now suddenly I looked at you in my arms and felt sad. Sad at the baggage I would inevitably pass down to you. Lord knows I have so much of it that it requires me to pull a cart behind me to carry it all. No matter how hard I try I am sure that I will pass down some of it, though I promise you I will try my hardest to keep it all to myself.

This year has been a big one. You have learned to use the potty, ride a tricycle, appreciate a good joke, and perfected your temper tantrum and crossed arm pout. You have learned to wrap your father and brothers around your finger, okay and me too. You announce to anyone who cares to listen that you do not have penis, you have a big butt and a little butt, called a china. You think armpit farts and hearty belches are the height of sophisticated humor.

You are surrounded by boys who love you. Boys who will grow up to be men who love you. And I can't help but think how lucky you are to have that.

Dancing With a Big Brother

Annoying Rage inducing Aggravating Well meaning assholes strangers often come up to me in the store and tell me how sorry they feel for you, to be surrounded by all those boys. And how you will never have a date. They say it like that would be a bad thing. I want to tell them that no, you will never settle for a boyfriend who is abusive, or one who belittles you, or one who makes you feel diminished. You won't because you will have the knowledge that men are not all like that. You will have six examples, six brothers, setting high the bar of expectations. And that is a good thing. Any boy who wouldn't want to date you because they are afraid of your brothers is not someone worthy of dating.

Also, your brothers have been instructed to beat the crap out of any boy who dares to treat you badly. Don't let the suits and the clean cut appearance fool anyone.

The Boys

And so when strangers approach me and say those things, I just laugh. Sometimes I'll say that there have been a few dates in my life that I wish I didn't go on and turn back to my groceries, or diapers, or mega pack of toilet paper.

Sometimes you seem to embody all the stereotypes of being a girl. You love clothes. Your brothers all view clothing as a necessary evil. Something to be put on and left on as long as possible until a) I make them take it off and put on fresh clothing under threats, or b) the clothing, having achieved a life of it's own, walks off of their bodies. You, on the other hand, love clothes. You change your outfit several times a day as well as accessorize. No outfit is complete without "pretties" for your hair, jewelry, and a twirly skirt.

Baseball PLaying Princess

You love to shop. And often will cry when we are driving home after a day of shopping, begging me to go to "just one more store, mommy." It beings tears to my eyes, because after having endured shopping with five sons who cry and carry on like they are being stabbed with hot pokers at the very mention of shopping, it is refreshing to have a kindred spirit who understands the joy of finding the perfect shirt, pocketbook, shoes, or all three.

This frightens your father, who keeps asking you things like, "Wouldn't you rather go fishing?" or "how about a hike?" or "Don't you have enough shoes?" And you just laugh and wiggle your little finger around in the air, causing him to melt and throw money your way.

You love you brothers, "your boys" you call them. And they love you.

What made your birthday video so funny to us is that usually you love being the center of attention. You love to sing. And you love to make us all laugh.

This video is one I took of you right before we lit the candles on the cake. And is way more indicative of your personality. I love how you are looking around at all of "your boys" while you are singing.

And finally, I will end this with a joke from you, one that didn't involve the words poop, potty, or other nonsense words.

"Why did the chicken cross the road?"


"Because HE WANTED TO!"

It must be a three year old chicken.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

She Turns Three

Oh yeah, three year olds are MUCH more reasonable than two year olds. Thank God those terrible twos have come to an end.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Daring Young Sleeper

Friday I was talking to Daring Young Mom and she mentioned that her son had suddenly begun sleeping through the night. She had a new, never before discussed or written about, method of sleep training.

And I was let in on the secret. I wasn't sure that it would work, because after having seven children her method seemed so simplistic and so easy. Because if it would work wouldn't someone have thought of it previously?

But I decided that I had nothing to lose and decided that I would utter the Magical Words of Sleep TM.

At 9:30 last night when Miles was winding down for bed, which to the uninitiated would appear to be screaming, crying, and throwing his body around like a rag doll having an epileptic seizure, I looked him in the eye and said, "Tonight if you wake up in the middle of the night Daddy will be getting you. Did you hear that? Daddy. will. be. getting. you."

He looked at me like he had no idea what I was saying, obviously his ploy is to act cute and stupid. So for good measure I decided to embellish, "And you will have to suckle Daddy's hairy nipples."

I'll admit I didn't have high hopes when I went to bed last night.

But this morning I woke up, disoriented by the sun shining in the windows and also confused by my rock hard stripper sized boobs. It was 7:00am and he had been asleep from 9:30 the night before.

And once I determined that he was not in fact dead, I rejoiced.

I briefly contemplated becoming Mormon, but then I remembered that I already worship at the altar of Juan Valdez. So I raised my glass carafe to the sky, inhaled the scent of the caffeinated nectar of my god, and let out a hearty, "Hallelujah!"

Friday, April 21, 2006

Where are those gags when you need them?

I hate talking on the telephone.

It's no secret. Anyone who knows me in real life would tell you this. Often times the phone will ring and I don't bother to answer it. Isn't that what voice mail is for?

I don't have caller id, because I don't need the stress of knowing how many times people are calling me and not actually talking to me. I don't have call waiting because 1) I think it is rude, and 2) the last thing I want to do when I am already talking on the telephone is field another phone call.

This afternoon at 5:00pm I have to talk on the phone. I haven't been all that stressed about it because I figured I would just hold the mute button on my phone down and listen to everyone else talk. That way no one would hear my children who will be distressed in the background that I am not paying attention to them with every fiber of my being.

Also no one would have to hear me shrieking things like, "Put down that stick!", "Don't run your brother over with your bicycle!", or "For the love all things holy shut-up!" Not that I actually say those things, these are just examples of what I could say, you know, if I were so inclined.

Imagine my horror when I discovered that my phone does not have a mute button. How can a phone not have a mute button? Aren't those things standard now?

I'll let that sink in for a few seconds. My phone has no mute button.

This means that my screaming needy children will be heard in all their glory. I will probably ramble on and on like some sort of side show comedian. And instead of yelling at my children, I will be alternating between hiding from them and boring holes through their skulls with my penetrating stare.


Update: My threats and bribes and went over really well and the children behaved like perfect angels, or more accurately kept their noise and destruction away from me. Once I was done with the phone call I was treated to a laundry list of the ways that each person had been wronged in my absence.

"Wow, I am SO sorry that your brother looked at you and then ::gasp:: breathed on you. It truly is unforgivable that he would want to draw oxygen into his lungs. I am just so glad that you waitied until I was off the phone to tell me and that you didn't retaliate. I'm so proud. ..... What? Oh. Ummm, please don't hold your brothers head under a blanket and fart."

Closing myself off into rooms never has helped because they all know how to work door knobs, except for the baby. And if he began screaming and kicking on the door someone would be bound to open it up to "tell me the baby is crying" because obviously I was unaware.

I only have one child over the age of ten, and he already has enough of a God complex that I shudder to think what he would do if I left him in charge of everyone.

So I locked myself outside on our screened in sunporch. The only funny time was when the two littles found me and were staring at me though the sliding door with their faces all smooshed on the glass.

But it turned out fine, like most of these parenting things do.

Your New HMO Doctor Team

Wow, I had no idea that drilling fingernails would elicit such strong reactions from so many of you. It didn't make me feel the least bit queasy, making me think that perhaps I have been desensitized by the overwhelming level of testosterone in my home.

Many people emailed berating asking me about infection and wasn't I worried that his finger would develop gangrene and fall off. The truth is, no. Maybe I am a bad mother, but I was more concerned about my brain exploding and oozing out of my broken eardrums if I had to listen to him whine much more about how much it hurt and how it hampered his ability to squeeze his baseball glove. And really people can live normal and productive lives without thumbs.

To put everyone's mind at ease, I'll tell you that I did instruct him to wash his thumb really well and pour hydrogen peroxide over it. Everyone loves the way peroxide bubbles up over wounds, it's the best part of getting hurt at our house. Then I sealed up the tiny hole in his nail with Crazy Glue. See, all better. Why yes, I am a doctor.

I got a bottle of Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface Daily Sanitizing Spray in the mail last week to test out, and I was tempted to spray him with it as it says it is safe and "gentle enough to use around children, pets, and food" But then I thought I would save it for more important things.

Next time I am concerned I didn't grill our hamburgers quite long enough I am going to spray them with the Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface Daily Sanitizing Spray before putting them on the buns.

tagged me:

Four Jobs I Have Had:
1) GAP-very first job at 16 (fired from it)
2) Ann Taylor- second job at 17 (fired from it)
3) Nanny -while going to grad school
4) Indentured servant (17 more years until I earn my freedom)

Four Movies I Can Watch Over And Over:
I can only watch a movie once

Four TV Shows I Love To Watch:
(Love would be a bit strong)
1) The Office
2) 24 (though we are watching season 2 from netflix)
3) American Idol (yeah, I know)
4) ?

Four Places I’ve Been On Vacation:
1) Spain
2) Canary Islands
3) West Africa
4) Florida

Four Tunes That Play In My Head:
(this one is hard, I frequently have songs running through my head like a soundtrack to whatever is going on. I often find myself thinking that if my life were a movie this would be the appropriate background song. Yes, I am nuts. But the only ones that get stuck are usually insipid kid songs)

1) You are my sunshine
2) Slip Slidin' Away
3) Elmo's theme song
4) ?

Four Favorite Dishes:
1)Toasted bagel with PB and honey
2)Starburst jellybeans (that counts as a dish if you eat the entire bag, right?)
3)Spinach salad with vine ripened tomatoes, feta cheese, and balsamic vinegrette

Four Websites I Visit Daily:
1) this one
4) all the ones over there in my sidebar

Four Books I Really Love:
This would be easier if it were four books I have hated

Four Places I’d Rather Be:
1) On a trip around the world with unlimited time and funds
2) On a warm beach
3) A house that has already been completely remodeled
4) Did I say on a warm beach?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I Am Gardener, Hear Me Roar

I have been "gardening" or as I like to say, planting flowery shit around the yard in an effort to beautify the house and, most importantly, distract from the chalk drawings all over the driveway, the scooters, bikes and balls strewn about the porch steps, and the sea of plastic primary colored Little Tykes toys.

It's an exercise in futility.

When you drive down my street there is little doubt who lives in my house. In a neighborhood of perfectly manicured lawns and yards handled by professional landscapers, ours sticks out like a sore thumb, a sore brown thumb. I'd like to say our yard has character, but that would make it seem like it were something positive.

We had landscapers over to our house a couple of weeks ago to give us an estimate on some work we wanted done. They got the estimate to us on Monday and they may have well asked for our first born as payment. As a matter of fact, that would have been preferable since these days I'd be much more likely to part with him than cold hard cash.

But once the realization hit that we weren't going to be able to do the extensive work we wanted this year, I thought I had better get busy doing something, anything.

Tuesday I raked until my hands were blistered and wondered, yet again, why in the fall it always seems preferable to wait until spring to get up the leaves. There is no answer other than procrastination. Deep down I know that if I wait long enough it will snow and I won't have to deal with it for six months. My motto is: Why do something today when you can possibly win the lottery and then be able to pay someone to do all your dirty work tomorrow. Not that this motto has worked out real well for me, but I am optomistic.

When I couldn't take raking any longer, I got out the leaf blower. What a thrill to see the leaves, dirt, and plants with poor root systems, be torn up by the tornado like wind. I felt so powerful and God-like. It was fun blowing the debris over the stone wall and into our neighbors yard, at least until their landscaping crew showed up and I had to stop doing it.

Yesterday I went and bought lots of plants and cedar bark mulch. And I bought a cute pair of gardening gloves. I'm working my way up to the clogs. I figure if I keep these plants alive for a whole week I totally will deserve the gardening clogs. Then I can embrace the title "gardener" instead of "planter" which is all that I have been successful in doing these past 30-something years. Gardener implies that the stuff lives beyond the planting phase.

I spent the rest of the day digging, planting, putting in landscaping stones, mulching, and having my arms and hands scratched up. In between this I tried, mostly successfully, to keep my 16 month old out of the street. As soon as I avert my eyes from him he takes off running for the street. Thankfully it is a long driveway and he has short legs, making the trek to the street a marathon for him.

This morning Rob and I were standing outside in the front yard, where I was forcing him to admire my mad gardening skills.

"It looks really nice, Chris. You know you have to water it now, right? "

"Does it ever end? Am I going to have to be a slave to this for the entire summer?"

I was left wondering, would plastic flowers be really tacky?

I'm not holding my breathe on getting those gardening clogs. I wonder if they make planting clogs.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Free Medical Care Here

I am the mother of six sons.

It occurred to me this past weekend that I have become so accustom to their boyness (yes, that is a word, shut up) that the things they do don't even phase me (much) anymore.

For instance, washing shoe marks off of the wall at about the five foot high mark where they tried to run up the wall and do back flips.

or, the fact that they can not walk by one another without engaging in a full body slam

or, the fact that I am afraid to stick my hands into their jeans pockets after having touched slimy disgusting things once too many and now open the pocket wide and peer inside first.

Gone are the days when I still harbored illusions of them sitting in a circle singing songs, expressing their love for each other with their words, and not making burps or farts purely for their comedic value.

On Friday my 10 yr old was out in the yard playing with sticks. (no, he has no real toys at all and is forced to make his own playthings from debris he finds lying around the yard. His is a hard, hard life.) Anyway, my repeated warnings about getting hurt went ignored, which is not unusual, but I feel that I should point it out lest anyone thinks I encourage this behavior.

He came running inside, clutching his hand close to his body, in tears. It seems he had somehow smacked his own hand with the stick. The details are sketchy, which means I am probably not privy to the whole story, and frankly at this stage in the mothering gig, I'm sure I don't want the whole story.

When I finally got him to show me his hand, with the promise that I wouldn't touch it, his thumb nail was already turning black.

"Whoa, that looks like it hurts."

"Yeah, it does. How am I going to play baseball? It hurts too much to put into my glove."

"I don't know. I hate to say this, but that is going to hurt for quite awhile."

His fingernail continued to turn black and swell up. That night at baseball practice he couldn't even catch a ball since it hurt too much to wear his glove. He pitched with no glove on and kept his left arm cradled at his side. He was SO bummed out and looked so pitiful.

The next morning I looked at his thumb and it looked awful. The blood blister under the nail was huge and lifting the nail up from the nail bed and the entire thumb was swollen. (Are you feeling queasy yet?)

"Do you think I should bring you to the emergency room? They could use their tiny little drill and relieve the pressure on you nail? We maybe should have your thumb x-rayed also. What do you think?" I asked.

"No. I don't want to go. The doctors always make things hurt worse. My thumb isn't broken."

"Well, but it would feel better in the long run."

"How would they do it?"

I explained how they would use the tiny little drill to go through the nail, the blood would be able to escape, and the pressure would be relieved. Blah blah blah. He'd be able to play baseball.

I then went upstairs to get dressed and left him to think about it.


I came down the stairs. "What?"

"My finger is all better now. I fixed it myself."

"What? How?"

I came downstairs to inspect his finger and he told me the rest of the story.

He had gone and gotten Rob's set of tiny drill bits and drilled though his own fingernail. The blood had spurted out and was, by all accounts, very cool. And most importantly his finger didn't hurt anymore. He said he knew that if I brought him to the ER that they would insist on giving him some sort of shot for the pain and he didn't want that. Ah yes, a shot of lidocaine would be much, much more frightening than having a drill taken to your fingernail.

And yet again I realized that he is exactly like his father, in ways I never imagined could be inheritable. Rob who refuses novacaine even when having a root canal. Rob who when he was about the same age as my son, got shot by a bb gun toting neighbor and rather than go to the ER, performed surgery on himself to remove the bb.

Anyway, his finger felt better. We had saved the time and expense of a trip to the emergency room. It was a win-win situation all around.

Maybe we will have a doctor in the family, or at least one who plays doctor. An entire new world of self care has opened up before us. Who needs that pesky medical license and schooling.

I'd love to wrap this post up by writing how he had learned his lesson and how all of his brothers have learned their lesson as well. And how no one is running around the yard playing with sticks. And how the rough play has come to an end. And how they are singing Kumbaya in five part harmony and making macrame plant holders for the elderly.

But the truth of the matter is that the very next day, in a game that has since been called bumper scooters, this same 10 yr old purposefully crashed into his brother, went flying through the air, and ended up with road burn all over his back. He did learn a valuable lesson about Newton's Second law though, so it wasn't all for naught.

As for me, I am just thankful for the grey covering properties of hair dye, and hoping that my sons all make it to adulthood, hopefully with most of their precious brain cells intact, though that might be wishful thinking.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter Weekend In Photos

All the Eggs

And no, it doesn't wash off.

The Colored Hands

What holiday would be complete without baseball?


Or dancing?


And what easter basket would be complete without whoopie cushions and redneck teeth?

Redneck teeth

And no holiday is complete in this family without me spending lots of time making something only to have it go untouched by my husband's family, most likely because it doesn't contain Velveeta or corn flakes or cool whip or some other non-food food.

Easter Bread

Unfortunately there are no photos of the sugar frenzy and resulting sugar comas the children experienced, because nothing says holiday quite like that.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sixteen Months

Wearing A Hat

This month you have begun saying "NO" which is kind of cute. Cute in the way that you shake your head back and forth vigorously while saying, "OooooooOooooo" You say no to everything even things you actually do want.

"Miles, do you want a cookie?"

"OoooooooOooooooo," you answer shaking your head and swatting at the offending cookie that I dare to offer to you. By your reaction one would think I had offered you a dung patty as a snack.

A few minutes later you will walk over to the cabinet, point your little finger up to where the cookies are kept, and scream. A scream that says, "NOW, I want a cookie, bitch. You will obey." You are drunk on your own power.

It has become warm enough the past few days to get out our summer clothes and sandals. You have been wearing shorts, which really are nothing more than very baggy pants that end just above your socks.


Your second toe on both your feet sticks up slightly and crosses over the big toe. It is almost as if the toe has no bones, like it is a little jello toe. I want to bite it off and eat it, that is how delicious I think it is. I know that one day when you are a preteen or teenager you won't like it and will probably be embarrassed of it and refuse to wear sandals. I hope not, but I was that age once and remember clearly how anything that seemed the slightest bit different than the norm seemed like a glaring imperfection that the entire world was staring at.


The past week you had been sleeping really well, for you anyway, and it was wonderful. But two days ago you got whatever illness is making it's rounds now and for the past two nights you have been up numerous times crying, wanting to nurse, wanting to snuggle, wanting to make sure we all felt your pain. And we do. Trust me.

The other night you were in our bed and I got fed up with your kicking me in the stomach and pulling my hair. You were refusing to sleep. So I picked you up and put you in the porta-crib that is in our room. You couldn't believe I would dare to put you there. You began screaming. But after about 20 seconds you would pause to listen and see if we were coming to get you out. Then you would scream again for another 20 seconds.

After doing that a few times you began yelling, "Daaaa-deeee Daaaa-deeee" Then you would pause long enough to hear your father and I trying to stifle our giggles. Rob called back to you, "Sleepy time. Go to sleep." There was a pause where we thought perhaps you were heeding his words, when out of the darkness we heard, "Ooooooooo Oooooooo" And the rustling sound I was hearing led me to believe that you were shaking your head as forcefully as you could while laying down.

This past year I was a part of a book panel on sleep issues. I received my advance copy of the book a couple of weeks ago. I read through the book and felt like my picture should be in there with a big red X over it with the warning "NO!!" There was a lot of discussion in the book about training and avoiding sleep issues in preschoolers/toddlers by training babies to sleep. So many parents seemed worried that if their six month old wasn't sleeping through the night it meant that six years later they would still be waking up all night long. For the record, I have never had a six year old who didn't sleep through the night.

Oldest and Youngest

As I read through the book I realized that my answers and responses to the questions would have been very different had I answered them eleven years ago. I was much more anal and schedule oriented back then. Once again I found myself thinking that you really get the better end of the deal. I have already crossed all those parenting dilemma bridges. I have made my choices and moved on. I feel confident with my choices. I'm a much more laid back parent than I was eleven years ago.

Your cousin will soon be having a baby. As I listen to her talk about her pregnancy and baby, say with certainty the things she will and won't do, and condemn the choices that other parents have made, I just smile and nod. I've been a mother long enough now to know that there are no absolutes.

I just have to look at your oldest brother who, for the first two years of his life, never had sugar, meat, or anything non-organic pass his lips. His butt was swathed in unbleached organic cotton diapers. He played with only non toxic wooden toys made from wood that was harvested in an environmentally friendly manner. I just want to slap my old self righteous self and hand her a hamburger and diet coke. Clearly all those vegetables were harming her brain.

Whenever I feel like I know it all, I have just to remember the scorn I felt towards parents who fed their babies Honey-Nut Cheerios, while I watch you eat a chocolate pop tart... off the floor. I have eaten my own words so often it is no wonder my ass is as big as it is.

I am a different mother than I imagined I would be, and certainly a different mother than I was when your oldest brother was your age. Some of the changes are because I have more experience, some are because I am more relaxed, and who are we kidding, some are because I am lazier. Most of them are because I realized that in the grand scheme of things, whatever it is doesn't matter.

Playing cars

You love to take out all of our spice jars and tupperware and stack them all up into high towers. Then you stand up and kick them all down. Sometimes you will chase a rolling spice jar across the room and give it a few more kicks for good measure, the entire time squealing with glee. This game is something none of your siblings were ever allowed to play, and is yet another example of how I have mellowed. My motto these days is, "I can clean it up later"

Little Man

Soon you'll be a big kid, I can already see it happening, and you'll be able to express your ideas, play games, ride a bike, wear Superman pajamas with a cape, and while I look forward to all those things and finding out more about your personality, there are things I will miss about you as a baby.

I'll miss the weight of your body sleeping on my chest and you little heart shaped open mouth snoring. I will miss you stilted gait as you try to run away from me. I will miss your short bowed little legs, with the dimpled fat on your thighs that is perfect for kissing. ( Why can't the dimpled fat on my thighs be as cute?) I will miss the way you enthusiastically raise your hands up in the air over your head when I say "Hurray!" and I'll miss how even with your arms stretched up you can barely reach the top of your head.

There are quite a few things I will miss. This is just one of them:


As long as you have those dimpled knuckles I can still call you a baby.

I love you Mina-moo moo. I don't know why your sister insists on calling you that nickname, but it has stuck, for the time being at least.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Boredom as the Catalyst for Creativity

I've got a new post up over at dotmoms.

Go read about our summer plans.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Spring Has Sprung

Spring is my favorite season. It is the time when I plan my gardens, and flowers, and landscaping and I actually manage to convince myself that this year I will take care of the flowers and not let them wither and die by the first of August. This is on my forty before forty list, so maybe this year will be the year, she says enthusiastically!

It's the time of year when I long to do something creative outside and get dirt under my finger nails. My mouth waters thinking of the juicy tomato salad I'll make from my own home grown tomatoes, and the balsamic and basil vinaigrette that I'll make from basil grown in my herb garden. This year, I tell myself, I will not allow my herb garden to be overtaken by weeds to the point where I stand there, scratching my head, clueless until I am finally forced to pull everything out of the ground and toss it away into the compost pile.

The reality is that most of the tomatoes will be picked by grimy little hands when they are green, hard and golf ball size and I will have to put them on my windowsill to turn red, or mold die, which ever comes first.

I like to imagine myself as one of those women who has a beautiful garden, cans fresh produce, and walks around the yard with those cute garden clogs and gloves, snipping here and there. The reality is that I don't really like getting dirty and I have never canned a thing in my life. I do covet those cute garden clogs, but I'd feel like a complete poser if I were to wear them around my yard. As well as feeling exceedingly guilty for all the dead plants and flowers in my yard.

I don't even mind cleaning this time of year. I love opening the windows and shaking out the rugs. I have already cleaned both my front and back porches. I have already scraped some of the siding where the paint was peeling in anticipation of repainting and residing small portions of the house this summer.

So, uh, where was I going with all of this? I have no idea.

But we did take a walk to the library today. On of the things that I love about the town we live in is it's Norman Rockwell like appearance with stone walls, tree lined streets, and old white picket fences.

If you want to see pictures of my kids on top of every stone wall we encounter, go here:

Watch Out For Children

Friday, April 07, 2006

A, B, C....something

Some people post videos of their kids to show how smart and precocious they are. Me, I'm just glad they are cute, because clearly MENSA is not going to be knocking down our door anytime soon.

All Male Readers Will Want to Skip This One, Trust Me

For the first time since June of 2002, and the sixth time since early 1994, I got my period.

(Okay male readers, who thought they would stick around and read anyway. Don't hurt yourselves clicking the red X up in the corner there. Single file, no pushing please.)

It's been so long, in fact, that when first noticed my initial thought was, 'Ohmygod I'm bleeding. I must have some sort of cancer. I must be dying.' Then I realized with increasing clarity that I was going to have to deal with this every month. Every. single. month.

I had no supplies of any sort in the house and had to run out to the local convenience store, where you pay an exorbitant amount of money for the convenient factor, and my son wanted know what those wrapped up stick things were and why I needed a box of little pillows. And I answered, "Hey what is that over there? a whole aisle of candy?"

I had half hoped that I would just skip into an early menopause and never have to deal with this whole menstruating thing again. It's is just so pointless now that I am done having babies.

Then when I came home I realized that all of our bathrooms have pedestal sinks with no real storage to speak of. Unless I want to find all the maxi pads stuck to the wall and the tampons floating in the sink, I will need to keep them out of the bathroom.

Thus concludes the TMI portion of this post.

This next sentence I am almost afraid to utter out loud... or type, for fear of retribution, like that last time I mentioned it and was forced to issue an apology.

For the past two nights my 15 month old has .... lept-say ru-thay the ight-nay*.

Did you get that? As in eight or nine hours straight. Yessssss!

*My kids asked me if pig latin was a real language and could fulfill their foreign language requirement.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tar-jay, How I Loved Thee

I grew up in a smallish city, went to college in a big city... and then another college in another big city. And even though I now live in a ruralish town of 1000 I still think of myself as more of a city person, a displaced city person.

I realized yesterday that I most definitely am NOT a city girl. Excuse me while I pick the hayseeds out of my hair.

I came to this realization when I went to Target in the smallish city.

First off the Target is a multi level complex with it's own parking garage. I pulled into the parking garage and promptly rammed the roof of my big van into the hanging pole with the height restriction written on it. Then I had to wait for the huge line of cars behind me to back up one by one so that I could back up. Let's just say driving my big van in reverse is not one of my strong points, and if you could see my front lawn, or talk to my husband, you'd know this. Nothing says country bumpkin quite like not being able to fit your vehicle into the garage.

I was then directed to park in this small, dark side lot where the reject vehicles must park. It was empty, dark and scary. Nothing says country bumpkin quite like being scared of an innocuous parking garage. In the country we park outside! In an open parking lot! The way God intended!

But I had my sights set on the bulls eye and would not be deterred.

I walked really quickly to the elevator that would bring me up to the store. I got on the elevator and realized that there were two shopping floors in this Target. Yes, two full floors! Two full floors of things I didn't know I needed and yet now cannot possibly live without. I was in the elevator with three men. I smiled, "Hi. How are you?" I said to the one who made eye contact with me. They all looked at me as if I were a complete nutcase, gave me a cursory nod, and went back to examining the floor, walls, and ceiling. I forgot, city people don't make eye contact with strangers or ...gasp... talk to them. Nothing says country bumpkin quite like talking to strangers.

When the elevator doors opened I gasped, so great was my delight. I had to hold onto the wall to steady myself.

This Target was unlike any I have ever seen. To say it was huge would be an understatement. I imagine I must have looked like a country girl who goes into the big city, stands in the middle of the sidewalk, looking up at the skyline, mouth hanging open... except that I was in Target, looking at housewares, and the throngs of people I was holding up were shoppers trying to get off the elevators.

I walked around looking at stuff. I had really gone in to buy the kids Easter stuff and realized it was on the second floor. In the center of the store was an escalator. And there was a separate escalator for your cart. I have never seen such a thing. I stood there for a few minutes looking at it. If I had my camera I would have taken a picture of it, completing the country bumpkin image. I couldn't figure it out, and, since city people don't talk to strangers or offer help of any kind, I took my things out of the cart and carried them up to the second floor on the people escalator. My new welcome mat was filled with shame, hoping the other housewares didn't see it.

I found all the Easter stuff and filled my cart with it, as well as other things that just jumped in there to keep the welcome mat company. Once my cart was filled to the top, I went to the check out. That part of the experience was just like it is at home. Surly teenager with a poor attitude tossing my stuff without care into plastic bags. It warmed my heart to know that some things are universal.

I got in the elevator with my cart to go back down to the parking garage. I was still very pleased with my Target experience. I went push my cart out the door and the wheels on the cart locked up. Not to be deterred I pushed and shoved and bent down to examine the wheels. I wondered if I was on Candid camera and looked around for Allen Funt, before realizing he was dead. I was confused and bewildered. Why was my cart no longer working? The city people offered no help or comments and just pushed past me, letting the door shut in my face.

I dragged my cart with it's unmoving wheels off to the side and that is when I noticed the sign. The sign that said carts are not allowed to leave the building and once you reach this point the wheels will lock up, rendering the cart as useful as, well, a heavy, metal cart with no wheels. If I had my camera I would definitely have taken a picture of the sign.

I stood there for a few minutes, and I'll admit I said "What the fuckity fuck?" so great was my exasperation at this situation. But those city folk, they didn't even seem to hear me... or notice me ... with my big overflowing metal albatross. And none of them offered any assistance. There was no one standing at the door to help you bring your purchases to your vehicle like at home.

So I put the plastic bags on my arms and marveled at how heavy jellybeans are when you buy twenty bags or so of them. And I walked out of the store, the flesh being torn off of my forearms. But that was okay since I was also losing feeling in my arms because the plastic handles were cutting off the circulation.

And really it was all worth it, because it was Target.

I walk to my van, in the scary, dark, deserted parking area. Open the back doors and begin tossing the stuff in.

(Have I ever mentioned that I startle easily? No, well I do. It drives Rob crazy because I scream involuntarily whenever I am startled.)

Anyway, there I am half in the back of my van when I hear, "Hey!"

I turn around and there is a man standing about 2ft away from me. I let out a blood curdling scream. He jumped back through the air a few feet, startled by my scream.

"What do you want?" I asked, and not in a friendly sort of way. More like a I'll cut you if you answer me wrong way.

"I, uh, was trying to get you attention for awhile now." he said looking around.

"Why? What do you want?"

"Uh, is there an elevator in this direction?"

"I have no idea." I answered. Got into my van and slammed the door. I still have my bitchy city girl ways lurking under the surface I suppose. But I'm a big believer in listening to that inner voice.

(The more I thought about the exchange later, the weirder the incident seemed. Why would you follow a woman from the entrance, the well lit entrance where the elevators are shining like a beacon through the dark parking garage?)

I drove off, out of the parking garage, and was stopped by the booth with the wooden arm blocking my path. I had to pay for the privilege of parking. "Where I live parking is like our air, clean and free. Yessirree. Just like the good Lord intended it to be. " And then I replaced the hay stalk in my mouth, adjusted the bib on my overalls, and drove off.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

To Do List, the Annotated Version

I like to make lists. I'll admit I am not very good at actually following through and doing the things that are on the list. Somehow just writing the items down makes me feel like I have accomplished something. And yes, I'll admit, I often add things to the list after I have done them just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing them off.

Today my list includes:

1) Put away laundry
2) Drink large cup of coffee done
3) Get dressed done
4) Mop the kitchen floor in anticipation of babysitter coming over to the house today oh well
5) Instill the fear of death into certain children if they misbehave for the babysitter later today done, and from what I heard it was quite effective
6) Go to dentist and have stitches from gum surgery removed done, ouch
7) Mentally beat self up for forgetting the tooth fairy last night done, done, and done again
8) Walk 2 miles on treadmill done in spite of myself and my supreme bargaining abilities
8.5)try to convince self that today is not a good day for walking on the treadmill done
9) Complain excessively over the fact that it is SNOWING in April done, over done some might say
10) Change a poopy diaper, and another,and yet another done
11) Yell at children for running through the house like a bunch of wild animals done
12) Think about what to make for dinner done
13) Decide to think about it more fully later done
14) Make dinner done well, I made sauce and meatballs in the crockpot for Rob to serve the kids when he got home
15) Wash 3 loads of laundry what the hell else is new
16) Fold 3 loads of laundry from today, and the 3 from yesterday the bane of my existence
17) Put all six loads away (Just noticed I wrote this on my list twice... and ignored it twice!)
18) Ask 8 yr old if he'd like to cough in my face a few more times, because nothing says love like a face full of spittle done
19)Shop at Target oh yeah, and this deserves a post all of it's own
20)Scrub toothpaste off of bathroom wall done, but why must the kids wipe toothpaste on the wall
21) Take money out from my wallet and put on table for the tooth fairy done, hope she remembers to put it under the pillow
22) Check email like I need to put this on a list
23) Drink my diet vanilla Dr Pepper, which is like the bastard child of cream soda and Dr Pepper or this
24) Type this post done, but good Lord I don't think I have ever written a more boring post

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

How to Eat An Oreo

I swear I didn't teach him this.

What I didn't catch on video was the smashing of the chocolate cookies that followed shortly after.

This, That, and the Other

This morning I woke up and it was snowing. Snowing.

Last week it was almost 70 degrees; the flowers and plants were poking up through the dirt. We had our first flower tragedy when my 15 mos old came over to the purple crocus we were all crouching over in admiration and promptly stomped upon it. And my yelling just caused him to giggle and march up on down upon the poor flower with both feet.

But today it is snowing.

And we have our first baseball practice of the season. The never ending little league season. This year I have three kids on three different teams, with three different practice schedules, three different game schedules, and three different locations for all these things. And there is still just one of me.

On top of it, I still have sick kids. Whatever virus or flu they have contracted has a really long incubation period and takes several days to recover from once they show symptoms. I consulted Dr Google this morning and they either have the flu, meningitis, or African sleeping sickness. After I freaked out and caused myself all the mental anguish I could muster, I realized that four of the kids have already gotten sick and recovered just fine so there is no reason to believe that whatever they have is fatal.

Also, the children haven't been to Africa, in, well... ever.

I haven't gotten ill yet. knock on wood. And I hope to keep it that way. This morning I walked around with my spray can on Lysol, spraying it's germ killing goodness on every surface my children have even looked at over the past week. I did stop short of spraying them with it, though just barely.

I will now be donning my respirator mask, hazmat suit, and rubber gloves, which will make typing a bit more difficult. But should have the benefits of keeping me warm at the baseball field and keeping all the people, who would like nothing more than to infect me with their germs, away from me.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

My Own Private Joke

For all the parents out there who have had to fiend surprise at the (fake) cup of spilled coffee on the sofa, the plastic spiders on the floor, and toy snakes on the top of the bathroom door.

Who have endlessly looked down at the front of their shirts when one of their children asks, "What's on your shirt?" only to be hit by a finger underneath the chin.

Who have heard knocking and gone to the front door to find no one standing there.

Who have had an elastic band put around the sprayer nozzle on the sink so that they get a refreshing morning face wash while attempting to make the morning coffee.

Who have had the sugar in the sugar bowl replaced with salt.

Who have endured a breathless, familiar, little voice on the other end of the phone asking if the refrigerator is running.

Who have withstood April Fools jokes on more than just April 1st.

This one's for you.

This year the planets aligned, fate intervened, and God was on my side. Daylight savings time, usually the bane of my existence, fell on April Fools Day.

I changed all my clocks ahead Saturday evening before dinner. I meant to tell the kids when they were getting ready for bed an hour early and shout out "April Fools!" Honest, that was my plan.

But then I thought it would be WAY more funny if they actually went to bed an hour early. I realized that I didn't need to disclose the prank to them in order to feel good about it.

As I sat on the couch after they all went upstairs I had a laugh all to myself. And it was good. I may have even said, "Who's the fool now, suckha" while I ate some jelly beans right out of the bag.

But I'm not telling.