Friday, September 30, 2005

The Hunchback of Notre-Mommy

There are days I pick up my purse and go "whhumpf" from the effort.

Like most Moms, my purse is full of my stuff...and a sparkly barrette or two; an action figure (I just pulled out a Power Ranger); pens (more than some people own, but I gotta have them); cell phone; mints....

Toys for the kids, like little notepads (they start out being mine, to help my ailing memory, but wind up in the grubby little hands of Audrey); tiny bubbles (the last ones I swiped from a wedding and the container was shaped like a wee wedding cake); bubble gum (for emergencies); occasionally a book, GameBoy Advance ("hold this for me, Mom, for a sec"); Bandaids (first aid AND an entertainment tool)...

Little nail clippers; an eyeglass repair kit; headband (why suffer through a bad hairday?); Tylenol (do I really need to explain that one?); Tums (ditto); pictures (gotta have pictures of the small fry, in the unlikely event that they aren't with me for me to point to, and I need proof); my own Swiss Army knife (you never know when you'll be pushed to the point of hari-kari); lippy (I may have a weird stain on my shirt and an M&M melted on my backside, but my lips look great); and Kleenex (imagine how dorky I felt a couple of weeks ago, when reaching for my Kleenex, to wipe Audrey's nose, and not realizing that the smooth plastic package I felt wasn't, as I whipped out a maxi pad the size of Kansas and let the librarian in on the fact that yes, it was that time); and glasses cleaners (for my 11 yr old, who thinks that if there is one tiny clean spot left on his lenses, that that is enough to function).  Basically, it's my purse equivalent of a clown car.

Actually, it's one of those purse/backpack combos, and although it's full, it's not huge.  Heavy enough to knock someone out, maybe, but cute in a functional, wipeable way.  It just screams "MOM" and while that makes me cringe,  I give myself points that at least it's not a real backpack. (Which I have considered on occasion.)

I had to replace the little bag in which my lippy resides, and was pondering oh, I don't know, being reasonable and only carrying the one I'm wearing that day as opposed to carrying all my current favorites.  Cut down on the weight and clutter a bit.  Ha.  What, and give up my girly security blanket? 

No, I decided that I'm gonna streamline and remove all the crap that isn't mine. 

(Which will last about 12 hours--or until I next head out the door with Audrey to do whatever and grab things for her just in case.)

It's not even like I really mind carrying all that stuff, I mean, it does come with the territory and I hate to be unprepared.  It's that I'm feeling some purse-restlessness...getting a little sick of this one, and planning on looking for another.  The kids are getting bigger, maybe I could ditch this backpack concept.

This will go against the women's code of purse ethics, but I usually only own one at a time.  No backup.  No cute "oh, but this one matches this outfit" options lining my closets. 

When did that happen??

Oh, yeah, about the time I started carrying a diaper bag and realized I didn't want to be lugging around two bags, and consolidated mine with theirs.  Because I thought it would be easier...more efficient....and it wound up being a weight bearing exercise just to carry it around.  Ack!  My poor posture!

I'm done with the diaper bags. 

It's time to move on.

Right after I figure out how to get that My Little Pony's hair out of the zipper.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The best time of day

Audrey is moving right along.  She's loving preschool, making a few friends of her own, and giving up her nap.

<Cue 'Taps'>

Can I just say that this is a blessing and a curse? 

Sure, she goes down for the night pretty easily and earlier on days she misses the nap.

But this is only after making the witching hour in my house ultra-witchy, complete with full-on jumping-up-and-down theatrics, whining, and crying for nothing at all.

I thought that was my gig.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Move it, move it

"I like to move it, move it...I like to move it, move it...we like to move it, move it...."

This song is now stuck in my head.

Faced with the dreaded half-day of school, I loaded 'em up and we went to the dollar movies to see "Madagascar" cuz we'd missed it when it first came out.  My extra kid for the day, K, assured me it was a good movie.  

I was kinda concerned we wouldn't find a seat when I noticed a large group, like a daycare or something like that, entering the theater just as we were.  But we found seats, and settled in, giant popcorn and giant drinks in hand.

I thought the penguins and the lemur king were the best part of the movie. 

Until the credits rolled, and this song was playing.  

My kids were all dancing and singing along.  Of course.  Ryan will shake his groove thang at the first note of just about anything.  But some movement in my peripheral vision made me turn my head...

And I was treated to the sight of rows and rows of kids dancing and singing along on the other side of the theater.  

It's a shame I didn't have any light-sticks.

We could've turned it into a mini-rave.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Like a train wreck--can't help but look

Last night, I was sharing some quality time with Mr W.

We were watching tv. 

I felt myself involuntarily doing a double take as the 'parents' of the show came in and bent over the couch to kiss their 'children.'  (I think we were watching "Surface" but he changes channels so quickly, who knows what it was...) 

"You know,"  I said, "it used to be when I was little, I didn't always like watching tv because everyone was skinny and blonde, or jiggly and stupid (1970's cheesecake tv at its finest).  Now, I don't always like watching tv because there's always a giant fake rack somewhere on any given show.  It's not enough to have nice regular sized boobs anymore, they gotta be spec-tac-u-lar.  It doesn't matter which show you watch, at least one chick will have a giant fake rack, and it'll be on full display because she will always have to bend over, at some point. 

"And?"  he's amused, but good enough not to state the obvious.

"I'm just saying, the grandma on the show doesn't need to look like a stripper, does she?  And it's not just that, these chicks have had it all.  Overhaulin' shouldn't just be a show on cable, it should be the title of a reality show where we see the actresses before and after."

Maybe I'm missing the point.  (But four kids and smooshy body parts gravitating to places they weren't tend to make me nuts at times.)

He could only shake his head at me.  

"Read your book."  <as he smacks me on the butt>

Which for him translates into "quit bugging me."

He's so understanding.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Glad it's not a dud

Denielle tagged me. I was surfing away, reading her journal, and there I was.  Ahem, at least, I think I'm the Anna she meant.  lol

Random Sentence Assignment

1.) Go into your archive.

2.) Find the 23rd post.

3.) Find the 5th sentence of that post.

4.) Post text of sentence with these instructions.

5.) Tag 5 other people to do the same.

Okay, here it 23rd post, 5th sentence, reads:

"When my aunt informed me of that little tidbit, I shot milk out my nose, all over her warm cornbread, in shock and disbelief."

Hey, at least it wasn't a line involving one of the 2 P's (poop or puke).

I'm not tagging anyone at this time, as this is really making the rounds right now~~ :D

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Give me time to think, kid

Yesterday, after we met Mr W for lunch, Ryan and I scooted into Target for a couple of things.

He's having a great time, all this one-on-one attention ("Mommy, this is my best lunch ever,"  he beamed at us earlier) and a half day of school sitting well with him. 

I'd plopped him into the cart, so he could ride in the big basket, and I could get from point A to point B faster (SuperTarget, a nice concept, but it takes a map and packing a lunch to get across that place.)  I'm concentrating, so I don't forget why I'm there, as I still need to go pick up Petunia at preschool, afterall...and Ryan asks to go to see the Halloween display.  Hey, I'm just happy it's not Christmas in Target (yet) so I oblige him.  As I wheel us in that direction, he just starts firing questions at me.  And the first one, well, it made me laugh out loud...

"Mommy, is it true that if you go trick-or-treating, you make the devil stronger?"  "What?  Where did you hear that?"  "Some kid at school said it, is it true, is it?"  I stifle my laughter and formulate an answer:  "Well, son, people believe different things when it comes to this...."

"And what exactly do you have to do so that God will let you into heaven?....."  "Well, son, um, you need to understand that..."

"And you know what?  The boys, they keep on tricking me with sarcasm.  How come I don't get that?"  <referring to his wisecracking older siblings>  Sigh.

You have to understand that he got all this out in the time it took me to wheel us past the aisles between shoes and bedding.  Barely enough time to digest the question, much less formulate a coherent response.

Um, uh, ah, stammer, stammer, giggle, don't count when you are faced with two big brown eyes looking for answers to the cosmos.

In his next breath, he was pointing at candy and costumes. 

Thank that omniscient being that resides in the sky.

Six, Seven, a Patrick two-fer

I like Patrick's new Sunday Seven.  It's my first time playing, and of course, I had to do the Saturday Six too.  I haven't done it in a couple of weeks, lazy girl that I am.

Here's the Seven:

You will be locked in a tape vault for six months and you can only have seven choices of television programs to watch.  Name the seven shows -- present or past -- that you'd want to make sure were accessible by your remote control.   Don't worry about listing them in any particular order...just pick seven you wouldn't want to be without for six months.

I thought this would be easy, but it's not.  I love tv, I hate to admit it, but I do.  Let's see:

1.  Sex and the City

2.  ER (past and present, even though it's slipped recently)

3.  CSI  (eh, but not the NY one)

4.  Law and Order

5.  The Sopranos

6.  Freaks and Geeks (so good, so of course it got cancelled)

7.  Gilmore Girls

You'll notice these are all relatively recent.  I didn't want to mar my memories of Dallas, Quincy, The Brady Bunch, or Gilligan's Island with an adult point of view.  I'm assuming, too, that I am trapped in this vault alone.  Cuz if my kids are there with me, I'd have to rethink it.  As it is, I resisted listing "Blues Clues" and "Spongebob Squarepants" even though I have um, favorite episodes for each of them. 

Now, on to the Six:

1. When is the last time you took a vacation and went basically nowhere?  Ha, does the last time I had a baby count? Hmm.  Okay, I'll count the October break from school, when we just hung around the house, maybe got out to a movie or two, and I was at the mercy of what the kids wanted to do that day. Was it as relaxing as previous vacations where you have actually planned a trip? Yeah, I think so.  It's nice to feel like you don't have to get up and GO! right away.  My kids have learned the value of 'pajama days,' while snuggling, watching a movie, and eating popcorn.

2. Take this
quiz:  Which historical lunatic are you? Call me Georges.  The quiz said: You are Charles VI of France, also known as Charles the Mad or Charles the Well-Beloved!  A lunatic that developed an aversion to bathing?  Say it isn't so!  Just because I refuse to kill siblings and peasants I'm stuck with this guy?  Hey, OFF with their HEADS if it'll make me Marie Antoinette, for crying out loud.  I can fail to recognize family, break furniture and wet myself right now, out of historical context.  Who needs to be stinky too, isn't mad enough?

Jaymi:   What is your favorite book from childhood and why?  Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott.  I liked all characters, and enjoyed the story.

Hannah:  What book character do you most identify with and why?  Hmm.  When I was a child, Jo from Little Women, or Anne from Anne of Green Gables.  Now, I can't think of anyone in particular except Kay Scarpetta, from Patricia Cornwell's books.  Because they are strong women who do things on their own terms.

Holly:  What do you think is an appropriate gift to a party?  What do you consider a quality Christmas gift from an acquaintance to a party or get together, a friend, and a GREAT friend?  Booze.  They don't have to use it right then, either.  If they are teetotalers, then some gourmet something-or-other that is non-offensive that everyone likes, like chocolates or nuts.  Of course, with my luck, someone at this party would be allergic to red wine, cocoa, and almonds.  :p  (So bring tequila! lol)

Judi:  If you had to make a choice for the rest of your life between food and sex, which would you choose, provided the following conditions: If you chose sex, you would never feel hungry, but just wouldn't be able to enjoy a nice meal or the tastes of good food or drink; if you chose food, you would no longer have the physical intimacy and pleasure, but you still wouldn't feel deprived of it.  In other words, whichever one you choose to give up will be a series of pleasures you'll never be able to experience firsthand again.  (With apologies to Judi, I did rephrase the question slightly.  If it isn't as clear as it could be, the fault is mine, not hers.)

I think I'd choose to give up food, and keep sex.  Sex.  SEX.  Oh, stop looking at me like that.....


Ryan was quite pleased to hear the news today that I'd be signing him out of school early.

Until I mentioned the pediatrician, that is.

"What?  I'm not sick!"

"Yeah, Mom, he's not sick," chimed in my oh-so-helpful older boys.  "Wait, it must be for his well check-up,"  Nolan said.  "Does he need some shots?"  (because he's oh-so-helpful indeed)

After I peeled Ryan's hands off the table and assured him he needed no shots, he was game for a half day of school.  "When will you be coming?"  he asked with a smile.

My little guy just had a birthday.  Sunday, he turned seven.  We had a party at a local pizza parlor, complete with R2D2 cake, that went quite well.

(Any party where I only need one dose of Tylenol afterwards can be considered a "quite well.")

Considering he was my most physically uncomfortable pregnancy, "quite well" is the least he can do for me. 

When your coworkers start pleading with you to "hurry up and have that baby, already, I can't stand watching you walk around in pain like that anymore" and it's only your sixth month, you know it's bad.  Swollen, tearful, achy; exhausted, overwhelmed, sick; nightmares, insomnia, and a pelvis that felt like it was about to break in two with the next step made me just a joy to be around. 

And I was just plain huge.  I know, I measured.  My friend, the fabled Jenny, was living in Missouri (deserter!) at the time, and I measured my circumference just so she could picture exactly how ginormous my girth had become.  (It was 52 inches, if memory serves, right before I threw the tape across the room. Seventh month, eighth month, does it really matter how far along you are once you are that big?  I think not.) 

I. Was. Miserable.

So I did what any normal hugely pregnant, wildly hormonal, about 2 weeks from delivery woman should do. 

I decided to look at myself in the mirror.  With my glasses on.  Naked.  (Front view, side view, thank-god-not-back-view, does it really matter when you are that big?  I think not.) 

I knew that was a bad decision, when I burst into tears with such vehemence that poor Nolan heard me, over the shower running, and ran for his Daddy.

Poor Mr W, I can only applaud him, in retrospect.  The fact that he didn't just pack a bag and leave when he opened the door to my sobbing self exclaiming, "Look at me!  I'm a freak show!!" complete with a snot mustache and the towel barely making it around me is just a testimony to his good-husbandness.  "You won't look like this forever.  Only two more weeks," he comforted.   "Easy for you to say,"  sob, sob, "because it's not happening to you, and I'm only..." wail, whine, sob "...I'm only gonna get big-gggerr..."  In the end, he calmed me down.  I'm sure he was wishing he'd asked my ob for a tranquilizer dart to knock me out until the end.

Later that week was time for a check-up.  When we were leaving the house, I told Mr W that if there was any chance of talking my ob into taking the boy out, I was gonna go for it.  I just couldn't go on, I was sooo uncomfortable.   As things turned out, my blood pressure was a bit up (ha, imagine that) and I was puffy as hell.  I jokingly told my ob that I couldn't go on, and although I was already scheduled for two and a half weeks later, couldn't he help me out now?  Did I really need to prove something?  He paused for a moment, and we discussed my former pre-eclamptic finale with Ben.  He left the room for a moment, and I dared to hope, crossing my fingers.  Minutes later, he stuck his head back into the room.  "What are you guys doing later tonight?"  he asked, "because if we can get you a bed, we're having a baby."

There were no objections from me.  I wasn't about to pass that up.  Relief, the finish line, in sight. 

He went on to explain that in light of what had gone on with Ben, he felt better taking the little guy then while both he and I still looked good, as opposed to later, when I might (and most possibly would) be experiencing problems.  The memory of mag sulfate reared its ugly head, so I answered with a hearty "bring it on."  A bed was procured, the rendezvous time set up, Mr W shipped the kids to my Mom's, and off we went.

We were able to show up at the hospital at the time my nurse told us to be there.  We were escorted to a room to prep me for the c-section, and I should've known something was up when the nurses were kinda hurried.  Snappy.  Bitchy.  I was sent off to change, and of course I had to pee.

Ahhhh, I thought, as I sat down on the toilet.

I looked down, and burst out laughing.

I had on one brown shoe, one black shoe.  Neither one of us had noticed.  Okay, I couldn't see my feet, I had an excuse.  Mr W claims concern for my welfare prevailed over him checking my wardrobe on the way out, so I had to grant him a pass on those grounds.

Over the next hour or so, I suffered more humiliation and discomfort.  Honestly, was it necessary to force the catheter on me before my epidural?  Did she really need to look knowingly at the other nurse before retrieving a flashlight (and I knew what that was all about)?  Did I need to hear the stage whispers about "shift change" and "busy?"  Give me a break, and do your job, you skinny, long-nailed bitch, before I kick you on 'accident,'  I thought, as I gritted my teeth.  I willed myself not to cry, but I didn't will myself not to put out a couple of teeth or a nose. 

When the anesthesiologist came in and raised his eyebrows that I already had a catheter in place, I knew I wasn't being paranoid about the queens of torture.  (But I'm not bitter, lol.)  Luckily for me, he showed up...with a new, nice nurse, and a new, nice bag full of medicinal relief.  <I love anesthesiologists.  A prick, magic elixir, and everyone is happy happy.  Wait a minute, isn't that the very thing that got me in this condition in the first place?>

All was forgotten once I saw the little vernix-covered wonder that was my Ryan.  Crying lustily, and weighing in at 8 lbs 8 oz, he was 21 1/2 inches long.  Not a bad size at all.  I shudder when I think about how big he'd have been if I'd gone the distance. 

I remember the nurses bringing him to me, apologizing that he was still "dirty."  They were busy in the nursery too, that night.  I had only seen him for a bit, but he was having a bath when I called.  I decided to walk to the nursery, to see him.  The nurses were horrified when they heard of my plans, and I talked them into letting me go as long as I promised to call for them should I need help.  Was I glad I went!

I got to go into the darkened, quiet nursery, and watch the nurse give him his first bath.  (I was up and around, but certainly not up to that, lol.  I was worn out just getting there.  Watching from the rocking chair was just fine. :p)

For all that pregnancy and birth misery, I was repaid with an easy baby.  He nursed right off the bat, like a pro, and gave me no problems there.  He eased into our lives, like he'd been there all along.  He was such a good baby, that I was convinced a fourth baby would be just like him.

We all know where that kind of thinking lead me.

My coworkers that pleaded with me to "have that baby already" can hardly believe that "that baby" is seven.

That's okay, neither can I.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

How'd I manage that?

In the sibling repertoire, somewhere along the line, someone uses the following arguments:

"Mom likes me best." 

"I was perfect, so they decided to have another kid, and they got you, so they stopped." 

"You were first, so they tried again, I was perfect, so they stopped." 

"You look like the mailman."

"Someone left you on our doorstep." 

I used to tell my little brother that he was adopted.  I almost had him convinced, too, then Mom overheard me and spoiled my fun.

"You were dropped on your head." 

"Mom almost drove off without you."

I wonder how long it'll take before the boys use that last one on Audrey.

Yesterday afternoon, I was shooing them all into the van.  I came inside to get something, and lock the back door.  I was a little frazzled, because we were running late (like that never happens). 

And I snapped when I spied a pair of socks, that I knew were recently removed from sweaty feet, on the dinner table.  What, am I raising savages?  I look around, socks on the couch, I go to turn out the light left on in Ryan's room, shoes all over the by the time I get into the van, I'm off.  Ranting about how just because their father isn't here to get on them about this doesn't mean I'm the maid; that if I trip over Nolan's giant clarinet case one more time, he's gonna be walking home with it;  backpacks <screech, screech>; that if I find anymore socks in the living room, I'm putting them under their pillows....wait.

Why is it so quiet?  Hmm, maybe she nodded off already (no nap yet).  I'm backing out, slowly, like I always do, and reaching up to tilt the rearview mirror down to check on her, still ranting.  I pause, because, it's so quiet, and simultaneously hear Ben say "Hey look!  There's Audrey!" 

What?  What do you mean, there's Audrey, she's right behind me in her carseat, <flash of Snow White yellow in my peripheral vision> oh, look, there's Audrey. 

Sitting on a large rock, under the Palo Verde tree by the side of the driveway, chatting up the little neighbor boy, waving at us.  (I was almost all the way backed out of the driveway when the kids spotted her.  The rock is behind my car, and so the car blocked the view until I was almost out onto the street.)

Nothing can take the wind out of a good rant like getting called on your Mom-capabilities like that.  I could see Nolan cataloguing the moment in his brain, for future reference. 

I was speechless.  Mortified.  And doubling over with laughter.

I got out, took her hand, thanked my little neighbor, and buckled her in her carseat.  I resisted the urge to duct tape her in place, and away we went, all of us laughing.

It was only a little further down the road, that my overactive imagination kicked in, and the blood drained from my face as I realized how lucky I was.   That she didn't panic that I was leaving, and come running up to the van, getting run over.  OY!  That I didn't drive away, only to discover her missing upon my arrival.  Double OY! 

Just thinking about it gave me a stomachache.

Then I thought, how is it, with three other kids in the van, NO one noticed she was missing?  Not one of them thought to say "Hey, Mom, don't forget Audrey?"  They all claim they didn't notice.  Ben even went so far as to say: "You were yelling at us, Mom, I was paying attention to you." 

Yeah, bud, and when you buckled your own seatbelt, you failed to notice the seat next to yours was empty???

Ultimately, I am the Mom, and I didn't check her seat.  I just figured she'd climbed in, as she's been doing so much recently, buckling herself in; and since her brothers were all there ready to go, I assumed she was there, too.

You know, humble pie chokes you on the way down and tastes like crap.

(It's a good thing Jane brought me that margarita later to wash it down with.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


...more day.

Oh, I was fine, just fine, damn it.  Then I called him yesterday, after dropping off Audrey at preschool, and that wasn't a good idea.  Sigh.

I hesitated to call, because I wasn't sure if it was his lunchtime or not, but then a block of his favorite music came on the radio, and there's nothing like the wailing of Steve Perry to remind me of Mr W.

Crap, am I ever weak.  Pathetic! 

So I called, and luckily, it was lunchtime.

We chatted, I let him know how well she did (she didn't even notice me leave, ungrateful brat) and it became apparent to me by the sound of his voice he misses me, too.

Okay.  <eyeroll> 

This doesn't mean I didn't sass him last night when he called the kids.  I do have an image to uphold, you see.

On another note, the getting-them-up-for-school thing is not going well.  Lots of drama, "five more minutes" and "can I stay home todays" every morning.  Nolan even went so far as to pull the "I just want to spend time with you" speech.  Yah, that works.  I patted him on the butt and said, "Oh, that's sweet, honey, but you're going anyway."  Smack! 

Besides, I've dangled the "maybe I'll not send you on Friday, when your Dad will be back" carrot in front of them.

Dangled, not promised.

I'm nothing if not a good motivator.

Which is why I'm sitting here, and not out running errands, one of which includes my attempt to figure out why my van made such a funny noise this morning.  A noise so bizarre that as Ryan exited the vehicle, he made a face at me/the van and ran away. 

Just add "mechanic" to my list of talents.  :p

It fits nicely right next to my list of emergency phone numbers.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I've been waiting for this day

Today's the big day.

Audrey starts preschool.  From noon til 2, T/Th.

So cute that Mr W was disappointed when I reminded him it would happen while he was away.  "You're gonna be pining for her, upset that you are all alone."

"No, I'm not,"  I said firmly. 

"Yes, you will."

I wanted to retort "you have no idea" but really, he does.  He knows it's a bittersweet pill I take the day this all begins. 

The day I signed her up, I thought to myself, she's ready, as I smugly signed my check.

She can do all kinds of things her brothers couldn't at this age.   She's social.  She likes to learn new things.  She wants to "go to preschool like a big girl."

So why does she look so small to me today?

Yeah, I talked the big talk to Mr W, about all the trouble I'd get into without small fry in tow. 

Where to go, what to do today?  Hmmmm.

I think I will be in the library, close by if she needs me, trying to not sob quietly in the stacks.

Then again, I may lay down a trail of rubber in the parking lot as I speed away.

I guess I'll take my cue from her. 

Something tells me she will trot off, "bye Mom" like Ryan did.  Actually his words were "why aren't you leaving?"

I'm not leaving because just yesterday, the stick turned pink.  I'm not leaving because you still reach for me in the night.  I'm not leaving because that little kid in the corner has an evil glint in his eye and he's looking at you.  I'm not leaving because I'm not sure that I'm ready.  I'm not leaving because you are my baby.  These are the thoughts that flash across my heart, along with a million others.

But I said to him: "Okay, sweetie," as I turned to leave.  And he was just fine.

I'll have to keep that in mind when I drop her off today.  I know stifling my over-Momness will be the best thing.

Even if it's not the easiest one.

I'm one of....THEM

Earlier today, I called my best friend, Jenny. 

My friend, who just ran some crazy, altitude-challenged race in Colorado.  She just completed the Imogene Pass Run, a fun-filled, 17.1 miles from Ouray to Telluride, with the altitude starting at 7810 ft, peaking out at 13,120 ft and ending at 8820 ft. on a charming 4x4 type trail. 


I told her I'd take up smoking if I wanted to challenge my breathing capacity that way.

I'm proud of her (really), though, considering that when we were kids, this is the girl who couldn't dribble a ball and run at the same time without causing one of us bodily harm.  And considering that she's in better shape than all of the people who ever teased her about that, she is certainly capable of having the last laugh--well, after that race, I think it was probably a gasp.  It doesn't matter, her fitness voodoo is better than my fitness voodoo at any rate. 

But I could always pull that childbirth-is-hell card, if need be. 

And she could remind me that she biked across Iowa in July.

Somehow, I don't think pregnancy-is-hell can top that.

I digress.

I called her, and I said:  "Remember, when we used to work in urgent care, and we'd look down our noses at the Moms going into Peds with the little kids dressed in whatever hodgepodge of a costume they could piece together?  That "who's the parent" snootiness as we'd chuckle at them?"


"Well, start laughing now."

"What is she wearing?"

"I am going to  PetsMart..........with Snow White."

Oh, she got a good hearty one out of that.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I let the girl out of the house in full-on Snow White regalia.  (I've reflected on this, and have come to peace with it, afterall, Snow White is a nice change from Power Rangers and Batman.)

Yesterday, my Dad bought her a set at Costco, that had shoes, a tiara, a little purse, and a scepter, all adorned with pictures of Snow White, in SW's colors, of course. 

We already possessed a Snow White top and skirt that her cousin had bequeathed her in a bag of costume/dress-up play outfits.  She put on the outfit, and accessorized.  It should be a proud moment for me.

It is, but it just makes me cringe inwardly at my former narrow mindset.  I mean, once they reach a certain age, and sometimes before that, when they are willful toddlers, kids wear what they want.  They don't care if it's screaming-mimi orange and pink striped top with a chartreuse bottom.  They don't care what you may have pulled out for them a cute, clean outfit, if their favorite shirt is only a little wrinkled and their pants fit.  There I was, pre-kid, blaming the Mom for not putting her foot down, and not appreciating that she really didn't have a choice.  Get Jr to his appt on time, or fight about his choice of footwear, hmmm?  The joke's on me.

I have found that somewhere in between giggling at other parents and picking my battles, I've gone over to the other side...I'm one of them.  <gasp, shriek>  The people who let their kids out in mismatched shoes, or clothes, with "oh, that'll do" hair and a few stains on their shirt.  I even will admit (and this one is so, so painful) that I will, I have, cleaned the mark off their face in the time-honored Mom fashion--lick the thumb, wipe off the face.

I swore I'd never do that.  The first time I did it, I recoiled in horror...and stocked my car, my purse, my pockets with wipes, vowing to never,ever, do it again.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't do it just this afternoon and two or three times this past weekend. 

Why, do you ask?  Because even if the outfit is horrid, if their face is clean, I can deal with it.

Usually, the kids are totally presentable.  It's those times when one sneaks by me, that we're all in the van, ready to go, now, and out trots one of the boys in a testament to kid-dom. 

Red on mismatched red.  Torn butt.  Torn knee, almost all the way around the leg.  A white shirt so worn it is now...gray.  (Ben once wore a pair of shoes, that I hated, that were so sketchy you could've punched out the sides and made sandals out of them.)  I always notice when it's too late.  You know, like when we are already at our destination, miles away from "go inside and change."

Yup, those times, when I just have to shake my head and soldier on, and hope people notice their manners and not the fact that Ryan is accidentally wearing Ben's shirt (hanging off his shoulder); Ben has on Nolan's shorts (um, did the fact that two of you could fit in there not clue you in, bud?); that Nolan has on something he should have handed down months ago, but refuses to give up; that my sweet little miss was not aiming for "tart" when she dressed herself that morning.

The reminders to me that I need to go through their drawers, and reassign things.

Snow White and I made it to the school after PetsMart, where she was a hit with all the people who saw her.  She was awfully cute, and I figure, if you can't get away with something like that when you are three, then when can you?

I'm just glad she didn't ask me to match.

Although, I'm kinda looking twice at that tiara....

Monday, September 12, 2005

Because sometimes, I'm the two year old

Mr W called me from work a couple of months ago.  "We are being sent to a class in September.  Out of state, so I'll be gone for a few days."

"Okay."  Rah-rah, you go honey!  I'll be fiiine!  Holding down the fort!  Super!!!  I can do it!

He left yesterday.

No kid breakdowns yet.

But I had one.

I called him yesterday afternoon, just to see how things were going.  "Where are you?"

"Oh, we just crossed the Golden Gate Bridge."

Let me just say that San Francisco is one of my favorite places.  Love it.  I've only been there once, and I had such a good time, that I think about going there again, all the time.  I've suggested it, too, only to be met with resistance.  So to say I was irritated is an understatement.  Sure, it's juvenile, he's actually in San Jose for work, and I knew they were getting in early and certainly didn't expect him to sit in his hotel room and pine away for me, but did he have to go there?  I mean, really, while I'm here playing Mommy, he's in Ghirardelli Square, eating my chocolate?  He doesn't even really like chocolate!   Hmmphf.  (a fictitious example...if he'd said they were headed there, well, I think that would justify a spa week)

"Don't come back.  Seriously, I'm not talking to you.  You suck.  Must go.  Have to go make and feed all your kids dinner."

I was at my folks' house, and my father did not understand my irritation.  As I ranted blah, blah, "I never get to go anywhere," blah, blah "he never has to worry about anything, because I'm always here" blah, blah "he gets to do (tick off on fingers, you name it, I said it)" blah, blah "it's so totally not fair" blah, blah....he cuts me off.  And begins to say that Fisherman's Wharf,Fisherman's Wharf, for the love of God, is overrated, I cut him off:  "It is not. I've been there.  You are missing my point."  "Well, why don't you book yourself a trip somewhere, and leave him with the kids,"  <SNORT loudly from me> "Oh, so you want to go with him alone..." <more obnoxious noise from me>  I could feel my head about to spin so I just huffed and grabbed the keys.  "You said you wanted to go to the store.  Let's go."

I know I'm being unreasonable.  This is work, and he didn't choose the locale.  But wow, it grates me so; and who says I always have to be super! great! go ahead!  all the time?  I hope his class is mind-numbingly, yawn-a-minute, boring.

When he called me, later last night, I did talk to him.  I can't not talk to him, that's just an empty threat, he knows it, I know it.  He told me he was telling M, his coworker that is with him for this jaunt, that I was mad, and M didn't believe him.    "It wasn't my idea," Mr W adds, "but we had all this time to kill, and M suggested it..." "Tell M I think he sucks too," I responded. "And you need to stop trying those excuses right now.  It's no good, buddy.  Forget the iPod, and the puppy, you are back to square one."  He's laughing at me now, so I'm trying not to laugh, too. 

"So is your hotel right across the street from the place where you're training, like the description said?"  "Yeah, and it's nice, but not that nice."  "Are you making your bed?  Are you cleaning up after yourself and washing dishes?  No.  So I don't want to hear, "it's nice, but not that nice."  Dude, the last time I was alone someplace, with someone else changing my bed and bringing me dinner, I was in the hospital recovering from surgery.  You have clean towels, a made bed, and aren't having to do anything but order for dinner, so it's nice enough."

I'm sure I'll be missing him badly, and gushy by Wednesday night.  Maybe.

All I know is on Thursday evening, when we pick him up, there better be a present somewhere for me.

And I'm not talking about the "hon, come over here" kind.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Paper or plastic?

When you have pets, you always walk the fine line between love and hate. 

There's nothing like the nudge of a snout under your hand as your dog asks for a scratch behind her ears.  Velvet fur, so snuggly.

There's nothing like tripping over your dog as he lays down directly behind you with the stealth of a commando as you stand at the kitchen counter making dinner.  Doh!

Max is growing really fast.  He's huge in comparison to the little pup I brought home five months ago.  I really need to get on his obedience training, because I suspect I've been lulled into a false sense of security in regards to his behavior.  It's only a matter of time....before ____.

He has decided lately that chewing is fun.  So, so, fun.  Being a lab means being a chewer, and I was prepared for it. 

I wasn't prepared for him to chew thru two garden hoses, one the day after I bought it. "You owe me ten bucks, dog,"  I said when I discovered the stump of the hose still attached to the faucet this last time.  (Pat, pat on the back for not springing for a more $ one!)

He's an I'm-bored-you-left-me chewer, I've noticed, so unfortunately for him, I can't leave him out of the crate if I'm not home, not even for a few minutes. 

Barbie can testify to that.

She's given up her hands and a huge chunk of hair to the cause.

Obi-Wan can testify to it.

He lost his head, a leg, an arm, and both hands.  (I call him our 'shark attack victim.')

I found pieces of pink plastic; springy, circular pink plastic in the living room last night as I was doing the evening routine before bed of "if they don't see me throw it out, then they won't miss it."  What is that, I wondered, mentally cataloguing all the springy pink plastic things in the house.

I found out this morning, it's one of their dog toys....minus a nub.

It doesn't stop at plastic either.  Both dogs are particularly fond of paper products.  Paper towels, kleenex, <ugh> whatever they find in the kids' bathroom trashcan, it's all fair game. 

Sometimes, it looks like it snowed in the living room.

As I open the back door, and issue a command they are becoming more and more familiar with--"OUT!"-- I have to wonder.

The next time we are scooping up dog-doo in the backyard, will I find paper, or plastic?

A rose by any other name would not smell as sweet

Ryan pulled me aside the other night, while I was making dinner.

He does this alot these days, and I have to stop and listen, or risk offending him as he is telling me snippets from his day.  In a stream-of-consciousness kind of way, so I have to pay attention. 

Usually, it's about what went on in his classroom; what was for lunch (and how he didn't eat it, but ate "crackers"--I don't even want to know what that truly means, I am just gonna call it even that he ate);who got in trouble/and why; that kind of thing.

I'm puzzled, this time, though, because he's pulling me way aside, and whispering. 

"Mommy, do you know how you came into my class today?"

"Yes."  I'm thinking we're gonna have a huggy, thanks-for-coming moment here.

"Well, from now on when you come into my classroom, would you please not call me "Sugar" and call me Ryan?"

Guess I'm not having a huggy-moment.

"I did call you Ryan." 

"No, you called me Sugar.  And a kid, he made fun of me.  He said "Ryan" and when I looked at him, pointed at me and called me "sug-ar".  I don't want anyone making fun of me, so remember, call me Ryan.  You can still call me Sugar at home."

Awww.  He's killing me, he's so serious, so cute.

"Okay, I'll try.  I promise to try."

Ryan.  Ryan.  Ryan, I say to myself the next time I come to class.  And I bite back the syllable "sug" the second I see him.  "Sug-  I mean, Ryan."  (I whispered in his ear, 'Sorry.  I goofed.')

I knew this day would come, just like Ben-Ben ran it's course.

I remember why I call him "Sugar" in the first place.  He was three months old, his first Christmas, all roly-poly and just beginning to show us more personality.  I started calling him my little sugarplum, and it got shortened over time to "Sugar."  We all loved it, he was a sweet baby and it suited him.  Not to mention how much my husband's Southern relatives loved it too.

Tomorrow, I have to go to the school, and I'll probably be in Ryan's class at some point.

I wonder if he'd be put off if I asked him to wear a nametag?

Because he's always going to be Sugar to me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

She's got style

I never know what I'll encounter when I come home from work. 

Some days, it's like a whirlwind has made it's way thru my living room, with games aplenty, popcorn, kids everywhere, and dishes in the sink.  Laundry stacked and unfolded, and a chorus of "Mommy's home" to greet me.   Mr W hiding out in our bedroom, just holding the fort.  It alternately bugs me and charms me to see it.

Imagine my surprise, on Monday, when I came home, and things were relatively picked up.  No chorus of "Mommy's home" although I got hugged ferociously by Ryan and Ben.  I head down the hall, and peek in the bathroom as it sounds like Audrey is in the tub.

Nolan was giving her a bath.  Cute!  A Kodak moment.  Mr W came around the corner, and was surprised to see me standing there taking it all in.  I convinced the Princess to get out of the tub, and we put her new lotion on, and I got her dressed. (Sundress, turqoise polka-dots)

I'm in my bathroom, touching up as I'm heading out the door again, when she comes in and points at my shirt.  "You need to change, Mommy."

"What?  Why?"

"We don't match."  Oh, fabulous.  No, no, I don't want to do it.  I don't want to match.  Sometimes, we do match, by accident, that's ok.  But....

Let me back up a minute.  Years ago, one of my friends that was getting married had us wear these Laura Ashley cotton dresses.  They were cute for her midmorning wedding, I felt very proper with my matching hat and gloves.  While I was in the Laura Ashley store, picking up said dress, I looked around, and saw all the cute prints, and <gasp> matching Mother-daughter ensembles.  Oooh, I daydreamed, wouldn't that be cute, to match my darling little girl's dress to mine?  Wouldn't we be just so "tea and crumpets" dahling, as we went to church or something?

Yes.  Right. 

However, as I tried on said dress, I realized I am not built for that particular style of clothing.  Nope.  Although I did wear the dress a couple of more times, hoping to transform myself into a WASP-ier version of me, I came to realize that the two of us were not meant to be, and I gave it up.  And realized that I don't want to match my darling daughter, should I ever have one.  And now that I do have one...

I can't understand how some women do it.  Maybe it's cute, on some level, and maybe I'm just getting old.  It looks great in pictures, but it's just not me.

And here we are, just the other day--in match-land.

How do I disappoint a three yr old, so excited to match her Mom? 

I don't.

"Sweetie, I don't think I have that color, or at least that color clean, in my closet..." I begin to protest as she marches off in that direction.

She opens the closet door, and I'm so amused, I'm giggling.  "There, Mommy," she says, pointing up, up, up to the top shelf of my closet.  Oh.  Yeah.  I forgot I washed it.

On the top shelf, there sits my turqoise sweater.  She knows my clothes, and where to find them, and knows her colors, too.

I put it on (it's not a heavy one) with the cami underneath like I always do.

"Now we're ready to go,"  she says to me, beaming.

I look up helplessly at Mr W, who is also quite amused by the exchange.  He doesn't say it, but I know he's thinking "You wanted a girl."

I got a girl, alright.  It appears she's a stylist-in-training.  I could do worse.  I mean, at least she's not colorblind, and I'm not wearing anything with a Barbie on it.


Seven Things

I'm feeling the love.  I got tagged, more than once, with this "seven thingie" so I'm doing it.  With a smile on my face and a song in my heart.

Seven Things

7 Things I Plan to Do Before I Die

1.  Guide the kids to purposeful adulthood, with lovely spouses that don't hate their MIL, who love them buckets.

2.  Visit Italy, and stay for longer than 2 weeks.  Staying at some little Nonna's house, learning how to make fresh pasta.  (So much for my future as an international supermodel.)

3.  Scuba dive.  In Hawaii.  (This means me overcoming a handful of fears, so maybe just visiting Hawaii will have to suffice, and I'll pretend to surf instead.)

4.  Bet it all.  Let it ride.  Whatever you say in Vegas.

5.  Visit some national parks, like Yosemite, in different times of year.  Winter/summer, that sort of thing.  I want to see the sequoias, wake up under the Big Sky, and walk trails in the Pacific Rim.   Catch some lobsters.  Have a drink in the Keys.  You get the picture.

6.  Due to my love of baseball, I'd like watch games in different cities...parks to be named later. 

7.  Spoil my grandchildren.  I'm gonna be the cool Nana who's hot.  (Chantal tells me that's called a cougar. lol) 

(Honorable Mention:  Run a 1/2 marathon.  I'm working on this...)

7 Things I Can Do

1.  Drive a carload of children, and not raise my voice. 

2.  Read a book in a day.

3.  Get attached to someone in five minutes.

4.  Shower so fast no one notices I'm missing.

5.  Be a good friend.

6.  Pull out an amazing factoid out of thin air, but forget where I placed my keys.

7.  Procrastinate, procrastinate, procrastinate....

(Honorable mention:  Cook up a storm.)

7 Things I Can't Do

1.  Stand on my head.  Oh, I brag about it, but nope.  (As in, "I could do that, one hand tied behind my back, standing on my head...")

2.  Spend an entire day not smiling about anything.

3.  Be really, really mean on purpose.

4.  Ride a motorcycle.

5.  Resist chocolate.

6.  Get up and not brush my teeth right away.  (No need for dragon breath when I'm waking people up.)

7.  Complete a task, start to finish, uninterrupted.

(Honorable mention:  Say no.  To Mr W.)

7 Things that Attract Me to the Opposite Sex <only 7? lol>

1.  Sense of humor.  It goes a long way. 

2.  Nice eyes.  Green or blue preferred, but I willing to go on a case by case basis...

3. No pancake ass need apply...I like big butts and I cannot, jeans need to be filled.

4.  Politeness.  I know, I know, we're all women who CAN, but it's nice when someone opens the door for you, or pulls out your chair, or does those little niceties that we're not supposed to care about anymore.  I notice them when they aren't done, so I've come to realize this is important.  (A hand on the small of my back as we are making our way through a crowd makes my knees weak.)

5.  Hands.  (No one wants to have their delicates mauled by a stray hangnail.  Eww.)  Hmm.  Grooming, posture, it's a total package....with the exception of scruffy, scruffy is allowed, on occasion.

6.  Height.  He has to be taller than me (a measly 5'5" is all I am, so this one is pretty easy.) 

7.  Scent--a man who smells goooood.  Bury-your-face-in-his-neck, follow-him-into-a-dark-corner-good.

(Honorable mention:  A good deep, gravely voice...)

7 Things I Say Most Often

1.  "Share with your" <sibling>

2.  "No, I don't know what's for dinner."

3.  "In a perfect world...."  (____would happen)

4.  "Yes, I'm insert kid name here Mom."

5.  "In a minute" tied with "Wait your turn"

6.  To spouse:  "I told you that already...."

7.   "Chingada muchacha/cho jodida/o!"  tied with "What's that.....(noise, smell)?"

(Honorable mention:  As I'm closing the bathroom door:  "Privacy!" Yeah, this one really works..)

7 Celebrity Crushes <again, only 7?> in no particular order

1.  Hugh Laurie.  You can bet I'm counting down to the second season of House (Sept 13th).  I recently found out via TV Guide that he's British.  Oy.  An accent, too?  :D

2.  Steve Martin.  Funny.  Adorable.  Goofy.  Nice voice.  Good writer.

3.  The best reason to watch the Food Network, Tyler Florence.  He cooks, and looks adorable doing it.

4.  Ed Burns.

5.  Mmmmmel.  (Gibson, as if there were any doubt; even though it appears he's thinning on top.)

6.  Who can resist the big dimples and down-home appeal of Matthew McConaughey?  I love to hear him talk.

7.  I hate to admit it, but Brad Pitt.  I resist, and then things like the photo spread in a GQ a couple of months ago show up, and I'm all "phwoar"  about him again.  

7 People I Want to Do This

Oh, relax, people.  I learned my tagging lesson, and besides, this thing is making the rounds so much that I'm sure I'll get to read everyone's 'Seven' that I would've tagged anyway.  Play along, if you want, and leave me a link.  :)

Marked woman

I'm a marked woman.

Well, a tagged one...I've been tagged with the "Seven Things" going around jland.  

I haven't managed an entry in a while, but I did manage to help Mr W install a ceiling fan into Audrey and Ryan's room without filing for divorce, so I think that is quite an accomplishment. 

Don't get me wrong. We work well together, it just that, well, we don't work well together.  Anyone that has attempted any home repair/projects with their spouse probably knows exactly what I mean.  You know, when "did you read that in the instructions?" becomes fightin' words?  When you start wishing your godfathers were Bob Vila and Norm Abrams?

I also discovered this weekend that I suffer from ADD the second I step into Lowe's.  "Look at that...oh, I need some shelves for Ben and Nolan's room...maybe I'll look at some paint for the bathroom....light fixtures!  look at the pretty lights!"  Thank goodness I stayed out of the nursery; because the sight of all those plants reawakens my inner green thumb (that I must remind myself is nonexistent) and I come home with 30 bucks worth of plants to kill in addition to the landscaping plants that will wither on my porch before ever being set in the earth.

There are other stores I suffer ADD in...Michael's (so many projects, so many plastic bags sitting in silent judgement in my closet), JoAnn (sigh, were it that I had a place to stick a sewing machine, Mr W would move out for sure), Barnes and Noble, Officemax/Staples...scrapbooking stores...

Yes, scrapbooking stores.  I have ooodles of photos.  I want to scrapbook, to turn out those perfect pages that those supremely anal-retentive women turn out, of Bobby's first tooth, but I just can't make the time.  So I go there to touch all the paper, lol. 

Let me just answer now, the tactile thing, yes, it gets me in trouble all the time...ahem.

So, 7 things, huh?  I'm putting it in my next entry, cuz it's a bit long...