Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Okay, I can hardly believe I did this...but I forgot to feed a kid before school.  How the hell do you do that, you wonder?  Well, I was concerned b/c Audrey fell asleep early last night and slept all the way through to 7-ish so I made sure she ate.  Ben, the pinkeye kid, eats like a horse, so he ate.  I fed the big guy before he left.  But little Ryan, my picky eater, my famine kid (you can feel all the bones in his little shoulder, he's a string bean) was drinking milk this morning, and for whatever reason, I was sure I fed him too.  Until we got home from school, and he had a little meltdown, something about pizza, and I realized that I forgot him.  He goes to school later in the morning, I just feed him a bit later than everyone else.  I can't believe I missed him!

Just nominate me for mother of the year.

I better remind him where the cereal is in case I have yet another brain fart.

I can only hope he won't be the one picking out my nursing home.


Little things

Well, so far so good.  No kids crying for Dad at night yet.  I'm surprised, the last time he left, it was a huge sobfest.  I've been preparing all of us mentally for it for a while so I guess that must've helped.

I'm the one who's missing him.  And it's not just the physical presence of him being here, it's the little things.  No toothbrush next to mine in the cup in the bathroom.  More space in the medicine cabinet because his toiletries are gone.  No spare cup to pick up in the morning that he used when he came home the night before.

And the night is hard too, I mean, I'm making sure to get to bed early, since no one wants a cranky sleep-deprived Mom, but I can't sleep the whole night through.  Last night I was up at 3:30, listening for him to be home. And at 4 and at 5:30.  I gave up trying to sleep and just got up! Sometimes when he comes in, I hear him and silently will watch him tiptoe around the house covering up the bare foot that will be hanging out of Ben's bed, rearranging the sheets on Ryan, brushing Audrey's hair off her face, covering up Nolan so he's in his cocoon.  He's the shadow by the bed, I can feel him looking at me and sometimes we will clasp hands for just a minute, then if I don't get up and talk to him, I slip into deep sleep comforted that he's in, okay, safe, no bad guy wins tonight. 

 I can tell when he's charged up and has a tale to tell, so I definately get up then to hear it.  And I will purposely leave out the silly kid details of the evening so that the time and my attention are his.  The stories are not really the point, he's just winding down, and sometimes I think that this after work time is lonely for him if there's no one to talk to.  Yet there are times I know he needs to be left alone. It's just one of those 'know your man' things, an intangible intuitive sense that can only be honed with time, familiarity, and patience.  I know I won't sleep well until he gets back.  In the meantime, I'll do his night shift of re-covering and checking on the kids.  It's better than watching the clock.

He misses me too, because he called me this morning, just to see if everyone made it out the door ok.  He's not a fan of being chatty on the phone...so I'm still smiling about it.


Monday, November 29, 2004

The score so far: KIDS 2 MOM 1

Okay, score one for Dr Mom.  I was right about the pinkeye, and was perfect in my timing to Urgent Care.  I got there right when it opened.  Smooth, huh?  When I used to work in Urgent Care, we absolutely hated it when people were lined up outside waiting for us, but es por de mas, I had a sick kid.  Besides, Ben woke me up at 5 am crying because he was a goopy mess, so I was up anyway. 

However...ever try to get a kid to cooperate with eye drops?  It's not pretty.  "HOLD STILL I am NOT going to hurt you!"  evolves into growling threats in no time flat.  We are managing better today, and I think the duct tape I used to hold his head down should come off the couch... 

We made it home with plenty of time to spare to get Mr W off to the airport.  It's Mr W that was unfocused.  We're all loaded up, ready to go, so I ask him: 'You taking your cell phone?' 'Yeah.' 'Um, don't you think you'd better take the charger too?' He gets back in the car... 'Did you remember your money?' He rolls his eyes, 'Be right back'.  Had I not see his bag full of all his stuff, I don't think I would believe he packed everything.  I know he wasn't all that thrilled about leaving us and it made him a bit airheaded.  He was even compelled to fill up the van and wash it too (such a guy).    :)

I used to swear up and down that if I ever had a little girl, I would not buy into that Barbie-Disney machine that I don't always think has the best imagery/messages for little girls.  (in fact, I used to say, "I refuse to sell that 'someday my prince will come' crap to my little girl")  And then, I had one. I still will not endorse the 'someday my prince' will come mentality, but I did (and I admit this painfully)get her the new Barbie Prince and the Pauper DVD a while back.  Hey, she can only watch the Bionicle movie so many times...  She is into it.  She is a child that should never be allowed to watch commercials, because she will ask for all the girly stuff she sees. I (again, somewhat painfully admit) that I bought her a Barbie P/P nightgown that looks like a little frou-frou princess dress, very cute.  Now, she won't take it off.  Yesterday, I made a deal with herto wear regular clothes to the store, but that she could wear "her princess" when we got home.  Foolishly, I thought she'd forget, and I would be free of the dress until bedtime; we walked in the door, and she goes "Mommy, you get my button?" so I'd unbutton the dress she had on.  Minutes later, she trots out in her "princess" and twirls around the living room. She wore it all day and night yesterday, so I need to wash it today, and I am sure the accompanying cries of terror at being separated from "my princess" will bring the neighbors out of their houses to investigate.  I really think it's hilarious, and it's not really something to sweat about...is it?  I may have to get her another just so I can wash the one she's wearing.  Ok, I will be at Kohl's later this morning.  Can we say pushover?  I am chalking it up to just a kid being a kid.  At least it looks like a dress.  Did I mention she wears her tights with it too?

They say that 2 and toddlerhood is like a preview of adolescence.  I can only hope that after the three boys make it through that I have enough energy left over for her, because I know that will be interesting to say the least. 


Sunday, November 28, 2004

Can we get a hand for the cranky lady down in front?

Mood:  UUGGGHHH-- grouchy and unpleasant

It's been a long day.  It started off well enough, but has taken a turn for the ugly as it's gotten later into the evening.  Mr W suggested we step outside for some fisticuffs, but I know I'd kick his ass and that's not going to make me snap out of this funk.  No, the best thing for me at this point is a deep breath and a time out--out of state, out of body, out of my mind, whatever works.  I think I know what's bringing this on, besides the usual biological bitchiness that strikes from time to time.

Mr W is going away for a week.  Granted, it's for work reasons, but he's gonna be in Florida, so that's hardly across town, and I will be here.  With the children.  Outnumbered.  Alone.

I do not fear them like I should.

They don't fear me, I wish they would.

I do not want to admit they can

Make me really miss their Dad!

See, I'm a babbling idiot already.  I know we'll be okay, but I dread the evenings when I'll have at least one of them breaking down in tears because they want Dad. 

And the laundry's not finished, so I'll be busting butt in the morning to get it done before he leaves (yeah, he does change clothes once in a while). I'm a sort of pissed that Mr W was home today, and could of continued the laundry while I was out for a bit, but why split hairs at this point?  It's still not done, so it doesn't really matter. 

Adding to the joy, it looks like Ben has developed a raging case of pink eye, and who knows who or what he's been rubbing his hands on in the meantime; I'd be willing to bet that at least one other kid will develop it too.

  I can't even do anything about THAT until tomorrow, when I will have the pleasure of attempting a (hahahaha) quick visit to Urgent Care as I don't think the dr will just call in something for him w/o him being seen. I can only hope we don't catch some kind of virulent strain of crap while we wait. Damn, damn, damn it, I should have picked up on the pink eye earlier today.  Isn't that in the job description somewhere?

Mom Wanted: Must be cheerful, witty and willing to clean up after herself and others.  Must be able to drive, cook, shop, occasionally teach, and coach either soccer, basketball, or football. Intensive knowledge of stain removal techniques suggested.  Should be familiar with hostessing impromptu gatherings of friends whenever the bosses decide it's time for a get together; see cooking requirement. Should be aware of the likelihood of being sprayed with various biological substances at any time. Should not be prone to mood swings that can't be cured with a hug/"I love you" combo.  Skill in diagnosing and treating minor illnesses and injuries REQUIRED. Failure in any of these areas will lead to bosses not ever making it past grammar school and becoming a burden/menace to society and employee will be held entirely responsible (it will be your fault--the management is not responsible for any areas in which you lack required expertise.)  We offer an exciting work environment where every day is different. If you are faint of heart, you need not apply. Be aware that this is only a partial list of qualities we like to see in our applicants.  Salary requirements will be met (if any apply) only after approval by our board of trustees.  Send resume and references to:  I'myourbaby, Inc. 525 E Rainbow Lane, Nodless, WI 74521.

I am hoping to make it through the week without a visit to that nice white room with the padded walls and fashionable jackets. 


Friday, November 26, 2004

Movie time

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?....

Why Spongebob Squarepants, of course.  I'd promised the kids I'd take them to see it today not realizing that today was probably not the best of days to be anywhere near a mall.  I was pleasantly surprised that although the mall was busy, it wasn't that bad at the time we went (around 5).  Since I enjoy all things Spongebob, I was looking forward to seeing it as much as they were.   

I love taking them to the movies.  Sometimes I don't watch the movie and just watch their little faces to see how they react to it. It's great to see little smiling silhouettes passing their popcorn back and forth, just so into it they don't notice me watching them.  I have to say Spongebob didn't disappoint! I was LOL quite a bit. Who says I'm not easily entertained? 

We had to wait for our showing, so we actually bravely sallied forth into the mall to grab a bite and window shop.  I got a kick out of spotting the crazy people that had that "I've been here all day and am about to snap" look about them.  I inwardly cringed at the chubbies wearing belly shirts and low pants; and am still trying to figure out the appeal of the fur-lined Ugg-like boots in a climate like ours.  It's just not that cold, girls.  We are lucky enough to live in a place that if you wanted too, you could probably wear sandals year round. Did I mention that said fur-lined boots were most often paired with a miniskirt?  Whatever, people.  You just keep on spending Mommy and Daddy's money on whatever you want, princess, because apparently no one is checking you at the door when you go out.

I did manage to score some points with my oldest when I spotted a denim jacket at Gap.  On sale.  If I'd been looking for it, it wouldn't have come to pass, but we weren't, and I got lucky that it was a good deal AND he liked it AND it fit ok.  What are the chances of that?  I had to smile when he asked me if I thought he looked ok/would Dani like it?  I'm in for a long month and a half before she comes to visit! 

We visited briefly with my husband at work when we took him a treat (choc shake).  I resisted the urge to put Ex-Lax in it because I know he was really rooting for the U of A tonight, and was so smug earlier in the afternoon when ASU was losing that I almost punched him. It was a welcome diversion to go to see Spongebob. (I'm a little inconsolable right now.  But I'll take my lumps like a man, I'm sure the people I've not heard from all season will be burning up my phone lines tomorrow.  At least I won't have to put up with it at work for a week or so.)

When I was walking with the dog earlier, I noticed a lot of people in the neighborhood getting a jump on the Christmas lights and such.  It made me think about my other favorite thing to do with the kids at this time of year, and that's drive around and look at lights.  I took them to this one particular street we always go to, it's really spectacular.  Seriously, it's like Christmas exploded in this cul de sac in Mesa.  I couldn't feel bad for too long when I heard around me "Look, that's different from last year.." "Can we come back and walk around the street next time?" "WOW!  Look, Mommy, lights, my lights!" The last comment from Audrey, who was about to bust right out of her carseat from excitement--I grin just thinking about how thrilled she was, she's really gonna have fun this year that she's more aware of what's going on. She started crying when I pulled into our driveway because she wanted to see "more my lights!" Hopefully, she won't inspire her Daddy into a Christmas Vacation-like display of watts, but I'm sure he'll get a little carried away, he's due for it.

Guess I'd better start shopping for a good ladder and a staple gun...





Thursday, November 25, 2004

Old friends

One of the benefits of growing up in a small town is that you know everybody.  That being said, one of the bad things about growing up in a small town is that you know everybody.  Who's who in a small town is really quite easy because eventually you will find the branch on the tree that leads you to the knowledge that the cute boy across the street is actually your cousin so you'd better stop looking in his window at night. Eeewww--yes, it happened to me.  When my aunt informed me of that little tidbit, I shot milk out my nose all over her warm cornbread in shock and disbelief.  But I wasn't really looking in his window at night, just perving the shadows I could see through the curtain.  The only way I came to terms with that was to blame it on the hormones of a preadolescent.

The coolest thing about the small town is that the friends you had during grade school and high school (and I mean your true friends, not the chicks that make Mean Girls look like an episode of Barney) are still your friends today.  You know, the kind of friend that doesn't care how long its been since your last conversation, they are just happy to hear from you.  I happen to have a few friends like this, and a couple of them are -gasp-boys.  I'm not talking some of that 'When Harry met Sally'-can't be-friends-with-a-girl bullshit either.  These are guys that I could spend the night with, even today, and Mr W wouldn't bat an eyelash and their wives wouldn't come after me with loaded weapons. 

One of them lives really close to me, and I tracked him down about a year ago, using the time-honored tradition of siccing the Moms on him.  I simply put a bug in my best friend's Mom's ear to ask his relatives about him because she still lives in our hometown.  I was so surprised that he was living just down the way that I played a prank on him by sending my police officer husband over there in uniform to say hello.  He'd not seen Mr W in quite some time, so he initially didn't have a clue that the cop knocking on his door wasn't there for some sinister reason.  Once he got over his surprise, he welcomed him in, they called me, and we had quite the chuckle over it.  I took the kids over on Halloween and we had a nice visit.  Unfortunately, that was last year.  Hey, simply living can get in the way of the best of friends...he works nights, I have all these little ones to chase around, they just had another baby.  Our schedules just could never mesh.

I missed him so much the other day, I decided to call him.  I spoke with his wife, another friend of mine, and then played phone tag with him for about a month.  A month!!  Can you imagine that?  I even went by and left them a note last week.  Well yesterday, I tried again, and we actually got to talk.  For an hour.  Sure, my kids were eating every piece of junk I could hand them so I could continue my conversation (bad Mom! bad Mom!), but it was so good to talk to him.  Today, we went over, and everyone had a great time.  I got to visit with his brothers, and we got all caught up on what's been going on since we were together last.  It was so easy, so comfortable, and I am so stupid for not having made the effort sooner.  I won't let that much time lapse between us again.  It's important to keep tabs on the people who know where the bodies are buried.

Of course, he's moving back to (groan) Tucson in the spring.   But at least I'll know where to find him. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Young love

Mood: giggly, giggly, giggly

I have a really old friend that lives in Kentucky now with her husband and daughter.  They come out to visit about once a year, and her daughter is just younger than my oldest son.  The last time they were here, the little girl apparently kissed my boy.  She's been on his mind ever since.  Ahh, the power of a good kiss...

Recently, he was complaining (like only a ten-year old can) that he was bored.  So I suggested that he email my friend's daughter.  My friend tells me that Dani misses AZ, so I figured that a correspondence could only be a good idea; he could hone both his writing and socializing skills, she could have some AZ news to tide her over while the weather there is unbearable.  They email each other several times a day now, with about one sentence per email.  One of her little friends is now in on it too.  And my boy grins like an idiot every time I tell him he has mail.(don't we all?)

He has informed me that he would like me to take him to Kentucky to see her.  He is not sure if he can wait until she comes to visit in January.

I don't think he realizes that in Kentucky, that kind of visit is probably considered a proposal. 

At least I already know her Mom.


My little one is 2 1/2.  She is the epitomy of a two year old too.  Everything has to be her way, right away, or else all hell breaks loose.  I battle between letting her get away with murder to keep the peace, and letting her know that she's really NOT the boss.   Not an uncommon battle, I know.  

She is pretty sweet most of the time.  But lately, she's been having these killer temper tantrums late in the day, and I think I've figured out her problem.  She's tired, and needs a nap, and she wants....her Mommy.  Easy enough, right?  No, not so easy.  She wants to nurse.  

Don't start on me that I'm a weirdo.  She only needs me at naptime and bedtime, and sometimes not at all.  It's just really hard because I've nursed all of the kids to varying degrees...10 mo, 15 mo, 27 mo... and well, I'd like them back.  And I thought I was winning this battle, but today, I came home from work, and she threw a total fit.  And I sat down, rocked her, and let her nurse.  And she's sleeping peacefully right now.  She even told me that she felt better, right before she drifted off.   She likes the closeness, and reaches up and holds on to me with her free hand. Sometimes, she'll pat my cheek.  I try just holding her close, and it isn't the same for her, I guess.  And she won't go to Dad without crying herself to sleep if I'm here too.  I don't really mind that much, it's just...I'd like them back.  

I know she'll probably quit soon.  Sometimes with the little ones, you have to back off when they aren't ready.  She's learning to use the potty right now too, so I think it's a one step forward, one step back kind of thing.

Besides, I don't think she'll graduate high school still nursing, so I try not to sweat it.  :)

Sunday, November 21, 2004

I'd like some of that!

I went to see my Nana earlier this evening in the hospital.

She looked tired, and has a big bandage on her shoulder. 

The real fun began when she started to speak.  I came into the room, and said hello, and she said "mira ese perrito blanco que esta aqui en la cama." (look at the little white dog here on the bed) And when my Dad came in, she asked him not to take away her cocktail.

???Nana, there's no dog on the bed, it's your blanket.  Move the blanket, and started helping her sit up on the bed b/c she was leaning perilously close to the edge.  She says to me "hay muchas papitas aqui en este plato..." (there are a lot of french fries on this plate)  Nana, there are no fries here.  I stroked her head, and she felt feverish.  I took her ice bag, and told her I'd be right back, and went to fill it with the idea of catching her nurse and asking her some questions.  I didn't find her, but someone sent her back to the room for me...

"She feels feverish and is really disoriented," I say.  The nurse says "Well, she has had a low fever today, and it's not bad, but not good either.  We are watching it.  It is common for elderly people to become disoriented after they suffer a fracture.  We hope she'll snap out of it soon.  But I'm not aware of how sharp she was before the injury, so I'm basing her disorientation on the usual behavior we see with elderly patients."  I think, okay.  "So what's this I hear about her not cooperating when the physical therapists wanted her to walk?"  "Well, she took about four steps.  And she was leaning to her good side, in a manner that's not safe, so they sat her back down."  "She says she's uncomfortable," my Dad says.  And the nurse replies, with a straight face: "I gave her some Percocet earlier, and it didn't work for her, so then I gave her two Lortabs, and that seemed to do it."

???What?  You gave my Nana enough medicine to knock out a Marine, and you are wondering why she's asking inappropriate questions and doesn't know where she is and is disoriented?  She's hallucinating little white dogs, french fries, and our hometown, and no one thinks this could have been a side effect of all the narcotics?  WTF?  You know, I'd be hard pressed to take four steps had I'd ingested all those pharmaceuticals.  Some days, I have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time, with no medication whatsoever.  Poor Nana!! :)

We left a little after that.  But before I did,  I fluffed her pillows, and tucked her in.  She asked about the little white dog again, and I realized she was referring to the box of tissues on her bed!  So I held them closer to her and said, "Mira, Nana, this is a box of Kleenex, not el perrito blanco."  And she smiled, a little embarrassed. 

I resisted the urge to turn on some Jimi Hendrix as I was turning out the lights to go.

Who comes up with these ideas?

When I logged on this morning, I saw this on the AOL parenting page..'New Mom Stress Busters--6 Strategies to make you feel calmer, fast!'

I'm still LOL.  Here they are, and what I think of them:

1)  Break a sweat:  "Exercise for 20 min a day or more can reduce stress and build confidence."  Followed by 'easy' ways to fit these 20 minutes in like:  walking with hubby and baby in stroller, joining a mommy n me exercise class or new mom yoga classes.

What are they thinking?  Any new mom I've ever spoken with, given the choice of walking with hubby and baby OR taking a nap while hubby walks baby is gonna sleep.  Or shower.  Or take this time to clean the artwork the older toddler has left all over the house while she's been bonding with the new baby.  Or work on her hand-stamped, calligraphy baby announcements, the ones she vowed to send out immediately after the cherub's arrival but still sit on her dresser 4 months later.

2) Get out:  Plan a regular activity that gets you out of the house.  Have hubby, a relative or a sitter watch your baby (don't forget to pump a bottle if you're nursing) and join a book or cooking club.

There are several problems with this one.  A regular activity that gets you out of the house...hmm, let me see.  Grocery shopping?  Picking up other kids from school?  Football practice?  The weekly jaunt to Target to get more diapers, more wipes, and tp?  Have your hubby or a relative or a sitter watch the baby...Um, ok.  "How long do you think you'll be?" is usually the first question asked of you, and you grit your teeth, so he says "not that I'm saying you have to rush" and it pisses you off so you take jr along anyway, and then ALL the kids want to come, so you let them, and there you are, in the tp aisle at Target, with a screaming newborn while your milk lets down, wrecking the crappy tshirt you are wearing, and the other kids have gone running down the aisle to the toy section and you hear the inevitable crash that you know you will ultimately be responsible for as you realize that said hubby is home, recharging by taking a nap.

Don't forget to pump a bottle of milk...as if you could forget that you are lactating when the random baby in the store starts crying and you make a mad dash for the bathroom in hopes to stem the coming tide.  Just consider yourself lucky if your baby WILL take a bottle...my last two kids wouldn't and it was hellish for anyone involved to take care of them.  So barring work, they went with me (and still do) EVERYWHERE.  Join a book or cooking club...yeah, I think reading while the baby sleeps and whipping up coq au vin are the first things on a new mom's mind.  Can you say Domino's?  I think that # was on speed dial at one time...

3) Eat.  Poor nutrition can sap your energy level and increase stress.  This one included tips like have the whole family load the fridge up with healthy snacks and drinks (so you can grab a meal while you are caring for the baby the next day) and putting a mini fridge in the 'nursery' so you could store more healthy snacks and leftover formula or breast milk.  And nursing moms should avoid dieting because it could 'compromise' the quality of breast milk.

They must not realize that to a toddler, a healthy snack can be anything from string cheese to the leftover cheerio they find under the couch.  Grab a meal while taking care of the baby the next day...I remember staying up all night with one of them and then grabbing a poptart and glass of milk while he slept in my arms, and downing it like I'd been stranded on a desert island.  Put a mini fridge in the nursery...What, are we all living in houses that are so large we can't make it to the kitchen?  The 'nursery' in our house was the spare bedroom. And obviously, this missive about nursing moms not dieting because it will compromise the quality of breast milk, is a little off the mark.  If you are nursing, the first six weeks or so involve some of the most intense hunger and thirst known to man.  Seriously, you could drink gallons of water and still want more, and you are starving pretty much all the time.  I don't think dieting is the first thing on anyone's mind at that point, unless you are a Victoria's Secret model and it's time to go back to work.  The only thing sapping your energy is the little being determined to suck the life force out of you.

4) Pamper yourself.  Get someone to watch the baby while you schedule a manicure or facial.  Or you can hit the makeup counter where the sales reps are usually happy to give you a free makeover.  OR if you can't get away, shut your bath and bedroom doors and take a LONG, steamy aromatherapy shower.

Okay, say you do find someone to watch the baby.  You probably won't have remembered to schedule that manicure or facial "No, ma'am, there's no appointment here for Mrs. Jones.  Hey, wait a minute.  It's NEXT Tuesday, not today Tuesday..."  As for the make up counter makeover, have they not seen some of the over the top women (and I've seen guys too) staffing said counters?  "Look, honey, I got a free makeover."  is not so appealing when you come home looking like a retired Las Vegas showgirl and you need a paint scraper to recover your face.  A long, steamy aromatherapy shower?  You better hope that your doors are reinforced, because they won't stay closed for long if they aren't...I still frequently come out of the shower, only to find fingers sliding under the door to announce the presence on the other side, and that's just my husband!  A long shower...hmmm, would that be the shower that is long enough that you could shave BOTH legs and underarms without interruption, or are we talking just long enough to let your body see the water before someone comes charging in with an emergency?

5) Enjoy date night at home.

HA! HA!!HA!!!  So you get everyone in bed early, and manage to light a candle or two.  Dinner is good, and you may even be conversing when....here comes "I need some water" "I can't sleep" "I need to go to the bathroom" "What was that noise?" "Can you tuck me in again?" "That smells good, can I have some?"  "Why were you laughing?"

Date night at home...are you kidding me???

6)  If you get overwhelmed with stress, you can and should seek professional help/counseling.

Could it be considered 'professional' help to put in whatever video is the favorite of the moment?  Before my first was born, I swore I'd never, ever resort to this.  But then I discovered that it might buy me a half hour of sanity to let him watch Barney.  And I let him watch.  We've now graduated to the root of all evil, the video game, and now I referee whoever is feeling he didn't get his turn (UGH) but a few minutes peace, is well, a few minutes peace.

And there's always that bottle of tequila when all else fails.

Perhaps I am wrong in the assumption that people who write for parenting pages are actually parents, and not some 20- something writer doing his/her time until they get a real job.  But you know what they say about assuming... 

 Calmer?  I'd have settled for showered, rested, fed, and no knockdown, drag-out fights to settle.  Calmer would have been the bonus!!

Good news

I went to the hospital today, to see my Nana.  I took the toddler with me, because I thought she'd cheer her up.  I got to talk with my Nana before her surgery, and even help her out with her troublesome IV.  She was happy to see me, and I got to smooth her hair back and chat with her for a few minutes before the little one woke up and insisted she 'sit there' on the bed next to her.  I told her everything would be fine, that we loved her, and passed on some love from my brother too (he has been working alot and can't come yet).  I told her los muchachos (my boys) said they expect her to be outside throwing the ball at them with her 'new arm' when she feels better.  And that Mr W sent his best too.  I shooed my Dad and Tia out of the room so they could have a break, and we sat with her.  Nana is pretty bruised up, and the hand on her injured arm looks just awful, but she seemed to just want to get it all over with.  What a trooper.  I didn't want to leave, but I needed to take the little one back to my Mom's because she was antsy, and I didn't want to be chasing her around the cardiac care unit--don't think the nurses would have appreciated that!!  Nana got taken into surgery after I left. 

I did come back, though, and sat around waiting for her Dr to come out and let us know what was up...with my Tia, my cousin and her husband, and my Dad.  And I was proud of myself for not being nasty when my cousin said "I went in to see her, and she looked so OLD!"  I mean, I thought, no shit, sherlock, but I said, "Well, you know she will be 90 in March, she's not gonna look like she's 60."  I mean, just last week, I was thinking she looked more frail, but I thought her skin looked good, and I smiled today when I noticed she still had her brows penciled in--black, of course.  My Nana always was one for the makeup, a tradition she passed on to me, haha.  OY! and her perfume...I was never so happy as the day I got my driver's license, and I could give her a ride and pick her (and a friend or two) up from her weekly bingo night at the Elks lodge, but it was definately a job done with the windows rolled down...that Estee Lauder Youth Dew is a killer, I tell you.  She loves gambling, and my Dad refuses to play anything that involves la chanca (chance) with her, because somehow, she always wins.  She always has the biggest pile of pennies when we play loteria (to borrow a line from the cartoonist that draws 'La Cucaracha' "it's like bingo, gringo") but somehow she passes on the luck to Mr W and lets him win once or twice.  But I digress...so my cousin goes on to say, kinda under her breath, "well, I guess I don't see her that often, like every weekend, like I should..." and I didn't rise to it, even though I could have and I really, really wanted too.  I mean, showing up once or twice a year has sufficed so far, and now we have the guilt??  Whatever.  I said something along the lines of how much my kids enjoy seeing her, and saying goodnight to her, etc.  And I do see her every weekend, yeah, I visit my parents weekly and she lives there, but I'd visit her anyway even if she weren't there.  And I'll admit that when she has the tv blaring on 'Sabado Gigante' and she pretends she doesn't know its me on phone and hangs up, it gets on my nerves, but sue me.  I still make a point to pop in for a minute and see if she needs anything, and recount some silly story from my week.  And she always tells me to take care of myself and the kids, and that pesky Mr W that she adores when I leave. 

So the surgery went WELL!!  The dr said that she didn't need the huge repair, her shoulder would be ok, and they put a pin in her arm.  Hopefully we can take her home in a couple of days.  Equally hopefully, I can talk my Dad down from trying to get a team of nurses to come and go from the house for her.  Really, we are butting heads right now because he is (rightfully, I know) concerned she will fall again, and wants a hospital bed, and a potty, and the whole nine yards, and really, the bathroom is very close, and okay, maybe she can have a hospital bed for a week or so, but man, he's wigging.  My poor Dad!  I can only hope that the hospital staff can make him see reason, because she really needs to stay mobile, I think, and I'm concerned that overdoing it like that will not help her regain her fuerza (strength) but my Dad es muy capichudo (stubborn) and he's kinda pissed that I'm not on board here.  I'm sure we'll compromise, or he'll see that it might not be practical... My Mom will ultimately wind up taking care of her, and she feels like I do, so maybe he'll listen to her.  Or not.

I saw my other Nana today too, so it was a good day all around.  She lives with my Tia Tessie, and they live like a mile or so from my Mom's.  I may pop in tomorrow with all my crew (hey, we're an instant houseful) to say hello, and torment my Tio with all the kids while he's trying to watch tv.  We can be the Sunday halftime show!!  And I'm taking Mr W along, whether he likes it or not, because I need him to settle something for my Tia.  See she's convinced that my middle son, Ben, looks exactly like Mark Grace, and she gives me shit about it all the time. "When will you admit it, mija, ese muchacho no es de Mr W. "   Seriously, the last time she started teasing me, it was so bad, I finally stopped protesting, and just let her go on.  In front of her brother-and-sister-in-law.  It doesn't help matters that the first time she did it, I joked back and encouraged her.  No, now I think Mr W should defend his honor on his own, since no one's taking my word for it.  Besides, Ben resembles my husband to such a degree that I can't believe she teases me at all!! ;)  With my luck, she'll swab Mr W's mouth for DNA and send it off for paternity testing (because I know she's watched one too many episodes of CSI.  "Here, mijo, have this soda...")  In spite of all this, I still love going over there.  It's loud, and can get obnoxious, but we love each other, and sometimes that's the best time there is.


And speaking of good times...there's a certain someone who is totally on my list right now, at least until he gets home.  How dare he come home for lunch, kiss me like that, and then leave????  It's gonna cost him...about an hour's worth of sleep, if I can make it past the preliminaries.  :)

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The cone of silence

Mood:  grumpy.  a little blue but I'm digging this pink.

I am thinking of installing a soundproof booth in my house, my own cone of silence.  Someplace with maybe a chair or two, nothing elaborate, no fountains or aromatherapy, just a place to sit.  And think.  Alone.  Where the cries of "MO-OM, where are you?" "Mommy, what are you do-ing?" "Mom!" "MO-OM!!" "Mom???" will not be heard.  Maybe I'll pipe in something soothing to listen to.  It would definately need to be big enough for Mr W to fit in with me.  Then maybe we could have a conversation get beyond "so, I was telling you..." "MOM!" "Look, unless there's something on fire, go away, I'm talking to your Dad" "so, anyway, honey, the funniest thing happened.." "MOM!" "now what (through gritted teeth)?  Get out of here if you want to live!"  -sounds of bickering from other room- choose to ignore them as no blows seem to be exchanged, no blood is flowing-- "this lady called, and.." "MOM!" --can't be ignored.  Conversation interruptus.  Go deal with the problem, and forget what I was saying before.  By now Mr W is engrossed in what is that, another rerun of JAG?  Go back about my other business, let at least one of us have some peace. 

I could use it to talk on the phone too.  My 10 yr old informs me all the time of the things he 'overhears'.  Really, the little &#%*! is creeping up the hallway to listen.  I know.  I've caught him.  I ask them to leave, I've shut the door, I've gone from room to room--only to be followed with the tenacity of bloodhounds on the scent.  I have a quiet voice, if I speak any lower, the person on the other end can't hear me, so I speak loudly, then EVERYONE can hear me.  I like to think I am able to speak freely, and not censor myself, and curse if I need too.  But I'm not.  Oh, no, there are a few metiches (nosy busy bodies) in my house.  It's annoying.  I am reduced to holding conversations with people in my car, on the way home from work, if I want privacy.  Man, privacy.  Just saying it makes me giddy.  I want MORE.  

I want to be able to start speaking...without doing recon down the hall to see if anyone's there.  

I want to be able to start speaking...without looking over my shoulder every two seconds to see who's snuck in.

I want to be able to talk to my husband about something that doesn't involve the safe subjects of school, the kids, their friends, their activities...them.  I'd settle for talking about the weather, for crying out loud.

I want to speak in a normal voice, not a pseudo whisper that only I can hear. 

My cone of silence will also probably need room for the computer.  In the time I've been writing this, I've fielded a phone call (that I took in the garage, and was followed by both kids that are home--'where are you?'), three requests of 'are you done, yet?', two fights, and uncountable bouts of loudness (Mr W is asleep--he works nights, give him a break).

Aahh, the cone of silence.  A mere figment of my imagination, unless they are all sleeping.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Random late night thoughts

Mood: worried, but trying not to be...

One of my first memories is in my Nana's kitchen. I remember being around 2 or 3, and having to climb up the chair to sit at the table, and asking her for chorizo con huevo and coffee.  Imagine, a toddler eating chorizo, and drinking coffee?  Ok, so mainly coffee with a lot of milk and sugar but to me, it was cafe. (My mother continues this tradition of un-cafe with my middle son, who loves it too and thinks its coffee.) I used to sit in her lap and she'd dip toast or tortilla into her coffee and let me have a bite. My memories of this time with her are in Spanish, and I still have her correcting me to this day when I mispronounce something. 

When I was about, oh 7 or 8, both my Nana and Tata moved in with us.  My brother, who's two years younger than me, gave up his room and moved in with me.  I wasn't pleased about it, but over time didn't care, because I liked having them live with us.  Growing up, I spent a lot of time with her in the kitchen.  I watched her make tortillas, working the dough into perfectly shaped balls before she rolled them out into perfect circles and cooked them up.  It's impossible to resist eating a warm tortilla from the griddle, and she always gave me one.  But just one, because it is a labor-intensive kind of thing to make, and you just can't eat all of them before dinner.  She used to try to teach me to make them, even when I was a teenager and refused to learn and they came out shaped like the African continent...she knew someday I'd want to know how to do it.  I could make some today if I had to, but they wouldn't be perfect, and I'd have to practice a lot to even approach hers.

Every holiday season, we would all get together and make tamales.  A huge, 20+dozen making of tamales to share with family and friends.  When we were kids, we couldn't wait to help out, but you had to be deemed worthy enough in her estimation to do so--it's serious business.  So even if all I was designated to do was wash the hojas and bring them to the ladies, I did it.  I listened to all my Tia's and her comadres' cuentos(stories) about wayward relatives and the local gossip.  I learned more at those gatherings about people in general than I've learned in my adulthood! Those lessons, about cheating husbands, surprise pregnancies, love, and laughter still carry on in my mind today.  I can still hear my Tia Elena's (Nana's sister) smoky, throaty voice warning me to choose the right man (I did) and not some vale nada who would certainly steal my heart and leave me stranded, alone.  She truly told the funniest, bawdiest stories I've ever heard. But I'll tell her story another time.

So now, it's the holiday season again.  And I grew used to seeing my Nana bent over the oven taking the turkey out for Thanksgiving.  She hasn't done it in many years, because she has passed on the torch to me in a way. Somehow, I always wind up cooking.  I complain about it, but I really don't mind.  I love seeing everyone's face and raking in the compliments when the food's good and I made it.  This year will be particularly bittersweet--

My Nana will be 90, God willing, this March. She still lives with my parents.  But she fell the other day, and broke her arm.  And I'm afraid this will be the beginning of the end, and I'm not ready. She was supposed to have surgery on the arm today, but it was canceled because the doctor thinks she may have had a heart attack and wants to clear her from a cardiac standpoint before they operate.  I'm so worried that she won't be able to be fixed, that Humpty Dumpty won't be put back together again.  And even if they fix it, that she'll have a rough recovery.  She's 89, for crying out loud, how can they torture her with physical therapy?  So many ifs, and questions, and I don't know the answers.  And in a couple of weeks, it will be time to make the tamales again for the holidays.  I've been calling around to all my Tias to see who wants to be included, who can come help and when.  I don't know if I will be strong enough to do it if she isn't well, or God forbid something were to happen to her.  Right now, I guess I should just concentrate on getting through these next couple of days for her.  That's all I can do, and pray.  Alot.

My kids call her "Two-nana" because they call my Mom Nana; when Nolan was a baby, he called her 'nana-two' and over the years it morphed to 'two-Nana'.  She loves them, and doesn't scold me when they don't speak Spanish to her (I'm working on that).  And she will only speak English to MrW.; because she really likes him, and reminds me I'd better feed him.  I swear, when he was first coming over to my house and we were dating, right after 'hello' and pleasantries to him in English, she'd say to me in Spanish "Tiene hambre?  Dale algo para comer.." ("is he hungry?  give him something to eat...") And she still does it!!  I can be in the door five minutes from work, and that is one of the first questions she asks me :) 

My kids call her Two-nana, but to me, she's my Nana Pancha.  And I hope that she can recover, because I don't think I will if she doesn't.

I'm not squeamish

We had a blood drive at work yesterday.  I'm not squeamish about the whole needle thing, but I did get squeamish when the lady doing my paperwork started asking me so many questions about my lifestyle and sexual habits that I felt, well, a little dirty when she was done.  Shouldn't she as least bought me lunch before she started with "Have you ever taken drugs or money in exchange for sex?"

I know that they have to ask these questions for a reason, but couldn't they ask them in a small, dark cubicle with a partition in it so you can't see each other but hear each other--hey, wait isn't that a confessional?  It's a lot harder to answer questions about whether you had group sex with the Traveling Tonys of the Trapeze the last time the circus was in town when you are sitting right across from her in her little white lab coat under the bright white lights just a few feet from where you earn your daily bread.  If you're lucky, you might even have a coworker just outside the door to look at while you answer delicate questions like:  "Have you ever had sex with a six-toed midget under the full moon in Texas in January of 1986?"  "Have you ever had sex with anyone born in Africa before 1977?"  "Have you ever traveled outside the United States and had sex with someone named Paolo in the elevator on the way up to your room?"  "Do you understand these questions or do you have any questions of your own?"  "Um, let's see..no.  But can I get your number?"

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I've created a monster

I've created a monster.  See, during the 'Roy' business, I told Ryan that his name meant 'little king'.  I wanted to make him see that his own name was special and that he should like it as much as we do.

Well, he has taken the 'little king' bit to heart.  Apparently, he has been bossing and expressing himself to his older brothers as the 'little king.'  I even got a dose of it when we were getting ready to go to his Nana's.  I told the kids as we loaded them up that I'd be making tostadas for dinner that night.  And Ryan said he'd rather have "Campbell's chicken noodle soup"...he's my picky eater, and I'm exasperated by his requests, so I rolled my eyes and said, "Sure, I don't care, eat whatever you want; it's your Nana's house" and he replies "Of course, Mommy, it's because I'm the little king."

I hope he knows where I plan on placing his crown.

Monday, November 15, 2004

My mother, the smart***

My Mom is a riot.  Saturday, she babysat two of our kids so Mr W and I could go out.  Alone.  (The other two kids were spending the night at their friends house.)  We were running late, and we had to do the drop-'em- at-the-curb-quick-drop-off.  Mr W went back out to the car and I said to her, "He'so excited that I get to go with him today."  And she pipes up, "Well, I guess we're lucky that you're fixed..."  Gee, thanks Mom.  The first date we've had since July, tainted by her dirty mind.  Guess I had to inherit my 'wit' from someone.

Anyway, we went to the ASU football game.  My Sun Devils had an exciting game and I had the best time I've had in a while.  The weather was beautiful, just crisp enough to make it feel like it should in November.  And I got to hold Mr W's hand without little bodies in between us, which totally rocked.  We got to actually have entire conversations that were not interrupted by shrieks of "MO-OM!!!"  If I'd have known that I'd have had such a good time, I would have gone much sooner (Dad and Mr W have season tickets).  I probably could have, I just feel awkward asking someone to take on all of the kids, esp. if they aren't used to it.  Mom doesn't always say yes (long story) and ...I'm a paranoid nutjob that won't leave them with just anyone.   SWMBO is still pretty clingy too, but she's getting much better so I am definately arranging more 'smoochy dates' as my 10 yr old likes to call them.  It takes all of my will not to snap at him "How is it that you  think you got here in the first place?" 

And true to form, I got all giggly and, well, stupid, just from Mr W's proximity.  Honestly, it was a little embarrassing...but he dug it. 

So today, I'm having a great day.  I love it when its cloudy and cool and almost raining, like today.  And I'm cruising through the grocery store, miraculously alone, feeling a little sassy and full of it.  Until I get to the car, and realize that my fly was about halfway unzipped the entire time.  I can only hope my shirt was covering it up.  Charming.  That took the wind out of my sails in a hurry. At least I now know why the bag boy that was on break was looking at me funny...

Saturday, November 13, 2004

What do you mean, "came untied?"

An innocent glance at yesterday's newspaper has given me the willies.  Apparently, there's a 59-yr old  great grandmother Georgia expecting twins after her tubes "came untied."  WTF??? 

The lady says she wasn't trying to get pregnant (you think?) and didn't realize she was until she started to gain weight and have cravings...and was 4 months along at that point.  There will be a 44 year age gap between her firstborn and the twins.  I don't know whether to be happy for her that she's still got it going on at that age or appalled that something like "untied" is even possible.

I am not amused.  And seeing as its almost that time of year again (groan) you can bet your ass I'm quizzing my gynie on this one.  He's gotten me through four pregnancies, is privy to my plumbing in even a more, um, intimate way than even I am, hell, he's almost a member of the family at this point.  I can ask him anything.  

Just how strong are those knots anyway???

If that happened to me there would not be enough tequila in the world to make me feel better.   And Mr W would have to hope that he was out of my reach because I'd have to hurt him.  Really.  Can we say do it yourself vasectomy, anyone?  "I think these scissors are clean..HOLD STILL!!"

Well at least the woman in the article seems to have a good sense of humor about it.  She'll need it when she starts lactating.

She plans to remarry her 60 yr old ex husband before the birth.  Isn't that sweet?  Who knows why they got divorced in the first place, these kids are gonna make a go of it again..god bless 'em.   

And she can always get the grandkids to babysit.  


Friday, November 12, 2004

I can't take them anywhere :)

Mood: tickled

It's been a busy day.  Had lots to do at the school, and the usual errands and housework to put on hold.   I volunteer at the school; making copies and stuff for all my kid's teachers.   There's a lot of behind the scenes stuff that they need help doing that I don't think people are aware of.  I don't mind, and the kids really like it that I'm in and out in their classrooms.  Its a symbiotic thing--I do the work, but at the same time,  I get to be a face to the name to the administrative staff, I get a sneak peek at the work they're doing, and I get to check out who their classmates are.  It's just a couple of hours once a week while my kindie is in class; SWMBO comes along and noshes on vending machine cuisine while I work, or colors; and what else would I be doing? Getting the seaweed body wrap at Madame Helga's?  Besides, I'll have a jr high kid in about (gasp) a year and a half and I don't think he's gonna want Mom along ruining his groove.  Who knows?

So after school, I had to go to the grocery store.  We were all doing fine, considering they were hungry and wanted to come home and eat.  I saw some girls that used to go to our school walking along with their Mom.  I think they are around the same age as my oldest (10) or a bit older.  So my 8 yr old goes to throw something in the trash and I turned to watch him go...and noticed the girls were totally eyeballing them!  Mouths open, heads turned, staring... (My 8 yr old is on the tall side)  As soon as I was out of their line of vision, I said to my oldest, who doesn't think he's cute, "hey, those girls were checking you out."   And he goes, "no they weren't" "Yes, they were." "no" "why do you say that?" "They were looking at Ben" "Sweetie, he went that way to the trash can, and yeah, they looked at him, but when I saw them, they were looking over here at you." "Nah, no they weren't"  But he had a little smile.  And so it begins.  I don't know if I'm ready for this yet.

What's a girl to do?  I laughed my ass off and came home to share that story with Mr W.  And I know even though he didn't say it he was thinking, 'that's my boy(s)!'  :)

So they were at their friends house and of course, when I went to pick them up I got the "Mommy, can they come to spend the night at our house?"  And me, the pushover, "Okay."  On the way to our house I had my Maroon 5 CD in (yeah, I'm like a teenager with that thing, I'm into it, lead singer's cute, who cares?).  And that song 'She Will Be Loved' came on (love it-) anyway, I'm sort of singing along under my breath when I suddenly hear a little chorus of 5 boys singing along (loudly and not too badly).  That, ladies and gentlemen, made my day, it was too cute.  I would've driven around the neighborhood for them to finish if it wouldn't have made them self-conscious enough to stop.  One of those little unforgettable moments.  I'm still smiling.  (And you manly men out there keep your macho comments to yourselves--they're 6,8, and 10 yr olds, for crying out loud.)

I realized today that I have no one to blame for the little chanteuse except...me.  I sing all the time:  in the car, sang to her when she was a baby, sing along with her shows, and dance around the living room with her regularly.  But isn't it always Mommy's fault?  ;)  I still remember Ryan, at like 4, singing along to No Doubt's 'Hey Baby.' He LOVED that song, and would request it everytime we got in the car.  Hey, it beats Barney.  And aside from my current obsession, I listen to all different kinds of music with them anyway.  And that beats me losing my mind in traffic, pulling over and abandoning my car with them in it.....come on you've had those moments too! 




Thursday, November 11, 2004

"Mommy, what's ??"

Today I'm having a "huh?" day.  The sprouts are coming up with some interesting questions.

This morning they were watching Shrek2 so their evil mother could journal, and all of a sudden my 8 yr old pipes up:  "Mommy, what's lust?"  "Huh?" "What does lust mean?"  Ummm, let's see it's not even 9 am, and I'm supposed to field that in a way he can understand...  "It's when you want something really, really badly and you can't have it."  "Oh, you mean like a cookie?"  Umm, no, let's try again.  "No, not like a cookie, sugar."  Head for the dictionary, let's see if Webster can pull me out of this one.  "Lust: to have an intense desire or need; CRAVE: specif: to have a sexual urge."  Gee, thanks.  (I read it to him anyway, because I figured I could always fall back on blaming the dictionary when he's in therapy.)  I then said, "You know, sugar, lust really applies to relationships that adults have with each other, and you won't really understand it's true meaning until you are older.  So for now, the cookie will work just fine.  Just don't be sprinkling that word in your everyday conversations."  I mean, really, what was I supposed to do, tell him that lust is that specific burning in your loins that makes you ache with desire every time you see or hear the object of that desire?  That craving that eventually overcomes every fiber of your being until you feel like surely you will burst into flame if you don't satisfy it?  Yeah, that would go over well. 

Then later on today, my 10 yr old and I are just hanging out, I'm finally eating dinner and he's working on some homework, he asks me "Mommy, is Santa for real?"  "Huh?" "Is Santa for real?"  Umm, I'm torn between ponying up to the truth or just letting him believe.  I'm touched that he still might harbor that little hope that Santa is real and I am reluctant to bust his bubble.  So I come up with "Well, sugar, why are you asking this?"  "Because the other kids say he isn't."  "What do you think?" "I think he is real."  Whew.  "Well, mi vida, what you believe is what is important here.  If you think he's real, then he's real, and don't worry about what anyone else says."  Umm, Mommy, your nose just grew about a foot.  I am all about preserving their innocence, their right to be a little kid.  They get bombarded with so much crap every day and I just try to sort it out so that they aren't jaded by 11.  While some people might disagree with this overprotectiveness, I have to say that I have stressed to all of them that they can come to me anytime with any question, and while I might need a minute to compose myself (with or without a shot of whiskey) I will always answer them honestly.  Unless it's about Santa.

I also have my 6 yr old wanting to change his name.  "Mommy, can I be called Roy?" "Huh?"  "I want to be called Roy from now on instead of Ryan."  Umm, son, please don't tell me this will eventually be your porno name.  "Why?"  "Because I like that name better.  There's an R and a Y in it, so it's not that big of a change."   So I started calling him Roy.  The big kids thought he was nuts.  Mr Wonderful thought I was nuts, and was kinda pissed about it "he won't answer to his real name if you keep calling him Roy"  "But if we make a big deal out of it (hissed through gritted teeth) he will never drop it."  I also pointed out to Mr W that as his family hails from the South, he should have expected that eventually we'd have child that goes by the nickname and not the real name.  Hell, half his family back in GA goes by initials, why sweat about 'Roy'?   Well, Roy has decided to go back to his real name, at least for now.  Which saves me the Roy Clark/Hee Haw visual I got every time I said "Roy." 

SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED (SWMBO) has thankfully given her mother a rest today.  I'm sure that means she'll be up to no good tomorrow when I have to spend the day volunteering at the school.

But at least it's Friday tomorrow, and no one will look at me twice if I hit the bottle before noon, will they????

The important part of the equation

I've been married a for quite a while--13 years.  Mr Wonderful (I have to call him that b/c my friends refer to him as the "sainted________" and I promised I wouldn't use his name so Mr Wonderful it is) and I have been together even longer, like 23 years.  He was my high school sweetie, lucky me, I struck the jackpot my first time out.  We grew up in the same small town so I've seen him on and off all along.  I remember what he looked like when he was a still just a kid, I remember what he looked like back when he experimented with this horrible longer mustache (that was thankfully a short phase).  I've had surreal moments when I think "was that the guy I pushed off my porch when he tried to give me my first kiss:   sitting there holding our sleeping baby, chasing all the kids, driving us home to our house?"  He's really quiet and can be hard to read sometimes, but if you knew him you'd love him too. 

Which leads me to the next point:  what's the glue that holds it together when you've been together for a long time?  I think its a bunch of things but here's a few to keep in mind...

Remember what it is you dug about him in the first place.  I knew I was in trouble when I first met him and I looked up into those amazing blue/green/gray eyes.  (light eyes, dark hair, my favorite combo; think Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Tom Welling (Smallville), the guy from JAG, whooops getting off the subject here but you get the picture)  So on days when I'd really like to bitch at him for not picking up his socks, I take a deep breath and just look at him.  I'll sit next to him, or flop down on the bed next to him, and just really look at him for a few seconds...before I bitch at him for not picking up his socks. 

Don't expect him to morph into someone he's not just because you wish he was more (fill in the blank).  Hey, you knew what he was like before you married him.  If he's not the type to spew sonnets and buy you presents, don't expect him to suddenly turn into a shopping Shakespeare just because it's your birthday.  Maybe you are just lucky enough to get a card when your friend got a Mercedes--so what? Mr Wonderful is truly a man of few words and doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve, but I know exactly where I sit on his list of priorities.  He says them when he needs to say them, and I'm ok with that.  I don't look for roses everytime he walks through the door (but sometimes he does bring them.)  Would I like them?  Of course, who wouldn't; I just don't hold it against him for not doing it.

Take the Cheerios out of your hair and off your shirt...and then take off your shirt.  Ladies...here's a little secret...it's not all up to him to get the fireplace started.  Take the initiative once in a while even if you haven't had a chance to jump in the shower yet, because chances are you don't really smell as bad as you think and he's not gonna really care if it means he's getting lucky.  And don't just wait until its dark out to do it, sometimes you have to strike when opportunity arises, even if it's just the 20 minutes or so you have before you must run to pick up the kids.  Make the time, it's all about timing..with all the little ones swirling around, privacy can be hard to get.  I've been known to give up a little sleep composing dirty haiku (for the man of few words) as I try to stay awake laying in bed waiting for him to come home (he works nights).  Okay, here's a tame (remember it's a family show) (lame) one-don't laugh it does the trick: 

 His lips kissing me/Take away my defenses/Stop, no don't stop yet               

I hardly ever write them down.  It's a new thing to help stay awake, there's only so much HBO a girl can watch.  Remember, this special quality time is why you are now driving a minivan, so throw him a bone once in a while.  Linger at goodbye.  Grab the back of his neck just so and turn the perfunctory goodbye peck into something to think about while he's at work.  Pull him into the pantry and plant one on him like you mean it while in the middle of making dinner. Anticipation can make even the most mundane evening spicier.

Say it, wear it, taste it, smell it.  You know what he likes.  You are on your own with this one.

One day at work, I made everyone laugh because I was talking about him and I started blushing.  Seriously, I mean where did that come from?  Occasionally, I'll go to call him and get all swirly and nervous like I've never called him before (yeah, I roll my eyes at that too.)  I've learned to like those moments because it gives me a buzz to realize that after all this time, I'm still so into him that he has that effect on me.  It makes all the crappy day to day stuff, like picking up his socks, bearable. 

But I'll probably still bitch at him about it.

Own it, work it, it's yours

I was watching my daughter playing the other day, and thinking, like all moms do, how breathtaking she really is.  She is adorable, she knows it.  When someone says she is cute or pretty, she smiles and does something else cute and moves on.  I say 'thank you' and resist the urge to say, 'AND she's really smart too.'  She doesn't say 'oh, no I'm not' or 'but I was working in the yard all day' or 'you're crazy' or 'you need glasses'.  She moves on.  She takes it and doesn't make excuses or apologies--she owns her sense of beauty.  I think all children do. 

So I got to thinking, when do we lose that?  Why?  Is it due to the hypercritical (but well-meaning in her eyes) aunt that says things like "It's a good thing you didn't get your mother's nose or you'd never find a boyfriend." "You'd be prettier if (fill in the blank)."   Is it during adolescence, that wonderful time of my-body-the-freakshow, when all your friends are pointing out their flaws and waiting for you to add your own?  Is it because everytime you see an ad or commercial you think to yourself "I'd look great if I had those (fill in the blank)."  Hey, man, those images are not always real.  Airbrush, anyone? 

I think we should all reclaim our own sense of beauty, because no matter what you think about yourself, there are always qualities that make you you that someone else will appreciate, and if you are lucky, celebrate.  Let's face it, we all get a zit now and then, some of us are going gray, those little lines are starting to appear on their own (along with the other charming odd places that chia pet hair suddenly appears on, like chins and out of ears), and eventually, unless you know someone that can offer surgical assistance, gravity will win.  No one lives life without the details of the battle showing up somewhere, whether you are 15 or 50. 

Stop beating yourself up about it, and find something that you like, and work it.  Be like those eccentric old ladies in purple dresses with red hats.  Get that bra that boosts the sisters back up to where they used to be.  Lose the chia pet.  Pick one thing that makes you feel more confident and do it.

There's nothing wrong with realizing and maximizing your strengths.  Hopefully, it will help you feel good enough to take the compliment and move on without shooing it away.

I will do everything I can to make sure she never loses her sense of her own beauty (and I don't mean to achieve it by making her conceited.)  I'll do it for my boys, too.   As for me, I'm a work in progress.  Aren't we all?

We all need a good friend

Lately I've been struggling with some hormone-induced insanity.  I've had a hard time reining it in and thought I'd lost my mind when it dawned on me to call one of my friends to talk me down off the ledge.  She really listened to me...and then smacked me on the head without making me feel totally stupid about just being....  me.   She assures me that I am normal, thank you very much. 

How often do you find that?  I am blessed to have a few of these vital people that are willing to take time out of their own crazy days just because.  Real live adults that are willing to converse in sentences with multisyllabic words!!  I appreciate you all and you know who you are, but this time,

missjanna, THANK YOU!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

A little flirtation goes a long way


I love to flirt.  Mr. Wonderful forgets this sometimes, but I do give him the eye all the time and perhaps he is desensitized.  Hey, even I forget and fail to spot it until afterwards...like the other day, the kid behind the counter at Sears was flirting with me and it didn't register until I got home!  How tragic! 

But since that day, I have regained a spring in my step.  Especially since I wasn't even trying that day.  Maybe that's the secret, you have to be not even thinking about it and have it happen naturally.  However, the full on look-at-me look-at-you thing has its merits too.  I am biting my lip just thinking about it....

I'm not talking about something that will get you in trouble with your significant other, I'm talking about the type of thing that keeps your skills sharp and the table set, so to speak.  The hair flip, the giggle, whatever works for you, you should do it and do it more often. 

Flirting, like kissing, is something that people overlook and shouldn't be underrated.  

And remember-- practice makes perfect.




Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Cover that up and put it away

Okay, here's a pet peeve:  the current state of fashion that encourages grown women to wear their pants low and their shirts high.  It seems as though there is a certain segment of the population that fails to realize that their ship has sailed and they don't need to be flashing me more than the plumber does just by sitting down.  You know who they are, the women with thong-age when they sit, and it's always brightly colored so you can't miss it.  I swear to you a woman bent over in an aisle in front of me the other day in Target and I almost felt like I needed to slip a $1 in her strap as I walked by.  And it's NOT like I was even trying to gawk or anything, she just was reaching for something as I walked by.  Do we really need to dress like Britney when we are old enough to be her mother?  Have a little dignity, ladies, and don't ride the wave of belly shirts and low rises if your belly hangs down to the low rise (you know you've seen that at the local mall.)  No, I don't care that you are wearing a thong, don't care to know what color it is, please, please just put it away.  If I want to see a g-string I know where I need to go, I don't necessarily need to see yours while I'm at a baby shower (yes, that really happened.) 

I'm all for wearing what makes you feel good, but for heaven's sake, invest in a mirror and check yourself out before you make someone lose their lunch.  The mirror won't lie; yes, your ass looks fat!!! 


Monday, November 8, 2004

The inner girlie girl

I was thinking the other day about giving in to my inner girlie girl.  I love makeup and lipstick is my thing.  A trait I am passing on to my little chanteuse, who isn't happy unless she has 'lippy' (applied in an oil slick akin to the Exxon Valdez) all around her mouth.  Yeah, it's just flavored chapstick, but to her, it's 'lippy' and she's all right with it.  I gave her her own little purse and everything just to keep her out of mine. 

Where was I?  So anyway, I think I forget, in the course of a day, to do little things that satisfy the IGG.  I've started making myself remember lately, and it's been such a boost that I've stressed to my friends to remind me too.  I actually have sought out the Clinique free gift (okay, not so free, I know) which I just loved last time because it had two lipglosses in it.  I bought myself bath stuff that smells so good I wish I could shower all day.  Ladies, it changes your pitch(like wearing your 'special' undies on an ordinary day).  And as we all know, when Mommy's happy, EVERYONE is happy.

And there's just something about smelling good that is so, well, primal.  Its all about the pheremones, that something-you-can't-put-your-finger-on-but-can-you-put-your-lips-on something.  The need to lean in and whisper instead of talk, just so you can get a whiff.  Go ahead, throw the curve once in a while.   Maybe he'll catch it on the floor.



From the mouths of babes..

So the other day, I'm watching t.v. with the kids and I wasn't really paying attention because there was a Barbie commercial on...as the holiday season approaches, I just try and ignore all the extra toy propaganda to avoid going mad.  Anyway, the commercial ends, and my middle son, 8 yr old Ben, pipes up with a question:  "Mommy, why does Barbie have to be SO skinny?"

I was overcome with joy.  You see, I have 3 boys, and my youngest is a girl.  All along I have tried to raise my boys to grow up to be the type of men who open doors, say please and thank you, and chew with their mouths closed.  The toilet seat problem solved itself as they ALWAYS put the seat down (or the cats help themselves).  They've seen me pregnant and moody, breastfeeding, dressed up, dressed down. I don't paint pretty pictures of always getting up before they do so I can be perfectly dressed--they know the real deal.  I want them to be the kind of guy who is not gonna run when they hear the word 'period' and is not afraid to purchase monthly supplies. Confident enough in their masculinity to date a woman with short hair, walk into the lingerie store and actually buy something the right size, and be able to cook for themselves.  Now, don't get me wrong.  They are still very BOY--wrestling each other and bodily functions are still quite important to them.  But I'd like them to be aware of things, just so they aren't clueless the first time a woman blows a gasket 'just because'.  And I've also stressed to them and taught them that people come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and that's what makes us all unique.  (Of course little miss is exposed to all this too, but she's only 2 so some of it doesn't compute yet.  She will also be subjected to insights on the men too--with 3 older brothers, I think we've got that covered.) 

But back to Ben.  I was so pleased, and he didn't know why.  I called him over, gave him a hug, and then wrecked the moment by going wacko and raving on about how Barbie is too skinny because the toy companies have a subversive motive to make women grow up thinking they SHOULD look like Barbie when it is anatomically impossible and hate themselves when they don't.  For crying out loud, I am Hispanic, and I have dark hair and eyes, and all my youth I wanted blonde hair and blue eyes so I could look--like Barbie!   There were no other choices for Barbie when I was growing up.  I told all of them that maybe 2 out of every 1000 women NATURALLY look like Barbie and the rest do it with help (don't worry, I didn't go into detail).  About that time I realized I needed to shut the hell up and just hugged him.  And told him he made my week.  And now I smile every time I think of it.  So I am hopeful, that at least I might be doing something right.  At least I'm covered until the wicked monster puberty hits him and then I'm sure I'll have to reprogram him again.

p.s.  I should mention that my husband totally rocks, and the kids see him doing all kinds of 'nontraditional' stuff all the time without complaint.  And they know other men who do too.  I should also mention that this same child once said that 'but women can't be bosses, can they' before I set him straight on that one.  Guess he's evolving.

The little one is still singing!!

Sunday, November 7, 2004

What day is this?

I am a bit grouchy this morning. 

Storytime did not pan out last night.  We had company--two of the boys' friends spent the night, and my Dad was here sleeping over too. So I decided storytime was probably not a good idea.  Besides, my main target fell asleep while I was writing.  We'll catch up on that another time, and I will just be grouchy about it. 

I am glad that the Mom of the kids who spent the night was on time to pick them up.  They're really great kids, but having a couple more in the house on top of the toddler and the dog can be a bit taxing on me mentally.  There's only so much background Playstation/Nintendo noise you can take before you just want everyone to go to bed (but you can't send them to bed at 7 pm!) so you can have a minute of blessed silence.  She hadn't even fully pulled away, I hadn't even shut the door when a neighbor kid was standing there--"can the boys come out to play?"  Man, they were still in their pjs, and hadn't eaten yet--I'm thinking its 9 on Sunday, its rainy, why aren't you home? So I go into the boys' room to get the extra bedding put away and am hit with the unmistakable odor that accompanies little boys that are a tad sweaty.  Hope that roomspray works!

 The morning adventures of the toddler and the dog are driving me to drink too.  She has decided this morning to sing every sentence she has to say.  Ordinarily, very cute.  After about 30 minutes, not so cute.  The dog decided to help herself to the donut that was left unfinished by the singing girl wonder on the table and I got to fish that out of her (dog) mouth (yuum!) while explaining to the toddler that we HAD to throw it out, the 20 second rule would not apply here.  I think I've just had it with the pets today.   The cats peed on the bathroom rug because their litter box is not to their kitty satisfaction, and I know it is my fault that we didn't get to the box yesterday, but I'm still pissed about it.  Little kitty bastards!!  They toe the line closer to the circle of life sweepstakes everyday.....

My time is up.  Toddler just climbed all over me chatting away and has disappeared.  The silence that tells me she's up to no good is upon us so I have to check it out.  And there will be a new list of demands from the captors soon.  Sounds like a good time to send for reinforcements--that's right, head to Nana's house!  And sneak out!!!

Go easy on me, its my first time

It is roughly day 3969 of my captivity.  My captors have finally gone to sleep and I am given a brief respite from all their demands for food, clothing, and entertainment.  I should be sleeping as well, but have chosen this moment for myself, in a forum they will not be aware of for some time. (Or at least until they bust me writing during my work hours...)

Oh!! It is too late!  The smallest, and most demanding captor, has had her slumber disturbed by what appears to be a bad dream.  She has come running down the hall, with an accusing look on her face due to my slow response time.  Quickly, I scoop her up  and am able to get her back to sleep before I am forced to answer the question "What are you do-ing?"  The dream must have been triggered by her advanced warning radar that alerts her to me doing something that does not involve her. 

I must go, lest another of them awakens and catches me. 

Okay, I admit it, I'm a little tired.  And there is another grown up in the house who is not quite asleep yet that needs me to 'read him a special story' so as entertaining as this all is, I really need to go.

I will post again, as soon as the morning demands have been met...