Sunday, December 29, 2013

Report from Florida

I don't even have anything funny to say.  But Jessica is RELENTLESS.  Somebody should tell her about Google News or one of those mommy-blogs where they post all the time.  Probably because they get paid.

We are in Florida right now.

So, obviously everybody is sick.

Chris and I and the kids usually sleep in the same room, but due to low Florida attendance this year, for the first three days, Chris and I got our own room.


And then that ended, and I was reminding why it is so horrific to share with the kids.

Sam grinds his teeth, which is a lot of fun.  Not as much fun as it is to wake up to Lilly patting my face and telling me that I am the best mom ever.

Aww.  That adorable.  Now shut up and go back to sleep.

When she isn't telling me I'm magnificent, she's waking up screaming.

And Owen, well, he's a great sleeper, when he's not weeping about being forced to sleep with Lilly in the same room.

Sleeping children are so peaceful.

On T.V.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The first morning of vacation, Owen woke up with little dots around his mouth.

The next morning, Lilly woke up with little dots around her mouth.

And, then, SURPRISE!  Sam woke up with little dots around his mouth.

The doctor said she would treat it, because it might be contagious.

You think?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The weather has been relentlessly good this year.

It's a lot of pressure, actually.

Jeez, sun, can we get a minute to go outlet shopping?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday funtime parade of joy

Today was insanely stressful for no goddamn good reason.

Chris went to a football game so I was on my own with the kids.  Which is fine given that they are my children.  It's just that we are used to doing things as a family on the weekends which gives us a parent to child ration of 2:3, or dividing up, giving us a parent to child ration of 1:1 and 1:2.

But today was 1:3.  Which becomes a problem when you organize the day as if you are at a more favorable ratio.

This morning, I packed everybody in the car and we went to the Children's Museum.  Sam haaaaaaates the Children's Museum.  Life is sooooooo booooring.

We'd been there for about 20 minutes when I suddenly remembered that Lilly had a class at Little Gym.  Those classes are about a million dollars per session, so the thought of missing one was upsetting.  It was 11:30.  I knew another class started at 11:45.  We were about 15 minutes away.  This could work.

So I called the Little Gym, got the go-ahead to attend the different class, and then gathered the children.

"Mooooooom.  I don't waaaant to leave," says Sam.

Oh for Pete's sake.  I told them we could come back after the class.

Look, I had to say something to get them out of there, and kids have the memory span of goldfish.  It's not like they would actually want to come back.

That right there is what you call "foreshadowing," my friends.

Also, I don't know if you noticed, but that timeline from a few paragraphs up? Do you see where I went wrong there?  I estimated the time as if we were ALREADY IN THE CAR.  By the time we got to the car, it was 11:41.  Also, who the hell am I kidding?  The Little Gym is 20 minutes away.  Always has been, always will be.  WHY do I continue to believe I can get there in 15 minutes?

So I'm driving and I'm all hyperventilating about being late and some part of my head is saying, "Hey, calm down.  We're talking about a gymnastics class for three year olds.  It is not a big deal."

But my heart was saying  "IRRESPONSIBLE!!"

So we went, and got back in the car to go home and OF COURSE the children remember my earlier statement (lets not call it a promise) about going back to the Children's Museum.

I look at the clock.  It is about 1:00, and we have to be at a party at 3:30. Plenty of time to stop back at the Children's Museum for a bit and then get home, eat lunch, take baths, get dressed and get to the Christmas party.


Bathing three kids by yourself is a weird thing.  They can't share a bath because they splash and someone will inevitably get pushed into the faucet.

But if you want the whole process to take less than a million hours, you have to be simultaneously washing a child and getting the last child dressed.  Which is hard when you are only one person.

Then I had to get myself dressed, and at this point, the stress level had reached Red Alert, so I put a soothing song on to play.  Which is how I know that the kids gave me exactly 2 minutes and 48 seconds before they started screaming.

It was an emergency.  Like someone picked up an abandoned toy to play with that did not, historically belong to them.

When we finally got going we were soooo late.  So of course I got lost many times, many ways.  Merry Christmas, to you.

The party was fun, but Lilly started begging to leave about 45 minutes before we actually did.  She was nearly hysterical by the time we started the drive home.

And of course I was driving home, in the dark, alone with three children, and my phone died.


And Lilly's in the back seat:

"MOM.  Why is it DARK.  MOM.  Why aren't we HOME?  MOM. Why are we out so late?  MOM. I'm so TIRED.  MOM.  Why did you DO this?  Where is DADDY?  I miss DADDY.  MOM.  It is so DARK.  I'm SCARED.  MOM.  Can I eat my treats?  MOM!  You NEVER let me eat my treats.  Do we have to go to BED?  We already went to bed LAST YEAR."

But, as a parent, I'm not even mad at today.  Because nobody threw up.

Things that are normal for regular people are sinister for parents

I got home tonight and Chris said, "Owen is asleep on the couch."

Oh shit.   Shitshitshitshit.

Asleep on the couch is no good.  No good can come of this.

Children do not ever ever ever fall asleep unless they are about to throw up, or have just thrown up, or a combination of the two.

He didn't want anything to eat.  He didn't even want to WATCH T.V.

I'll keep you posted, but I don't have high hopes for our near future.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Lesson #1 in comedy

"Owen," I said, "I don't understand why you like this show.  It doesn't make any sense."

We were watching Oscar's Asicks ("Oscar's Oasis for those of you who are technical about words).

This is a ridiculous show where unpleasant animals in the desert fight about stuff and get hurt in a Wile E. Coyote kind of way.  They don't speak, or do anything of substance.  There is literally no dialogue, just pratfalls and old-timey cartoon torment.  Entire episodes will be taken up with a lizard trying to get a strawberry and the buzzard that stands in his way.

It bothers me.

You can't even pretend it's educational.

"Like right now, Owen.  All of a sudden there are a bunch of chickens.  Why are there chickens?"

He doesn't even move his eyes from the screen as he says, in a tone that clearly conveys he is exhausted by my stupidity, "Because chickens are always funny."

The thing is?  He's basically right.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

When babies go wild

Jessica texted me today and told me I needed to write another post.

Look, I offered everybody here a chance to guest post, but the sign up sheet remained quite empty.

So I bought the kids an advent calender.  But it didn't come until the 4th of December.  I told the kids, in a slow and clear voice, they they each had to take a turn opening a door.  One kid per turn, one turn per day.  EXCEPT today, when we would open four doors at once to catch up.

Okay?  Does everybody get it?


There will be ONE door opened everyday, which means only one kid gets a turn.  Except, for TODAY ONLY, we will open four doors.


That means Sam will open a door, Owen will open a door, Lilly will open a door, Sam will open another door, and then there will be NO MORE TURNS until tomorrow.  When there will be ONLY ONE TURN.

Got it.

So we opened the four doors, and Lilly has said, approximately every half hour in the 24 hours since then, "You forgot to let me open my second door."

Today, when I got home, chaos was ensuing.  Sam explained that Lilly bit Owen and now they were both crying.

Some people might think that Owen would be crying louder, but that was not the case.  She was WAILING, "It's ALL MY FAULT!"  And I was like, "Well, yes, I can't argue with that."

And Owen's over there on the couch all, "hey, I'm the one with teeth marks."

She was all kinds of upset, so I didn't really feel there was a lot of point in yelling, but you can't just BITE people.

So I said, in a serious voice, "You are not allowed to open any doors on the advent calendar tonight, Lilly.  Only Owen can."

Which was AWESOME, because it was totally true ANYWAY, but she was devastated.  She would have been devastated anyway, but now she thinks I'm a strict, hard-line, no-biting, parent!  WIN!

Until tomorrow, and the rest of the 17 days of December.

Side note, when Chris came home, we told him what happened.  Chris said sternly, "Lilly, you are not allowed to bite."

And Lilly said, "I didn't BITE him, I just BIT him."

And Chris said, "Yes, you are NOT allowed to bite.  It's dangerous, and it hurts people -

 - "I didn't bite him, I bit him," Lilly interrupts.

"Yes," Chris says, "You can't bite."

"I DIDN'T BITE him, I BIT him."

Oh stop it you two.

"Lilly, you are not allowed to bit either."

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Never say never again

I took Lilly to Target the other day.  We walked past the Halloween clearance section.

You know, the stuff we all collectively had the sense not to buy when it was relevant, that we now want because it is 50% off and irrelevant.

Lilly found something called a "Princess Pumpkin Topper."  Near as I can tell, this thing is the top half a doll, but has no legs and then you put her skirt over a pumpkin.


Yeah.  I don't know either.

"MOM!  I want this dolly!"

"Lilly, that's a fake doll.  You don't want it."

"Mom!  I want it!"

"Seriously - it has no legs.  It's just the top of a doll.  It's a fake doll."

"Mom!  I like fake dolls!"

"What would you even do with a fake doll?"

"I would like it!"


"No, Lilly, you cannot have the fake doll."

She's crushed.

"You NEVER let me have a fake doll!"

She's been going to the "Never" a lot recently.  "You NEVER let me have a snack!" "You NEVER let me wear a dress!"  "You NEVER let me watch TV!"  All things I have clearly let her do within the past ten minutes.  It's annoying.

Though, to be honest, in this case it is probably accurate that I have never let her have a fake doll.

"Lilly.  We have talked about this.  I'm tired of you saying 'Never.'  Please think of a different way to say what you are feeling."

 "You NEVER let me say Never!"

Saturday, October 26, 2013

This is only a test

My boss came to my office the other day.  He asked me to come by his office later that afternoon to help him with a project.

I was kind of nervous, because I have no talents and can't do anything, so "projects" aren't really my thing.

So I went and sat down.  He folds his hands on the desk and says, "Beth, I don't want you to think of this as a test."

Oh shit.  It's a test.

"Really, all I want is your opinion, Beth.  I'm working on creating a questionnaire, and I'm trying to assess if MY understanding of what these questions are asking is the same as YOUR understanding of what these questions are asking."

So, you want me, your underlings, to tell you, my boss, if I think you are right or wrong?  Well, I don't see the danger in that!

"I've had about five other people do this, and they've all said it was a lot of fun!"

They were lying.  Because you are our boss.

So I sorted all the cards into piles.  When I was done, we went through my responses.  He said, "That's great, Beth!  You did WAY better than anyone else I've had do this!  You only got one wrong!"

I feel strongly that that was a test.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Motivational things we don't say

Perhaps it won't surprise you to hear that Lilly has developed a bit of a dramatic streak recently.

Remember a while back when she stood at the end of the driveway, waiting for her dreams to come true?

Yesterday she woke me up by telling me that she was listening to her heart, and her heart wanted to watch TV.

In the afternoon, Owen was playing with a toy he wouldn't share with her, and she said, "Owen!  You're breaking my heart!"

After dinner, her heart told her she really wanted to wear a dress instead of pants.

And then, when it was bed time, she said she was going to follow her heart downstairs for a snack.

The thing that's a little weird for me though, is that we don't say things like, "Follow your heart, Lilly."

What is HAPPENING at that school?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My brain is not big enough

Guys!  SHUT UP!

The universe is vast and confusing.

Remember Mason?  Sam's little friend?  I wrote about it a while back?  It made me look stupid?

Well, Mason's mom emailed today.

Inviting Sam over for a play date.

I was all, type-y type-y type-y "Great!  I've been meaning to get in touch with you guys again now that school is underway.  Thanks again for taking Sam to the Lion King!  It's our turn to host, so let's have Mason . . . "


I've been thought this before.

Sam's little friend is NOT NAMED MASON.

But . . . but I have the email.

It says, "Hi from Mason's mom."

So . . . his name was Mason?  All along?

I sat and I thought for a while.

I compared and contrasted emails.

I've concluded that this is, in fact, a whole new little friend.

Mason's mom is clearly fucking with me.  Probably because she reads this blog.

Who doesn't, right?

Monday, September 30, 2013

A shot in the dark

I got my flu shot today.

I think I tensed up or something because the nurse lady stabbed me and then pushed the plunger and sweet baby jesus on a bicycle it burned.

And then she said, "Oh, look at your muscle twitching!"

And I was all, 1) That's gross, 2) I didn't even know I HAD a muscle, 3) Never say that again.

It hurt in an aching, tender to the touch kind of way for the rest of the day.

That night, Chris and I were lounging around and I was whining about how much my arm hurt.  Lilly wanders up and points to my band-aid.

"What's that?"

"It's where I got my flu shot today."

"Does it hurt?"

Still deep in my whining to Chris, the word, "Yes!" accidentally fell out of my mouth.  As it was falling I was realizing what I had done.

"Yes I DO love you very much!  Oh, the flu shot?  No, it doesn't hurt."

And then she hauled off and punched me in the arm.  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Flip side

So I was just thinking about the time that lady accused my children of being well behaved and we got into a fight because I wouldn't disclose my parenting secrets.

Possibly I was thinking about it because, this time, while perfectly well behaved, Lilly did poop in her pants.  Which, at a certain point past potty training, I don't even understand.  I get peeing your pants, but pooping?  How did that catch you unawares?

This time, nobody was like, "Oh, your kids are so great!"

And then I thought about the time Owen threw a raging fit in Target because they didn't have the Buzz Lightyear snowboots in his size.  And the time the boys literally ran into a lady at the grocery store.  And the time my children were hellions at the restaurant.  Okay, the many times.

And it struck me how stupid people are.

Like, people in general.

This lady looked at once instance when my children were behaving well, and assumed that my children were well-behaved and I had something to do with that.  I'm sure all the people in all those other places looked at my children and assumed we were shitty parents.

When the truth, obviously, is neither.  Sometimes they are horrible children, sometimes they are fantastic.  Sometimes we are decent parents, sometimes we are crappy.

All those, "Let's ban kids from airplanes" stories kind of get to me, too.  Not because childless people are clueless (though they are), but because of the people who HAVE children and say things like, "My child would NEVER!"

Seriously?  Are you kidding me with that?  Your child has never had a melt-down?  Are you sure they are real children?  Because if they are, I call Bullshit.

I'm not saying you can't have your child-free flights or restaurants or whatever.  Just,I mean, do you have to be such an asshole about it?  No need to throw around words like, "brat," and "spawn" and lament about wanting to give these kids a good spanking.  Just say, "I'm kind of an asshole but also I like quiet."  I respect that.  I get it.

I just don't see why we have to be so mean.  And assume that these vignettes that you see are representative of the kind of children and parents these people are in general.

Here's the other thing I think is pretty true - you're kids pretty much are who they are.  You can take all the credit for a well-behaved child, but, honestly, that's probably just how they were born - good job not screwing them up yet.  And you can take all the blame for your child when he's raising a ruckus, but, honestly, he probably just needs a nap or something and we should all have a little fucking patience because nobody is perfect.

Honestly, when I see other children misbehaving, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.  Because I know that it is not my problem.  If Chris is around, we high five.  Not us this time!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mood rings

I follow two blogs.  Only two.  Used to be three but then she decided to make it private and you had to ask for the password and 1) I just felt really weird asking a person I'd never met for the password to her private blog and 2) what the hell is the point of a private online blog?  Like, a diary for you and your 10 best friends?  Dude, that's just a mass email.  That you make people enter a password to get.  

Lucky for you all, I have no hoops to jump through.  Except finding it in the first place.  SERIOUSLY could someone send me a link to my own blog?  Because I don't know the address here.  Currently, every time I post I have to go to facebook and scroll back on my timeline until I found the one time I posted the link there.  

But whatever works.

So, anyway, I follow two blogs.  I was checking one of them today and apparently she had just done a sponsored post and apparently there was a big blogger brouhaha because the sponsor was in a patent fight with a mom blogger over her domain name.  

I don't know.  Something like that.  Point is that people got RILED something fierce and she wrote an apology post.  

And for, like, 3 hours since then I've been walking around with this vague feeling of Something Is Horribly Wrong.  And then I have to identify the source of the feeling and then I'm all, "Oh, yeah, the weird bloggy fight.  That's not actually horrible!  Sweet!"  

Which is super because most of the time when I have that feeling and I try to remember the source it's like, "oh, yeah, that's right, our furnace blew up and we need $10,000 to replace it" or, "Shit I think Kristi is mad at me and now I have to go grovel."  

I think the blog controversy hit the same spot in my brain because I really just don't like fighting and confrontation.  But realizing that nothing horrible is actually happening is great!  Like when you wake up from dreams where your kid died or you forgot to wear clothes to work and get to think, "Oh thank God.  I still get to hug my kids and remember to wear clothes to work."

The flip side of that is when you have a warm fuzzy, Something Is Wonderful! feeling that turns out to be pretty irrelevant.  Like that day when a co-work came by and asked whether I'd walk out on my job for a million dollars (with only 5 minutes to decide and all the real life ramifications) and I spent the rest of the day figuring out what I was going to do with my million dollars.  

Or maybe that's just me.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A few random things together make a blog post

The boys are very much enjoying being back together in the mornings.  Now that Owen and Sam are going to school together, they have ample time to talk about their penises.


The other day, Owen said, "Mom? I want to tell you something, but please don't tell Hoppa and Homma."

"What's up, Owen?"

"After Kim and Kristi's we went out to ICE CREAM!"

I'm not really understanding why I can't tell Hoppa and Homma that."

"It's just that they would be really jealous."

Here's the thing, Owen.  Hoppa and Homma are in Europe right now.  So I think they're going to be okay.


This morning, Sam and I were downstairs.  Owen was upstairs, making some funny noises.

Sam, poster-child of tolerance, understanding and respectfulness, shouts, "OWEN.  Are you seriously CRYING right now?!"

And Owen, with complete confidence in his place in this world and a touch of sass, says, "I'm BATTLE-crying."

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Paying dividends

Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation with somebody and they are droning on and on about something and you just realize, "Jesus, I really don't give a shit about this."?

Because that's what it's like to talk to my kids.

Today, Sam asked me what would happen if hospitals gave all the money they made to the city.

The fuck?

That question just makes me want to lie on the ground, guys.

It's like sense and nonsense and boring all rolled into one.

Like, I don't know?  The hospital would lose money?  Are we talking hospitals giving profit away?  Do I have to explain profit now?

I mean, seriously.  Local politics and finances?

And this was AFTER a loooooooooooooong conversation about what insurance is and what percentage it pays of the hospital bills and do different kinds of people get different rates and SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.

I didn't actually say shut up because I love that kid to death and I want him to feel respected and appreciated and to learn things. (Seriously.  I'm not kidding about that.)

But it was like getting stuck with the worst dinner party guest ever.

Also, I would be a terrible teacher.  I think we should pay teachers a lot more money.  I'll even let you record these conversations and use them as Exhibit A for Why Teachers Should Get Paid A Lot: Questions about insurance.

Exhibit B: people that have no idea how to use colons in sentences.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ups and Downs

So things are going better around here.

We got a babysitter willing to pick the kids up for us after school.  I feel a little on the fence about her, but then I remember that my kids can talk and I'm pretty sure they will tell us if she smokes (they are very judgey about smokers) or brings her skeevy boyfriends around (gotta love public facebook profiles).  Point being, for the moment, she seems nice enough and my kids are awesome tattle-tales so we're just going to go with it for now.  Also she was the only one willing to take the job.

In other good news Sam seems to be feeling moderately better about life.  He's still an asshole, just not an UNRELENTING asshole.  I don't particularly know what has changed.  Maybe he was having some beginning of school anxiety?  And who doesn't act like an ass-hat when they are nervous?

Owen has been extra touchy-feely since changing schools.  It's kind of hard sussing out Owen's wee little signs of distress when we are so used to ducking-and-covering from Sam's life of extremely loud desperation.  But I still try to take it seriously and pay extra attention to Owen.  Also because, seriously, stop touching me.  So if anyone wants to come over, Owen's giving out free hugs and rambling stories about nonsense!

I heard some friends of ours tell their 3-year-old to "stop making that horrible noise" and I was really, really, relieved because I say that ALL THE TIME to Lilly and I thought maybe she was broken.  But apparently 3-year-olds just make horrible noises.

To be fair, it must be really sucky to be a 3 year old.  The other day, I told her we could take a walk somewhere, but then it started raining so I cancelled the walk.  This is all totally reasonable to me, but to her it must have felt mean and arbitrary.  Did she give a fuck that it was raining?  She did not.  But since she is 3, and thus, not in charge, her only recourse was to make a horrible noise.

Lilly has been having a hard go of it since Owen left her.  She got into trouble at school last week.  I arrived to pick her up and the teacher came over to me, holding a "work" that she had broken.  This was a brand new work.  She was the first child to "work" with it.  There was a magnifying glass and a round shell with a hole in it.  The point was to use the magnifying glass to look at the texture of the shell but instead she put the round handle of the magnifying glass into the round hole of the shell and twisted.

I'm going to be real honest here and say any one of us would have done the same thing.

But you can't say that, right?  You have be all, "OH!  WOE IS THE WANTON DESTRUCTION OF MY CHILD!  SHAME!  SHAME!"

And also she stabbed a little boy with a push-pin.

Let's not talk about that.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Looks can be deceiving

I took the children to the grocery store today.

And by that I mean I took the children to the grocery store and dropped them the hell off at the in-store daycare because they are horrible people and nobody wants to be around them unless they are being paid to and not always even then.

I tried to shop real slow-like because I knew I was having an irritable day and a break seemed like a good idea.  But then I got hungry and started throwing unhealthy stuff in left and right and I knew it was time to go.
So I checked out and went to pick up the kids.  As we were walking away, a lady stopped me and said, "Hey, I was watching my son in there and noticed your children.  I just have to say, they are such well-behaved, polite children."

And I said, "Oh, haha.  That's not how they act around me."

And she said, "But how do you make them act like that?"

"Oh, I don't.  Really, they just do this for other people."

"No, seriously.  I'm not joking.  What do you do to make them behave so well?"

"Lady, I'M not joking.  They're monsters.  Complete crackheads.  I appreciate that they act nicely around other people, but clearly I'm the weak link so don't ask me for advice."

She walked away, suspicious and hurt that I wouldn't share my parenting techniques with her.  And I'm honestly not sure who the weird one was in that conversation.

So I think that went well.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

You tell me.

In the car today, Owen said, "Mom?  What kind of bird is that?"

A flock of birds had just taken off from a building, soaring into the sky, free of annoying children asking science-y questions in the backseat.  

I turned to look more closely for a second before I realized I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA ABOUT BIRDS.

So I said, "I don't know, Owen."

And he said, "Mom?  Over there, those birds, do you see those birds?"

"Yes, Owen, I do."

"Mom?  What kind of birds are they?"

"I still don't know, Owen."


"Mom?  Do you think they are pigeons running away from a Peregrine Falcon?"

"Um.  Yes?"

And then Sam said, "Mom?  I'm not judging, but did you just run a red light?"

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Post. Humously.

Have you ever had the, "who gets the kids if we die" discussion?

You should, it's important.

You have to think about what it would do to the lives of the person you leave them to, but also where the kids would be happy.

So, just FYI, we're leaving the kids to the babysitter.

Because, to be honest, they like the babysitter more than us.

Maybe it's because she has voice immodulation disorder such that she can't speak above a soothing whisper.  Perhaps it's because she seems to actually enjoy playing card games with the kids.  Or it could be because they think her name is Cake.  Whatever the case may be, they would leave us in a hot second for this woman.

She reports that after she spent the whole day with them, while she was tucking Sam into bed he told her it had been the best day ever.

"How come?" Kate asks.

"Because I got to spend all day with you," Sam answers.

What the hell, right?  I don't think Sam has ever said something that nice to me.  Also, while that story might have sounded braggy coming from someone else, Kate is INCAPABLE of bragging.

This weekend when we told the kids that she was coming Owen said, "I just wuv Cake.  She makes everysing fair."

Okay, hey now, she's not a magician.  I don't even know how you make things fair with three kids.  That's not EVEN POSSIBLE.

And Lilly?  My princess?  My best girl?  Well, the night Kate was here she put the kids to bed.  At 4:00 in the morning, Lilly woke up.


For Kate.

I mean, that's cool.  It's not like I housed your stupid fetus self.  

So, she's kind of the obvious choice to take the kids if we die.  You guys are just going to need to make sure she gets $15 an hour until the kids turn 18.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Owen has taken "talking with your hands" to a whole new level.

For a while there, he was actually, literally, trying to replace speech with his own special code of hand signals.

I told him to knock it off.

Seriously, I'm just trying to get breakfast on the table here.  I don't need to play charades about what kind of cereal you'd like.

Recently, he's started clapping to add emphasis to his sentences.

"Mom!  Dad said that this weekend," CLAP, "we're going camping!"

"For dinner I'd like a," CLAP, "peanut butter and jelly sandwich."

"I've got to go to the," CLAP, "bathroom."

It reminds me a great deal of that old Saturday Night Live skit where the Austrian body builders were going to "PUMP," CLAP, "YOU UP."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Little Lilly

Okay, today I have two things to say about Lilly.

1) Lilly is relatively small, if what you are relating her to is a twin sized mattress, which, in this case, I am.  She sleeps on a twin bed.  In a corner of her bedroom, which means there are walls on two sides.  And we have one of those toddler bed rails on a third side.  The only open space is at the foot of her bed.  Foot, again, here, is relatively speaking, because if she has recently started INSISTING that she sleep down at the end of the bed, is it still the foot?  She also sleeps perpendicular to the bed, not parallel as normal people might.

So she falls out of bed a lot.  And part of me wants to be like, "well, not gonna lie here, you kind of deserve that," but the other part of me wants to sleep through the night again.

Because every time she falls out of bed, she cries about it.  I mean, I don't blame her for crying about falling out of bed.  I would too. What I blame her for is the crying and shrieking that she Wants. To. Sleep. THIS. Way.

Because it's the wrong way.

Also, a lot of the time, when she falls out of bed, she just lays on the ground, crying, instead of standing up and getting back in bed.

Just . . . man . . . just get back in bed, genius.

1) I also want to mention the danger of Chris squashing her.  

The man does trod places, you know.

 We've had a couple of close calls and, let me tell you, this is not a far-fetched fear.

2) Other than relative to a mattress, Lilly is not small by any standards.

The other day, Lilly said to me, with a contemplative look on her face, "All my friends at school are small."

Keep in mind that Lilly is, by a fair amount, the youngest person in her class.  But there are some wee little girls out there.

What I find charming about this is that she didn't say, "I am bigger than all my friends."

Nope.  She thinks she's regular, and just hanging out with a bunch of tiny little folks.

I know it won't last but, right now, she hasn't absorbed one single bit of way society thinks girls should devalue, and critique, and alter themselves.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


When Chris is done with something, he is SO done.

When he is ready for something, he is SO ready.

When Chris goes to bed at night, his getting ready for bed routine is this:

1. Remove pants (if applicable).
2. Lie down in bed.

I'm over here, washing my face and putting on pajamas and moisturizing and chap-sticking and getting a glass of water and choosing an outfit for the next day and checking the weather and . . .

How is that fair?

When Chris gets out of the car, this is how it goes:

1) Get out of the car.
2) Walk in the house

I'm still in the car, with the snack wrappers and the dirty tissues, and the wet bathing suits and the extra sweatshirts and the forgotten head bands and the lunch boxes and . . .

When Chris leaves the house in the morning, this is what happens:

1) Leave the house

Chris usually leaves a few minutes before me, mostly because I spend an extra five minutes turning off all the lights, flushing the toilets, turning off the air-conditioners, and closing the doors.

And he's always asking me, genuinely confused, why it takes me so long to do anything.

I don't understand either.

Maybe he should teach a class.  Like one of those life improvement seminars.  "How to make your life better by just taking off your pants and getting in bed."

Also, this is another instance where you can tell the children are genetically related to Chris.

Do Not Call list

In my office, I have developed an actual reputation for deciding to answer the phone when the crazy people call.

Today, a man was complaining because we dry-tazed his child in the forehead after diagnosing him with Bipolar disorder, non-smoking type.

Is there even such a thing as wet vs. dry tazing?  Do kind and gentle police officers tell you to apply a wet-nap before the tazing so that it . . . well . . . doesn't hurt as much?

I guess I'm not sure why dry-tazing is worse. Honestly, I kind of thought if you got tazed, you just got tazed.  And that't the end of the story, unless somebody videotaped it and put it on YouTube.

Really, I don't mean to make fun of this man.  He was truely upset, and crying, and was clearly distressed, and I really did want to help him.

But the thing is, again, I work in research administration.

So I listened, and empathized, but then I had to transfer him to the CEO.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A dream is a wish your heart makes

The kids were playing out back today.


I was doing dishes in the kitchen and realized that Lilly's voice seemed to be coming from the front yard, not the back.

Trick of sound waves, I though.  Lilly knows better than to go in the front yard alone.

Except, her voice REALLY seems to be coming from a different direction from the boys.

So I look out the front window and there she is, sitting at the end of the driveway, singing herself a little song.
"LILLY! What are you doing?"

"I'm waiting for my dream to come true."

"Well go wait in the back yard."

"I can't, mom, I have to wait here or my dream won't come true."

"Just out of curiosity, what is your dream, Lilly?"

"For someone to come over to my house."

Waiting at the end of the driveway is a pretty effective way to have her dream of someone coming to the house come true.  Someone like the police.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Guess what. I'm right again.

A while ago, a Facebook post got passed around called, "letter to the mom on her phone."

You're lucky you don't have to read my "Letter to the judge-y asshole writing a letter."

The basic premise of the letter (the first letter, not my letter) was that parents should be more present for their children, and not just be near near them, playing on their phones.

Look, I can get behind that.  I agree.  We should pay attention to our children.


Here's the thing.

I'm no expert, but it is my belief (foreshadowing) that good parents let their children learn how to play by themselves.  But more importantly, it is my belief that children who are left alone to play are more free to play as CHILDREN.

Even with the best of intentions, when I play with my kids I invariably alter the way they play:  "You do it like this," "Let me show you," "Stop doing that," "Don't use it like that," "That is totally gross I can't believe you even just did that don't ever do it again."

And, wouldn't you know it, a study was recently published looking at children's attitudes and behaviors after play sessions by themselves versus play sessions where they played with their parents.  Children were significantly less relaxed, more irritable, cried more and smiled less after a play session with their parents.  The study showed that when parents tried to play with their kids, they tended to direct their play - the theory is that this is as irritating to children as it is to grown-ups.


Take home lesson?  Leave your child alone.  You are annoying.

A little wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

Yesterday, Sam said to me, “If I could wink, I’d be winkin’ at everybody.” 

Well, I just don’t think that’s true, Sam. 

The truth is, I don’t believe Sam is a saucy and/or rakish winker by nature. 

But I thought it was funny.  Sam with this vision of himself held back from a life as a playboy because he can’t wink. 

Except, I’m not exactly sure why he thought he’d be “winkin’ at everybody.”  What message did he imagine he’d be conveying with his winkage? 

I think this is a general problem with the act of winking.  If you are a winker, at whom do you wink?  And why? 

Because, actually, people do wink at me on occasion and I always find it confusing.

“What just happened?  Did I just agree to something?” 

And that’s assuming that I’m even sure that person winked at me.  Because most of the time, I find myself saying, “Hey, I think that person just winked at me.”  I THINK.  It could just be a twitch, you know.  Or a bug flew in their eye.  

By the way, I am aware that that "their" is grammatically incorrect.  But I don't wish to gender stereotype winkers.  (Also I don't like using his/her.)  It's not always a, "Hey, baby."  A lot of times it's a, "You and me, we're in on something!" 

Except we're not.  Because you're a winker and nobody understands you.  

And then there is the aftermath. 

What do you do now?  Wink back?  But then you're confused, too, probably, and nothing ever makes sense again. 

In summation, stop winking.  It makes people uncomfortable.

And Sam, learn to tie your shoes and then worry about winking.    

Monday, August 5, 2013

I'm Gone With the Wind fabulous

I was getting dressed to go to a wedding the other day (not THE wedding, a different wedding).

Lilly walked in and said, "Oh, Mom!  You look so beautiful!"

It's funny, but the only time I remember one of the boys saying I was beautiful was on an occasion when I was wearing a hot-pink tank top and red reindeer pajama pants.  And I had recently been pooped on.

I think.

It's a good bet, anyway.

The point is that Lilly has a more "conventional" sense of pretty than Owen apparently does and that I very much enjoy having a little girl.

After she commented that the dress was lovely, Lilly said to me, "Let me see you twirl!"

So I did.

It is harder than I remember it being.

Also, today at work I was notified that I have to start sharing my office.  Boooooo.

Also, I checked the results of the 5K for Breastfeeding Support.  That little girl who ran with me because she lost her parents (and apparently even at the 5K for Breastfeeding Support I'm the most comforting and maternal person around) was EXACTLY ten years old.  I am like a child-age-guessing GENIUS.

But I am not a spelling genius, because - I'm going to be honest here - I was not actually consciously aware that "reindeer" was not spelled "raindeer."

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Milk Run

So the other day Chris sends me an email, with a link to a 5K that he is planning on running.

"By yourself?"

"Yeah, it looks like a good location, and the course seems nice."

"But you're planning on going by yourself."

"Yeah.  I'll be fast.  Lightening."

"So you're going to do this race by yourself.  Without me."

"Yes.  Is that a problem?"

"It's just . . . don't you think it might be a little weird if you do the 5k For Breastfeeding Support by yourself?  A lone dude?   I mean, I don't know.  I'm just saying.  You should probably take me with you."

So we went.  And MAN were there a lot of ladies with babies at this race.  Didn't see that one coming.

I look around and, like, 50% of these people are pushing strollers and another subset is actually WEARING their babies in one of those wrap thingies, which doesn't even seem safe, but, hey, I don't judge.

I do judge.  Don't strap your baby to your body and go for a run.  It too bouncy.  You will break their little breastfed necks.

But I'm looking at my competition, and I'm feeling pretty confident.  I'm usually in the top part of the bottom half of runners at these 5Ks, but, come on.  These people brought babies!

But then we start, and holy crap these ladies were fast.  Just . . . ZOOM.

Whatever.  I'm here for ME, and MY HEALTH and so my husband doesn't look like a weirdo.

So I'm running, and I've been left in the dust by these ladies and their babies.  Now, it's just me and a 10 year old girl.  Who I'm pretty sure is only still running because she lost her parents.

It sucks running with kids.  Kids are TERRIBLE running partners because, 1) they are CRAP at pace-setting, and 2) they taunt you.

This little girl would sprint for a minute, sit down by the side of the road to cry a little bit, get up, sprint some more, trip, fall down, skin her knee, lay down on the ground, get up, run backwards for a little bit, look at a bird, and she STILL FINISHED THE RACE BEFORE ME.


She's fine.  Her dad was at the end of the race.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Four things

1) It's my birthday today and nothing bad happened!  I was on quite a streak for a while there, what with finding people guilty of murdering their mothers, having Chris work all day while Owen pooped on the floor, and Chris having a seizure, but it seems my birthday mojo got turned around this year.

The people I work with brought hummus and ice-cream bars to the office, a friend got me flowers, my sister-in-law BROUGHT ME LUNCH.  It was like being in the hospital, but better, because I didn't have to be in the hospital.

2) My work started a new health initiative wherein they give you money on a quarterly basis, basically for wearing a pedometer around.

The stress of keeping track of that stupid god-forsaken pedometer is taking YEARS off my life.

3) If you click around on this blog creation page (don't ask me how, because I don't know.  It just sometimes happens somehow) you find a record of how people get to this blog page.

It turns out that if I do become famous, it will be because pregnant ladies want to eat laundry detergent.


Except also, I can never be famous.  It's been a while since I read the comments for that post, but I'm pretty sure one lady was like, "M'am.  It's really unhealthy to eat laundry detergent.  Do you not love your baby?"

That wasn't really my point.

4) My sister's wedding was AWESOME and we should throw fabulous parties more often.

By the way, a balloon artist went to Sam's camp last week, so now he's all, "Balloon Man Chaz can come to family events, you know."

But, MAN am I glad that wedding speech is over.  Do you suppose it is always stressful or do I just over think things?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Zowening Out

Oh, Owen.  He’s such a little puddin’ pop. I just love that kid. 

A few years back, I was sitting a minute in his room before bed.

Side note: Sitting a minute (or “sitaminute” – it’s now its own verb.  Or noun?  I don't know.  We played MadLibs recently and I am freshly aware of how bad I am at identifying parts of the English language) is an institution in our house. 

Lilly regularly asks me to “Sitaminute for five hours.”

I’m not sure sitaminute means what she thinks it means. 

Anyhow, I was sitaminuting with Owen one night a few years ago and he said, “Mom, I just want you to know that when I turn four, I won’t be here anymore.  I won’t wake up again.”

And I was like, “Um.  Don’t say shit like that.  Stop being creepy.”  

I actually don’t remember what I really said to him, but I do remember being kind of a little worried for, like, the entire year he was four.  Just in case.  Because I've read that book.  It doesn't end well for the kid. 

But, here he is, all five years old and shit, and not only is he still hanging around, he wakes up on a daily basis. 

I’m not surprised.  If Owen did, in fact, get a message from the spirit world, or some kind of vision into the future, it was probably something like, “you will get a new bed and get a full night’s sleep,” or, “you will die when you are 104,” or “You will eat a doughnut,” and he just misunderstood.    

He’s a real sweet kid, but he’s quite often wrong about stuff. 

He does this thing where Sam will say something ridiculous.  Like, RIDICULOUS, and, in response, Owen will say, dead serious, with a clear voice and unwavering gaze, “Dat is true.” 

And then I have to decide whether to take the time to correct him (“That is not true.  That is a bruise, not a chicken pox.  You do not have chicken pox, and even if you did, you did not get them eating chicken.”) or let it go and risk having him grow up, firm and steady in his belief that he had Chicken Pox when he was five. 

Last night, he said he was having a hard time sleeping because he was worried about going to jail, or getting captured, or getting kidnapped.  I wanted to tell him there is no such thing, but I couldn't.  So I said that he just needs to stay close to mom and dad, and we will protect him, but if anybody ever DOES try to take him he needed to just go bananas. 

“Like, I should tewl you?”

“Well, no, because if you could just tell me, you probably wouldn't be being kidnapped.  So, no, you’ve gotta scream really loud and flail around and drop to the ground or run or something.” 

As if Owen could go faster than a dignified trot. 

He looks at me, all dubious, “I don’t know how to do dat.”

“Well, how about you just stick close and don’t talk to strangers?”

But he got me thinking about kidnappers, and then I couldn't sleep anymore, either.  

No pressure

I’m trying to write a speech for my sister’s wedding.  It’s been slow going.  So I did what we all do in times of trouble these days: I turned to Google.

I certainly wasn't thinking of plagiarizing a speech whole-hog (yes I was), but I was a little dismayed at the quality of stuff out there.

The pre-written speeches I could have "recycled" were not of a quality that I thought worthy of thieving.

Also: advice columnists!  Seriously!  Could you possibly be any less helpful with your advice? 

I read one article titled something like, “How to write a funny speech for your sister’s wedding.”  And I’m thinking, “oh, that’s pretty relevant.” 

Here is a summary of the article:

A Maid of Honor’s speech is the most important thing at the wedding.  It is actually the most important thing in your life, and in the Bride’s life, ever.  It will be remembered forever.  If you give a good speech, it means you love your sister.  If your speech is shitty, it means you hate your sister.  A crap speech will probably cause a permanent rift in your family.  Here are some tips on how to write a great speech.

1)      Tell people who you are (that actually is a little helpful.  I probably would have forgotten that).
2)      Tell funny stories about when you were little.
3)      Add a hilarious anecdote about how the couple met.
4)      Throw in a few sassy quips to lighten the mood.
5)      Make use of one of your talents, such as singing, dancing, or poetry, by incorporating that talent in your speech.

Sooooooooo.  Basically, if I want to be funny, I should accomplish that by being funny, and then I should sing her a little song.  That I wrote myself.  

Actually, that probably would have been funny.

But not in a good way.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

This phone call happened to me

I'm at work and the phone rings.

Let me pause for a minute to explain that I work in research administration.  Which means I work with research proposals and protocols and things like that.  But that's pretty much it.

So I answer the phone (that was my first mistake . . .) and this lady starts talking a mile a minute about her medical records and how she wants a copy but can't get a copy but people said she could have a copy but then only sent her forms to fill out and, ooooo, that made her made so she called our lawyers and he promised he would make sure she got her records but she still doesn't have her records.

Um.  Ma'am?  I don't really work in medical records.  I'm not the medical records office.  I really can't help with medical records.

So she says she KNOWS I'm not medical records and she doesn't want to talk to medical records anymore.

Um.  I'm not sure I was the right choice.

She says she thinks it's time to get a lawyer and that I'm going to have to pay for her lawyer.

Good luck with that.

She's taking NOTES, she says.  Keeping track of the names of everyone she's talking to.

(She's does not at this point, or any other point, ask for my name.)

She says she's been trying to get her records for OVER A YEAR.  SINCE 2008.

Ma'am?  It's been WELL over a year since 2008.

Well, she says, maybe 2009, then.

Ma'am?  I can hear that you are really frustrated, and I would be too, but I seriously have nothing to do with medical records.  I WANT to help you, but I CAN'T help you, so I don't know HOW to help you.  Can I put you in touch with medical records or the lawyer's office again?  Perhaps a patient advocate?

No, No, No.

She wants to go to the top.  No more playing around.  She's already messed around with those other people.  She knows for SURE that we have her records, because she called the other hospital in the area and described the building in which her procedure too place.  They said it was us.  And she needs her records.  Because, apparently, her "body systems aren't working."

That does sound serious.

So I gave her the CEO's number.

What?  If he doesn't want people calling him, he shouldn't put his number in the directory.

These animals should be off-display

When we got home tonight, Owen asked if he could play out in the front yard.  They generally aren't allowed to - closer to the street, more accessible to kidnappers, more visible to neighbors who don't need to know how weird my kids are, etc.  

But, hey, it's a holiday weekend, live a little.

By the way, on the car ride home, Owen said he was going to share his granola bar with Lilly, because it's really important that you be nice on the day before St. Patrick's Day.  

Okay, three things here.

1) I'm not sure "being nice" is one of the hallmarks of St. Patrick's Day.

2) It's July 3rd

3) I just let it go because I was happy he was sharing his granola bar.  

So, anyhow, I told Owen and Lilly they could play out front for a while while I watched from the dining room.  

The following is a list of the first 3 things they did.

1) Stand motionless until a car drove by, and then made a mad dash toward the car.

2) Heckled slow moving cars.  And, for some reason, red cars.

3) Played dead on the lawn.

All of these things are, apparently, quite alarming to drivers passing by.  

I hustled them into the backyard.  It kind of made me think about taking animals off display at the zoo. 

Which reminded me about when the hippo at our zoo went into retirement.  All of a sudden, the hippo wasn't there anymore.  So Chris asks one of the zoo employees, who said that the hippo was retired and would no longer be on exhibit.

And Chris, eyebrows a-waggling, was like, "'Retired, retired?'"

And the lady, eyebrows drawn together in confusion, was like, "Yeah.  Retired."

And Chris leans in and whispers, "Like, dead?"

The lady was horrified.  

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A bunch of things that happened this weekend.

When I picked Owen up from school on Friday, he spend the car ride home singing, "I'm sassy and I know it."  I thought for a minute that he had heard a children's version of the classic, "I'm sexy and I know it," but, no, he said he heard daddy singing it.


The kids got squirt guns in a gift bag on Friday.  They have, heretofore, not been permitted to have guns.  But I had been wondering if we could loosen the restrictions for water guns.  It's really Chris's deal, and I think it's mostly because he wasn't allowed to have guns as a child and he'd be totally jealous if the kids got to play with guns.  Still, it just kind of seems like the thing to do.  Not as in the RIGHT thing to do, but as in, well, everyone else is wearing denim shorts so . . .

Either way, life has revolved around the squirt guns since Friday night.

They asked the babysitter if they could squirt her.  When she said no, because it was dinner time, Owen asked her, "Why?  Is it because those are the nicest clothes you own?"

It was kind of a nice dress.


At the Children's Museum Lilly was riding the little wooden horse, shouting at the top of her lungs, "YEE-HAW, RIDE A COWBOY."

No.  That's not how you . . . no.


I told the kids I would take them to the local sandwich and pastry shop after the Children's Museum.  The route I choose happened to take us right past our house.  Lilly thought we were heading home, and said, "MOM.  You're the worst mom in the world!"

I felt that that was uncalled for.  Even assuming I'd reneged on the cookies.  I mean, surely a mother out there has done worse.

I'm pretty sure she felt really bad when I explained and kept driving.


I took Owen to the first kindergarten meet and greet on Saturday.  I thought it would be a good way to meet some of the other kids who would be entering kindergarten with him.  Which was good in theory.  Except, do you want to know how many kindergartners showed up?  One.  His name was Owen.  Total cutie, though.

So it's just us and the lady that had organized the meeting.

It was so awkward.  

But the lady seemed okay.  I'd never met her before, but she had some decent school gossip.

She got Owen a coloring sheet so he wouldn't be bored while we talked.  That was nice of her.  The sheet asked him to draw his favorite toy.

At one point, she looked down and her face did a funny thing.

Owen had drawn a gun.

It was a really good drawing.

That made everything less awkward.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Riding in Cars with Kids

Driving with kids is a trip.  (See what I did there?)

Because, number one, they are TERRIBLE backseat drivers. 

 Both in that they are annoying and the are NO GOOD AT DRIVING. 

“MOM!  The light is GREEN.  So GO.”

Okay, well, but the ten cars in front of me might have a problem with that.

“MOM! The light is RED.  So STOP or you’ll get a TICKET.”

It’s true, that light is red, but it is also, like, a mile away. 

“MOM!  Could you go FASTER?”

No.  Shut up. 

“MOM!  You went through that RED LIGHT!  You are going to get a TICKET.”

I DID NOT.  I turned right on red.  Which is PERFECTLY LEGAL.  Also, STOP THREATENING ME WITH TICKETS.  And how about, since none of the rest of you know how to drive, you let me, with my years of training in the nuances of red lights, take care of the driving. 

They also seem to have gotten the impression that they have somehow managed to board a personalized luxury transportation service, and I am the concierge.

“Can you roll down my window?”

“I’m hungry.  Can I have a snack?”

"Can you open my snack?"

“AHHHH!  I dropped my snack.  I need you to pick it up.”

“I’m thirsty.  I need a drink.”

“Mom.  MOM.  Look!  Look at that!”

“Mom, what does that say?”

“Hey, what is that?  Mom.  MOM.  What is that?” 

“Can you roll my window up?”

Excuse me, you may not have noticed this, but I’m trying to DRIVE UP HERE.  I've tried very hard to explain that this car does not drive itself.  My attention is required up here.  To keep us all alive.  So I can’t fulfill your every whim at this precise moment.  

“Well, you should probably stop anyway because that's a red light."


This year, Sam made an actual friend who actually wasn’t related to him.  I think.  I wasn't 100% sure because he kept asking things like, “how do you know if someone is your friend or not? If they run away from you are they your friend?” 

Umm . . . maybe?

So it seemed like maybe the relationship didn't have the real solid foundation you hope to build best-friendships on. 

Sam did bring home pieces of paper with a phone number and say that is was Mason’s and we were supposed to call him to set up a play date but I never did.  Who knows how he got that number?  Who even knows if it is a real number?  And what if Sam misunderstood the situation and he was just supposed to call to give him homework answers or something?  Anyway, who needs friends?  We have family!

It's possible that I'm passing a fear of rejection on to Sam.  We'll see.  

But then one day, Mason called us!  OMG!  It was very exciting.  Sam couldn’t even talk on the phone.  So Mason and I chatted for a few minutes and set up a time.  "I just made a date with a 7-year-old!" I shouted to Chris.  

Sam went over to Mason’s house and great fun was had by all. 

A few weeks later, it occurs to me, “oh, crap, we’re supposed to invite him over here now.”  So I say to Sam, “Sam, would you like to invite Mason over this Friday?”  And he looks at me like I’m a little bit crazy and asks, in that slow, suspicious, way of his, with squinty eyes and a tilted head, “Whhhhhy?”

“Well, because he is your friend and that’s what you do.”

“Well, how would you even call him?” 

“I have his number, Sam.  You gave it to me.  See, it’s right here in my phone – ‘Mason.’”

“Well, I just think that might be a little . . . weird.”

“Why?  You’ve played with him before and seemed to have a good time.”

“Mom?  Are you trying to talk me into having him over?”

Okay, now this kid is making me feel like a helicopter parent.  I don’t really know what is happening in this conversation, or why Sam is so hesitant, but I’m just going to let it go for now. 

A week or so later, I bring it up again.  “Hey, Sam, would you like to schedule a time to get together with Mason?

"I still don't really know how I feel about that, Mom."

"Well, did you have a good time when you played with him before."

"I mean, I guess, it's just that I don't really know how I feel about having him over to my house."

"It'll be a lot like ALL THE OTHER times you've played with him."

“Mom, I guess I just don’t understand why you want me to have Mason over.”

Golly, this kid is socially inept.  He makes ONE pretty good friend and now he’s all skittish and weird about having him over to our house.  And the worst thing is that he literally doesn’t seem to GET why he should even WANT Mason to come over here.  Like this most basic reciprocal relationship is escaping him.  He goes over to this kids house, and now it's like he honestly doesn't understand why I think he should invite him over.  

“Sam, it’s just that you went over to his house, and if you don’t invite him over to your house, it’s basically like saying you don’t want to be his friend anymore.  And it’s okay if you want to say that, but you just need to understand that that is what you are saying.”

“When would I go over to his house?”

“Sam, you already went over to his house, it’s your turn to have him here.”

“Well . . . I just . . . I mean . . . I remember when we were at Fairfax and Mason’s mom said there was a kindergarten get together . . .”

Yeah, I remember that too.  Kind of irrelevant to this conversation, but, yeah, we were at Fairfax and this lady came up and she said she was Mason’s mom and I was like, weird, I’ve met Mason’s mom, and you are not her and . . .


“Sam?  Your friend from school?  His name is not Mason, is it?”

“No.  It is Marcus.”

 "Is there a Mason at school?"


"But he is not your friend?"

"Not really, Mom"

Now go back and read those conversations with Sam with the new understanding that Sam is the normal one and I am socially inept.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Facts of Life

"Mom?" Owen says, "How do trees get bigger?"

"I don't know, buddy.  The same way people do I guess."

And then there was some quiet time.

 I thought to myself, "surely I can do better than that answer."

And then I thought, "It makes no difference.  There is a squiggly part in Owen's brain that does not respond to logic."

But hey, I'm trying hard at this parenting thing, so I start to scrape together what I know about trees and photosynthesis and what not.

"Owen, actually, trees grow a little differently than people . . ."

As I'm talking, Owen lets out this huge sigh, like he's been holding his breath.

"BAH!  RIGHT?!  Trees can't grow like people because they don't have birthdays!"

Clearly he had been sitting in the back seat, concerned about his poor stupid mother, who doesn't even know basic life facts like trees don't have birthdays.  He's surprised I can dress myself in the morning.

It is kind of interesting, though.  Trees don't really have a birthday, do they?

Also, apparently, this is why 5 AND A HALF has been so important to Owen.  He believes that the extra, previously undisclosed HALF BIRTHDAY, will help him grow more.

He also has a FIRM belief that the sun follows his head.  Not him, but his head.  And I have argued, but he has very little faith in me at this point.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Are you chicken?

I read an article a few weeks ago about backyard urban chicken farming.  And it struck me as the right balance of "pet" and "egg factory."  I know the kids would love to have a pet, for a MINIMUM of 48 minutes, but the thing is, I don't actually like animals all that much.  I respect their place in the world and all, but in close proximity, I'm just kind of scared they will all bite me.

So, chickens.  How fancy would that be?  I will name them Hester and Ethel and we will be soooo hippy.

Chris said, "okay."  But now he's saying "not okay."

This kids are on my side, though.

Various offers of help were made:

"I will use half my piggy bank to pay for the chicken." (Sam)

"I will collect all the eggs." (Sam)

"I will wash the chickens." (Owen, with accompanying scruba-scruba motions)

"I will take the chickens on a walk."  (Owen)

It has rather taken over their thought process.

When I got home yesterday, Chris greeted me with news about a bad thing that had happened to Sam at school.

 I went to talk to Sam, and he said, "Dad told me I could have anything I wanted that would make me feel better.  Well, anything that wasn't a chicken."

And for a minute I was all, "Jeez, the kid gets assaulted at school and we can't even spring for some KFC?"

Today, our new swing set was delivered to the backyard in a huge cardboard box.  The children's first guess about the contents?  A chicken.  "Well I knew it probably wasn't two chickens," Sam says.  "Because it needs space to run around."

Tonight, when Lilly was talking about chickens again I said, "You know, guys, we're probably not going to get chickens.  That might just be a little too much."

"Okay."  Lilly said, "We can get a turkey."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

T.V. kids vs. real life kids

Children on TV don't have food on their faces nearly as often as mine do.

Children on TV have better haircuts.  In that they have haircuts.  Ever.

Children on TV know how to use utensils.  Unless they are TV children who were raised by wolves.  Those kinds of TV kids are actually pretty realistic.

On TV, when kids dress themselves, its always a sassy mix of prints and some adorable rain boots.  Today I was in public with the kids and I did that thing where all of a sudden, you see what your life looks to outsiders.

And I saw Owen.

Owen dresses himself.  I let him, with almost no censorship (we believe in small government in this house).  Because who cares, right?  He's a five year old boy!  Nobody sees him except his family who already loves him, and his fellow classmates in the most nurturing school environment ever.  So, whatever, knock yourself out.

But now we're in public and I notice - really notice - what he is wearing.

1) Nike athletic pants, on backwards, as per usual.  Also, as per usual, butt crack.  Soon, nobody will know what "mooning" is, because everybody will call it "Owening."

2) A pajama shirt.

3) Ratty, old, disgusting, winter boots.

It was not adorable.  

So I zeroed in on my least favorite part and said, "Owen.  You have GOT to stop wearing boots.  It's 75 degrees out here.  Snow boots are not appropriate."

With a smile on his face, and a song in his heart, Owen says to me "I will NEVER wear shoes instead of boots!  Unless they are GOLDEN!"

"You want golden shoes?"

"Yes!  And they should be BOOTS!"

Oh, okay then.  Apparently, I just need to get him golden boots.  That won't be weird at all.  And at least then he'll stop wearing boots.

Golden boots.  What the hell is that about?

Queen Mother

I just read an article - one of those ones that talk about princess culture and how terrible it is and how it is eating out daughters and teaching them to sit around and wait for a prince.

And yes, I get it and, wow, man, I could talk all day about beauty culture and misogyny and female empowerment, but you know what?

I think they may be wrong about this one.

I don't know for sure.

Here's the thing, when I was a little girl, I loved princesses with a mad passion.  And it had not one blessed thing to do with anything LIKE a prince or getting rescued and EVERYTHING to do with:

1)  Beautiful.  Poofy.  Dresses.
2)  Being in charge of everything.

I think we may be over-thinking the anti-princess thing.  Is it realistic to pretend you are a princess?  No.  But I'm not sure you can require children to be realistic.  My living room floor is not actually hot lava, but it makes life more interesting for my kids to PRETEND that it is.  So, hey, pretend away.  Life is hella boring sometimes.

There is a whole heck of a lot of shit to be worried about for our daughters as they grow up and have to start relating to boys in a world that is not always kind to women.  So maybe we should just let them be little girls for a while.  Let them enjoy the glittery dresses and the tiaras. The princes and the passiveness?  I think that's just our own baggage.

Surely, there is space in our understanding of the world to get that there is an inherent pleasure in beautiful dresses and gorgeous castles and magical things.  And, holy cats, I'd rather have my daughter wearing a polyester princess dress than a tube top that says "hottie" and high heels (I have actually seen this).

Which is all just to say that not only will I allow Lilly to HAVE princess dresses, I will allow her to WEAR princess dresses even in front of judge-y people at the ice-cream store.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

That's my name. Don't wear it out.

I took Owen to the eye doctor recently.  A special fancy-dancy one that probably won't be covered by insurance and is located an hour away.  We drove there, Owen and I, and chatted along the way.

"Mom?  What does that sign mean?"

"It means you can't turn left at this street right now."

"Mom?  Why do some people think that green is red and red is green?"

"Um.  You mean with the streetlights?  I guess maybe they weren't paying attention."

"But they were."

"Well then I don't know."

"Mom?  Who would win in a race between the sun, rain, and snow?"

"What?  I don't . . . even understand that question."

"Mom? Sometimes the snow falls into the rain, right?  Right?"




"Hey, buddy, you know what?  You don't have to say 'Mom' every time you say something.  Because it's just you and me in the car.  I'm going to go ahead and assume your are talking to me."


. . . 


Thursday, February 28, 2013

You should probably feel bad

I don't know if this is true for everyone, but to me, being told not to feel bad is almost always my first cue that I should probably be feeling badly.

The haircutting lady told me,"Now don't even feel bad about your hairline. Nobody has a perfect hairline!" It actually had not previously occurred to me to feel bad about my hairline. But now I feel bad about my hairline. I still don't even know what's wrong with it.   

I took Sam to the doctor for his unending runny nose and she told me, "Don't feel bad for not bringing him in sooner! Some parents are just a lot more laize-faire!" Well, I didn't feel bad about not bringing him in sooner, because it's a RUNNY NOSE and who brings a kid to the doctor for a runny nose unless it is the unending runny nose that my kids get and then after 4 months of a runny nose I bring them in and now that you mention it, actually, you're right. I'm a really bad parent.

See?  When someone says, "don't feel bad," it automatically means they were sitting there thinking, "Wow, if she's any kind of normal person, she being eaten up with guilt and embarrassment. I'm going to try to calm her down."

Why you asking all dem questions?

Today's title.  It's a thing.  A YouTube thing.  It's a song.  Has nothing to do with children.

Except that it is the soundtrack to my LIFE.

It used to be Sam.  He'd be all, "Why do octopuses have 8 arms?"  "Why do we have to have policemen?"  "What makes a vegetable healthy?"

And these questions?  Drove me crazy.  What do I look like?  An encyclopedia   Is my last name Britannica?  How about "Because.  And Because.  Also Because."  I don't have time to write a dissertation, man, so how about you just go watch some TV?

But Owen has his own special spin.  Things like, "Why are horses purple?"

"What?  They aren't.  I can't tell you why because they aren't."

"You don't know?"

"No, I do know know."

"So why?"

"No, there is no why.  I can't tell you why because your initial statement was untrue.  I can't explain something that isn't actually part of reality."

"It's because it makes them faster, right, mom?"

"No.  Because that doesn't even make any sense.  Even if they were purple, which they aren't, it wouldn't make them any faster."

"Purple horses aren't faster?"

"No.  I mean, again, horses aren't purple, but even if they were, being purple, in and of itself, wouldn't make them any faster."

"Faster than what?"

"What?  I don't know.  You said that.  You brought up faster."

"So they are slower?"

"No.  I mean, not unless you're assuming that because they are purple, these horses are some special type of horse that moves at a different speed, either faster or slower.  Which I don't, because horses aren't purple.  That I know of.  Although probably, someone, somewhere, has dyed a horse purple.  So there has probably, in the history of the world, been a purple horse that was neither faster nor slower than any other horse, at least not in relation to being dyed purple, it would have been that speed beforehand as well."

"All the purple horses died?"

I understand nothing about children.

Owen put his boots on today.  However, unlike the last one hundred and one-eighty-one times, he did not put them on the wrong feet.

"Wook mom!  I put my boots on the right feet!"

"Wow!  You sure did!  Great job Owen!  I'm so proud of you!"  And I'm thinking to myself, "Well that's great.  I was kind of wondering if his brain was backwards there.  But now he knows how to put his boots on!"



"Owen, how do you know that your boots are on the right feet?"

"Because dey are."

"Well, yes.  They are, but how do you know?  Did someone teach you?"

"No.  I just know da rwight foot."

"But . . . if you knew the right foot . . . why were you putting them on the wrong feet all this time?"

"I don't know.  Like a joke, maybe?"

And every time since that morning, he has put his boots on the right feet.  Unlike before, when he was putting his boots on the wrong feet Every.  Blessed.  Time.

So I don't understand what happened there.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Oh my gosh.

I don't think I've been this mad at a kid in YEARS.

At least WEEKS.

I'd had forgotten how hard two-year-olds can be.

Thinking they know some shit.  Thinking that they run this joint or something.

YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME, LILLY.  I will tell YOU when it is bedtime.  I will NOT tell you another story because I've told you one hundred and one eighty one ALREADY (still Owen's favorite number) and I've already used up all my imagination.

She started school this week.  She's not being a trooper.  She's upset and hysterical and clingy and aggressive every minute she's not behaving like an angel at school.

It's so hard being two.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Smart phones make stupid people

Smart phones are great, and awesome, and let me be on Facebook all the time, even though I only really have 6 Facebook friends, and one of them is George Takei.

But I drove the whole first day to Florida.  The Whole. First. Day.  That's 12 hours of driving.  I'm not sure that's even been attempted in human history, let alone achieved.  I think they had a parade for me somewhere outside of Charlotte - nothing big, just a marching band and some confetti - but Chris wouldn't know that because he was on his iPhone for the last 4 hours of the day.

Sure, he was ostensibly "finding the hotel" and "checking traffic" and "figuring out dinner," but in the old days (2011), we just kind of figured it out and chatted. Or bickered.  Whatever.  This year, I had to imagine all the snarky things I WASN'T going to say to Chris about being on his smart phone.  I think one may have burst out anyway.  I can't remember.

And plus, I couldn't check Facebook for HOURS.