Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Things I've learned from my friend Shawn

I've recently had a crisis of friendship with one of my oldest and bestest buddies, Shawn. That girl and I have been through it all together. We met in June of 1986, the day I showed up in her neighborhood. My mother had moved across the street from her and I followed a few months later. By virtue of our ages (same-same) and our grades in school (also same-same) our parents decided we'd become fast friends. A decision I'm sure Shawn's parents have regretted over the years. hee. Too late now, Tom and Shanon! *wicked laugh*

Anyway, I've always been The Caller of the dynamic duo. Always. Shawn rarely calls, I always do. That's just the way it's been lo these 20 years. In the last two or three years, though, I've decided I'm not okay with my title and I let her know about it. In the most mature way, of course. A caustic voice mail message on her cell phone. (Oh totally.  I'm a grown-up.)

While thinking back on our years together as chums, dredging up every instance wherein I was the one who called and she failed to call me back (boohoo), I couldn't help but remember some of the things she's taught me.

Heck, if it weren't for Shawn I might never have known that purple and lavender aren't the same color. That bedposts can double as microphones and pound cake isn't just a cake. Because of my friend Shawn I know that the best place for teaspoons is on the counter in a spooner, and that hash browns should be brown.

Coffee tastes best after 10 minutes in the cup, and every cup has a saucer. Pop cans have many uses (eek) and a good hairspray is hard to find. Roots should match their ends, and houses should be clean. Carrot juice really does have a place in society.

Dogs should be BIG.

Cats should be outside.

Always have a pre-func. Soccer is not for wimps. Bleach doesn't kill rose bushes, but Marlboro kills people. Bitter Girl can't stay bitter forever. Little girls need ballet shoes. Vegetables can taste good without Ranch, and sour cream mixed with salsa is a superior chip accompaniment.

Mall-walkers don't have to have grey hair. But if they do have greys, we can cover them up so nobody's the wiser. Because of Shawn I know about Riyadh and Dhahran (she lived there!), Nostradamus, The Spinning Song, poodles, lipstick, the yen, Black Beauties, Gevalia Appel Kaffe Kaka, sesame oil, green bud (ignore that one, Mom and anyone from church) and MGD. Oh, and sometimes choking is funny.

Soooooo, granted... lots of the things I've learned from Shawn are bad. But that's a two-way street - I'd hate to see the list of things I taught her. yeek. But hey! Who's more prepared for our kids' teen years than us? Nobody, that's who. We've been there, done that. Thanks to our checkered pasts we're ready. All over it. White on rice, y'might say.

Long story short? I love that girl. She's my oldest bestest chum on God's earth and I love her. She knows how it is with me and my mom. She knows when to shut up and listen, and when to offer unsolicited advice. She knows I know she knows I know she's smarter than me, but she's too classy to ever say it. Y'know what? If she never calls me again I'll still go right on loving her like the sister she is.

I might leave a paper sack of flaming dog doo on her front stoop, but I'll still love her.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dang Winter Anyway!

It was so. so. cold here yesterday. A freakishly low temperature coupled with an icy wind. Just a quick trip from the house to the car had my fingers freezing. So of course I picked yesterday to get a few errands done. Made sense, since I didn't have to be home at 11 for Kindergarten girls to arrive.

Well, will somebody please slap me the next time I get a bright idea? Here's a little taste of what I get for thinking when unsupervised.

  • Put on coats, hats and mittens to go from house to van.
  • Take off coats, hats and mittens to put kids in car seats; freeze my *ahem* - and a few fingers - off in the process.
  • Write grocery list while sitting in Starbucks drive-thru.
  • Arrive at shops, put coats, hats and mittens back on babies for trek from parking lot to indoors.
  • Go inside, remove coats, hats and mittens. Stow them on the bottom rack of the cart (y'know, where we used to ride when we were kids) so babies can't throw items overboard.
  • Pay for grocery order; take up space in Purgatory (foyer between store and doors) to once again apply coats, hats and mittens for the trip back to the van.
  • Take off coats, hats and mittens to put babies back in car seats. Sweet fancy Moses, y'all.
  • Plan ahead for parking at mall because I have to go potty. Really really bad.
  • Arrive at mall.
  • Sit in van and try to pinpoint the moment I went completely wacko.
  • Reapply coats, hats and mittens for jaunt from van to Macy's door (uber close to the public restrooms) which wound up being LOCKED!!!
  • Walk (dance) around outside of mall until I stumble across an open point of entry.
  • Power walk to the loo. The big stall is out of order; leave stroller outside sardine-can-sized stall and listen to Mary-Beth scream while I do my bidness.
  • Get to Bath & Body Works (after putting Mary-Beth back in the stroller... again) only to find they no longer carry what I'm after.
  • Leisurely stroll back to van. Exit mall via the Macy's door that is now unlocked, after putting on coats, hats and mittens. Macy's Purgatory is much warmer than Wal-Mart's, in case you're wondering.
  • Remove coats, hats and mittens for proper installation of babies in car seats.
  • Arrive home exhausted, but a little wiser. Take babies out of car seats, put coats, hats and mittens back on for trip from driveway to kitchen door.
  • Once inside, remove coats, hats and mittens. Shove them in the closet with a growl. Kick shoes off and leave them where they land all day long.
  • Start The Sandlot for Jonah. Ponder alcoholism... briefly... but settle for hot chocolate.

Important Note - Why take the coats off?
Outerwear can compress in an accident leaving dangerous slack in the car seat's harness. Slack could cause baby to be ejected from the car seat.
To see if what you have on your baby is too bulky, put baby in the seat in her outerwear. Adjust/fasten the harness snugly. Take baby out without loosening the harness, remove the outerwear and put her back in. There should not be any slack in the harness webbing. If there is, then there is too much clothing between baby and the harness, and you must remove the outerwear for the harness to do its job.
See CPSafety Online and the Carseat Bulletin Board at Parents Place for more information about car seat safety, the importance of extended rear facing, and other child safety restraint facts.

Monday, October 30, 2006

It's My Thin Little Slice of Hell

It's been that kind of day. And in the interest of good mental health I'm going to just brain-barf and get it over with. (Thank you Sarah! That's my new favorite phrase. heee.)

I don't know what's wrong with Jonah. He vomits every morning! Of course he gives no warning, makes no sound until he's almost done, and never seems to be near a vinyl surface. Anyway, he's fine the rest of the day. Sunday was the exception though, he vomited that morning but was lethargic and crabby all day. He took two naps - NEVER! happens. Then this morning he's finer than frog's hair. The only common thread I can see that would link Friday, Saturday and Sunday would be milk with breakfast but none the rest of the day. Today he had toast and applesauce, no milk at all. Tomorrow morning I'll give him milk and see what happens. Sudden onset of a milk allergy?

Mary-Beth will NOT... I repeat, will NOT sleep beyond 4am now since the time change. WTH?! She slept until 7 before that, which should translate to at least 6am now with DST. Again I say, WTH?! And of course, when she's up Jonah has to be up. God forbid he should miss out on any action. Or *gasp* what if she gets a graham cracker and he doesn't?!!! The Earth may just shift on its axis.

So I finally made the commitment to go mall-walking after dropping Ashley off at school, and today was Day #1 of Dellaina's New Fitness Thing. I was a good girl at Starbucks - americano instead of a sugary latte. I even splurged on a bottle of water that nobody else has ever laid their lips on. To my knowledge. Ew. I can't even think about that.

So anyway, I'm about 10 minutes into my first walk, I'm good and sweaty, borderline frothy, feelin' pretty sporty (read: able to imagine I look like Yoga Pants and not like Frumpy McFrumpinhousen) when the left rear tire on my double stroller flew off. (Yes, I did have to chase it down.) So I drug the stroller and both babies back to the van in disgust. I was encouraged and heartened by all the grandparents who were also mall-walking, they virtually gushed over the babies. Who can resist a sweet little 18-month-old girlie who waves and says, "Diiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeee!" (a.k.a. bye) or an almost-3-year-old boy who will sing "If You're Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands" - complete with motions and fancy footwork - to anyone who wants to hear it. Glimmer of hope for the rest of the day.

On the way home - after pricing new jogging strollers at Target - I decided to brave the Winco store. (Why isn't anyone around to slap me on the back of the head when I have stupid ideas?) I had Mary-Beth in the BabyHawk Mei Tai (front carry b/c I wasn't wearing the right shirt for modest back carrying) and Jonah in the cart. Would you believe they still found a way to annoy each other? And I keep a running $ tally on a little tablet, but I had to write waaaaay up in the air because Mary-Beth was convinced that, because she could reach the pen, she was entitled to the pen. So, since I don't have that nifty-noodle Seinfeld Astronaut Pen, I kept having to thwap-thwap-thwap my pen against my to get it to work.

Somewhere in bulk foods Jonah said his tummy was hurting. Oh man. So while trying to dump the contents of my purse's protector into the basket part of the purse, I wound up dumping the whole purse on the floor. Double crap. Coins and other purse fodder skittering everywhere. So picture me on the floor, Mary-Beth on my front, biiiiiig old butt in the air, schlepping up my purse's guts from under the bulk food containers and shoving them in a plastic bag. Grrrrrreat. By the time I was able to hand Jonah the protector he said he didn't have a tummy ache anymore.


Is it wrong to actually wish your child would vomit?

The checkout was a nightmare! Trying to unload the cart with Mary-Beth on my front grabbing everything out of my hands. Jonah reaching back and throwing things onto the conveyor. So it was a one-item-at-a-time thing and it wasn't at ALL organized the way my anal little grocery store self likes to do it. Meat together, produce together, boxed stuff together, bulk food stuff together, deli stuff together... y'get me? All neat and tidy coming down the pike. A professional grocery bagger's dream. No such luck today.

And then???

There I am, bagging my own groceries, minding. my own. business. When this... this... woman! has the nerve to give me a disgusted look on her way out the door. I have NO idea what it was about. Nobody was screaming or crying, none of us smells bad, my ponytail looked especially Yoga Pantsy today, and I'm pretty sure I didn't shoot her dog... no rhyme, no reason. I actually said out loud, "Do you have a problem?" complete with the sideways head shake. You know the one.

But thankfully she didn't hear me. I'm all talk, and I'm pretty "come and get me" on the surface, but I don't really want to confront people. Well, I do... I just don't want them to confront me. I'm too good at arguing and it gets me into trouble. So I guess it's a good thing she didn't hear me.

I might have served her up a Thin Little Slice of Hell.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

A few words to the wise

Please read and take to heart the following words of wisdom from a woman who‘s learned the hard way.

** If you have to leave the room while your toddler is sitting on the toilet... Take. The toilet paper. With you.

** Never leave your soda, your child and your step-stool in the same room together.

** Goldfish crackers float for a very long time, but they will clog the toilet.

** When the cat's away, the babies will play... with the litter box.

** At some point in their lives you will probably have to tell your children that bicycle tires are not to be eaten.

** Don't turn your back on a child with a bottle of ketchup in his hands.

** Tater tots keep for a rrrreeeeally long time in the nooks and crannies of a car seat.

** Your kids won't know you're alive... until the phone rings.

** If it's within reach, it's fair game.

** Your teenager will leave a drink on the floor, the babies will knock it over, and you won‘t know about it until you‘ve stepped in it.

** Eyes were made for rolling. (Duh!)

** You can tell your husband exactly what you want and he'll still claim you're a mystery.

** No, in fact, a broken graham cracker does not taste the same as a whole graham cracker.

** Your children will be best friends... until you're at the grocery store.

** The same child that can’t seem to lift that arm to pick up toys will suddenly sprout ten hands when you’re trying to wipe his nose/buckle his car seat/comb her hair.

Oh, there's so much more where this came from. This is all I could coax out of my rabbity mush brain tonight.

And how did I learn all this? How many hours in the cockpit of Hell's Airlines must one log to rack up this wealth of been-there-done-that? (What in the world goes on at her house?!)  Don’t ask. That is, unless you've got the afternoon free and you aren't easily upset by foul language.

I have to be honest here. Recent events in the lives of some good friends of ours have made me realize that I really have nothing worth complaining about. This may be a thin little slice of hell, but it's my slice. It's a zoo, but it's my zoo. And call me crazy, but I wouldn't trade my animals for anything else in the world.

I'm just thankful I have animals tonight.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

This! is Where The Wild Things Are!

(NOTE: Another very old entry with some inappropriate content.  And so much has changed since then, both in my family and in my heart.  But I chuckled here and there so decided to leave it.)

"Tsk tsk tsk. Get a load of those kids, Harriet. I think we've discovered who took a bite out of every apple in the produce section. The mess in Bulk Foods? Mm-hm. Probably. I'm glad I brought my shopping list with me. I declare, I just can't think with all that yelling and screaming going on. Why do grocery stores have to echo so? Look! She's clomped her hand over that baby's mouth - again. As if it did any good the last time. *gasp* Merciful heavens, did she just take a drink from a flask!??!! Oh that poor harried woman. How she must look forward to naptime. Just look at those bags... No Harriet, not those bags. The ones under her eyes!"

I never imagined I'd be the whisper-ee at the grocery store, but it's happened. Oh, not because of Ashley. Now a high school freshman, the most noise I can get out of her in public is the grating sound her eyeballs make when she rolls them. No, the whispering and finger-pointing is all about the babies. Jonah and Mary-Beth. Bonnie & Clyde.

Soooooo, at what point am I required to publicly acknowledge that my children are animals? And that most probably I am the reason why they're animals? I'm sure it should be a public proclomation of some sort, like a public service announcement. I mean, it's not as if I can hide it anymore. You can only keep the animals in their cages for so long, even at the zoo. Eventually they must come out to eat, sleep and potty. (Right?)

I guess I really should make it public somehow. The acknowledgement, I mean. I don't want anyone to think that I don't know that they know I know they know. Y'know? I hate being the only one in the room who doesn't get the joke.

Ignorance really is bliss. Gone are the days when I could tra-la-la through town without an inkling of the chaos I leave in my wake. What I don't know can't embarass me. As it stands now, I feel as if I've been walking around town with my skirt tucked into the back of my underwear all day, but nobody told me. I didn't discover it until I went to put my p.j.'s on.


And I was wearing my hole-y granny panties! The dark blue ones that accidentally got bleached, so now they've got weird spots and streaks all over them. Period underwear! Dang dang!! How come I'm never in my hoochie-momma Victoria's Secret "Wonder What's Under There" chonies when stuff like this happens!!!

So, back to the PSA. How about a bumper sticker? "Animals on Board" That would do, I suppose. Or how about "AKC Registered" instead? Do your kids have to actually be AKC registered before the American Kennel Club will give you a bumper sticker? (Will they even register kids?) Maybe a bumper sticker isn't the way to go. Something a little bigger? I need to get my message out to John Q. Public as a whole, and fast. And let's face it, I don't have my minivan with me 24/7.

Maybe I can wear a t-shirt that announces the babies' fauna status in big bold letters?

"Beware: My Children Are Animals. Keep all fingers and toes safely inside your own personal space. If you stick it in their mouths, they will bite it. We cannot be held responsible for the stupidity of those who ignore posted warnings. No flash photography, if you please."

Since the shirt itself will already be plenty big (shut up) maybe the letters won't need to be all that big and bold. Hmm. You're right. Not quite splashy enough to get the word out. The idea has merit, but it lacks zing and razmataz.

I know! I could put a concrete lawn elf in the front yard. He can hold a big sign that says "This! is Where The Wild Things Are!" I can probably get Dan to rig some sort of blinking light thingee. Oh! Oh! Maybe we can set it to music? Yeah! I think I'm onto something here.

A synchronized lights-blinking-to-the-beat-of-the-blaring-music spectacle! Tooootally Broadway. I'm sure our neighbors wouldn't mind a little "Jungle Boogie" to mask the sound of kids fighting in my back yard. And I'd have some nifty music to vacuum by, wouldn't I. Shake-shake-shake my groove thang, shed a few pounds. Kill two birds with one stone.

Eh. You're only alloted so many police visits per year, and I don't want to have The Law showing up uninvited more than my fair share. Maybe I need to try a more dignified approach. Maybe the announcement should come in the form of a speech? Yeah. A good old fashioned politicky concession speech.

I can see it now. I'm standing at the Podium of Shame dressed in my wrinkly jelly-stained mom uniform, the heel of one Sensible Shoe broken, bun askew. I'm doing my best to maintain my composure while I read my cue cards to a crowd of former supporters and smug know-it-alls. I am flanked by all my campaign insiders -- neighbors, grocery store clerks, nursery workers, friends who used to go out to dinner with us -- all of them nodding somberly, eyes downcast. Amid their chorus of hallelujahs and amens you can hear them muttering, "Yes, yes. It's true. They are indeed animals and you suck as a zookeeper. We've seen it for ourselves. We would encourage you not to quit your day job, but alas... this is your day job. So we concur, we whole-heartedly support your statements, and even though we promised never to say it... we SOOOO told you so."

Um, maybe not. Come to think of it, public scrutiny has never been my bag.

I think I prefer some bliss and a little tra-la-la. I think I'll just pretend that I don't know that you know I know you know. I'll hair-spray my bun back into place, staple that smile on, and pull my children through life by their earlobes. I'll keep my grocery cart in the middle of the aisle so they can't pull down the spaghetti sauce display. Again. (shut up) I'll post a "Beware of Kids" sign on the fence and I'll try to keep my purse stocked with "pie for that hole." I'll do my best to keep their hands out of your purse, their teeth off your end tables, and their toys out of your toilet.

But I promise never to wear granny panties again. Some things you just don't do to other people.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Momma's had it, and this time nobody's safe!

(NOTE: Oh how much has changed since I wrote this one. I'm no longer the center of my universe, thank God.  But I'll not delete it, just in case you're feeling the same and need someone to commiserate with you.)

Why do mommas have nervous breakdowns? Why do women turn to retail therapy, even if it means bills don't get paid? Why do we look frazzled and worn? Why do we have Samsonite growing under our eyes? On any given night you might find a momma in her bathrobe, zombie-walking the hallways with a Pooh Bear under one arm and Pledge in hand, muttering something about toilet brushes and Calgon.

My favorite line from Ferris Bueller's Day Off: "Sooner or later, everyone goes to the zoo." She must have been talking about mothers. And why do we go to the zoo? Why? I'll tell you why. It's the people we live with. It's the repetitive nature of the oh-so-mundane. It's the number of times we have to do or say the same stupid thing over and over again! To wackos who ignore it entirely! Insanity!

If I had a dollar:

- for every time I've told Jonah to stay out of Ashley's room!

- for every time I've told Jonah to stay out of MY room!

- for every time I've reminded Mary-Beth that the trash can and its contents are OFF limits...

- for every time I've told Ashley to pick up her towel from the bathroom floor...

- for every time I've reminded Jonah that toast does not belong in his glass of milk...

- for every time I have to restart the dryer after discovering that some baby at my house has opened it. Now it's time to go but all my clothes are still wet...

- for every time I've folded all my aprons and put them back in the drawer...

- for every time I've asked Ashley why it's okay for me to spend my money on a new CD for her, but it's not okay for her to spend her money. "I'm saving it, Mom. Gosh." As if I'm the one who doesn't get it.

- for every time I tell that child to stop banging his spoon on the table!

- for every time I've stubbed my toe on a pot or frying pan that's been removed from the cupboard and used as entertainment...

- for every time I've said, "Well if you KNOW then why am I having to TELL you? Again!" Those of you with teenagers will be able to relate...

- for every time I've explained to Jonah that hitting his baby sister is still not allowed. Yet he has the nerve to act surprised every time he's punished! "What'd I do?" Just like Jib-Jab's Clinton.

- for every time I've responded to "Momma watch! Momma watch! Momma watch!" He never looks up to see if I'm already looking at him, and he says it usually three, sometimes four times in quick succession. When he's confident he has my full attention, he jumps in place one time and smiles as big as if he'd just found the cure for cancer...

- for every time I've said, "No standing on the furniture! Sit down!"

- for every time I've said intimacy includes friendship and conversation, a general interest in what's going on in someone's head. So you have the conversation about it and things improve... for two weeks. Then here we are again. In my opinion, your girlfriends should not know you better than your spouse. But if that's where you're forced to get your intimacy, it'll have to do.

- for every time I've reminded my homeschooled daughter that her friends have been sitting at a desk for two hours already, yes it IS a decent hour, get OUT of BED! Now!

- for every time I've had to deal with the mountain of sunflower seed shells on the floor and in the door pocket of my van after a road trip.

- for every time I've shown the people in this house where the clean dishes belong. ATTENTION PEOPLE! Intentionally doing a half-assed job will most definitely not get you excused from duty. It will get you growled at! Just like the stinkin' last time you got growled at! Please pay as much attention to where the dishes go, as you do to who sings what song or what auto manufacturer made what car! I can't tell you how sick I am of "Well fine, YOU do it then."

- for every time I've taken the remote control out of a baby's mouth...

- for every time I've removed a stuck finger(s) from a closed drawer, door, trash can lid, toy...

Only one vitamin per kid per day! Leave me some hot water! We're strangers and you don't seem to care! No jumping on the couch! No loud music when babies are napping! No writing on the walls with your popsicle! No yelling at Momma! No scratching! No hitting! No spitting! No running! No screaming! No! No! No!!!!!!!!!!

Literally every thing on this list happens every day! Well, almost everything. The popsicle thing only happens in the summertime. But man! The sheer effort it takes to not jump in the mini van, toss the car seats out onto the lawn, brush the sunflower seed shells from my seat and drive into the horizon without looking back. Trust me, it's so. so. tempting. Just me and my new LL Cool J album on the open road. No TeleTubbies, no Tonka trucks, no stepping in yogurt with bare feet.

If only I had a dollar for every time all those things happened, I could afford the gas for my trip into the horizon.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Just look away

Sorry gang, this one is serious. The scariest thing happened yesterday.

I was in the bathroom installing cabinet doors (and doing a poor job at that) when Dan came in, looking pale and short of breath. He had been playing with Jonah and happened to look up in time to see Mary-Beth teetering by the couch with my kitchen scissors in her mouth! Pointy side in! Pointy side in, man! I think it's fair to say the sight of it shaved 5 years 23 days and 11 minutes off poor Dan's life. The look of fright was soon replaced by a look of "hellooooooooo not-so-smart!"

You see, the scissors were within Mary-Beth's reach because I didn't put them away. I had used them in the living room and gotten up from what I was doing, leaving them on the couch. I know, I know. Talk about irresponsible. We all know scissors don't belong anywhere except nestled in a cozy little drawer rubbing shoulders with the pens, playing cards, spare keys and loose change. You're right, I know you're right. I thought I had pushed them far back enough that Mary-Beth couldn't reach them. It's weak, but it's the truth.

What would have happened if Dan hadn't looked up? What if he hadn't even been in the room? Worse yet, what if Mary-Beth had fallen? Unfortunately I can imagine it all too well.

I have a maddening side affect left over from a depression in my 20's. It strikes me without warning and stops me in my tracks sometimes. I can quite vividly picture any form of death or dismemberment. Car accident, plane crash, drowning, torture... you name it, I've pictured it or had a dream about it, and imagined it unfolding in excruciating detail.

I can hear all the sounds - car engine revving when the tires leave the ground, jet engines roaring, metal buckling and glass shattering. I can feel the movements, or the cessation of movement as would happen in a plane crash. And even imagine the pressure of debris on my body (the images of 9/11 didn't stop when I turned the television off) or how suffocating it would feel to be enveloped by mud or snow. The sting of glass fragments and piercing of sheet metal. Being in my car upside-down in a river, unable to get all the kids out of carseats and seatbelts. The gruesome list goes on and on.

In days past, when fear would strike I'd sit and nurture each horrific scenario from beginning to freakish end with gut-wrenching clarity. I'd relive it over and over again in slow motion, adding grim detail each time. Enough to dement even the soundest of minds. It was a macabre game I played with reality. It was all too easy to overwhelm myself with what if's, nearly to the point of insanity.

I don't get to choose whether or not the fear strikes. It happens when it happens and I can't stop it. The choice is in deciding not to dwell on it. I just have to look away. Just mentally look away. It seems to work for me.

I also have a plan for literally everything. I keep scissors in the van so I can cut all the seat belts and carseat harnesses if I need to. I know where all the exits are. I sit in the rear of planes and trains, and I have a plan for burglars that just might curl their hair. Lose a limb? Grab it! I'm all over the ice chest! You just can't be too prepared.

So what have I learned?

1. Fear is pointless. It really and truly is! (If I say it enough I might start to believe it.) No matter how many times I chew up a plane crash in my mind's eye, I can't stop one from happening.

2. You just can't be afraid of living. You can try to avoid life, but it happens in spite of you. And a lot will happen without you if you lock yourself away in fear of the what if.

3. If I live in fear, my kids will do the same. That point is probably my biggest motivation for living by #1 and #2. I refuse to pass on this legacy of fear.

I do everything I can to keep my husband and my kids safe. We hold hands while crossing the street. We buckle up for safety. We wait 1/2 an hour after eating before we swim. But Mary-Beth still got her hands on the scissors. One stupid mistake could have cost my baby her vocal cords, or her eye, possibly even her life. And while that scares the hell out of me, I can't dwell on it. I just have to make a conscious effort to evaluate it and decide what not to do next time.

And look away.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Things I've learned the hard way

1. Feeding a baby pureed beets will most definitely have an effect on contents emerging from the business end of said baby in the near future.

2. Always tell the babysitter when you've fed the baby pureed beets.

3. No matter how tall or fast you are, the baby will get to the crumbs on the floor before you.

4. I guarantee you, your toddler can open the dryer door. That's why your skirts are still wet.

5. Don't tell the baby what time you went to bed the night before. She doesn't care.

6. No, your perfume does not mask the scent of spit-up. And spraying it directly into your armpits only works for a few hours. And marginally at that.

7. The baby really does wait to pee until you've removed the diaper. He likes that face you make when you're running for cover. The squeal's fun, too.

8. A baby's cry is on the momma frequency during the night. It's like a dog whistle, the daddy can't hear it. But oddly enough the other children in the house can.

9. Don't wear white shirts until your children are 10 years old. Black is slimming, and the pb&j doesn't show. Neither does juice, coffee, spaghetti, ketchup...

10. I know that if something happened to one of my children, I'd cherish every stain. I'd look back with longing to a time when I could spend an hour alone with the baby each night. I'd dig through the laundry hoping to find a blanket that still has spit-up on it. I'd remember every frustrating moment and guard the memories of them carefully, knowing I wouldn't change a single thing.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

"I poopin' a-din!"

Jonah's been trying to pooh for days now. Well, he isn't really trying to go, he's doing his level best not to go. He's holding it in. The boy will. not. go. It isn't constipation, I guess it's called "hoarding" in expert circles. He's actually hoarding pooh. In the Latin, poopus refusus. No matter what you call it, it's clear he has an issue with control. (Can a two-year-old have control issues already? He's so amiable in every other area.)

When the urge approaches, Jonah will stop in his tracks and bend in a contorted sort of freakshow fashion, legs and all. I hadn't realized you could bend sideways until I saw Jonah do it. He holds his shoulders back with his chin pressed down to his chest. He stares straight ahead and lets out a sort of long low mournful moan. Sounds like the letter "n" but with your mouth wide open and the guttural sound coming from the back of your throat. We say, "Jonah, what's the matter?" and he replies, "I poopin' a-din."

Another favorite laboring position is an against the wall & spread 'em affair, as if he's preparing to be patted down by the law. He stands with his hands against the wall, feet shoulder width apart, grunting and sweating with Herculean effort. We say, "Jonah, are you pooping?" and he squeezes out a breathy weary "Noo-oo-o."

Eventually the determination of the *ahem* "oncoming traffic" will overcome Jonah's resolve to staunch its progress, and the matter is taken care of without his consent. He's so alarmed, the look on his face at his sudden inability to control the world around him is so sad!

I've tried everything: suppositories, Vaseline, juice, fiber, everything. I even try to catch him during a labor pain and make him walk around or crouch, or better yet get him to the big boy potty in time for the main event! All to no avail. I just don't know how to make a boy go pooh, short of an enema (which I just can't bring myself to do). But something did finally do the trick. All I had to do was scrub the tub!

That's right. I scrubbed out the bathtub with my favorite cleanser, Lysol Basin Tub and Tile Cleaner. Man, I love that stuff. I made it nice and sparkly, even got the walls, although no one but me would notice that. Then I filled the squeaky clean tub with nice warm water, just on the verge of too warm. I poured in Jonah's favorite bubbles ("mmmm, Momma, dat fmells fwitty!") and, after wiping up the pee spot on the bathroom rug, I inserted the boy.

He played, he splashed, he had a jolly good time. The hot water, the bubbles, the mounds of tub toys, all did wonders for getting his mind off his "traffic" troubles. You should try it if you have a boy suffering from poopus refusus.

He'll poop in your clean tub in no time flat.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I just peed on my apron strings.

I swear to you, I really did just pee on my apron strings.

Mary-Beth seems to be pretty high maintenance today. She woke up with a wicked cough and her runny nose seems worse today than yesterday. She's probably teething on top of that - jolly. Makes for a whiney, I want UP "I just wanna be loved" baby.

Anyway, I got up this morning at the butt-crack of dawn and managed to schlep my way to the kitchen for my morning cup of git-after-it. I think I'd been sitting there staring into space for only five minutes when I heard the babies in the monitor, Mary-Beth saying "da-da-da-d-d-d-da-da-da" in her little infant version of Morse Code, and Jonah singing his A-B-C's. The amiable nature of their conversation soon turned ugly and I realized I couldn't put them off any longer. I hadn't visited the potty yet (we have kids, we don't say "toilet" anymore, we say "potty") but figured I could sneak in a quick tinkle before I gave Mary-Beth her bottle.

Um, no.

I don't know about you, but I have yet to figure out how to go potty while holding an infant intent on knowing and seeing what you're doing. And at some point in the process I'm going to need both hands at the same time. (If you happen to be a man, shut up.)

I set her down on the living room floor and did my best to make like a tree and leaf, IF ya know what I mean. She went from Nirvana to Armageddon in a nanosecond. Oh my stars, she sounded like a fire alarm gone dreadfully wrong! I decided I'd better just bite the bullet, cross my legs and feed her first. 8 ounces, comin' right up.

When she finished her bottle I went to take the empty to the sink. Of course, Jonah saw that I was in the kitchen, which clearly indicated that I was ready and willing to rustle 'im up some grub. *sigh* Toast with "pee-buh" (peanut butter) and one dish of applesauce, comin' right up.

Finally I was finally able to sneak off to the loo. Great God Almighty free at last! I had to go SO bad that I was piddling like an old lady by the time I got there. I knew I wouldn't be able to haul my skirt down - not in the hurry I was in - so I opted for my patented scoop-it-up-to-your-waist-and-hope-you-get-it-all method. Streamlined, you know.

Then... aaaaahhhhhhhhh. Heaven. For a moment, anyway.

Bang bang bang! It's coming from down low on the door so I figure it's Jonah. "Maw-MAW! Momma? Uh IN!" Which, loosely translated, means "Pardon me Mother dear, I notice you have the door locked which, quite frankly, puzzles me. But be that as it may, might I possibly accompany you into the bathroom please? Silly me, I seem to have left a roll of toilet paper only half unrolled and I feel compelled to finish my task right now at this particular moment... Oh Mother? Mother dear, are you there?"

I didn't hear a syllable beyond "Pardon me" because I had long since turned on the faucet to drown out the noise. By crackie, I was going to pee in privacy and silence for once! I stopped needing help in the bathroom in preschool!

I sighed a long victorious sigh and reached down to scoop up a handful of toilet paper from the half-unrolled roll on the floor and set about my business. I had done it! I'd dared to dream the impossible dream and I had done it!

I don't know how long I sat there congratulating myself. I was roused from my reverie by the sound of a skillet hitting the top of the stove. Doubly scary since Jonah should NOT be able to reach the top of the stove. Prolly I should go check out that noise. (I know, I know! Why does the movie heroine always go check out the noise in the basement??? I hate that, too.)

I stood up and felt two long skinny wet *fwaps* on the backs of my knees. You guessed it. My apron strings hadn't made it to safety during my patented scoop-it-up-to-your-waist routine. Obviously my streamlined method for skirt acquisition needs to be streamlined. *sigh*

Oh well. I got to pee by myself.
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