Monday, January 31, 2005

Down to one

One day last week, I was talking to another Mom that had called to inquire about Ryan's rash, and she asked me if Ryan would be attending the 'extended' kindergarten class.


I instantly felt that competitive "What?  Why haven't I heard about this?" rear its ugly head.  I tell the kids I expect them to do their best, and am pretty hard on them school-wise, but I really do avoid the comparison-competitive thing with them.  I try not to turn into one of those frustrated athlete parents that coach their kids to death--but in a booky sense.  Their strengths, their weaknesses, you're doing an ok job, breathe, breathe.  Ahh, don't I feel better?

Anyway, later on in the week, his teacher approached me about it.  Apparently, our school hired a teacher for this 'extended' k, and she would have only 10 students, ones that needed some extra help here or there to get them on track for first grade.  She asked me in the instance she couldn't fill all ten spots in time, would I want Ryan to attend?  "Okay, back up a minute," I said.  "You would let him have one of the spots?" "Yes." "But he's doing ok academically, right?" (Uh, hey there Mom, relax, it's kindergarten, scissors, crayons, glue, remember???) 

She added:  "He's fine academically, but maybe this would benefit him socially.  You know, get him more accustomed to being away from you."

Sheepish grin.  "Oh."


Ryan started his new class today.  He was very excited and looking forward to it, especially since he would be eating lunch at school like a big boy.  I found a new blue lunchbox stashed in the pantry, which was a good thing because no one really has little lunchboxes in January (so not back-to-school time for the small fry.) He even was planning on what he would take:  a granola bar, mini Kit Kat, Capri know, 'healthy' kid fare.

I knew I'd have a bit of trouble with this, afterall, admittedly, I'm, well, nuts.  I complain, bitch, moan about how overwhelming this all is, but I miss them terribly that first week when they go back after the summer break.  I like them, love them, ok?  Sue me.

Although I could've gone into work later than usual today to see him off, I didn't.  I let his Daddy see him off.  No fanfare or embarassing photos or me walking away blinking back tears. 

I'm sure Mr W gave him a high-five and sent him on his way.

I can only hope that he at least put a pb sandwich in the lunchbox with the granola bar, mini Kit Kat, and Capri Sun...


Saturday, January 29, 2005

Sat six, I think I'm addicted

Saturday Six - Episode 42 Picture from Hometown

1. Who is the first celebrity you recall having a crush on?
Donny Osmond.  Seriously.  I remember being like 3 maybe 4, and I had a little picture of him next to my bed.  I brushed my teeth diligently (I wanted that Osmond-blinding-white smile) and owned a few pairs of purple socks (like him.)  My Mom still teases me to this day about it, and I'd not be surprised if she still had that picture saved somewhere.  My older cousins were fans, and they passed it on to me.

2. What was your favorite amusement park ride when you were young?
The tilt-o-whirl.  My Mom was very strict about what rides I was allowed on.  It was really embarassing when all my friends were riding the Hammer or the Zipper, and I had to hang out and wait for them. (I'm still a chicken, but Mr W and the kids have introduced me to roller coasters--LOVE them!)
3. If you could change your name (first or middle but the name you go by), would you, and if so, what would you change it to?
I wouldn't change my name, I like it too much. 
4. Go to and take the "First Name Analysis" test.  Do you agree with what the site comes up with? 

Although the name Anna creates the urge to understand others, we point out that it causes you to be emotional and temperamental. This name, when combined with the last name, can frustrate happiness, contentment, and success, as well as cause health weaknesses in the fluid systems, liver and the bloodstream.

Your first name of Anna has given you a quick-minded, sensitive nature. It gives you a clever, creative ability in art, music, singing, or drama and an appreciation for refined surroundings. Your sociable nature expresses affection, kindness, and thoughtfulness to the extent that it is difficult for you not to be affected by others and governed by your emotions, rather than by logic and reason. As you respond to love and encouragement from others, your romantic and dreamy nature can easily lead you into love affairs.

I guess this does not bode well for Mr W, lol.  I went with the name I go by 95% of the time, not my whole name.  Emotional-yes; temperamental, ok, sometimes; sociable, affectionate-yes; emotion vs. logic?  Love affairs? And I would fit them in--when?  Come on, I'm much too boring for that!  This was fun, but that's it.  Fun.  Like reading your horoscope :)
5. Other than Johnny Carson, which former talk show host's tape archives would you most like to visit, and why?

Merv Griffin.  I remember the show from when I was little, like a dream, so I'd like to check it out now.  Okay, I can't believe I forgot this..Arsenio Hall, he was funny, and he used to have the Earth, Wind, and Fire horns guest w/the band frequently, and I love EWF(another gift from my older cousins.)

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #44  from Jessie:   If you were in good health, would you donate a kidney to a friend who's dying regardless of what your family's opinion are and if yes or no, why or why not?
This one's hard.  I don't just have me to think about, so I can't disregard my family's opinion.  However, I would be inclined to help my friend, and I think my family would ultimately support me on it.

Voodoo Kings

I have a weirdo sense of humor, and I don't always edit it when the kids are around.  For example, I lose my patience when I hear "what's for dinner?" because I hear it all the time. Often I don't answer right away; inevitably, one of them comes in, peeks over my shoulder, and asks: "What are you doing?"  Tonight, I answered: "Stirring in the hemlock."  "What?"  "You know, some poison."  "MOOOMMY!  That's NOT funny!!"  Moments later, a small voice asks, "You were really joking, right?"  "Of course.  Get out of the kitchen.  Now."   Somedays, I just respond with this answer I got from a kids cookbook:  "I'm making 'yuck, I hate it' and this saves us the trouble of hearing that later.  Actually, we've dubbed a dish Mr W doesn't eat (chicken w/rice) 'yuck, I hate it.'  He knows when I say that, he's on his own for dinner. 

Anyway--I figure a little laughter helps me get through the day, and if it rubs off on them, then that's fine.  I hope they can learn not to sweat the small stuff, but to have a good sense of humor about it.  Afterall, not every glass of spilled milk needs a lecture.

Today, they had their buddies over.  I'm in the kitchen, of course, baking them cookies, of course, and fending them off as they kept coming in: "How much longer?  Are they done yet?"

I hear a alot of giggling, so I turn around as I hear Ben announce: "Barbie sacrifice." 

He's holding two Barbies under the screen door, hoping to entice the dog (who as I've mentioned will chew anything) to come and get them.  "Hey!  What are you doing?"  "Ritual Barbie sacrifice, Mom," he says, laughing.  "Quit it, Ben, or you'll be sporting decapitated Barbies on your backpack Monday morning."  "Aww, Mom."

My little angel listens to me by moving on to the large stuffed Barbie cat, Serafina.  "Hey, Shadow...look, cat.  Jump, Shadow, jump..."

"BEN!  The cat is off limits too, buddy."  Now they all look at me, with the "why" expression on their faces.  "Oh, come on, guys.  Do you really want to exchange your GameBoys for the Barbies?   GameBoy sacrifice, anyone?"  "No."  "Okay then."

Since when did I start raising serial killers?  They have no idea the Barbie and doll 'horror' (that's what they call it) that is about to be unleashed in this house as Audrey is very interested in all things dolly all of a sudden. 

Their world is about to, more than it already is.  I'm envisioning that scene from "Toy Story" with all the dismembered dolls from Sid's room.  I know that I'm probably wrong, and they will accomodate the little princess as much as possible because they do what she wants and like it; or she performs quite an effective knee-drop maneuver, and then they do what she wants anyway. 

I think it will all work out in the end, as long as they don't start trying to melt Barbie and refrain from graduating to sacrificing real things.  Like their little brother, for example.

Or me.

That'll teach me to laugh and point out the "Practical Voodoo" book in "Lilo and Stitch."

"Mommy, how do you spell san-ter, san-teryah?"

Hmm.  Better go gather up everyone's library cards, just to be safe. 

(and I'm kidding, no one's ever asked to spell that...yet)


Friday, January 28, 2005

Whirlwind day

Ever have one of those days where you wonder "When did I join the circus?" because of all the juggling you've done during it?

Today would be my circus day.  I have many of those, and sometimes, I surprise myself by going on autopilot and still being prepared. 

Well, it's either my state of readiness, or the stars are in some kind of magical Mom-favoring alignment, but my crazy day went relatively smoothly.

I woke up earlier than usual.  I managed to get the Nolan trifecta:  showered, fed, AND on time to school.  So of course, Ben was also fed and on time for school. (throw up the first ball)  We are usually on time, it's just the degree of 'on time' that varies.  There's the "Hey, great, we've got time to play!!" degree and then there's the "Ok, boys, run, don't walk to class, and move like you've got somewhere to be!!" degree.  As long as they get there in one piece, with the correct homework in its correct backpack, with the correct extracurricular equipment, then I breathe a sigh of relief as I wave goodbye.

I even pulled a rabbit out of the hat this morning, because I was able to find a pair of shoes for Ben, in the closet, that I'd saved for him a while ago.  WHOOHOO!  He came home yesterday afternoon from running club..."My feet hurt, Mom."  "Well, of course they do (I bite back the 'duh'), you've been running."  Suspicious, mom-tuition, I don't know, I check his shoes for fit.  Holy crap!  There's no space left!  Duh, to you Mom, when was the last time you had his foot measured?   I sigh. "Ben, it looks like you'll need new ones.  I'll take you later when Dad gets home."  And of course, I forgot (just like he'll forget to give me my medication someday.)  He's getting dressed this morning when I remember --damn it--- and I start searching my shaky morning memory for, don't I, didn't I save him some of Nolan's old shoes?  I start looking in the closet, and eureka, there they are.  In perfect condition, because I saved this pair as Nolan outgrew them before he wore them for a week(it was a freak thing.)  Usually, I'm a bit snooty and don't hand down the shoes.  If you saw the condition my kids leave their shoes in, you wouldn't expect anyone else to wear them either.  But anyway, I saved Ben's day, because they looked good, and they fit fine.  (throw up the second ball)

We had to go back to school early, to help with a special project, so I had to get us all fed, presentable, and back on campus by 9:30.  I get Audrey, and her gear, and throw her in the shower with me.  (third ball up)  Ryan gets ready while we do, and I get 'em fed somewhere in between.  In the middle of all this, the phone rings.  I see the school # on my caller id, so I'm wondering...who/what?  It's Nolan: "Mom, I was in PE, and we were out in the field, and I slipped.  I'm soaked.  Can you bring me some pants," he lowers his voice to a whisper, "and some underwear too?"  "Sure, but sweetie, I need a minute.  We're coming back soon anyway, but I'll hurry, so sit tight."  (up with the fourth ball)  I tell the other two kids what's gotta happen, hurry them up, and go to Nolan's room to gather his things, throwing a shirt and socks in too, just in case.  The phone rings, it's Nolan again. "The nurse says my shirt is all wet.." "Don't worry," I cut him off, "I've got a shirt in the bag."  "Thanks!  See you soon." 

Since I know we're going to be a while this morning, I grab some snacks for the kids, with a few extras for the other little ones that'll be there too, I toss them into a bag, grab a sippy cup for Audrey, and some vending machine change.  I shoo everyone into the car and we're off!  I get Nolan his clothes, and he is so relieved to see us I can't tease him.  We get him set, and we walk out to put the wet stuff in the van before reporting to our project in the courtyard. 

I'm helping out there, and the kids (mine + others) are running around, no problem.  I'm watching them when I realize that alot of the grass is still really wet, and spots are downright muddy, so I know before I'm done doing what I need to do, someone will need a change of clothes/shoes. 

Maybe half an hour later, I hear "Mommy, I all wet.  My shoes, my tights..."  "Okay, honey."  I have to come back to the house to pick up my little neighbor that I always give a ride to, so I'm thinking I'll run in and grab her a change of clothes.  I let the other Moms working know I'll be right back.  As I'm buckling Audrey into her seat, I get a whiff of 'eeww.'  Great.  At least I know what I'm in for (up goes ball five) and we run home, pick up the neighbor; run into the house; grab clothes, tights, boots; back to school, (all on time!) turn in some papers to the nurse for my neighbor, change Audrey, and go back outside to help finish up our project.  (ball six, yes?)  I finally get back to the car and it's about 12:30.  Hey, Mr W said he might be home.   I call him, and he is, so we head home too.  He says he's gonna work in the yard (oh boy, the stars are in alignment) and I try but don't succeed in getting the princess to nap.  Now I have to go pick everyone else up (ball six) and when we pull into the driveway, hey, look who's sleeping!!! 

Hmm.  I decide to go for a walk while she's down, because Mr W and the big boys are going out later, and this is my window of opportunity.  I'm so out of there in a flash, with the dog...when the kids stop me outside.  "Can I come?"  UGH.  I grit my teeth.  "No."  "Please????"  "Fine, ok, Ben.  But it's a long walk, no complaining, got it?" 
It was a beautiful afternoon, and Ben made the whole distance (about 3 miles) without complaining...much. 

Audrey's up when I get home, so I throw her in the car, and we hit the grocery store in a hurry so that we can get back before the boys and Mr W have to leave.  (what are we on, ball 7 or 8? I lost count)

So I get back, and that group leaves.  I'm a bit jealous, they've gone to an ASU baseball game.  Oooh, I think I may have to go next time.  YES!!  Baseball's back! 

YES!! I'm down to two kids, and bedtime is soon.  (time to put the balls down, because Mr W hates it when I peg him as he comes in the door...)

YES!!  I'm working tomorrow.  Oh, how evil, how deliciously evil, to think that Mr W gets to do the juggling tomorrow, for a few hours. 

Heehee, I think I may work a little extra.  Even better, I may need to make a stop at the mall on my way home.  Shh!  that'll be our little secret....

Well.  Here's what I get for thinking evil thoughts.

The garage door just went up.  They-re baa-ack.  "What are you guys doing back so early?" "It just got too damn cold," Mr W replies.

I'm resisting the urge to sass.  "What, you want me to leave?"

Sometimes, he makes it just too easy...

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Shake it up, baabbby...

If I wasn't already feeling like Typhoid Mommy, I am now.

Last evening, I'm going through Ryan's backpack and there's an info sheet on "streptococcal disease has been reported in Room #3."  It's yellow, and has all the symptoms (that we are all familiar with by now, haha) on it for strep. 

I would feel more leper-ish had I not been told by one of the other Moms that another child had the same thing Ryan did.  (You know, that infamous Mom-network of information that we all access whenever there might be something we need to know--and need to know now.)  So at the moment, I don't feel like Ryan is patient zero in the epidemic of streptococcal disease, lol.  I don't think anyone else has come down with it either.

What is it about having a sick kid that makes normal people go nuts?  All of a sudden, the parent that'll let their kid eat a lollipop after it falls into the dirt will whip out the hand sanitizer, rubber gloves, kleenex, and a face mask at the first sign of a sniffle? The same parent that lets the dog lick the face and ice cream cone of their toddler gives you a look that says "you'd better not be sick" just for clearing your throat?  And while I advocate letting people know if your child comes down with -oh, I don't know- the plague, I don't always -gasp- call in the CDC every time someone feels a little 'yucky.'

Fevers, sore throats (only because Nolan is Mr Strep), gastrointestinal disturbances (esp. if we've been frequenting the same eating establishments), yeah, you might hear from me.  It's only fair to let someone have a heads up, afterall.  But anything else, it wasn't us, we washed our hands and didn't touch anything, I swear. 

However--I get really annoyed if your child is oozing snot from every pore, and you try to tell me "it's nothing, just a little cold."  Don't even breathe on me and step away from the monkey bars, kid.  Take that boy home before he dissolves into a puddle of boogers, lady.  THAT is only fair too--if you wouldn't want to be around what your child looks like at this particular sick point in time, then for crying out loud, stay home.  Playdates can be rescheduled, but my vacation cannot.

Consideration, common sense, certainly that's not too much to ask is it?

Well.  I have to go.  It's time to go shake up Ryan's little bottle of pink joy.

And the rash?  It's clearing up!


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Shift in the balance

Oh, I'm in trouble now.

Ryan knows how to use the printer.  He even turned it on by himself.  He has managed it one time before, but I thought it was a fluke.  Silly Mommy, Trix are for kids!!

I should've suspected something was up when he and Audrey were playing a Blues Clues game quietly.  No fighting, no "Mom!  Can you get Audrey?" 

I'm shredding junk mail, in my --ha--commitment to keep my countertop clean, and Audrey comes over, pleased as punch.  "Look at my 'peetchure' Ryan made me.."  ???  I look and see a Blues Clues masterpiece.  Oy.  "Um, sugar are you printing pictures that you are drawing?"  "Only that one I made Audrey."  Sigh of relief.  "Sweetie, if you want to print something, will you show it to me first?" "Okay."

I'm not saying I don't want him to use the printer, I'm saying I don't want him to print up a 15 page ode to Blue that will use up all my ink...the last time he printed w/o my knowledge, well, let's just say it's a good thing I caught it on page 3 of 25.  Full color.  A book he made on one of his Reader Rabbit adventure thingys.

Then after they were done w/ Blue, Audrey wanted some time with her little toddler game.  It's really cute, and she can push any button to get things to happen, so she thinks she's the cat's pajamas.  I'm tidying up last night's missed messes, and she starts making the 'uh-oh' sounds that bring dread into my heart.  I walk over, and she guiltily removes her hand from the mouse--all I hear is 'click.'  I don't know how she did it, but she managed to power the puppy off.  Perfectly.  Sigh.  At least when I turned everything on again, all was fine.  I'm here, aren't I?  :)

Oh, no, no, no, I won't compete for time on the computer with the small fry.  It's bad enough that the big boys want a piece of the action when they get home from school.  "Can I play Runescape?"  "Do you have homework?" "Yeah."  "Then, no.  Homework first."  Ha,ha, I know the neighbor kids will be by to distract them from it before the last spelling word hits the page.  It's mine, I tell you, mine....

There's nothing wrong with me carving out a little niche of my own.  A chance to sit at the grown-up table, even if I'm still in pjs, and should be doing the ten million other things I attend to each day.  Sometimes, this is it for me, before the madness of afterschool/evening hits.  You know, that time from 3 pm until lights out when you can't even say two words to the spouse w/o being interrupted?  The other day, I caught myself hiding in the bathroom, calling my friend Jenny, a bit annoyed that I was leaving another message on her machine (love phone tag-) but amused that I was hiding out to do it.  She teased me when we finally talked later: "Are you still in the bathroom?" was the first thing she said to me.  "Kiss my ass,"  I fire back.  "I'm not still in the bathroom, but I can't talk now, because I have a few extra kids overnight today.   Want to come over?"  "Are you kidding me?"  she laughs.  "Fine.  Be that way."

Today, I'm very excited.  I'm meeting some former coworkers for lunch at the hospital they work at.  I can't stay too long, but I'm looking forward to it like mad. 

It's a sad day when hospital cuisine du jour looks good, isn't it?


Monday, January 24, 2005

Someone get me my lab coat

I'm feeling like I am the mother to a bunch of Typhoid Marys.  I'm used to it, and I have a few observations that I live by:

1.  If one kid gets it, let'em all get it at the same time.  Better one sick weekend with all of them than to space it out over a few weeks.

2.  If one kid gets it, it's too late to do anything about it now.  No need for isolation or boiling linens, just let the kid keep breathing the disease on you; they've already been doing it all week.  You'll know when to signal the 'all clear, I didn't get it' flag.

3.  Start medicating the man of the house regardless of his state of health.  That way when he starts to feel sick, he won't know it, and you won't have to listen to ahem, another baby in the house.  If that doesn't work, try knocking him out for a day or so via Nyquil (peace in a bottle).

4.  Repeat after me:  the DVD/VCR is your friend.  Use it, and if you really want a minute or two, teach them how to use it by themselves.   Don't forget their game systems either!!  They can stand in when one complains "But I don't want to watch that movie!"

When I took Ryan to the dr, I suspected scarlettina, that rash you get from strep.  But he hasn't had a fever, sore throat, cold, nothing recently that would have led me to think I was totally right.  His dr said it was 'classic scarlettina' and said he's seen it before w/o anything else going on at the time.  Who knew?  He gave me antibiotics anyway, and told me to keep him home today (oh, my boy was soo upset, haha, that he had to stay home...); and that the rash might take a while to clear ~I may have to look at that rash for up to a month, eww~, but it was nothing to quarantine us for.  Aside from itchiness, Ryan is doing fine.

He's playing his game right now.     ;)


I know better...

Last night, I'm getting my groove on folding laundry while listening to music.  Mr W and everyone else had turned in, and I was taking advantage of a burst of energy--having a few minutes of no "mommy!" can do that.

There was a load of jeans in the dryer, and I thought they sounded kind of loud, but chalked it up to the metal buttons on the various waistbands.  Oh, well.  A few minutes into this, out comes Mr W, and I said to him that if the noise was bugging him, he could start it up again in the morning when he got up, no big deal.  But instead, he opens up the dryer, and moves stuff around, and I'm thinking, what's he doing?  He stands up, and turns to me triumphantly, holding out his hand...and shows me the large rock he just found amongst the clothes. 

It appears I've forgotten rule #33 from the "Living with Boys" handbook:  CHECK their pockets before you wash their pants.  All those years, watching my Mom pull all kinds of ungodly stuff out of my little brother's pants, and I drop the ball?  I swear, she once pulled out a lizard...

I know better than this, I once joked to a friend that I have the cleanest rock collection in the East Valley, thanks to the boys.  Now that Audrey is in on the act too, I'm thinking of adding a geology division to the garage. 

The time it'll take checking the pockets is a small price to pay compared to having to replace my washer and dryer.  I may be old school when it comes to certain things, but I'm not so old school that I'm willing to pound clothes outside against a rock to get them clean.  Nope, hand me the Cheer and let's go!

Speaking of laundry, my dryer is just about finished with this morning's load.  I'm trying to finish up, because later this a.m. I have to take Ryan to the doctor.

He has some weirdo rash, and it's freaking me out.  It's fine, all over his torso, you can kinda see it on his face...but he has no other symptoms.  I know it's probably nothing, and my pediatrician will pat me on the head, say 'viral rash' and send me on my way.  But there's just something about rashes that give me the willies.  We all have our 'don't do that' medical moments, for example, Mr W doesn't do vomit unless I'm puking too and he has no choice; and I have a friend who's husband gets woozy at the sight of even a drop of blood.  For me, it's rashes.  I shudder just thinking about it, but I'm the Mom, I don't really get to be obvious..."Um, sugar, could you (UGH, shudder) take yourself to Daddy and let him check that out?  Because you're making me want to hurl..."  Nope.  Yesterday, when I noticed something off, I had him show his Dad too (gotta share the joy) and Dad goes "oh, I think I can see it..." ??? "THINK you can see it?  Dude, he's covered..."  This morning, I look again, <shudder> and it's still there.  Oh, hell no, we're going to the trained professional on this one, I'm getting something for that because I just can't look at it anymore.

Maybe he'll give me a little something as well.  You know, to "calm my nerves."  The odds aren't good on that happening, but you never know...

I have to explain...

I was able to put some more music on my iPod this weekend (no, not at home, I'm still working on that..)

I'm struck by all the different kinds of music I have in there.  John Mayer to Eric Clapton to Beyonce to James Taylor to Marc Cohn to Pearl Jam to Norah Jones to Sarah Maclachlan to Linkin Park to the Police, Lenny Kravitz, Maroon goes on.  I listen to a variety of music.  (There's a setting on the iPod that lets you shuffle through all your songs, and I use it all the time, so I can hear a bit of everything...and each new song is a surprise, I don't know the

I know exactly where I get it from, too.  Not home, because my folks had their cumbia standards, and -I'm not kidding- I had to listen to Englebert Humperdinck on many a long drive to the city (I could probably, to this day, sing along to some of his tunes...stop laughing...)  I remember Mom singing alot to us, but as far as music at home, my folks just weren't into it. 

No, I get it from my best friend Jenny's Dad.  He was our high school biology teacher, he listened to everything too, and it naturally trickled down to us.

There's nothing like dissecting a frog on Monday (sorry animal activist folks) to Queen or the Eagles, then taking your test on Friday to a recording by the London Symphony.  He literally rocked, and had the best sound equipment a teacher could afford at school and at home.  "Don't touch my stereo settings" was as common a refrain as "Don't walk on my grass!" (He had an enviable lawn that he babied all blistering summer long--I swear he watered it himself with the hose just to make sure we stayed off of it...)  There was always music playing at their house, and I loved going over there to hear it.

I smile every time I think of him.  I don't know when I'll see him again, but I'll be sure to bring the new toy along, because he loves electronic gadgets too.  And the next time my kids roll their eyes at my varied musical tastes, I'll tell them to knock it off and enjoy it.  I'm expanding their education, afterall. 

Besides, it's my car...they can walk if they don't like it, right?

Smells like home

I have to laugh at myself sometimes.  I am so eager to go to work, yet I am such a sucker when I hear a little voice say "Are you going in tomorrow?  Aww, do you have to?"  (And that's just Mr W, lol.)  I go in as early as I can, so I can get home asap; this means I hit the road at ~yawn~ 6, 6:15-ish.  More than once, I've had to re-tuck in a little wanderer, or realize someone's asleep on the floor outside the bathroom (a near miss sure to wake you up completely) while I've been getting ready, or tried to sneak out as I hear someone waking up.

This morning I narrowly missed tripping over Audrey as I walked out of the bathroom.  She got up but came back to me, so I carried her to the living room while we waited for Mr W to come get comfy in the recliner so I could hand her over.  I'm standing there, in that Mom-pose, holding her as she snuggles against my neck, and rocking back/forth on my feet.  First of all, I love that spot, that spot where you curve from neck to shoulder, the collarbone-y area; the spot I always seek, mmm.  But when I've held the kids, it's the spot they seek, and that's different (of course), and it's a perfect fit.  Newborn, toddler, 11 year old, their little head fits perfectly there.  So I'm in guilty bliss as I stand and rock her, because I don't care if her Daddy needs an extra minute in the bathroom, it's so nice to be there.  I'm contemplative, wondering, does she remember how I smell, will she think when she's older that my scent is the smell of home?

I remember my first real time away from home, I bought Jergen's lotion because of course, you buy the stuff your Mom did before branching out on your own in the drugstore.   When I got back to my place, I was so startled that the smell of the lotion reminded me so much of my Mom that tears sprang to my lonely little eyes.  Coty face powder invokes Nana and her bingo-nights;  Tres Flores hair goo, my Tata; Aramis cologne my ladies-man Tio (no, es verdad, he was terrible); and of course, Love's Baby Soft perfume transports me back to 15 (ack) again.

I remember one time, I loaded the boys into the car, and Ben, who was probably 3 or so, asked "Mommy, are we going to Nana's house?" "No, why, sweetie?" "Because you smell like you're going to work."  Wow, I thought.  I was wearing perfume (Happy) because we were running errands, and some days, you take what you can get as far as feeling like a real girl, lol.  I never would've made that work connection had he not said it.  And I felt a little bad too, that he had a smell that said to him "Mommy's going to work."  (I had just gone to part-time from full-time a bit before.)  I wore it more often then, so he would associate it with other things; but eventually, tapered off.........

Mr W makes it back to us, and I <reluctantly> hand my little princess over.  

She's in good hands, and I'm late, but that's ok.  I know she knows what I smell like, and she'll be able to find me anywhere.

Sat Six on Sun nite

1. Which of the following is your favorite store and why?  
A) Wal-Mart
B) Target
C) K Mart
D) Sears

Target.  I spend a lot of time and money there, and I can find a little bit of everything in one trip, which is important when all the kids come along!

2. How far does your closest friend who's not in the same town as you live, and when was the last time you saw them in person?

Janna-bobanna, come on down!  She lives in Spokane, and I saw her last in June? July?  I talk to her almost every day...she's due for a Mexican food fix, but I think I'll make the trip to her next time...(hahaha, yeah, me, all alone, hahaha)

3. Have you ever gone on a date with someone you met online?  Would you?

Oh, come on.  Um, no.  And no I wouldn't.  I prefer the flesh I'm stroking to be right underneath my own fingers, and not virtual, thank you.

4. What is your favorite novel and what makes it stand out for you?
I have to pick just ONE??  The ones that stand out for me recently are:  The Dogs of Babel (Parkhurst); because it was different, haunting even; and Caramelo (Cisneros), because I loved all the cultural references.  Other faves are: The Stand (Stephen King)-I've reread it repeatedly because I like the characters; Olive's Ocean (Henkes) the story was sweet, OH!! how could I forget, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Brashares), The Secret Life of Bees (Kidd), great coming of age stories; there are others, I knew I couldn't do this....ONE, hahahaha.
5. You get snowed in at your home for three days.  You have power and telephone service, but no way to leave the house.  How will you amuse yourself?

You're kidding, right?  Are my kids home or at Nana's house?  If they're home, then we'd watch movies, play games, call friends...and if they're not home, well, I'm totally taking off all his clothes.  (Did you say 3, THREE days?  Don't tease me like that.)

6. A fellow journaler you consider a friend disappears from J-land.  Visitors leave comments in the journal but they get no response.  You send the journaler an E-mail to make sure everything is okay, and despite the fact that you see that it has been read, you get no reply.  What do you do?  

Hey, some people just don't want to be found.  You wrote, they read; you did your part.  Move on.  Sigh.

Friday, January 21, 2005

All aboard!

It's time to pick up the troops.  And today, I am putting a new meaning on Mom's taxi.  In addition to my 4, there are 4 neighbors who always get a ride w/ me.  I have two others that are coming along b/c their Mom had a sudden dr appt (she's prego) and another who is coming to play w/ Ryan.  All I know is my van will be like a clown car.  I think'll this one's gonna take two trips, lol.

Forget a Suburban--I need a bus!  :)

Where's my Tylenol?  Better pre-medicate now then suffer a headache later....

Time to bake the cookies!

My own social experiment

Due to the increasing bickering between Nolan and Ben that is constantly the background noise in the house lately, I think I'm gonna conduct my own little social experiment. 

I'm gonna lock them up in their room, and slide their food in under the door, letting them out one at a time for bathroom breaks every now and then.  First, I'll confiscate the gameboys, the cd players, and anything that could be used as a weapon.  Okay, I guess that means the only thing in the room will be the mattresses on the floor and a couple of books.

Maybe this way, they'll learn to be allies, and not the friendly adversaries they've become. 

Ben interrupts any story Nolan is telling at the moment.  As they have friends that also have similar aged siblings, it seems like every time Nolan wants to go to a friend's house, Ben does too.  Actually, I'd have to say that at the moment, Ben is having some kind of inner conflict that is making him act like a pain in the ass.  He's been loud, and (I never thought this'd be possible), talkier than usual.  He even gave me some lippy attitude the other day (which I promptly stomped on).  WTF?  What's going on with my (usually) sweet boy?  And why is Nolan all of a sudden Mr Attitude?  They purposely are at each other, picando, picando, picando, until one or both of them blow up.  I'm supposed to put up with this for a few months until they move on?  How? I'm so done with it right now.

It's to the point that I don't even listen to the transgression, I just automatically send them their opposite corners.  Just touch gloves, boys, and come out fighting.  I want a clean hitting below the belt.  Ding, ding.

Hey, that doesn't sound like a bad idea.  I'll rope off a corner of the living room, or outside, and let them go at it.  

Hmm.  Wonder if the HOA would get on me if I hung a punching bag outside from the neighbor's basketball hoop, and sold tickets?

And now, stepping up to the plate...

Surprisingly, I made it through the day yesterday without turning into a raving lunatic before Mr W got home.  Earlier,  I'd medicated Audrey (thanks, Children's Motrin) and we ran around on our errands.  I stopped feeling guilty about not staying home when we were in Target and she asked for a new 'dressie.'  (Today, she is a bit congested, but seems ok.)  While we were out, a dashboard light came on.  Oh, my personal favorite --check engine.  Yeah, like I need that kind of aggravation. 

I abhor car maintenance.  I realize it's a necessary evil, but would rather get my naughty bits waxed than have to deal with it.   While I pay attention to how the vehicles behave, once something's up, I pass it on to Mr W.   Hey, I only listen to "Click and Clack";  there's no way I even approach that level of expertise.   Mr W gets right on it too (HA!) after about a month of "the car...the van..." nagging. 

Imagine my surprise when he inquired about the van after I got back from the inevitable trip to the store for "oops, I need ___" for dinner.  I told him the light was still on and he went into the garage to investigate.  I'm thinking ???? when he comes in and asks me "didn't you say it was due for an oil change and the transmission fluid needed changing too?"  "yeah"  "Ok, I'll be back."  Wow, I thought.  Cool, he can deal with it...crap, now I have to make dinner with the cranky girl stirring up trouble with the other kids.  As it is, my two oldest are seriously going to be sent packing if they don't stop the endless bickering that has erupted lately (but that is a story for another time.)  Oh well.  It could be worse, I could be doing it tomorrow with Audrey and Ryan in tow and trying to entertain them while the van gets worked, making dinner with cranky girl at home is a better option at this point.

Mr W makes it back, and is happily full of toasted ravioli, chatting up Nolan.  I walk into the room as Nolan leaves, really looking forward to changing into the comfies, I have my hand on my zipper when Mr W says "Did you know he needs to get food coloring for his science fair project at school..." I cut him off "Yeah, so what?" "...for tomorrow?"  I rezip. "No way,"  I roll my eyes.  "I was just at the store, and he couldn't have mentioned it then???  Ok, I'll go in a minute."  And the next words out of Mr W's mouth floor me.  "No, I'll take him.  You've been running around all day, and just change, relax, whatever...tell me where I need to go, and I'll take him along to go get it." 

I start looking for the pod in the room, the one the aliens left when they took my real husband away.

I shouldn't be surprised.  He would help out a lot more, if I would just let him.  It's true.  I admit that I am a bit of a control freak about getting things done, taking care of everyone else, and sometimes forgetting about me.  I tend to spoil him in that I take on a lot of the kid/house stuff because he works long days, and I only work two.  Of course, I joke that I'm the one with two jobs, and bitch about not feeling like I contribute (financially) but he's really cool and tells me that the work I do here is just as important.  Which is what I try to focus on as I work another miracle when something expensive comes up, lol.

So I say ok.  And I let him run out with the boy to get what he needs, but before they go, I make a joke about ice cream.  Of course, he brings some back.  I tease him, "You know, you really didn't need to do this.  I'm sort of a sure thing..." 

I remember once, telling one of my friends that'd had a baby and was certain her husband would never be able to take care of it when she got back to work, not to sweat him over the small stuff.  He'd find a way to do things, and it wouldn't exactly match what she'd do, but it would still work out in the end.  Who cares what method he used, his or hers, the baby would still get fed, you know? 

I need to follow my own advice, it seems.  Remember that we are indeed a team, and let him do what he can to help me out.  Even when it's not my way of doing it.  No one'll starve, and a little shampoo in the eyes never hurt anyone. 

I won't be a lesser Mom just because I let him give me a hand now and then, I'll be a better one.  

And you know what they say about "when Mommy's happy...everyone's happy."


Thursday, January 20, 2005

NO--that can't really be the alarm already

Mood:  tired but not yet grumpy--check back this afternoon

I have a hangover this morning.  Not the usual, drinking-induced payoff for overindulgence, but the type of hangover you get when you've been up with a sick kid.

In this case, it's Audrey.  She had a little fever yesterday afternoon when she woke up from her nap, then recovered (prob due to the children's Motrin I gave her) only to spike it up in the middle of the night (naturally--poor thing.)

Ordinarily, I'd make some sassy remark about how there's nothing like a hot body in your bed, but really, there's no fun in a flip-flopping lump of burning coal that you know can head for disaster at any time.  I felt her bouncing around, and sniffling, as the wee hours approached.  I'd pat her, rub her back, and she'd settle.  But eventually, I was too awake to just lay there and let her tough it out.  She woke up a bit so I said, "come on, sweetie, let's go check your temp and get some medicine"  "okay, Mommy."  When a toddler willingly agrees to medication, you know that you're in trouble and they are really not feeling up to snuff.

Oy, I think, looking at the clock. 4:00 am, perfect.  So began my evening/morning ministrations.  Off to the kitchen, got her all squared away, then we went and I rocked with her (pat, rub, pat her back; repeat) until I thought she was cool enough to attempt sleep again.    When we lay back down, however, she starts the flip/flop/reach for mom combo for what feels like forever.  Who knows when she knocked out, all I know is that the alarm went off, and I thought it was a joke.  Hey, what's that noise?  I was in the middle of an interesting dream and now I'll never know why there were two cute men in my car.

Now, it's time to awaken the rest of the troops, and shoo them off to school.  Hopefully, my little miss will feel better today.

And these things, in the middle of my face, that feel like they don't belong there, would be my eyes.  I've got that crazed, 'bill the cat' look about me right now. 

Haven't I mentioned how glamorous this motherhood gig is before?


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Hey! He's still a little boy!

Last night, we're leaving aikido, rounding up all the kids.  One of the boys friends comes up and says "Have you SEEN the size of Ben's (my 8 yr old) tongue?  It's so long!!" in an incredulous voice.

I'm thinking, what?  Did he get hurt or something?  And up trots Ben, laughing.  "Look, Mom!"  he sticks out his tongue.  Hey!  It is long!  I guess I never noticed before.  "Dude, put that away, bud, no one wants to be looking at that right now."  I quip to my friend standing nearby (as Ben runs off) "That'll serve you well when you're older."  And we get a giggle out of it.

I'm just glad none of the men folk were around, because that could've turned ugly in a hurry.  Funny, I'll admit, but, well, you know.  *blush, baby, blush* (I'm not saying I can't dish it out.  But the other day I related an off-color story to Mr W and well, let's just say he cut me off before I could finish it, and I was the one that felt like a perve, so my blushing tolerance has been temporarily reset.  Hey, it's not my fault that I was being somewhat enlightened on remote-controlled pocket vibrators by two of my (male) colleagues.  I didn't even know such a thing  The conversation started out innocently enough, about cell phones set on vibrate...then took a turn.)

Tonight, as we were leaving, poor Ben's tongue was brought to my attention again.  He and my friend's son even went so far as to stick out both their tongues.  Man, I thought,  I'm not touching this with a 10-foot pole.  Not that I'd say anything damaging to anyone's psyche, but my son's friend is old enough and I think savvy enough that he'd catch any double entendre I could think of, and this time the Dads were right there,  so I just chuckled to myself.  I'm not about to get the big boys started on a tutorial right there in the parking garage.  Nah, I think that'd either max out my blushing tolerance or I'd say something that'd get me into trouble. 

I have to wonder, is that how it starts out, with boys?  First they compare the size/length/whatever of benign body parts, and then they move on to the 'mine is the biggest' part of the game?   And when does this all start?  Afterall, I've yet to hear my three going on about it; not that they've not made an occasional comment here and there.

I'm in uncharted waters here, people.  Soon, the testosterone bomb is gonna hit, and I'll have to duck and cover, because I'm just outnumbered.   (As Kelly put it, I've exceeded the one-child-per-parent (or was it hand?) rule; apparently I didn't read that fine print in the "here's your baby" manual.) 

I'll have to combine forces with my ally, ("wonderparent powers--activate! form of supermom!  form of superdad!") and hope to make it through: 

1.  The talk

2.  The rearing of the ugly head of adolescence, with all the hormones and pleasantness that'll be sure to bring.  (see testosterone bomb, above, and um, remember, this step is x3, with an estrogen bomb chaser...)

3.  Dating, and her sister, broken hearts.

4.  The refresher talk

5.   What do you mean, you wrecked my car/don't want to finish school/met your soulmate ten days ago and are calling me from Vegas?  (just to keep us on our toes)

Maybe I should start stocking up on the hard liquor now, or prepaying on my stay at the mental health facility of my choice. 

We could always resort to our 'rock, paper, scissors' method of who's handling this next question/crisis.  It's gotten us through the poop so far, why mess with a good thing?



I really can't be this old...

"I'm torn between feeling very sorry for you and finding you terribly attractive..."

A pickup line?  No.  A line from one of my favorite movies--'An American Werewolf in London.'  It's on tonight, and I was watching it with my dear hubby when he decided to look and see when the movie came out. 

WHY did he do that?  I was perfectly happy watching, I do love this movie, when he says, "holy shit, it can't have come out that long ago...what, 24 years?"  Um, honey, check the math,, he's right.  ACK!  I suddenly remember how young I was when I watched it (and oh, what the hell, I was 12 when it came out, fine) and then I seem to forget where I saw it first--movie theater or friend's house?  I know I saw it during a movie-thon at a friend's house--slumber party, perhaps?  Oh, I think I remember watching it with all of my girlfriends, and a few ahem, older guys that were there tagging along with her older sister's boyfriend.  We, of course, were much too cool to be openly scared, but screamed and reached for an arm at all the right parts, lol.  Well.  Now I feel like I'm 100.

Gee, thanks, honey.

We're all wrapped around her finger...(sing it, like the Police song)

My Dad took us out to dinner the other night.  I knew it was a shaky outing as Audrey had not had a nap all day (begin "Jaws" music here) and it was exactly dinnertime for most people on a Sunday night...

I really almost slapped a hostess upside her head, at the first place we went, when she informed me the wait was "55-65 minutes" in a perky voice.  Um, did you not hear me say I was here with FOUR kids?  Small kids?  No, thank you.  I really wasn't up to using all my good entertaining eating out tricks before we were even seated and waiting for actual grub.  We opted for this Mexican restaurant closer to home and didn't have to wait to be seated but maybe 5 minutes (nah nah nah nah nah nah). 

Things were going well, considering the sudden repeat trips to the bathroom (no, my boys couldn't all go at once, it had to be one at a time...) and Audrey's insistence on her own water glass with (ack) no lid.  No spills, no tantrums, am I in the clear, I wonder? 

Our food arrives, and we're all going for it, when she (of course) finishes first.  What to do, what to do, I could see the wheels turning in her 2.5 yr old head.  I know!  Let's see if we can get Daddy riled up!  She starts wiggling around, ants in her pants, of course.  Wants this or that, my lap, back to her chair...nothing extraordinary.  But of course, Daddy tells her to sit still (right, I'm thinking, I'm envisioning a trip outside for the two of us while everyone else finishes-) and she complies.  For like a second.  He gives her the stern look, and she smiles sweetly, with the water glass up by her face like she's gonna take a drink---and she does that thing where you hold the glass to your face by using suction.  Still smiling at him, giving him the "aren't I cute, whatya gonna do?" look.  I'm stifling a laugh, at this point, and her Dad suddenly places his hands in front of his mouth but I catch him stifling laughter too.  I hold up my pinky finger so he can see it, and mouth at him "who's the whipped one now?"  And she does it again, and this time, he laughs and doesn't hide it. 

She's aware of what to do to get out of trouble, and we are helpless in her path (most of the time). 

I have even let her into my inner sanctum, the shower.  See, I always heard stories from my Mom about how much I loved the shower/bath; that I used to run from whatever corner of the house and jump in--with her, with my Nanas, etc.  I've been expecting it with all the kids, but the boys never really liked the shower so I thought I was exempt from this particular "you'll have a kid just like you" curse.  But one day a couple of weeks ago, I was in a hurry, and she needed a bath too, so I said, "why don't you shower with Mommy?"

She loved it.  She turned her head up into the spray, let me wash her hair, used my stinky shower stuff, and had a great time.  Whew, I thought, we won't be late. 

Of course, from there on out, she wanted to join me every day.  "I take your shower, Mommy?"  She'd elbow me in the leg to get under the water first, and I had to do her whole routine before starting mine.  I couldn't even be annoyed, afterall, it was initially my idea.  She can't help it if it's something she likes...and I have another 'what was I thinking?' moment to ponder.  Sigh.

Tonight, she needed a bath.  I haven't really bathed her at night in quite a while, evenings have been kinda hectic lately, so it's been with me or a day-tubby.  I'd forgotten how fab the purple Johnson's baby bath smells--it's pretty relaxing, really, I think I use it more for me than for her, lol.  And I gave her her little baby massage (Ryan used to especially love those) and put her to bed, smelling like heaven, like only a clean baby smells, in her little nightgown.  I look down at her, and she looks like a little doll.  I can't help but stand there, and look at her, and be amazed at what a big girl she suddenly is...when she toots

Yup, that's my girl alright.  "Having a tender moment, Mommy?  Here, let me add to it..." 

I don't know who came up with this 'sugar and spice' idea, but they really need to rethink it.  Anyone who's witnessed her take on her brothers would certainly agree.  I swear, she's even made the big boy, Nolan, cry (well, she did step on something important--).   But those boys will do anything for her, and I see her work her magic on them all the time.  And if that doesn't work, she takes them by the hand and makes them do her bidding.

The little tyrant.


Monday, January 17, 2005

Comic relief

On Sunday, I got to work with a friend of mine who is currently expecting her third baby (hey,  they're just trying to keep up with me, lol).  She was trying to keep the sex of the baby a secret, but I knew it was a boy...and she confirmed this when I saw her.

"We can't agree on a boy name," she said.  Of course, since I'm an expert on naming boys, and we couldn't agree on a girl name when Audrey was in the oven, I could sympathize and offered my assistance.

I swear, I ran through every cool name I could think of, but they were either old boyfriends, cousins, names of weird acquaintances, etc.  I went for the obvious, and said, "Name him after his Dad (David), you can't go wrong with that, and listen to this" and I pronounce it for her in Spanish, "it sounds so sexy."  Like you want your newborn to have a sexy name, lol,  hey I was grasping at straws here, we'd been at it for almost an hour, I can only handle so much rejection...  She laughs and says, "You know, my mother-in-law said the same thing!  But I don't know, he doesn't want to name him after himself because he doesn't want to hurt our other son's feelings..."

"Well," I said, "I can't think of any more."

On the way home, I'm running through names in my head, and nothing strikes me.  Once I'm home, I'm standing in the kitchen, talking to Mr W (who's in the recliner, with his back to me)...

"Hey, my friend, Steph, is having a boy, and I'm trying to come up with some names for her..." I relate the story of how all the names were rejected. "So, honey, try to think of a boy's name.  If we were having another boy, what would you call him?  Come on, think."

There's the briefest of pauses, and he says:

"Lucifer."  I am instantly doubled over in laughter, as he goes on:  "Because if we had another, it would definately be hell in here."

It's a good thing I wasn't drinking anything. I'm sure the spray would've reached him. 

Once again, I'm reminded of why I keep him around.  He makes me laugh, at myself sometimes; he makes me laugh, at whatever is pissing me off at that moment; he makes me laugh, and that sets everything straight again.  Who can't use a little of that?


Tales from the <cleaner> crypt

I've made some headway in the cleaning of the house...and Mr W has retained all of his working parts.

I took out the vacuum the other night, because someone (audrey) had crumbs all over the rug and it's funny, but none of her siblings noticed her crushing up a brownie in her hands and making art out of it, and they were sitting right there.  Where are the plaintive cries of "Mommy!  She's...." that I hear whenever she's into their stuff, huh??  She touches a Gameboy, I hear about it in a nanosecond.  She decides to color on the walls right next to them, not a word; afterall she's not bothering them directly, why call Mom to avert the disaster before it happens--no fun in that, right?

Although it was 9:30 pm (yes, p.m.) I'm pissed off, sent everyone out of the room, I vacuum the mess up and figure, hey, it's late, I've dragged out the circa 1970 harvest gold canister vacuum we inherited from Grandma, I'm freakin' going for it...and I moved the sofa, away from the wall to vacuum underneath it. 

I resisted the urge to call the nearby community college to come and set up an archeaological dig to explore and catalog the contents of what I found.  Toys, half-chewed dog treats, dust/lint combos, is that a real mouse (aack--cat toy),  there's that missing remote..."MI VIDA!!" (I call him that, it means 'my life'; it's something that started w/ my friend Janna and I, and those hyper-emoting ladies on the telenovelas; and it stuck, and I never thought I'd call him that, but it amuses me, so I persist) "Come here!" and when as he comes into the room, "if I have to look at this, then so do you--" And he's mystified, horrified, mouth agape: "What the hell?  Look at that!"  I let loose with the cursing in Spanish, of course "hijos de su chingada madre...que cochinos, los mato se entran este cuarto..."  Mr W knows it's best to not ask for the interpretation.  He just walks into the kitchen and gets the trash can while I continue to rant and plan a course of action.  I decide to call in the responsible parties to look upon their mess, claim the things I'm willing to let them keep, and leave before I really lose my temper.  "Ugh, get the pinche Swiffer out too," I tell Mr W as he shoos the kids down the hall. 

I'm mopping up the rest of the mess, when I hear the vacuum turn on again.  Hey, I think, turning around, what the heck is he doing?  But I don't really care, you see, he's decided to help out, and um, there's nothing sexier than a man with a vacuum (Oh!  unless it's a man with a frying pan, cooking dinner...which actually happened this week, the kids are still in shock...) getting to all the spots you can't, haha.  I didn't stop him at all, he's a big boy, he can handle it.  And I only stopped to watch for a minute, really.  ;)

Today, I worked on things a bit more, and it is gratifying to look around, admiring my handiwork.  I still cringe at the little things I'll still need to work on, and the bigger projects like the closets (oy) and kids rooms (double oy).  All in good time, I guess.  I am thinking that I'll be motivated to get to these other things, and then the stuff I started on will be ready to go again.  A vicious circle of dirty living with children, lol.

Audrey said to me, as she surveyed the living room the other day, "Oh, Mommy, you cleaned my house.."  of course, to a two year old, it's all about her, and it was cute because she twirled around, arms outstretched, as she said it.

Anyone else tries to pull that on me, and I'll be sweeping my foot under their support leg and taking them out.  At least I know when they land, there won't be a puff of dust rising into the air.


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Sidetracked, in my own house

Sometimes, I'll be going from point A to point B in the house, and realize 15 minutes later that I am not in the place I was supposed to be.

Gotta go to the bedroom, to get (whatever); head down the hallway; oh, look there's that glove that Ben lost; pick it up, take it to his room; oh, my god, look at how much laundry didn't make it into the hamper (ha! don't they know that soon, the decree will read that anything NOT in the hamper will not be washed?), pick it up; hey, how did that fall out of his bookcase, oh, there's a pile of crap up here, start to straighten it out, gotta throw this away, head to kitchen to trash can; damn it, who left their glass conveniently turned on its side? grr, grit teeth, stop and clean up mess, need to change tablecloth, notice spill made it to tile, get paper towel and sop it up, hey, this is sticky, go get cleaner (oy, who really wants to mop?) and spray away to clean up; notice another spot, spray it, clean it, and another, spray it, clean it, oh hell, go get the Swiffer (greatest invention ever, really) and broom and sweep/mop anyway, because the floor resembles the floor of a bar after closing time... okay.  Wait, didn't I head to the bedroom for something earlier?

What was it again?

I swear, I do this all day long.  I practically need to write down what I need in the next room or I won't remember it. 

Today, I went on a cleaning-the-counter spree that involved the paper shredder, two (okay, let's be honest here, three) trash bags, and more than a few Lysol wipes.  I even was motivated to ~gasp with me~ attack the junk drawer (hey, you know you have at least one) and now, I can open it without shame. 

"What wild hair crawled up your ___?", Mr W says to me when I brag about my OCD to him late in the morning when we were touching base (he's working late today).  "Look, it's your fault, Mr. 'how-much-would-you-be-willing-to-pay-a-cleaning-lady.'  Yeah, you start talking like that, and I start cleaning the house.  Talk about reverse psychology."  Click. (ok, I said bye first, I'm not the type of chick that hangs up on  people..)

Yes, he did say it.  One day last week, he asked me how much I'd be willing to shell out for someone else to come in and clean.  On the one hand, I can see that he probably wants to help me out, because really, it's a lot of work just taking care of our brood, and I am not gonna stay up late cleaning toilets (haha, not when I can do this instead ;) right?) just because.  On the other hand, I'm annoyed, because I feel that on some level, he is being a bit critical that things are not up to his standard. (But, in his defense, he does help out more than most.)  So.  I've decided to go room to room over the next week or so and see what's what.  I know that I in no way will be finished in a week.  And in my defense, it's not like we live like freshman year frat boys.  Dishes are washed.  Laundry gets done, there are no science experiments in the fridge (today), and you don't need to beat a path with a machete to get into the kid's room...although you may have to make a sweep every now and then with your foot to move the inevitable small piece of Lego or whatever.  I could stand (ugh, ugh, bitch, bitch) to vacuum and dust more.  And definately stand to toss some toys (but I can't bring myself to do it when I know I'm gonna get busted by the kids next week when they are looking for whatever is gone.)

So I am try really hard to remove the note of sarcasm from my voice when I tell him that we will be cleaning before the cleaning lady comes, because that's what happens.  And he either realizes that I'm a bit pissed, or has shrewdly manipulated me to get on it myself, and has not mentioned it again.

I think I know where I'd like to accidentally place a Lego or two that he'd be guaranteed to notice. 

Let the cleaning lady get THAT, buddy.


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The power of a hug

This morning, getting ready for school, Nolan was really slow.  I know why, but there's not much I can do about it.  His teacher is on maternity leave until March and he is not that thrilled with his substitute teacher.  That, combined with the usual angst of an 11 year old, is making him sulky.  Great, that's all I need, another teenager in the house in addition to Audrey, the toddler-teen.

I told him to try and not think about the bad day he was about to have, and concentrate on something, anything positive, and to stay away from one particular kid that teases him.  I said that he had to take some responsibility for his mood, because I can feed him, make sure he gets enough sleep, and love him, but I can't make him happy all the time. 

And I felt some angst of my own as I watched him walk slowly all the way onto campus.  I know he needs to work through this on his own.  Besides, we always tell him that he will encounter many people throughout his life that he may not particularly like, but will have to function alongside them anyway.  Just think about your own job, I'm sure all of us at one time or another has had to deal with the annoying coworker that we are stuck one cubicle away from.  Learning to deal with these situations is a good skill to have, I remind him, and tell him I'm sorry, son, but you'll have to suck this one up.

Afterschool was no better.  Audrey got all wound up to see them all again, and started shrieking and running around chasing Ben and Ryan.  Ben was as loud and talky as he usually is, and it was chaotic.  Nolan starts getting annoyed, and said something like "Would you all just knock it off?  You're getting on my nerves!" with a scowl and a hmmph! to finish it off.  Well, I'm not about to put up with that, and I told him "Look, I realize that you are unhappy with your day at the moment, but that is the fault of no one here and we can't do anything about it.  If you feel that we are getting on your nerves, then you need to go to your room where you can have all the alone quiet time you want.  Yelling at us because you had a bad day is unacceptable, so you knock it off."  He opted to stay with us, quietly, moodily..

A few minutes later, I was in the kitchen, and he came over to get something.  I grabbed him and pulled him close, giving him a hug just like when he was little, putting my hand on top of his head (damn, when did he get this tall?) and resting my cheek on his forehead.  I just held him.  And I said, "Would you like me to just hug you like this, all the time, does it make you feel better?"  I was teasing him, and didn't really expect an answer.

But he said, "Yeah, I do."

Yup, somedays, a hug will work magic, and make all the difference in the world.

I know I could've used one earlier, when Audrey was a little too two in the teacher's workroom (I was doing the volunteer/copying I do for Ben's teacher); the machines didn't want to work right (we both got covered in black ink, she had on a white shirt, of course); and I left in exasperation without finishing it all. 

I guess a hug would've made me feel better, since I don't carry a bottle of hootch around with me.

Hmm, maybe I could use that extra pocket in my purse...for medicinal purposes, of course.

But then where would I put my lippy?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

They're baa-aaack

School started back up for us today.  I am relieved, because any more time would've just been too much.   "I'm bored." "Can I go to ___'s house?"  "Can ____come here?" "I'm hungry.  What's for dinner?" (fifteen minutes after the last snack...) 

No, back to the routine will do me just fine.  I am hoping that the return to early rising/early bed will get them all back on track.  I always try to maintain the same sleep schedule on breaks, and it never lasts more than a day.  Hey, that's what breaks are for, right?

But that time after they are down for the night is my time.  And when my time gets reduced, and I wind up knocking out too, then I get cranky.  No one likes me when I'm cranky.

This crankiness has been compounded with um, frustration, because Nolan has had some insomnia over these last couple of weeks.  And it's been interfering with my nocturnal activities ;) which makes me well, super cranky.  Don't start with the 'lock your door' speech, I have kids, and cats, and a dog in my room, so it's not quite the option it could be.  There are other rooms in the house, and as there are four young'uns running around, we've obviously used them.

However, when you have a wandering 11 year old that "just can't seem to get to sleep," even the garage starts looking good.  Nothing can kill a moment faster than the sound of footsteps in the hall...than the sight of a back scurrying away in the darkness.  "Do you think he saw anything?"  I whisper into the darkness.  "No," Mr W (always) replies.  "Yeah, sure, you're gonna say anything at this point, you horny bastard.  You mean, he didn't see anything--anything that'll scar him for life."  One of us will check it out... "What are you doing, wandering around?  I thought you were sleeping.." be patient, be calm..."I just can't get to sleep." Out comes an exasperated sigh from me. "Look, it's late.  You need to stay in bed.  We're not going anywhere."  "But.." "No buts.  GO to sleep."  Padding back to the scene of the crime, I know he's gonna get up again.  So we decide to have a little break in the action, and wait for him to fall asleep...and then wake up to the sound of one of us snoring.  "Well?" "I'm tired." "Fine.  Night."  Pad back down the hall, silently vowing to barge in on future love interests and which-ever-kid-caused-the-end-in-the-festivities when they are alone.  Vow to wake them up early in the morning, run them all around town, tiring them out, so that they will go to bed early the next night, praying that neither of us knocks out too. 

I swear, we spent half our youth dodging my little brother and our parents, you think we'd get a break now.  It's to the point that I've become 'little miss direct':  "Look, man, is this gonna happen or not?  I've gotta get up early, and if this show -that you've seen already and that we own- is more riveting than getting some, well, good night." "You can have your 15 minutes of fame, or I'm outta here."  "Don't waste any time..they're sleeping, and I have no idea how long it's gonna last. Get over here." "Yes or no?  Tell me now." (gotta block the tv for that one, lol)

I have a date circled in my mind.  It's the day that my youngest will be in school all day, the day when all of them are gone...all day.  As soon as I have an actual date, I am making Mr W take the day off of work, so we can get reacquainted properly, without any interruptions. 

Of course, this will probably be the day that someone gets sick at school and we'll need to go pick 'em up.

But I can dream, can't I? 


That girl is gonna kill me....

My in love..with ketchup.

It's her newest obsession.  She's always liked it, and suddenly, she can't get enough.  I actually let her have fries and ketchup for breakfast, for crying out loud, because she really, really wanted her ketchup.  Breakfast of champions, right?

Hey, I survived the ranch dip/dressing obsession of 2000 (Ryan at 2), and cookie dough obsession of 1998 (Ben at 2 and still today), the soda-pop/pringles obsession of 1996 (Nolan, thanks to Nana), I can survive this.

At least her Dad has something to share with her now in addition to the cinnabon love they already do.  Seriously, I have to watch my step at the mall, lest I pass the Cinnabon area, and she sees it--then I have to get one, but usually can convince her to wait until we get home, so Dad can share (eat most of it, haha) it with her.  She stood in the hall recently, pointing her finger at him, "DADDY!  You ate it all!  More? I want more.."

And I hate ketchup.  So you know how much I love her, that I let her give me a kiss with that ketchup face.  (I once figured out I was definately prego upon nearly hurling at the smell of Mr W's ketchup, and the aversion has never left me...)

As long as she doesn't start painting the walls with it, I'll be fine.


Lots of catching up to do!

don't have to listen to the wiggles, heehee.  song shuffling again...

I had a busy weekend.  But I knew it would be nuts, and I convinced Mr W to take Friday off and he did--WOOHOO!  We took the kids to Nana's, ran downtown to get my race stuff (more on that later), and made it back to her house before my friend got there to drop off her daughter.  OY!  the stars must have been aligned to pull that off, b/c I am never on time...I was even able to spend a few minutes catching up with my friend and her husband before they left!

So my boy wonder was thrilled to see Dani, and she was equally thrilled to see him.  She played with everyone, and I was relieved that there wasn't too much awkwardness between them.  I took all the kids to this park by my Mom's (never again, I found, in addition to "hey, Mommy, there's writing inside the slide, what does it say?", a broken bottle and some metal tubing in the sand...I wish my parents would just move to over to my neck of the woods) and then Nolan, Dani, Audrey, and I escaped to the mall for a bit.  The little one needed to nap, and I knew with all that excitement, the only way she'd sleep was in the van.  We just wandered a bit, and then came home for more running around, pizza, and when I noticed Dani was tired, we took her to back to her aunt's house.

I resisted the urge to walk her to the door, b/c I noticed Nolan reaching for his doorhandle, and didn't want to mess up his moment.  "Hey, son, Audrey's crying (she was), so I'll stay here so she doesn't really crank it up.  Why don't you walk Dani to the door?"  So off they went.  Dani's uncle came out for a second, to thank us and say good night, as Nolan scooted back in the car.

Driving away, I noticed he kinda had his back turned towards me, and I realized he was wiping his eyes...soo cute!  I said, "Are you ok?"  and he said he was sad b/c the day went so quickly...and he didn't get to say goodbye the way he wanted to.  ??? "What do you mean?"  "She went inside right away, so I didn't get to.."  "What, you weren't gonna (oy, I can't believe I said this) kiss her, were you?"  "Nooo, I was going to hug her, but she ran inside."  Whew, I think.  "Well, honey, at least we got to hang out with her all day.  And it's hard to leave the people we really like when you don't know when you can see each other I know that's why you are sad, and it's ok if you are gonna cry some more."  Aye, Dios, that was a bad idea, giving him permission sort of got him going again.  But he recovered, and I was touched when I saw Mr W take him aside and chat with him when we got back to my Mom's.  I don't know what he said, but it was good for Nolan, because he seemed better after that.  :)

So about this race thing..

I participated in the PF Changs Rock in Roll 1/2 Marathon on Sunday.  I didn't run, and I certainly didn't really race, but I finished, at that's all that mattered to me.  The weather was GAW-GEOUS, a bit chilly to start, but fab the rest of the time.  And I had a great time, even though I was walking alone.  My oldest (since we were 8) best friend was running it, and she's the one that cajoled/goaded/paid my entry fee so I couldn't say no (haha) and do it too.  She wanted me to run with her, but I knew that I wouldn't have enough time to get in the type of conditioning needed to run 13.1 miles, so I told her I would walk it...and managed to sneak out of the house with the dog and walk in preparation for this for the last few months.  And I DID it!!  I narrowly escaped a blister, and definately escaped the old guy from Chicago that with old man tact, basically said I was fat (dude, don't you have a driveway to shovel somewhere, do you really need to get your exercise here?) and finished.  Haha, not record time (according to the clocks along the way, 4:44:34 was my final time, but I don't think that's totally right..who cares, I finished..)  I have to say that having the music (my iPod) along helped a ton, so even though I couldn't walk with Mr W, I had him there, haha.  And I just listened, and concentrated on getting one foot in front of the other.  I ran to catch up to this group I was following (lost 'em in during a pit stop) and sped up when I saw the old Chicago guy ahead of me nearing the end of the race (he got ahead, I think, during the blister med-repair).  I was surprised at my irritation and venom within when I saw him up ahead, and thought "Oh, I don't think so, buddy" as I walked faster and blew past him.  I also had the random comment one of my friends said earlier pop in my head every now and then, something about "I find I can accomplish what could be accomplished by running by just walking fast.." (thanks, remo) which for some reason cracked me up...road delirium.  It also helped that there were lots of uniforms along the way to gawk at (heehee some of Phx's finest), and cheering groups of people, and different bands at every mile along the way.  

My only complaint/question was, who laid that course out?  In addition to the beautiful desert vistas in the background, I walked by two adult shops, and like 4 strip bars.  "Hey, I didn't know it was a cabaret AND cafe..let's make a note of that..oh, and byob too.."  At least I know where a couple of the Castle boutiques are in case anyone needs directions...

All in all, I was pleased that I pushed myself when I realized it wasn't fun anymore at mile 10-11, and would do it again.  (but I am fantasizing about running-gasp-next time)  Mr W was in full-on 'take-care-of-my-girl' mode too as soon as he picked me up, and I had to love that, I didn't pass any of the extra attention up, LOL.  "Would you just take a hot shower, and plant yourself somewhere, I'll deal with the kids.."  No, not gonna pass that up, no way, no how.  "Could you bring me some Advil, please?  I'll be in my room."  I hobbled around a bit on Sun evening, and was sore yesterday, but much better today.  But I feel ten feet tall and bulletproof...   


Thursday, January 6, 2005

Calls of nature

With boys, potty training is ongoing. "WHO's missing his mark?  Aim, guys, aim, is that too much to ask???  The floor on the far side of the toilet looks like an "Adventures in Microbiology" segment from Bill Nye the Science guy's show!!  Give me a break, or go get the Lysol, I mean come ON, the toilet's a mile wide, and no one can hit it?" followed by muttering and hissing, then tracking down Mr W and bitching at him about not doing his job and teaching them to "point, aim, then shoot"....he is not messy, why can't he teach them to not be messy???  They've all been guilty of this at some point or another, but right now, I think the culprit is Ryan.  He is still a little guy, and barely can maneuver his pants around to get there in time, so I'm trying to cut him a little slack.  And yet...I still have to take a deep breath as I reach for the Lysol.

I especially dread the call for cleanup, aisle 7: "MOOOM!  I've POO-OOPED!" that comes after they've mastered going alone but not ahem, cleaning up afterwards.  Again, all have been guilty of calling for assistance, and it's fine, while they're learning, and certainly better than dealing with the racing stripes they'd leave in their underpants (don't get me started)...that out of embarassment they'd throw in the hamper (plus) but not tell anyone about (minus, esp. when you are sorting said laundry out of the hamper, and well, there's just no delicate way to put this, it suddenly hits you why your child has run out of underwear in two days.  I once got so frustrated with this I grabbed the culprit and let him get a whiff of the hamper, mean, but necessary!)  Yes, that call for assistance would have me and Mr W playing 'rock, paper, scissors' to see who's turn it was to go in this time.  I almost want to don a hazmat suit, just in case, because you never know what awaits you in there and it doesn't hurt to be prepared.  For anything.

While the older two now rarely call for me, Ryan still does.  And Mr W in his infinite wisdom (and I use that term loosely) decided to tell him that he's big enough to take care of it himself, and stop calling for Mom.  He's right, in a way, afterall, he can't call for me in kindergarten, right? (hegoes half-days)  Funny enough, my kids all make a dash for the bathroom right after school, fighting for the right to be the first to defile the atmosphere.  "COURTESY spray!"  I holler as they run down the hall, reminding them that the Glade spray is indeed there for a reason.  But back to Ryan...the little guy is quite proud that he can take care of himself.  But there are new problems arising from this..."um, Mommy...I wip-ped myself, but I had to use too many wipes, and I think I clogged the toilet."  Sigh.  There I go, plunger in hand.  "MO-OM!  Ryan did it again, and I went, and now the toilet won't flush!"  There I go, plunger in hand.  "MO-OM!"  "Oh, quit it," I say, already waiting in the hall, plunger in hand.  I've finally just left it in their bathroom. 

Last night, Ryan was in there for quite some time.  I'll head him off at the pass, I think, and go check on him..."Sugar, are you ok?" "Yes, I'm just finishing up now.  But I'll need a little help.." I roll my eyes at Mr W, who can see me in the hall from his vantage point in our room. "because my wiping hand is tired."  Man, I doubled over in laughter.  I didn't mean too, but it was so damn funny.  And I tried to be quiet about it, because I know Ryan's not gonna get the humor of it.  Mr W didn't hear it, so he just thinks I'm loony, and Ryan goes "Mommy, what's so funny?" and to which I (lie) reply "Oh, your Dad just did something silly." "What?"  "Nevermind, Ryan, are you ready for me?"  Mr W pantomimes Pinocchio's nose at me as I tell him the statement Ryan made, then he laughs too.  I get Ryan all squared away, there's no plunger needed tonight, thank goodness. 

I guess too many wipes is a far better reason for the plunger than what those other boys have put me through with needing it.  I won't even go into detail,  I'm sure you can figure that out on your own.  Just let me say, they're kids, how in the hell can they put out something that requires the use of a plunger?  Honestly?  I've raved on to Mr W on occasion: "Poop.  My whole day is filled with...poop!  When will it end?  Can't they just learn on their own?  No one told me, "oh, hey, here's your lovely baby, and here (they hand over a manual the size of a phone book) is the lovely poop book for consulting as you go along.  Ta-ta, good luck with that."

They say girls are easier to train.  I'm hoping...and I probably should have done it by now.  She's interested, she tries...and I'm filled with dread over yet another round of "MO-OM!" being shouted from the bathrooms by one more person.  One more little voice asking to go potty from the farthest-side-of- Target-to-the-bathroom while I have a full cart and am almost finished (having escaped the toy and electronics section up till now).  More extra clothes to carry along, "just in case."  I just don't know if I have the strength left.  Seeing as how she's enchanted with being naked lately, I guess I could let her go au naturel--haha, not really an option, more of an absurd thought--gleaned from too many issues of Parenting magazine.

At least I don't have Mr W calling me for assistance...yet.  I mean, he is older than I am, at some point, I know I'll hear "honey?..." coming from his bathroom...and I'll jump into action....and buzz for the nurse.