Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I can be talked into anything

On our second day, we went to California Adventure.

I really like that park, and while my heart beats for the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland (it's just not a trip to Disneyland for me until I ride that), I have favorites here too.

We rode the California Screamin' roller coaster, just me and the boys, as soon as we could get over to it.  I even got to sit one seat from the front, as Nolan and Ben took the seats right up front.  (Can I get a gold star for bravery here?  My babies, in the front seat?  Me right behind them?  OY.)  I left my eyes open, and was obnoxious enough to holler out, as I knew it was approaching, "Smile for the camera, boys!"

I ask you, why, why do they take pictures of people on the roller coaster?  I mean, this picture, was bad, but it was nothing compared to the one that was taken the next day at Space Mountain.   Who really wants to see their face, as it pulls 5 G's?   And is anything so flattering as the photo that looks as though a shoehorn was needed to scoot your mighty ass into the seat?

Next time, I'm skipping even a glance at them.  I'll save my pictorial trauma for when my Mom pulls out those pictures from high school.

The biggest problem, it turned out, was the little crying fit Audrey would have when she couldn't get on something due to her height.  She would just crumple, like it was a personal affront, and not a safety issue.  She just didn't get it, and Mr W would sigh, and I would sigh, then one of us would take her on something close by that she could get on.

Desperate for something for all of us to do, I suggested this giant Ferris Wheel even though I know I don't do well on those things.  I figured I could handle it, as I chose a stationery car, but man, I had to concentrate on my breathing just to make it through.  It didn't help that Ben kept standing up so he could see better, the wind moved the car ever so slightly, and the swinging car right above us made my stomach flip with each swing.  Yes.  I ride roller coasters, but I can't handle the sitting up high of a Ferris Wheel.  What a baby.

My stomach had barely recovered when Ben momentarily got separated from us.  I have no idea how he managed it, he was next to me, standing next to me, as I shouted to Mr W, Audrey, and Ryan (they were in line for a ride).  I turn to go, and Nolan follows, but no Ben. 

Icy panic grips my heart, because I have no idea which direction he went.  I take a deep breath, and search the crowd ahead, nearly turn back for Mr W, when Ben turns around, and we see each other.

I wanted to kill him.

I went and grabbed him close instead.  He was scared, I could see it on his face, and I didn't want to make it worse.

But I wanted to kill him.

I swear, leashes looked good to me at that point.  I'd resemble a dog walker with all of them, but at least I'd know where they were.

The funny thing is, I'd been grilling Ryan about "Where are we staying?  What's my name, what's your Dad's name?" and Ben is the one that took off.  

And it didn't deter him from getting away from me (in a line) at Disneyland the next night.

It's a good thing I colored my hair before the trip.  The highlights should hide the gray.

That evening, we--no, wait--Mr W succumbed to the "let's go swimming" request.  I was not pleased, not at all, because I knew it was gonna be cold.  "The pool's heated,"  he reassured me.

That one, it ranks right up there with "I'll only put it in for a just a second."

Just as gullible then as I am now, I said "Really?  Okay, just for a little while."  We suited everyone up, and down we went to the pool.  The air was bracing, but bearable as we made our way up the stairs.

And then I stepped in a puddle of water, and almost called the whole thing off.  But my jaw clamped shut in response to the freezing puddle, and I was pushed on by the little bodies behind me. 

I rushed to the poolside; eagerly, I got in, hoping that the water would be really warm.  It was.  Warm, but not that warm.  I think it was warm enough for steam to appear to be rising above it, and that's it.  Shivering, and silently wishing Mr W was freezing to the point of uncomfortable shrinkage, I dogpaddled around with Ryan, while Nolan and Ben started exploring the length of the pool.  

It wasn't sooo bad, I guess.  At least now I know that those men, those Polar Bear club members, are just totally insane.

"Mom, is that the hot tub over there?"  Nolan asked, "because I want to go get in it."

I wasn't wearing my glasses, it was dark, all I saw a was body of water, and some heads; I was about to say "sure" when Mr W nodded no.  "There's grown ups in there," he told Nolan. 

Nolan swam around some more, but you know, was persistent in his request, asking again.  And again.  Finally, I had to just lay it on the line for him, and tell him "Grown up people in the hot tub, doing grown up things." "Ohhh."  That was that.  (Nothing embarrasses a twelve year old like the mere hint of anything that might relate to sex.)  He didn't ask again.

At last, I was able to convince Mr W that my lips were not supposed to be turning quite this shade of blue, and we needed to head back as everyone had the chattering jaw look made so famous on Titanic.

It was every man for himself as we scrambled for towels on the table where we'd stacked some earlier.  Hands were slapped.  I'm sorry, but even in an airplane they tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help anyone else, so why make an exception now?  I'm not gonna be the "Here, let me wrap you in this warm towel" type when I'm doubled over from the cold and grateful no one but my family is there to witness it.

We make it back to our room, moving like a group, in a semi-waddle.  A family of penguins would have been proud.  Everyone has a bath, I grab my gear and am blissfully enjoying the shower with the magic massage showerhead when I hear Mr W talking to me.  "Are you okay in there?" 

You've got to be kidding me.  I'm on vacation.  I can't even shower on vacation without an interruption.  Sigh.

"I'll be right out."  Dammit.

"No, no, it's fine, I just was checking on you."

He pokes at the curtain.  He pokes at the curtain!

I locked that door.  Didn't I lock that door?? 

Apparently not. 

Can't keep track of kids, can't lock a door...

God, I'm such a dork.

Note to self:

Never, ever, misjudge the power of electronics.

You know, I always get all uppity with Mr W about how the children will not be damaged if they have to <gasp> read or entertain themselves on road trips...and then I remember that sometimes, the forty-five minutes to my Mom's can seem like an eternity, and I consider other options.

My brother bought us a car-DVD player for Christmas, and we finally put it to the test recently.  And it only took Audrey a week to, um, break it.  I got it replaced, after a moderately unethical act; and all was well once Mr W went and got the necessary equipment to make the van an entertainment center on wheels.

He was positively giddy the night before our journey, because he got it to work exactly the way he wanted it too.  We were slapping high fives in the garage like we'd just won a prize.

The prize, my friends, was silence.  Happy, happy, children, and silence.  (Okay, silence interspersed occasionally with "I gotta go potty" and "Are we there yet?") 

A little peace goes a long way towards maintaining my ability to read a map.  We even remembered our area where we got kinda turned around last time, and although we did it again, we managed to get back on track without all the fuss from before. 

We got to the hotel okay, we used the staff to take our bags up, and once I figured out the keycard, made it into our room.

(Hey, I had to use the bathroom, and there were three bodies pressed up against me, looking over my shoulder as I made the effort.   You think I'd be used to it by now, but it made me all thumbs.  Big surprise.)

I walked in, to a nice room with a couch, and tables, and...wait a minute.  Where's the beds?

A closed door...hmm, are they on the other side?  No, another closed door...

I'm thinking, okay, maybe we have the room next to us too.  And I try to access it with the keycard, but the door resists a bit.  I'm thinking I might be barging in on Sal and Amy from Duluth, so I go back to the room I know I can access, scratch my head, and brainstorm with Nolan.

Ultimately, I decide to consult the front desk, knowing full well that odds are, that is our room, and odds are, they're going to be laughing about the rube in room 1503 for the rest of the night. 

It was our room next door, it turned out.  In my defense, it was a bigger suite this time around, and a different setup, and obviously, I don't get out much.  I swear, the door resisted being opened.  Really. 

We had a view of the pool from our room this time, not the park...and so the second the kids saw it, all I heard was "Let's go swimming!"

Let's not...and say we did...

"Maybe later." 

We opted to head to Disneyland for the evening, and our adventure began.  It was cold, and wet, and cold

We all rode the Matterhorn.  After that, we watched the parade, Audrey on her Dad's shoulders, waving away like she was greeting old friends.

And I didn't feel so cold anymore.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


My trip to Disneyland, in a nutshell:

Wait, I can't do this.  There's no way to do it in a nutshell.  And while I waited for everyone to go to school, thinking I could do it then, I forgot to factor in Audrey.  Who, with the prospect of no playmates, has climbed into my lap five times and started to request ice cream. 

Because she knows, if I'm here, I'll do whatever she wants so I can finish.  Even at 10 am.  Hmm.  Vanilla sounds good.

And so does the Saturday Six.

Saturday Six - Episode 102

1. How confrontational are you in real life, and how does your real-life persona compare with your blogging persona?

I'm not confrontational, not unless the situation warrants it.  I used to avoid confrontations at all costs, but have learned over time that there are some occasions where you have to be.  Most of the time, I'm pretty mellow.  As for my real vs blogging persona..ack.  Of course they are similar, but just like in real life, I'm not gonna reveal everything.  Some parts of me are for me only--and that's the way it should be.

2. Other than the food itself, what makes your favorite restaurant your favorite? 

The fact that I'm not cooking elevates even McDonald's to the status of "my favorite restaurant."  Someone else is bringing the food, I'm not pouring drinks...yup.  They're all my favorites.  Hey, nothing can drag one down quicker than realizing that everyone else is finished eating, and not only have you not started yet, but yours is...cold.  "May I take your order?" --on any given day, the most beautiful words in the English language. :p

3. You buy an iPod: what's the first tune you're likely to put on it?

No fair.  I don't remember what song I put on first, and it's quite heady when you start to consider all the, if I had to start it over again, I'd put Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" on it.  Which, ironically, isn't even on my iPod now.  An oversight I need to correct. 

4. Take this quiz (if you haven't already!): What's the most important quality of your (ideal) significant other?

According to the quiz, kindess.  According to me, sense of humor. 

5. If you had to choose one or the other, which would you rather do: hear gossip or be the first to reveal some juicy piece of gossip? 

I grew up in a small town, where gossip was a spectator sport.  I know it's better to hear it than reveal it.     

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #85 from Barb: If you had a magic feather (my Daddy Do carries several in his pocket) and this magic feather could make you unbelievably attractive OR unbelievably intelligent, which would you choose, and why? 

Unbelievably intelligent...can make unbelievably attractive.  Just attractive alone won't rescue you if you can't find something to talk about.  And like I tell the boys, pretty fades, but smart is forever.  lol 

And the ice cream has lost its charm, its hold over's gotta be Mommy, now.  Sigh.  Well, maybe she'll share... 

Friday, March 17, 2006


Our dogs sleep inside at night.  We crate them, because the cats don't like them, and I'd like to get through the night without getting up to witness the circle of life.

I can just see my 15+ year old cats perched atop the body of my fraidy-cat lab.  It wouldn't be pretty.

Like anything else, this is a task that the little miss has decided is hers. 

"I do it."  Her mantra, her way of life.  Like most three-year-olds, it's all about how she can do it--get dressed, clean her face, do whatever strikes her.  Woe to those of us who stand in her way, suggesting that riding her scooter in flip flops is not a good idea, and that rocks are not objets d' art. 

(I have the most beautiful water-colored rocks, right outside my door.  In a shoebox.  Her collection, which she adds too by picking up rocks everywhere we go.  Rock babies.  Rock on, my Princess.  I'm just glad she stopped ruining markers on them.)

Last night, it was time for the doggies to go to bed.  Naturally, Audrey gave them the "crate!" order as soon as I mentioned it, and the dogs obeyed.  Now, I know she's been doing this for a while, and I was wondering how she managed it.   Mainly, because you have to hold both doors shut, or one or both of them wander back out again, because you know, you weren't seriously wanting them to stay in there, were you?

I looked over in time to see her shutting Max's crate, squeezing the latch top, then bottom, talking to him about "goo-night, Maxy, I play with you 'morrow".

I smile.

Then I saw something that really made me smile, it's so ingenious, and funny at the same time.

The crates are side by side.  As she closed Max in, she stuck her little foot against the door of the other, leg in the air, pushing it closed so Shadow can't escape.

And while Shadow pushed back for a sec at the door, she soothed her with her little "play with you 'morrow, girl" speech.

Good lord, that's coordination I'm not capable of, and I'm a lot older than three.

Her brothers have trouble managing this, and here she is, on top of it.

 "Night, doggies.  I play with you 'morrow."  She says it again, as she walks away.


So much to do...and here I sit

Only a few more days until we head off to the Happiest Place on Earth. 

We've done this before, but I'm a little nervous.

I'm facing the idea of the roller coaster with a some trepidation.  It's kinda like having sex for the first time after you have a know you're gonna have a good time, but those first few moments make you hold your breath. 


I have packing, laundry, and working this weekend to distract me until the final moment.

But nothing will get accomplished if I continue to procrastinate here.

Did I mention I got my hair highlighted? 

That Ben can make his own scrambled eggs (and not watching that, not interferring, is a feat in and of itself).

That Audrey is obsessed with mermaids?  Even before I bought her the "Mermaidia" DVD, she was convinced that should she go swimming, she'd suddenly have a tail.

That I lost my purse two weeks ago?  Sure, it turned up the next day, but for 12 hours or so, I was in agony (in spite of closing all my accounts).  Ugh.  Mr W got all cop on me, and I hate that.  He patted my back at the end of the day, though, and I forgave him.  It's an entry, a testament to my dorkdom, another time perhaps.

That my oldest son quickly approaches my height?  And he almost topples me over with the force of his hugs?  And that he tripped on his own sweatshirt while it was tied around his own waist ?  (Poor child has inherited my lack of grace.)

That I'm stressed about leaving the dogs with my Mom?  She's got her hands full, with my ornery insomniac Nana, and now I'm asking her for this?  What kind of daughter am I?  (It will be okay, but it's Lent, some guilt is required.)

That I wish I wasn't such a coward?

That I'm devouring the books cowritten by Douglas Child and Lincoln Preston?  Total page turners, I dig much so that last night, I busted out a flashlight so I could lay with Audrey and read at the same time. 

That I need to buy a new booklight? 

That I better get a move on, or get busted at the terminal when Mr W calls me for a ride?

That it's Mr W's birthday tomorrow?  I'm making a cake.

That I love my highlights?

That I'm really looking forward to the trip?  :D

My phone just rang.  Heehee, I got busted by Mr W, as I thought I would.  He's not ready for me yet, which is a good thing.

I'm still in my pajamas. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Late Six

Boy, it's hard to have everyone home...

I just broke up another disagreement, and turned down another request to play their video game. 

I counter the "There's nothing to do" with "Take a shower and make your beds."

Awww.  Family togetherness, makes me all warm and fuzzy.  The best case scenario, they grow up and continue to forge the bonds of love.  Worst case scenario, I run away and become a bartender, as all this refereeing has to count as 'on the job' experience.

I think I'll do the Saturday Six, as it's hit a milestone.  100!  100 episodes, my hat is off to Patrick.  It's Tuesday, I know, but I'm never on time anyway, why start now?

Saturday Six - Episode 100

1. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #79 from Cat: If you could trade places with one person in your family for a week, who would you choose? And would you want to trade as they are now, or sometime in the past (or future)?

I would trade places with...hmm.  Audrey, at this time.  LOL, lots of clothes, lots of shoes, and everyone love, love, loves her.  Dancing, playdoh, painting, and a nap...wait, I do that now, too. :)

2. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #80 from De: What were you doing 1 year ago this month, and are you more or less satisfied with your life today?

It is either tragic or cool that I am going the same thing now that I was doing one year ago this month.  The kids were all home for Spring Break, and we enjoyed some lazy hang-around the house time, which we are doing right now.  There's a pile of laundry to deal with behind me, and Spring Break will lose its charm by the 10th argument tomorrow, but life is good.

3. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #81 from Lisa: Do you prefer watching television over surfing the internet?

That depends on my mood and what is on television.  Some nights, it's too much to watch another episode of "The Fairly Oddparents" and Mr W's antics with the remote get on my nerves after a while, so I surf.  Then, of course, the "Whatcha doin?" begins. 

4. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #82 from Antonette: Outside of the U.S., where would you live and why?

Italy, or Mexico, on the coast somewhere.  Both places intrigue me, so I'd want to check them out and learn Italian and practice my Spanish.

5. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #83 from Elton: When you leave your home, do you ever feel paranoid that you've left something behind?

Ha, this one is funny because it's true...I try to avoid leaving things by making a list, or putting it in the car when I think of it.  However, it's not a good idea to put the kids in the car the night before... 

I'm always paranoid I've left something behind, so I have almost an OCD-obsession with double checking.  Again.  And again.  Hey, at least it's not handwashing; if after all that I still forget something, then it wasn't meant to come along to begin with.

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #84 from Laura: What song or songs would you want played at your own funeral and why?

(Laura, I made your link green.  Your favorite. lol)  I try not to think about my own funeral, that's just too morbid for me.  "Twist and Shout"?  Sacrilegious?  Maybe.  But I'm all about people having a good time, so say a few words, then go; no crying, eat (of course, I insist)...and tell all those stories about me that you've always wanted to tell.  I won't mind. 

"May I introduce.."

My best friend, Jenny, has a tough gig.  Her job involves her traveling all over the state, collecting samples of water for the Department of Environmental Quality.  She's outdoors a lot, sometimes in the most beautiful parts of the state.  When you think about it, aside from the driving and hauling of the boats and equipment around, it's not a bad way to make a living.

She called me last week, and we were trying to figure out each other's schedules because we are going on a girly date very soon. 

I hear her chuckle, as she says, "I should sign Nolan out next week and take him with me." 

"He's on break," I told her, "where do you want to take him?"

"To work with me.  I'm going to Lake Havasu for the week."  She senses I'm perplexed, and before I can respond she says, "You know, some of the colleges are on Spring Break now, too, and I'm sure he'd enjoy being on the lake at this time of year."

Okay, so I was a little slow that day...and she had to spell it out for me.

"It'd probably jump-start his hormones, seeing all the scantily clad college girls."

Ooohh.  Wait.  OH!  (The lightbulb suddenly goes off in my head.)

"Jen, he doesn't need anything jump-started right now, I'm sure everything is working like it's supposed to."

"You're no fun.  I was just kidding, anyway."

So I relay this little story to Nolan, just to see what he'd say.  "Your Tia Jenny said she wants to take you with her to Lake Havasu.  She's working there next week."  He looks interested, I go on: "It's Spring Break, so there will be lots of college girls running around half-naked, and lots of drunken folk running around in general."

And wouldn't you know it, he got a little gleam in his eye.  "Awesome !"  he says, "can I seriously go?" 

Is that a smile spreading across his face?

Leave it to Jenny.  She, who introduced me to Mr W.  She, who is trying to convince me that a bikini wax really "doesn't hurt that much."  She, who was in a Jeep rollover this weekend, out in the boonies, that commented "It was a blast!" when she told me about it.

She, who has been around since I was 8, making yet another connection for me.

"Anna, allow me.  Have you met the puberty monster?"

You know, I knew he was sneaking around, trying to find a way in....

With the way my mind has been working lately, I wonder if he ever really left.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

How my iPod prevents road rage

I drove by the freeway merge, smug in the knowledge that my route was best.   My rush hour voodoo is better than your rush hour voodoo.

Armed with my coffee and my music, it's a caffeine karoake bar in my car.  The singing is just as bad sober, I'm afraid, but at least I know the words, and in my own mind, I can be anyone...

Because as I sing along with Gavin, I don't wanna be anything other than what I've been trying to be lately, and man, this is the best coffee ever.

What a beautiful morning, the sun is up, it's clear, and Billy confirms, "It's a nice day for a white wedding..." and a shame I left my leather and hair gel at home.

"These are the days,"  I chime in with Natalie, as I'm wondering, why is the traffic slowing so much here?  Should I take my chances on the surface streets?  Wow, it's packed out here, and it shouldn't be.   With my commute, it's either go in during the predawn hours, and avoid the rush; or wait until most of the traffic has died down, and work later.  I chose to go in later so I could see everyone off to school; I figured that everything would be cool and I'd zip right in.

Not today.  Something is up.  I decide not to take the surface streets, in hopes that it's not as bad as it looks.  When it takes me 30 minutes to go about 2 miles, I realize I will be needing a miracle drug, and heh, maybe U2 can make a house (car?) call.

Then again,  I try to suppress my impatience, afterall, it's been a while since I've gone in this late on a Monday, agreeing with Sting about how it's probably me

Oh, no that woman didn't cut me off, did that SUV just shrink six inches somehow to fit in that spot?  Time goes by, so slowly but this chair dance is making it worth my while, thank you, Madonna.  It's now a dance party in my drivers' seat, and I'm looking at my rear view mirror hoping that singing Crash along with Gwen isn't tempting fate.

Get out of my head, that man, he's always in my head...I know I've been hanging out with the hubby too much when I start looking at expiration dates on license plates to pass the time.  Oooh, wow....I feel as wide-eyed as a 3 yr old boy as a semi flatbed rolls by, carrying big yellow tractors, all shiny and new.

The 3 yr old wonder disappears, because I'm no angel, and Dido, I need to reapply my lippy in the rear view mirror...I'm no angel...fluff, fluff...thank goodness my windows are tinted.  I'm certain to an outsider, I look ridiculous, or like I forgot to take some medication.

I want to run, I want to hide  yeah, you and me both, Bono, "I want to tear down these walls that hold me inside..."  Yes!  Finally, things are moving!

I don't mind driving.  Put me in the car, play me some tunes, roll down the windows once in a while...and it's an instant mood lifter, especially if this isn't interrupted by a foot kicking the back of my seat or me having to referee the fight waaaay back there while changing lanes (I have been known to pull over to deal with that.)

At last, my off ramp.  <grinning>  I made it!  Only thirty minutes late!  (eyeroll)

As I wait for the light, I glance up into my rear view mirror.  It's just a habit of mine.

He gets up and approaches a car behind me, one lane over; really thin, but not drug-thin, at one time, probably not a bad-looking man. I wince as I see him turn around, big holes in the seat of his baggy jeans.  He exchanges pleasantries with the driver who beckoned him; I wonder what they are talking about as I feel my mood deflating to seriousness. 

No, I don't think he needs an empty coffee cup.  Yet I wrestle with myconscience, do I or don't I?  Wait, I can't; I shouldn't; I should; no, I can't ; I'm the Mommy; as the light turns green, the decision is made for me.

I try not to reflect too much on this.  I realize I have to keep safety in mind first, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.  The echoes of "bye, Mom, see you later" still fresh in my mind from the morning drop-off help me accept it.

If I could chaaa-a-annge the world...

My thoughts exactly, Eric.

Friday, March 10, 2006

I'm not living this one down, ever

Today was one of those days.  Just one of those days...

I was out running errands with Audrey.  We are in the farthest corner of Target from the bathrooms when she announces she's gotta go.  I'm trying to cram in one more item from the back of the store before speedy-quick taking her, as it's a giant Target, and I'm a little pressed for time, and...and.....and not too far from the bathroom, she announces she's already "peed her panties."  Sigh. 

Oy.  A bad Mommy moment, indeed.  Nice, taking a chance on a tiny bladder.

We go into the bathroom, and indeed, she's done it.  I clean her up as best I can, kicking myself for not having a change of clothes with me--I know better.  Doh!

I still have things to do, and there's no way I'm leaving her like that, it was my fault for not going quicker, so I tell her we will go get her some new undies and a pair of pants, so she can change in the van.  A pair of adorable striped pants and new Strawberry Shortcake undies later, and we are both feeling much better.  "I'm sorry,"  I apologize. 

One more stop, and then we are off to the school.  It was a half day today, and I'm pleased that I'm perfectly on time, in spite of Audrey's bathroom detour.  The kids get into the car, I'm giving a ride to three extra and bringing home one more.  Ben decides to argue with me about something minor, but I give him a silencing glare and order him into the van. 

I take two boys home, cross over and drop off another, and wait for Audrey to readjust her seatbelt.  We are on the way to McDonald's, and about a mile or so from the house.  I'm chatting with our guest, and asking her what she wants, taking orders from all.  "Eh, Ryan, I know what you want," I say (he gets the same thing EVERY time).  "Ryan?"  I look into the rearview mirror, see a dark head...wait, that's Ben. I'm thinking Ryan's engrossed in something, and that backseat is not the best acoustic area of the van.  No one ever hears me the first time when they sit there.  

"I do have Ryan, don't I?"  

"MOM!  You don't!!"  Ben's horrified voice insists.

"What?" I look up, alarmed, dread washing over me when I realize he is not in his seat.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen.  How big a loser am I, that I took home three other children, and was on my way down the road, before I noticed that I forgot my own child? 

No way! 


"We forgot Ryan?"  I squeak, as I make the first turn back to the school possible, hoping no one notices it's on two wheels.  I am envisioning him waiting by the fence, forlorn, wondering what happened to Mommy.  And his brothers.  

Quickly, I grab my cellphone and dial the school, so they will look for him before I get there.  

"Hi.   This is Anna.   Um, you'll never believe this, but I managed to drive off without Ryan..."  The secretary cuts me off, laughing as she says, "I see him right here."

"He's in the office with you?"  


"I'm right around the corner.  Is it okay if Nolan comes to the office to get him?" (it'd be faster than unloading all of them and parading 'em all in)


Oy.  This bad Mommy moment surpasses all others.

I pull in as close as I can, bus parking or not,and send Nolan on his way, as I am ridiculed by all the other kids left in the car.

I call Mr W and relay the story, as I am just mortified.  I was hoping he'd give me the "it could happen to anybody, it's okay" speech.   Chances of that aren't looking good as he says, "Man, that's baaad.  You're gonna have to make it up to him, you know."  

"I will drive him straight to Walmart and buy him that game he's been asking for right now."  I can almost see Mr W shaking his head at me, but I'm shaking mine too.  

My poor little Sugar.  I see the top of Nolan's head coming out the entrance, and I can wait no longer, I get out and grab Ryan up in my arms, apologizing the entire time. 

I'm thinking it's gonna be okay, right as he bursts into tears.

Oh, the guilt, the guilt, the guilt, it's overwhelming and I can't breathe. 

"Sugar, I'm so, so, so sorry,"  I tell him.  I tell him that as soon as we noticed he was not with us, we rushed right to him.  That it was an accident.   And I barely keep myself from bursting into tears too.

He brightens when I tell him I am taking him to get his game (penance) and Mickey-D's, and he looks like he just might forgive me. 

Actually, he will probably forgive me, but I'm sure he will always bring it up, when it suits him:  "I can't drive your new car?  But Mom, how will I get home, you might forget  me."   

Yeah, this one isn't gonna go away. 

They can have their little stories, the ones to tell, retell, embellish...that's fine.  Hey, Mommy isn't perfect, and that's a good thing for them to know.

Besides, I have stories, too. 

And a picture is worth a thousand words.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

And I want...

We were on our way home tonight, and Audrey was a little...out of sorts.  She was hyper-tired.

I call it hyper-tired, because she is giving up her nap and she still needs it.   This coincides with the trial run of the car-DVD player my brother got us for Christmas.  We had to make sure it works now, as opposed to it not working the morning we leave for Disneyland. (countdown: 11 days)  She is so enchanted with it, that she watches all the time, and then won't knock out in the car like she usually does when I'm out and about.

Hyper-tired.  Not pretty, and pretty loud.  

She was whining, about her lost Pepsi that Ben "accidentally" finished off.  

"I want Pepsi," sniff..."Mooommy, I want Pepsi..."  I'm sighing, telling her no, trying to play it off, and she is persistent, like only she can be...

"I. Want. My.  Pepsi."   Little hands balled up into fists, striking her thighs with each word. 

She's mere seconds away from a Linda Blair moment; I try to lighten the situation, as the usual stuff isn't working; I counter, complete with the same hand motions:  "I.  Want. Tequila!" 

Hey, it got Mr W to crack a smile.  And she made it home alive.

Later, I finally get her to bed, and all are down for the count, in what seems like record time.

I.  want.....

I stroll into the bedroom, and lock the door.  I head over and start climbing up into the bed, taking off my shirt, flipping off the tv, and starting to proposition Mr W,  forgetting that I possess no natural grace.  As I begin to sidle up to him, I hear "ow!"

And this is where the story begins to differ.

Mr W claims that I bumped his foot with a not-so-girly "claw" and scratched one of his toes, inflicting pain so severe that is distracting him from the moment. 

My point of view is that if it did happen, it was an accident.  I have no such "claw" and he's being a baby.  For the love of God, I'm half-naked, focus, man.



"You scratched my foot, with a ninja-toe of some kind.  A claw." 

"I don't care about your foot, it's not bleeding, come on, get with the program." 

He did not utter any words of love, I tell you.  **** you, b*tch is not exactly a Hallmark-ism.  I should've been irritated, but I was too busy laughing my head off.  "You are such a baby!  I'm half-naked!  And you're complaining--about, about a toe !" 

"I'd like to see you write that up in your blog."  He should know better than to say that... "Make sure you include that you laughed, so hard you started coughing."  (Lest anyone get the wrong impression, of course.  It's true, I was coughing, and it's a miracle no one woke up.)   He's laughing now too.  And, finally, getting with the program.

What was that?  Oh, no, no he didn't, he did not just YAWN!

I grabbed his hand.  "Did you just yawn?  All this is going on (gesture between us) and you're yawning?  I think that's gonna be it for now." (as I mock-try to locate my shirt)

"Aw, I was asleep when you came in here...I'm not quite awake yet..."


" I yawned." 

"Look, I was asleep too, and I managed to wipe the drool off my chin before I came in here.  How'd you like it if I was about to (edited) and decided to yawn right then?"

We giggled some more, and realized we were doing too much talking.

Giggling, laughter, always has some value, no matter the situation.  But talking?  At times, highly overrated.

And suddenly, there was silence....

Friday, March 3, 2006

Not so fast

I'm a little overprotective.

I have a wide age range here, preteen to toddler.  I have to keep things in the middle, so the older kids can have a grasp of popular culture while I try to preserve the "little" for my younger two.  It's not easy, but I think I manage okay. 

Imagine my surprise, to hear this from my little princess, complete with body/head swaying in time, last night.  Hum along, and you'll know the song.

"Mm-hmm,, mm-hmm, mm-hmmm..."

I don't own the CD, I don't do hip-hop radio (much) and yet, here she is, humming the Blackeyed Peas.   Yeah, yeah, it's just music, but I just don't think it's appropriate for my three-year old.  At least she doesn't know the words.

In a world of Bratz, mermaid Barbies that come pre-loaded with tattoos, and low-rise-let-it-all-hang-out pants ("Mommy?  Why are her pants so small?" as she sees an errant buttcrack in the mall) it's really hard to keep her, for want of a better word, unexposed. 

I don't expect to shield any of them from the world forever, I just can't believe how some things are so pervasive, that even a minor thing like a cell phone commercial can imprint on her little brain.

I don't remember it being so hard with the boys, when they were small, but now as they are growing up...

My oldest got really mad at me one day, because I will restrict their video games, they aren't allowed to play anything with an M rating, and I check out the T (teen) titles.  He was ranting about how all his friends get to do it, of course.  I do it with movies, and tv shows too, to a certain extent.  Between that and his irritation that I won't give him free rein to curse, somedays I am not so popular.  "But I'm the only kid in my class that can't ______ (insert golden privilege here)."

That day, I told him that I am only responsible for him, not his friends, and he has to respect that sometimes my wishes and his/theirs will not match...I went on for a minute, trying to get him to understand, until finally I got mad and said, "Forgive me, forgive me for treating you like the child that you are.  You're twelve, not twenty-two."  (Oh, yeah, he rolled his eyes, but I shushed him before he could get out "MO-OM!")

My brother nearly fell of the couch, eager to pass his judgement on how I was overdoing it.  Until I pointed out to him and reminded him of the trouble he was getting into at that same age, and he told me to shut up.   (That's what I thought.) 

There's nothing wrong with not wanting them to grow up too fast.  Like I tell my oldest, especially, you only get time to be a kid once, and once you see the world from an adult perspective, there is no going back to that innocence, that blissful ignorance of some things, so enjoy it.

I'm restrictive and overprotective because I am trying to save this time for them as long as I can, I told him, and if I have to be the meanest Mommy in the world in their  eyes to do it, then oh, well.   

"Then when I'm a grown up, I'm gonna...."  I interrupted him.  "When you are a what ??"  That took the wind right out of his sails.  "Grownup."  "Exactly."

Mm-hmm,, mm-hmm, mm-hmm...

Yeah, it's a got a catchy beat, but I just can't always dance to it.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Where's his shovel?

I was going to title this "How Mr W dug himself a big hole in 24 hours or less" but it wouldn't fit.

It's a good thing he's cute, and makes me laugh, or he'd never get away with it.

We're going to Disneyland this month.  I booked our trip a couple of weeks ago, and made the mistake of letting all the kids know then.  The big kids are okay with it, the waiting game, that is, but Audrey is another story.  Every day, she thinks is THE day, and it takes a few minutes of talking to get her to understand...and still, she does things like this:

I bought her some new shoes recently, (a few pairs, okay, I admit it) and I went to get her dressed, and poof!  gone.  Where are they? I wondered, out loud.  She pipes up that they are "in my bag."   What bag?  As I go into the living room, she is ahead of me, unzipping her backpack, inside of which is her lunchbox, packed full of shoes, and a bathing suit.  "I'm ready for Deeneyland," she announced.    (Um, no, not yet.)

Then I made her a paper chain, to tear off a link each night so she could "see" how many days we had left.  And I was sooo proud of myself, as I trotted off to my room...only to be followed a few minutes later by Audrey with a handful of paper in her hands.  Links.  "Sweetie, what is that?"  She explained to me that she tore off a few links, you know, so time would pass more quickly.  (Um, it's not that easy.  I wish.)

But back to my husband--

We were in Ross, and just walking down one of the aisles.  I forgot they have luggage in there, and when we travel, usually I pack one giant leather gym bag for us, one for the kids, and we are all set.  I think I pack it up pretty well, and it's worked so far for us.  But Mr W suggested we try something different, so I'm game, let's try this rolling box on wheels, sure.  We start unzipping bags, looking inside, and just feeling giddy about taking the trip in general.   He knows I'm looking for something more colorful than black, but I decide on black anyways, because rust is eewww and blue is dirty; red is too much of a good thing; and I've learned the hard way through beige that sometimes, with kids, black is the best choice.  I'm biting my lip, in a perplexed way, and he says "What?"  "Oh, I just wanted to not have to take such big ones."

He guffaws, right there in the aisle.  "What in your life is small ?" 

I straighten up immediately, hands on hips, somewhat offended, <did he just look at my chest? is he referring to my ass?> and before I can stammer a retort, like, "flattering yourself?"  he goes on:

"Big family.  Big kids.  Big dogs.  You drive a van.  Nothing in your life is small.  Okay, well, maybe the house.  The house is small."  He waving his hands around as he makes his point, and I'm giggling.  But of course, still mock-offended, I have to smack him on the arm.

"NOoo, what I meant was, will the boys still be able to maneuver these things..."  at which point, Audrey grabs the handle of one and starts walking toward the registers...and Mr W does a 'voila' maneuver with his hand..."once they are full?"  She looks over her shoulder at me, 'mom-you're-nuts' on her face.  And he shakes his head as they walk off together.  

As for the other hole he dug himself into, it was in response to one of those stupid girl questions I don't know why I asked, in the vein of "Does my butt look big in these pants?"; the question to which there is no right answer for a man, brought on by a post-Victorias Secret commercial/Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue rant.  Ultimately, he kept making things worse when he was trying to make them better, and I was bad because I knew there wasn't anywhere to go with it that wouldn't end in a bloodfest, and I kept leading him that way anyway. 

I started out with this thought, just follow a downward spiral from there on your own:

"They're freaks, freaks of nature," point, look, "She's got kids, (point at model on cover) and she had two kids (more pointing), and the magazine has the gall to say that this one did a shoot, in only paint, what, like five minutes postpartum (I think it was 3 months, but still, I mean, come on, most of us are still sporting all kinds of unpleasantness at that point)" rant, rant, "I'd give up IQ points and boobage, for a few more inches of height, blondeness...would you have been interested in me, back in the day, if I was taller, but stupider?" 

(Ugh.  I'm stupid now, it appears, isn't that enough?  Poor man...but hey, he's the one that had the magazine on the bed next to me to begin with...)

Compelled to respond, and yet doomed with his answers, try as he might; until he threw up hands, exasperated, "There is no way to answer that that I will not get in trouble from.."

(Oh, come on.  I didn't get mad, I knew I was being an idiot, and I made up for it later.)

Besides, he had the presence of mind to distract me.  With chocolate, and a switch of the remote to Grey's Anatomy.  "Hey, your show's on."

And, in one gesture, I understand it doesn't matter how tall, short, smart, dumb, pretty or ugly I am, he gets it.  He loves me, even when I'm impossible.

I prefer to think of it as "hormonally challenged."