Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nursery rhymes are a gas

Each year our kindergarten classes have a "Nursery Rhyme Parade" around Halloween.  The kids come to school dressed as their favorite nursery rhyme character and then the class/es walk around the campus visiting all the other classes and they recite a rhyme or two in the other classrooms. 

It's quite a little event.  The children are encouraged to use their imaginations, and make their 'costume'. 

Audrey picked "Little Miss Muffet."  We've been practicing her rhyme, and she's wearing a little dress and carrying a little basket with her spider in it.  I figure that'll do, as a tuffet might be too awkward to carry.

I hear her off and on all the time, "Lit-tle Miss Muf-fet sits on her tuf-fet..."

Yesterday afternoon, as we were trying her dress on, she started up:  "Lit-tle Miss Muf-fet"  --pause---

"farts on her tuf-fet."  --exploding gale of laughter

That's gonna go over well with the kids, I thought, as I laughed along with her.

Mr W heard us laughing and gave me that quizzical "what's up" look.  I told him, and she recited her version for him again.

He smiled and pointed his finger squarely at me:  "That's you.  That's your kid." 

I opened my eyes wide in mock innocence, "And I made her all by myself, too..."

Monday, October 29, 2007

Baby, I'm a star

I came home from work yesterday to a nice surprise.

No, not clean shiny, happy, fed children in a clean, shiny, happy house....

I came home to a big box of Guitar Hero III. 

Mr W has been listening to me rant about how I love that game since I first played months ago.

And he knows I need to get in touch with my inner rock goddess, so.....

I'm sending the kids to bed in five minutes, and hitting the stage in ten.

Hopefully, I will make it through a round without getting booed off the stage this time.

Party on, Wayne.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hot pink is not a scary color

It's October, so all the kids thoughts have turned towards Halloween.

Audrey, in particular, is very excited.  I was expecting the usual from her, too, in regards to her costume.  I've been planning a special mall visit to hit the Disney store.  I've been wondering who she'd pick this year.

My thoughts were reaffirmed when she saw all the pumpkins, the plain plastic ones with the jack-o-lantern face on the front and a handle, in Target...and picked out a hot-pink one.  Oh, very scary, I giggled to myself.  I was placing mental bets that it would be Sleeping Beauty this year, as the pumpkin would match the pink dress.

However, she is my girl, and full of surprises.

This year, she wants to be a vampire.  She can't quite decide which version of vampire she wants to be.  The dressed up kind, or the messed up kind?  In addition to that, she has taken to wearing Ryan's costume from last year, a cloaky Grim Reaper get up, around the house.

It's long enough that you don't see her hands or feet. She sneaks up behind you, pulls the hood over her face, and says:  "Heeellooooo, person-I-don't-know!!!" in as scary a voice as a five year old can manage, but then she giggles uncontrollably and even if you try to jump and scream in fear, everyone knows it's totally for show.

So cute.

Ben has decided he wants to be a vampire again this year now, too.

All that vampire talk, and now all I can think about is biting someone on the neck.

It's still technically too hot in Arizona for turtlenecks, but Mr W may have to start sporting his a little early this year.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Watch what you say....

I was driving my son and a friend of his home last week.

They'd been talking about a video game when I picked them up, but as we drove, the conversation shifted.  I was half-listening to them, as Nolan made some comment about his siblings bothering him--and his friend pointed out that as he was the oldest, "at least you can boss your brothers around."

I looked over my shoulder at him, and he explained, that he couldn't necessarily boss his younger brother around as it ultimately led to his brother getting upset, and his mother then getting upset, which would mean in the end, that he'd be in more trouble.

"That's usually how it works,"  I pointed out.

He leaned forward, very man-of-the-world, and said, as he gestured to Nolan in the front seat, "Yeah, I always tell this one, that it's not so bad, and he should just not worry so much about his brothers annoying him.  Even when he starts complaining how his parents suck...."  he grinned, as Nolan turned around quickly in his seat to look at him, more quickly than I've ever seen him move in a long time, 'shut up, shut up, shut up' glowering on his face.

I smiled to myself, slightly turning my head towards the boys, and giving Nolan a sidelong glance, eyebrow raised a bit.

Nolan had that 'oh shit' look on his face now, like he was willing an escape hatch to open up beneath him in the van so he could fall into the waiting hole in the earth he'd just had dug for himself.  Clearly, he was mortified.

"I didn't say that, Mom, really,"  he semi-pleaded.

Now, I have to admit, I was offended a little at first, as I can tell you, I am most assuredly not a parent-who-sucks.  That child wants for nothing, really, unless you count the cruel-and-unusual punishment of not owning a cell phone or a laptop of his own as prime indicators of parental neglect.  Or the fact that I filter out the things I deem inappropriate; and don't allow him carte blanche to play video games all day.  Or give him a giant  allowance.

Good God, I make him put his freshly laundered clothes away!   Clean the kid bathroomMake his bed!!  BatheDo his homework!  Crimes punishable in the kid court of law, for sure. 

My son tried again to reassure me he had not said anything of that nature, and his friend was amused to watch him squirm, but I think they were both a little surprised when I said this, with a wave of my hand.

"Oh, come on.  It's okay, man.  E-v-e-r-ybody's parents suck, at one time or another.  It's true.  It's fine."  I shrugged my shoulders.

We talked for a second or two more, as I pointed out to them that the things they thought their parents suck about were mainly things we were doing to try and rein them in a bit for a moment, just because you need to pace yourself when you are a teenager.

As we bid his friend good night, and I drove away, Nolan once again said, "Mom, I really, really didn't say that."

"No worries,"  I said, as I changed the subject.  He maintained a nice conversation on the way home.  He was exceedingly nice to all of us the rest of the night.  His guilt breeding good behavior?  (Maybe my mom was on to something...I certainly did my penance for her during my adolescence....)

Over the weekend, I was laying in my room, watching t.v.  Ben was out with his Dad and Tata at a football game, so Nolan was hanging out with me.  We were watching "Stranger than Fiction," that movie with Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, and Maggie Gyllenhaal; where Emma Thompson is a novelist and Will Ferrell hears her in his head, as she is "writing" his life.   There was this scene where Maggie's character makes Will's some cookies (she's a baker) and it doesn't go over so well.  "Didn't your mother make you cookies and milk afterschool?"  she asks.

At this, Nolan looks at me, and grins, and reaches out to squeeze my hand.  He scoots over and snuggles next to me.  "You love your Mah-ma,"  I tease him.

"You make great cookies, Mom,"  he said.  "I love you."

"Even though I suck,"  I added.

He sat up, giggling.  "You're never gonna let me live that down, are you?"  he asks, shaking his head.

"Not on your life,"  I told him, as I messed up his hair.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

So cute you wouldn't call the exterminator

I'd gone outside to call the big boys in the other day, and on the way back into the house, I nearly stepped on Audrey.

Irritated, I stepped around her and ordered her inside too.

"Just a minute, Mommy,"  she insisted, her body bent over a drawing she was doing on the sidewalk right outside the door.  She scribbled furiously, as though the chalk would disappear in the time it took her to complete her picture.

I sighed, exasperated.  I'd gotten two hours of sleep the night before, thanks to a bout of insomnia that Audrey shared with me, and I was well beyond tolerating anything that varied from "Okay, Mommy" at this point.

"Come ON,"  I urged her, as her brothers breezed past us.

She looked up at me, brows knit, and said, "Just one more second, please.  How do you make a six?"

Oh, good lord.

"Getinsidethishouserightnow."  I gritted my teeth.

"Mommy.  Please, just a minute."  I looked over her shoulder, at the little grid of squares, with numbers in them.

"What are you doing?"  I growled.

"I'm making hopscotch.  I'm almost done, it's hopscotch for ants."

I looked again.  Sure enough, each small square had a number in it, and the grid was laid out in the usual hopscotch pattern.

It was adorable.  Sigh.

"There, I'm done,"  she announced as she made the last square.

I smiled, and she must have felt my mood shift in her favor.  "What's so funny, Mommy?"  she asked.

"Nothing.  That's cute.  I love it.  But, um, honey, those are some giant ants you've made the hopscotch for--the squares a just a smidge to big,"  I explained, shuddering at the thought of the size the ant would have to be to make it to the end square.

"That's okay,"  she explained.  "They can jump reeealll far."


Giant mutant jumping ants, that's all we need.

I didn't break it to her, I just patted her head and brought her inside.

And when I napped, I dreamt of antennae...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A look is sometimes the loudest form of communication

This month, our school is responsible for decorating the school district's boardroom.  So my principal asked me to take care of it, as I am the art lady at our school.  I was a little concerned as our program doesn't start for another month, and was worried about how much kid-artwork I could get from the teachers in time, but I didn't sweat it.

Until I saw the size of the boardroom.  The wall we are responsible for is....enormous.

I totally panicked, and sent out an email essentially begging for something, anything, to fill up the wall.  Fortunately, a bunch of the teachers came through, and last week, I went to put it up.

I was meeting one of the Art Masterpiece coordinators for the district, and I took Audrey along with me.  The lady had not seen her for some time, and was amazed at how big she'd grown in the interrim (she last saw her about gosh, about 1 yr, 1 yr and 1/2 ago).

"She's so cute.  Honey, I love your skirt,"  she said to Audrey.  Audrey smiled.

"I love her haircut,"  she commented.  We started to get stuff moved around, and she commented on Audrey's appearance a couple more times.  "Really, I love her hair.  It suits her."  I nodded.  "Thanks.  I think so, too."

She swept her gaze towards me, and looked over my own hair, which was up in a disheveled ponytail.  She had that look, like she wanted to pay me a compliment too, but was at a loss.  (I didn't get dolled up for this; I knew it would entail a lot of bending and stretching and climbing up and down off of whatever to mount this stuff on the walls.  I was wearing jeans and a baseball shirt, minimal makeup--not exactly my finest hour, but presentable enough.)  It was really comical to me, I could see her formulating the thought in her head and coming up blank.  She did one of those, 'uhm, yeah' kind of head movements and we went back to work. 

I should say that this lady is always turned out, every time I see her, she is very well dressed and groomed and polished.  Even this day, a potentially sweaty physical day--she had on a cute pair of jean/capris, the kind with the huge cuff, a really pretty just-above-casual top, and these totally cool slides.  Perfect nails (hands and feet); nice hair, nice makeup.  I wanted to go home and change when I saw her, you know?

She was a godsend, too, that room was a lot of work, and I never would have gotten through it without her help.

So I giggled and didn't take it too personally that I know she thought I was a total frump.  I resisted the urge to say, "I clean up good.  Really.  I swear!" especially since  I was busy all morning, had to go to the elementary school early, and didn't uhm, have a chance to take a shower.  Oh, the shame.

Besides, it was easier to not take it personally in light of the fact that earlier in the week, on my way to work, I'd stopped at Starbucks. 

The barista took my order, and I paid, and I was looking at the menu board behind her, off to the side.  I turned to look back at her, I had a question, and she was staring at me.  Totally.  At my mouth.  Like she was wondering about...kissing me?  

It was kinda cool, but I was a little embarrassed; I mean, I totally blushed.  

I heard my name called, got my coffee, and left without asking my question.

I don't remember what the question was, but the look on my husband's face when I told him the story was unforgettable.

And the lipgloss hasn't left my purse.

Love, abbreviated

Over the years, you get used to your partner's little quirks.  You know what they like.  You know what pisses them off.  You know.

Mr W likes to have a clean car.  I appreciate this, so I am very good about biting my tongue when he takes the extra time to go through the carwash when we get gas.  Even though it means Audrey will have to be pried off me when we are done, as she hates it.  Swirling brushes?  Foamy water? Life-threatening. 

Yesterday, we were on our way to my Mom's.   We needed gas.  And apparently, a car wash.  The first gas station we went to had the car wash closed.  The second one we went to had the car wash closed.  "It's just not my day,"  Mr W commented.  "It just means you'll have to do it yourself,"  I jokingly pointed out. 

As he pumped gas, I noticed a sign outside the minimart that indicated the car wash was closed because it was being redone, and would soon be a "foaming" car wash.  At the same time, Mr W started cleaning the windshield, so I pointed at the sign through the windshield.  It took him a minute to get my point, as he thought I was being a wiseass and pointing out a spot he missed.  I went back to my book, and felt him come around the front of the van and start cleaning my side of the windshield.

In my periphery, I noticed he wasn't moving the squeegee around any more, and was standing still right in front of me, so I looked up.  He grinned at me, making a big deal out of writing a "U" on the window in front of me.

I searched to the side of the "U" for what I was sure would be there, the "I" and heart.  Aww, how cute, he wrote "I" heart "U" on the windshield, I thought, and I grinned back at him, even though all I could make out was the "U."

He tapped the windshield to the left of the "U."  I continued to smile at him, and wrinkled my brow as I really couldn't see what he was getting at--so he tapped again, and just as the realization of what was there hit me, I heard:

"F."  "U".  "Mommy, Daddy wrote "F-U" on the window!"  Ben cackled.  "I know what that means!!"  (cackle cackle)

"F-U!  F-U! F-U!"  Ryan began chanting.

"Mommy, what does that mean?  F-U?"  piped up Audrey.

Nolan snickered.

I sighed and opened up the door.  I should've tried to knock him over, but he stepped aside just in time.

"Niiice,"  I said.  "Do you want to tell them what it means, or shall I?"  He looked at them.  "Stop it, guys," he said.

I told him what I thought he'd written when we were driving away.  "I should've known better,"  I said.

I guess it's just an one of those things that makes you realize you've spent a long time together--that sometimes you can't tell who the bigger dork is---and it doesn't matter.

You can still feel the love, even if it's not necessarily written right in front of your face.

All garden tools are not created equal

The kids are on Fall break, and were off of school last week, they will be off this week, they don't go back to school until next Wednesday.

It seems a little silly to call it 'Fall' break, in light of our non-fall weather, but I figure if it's less than 100 degrees, and it gets dark at by 6:30, then 'Fall' will have to do.

We've been lounging around, for the most part.   One day I suggested to them that they scoop up the dog poop in the backyard.  You'd have thought I'd asked them to patch up the side of a nuclear reactor with Scotch tape and bubble gum, with the reaction I got, so I sic'd their Dad on them. 

After he gave the order, he told me to go get a new rake, as ours was about to crumble into dust.  Oh, goody. A trip to Home Depot?  Sign me up.  I don't fear the orange aprons.  I welcome them.  "Rakes in the garden dept?"  I asked the first one I saw as I walked in.  "Yup."  As I headed toward the garden dept, I had to stop and stare. 

At the reindeer.  And the lights.

It's Christmas in this little corner of Home Depot.  (And it's been Christmas in Costco since mid-September.) I'm convinced that if we didn't have the back-to-school season in the middle, it would be Christmas right after the Fourth of July.  Momentarily, I was dazzled and started envisioning sugarplum vistas and light displays in my front yard--I had to shake the ideas out of my head so I could go get what I needed and only what I needed.  (My ankle bracelet goes off if I am anywhere near the paint section.)

The long story short is I bought the wrong rakes.  How is that even possible?  The kids used them, and I saw my error, even though I'd rolled my eyes when Mr W pointed it out initially: "Isn't your lunchtime over?"  Later that day, I took them back and exchanged them for the right ones, to Mr W's horror.  "You took back used rakes??"  "I had a receipt.  They were the wrong ones.  They weren't damaged.  Big deal."

That is the true sign of a man, is it not?  A man will cut off a limb before he returns anything, receipt or not.  If he only knew of the women I know who will not cut tags off of things, wear them to their event, and return them afterwards.  I, personally, have never done this, but ladies, you know who you are.  

The bottom line is that the poop got scooped.  And like most things that get dirty the second you clean them....they will have to get back out there again. (I'm sure the extra large bag of MilkBones I picked up has nothing to do with this.)

At this rate, they will be begging to go back to school.

Heh heh.