Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sam went on a trip with his grandparents for a few days last week.

Owen was devastated.

Well, he was Owen-style-devastated, which is actually rather mild.

His teacher asked him how he was doing without Sam around:

"I am sad," Owen replied.

"Really? You don't look sad."

"Wewl," he shrugged, "I am," and wandered off to play.

That's the difference between Owen and Sam. Sam tends to spend his life at the endpoints of the continuum. On any given day/hour he can vacillate wildly between one and ten, spending only as much time in the 4-5-6's as numerically necessary to get to the opposite extreme.

Owen, on the other hand, gives new meaning to "restriction of range."

I was despairing the other day about Sam and the wild ride that is his emotional life. I was wondering how to "fix" it. But then it occurred to me that for some people, the 1's and 2's are worth it because they get to have the 9's and 10's. I was watching some home videos recently and marveling at Sam's capacity for JOY. It's really unlike the way I live my life, which, like Owen, is pretty solidly middle of the road, emotionally speaking.

And who am I to say one is better than the other?

I feel frustrated sometimes because it seems to me like he is making his life harder than it has to be.

But maybe someday he will pity me because I don't get to feel the same kind of euphoria he does when it turns out we DO have chocolate pudding!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Irony yet?

We we driving home from school planning a snack when Owen accidentally said, "I want it wif keem cheese."

AHAHAHAHA, the boys both laugh.

"You said KEEM cheese!"

BWAHAHAHAHA, wiping the tears from their eyes.

Oh they just can't get over it. He said "KEEM!"

Finally they collect themselves.

"I meaned, can I have it wif CWEAM cheese."

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Unforeseen bonus of children

They back you up about your spouse's . . . quirks.

Sam went downstairs this morning. Each step he asked, "Dad? Can I watch a show? Dad? Can I watch a show? Dad? Can I watch a show?"

He eventually came back upstairs and I asked if Dad had said yes to the show.

Sam replied, morosely, "He didn't say nuffin because I think his ears are broken."

Friday, August 5, 2011

A quick count

I've calculated the amount of some of the things I do on a weekly basis.

Socks to be washed if it's been a GOOD week: 70

Nails I'm responsible for clipping IN ADDITION to my own: 60

Lunches to pack: 15

Lunch bowls to wash: 30 -45

Outfits I need to put together: 28

That's SO many socks and nails! And just THINK for a minute about how long it takes to choose 28 complete outfits.

Fortunately, everybody is grateful for all the work I do.

The kids especially. They are always all, "Hey, mom, thanks for buying and washing and choosing my clothes each day! I definitely won't whine about being forced to dress myself!"

"Man, mom, I'm so appreciative of all the hard work it must be to buy food and prepare food and pack it into appetizing lunches, there's no WAY I would complain about the injustice of being asked to CARRY MY OWN lunchbox!"

That's the kind of thing MY kids say.

Certainly not things like, "This is my mom! She has a squishy belly!"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Now it just makes me feel guilty

This blogging thing used to be fun. Mostly it was a good a place to tell all eight of you at the same time the story about Owen getting sent home from daycare with seeds in his ears.

But now I have a job.

Where I can't slack off.


So I'm tired.

So I can't write anymore.

Sorry about that.

So stop checking.

If you see me change my occupation on facebook you can start checking again.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

And other things they didn't cover in the manual

Recently, Owen has been doing this thing where he gets upset because we're not giving him something he wants, or not doing something he wants us too, or not peeling his grapes and carrying him around on a feather pillow. So he's upset and he'll start to cry and then he'll start to be all,
"Mah Eye! Mah Eye! Mah Eye huwrts!"

And I'm taken aback. Because where did that come from? And do I believe it? I feel like the minute I was breathing a sigh of relief that my kids were old enough to tell me in words that they are in pain, they also became manipulative enough to FALSELY claim they are in pain when I dared to thwart their will in some way.

But if I believe that his eye hurts when he cries, what do you suppose that's about?

You don't think it has anything to do with the fact that he likes to stroke his eyeball with his dirty stanky homma blanket that he also likes to put up his nose and in his ear, do you?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fierce cheesy snacks

Chris and I got home from from an evening out to find Owen with his head in the lap of our babysitter, Cake. (I mean, some people might call her Kate, but that's not really as catchy, is it?)

My youngest son's expression was one of man who has seen too much.

"I think he had a bad dream," Cake tells us.

"Dere were Cheetos on my wight," Owen pipes in, sniffling. "Dey fewl on me and bited my skin off."

Jesus Christ those were vicious, vicious, cheese puffs.

I'm like 99% sure he meant that there were cheetahs on his light, which, while not making a whole like more sense, at least doesn't make me want to burst out laughing in the face of my obviously traumatized son.

Parenting. It's a delicate line we walk. Between scarring the children by using them strictly for entertainment value and squeezing every last bit of enjoyment out of the little buggers.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Why is blue?

Yesterday, somewhere between "Are squids nice?" and "How do you make pets?" Sam asked, "Mom, can we take a second and talk about violence?"

Um. No?

"The worstest thing you can do in the entire world is shot somebody."

Not going to argue with that.

Because it would be weird to list things worster than that to a five-year-old.

"When Merton Looter King got shotted, one good thing is that the man who shotted him went to jail."

I mean, I guess if you're looking for a silver lining there.

"If you shot people, it is so bad you have to go to jail and live there. So you should never play with a gun and point it at people."


"Why are there no superheros?"

It was a Very Special Conversation Sam had with me there.

Today he asked, "Is that a penis?"

Instead of being embarrassed like a normal parent I was all, "BOOYAH!! Yes it IS a penis! What NOW, Question Boy?"

Monday, February 28, 2011

Ms. Manners

Okay. So here's the thing. Sharing an office isn't as great as having my own, but it's really not that bad either.

Except . . .

What am I supposed to do when I have gas?

Mind you, it doesn't happen to me a lot. But it does, occasionally, happen.

And I'm nervous about how to handle it.

Before, it didn't really matter. But now I've got five other people at my mercy.

And vice versa!

Which is another question.

What do you do when someone else has gas? Does that ever happen? Is there cubicle etiquette I should be aware of? Do we warn each other? Is that what it means when someone has to go "check the fax machine?"

Any other office-sharing landmines (so to speak) I should be aware of?

Is is okay to eat tuna fish for lunch?

Talk about Lilly's poops with Chris during lunchtime phone call?

Eat candy if I don' have enough to share?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Last week: Thoughts, Observations, Lesson's Learned

1) Good lord. Lilly just poked me in the nose so hard that she may have broken her finger.

2) I understand the dying-in-the-cold scene in Jack London's novels a little better now. It would, apparently, be quite cold.

3) I'm going to go ahead and file "anal fistulas" under T, for Things I've Accidentally Read About that I Now Actively Hope Not to Experience.

4) While researching for a lecture on bullying in schools I found out that "teasing overweight girls" is on the list of things you shouldn't Google search because it's not going to return what you think it's going to return.

It's like I live in a wildlife preserve

I was sitting in bed yesterday when, from, TWO INCHES AWAY,





I was leaning against the wall which is actually the fireplace wall that we have put our bed in front of. Because fireplaces are actually less useful than walls 'round here.

There was a BIRD trapped in our chimney.

It was upset.

Which made me upset.

But I couldn't exactly imagine pulling our king-sized bed away from the wall and opening the fireplace so it could fly out, frantic and soot-covered, into my bedroom.

But the alternative to that was listening to it die a slow and painful death in there.

Which might be hard to sleep through?

Fortunately, I came up with a third alternative:

Go to Target and forget about the bird.

It actually worked quite well. By the time I went to bed last night, the bird had either escaped or died. But I'm going to go with escaped.

It seems likely that the bat (you all may have heard about The Bat) came from the same place.

We should probably go ahead and get that chimney capped.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It's nice to know I'm not just grumpy

Yesterday as I was driving Sam and Owen to the grocery store, Sam started in with his usual,

"What is a bruise?" and "How do we laugh?" and "What does it mean to jump?"

Owen piped up and asked, "What is a cookie?"

And I just laughed. Because his tone of voice was so . . . familiar. It was clear he was imitating his brother. Which means that I'm not crazy. That Sam is asking an absurd number of questions recently. Even Owen is noticing.

Also, I know what a cookie is.

Then Owen asked, "What is a jumrip?"

"A what-now?"

"A jumrip. What is a jumrip?"

Okay, now you're just making stuff up.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Another reason I'll never be on Jeopardy!? I don't know anything.

Having a five-year-old around is like the worst, longest, most random IQ test ever.

Yesterday Sam added:

"Mom? How do we make words?"


"Mom? Why does smoke come out of our mouths when it is cold?"

to the list of questions that I neither know, nor care about, the answer to.

He asks these things and PEOPLE, let me tell you, I try. I try really hard to come up with a response. One both truthful and age-appropriate. Both accurate and concise.

But it is HARD and I don't like hard things. I like easy things. Thinking hurts and makes me tired and MY GOD I'm just trying to make you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and that is challenging all on it's own because we seem to buy the kind of jelly that comes with a cloaking device when you put it in the fridge. I don't need a lighting round.

It's not enough that I know how to find and play Wonder Pets on the television, now I need to know how the television makes pictures, too?

And, jesus, the SCOPE of these questions. I mean, How do we make words??? Where do you even START with that? As I'm stumbling through my understanding of how we FORMED THE FRICKIN ENGLISH LANGUAGE, it becomes clear that he actually wants to know WHERE IN OUR BODY we make words.

"Our teef? Our moufs?" He queries, eyebrows drawn together so concertedly it is as if he is trying to parody confusion.

So then I have to pull together whatever bits of information I've managed to retain over the years about voice boxes and whatnot.

I've started telling him, "Sam, I need you to stop asking questions right now." Which makes me feel like parent of the year, you know.

Squashing creativity and inquisitiveness is way easier than dealing with creativity and inquisitiveness.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Clark Kent

So Clark is going out to dinner with Lois Lane. They are waiting for a table when suddenly he sees an old lady getting mugged outside! He hurries and changes into Superman, saves the lady, but then, OH NO! A car is careening out of control - the driver is in a diabetic coma - and it's going to hit a baby carriage! Superman swoops in and saves the baby and gives the driver some orange juice or something. And he's about to head back to dinner, because he knows Lois is probably getting peeved at this point, but, crap, somebody just robbed the bank and has taken a bunch of hostages.

By the time he gets back to Lois, she's gotten mad and gone home. And nobody says, hey, great job, Clark.

That was my afternoon, if you replace Clark with me and Lois with Chris and dinner with our whiny kids and crime-fighting with stain-fighting.

Recent questions Sam has asked me that I don't know the answers to

1) What was the first sound?

2) But WHEN is second Christmas?

3) How is air?

4) Are eyeballs forever?

Feel free to take these, guys.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Guess what? Sam is like Chris.

Yesterday morning, Sam was sitting on my bed watching TV and getting dressed for school.

Well, actually, what he was doing was sitting on my bed, watching TV with his mouth hanging open, clutching a limply dangling shirt in his immobile hand.


The shirt would twitch closer to his body.


He'd open the bottom of the shirt.


He'd begin to put one hand in the sleeve.


Eventually I made him go to his room and get dressed. He emerged five seconds later, fully clothed.

It was notable, this television hypnosis, and I wondered if maybe it wasn't a good thing.

That night, Chris and I are in the kitchen. I'd been loading the dishwasher while Biggest Loser was on the TV. Sam comes in and asks for some milk.

Two minutes later I turn around and see Chris, his hand on the open refrigerator door, staring at the TV, mouth hanging open.

It wasn't even the weigh-in, people. They were just jogging on treadmills.

Just a few of the people that irked me yesterday

Yesterday was one of those days where I wonder if humanity is really as necessary as I've been led to believe.

I was irked by:

1) The girls standing next to me while waiting for the shuttle who had a conversation that went like this:

"Oh the snow!"

"I know!" - Huge guffaws of laughter

"So where are you from?"

"Arizona, but Nairobi originally."

"Oh WOW. Do you think you'll ever go back there?"

"Well, I visit every year, except probably not this year." - Huge guffaws of laughter - but why?

"Oh, well the snow must be new to you."

"Well I went to college in upstate New York, so I've seen snow!" - laughter, of the huge sort.

"NO WAY! I went to college in Vermont!"

"Are you SERIOUS?!"

"Yeah! I grew up in Vermont, all my brothers and sisters grew up there too!"

"Are you FOR REAL?! WOW!"

"Yeah, but my sister-in-law is from Florida and when she came here she'd never seen the snow before and when she came she was all, 'It's so cold!'" - here the Nairobi girl actually half collapses with laughter.

It went on from there, but you get the point. A lot of amazement and laughter that seemed uncalled for. On the shuttle I contemplated what it must be like to live life in such an expansive way. I concluded that she was covering some severe emotional pain with all that interest and laughter.

2) The shuttle. The shuttle irritated me mightily. It seems like every time I clamber on to head back to my office the shuttle driver decides to take his 20 minute break. So that happened. I was sitting on the shuttle to nowhere, like a piece of installation art. Every so often a new person would walk up to the shuttle, pull the doors open, and climb on board. Then one person walked up to the shuttle doors and stood there, clearly perplexed by the situation. She looked around for the driver and then just sort of stood there. While the poor girl is standing outside, the people sitting inside are heckling her - "does she expect someone to open the doors for her!" (is that unreasonable?), "is she just going to stand there?" "What an idiot!"

It seemed like a darker side of humanity. Mostly because I could totally see myself in that situation. Did you all know that that was the appropriate thing to do in that situation? Because, actually, when I first tried to board this same shuttle bus, while the driver was actually behind the wheel, he honked me imperiously away from the door because he had not yet pulled up to the exact shuttle-stopping spot. For "safety" reasons he explained when he eventually deigned to let me board. But it is safe for us to pry open the doors to an unattended but running shuttle bus?

3) But don't think this woman is the victim here. When someone up front finally opened the door for her, she sat next to me. As we are driving, I want to let this poor, abused, woman know that some of us are friendly people, so I decided I will chat with her. "At least the roads look like they are clearing up in time for rush hour," I said. While this is neither fascinating nor profound, it's relatively innocuous, right? She ignores me COMPLETELY. Do you know what it's like when you have sent a statement out into the world and it just hangs there? It's pretty uncomfortable.

Honestly. People.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

See wha had happen was . . .

A lot of boring stuff.

It was sick kids, sick Chris, Christmas, sick kids, Florida, sick me, blah, blah, blah.

Florida was good this year. Owen perfected the art of shooting fireballs. He used to just shoot them with his eyes, but now he knows that you have to point your finger and say "pssshw" for maximum impact.

Since we got back from Florida, Owen has cried every time he had to go outside.

I understand, man.

When I picked the boys up at school on Monday, Sam said, "We're going to dinner at Hoppa Homma's house today!"

"Not this Monday, buddy, they are still in Florida."

"WHAT?! They need to come HOME."

"I know, I miss them too."

"I don't MISS THEM, they just need to come home because they are just STAYING in Florida and NOT COMING HOME so now I can't go to their house for dinner and that's not fair and they just need to come HOME and stop staying in Florida so much."

And Owen said, "But Homma is pwetty nice to me."

And Sam said, "OWENAH. Stop disreplacing me!"

And Owen said, "But she is. She made me a Homma bwanket because she's got a wot of yarn."

"OWEN. That doesn't even got anything to DO with Florida."

"Yes it does. She had yarn in Florida."