Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December vomits

So Owen didn't bounce out of bed this morning.

Which is a little weird, but, whatever, right?

Except then he walked into our bedroom, and, right before he faceplants onto our bed, says, "I don't feel very good."  And before he went down, I saw that particular shade of green that means, "VOMIT A' COMIN'!!

And then Owen went to the bathroom, and then melted a little bit on the toilet, and Chris picked him up and brought him back in the room.

As he was holding him, I looked over and saw that Owen's lips were turning blue, and his eyes rolled back in his head as he passed out.

Chris shouted, "Owen!" and I already had the 9 and the 1 dialed, but then Owen woke back up and vomited.

We cleaned up, and tucked him in bed, and then went to the hallway to discuss.  From the bedroom, we hear Owen wail, "Oh NO!" and, already being on an adrenaline high, Chris vaults over me to reach Owen in a single bound.

"I'm going to miss my Christmas concert!" he cries.

And so he did, and vomited all day.

Merry Christmas to all.

I know it's crazy

We were all getting ready for the day a few mornings ago.

Lilly was telling me something.  I honestly don't remember what it was.  Her tummy hurt?  Her hair was beautiful?  I don't know.

But whatever it was, I must of reacted to it, because then she got very excited about sharing the story with her father.

At school, the children are trained to place a hand on the teacher to indicate that they need something, and would like to have the teacher's attention when they are done.

I understand this system, and I even think it is pretty smart.  It's quiet, and teaches patience, and still gets the job done.  And I give the teachers a lot of credit.  I have witnessed them working one-on-one with a child, while three or four children are silently standing there, with their little hands touching whatever body part they can reach that isn't currently occupied.  Like little faith healers.

Still it annoys the hell out of me.  WHY ARE YOU TOUCHING ME?  STOP TOUCHING ME.  GET OFF GET OFF GET OFF.

Anyhow, on this morning, I see Lilly walk up to Chris as he is in the hallway and place her hand on his hip.

He ignores her.

He walks to the bathroom, and she trails behind him.

He strides into the spare room to help Owen with something.  She trails behind him.

Oh, sweetheart.  Good luck with that.

Chris is a man on a mission in the mornings.

When he comes out of the room, I notice he has somehow shaken Lilly off.

"Hey," I say, "could you please just listen to Lilly's story before you go?"

"Sure," he says, "where is she?"

"Hmmmmm.  Haven't seen her all morning.  Just kidding.  She's been holding your hip for the past five minutes."

He glances into the spare room where I am almost 100 percent sure Lilly is, because I just saw her follow him in there, and she hasn't come out.

He doesn't see he, and starts to head downstairs.

Knowing that, barring the Ascension, she is still in that room, I call Man-Looking on Chris.

And then he looked again and found her.

And that is the end of the story.

Until Lilly sang me this song:

I know it's crazy,
to believe about a mother
even if she is blind
and lost in the woods
it's still okay
because I still have a father
and that's kind of like a mother
except taller
and he doesn't listen to me.  

(sung to the tune of a tuneless rendition of Frozen)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Like a little burrow!

Owen wore jeans this weekend.  It was kind of a big deal, because the children are not huge fans of "buttoning," "zipping," "snapping," or "supporting their own weight."

Elastic waists for life in this household.

But Owen dressed himself in jeans this weekend.  As in more than once.  On purpose.  Without laying on the ground and moaning about how there were no pants left, only jeans.

So as he was putting on his PJs tonight, I asked him why he chose the jeans.

"I was just looking to have pockets," he says.

And I think, "oh shit."  Because I do the bulk of the laundry around here.  And while I understand that Chris is a squirrely little man and I have to check his pockets for mints and tissues and buttons and batteries and chap sticks and whatnots, the children don't really tend to use their pockets so I will admit to having become quite lax about checking their pockets.  And now I'm wondering what manner of odd little collection I've been running through the washer.

"Pockets?  Why pockets?"

"Well," Owen responds, "I just really like to have somewhere to rest my hands."

Oh.  Well.  Of course.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lilly's Christmas List

When I ask the boys what they want for Christmas, I am met with blank stares if I am lucky, and, if I am not lucky, they do not even glance at me as they mumble, "I don't know."

On the other hand . . .

"Hey Lilly," I ask, "what do you want for Christmas?"

"OH," she turns to me, breathless with excitement, "I want an Elsa doll, an Elsa dress, some Elsa books, an Elsa plate, Elsa pajamas, and an Elsa house.  Then, I want a baby doll, and a mermaid princess with a Hello Kitty stroller."

Monday, November 17, 2014

Winter is Coming

Winter kind of ran up behind me and smacked me on the head this year.

I had not bought snow boots at the end of last season.  Largely because I thought Owen and Lilly would still either fit into last years pair, or wear the outgrown pair of an older sibling, and Sam has refused to wear boots at all for two straight years now.

But then it turns out that Owen is only two years younger than Sam and because I spent Sam's last two years finding the most vaguely boot-type footwear possible in hopes that Sam would wear them, so Owen has only bootesque footwear and Lilly is still wearing her damn rain boots.  Because you try telling Lilly what to wear.  Word of advice: bring a magazine, because she's going to be crying on the floor for a long time.  

Also the car scrapers seem to have spontaneously combusted, which is weird because I didn't even hear an explosion.

So while I was at Target this weekend I grabbed the last car scrapper there, literally seconds ahead of at LEAST 6 other people.  Then those people just milled around for a while, glaring at me.  I was hovering at the end of the aisle where they put the clearanced car washing tools, waiting for the crowd to disperse so I could sneak back and see how much my treasure was going to cost me, and one lady ran up, shoved my cart aside and snatched a car mop up.  I guess you could say that the car mop kind of looked like a scraper, but was clearly labelled as car washing tool, so I'm not sure how that's going to work out for her.  All in all, it's the closest I've ever come to an end of the world type event and it was rough.

Anyhow, that whole story is moot, because when I drove the kids to the museum on Sunday, I took Chris's car, and the precious scraper was not in that car.  When we came out the car was COVERED in snow.  The kids were all, "yeah, good luck with that," and tucked themselves into the warm car.  

So I looked around his car and found an old newspaper Sudoku and and hanger and wrapped the hanger in the newspaper and was, overall, super klassy.

It was not terrible efficient, and it is possible that I was swearing a little bit, because I didn't have gloves, either.  And I think maybe I worried Lilly.

Because this morning, I noticed Lilly repeatedly going to the window and peering outside.

When I was putting my coat on, she shouted, "MOM.  MOM.  MOM.  I have an idea.  I can help!"

And she runs off, and came back with a book, and her princess dress up hat - not a crown, but that cone shaped one.

"You can push the snow off with the book, and you can put your hand in here," she gestures to the hat, "to keep it warm!"

Honestly, probably still better than a newspaper and hanger.

It's all just so confusingly similar


I'll give you three guesses which one of my children said that.

(Hint: It was Lilly)

We did have another discussion recently about penises and vaginas.

"The hard thing is," Lilly says to me, "that they look and sound the same."

You know, lots of things about genitalia are difficult, but I wouldn't have listed "looking and sounding the same" among them.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I guess he might be a ninja? Or maybe Superman?

What it is like when we go to Costco as a family: I carry my purse, all applicable coats, the coupons, the shopping list, check the nutrition labels and sale prices.  Push cart, manage all three children.  Owen has laid down in the middle of the aisle.  Sam leans heavily against the cart, hungry and unable to support his own weight.  Lilly just walked into someone.  Again.  We need to make it to the bread, so I heave the cart slowly down the aisle, trailing snot and whines behind me.  Have no idea where Chris is.  He left like a shadow in the night.  But I know that where he is, he is free and unencumbered.

What it is like to attend an elementary school fall festival as a family: I carry three pairs of shoes and most of three pairs of socks so the children can go on the bouncy house.  Sweatshirts for all - because cold outside, but like the third level of Hades in here.  Also unexpectedly hot when carrying an armload of extra fleece. A roll of tickets.  A wad of tissues.  Prizes.  A stack of books for literacy.  Books are, it turns out, quite heavy and also bulky.  I am dressed as a pack mule but must function as a cheetah.  Watch as all three kids scatter and hope that pedophiles and child murderers haven't figured out that children hang out in elementary schools.  Sam is hungry and wants to go to the food area, but I can only see Lilly and have no idea where Owen is.  Owen needs to go to the bathroom, but I can't find Sam.  A volunteer is kindly asking for a ticket because Lilly has joined the cake walk.  Don't know what a cake walk is, and I don't think Lilly does either. Have no way to reach tickets as hands are full.  Sweat is trickling down my neck.  Have no idea where Chris is - he vanished like a whisper on the wind - but wherever he is, he is free and unencumbered.

What it is like when we arrive at home after an outing:  We pull in the driveway.  I gather the travel coffee mugs, my own and Chris's.  The children's discarded water bottles.  My purse.  The snack bag.  Wrappers from what used to be in the snack bag.  The sweaters that were desperately needed earlier - now nobody else in the family can see any potential future use for, ever again.  They are done with these things - these wrappers and waters and sweaters - why must I dwell in the past?  I scoop them up.  Pick up garbage.  Lilly wants to be the one to open the door and get out first, but Owen climbed over her and now she is screaming.  I make Owen let Lilly out first.  It is rude to climb over people.  Lilly wants to be the one to get out last and close the door, but Sam is refusing to climb over her, as that would be rude.  I know where Chris is.  He got out of the car, pocketed his keys and walked into the house, free and unencumbered.

What it means when Chris leaves the house and says he will be back "in a few minutes," "soon," or " in a little bit": he has vague and well-meant intentions of returning.  You know, at some point.  Later.  We sit at home.  Poised for action should the father-figure return.  Waiting.  It could be now, or in 6 hours.  Like the memory of a dream in the cold light of morning, we cling to the idea of Chris for comfort.  You can't chain him, he lives like a wild thing - free and unencumbered.

When Chris leaves me (for, say, writing about him on the internet), I know exactly how he is going to do it.  There will be no note.  He will take nothing with him.  I'll just look around, and he won't be there.  He'll be walking off into the sunsets of New Mexico, free and unencumbered.

He will be cold, though, because New Mexico nights are chilly, and I will have his jacket.

Friday, October 17, 2014


"Owen, please go brush your teeth."

"MOM.  I have CLOTHES on.  WHY would I brush my teeth with CLOTHES ON?"

He can't EVEN with me sometimes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I'd give you anything. I'd give you Target.

I was putting Lilly to bed tonight.  We read that stupid book with the nut brown hares and the kid bunny loves the dad bunny to the moon, but the dad bunny loves the kid to the moon and BACK.



"I love you to Target and back."

Folder Wars

The boys have school folders, which Chris and I are supposed to review every night.  I know that because we have to initial them every night.  So that's how I know that Chris and I, as parents, are supposed to monitor the folders.  Also the school told us that.

But Chris thinks, "It's not my folder, I don't care if it's done."

I know he thinks this because it is the argument he used when I chastised him for not reviewing the folder.

It's compelling logic, but I feel there might be a flaw in there.

Anyhow, the folders.  They drive us bananas.  They are the worst things ever.

It's all a bunch of notes and papers and homework to be done and homework already done and schoolwork and blah blah blah.

And that is exactly how Owen feels about the whole mess.

Once, when Sam was in the first grade, I literally had to push him weeping out of the car because he had forgotten his homework and was going to get a task mark.

(I don't know, but it sounds bad, right?)

Sam cares deeply.

Owen lost his homework the other day, and I said he had to ask for a new packet and he said, "No, that's okay.  I'll just get a task mark."

(Owen has apparently figured out that task marks are simply the lack of a paw stamp and, not being a granola bar, meaningless.)

Last Sunday I was cleaning up (yes, it does happen around here occasionally) and I saw Owen's completed homework on the dining room floor.  I shouted for Owen to come get his homework and put it in his folder.  I mentally note, when he scoops it up, that he trollops back to the living room, which, oddly, is not where his folder is.   I know, because I can see it sitting, right there, on the dining room table.

A few minutes pass and Owen comes running in to the kitchen, laughing because he and Sam were having a sword fight and he was running way from Sam. He was holding his now quite mangled homework packet (no longer in packet form - loose leaf!) in his hands.

"Owen," I said calmly, "go put your . . . (this is the part where I managed not to say 'goddamned') homework in your . . . (ditto) folder."  Maybe it wasn't super-calmly.

He slinks off.  But, again, not anywhere in the direction of where I can still plainly see his folder.

I give it a minute and I walk to the playroom.

"Owen," I say, teeth the tiniest bit clenched, "come here."

At this point he looks at me, places his homework on the ground next to him, places a book on top of it, glances, places another book to make sure it is completely hidden, and gazes innocently into my eyes as he says, "What?"

I tried to yell at him, but he just stood there so gently, nodding his head in emphatic agreement, that I just kind of felt like an asshole.

I told him that if he didn't know where his folder was, he had to ask for help.  That if we asked him to do something, and he didn't know how, he couldn't just lie about it, he had to ask for help.

"I know, mom.  I know.  You're right.  Compwetwy.  I make myself crazy, too, mom."

And then later I found his homework stuffed in the couch cushions.

I'm going to need to check a few parenting books out of the library.  Last time I did that was for potty training.  I think I need a refresh.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ring a bell?

Lilly came to me, sobbing, last night.

"Mom!  I lost my ring someone gave to me today!"

So I bent down, and put my hand on her shoulder, and looked in her eyes, and said, "Lilly, I don't know what events in your young life could possible have led you to believe you have the capacity to keep track of anything, let alone a teeny little ring, but that belief is entirely inaccurate."

She looked at me for a second.

"Can you find it or not?"

"No, I cannot."



Sunday, October 5, 2014

Lilly and the Completely Reasonable Response

Lilly was getting dried off from her bath this afternoon.  She was in my room, and I went to her room to get some cozy warm clothes.  Because it is frickin' cold outside.

(pay attention to that, as it is central to this story)

She must have heard me banging around because she called out, "MOM?  I already made a selection and laid it out on the chair!  It is the red dress!"

So I look over and, yeah, there is a short sleeved dress on the bed.

"Lilly, you can't wear your summer dresses any more.  We packed those away.  You have to wear long sleeves."

So I pick up a long sleeved dress and bring it to her.

And she collapses to the ground.

"Moooooooom. That dress is sooo squirgily," she wails, and gesticulates in a squirgily fashion.

"Would you like a shirt and some pants?"

"NEVER!  I will NEVER wear a shirt and pants!"

"Lilly.  I don't want to fight about this any more.  It is COLD.  You cannot wear summer clothes anymore.  End of discussion."

Whine, whine, whine, whine.

"Lilly, I'm done talking about this.  Go to your room if you can't stop whining about wearing weather-appropriate clothing."

So she goes stomping off to her room, crying and slamming the door to her room.

Because, Evil Mom, obviously.

And then she opens her door, so I can hear her sobbing, "Nobody wants me!  They are breaking my heart! Nobody wants me!"

And they say girls are dramatic.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Learned Helplessness

At work, you have to pay to park your car.

You have to pay to park your car, even though the place you park your car is nowhere near your actual office.

Still: Forced Daily Walk!

You have to swipe to get into the garage.  Which make sense.  Clearly, if we are all paying for the privilege to park here then we must protect these spots.

But what made less sense to me was that you also have to swipe your badge to get OUT of the lot.  Guys, once I'm in, that's it.  I've parked.  I've used the space.  Bygones.  What are you going to do if I lose my parking pass during the day?  Let me rot in the garage forever?  I'm now in garage-jail?

And then I realized that they were using those swipes to track employees.


More understandable, but also more creepy.

Anyhow, the past few days the gates have been broken at my garage, so they've just left them open.

Oddly, anarchy did not ensue.  Who would have known?

On the contrary - each of the past two days I've had to sit patiently behind a person who not only stopped at the open gate, but dug around, found their pass, and waved it at the sensor.  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Who would win?

Jessica makes a good point, which is, if I am going to stop writing, I should at least try to make sure my last, lingering, post doesn't make me look like an idiot.

So in the interest of pushing that particular post down in the in-box of this blog, I will recount a few conversations I had recently with Owen.

School started.  I'm always a little worried about my kids and their social lives.  Kids with friends are bullied less often, and in a less sustained, systematic way.  The friends don't have to be cool.  Just having friends is protective.  So I'd like my kids to have friends.

"How's school, Owen?  Are any of your friends from last year there?  Do you like the kids? Are they nice to you? Did you make any new friends?"

"Mom," he says, placing a hang on my shoulder, "it does take a while to devewope a frwendship."

So I let it go for a few weeks.

Then, we were talking last night, and I asked again.

"Have you made any friends at school yet, Owen?"


"Anybody you want to be friends with?"

"Not reawwy."

"Is anybody mean to you?"

"Wewl.  Sometime they do ask ask me questions during recess."

"What kinds of things do you do during recess, Owen?"


"Ok.  Well, you're saying kids ask you mean questions while you are playing?"


"Like what?"

"Like, 'what are you doing?' and 'are you having fun?' and 'do you want to plway wif me?'"

Oh, the cruelty of children.

And then he said, "Mom?  I was hoping I could ask you a question."

"Of course, Owen."

"Because, wewl, you told me earlier I had to stop asking questions."

That's true.  It did happen.  He asked a bunch of horrible questions I don't care about.  It's exhausting, and sometimes, when I'm trying to make dinner and pack lunches and set the table and do the laundry, I don't have any brain space left to determine the winner of whatever crazy contest Owen can dream up.  But we are now engaged in a deep, meaningful, conversation.

"Who would win between the King of Ice and the Sword of Fire?"

P.S. You're thinking about it, aren't you?  Who WOULD win?  The King of Ice probably has arms, which could be helpful in a fight, but the Sword of Fire is made probably made of fire, so . . .

Monday, August 11, 2014

True stories of the ER

I'm so stoic, you know?  It's my thing.  I suffer in silence.

Or at least not super loud?

Like, a medium level?

This could be a very long story where I tell you that my ear has been bothering me for a few weeks, and that I went swimming and then I couldn't hear and then I got dizzier, and more nauseous and in more pain and was convinced I had an ear infection, and then more dizzy, and then more nauseous, until Chris and I found ourselves in the ER at 3:00 in the morning.  

But the important part of the story is this:

"Oh.  Looks like your ear is completely impacted with wax."

"So, you're telling me that I am in the ER in the middle of the night for ear wax?"

"Pretty much."

"You're saying I woke my hard-working brother in law in the middle of the night to come be with my sleeping children . . . for ear wax."


"I sought emergency help from highly trained trauma doctors for ear wax."

"Yes, but that is okay, because I wasn't doing anything else."

"Good.  Neither was I."

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I'm going to need a body double. And my own house bus.

You guys!

Nobody told me that being a lazy blogger was costing me my chance to be rich and famous!

Did nobody see Sookie's comment on my last blog post?  Trying to recruit me to star in a television series?

Look, I write this thing.  I can't be expected to READ it, too.

. . .

Some further investigation reveals she might not be exactly offering stardom and a lucrative contract, as much as an invitation to the chance to apply to appear, for free, on a television show about weird pregnancies.

I beg your pardon.

I have never been anything but normal.  Or, if not normal, exactly, I have never been far enough outside of the range of normal to be of interest to anybody.

She wanted to hear about my experience with pica in pregnancy, which, I mean, did she not read my blog post about it?*

Because the blog post is pretty much it.  I wanted to eat laundry detergent.  A lot.  But I didn't.  The end. They couldn't even make a fifteen minute segment about that.

I am also quite sure I don't want to appear on TV.  I hear the camera adds ten pounds.  You know what else adds ten pounds?  Vacations.  And I've been on four of them this summer.

*Of course she has!  It's a front page Google search result for Pica + Pregnancy, holla!  See, I don't need Sookie and her suspiciously trendy name to bring me fame!

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Costco-Size Pack

Owen, when he was supposed to be sleeping tonight, came to the door of my bedroom, put his hands together in a prayer position and bowed.

Which is a little weird, right?  I was going to chalk it up to whatever TV show he's been watching recently, but then I thought about it and he's been almost exclusively watching Ninjago, which, as I understand it, is some kind of Lego world and Lego guys don't even have hands in the traditional sense, so now I don't know where he got that.

"Hi, Mom."

"Hi, Owen."

"When does school start?"

"In just a few weeks weeks, buddy."

"Is that a short time, or a long time?"

"I guess that is kind of relative.  It will probably feel pretty short."

"Short like the days are five minutes?"

"I don't know.  Probably not that short."

"But a day could never be five minutes, right?  Unless the sun died."

"I don't know what is going to happen when the sun dies."

"But the sun will die?"

See what he did there?  I've been bamboozled into admitting the sun is going to die and my guess is there will be a follow up conversation.

"Yes, scientists say the sun will die someday."

"And what will happen then?"

It is at this point that I have a decision to make.  In a flash, I see myself telling him about Life Exterminating Events or Existence Limiting Events or whatever they call it in disaster movies.  And he would go upstairs and talk about it with Sam.  Let's be honest - we're talking about Owen here.  He was devastated watching March of the Penguins (which, to be fair, is hella devastating).  Still, if he was that torn up about the death of the baby penguin, I don't think he's just going to take the end of the world, and, thus, the death of all baby penguins, particularly well.

I remember hearing the sun was going to blow up some day when I was a kid.  Scared the shit out of me. Kids have precisely three time-based reference points - no more, no less.  Yesterday (lasterday), Today, and Tomorrow.  They were born yesterday.  You were born yesterday.  Dinosaurs were born yesterday. Today is all the stuff that is happening right now.  Tomorrow is all the stuff that is going to happen.  Telling a kid that the world is going to explode in 5 billion years is exactly the same as telling them the world will explode tomorrow.

So, for this moment, I decided to bend my philosophy of not out-right lying to the children. Instead of saying, "The world will end and we will all die, but don't worry, that's not until tomorrow,"  I said, "We would have to stock up on light bulbs."

"Okay," he says.  "But I hope it isn't soon because we are on a spending freeze."

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Lost and found

I was puttering around straightening up last night, as Lilly trailed after me.  She's kind of like a radio, in that she never stops making noise and is unconcerned if I actually response.

She told me stories about school, and about how much she loves to wear tights and that that is okay because it is her body, and how beautiful I am, though, actually, could I please cut my hair because she is finding it distracting.

At one point she stops, leans over, and looks at something on the couch.

"Mom?  Look, there is an eyeball on the couch!"

"Really?" I say, while paying almost no attention.

"Yeah!  A tiny little eyeball.  Where do you think it came from?"

"Not sure, babe."

"Do you think it's Josie's?"

What?  Ew!  No, I do not think her three month old cousin's eyeball fell out and somehow made its way to our couch.

"Probably not, Lilly.  Thomas and Jessica would have been asking around for it."

"You should call them."

I'm on it.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Gimme Five

Couple of things on the agenda today, people.

First off, I kind of apologize for that recent downer of a post.  Just this parenting thing is an absolutely dichotomous mix of "YOU ARE SO ANNOYING" and "YOU MUST NEVER LEAVE ME."  Which, now that I mention it, may have been the actually Freudian definition of a schizophrenigenic mother.  I AM making the children crazy!

It is very weird.

On the one hand: "You find your goddamned shoe in the next 30 seconds or I swear on all that is holy I will staple them to your feet.  You will sleep in your shoes.  You will bathe in your shoes.  We will have a twice-a-year celebration of Moving Up a Shoe Size! and / or Changing into Winter Shoes.  I don't know for sure.  I haven't thought through all of the details of your new life, but trust me when I say that this old, shoe-losing life will be a sweet memory unless you figure out where your fucking shoes are."

On the other hand: "I would die without you."

I should probably be nicer to people that it would kill me to live without.

And I try, but when I go to take them out to dinner or to the museum, we can't go because their fucking shoes got eaten by the ether.  Or slid into another dimension through the wormhole in our boot room.  Or the Borrowers took it to use as a boat.


We are in the process of buying a car.

Chris when to the dealer today while I stayed home with the kids.  I didn't tell them what was up until Chris sent the message that he was signing papers on a new car.

"Where's Daddy?" asks Owen

"He's buying a new car."

"You are going to trade in the red car?" (How the hell does he know that??)


"So I'm never going to see the red car again?"

"I . . . guess not, little man."

He stands there.  Tears in his eyes.  Not falling, though.  He's a stoic kind of sensitive.   His lip wobbles a little as he says, "I didn't even get to say good-bye."

He says it gently.  He's not *accusing* me of anything.  Just, you know, pointing thing out.  He visibly pulls himself together a little bit and says, "It's okay.  I can say good-bye in spirit."

He literally said those words.  What 6 year old talks like that?  Do I talk like that?  Where did he COME from?

Sam had caught wind of this by this point and wandered over.  "I don't think this is a good idea, Mom."

"Why not?" Also, too late now, and I'm just listening to be respectful, but it's a fake kind of respect because there is no going back now.

"I just don't think I want to get used to a new car."

These are my children.  These are my people.  Let's never experience change, together.


Another Owen story:  We left some chalk outside and when we went outside this afternoon, some passerby had used it to make a pretty good batman emblem.

Owen saw it, and said, "Who made this?"

"I don't know Owen.  It wasn't someone in our family."

"No, sweriouswy.  Who made this?  Because they need to get a high-five."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Win some, lose some

I happened to mention something about gay marriage in front of Sam, and how it wasn't legal in Ohio.

He asked me what I meant by that and I said that, in Ohio, a man isn't allowed to marry a man, and a woman isn't allowed to marry a woman.

He did that thing where he tilts his head like a confused dog and squints his eyes.

"Why?  That's not fair."


(except what have I told you about life not being fair)

WE'RE teaching him our MORALS!  We are WINNING!

(conservatives are horrified)

But . . .

Then I heard that the boys had used my sister's phone to take pictures of their junk.

And I don't mean that in the "old useless items" sense.

I was all, "HAHAHAHA . . . . wait."

Children are horrifying.

Monday, June 9, 2014


A little girl in Owen's class at school died of cancer this weekend.

So that's pretty horrifying.

The mother of this child posted once about sitting next to her daughter's bed and thinking, "We will beat this. She will be okay because I will not allow this to happen."

And then.

We don't really have that kind of power, do we?  But we feel like we do.  It is unacceptable, and therefore I will not accept it, and therefore it will not happen.  And every parenting magazine and "News at Eleven" and internet article encourages us to feel that way.

Parents Magazine, for example has, as one of it's regular items, "It Happened to Me," - a monthly look at a new unusual way your child's life could be at risk.  Eating deodorant.  Burning bare feet on black summer asphalt.  Choking on a detached key fob.  This is aside from the feature articles which have an in-depth look into ways your child's life could be at risk.

What is the PURPOSE of these stories?  The message is - always - watch more.  Watch better.  Watch harder.  Do not allow this to happen.

Have you ever read the comments after an article where a child died in a preventable way?  It's the parent's fault.  They messed up.  They should have been watching.  I would not allow that to happen.  Hidden somewhere in this is also the subversive message that if you allow it to happen, than you deserve it.

We all seem to operating under a logical fallacy that because a particular death was, in retrospect, preventable, that all death is, prospectively, preventable.  But a child who is not swimming unsupervised in a pool is playing with a beading kit, or swinging on a swing, or eating a hot dog, or growing a tumor.

I read an article recently, regarding the language that has started to surround cancer - "she beat it," "her parents never gave up," "she's fighting so hard."  Notice the creeping linguistic implication that if you are just strong enough, you can control even cancer?  That if we "fight" (fight how?), and keep hoping (as if there are parents who couldn't be bothered) than we can tell the very cells in our child's bodies that they must not do this - we will not allow this.  

These stories, of these parents who have lost their children, they break our hearts.  And I think the way we live with it - the way we get out of the terrified space in our heads - is to tell ourselves that we wouldn't allow it.

And, honestly, you have to cope somehow.  I don't think you can be an effective parent if you've tipped the wrong way on the razor edge between gratitude and fear.  I'm so grateful for my children.  These past few days, I've been so afraid.  And I've been giving Owen way too many marshmallows.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Pillow Talk

Chris and I were getting ready for bed last night when he said, "Oh, hey, guess what?!  I farted today!"

Normally, that wouldn't be something we overtly discussed, but when you've experienced the kind of gastrointestinal stress we have lately, any farts that aren't sharts are cause for celebration.

"That's great news, Chris!"

"Yeah, I thought it was a sign I was better, but then I was in CVS and I started cramping."

"Uh oh.  What did you do?"

"Well," Chris says, "at first I thought 'man, I've got to hurry up with my shopping' but pretty soon I was was thinking 'okay, I've got to hurry up and get out of here and find a bathroom,' and then a few minutes later I was contemplating, in a very real sense, what it would be like to shit myself in public as a grown man."

"That would be rough.  You wouldn't go pants down in the bushes, if it came to it?"

"No, I decided I would get in the car, keep my pants on, just let it happen, and then drive home."

"It's not a bad plan, Chris, but where do you go from there?  Do you take the rest of the day off?"

"No!  I would change and go back to work!  What am I going to do, sit around and feel sorry for myself?"

"I don't know.  I just thought there might be some kind of 'hey, you just pooped your pants, maybe you shouldn't be at work' rule in play at that point."

"I don't think so.  I do think I'd take a shower, though, otherwise I'd be really paranoid that people would somehow know."

"Oh like you wouldn't just tell them first thing anyway.  It's not like they wouldn't notice you were gone for two hours with no explanation.  They'd obviously ask what happened.  And then you would giggle like an adolescent girl.  Unless you tried to call on the way home with a cover story?  The old, 'I just got detained by the police' story might be better for your image."

"I would just blame it on the kids.  I can always make it the kids' fault somehow."

"Well, could you at least try to sit on a towel or something on the way home?"

"Don't have to!  Leather seats in the van, remember?"

"An unexpected use for that particular selling feature!"

"This has been a really romantic talk."

"What can we do?  We lead a spicy life, Chris."


Monday, June 2, 2014

Playing with Children: It's not as fun as it looks on Facebook

I was sitting on the floor of the living room, playing around with Lilly.

She put a Hello Kitty stamp under her foot.

"Mom?  Guess what I have under my foot."

"Lilly, I was right here.  I saw what you put under your foot.  You put a Hello Kitty stamp under your foot."

"But GUESS!"

"Um . . . I'm guessing it's a Hello Kitty stamp."

She lifts her foot, and there is, indeed, the Hello Kitty stamp.

"Mom, don't look this time."


She doesn't move.  I know, because I'm right there, and I would have been able to hear it.  Even with my eyes closed.

"Mom!  Guess what it under my foot now!"

"Lilly, you didn't move.  There is nothing else around here.  It's still the Hello Kitty stamp."

"Mom, GUESS."

"I'm guessing it's the Hello Kitty stamp."

I was right again.

"Okay, mom.  Don't look.  Close your eyes."

Got it.

"Guess now, mom.  But don't guess it's the stamp."

"Is it a sticker?"


"Is it money?"


"I give up.  What is it?"

"It's a Hello Kitty stamp!"

Came out of NOWHERE with that one.

Speaking of the Hello Kitty stamp, it came in a super clearanced Hello Kitty scrap-booking kit.

Lilly asked me if I would play with her, and I'm trying to say yes more often, so I got on the floor and we started playing with this kit.

I'm not sure if you are aware, but scrap-booking is where you put pictures in an album and put, like, borders and stickers and shit around them.

But Lilly was not playing with it RIGHT.

"Okay, Lilly, first we need to print out some pictures to put in the book."

"Uh.  How about we just play with this?"

"Fine.  We'll just make designs on the pages.  We will make it like a little art book."

"Uh, I'm just gonna rip these pages out and start cutting."

"But . . . that's not . . ."

I didn't fight much more about it.  I just let her rip the album apart and cut it up.  And the tube of glitter glue?  She used it all on one page.  I was AGHAST.  I kept thinking, "she's WASTING the glitter."

The thing is, if you think about it, glitter is never wasted.

But also, this is why it is hard to play with kids.  

Saturday, May 31, 2014

With a Cherry on Top

We were eating dinner, and Owen was telling a story.

He is a dear and sweet child, but this was a long and involved story and it's possible that Chris and I started to have a side conversation about deck paint options, which is interesting and salient.

"Mom and Dad?"  Lilly says, "you are interrupting Owen.  Please be respectful."

So we listened to the story.

Apparently, on field day at school, they only delivered 18 popsicles to his classroom of 19 children.  Owen was the last kid in line, and, boom, no more popsicles.

"So I went downstairs to the cooler and I didn't even look, I just picked one out.  And do you what color it was?!"

Bated breath, here, Owen.



"All the other kids were jealous, but I think it is fair because I had to wait the longest."

It was an epic tale, but that is the gist.  Then, it was Lilly's turn.

"One day, at school, my teacher Tessa brought in POPSICLES!"

I think I know where this is going.

"And I didn't get one, so I went upstairs, and I closed my eyes and I grabbed one from the cooler, and guess what color it was!"


"RAINBOW!! . . .  With a cherry on top!"

"Wiwwy."  Owen says, "I do not think that was a real story."

I have to agree.

Owen explains, "For one thing, Horizon doesn't HAVE an upstairs."

Oh, BOOM, that's a good one, Owen!

"And for another thing, who would ever put a cherry on top of a Popsicle?"

Sherlock Holmes here.

whine and cheese

Zoh my god.

So whiny.  That last post, in retrospect kind of sounded ridiculous.


I just mean that we are looking at 10,000 in house repairs so that the city doesn't take us to housing court, because, while it kind of sounds like an adorable little court, is probably just regular stupid un-enjoyable court.

And I want the children to have clothes that fit, but they keep getting larger and / or destroying their old clothes.

Hand-me-downs are kind of a joke.  Sam is leaving no hand-me-downs for Owen.  We can barely get his clothes to last through a season.  I'm glad warm weather is here because Sam's winter clothes were hanging together by stained threads.

So things are good.  I was a single parent last week, but a single parent with a bunch of supportive family members to help out.  And now Chris is back, so that's good.

Misplaced trust

So this week has been fun, right?

Or as Owen would say.  "Dieureeue.  It was not fun."

But I'm not going to talk about that anymore, because Margaret is 20% of my audience, and you gotta respect your audience, man.

Instead, let's talk about all the things I cannot afford to buy right now.

  • House Painting.
  • Chimney Mortaring.
  • Landscaping.
  • House Cleaning.
  • Convenience Food.
  • New furniture (specifically, buffet, mattress, and dressers).
  • New clothes.

Okay.  Well.  That didn't feel like a lot of fun either.

Anyway, here's a conversation I just had with Lilly:

"Mom? Can I do your hair?  You have side bangs. I will get them out of the way so that you can see.  It is so nice to see your face.  Izzy does not have bangs.  Izzy has hair that is short in the front.  I like to do your hair.  Can I watch The Croods?"


And another recent one:

"Lilly, did you pick up your toys?"

"Yes.  I did."

"Really?" (side eye)

"Mom."  She comes closer, gently grasping my face in her hands, tenderly brushing my hair back.  She brings her nose to my nose and stares into my eyes.  "I trust you,." she whispers.  Long stare.  Then, again, "I trust you."

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Revisiting Margaret's favorite topic

Owen's caught himself a little virus.

It's terribly sad, but he does look totally gorgeous.  His cheeks are rosy and his eyes are bright and glossy.

The vomiting detracts from the attractiveness, but there's always a trade-off, you know?

Honestly, I've seen way worse.  I mean, he's only thrown up once, and there wasn't even recognizable food in it.

Owen, however, asked me, "Is this the sickest I've ever been?"

Oddly, he seems way more distressed by the diarrhea.  After the first bout, he came to me in tears.

"Mom?  I had to poop but I didn't make it all in the toilet because it was all like soft."

Oh, gross.

"And I tried to wipe it off but it was hard to clean up."

Dear god, he's never tried to clean up anything ever in his life.  Why did he start now?

"I got some in my underpants, and I tried to wipe it out."

Please stop.

"And I didn't know if I should throw them down the laundry chute so I left them in my room."

Oh good.

"And I tried to wipe my butt but it took a lot of toilet paper."

"Owen, my love, I need you to go wash your hands right now."

He is clearly very upset about the diarrhea because he can't let it go.

"Mom?  Why did that happen to me?  It was like peeing out of my butt.  Why was I peeing out of my butt?  It made a really gross noise when it was falling into the toilet and that noise made me very uncomfortable.  When it touched the toilet paper it was GREEN.  Usually, when I'm pooping, I can kind of close my butt and pull the poop back up, but I can't with this."

He's had a LOT of visits to the bathroom this morning.  I checked in on him at one point and he said, "Mom?  I keep falling asleep, but then I have to go to the bathroom to have diarrhea.  But, Mom?  I got it all in the toilet this time."

"Oh, that's great, Owen."

"Not a speck was on the floor or the toilet seat."


"Can you please tell Dad that?"

"I sure will."

And I did.

Just because I make fun doesn't mean I don't appreciate it.

Chris is a dear, sweet, man.

A long time ago, we came up with a clear division of labor for the laundry.  He would be responsible for keeping the laundry off the floor by throwing it down the laundry chute, and for carrying clean laundry upstairs, and I would do all the laundry, fold the laundry, and put the laundry away.

The plan fell apart because Chris has a genetic disorder that prevents him from seeing things that are lying around on the floor.

It's very sad.

But he's not just trying to get out of work, you know.  He does do a fair amount of the laundry.

In fact when I went down to the basement today, I saw that he had washed and folded a load of laundry.

Also, side note (foreshadowing!) we recently had plumbers come clean out the drain in the basement.  They wore some of those disposable shoe covers, and, when they were done, they took them off and left them there.

When we fold laundry 'round here, we separate it into piles by person (does everybody?  I'm always finding out that things that I thought were standard are, in fact, not.).

In my pile, I see this:

That, my friends, is one washed and dried disposable shoe cover.

What I enjoy most about this is imagining Chris fishing the shoe cover out of the dryer, holding it up, and, apparently, thinking, "well, whatever it is, it must be Beth's."

Also, this is a picture of where he put the spray bottle, and how close I come to reaching it.

Also, try taking a picture of your basement laundry area.  It's the only way you really SEE how very grungy your underground hovel really is.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I noticed that you try to be Funny

"Oh my god!  I never realized how funny you were until just now!"

This is, actually, at least the third time this particular colleague has said this to me.  Notably, it is the second time this week.  Within 48 hours, actually.

Which makes me feel a little weird about the whole thing.

I don't really know what exactly is happening.

Is she a hamster?  Are we having 50 First Dates?

If we assume she is a real person - with a regular, non-amnesic, brain - what is the message she's trying to send with this?

And, I do kind of believe she is backhanding me with something.  She has said more than one cruel, flippantly mean-spirited things to me and then added, "Just kidding!"

So I'm a little scared of her.

Also, we've been colleagues for close to a year at this point.  You know, interacting and such.  So why does she keep saying that it is only NOW that she thinks (allegedly) I'm funny?

I guess I want to know: Is she saying I seem like I'm trying to HARD to be funny?  Because, I assure you, it's totally natural.

In fact, now that we are talking about it, I have this horrible habit of joking while talking to people who have no sense of humor (i.e., every manager ever) and I CAN'T STOP.

Co-workers are weird.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Questing, Never Resting.


The voice is tearful, and there is an ice-cold finger on my cheek.

It scares the living shit out of me.

Guys, this is why I hate air conditioners.  I can't hear the kids coming for me, and when I wake up to a person in my face, it gives me a heart attack.

"Mom?" Lilly sobs, "Can I have some medicine?  I am coughing free by free!" she says, as she holds up two fingers.

Okay.  I'm pulling myself together.  But I'm so confused.  Maybe it's the adrenalin surge, or that I was just dead asleep, or that it is dark in here, but none of this is making sense.

I know two things:

1) Lilly is pretty sick, and making horrible, phlegm-y, sick noises.
2) I am in a sci-fi / fantasy / thriller where my daughter is speaking in oracle-ese and I'm probably about to start an epic journey.

"Lilly, what?  What are you saying?"

"I can't stop coughing three by three!"  This time she holds up three fingers.

Right.  Well.  Moving along.  I get tissues, an allergy pill, an extra blanket (ice-cold finger, remember) and some ibuprofen.  Drink of water and back to bed.

She does have a bad cough.  And, even in the light of day, refers to herself as coughing three by three.

Which, of course.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sharing is caring!

I wouldn't say that I'm a selfish person, exactly.

I just like to have my things.

It is why I don't like to travel.  I like to have all my things.  All the things I like.  All my things that are just exactly right.  My pillow, my can opener, my remote control.

(i.e., sleep, eat, read)

Packing, for me, is an exercise in hysterical stuffing of All The Things.

Kids, of course, make that all worse.  You have to imagine not just all the possible scenarios that you might encounter, but also every possible thing that could ever happen to anybody.

That's a lot of things.

Anyway, traveling and packing isn't even the point today.

The point is, I like my things.  I like to have my things.  I have all my important things - my nail clippers, my chap stick, my allergy pills - right nearby.  Easy access.

My bedside table, for example, could provide necessarily life-sustaining tools for years after an apocalyptic event.

When the zombies come, and you have to make a run for it, just grab my bedside table.  You will be so good to go.

You will have items such as (but not limited to):

  • ibuprofen
  • multivitamins
  • allergy pills
  • nasal decongestants
  • antibiotic ointment
  • band aids
  • snacks
  • nail clippers
  • scissors
  • nail polish
  • notebooks
  • pens
  • a hair brush
  • lotion (s) (including exema lotion, face lotion, foot lotion, and body lotion)
  • chap stick
  • a number of CDs
  • random unlabeled pills
  • old receipts
  • various wires
  • hydrocortisone cream
  • bottle of water

But here's the thing:  I told you that you could grab my beside table in the event of zombies or some other world-altering / endangering event.

Other than that, please get off my bedside table.

It is MY well-stocked cupboard of comfort.

So please don't come to my organizational oasis and snatch my nail clippers (Chris).   Stop consuming my pills and rubbing with my lotions (Chris).  If you would like to have this treasure trove of tools, you may assemble your own (Chris).  I highly recommend it.

I'm making fun of Chris here, because he's a significant abuser of my hoarding efforts, but the thing that really gets me?  Like nails on a chalkboard?

The kids drinking from my water bottle.

Is it so much to ask that the water bottle be mine alone?  They treat it like the family water fountain.  Like a rest stop refresher as they go about their days.

They all have their own water bottles, of course.  As well as clean running water and numerous available receptacles.

But I have seen the kids walk up stairs, past two sinks, and come in to my room and guzzle my water.

Do you know how many DISEASES these kids have?!

It's a lot.

But we're a family, and what's mine is theirs, and what's theirs used to be mine.

My water bottle sings a siren song.  My niece came over the other day.  Drawn like a lodestone, she grabbed and chugged from the communal water bottle.

Please understand that I do, in fact, wash and replace this bottle on a regular basis.

It's just that I didn't know that becoming a mom meant never having only your lips on your cup.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Lil' Lils

Lilly turned four this week.  There have been a few celebrations: a family one, a small school acknowledgment, and an EPIC Little Gym blow-out.  

Possibly just a regular Little Gym event.

But Lilly is just a little bit confused by the fact that each party has not resulted in another year of growth.  

"I'm FIVE now!"  

No, you just look five.  Perhaps six?

Seriously.  I don't know if you are aware, but she's a little tall for her age.

One of Lilly's favorite friends is at her party - she is a petite and charming little pixie of a girl.

Lilly could eat her for a snack.  

She has to bend down a little to talk to her.

We ran into one of Sam's friends at Target today (Marcus?  Mason?  Max?) and this kid's little sister was there.

"Is that Sam's sister?" she whispers to her dad in that way that kids whisper which is quite as loud as regular talking.

Lilly ignores her.

But this little girl is not to be dissuaded, and she walks up to Lilly.  "How old are you?"

"I'm four," says Lilly.  

I'm thinking we might be okay here, because she is only half a head shorter than her. 

"Well I'm FIVE, so I'm a WHOLE year older than you."

Her dad chimes in, "Oh, probably not a WHOLE year."

I would say that it's probably a whole year.

They ran off to look at the toys together, but it wasn't long before Lilly found me in the aisle and said, "Mom?  I'm done spending time with that girl."

And ain't that the truth.  

For some reason, I hadn't understood that I wouldn't know anybody at Lilly's party.  A few relatives showed up and thank god for that.  

Happy Birthday to Lilly!

Sunday, April 20, 2014


So I'm 8+ years into this parenting thing, and I still have days that make me wonder when I'm going to get smart about it.

Today was Easter.  A few weeks back, I went out and got a few toys and four types of candy.  I put the candy in little plastic eggs, and hid them in the backyard for the express purpose of having my children find and enjoy said eggs.

But when they found the eggs, they asked, "Can we eat the chocolate?"

And I was all, "No you can't eat chocolate.  That's a terrible idea.  You know you aren't allowed to eat candy.  You are going to be horrible little monsters if you eat candy.  Why would you think you could eat this candy that I just wrapped up and gave to you?"


It happens at Christmas, too.

Every Easter, every Christmas - basically every Jesus-centric holiday, I buy my kids a bunch of candy, give it to them, and am then taken aback when they want to consume the candy.

"No, no.  See, you just get to FIND the candy.  Now you give it back to me and I eat it."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

transform your emotions

There is a song on the radio these days that has a line, "I'm going to be an optimist about this."

Or something like that.

I was driving the boys to school and I asked them if they knew what an optimist was.

"Of course," Owen says, "Optimus Prime."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Double Standards

I'm sitting here with Sam as he reads a book before bed.

We've been having problems making sure that Sam gets to bed at a reasonable hour now that he is in the attic.  Also when he gets obsessive about a book.

Didn't see that one coming.  Had no genetic warning there.  Obsessive?!  Reading?!  Us?!

Anyhow, he said that one way we could solve this would be to get him a watch.

Because the clock next to his bed isn't sufficient?

So he leans over and asks me, "Mom?  Do you wear your watch to while you are sleeping?"

"Yes, Sam."

"Ok.  I wasn't sure if it was a thing you could wear while you are sleeping.  Like your necklace, and how you never wear a necklace to sleep."

Ummm.  ""Sam, I wear my necklace while I sleep."

He turns and stares at me for a minute.

"Mom?  I don't think that is a good idea.  You said we shouldn't sleep with things around our necks in case we strangle ourselves.  And now I'm worried you are going to strangle yourself."

I'm not sure how to explain this to him, except that it seems totally reasonable to simultaneously not allow my children to wrap things around their necks, while wearing a necklace to bed myself.  Hadn't even occurred to me to feel like a hypocrite.

So I went with the standard, rephrase-as-if-it-is-an-explanation strategy.  "It's okay for grown ups to wear necklaces to bed, but not kids, Sam."

He narrows his eyes at me, and considers.  

Finally, he says, "Mom?  I'm still worried about it.  But I have a plan.  I will listen out for noises at night like you are choking.  Then, I will come down here and I will try to wake Dad up.  I may have to dump his water bottle on his head, and that will make him angry, so I will only do it if it is an emergency, like when you are choking on your necklace."

"That's quite a plan, Sam."

"I know.  I had to think about it back when you were gone over night one time.  I was worried about Dad, because he is not as good at waking up."

Okay, two things here.

1) Stop worrying so much, Sam.
2) Hahahahaha.  BURN, Chris.

In the end, I told him that I would refrain from wearing a necklace to bed, despite my proven track record of not dying from a necklace.  I don't think he needs to worry about that.

Moral dilemma: If you tell your child you won't wear a necklace to bed so that he doesn't worry about you strangling yourself, do you actually have to stop wearing a necklace to bed?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I've Never Liked Jack

I saw one of Owen's school papers the other day.  It had a lovely stick figure drawing and the carefully printed sentence, "I like to play chest whis Sam."

See, guys, you all thought he had a lisp, when really it's just that he has a very casual relationship with the English language.  They haven't made a formal commitment yet.  It might not work out, long term.

On that note, and in the spirit of being a better parent, I've made it a personal goal to never say no when one of them asks me to read to them.

So far, I've managed to meet that goal, but JESUS CHRIST I am SO OVER reading this particular version of Jack and the Beanstalk.  It's not a short book.  It's not a well written iteration.  Even the illustration bothers me.  There are more internal inconsistencies than any one children's book has a right to contain.  I'd be HAPPY to discuss all the reasons I don't like this book.  I could write a dissertation about the stupidity of this book.  And my dissertation would be more interesting and better written than this book is.

But every morning, and every night, Owen and Lilly choose this book to read.

It's like nails on a chalkboard.

So our take home lesson?  Self-improvement sucks.

Monday, April 7, 2014


It is evening, and Owen wanders into my room.  He should be in bed, but instead he comes in and plops himself down and asks, "How is it been doing, Mom?"

It's so sweet, the way he is trying to learn the language of the American people instead of relying on his native tongue of . . . Russian?  German?  I'm not really sure.

We chat for a minute, but, honest to god, at the end of the day I only have so much patience for meandering philosophical discussions like, "Do You Think the Kindergarten Concert Will be Fun and Why?" and "Which Superhero do You Like Most and Why?"  Hint: All of these discussions are based on nothing I care about and will always include "And Why?"

Then Sam comes in.  He has started to catch on to these nighttime talks that Owen arranges, and, as ever, if Owen gets it, Sam wants it, even if he doesn't want it.

They both start talking over each other.

It is a nuclear arms race of Things I Don't Care About.

Sam bringt in sports, which is pretty much a trump card, but Owen fires back with something about grass growing and jesus christ, seriously?

I feel myself snapping, even as I know I shouldn't.  Even as I acknowledge how fortunate I am that they are here and healthy and happy.

"GUYS.  I need you to go away now."

No sugar-coating.  They are going to remember that in therapy years from now.

". . . and she just told us we had to go away.  So I started doing crack cocaine."

But the worst thing is that they respond by just kindly, politely, going away.  As if to show me what manners are.

"Let us lead by example, my brother, that she might learn the ways of polite society."

They tromp out of the room.

Owen offers a cheerful wave and an "Okay!"

Then, as they are halfway up the stairs, Owen sneaks back and whispers, "I'll come back later, when you've had a few minutes."

Which is so sweet.

Except, at this point, I kind of just want him to go to bed.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Good Morning

Chris wakes up first.  He is more of a morning person than I am, which basically makes him a better person.  
Our culture is generally disgusted by people who sleep in.  Think about it.  People that go to bed at 9 are weird and old, but people that sleep until noon are slugs who lay in their own slug-juice. 

Fortunately, I haven't had to worry about sleeping in for about 8 years now, so I am a perfectly respectable member of society.   

Anyway, Chris wakes up first.  He showers, gets dressed, swears at his phone, and then tromps downstairs to do whatever it is he does downstairs.  

Eventually, we peel the children out of bed.  

The harangue each other as they take turns using the bathroom, each of them refusing to use the downstairs bathroom, preferring, instead, to get increasing hysterical about how they HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM

Then they file into our bedroom and get into our bed, where they proceed to lay there like slugs in their own slug=juice.  

Owen and Lilly get into an argument about what TV show they will watch after school.  Owen wants to watch Jake and the Neverland Pitrates, but Lilly is resistant.  They watched that yesterday, she says.  He counters that they did not.  She posits that, yeah, they did.  

Owen is quite perturbed.  "LILLY.  How would you feel if you never got to watch Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood?!?!"

I myself would feel pretty damn good because that is a creepy little show that is a disgrace to both the name and spirit of Mr. Rogers.

But Lilly would not feel good if she never got to watch Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.  She agrees that this is a good point and they should compromise.  

Or something like that.  

I stopped listening.

I tell Owen to go brush his teeth.  His little electric toothbrush is broken, he tells me.  That's okay, I say, go ahead and use it like a regular toothbrush.  He stand there with the toothbrush in his mouth, motionless, until I remind him that he is capable of manually brushing his teeth.  

I leave the bathroom to begin the morning process of stuffing Lilly into her tights.

"Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrssssssssssszzzzzzzz," I hear, from the bathroom.

I realize that Owen is imitating the sounds of his electric toothbrush.  


Owen gets himself dressed, as he does every day, like the kind, helpful, self-sufficient boy he is.  

"Owen, your pants are on backwards," I say, just like I said yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.

"Ok, mom!" He says.  "But that's okay, right?!"  He says, just like he said yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.  

"No, Owen, you have to switch them."

"Get your shoes on, everybody!  It's time to go!"

Three sets of eyes stare blankly at me.  Shoes?  What are those?  Where would they be?  How would they know?  They've never seen their shoes in their lives!

"Can I have a car snack?"

"Lilly.  You just ate breakfast.  And you are about to go eat second breakfast at school.  You really can't handle the seven minute drive without a snack?"


"Mom, is that a yes, or a no?"

Congratulations, you are now familiar with our morning routine.  You can take over at any time.  

Friday, March 21, 2014

Bathroom Breaks

I'm not sure if all of America is aware the Hagesfeld Struggles to Actually Flush the Toilet, or just the eastern half, but, yes, somebody (ies) around here doesn't know how to wipe, flush, and wash hands on an entirely regular basis.

So I printed out all these clip art images of toilets being flushed, and hands being washed.  No pictures of wiping.  This is a family-friendly establishment and that just seemed a bit graphic.

I taped these images all around the bathroom, so that you could not possibly manage to not see a reminder of appropriate bathroom hygiene.

When the kids got home it was all, "Ooooooooh!  Something NEW!  How FASCINATING!"

'All the better,' I though.  Children are like zoo creatures, and I just changed their habitat in a new and stimulating way.

About five minutes later:

"MOM!  I wiped my penis!"

I know what you are thinking right now.  You are thinking, 'well, that's progress.'


"Great job, Lilly, but, as we've previously discussed, you don't have penis."

"Oh, right.  HAHA.  Well, anyway, my penis is clean now."

"Super.  Don't forget to flush and wash your hands."

From the boys?  The actual culprits?

(And, yes, I believe it is my male children who are doing this to me because 1) they are boys and 2) boys are gross and 3) I'm also mad at them for peeing all over everything.)

From the boys I've gotten nothing but a bunch of questions about the pictures.

How did I hang them up?

Where did I get them?

Who's hand is that flushing the toilet?

Why is that a picture of a kid flushing the toilet, but the picture of the hands being washed are grown-ups hands?


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mr. Potato-Head Famine

Scene:  It's morning.  The kids are downstairs, doing the breakfast thing.  Alledgedly.

I'm upstairs.  Drying my hair.  With my fancy working hair dryer.

Lilly comes stumbling upstairs (because she is so excited and tall that apparently stumbling is her default mode of transportation).


"What, Lilly?"

"Mom?  May we have a potato?"

"What? Why?  Is this the Depression?  Are we Oliver Twist?"

Lilly, choosing to ignore my unnecessary commentary, answers, "So we can eat it."

"No, Lilly, you can't really just eat a potato.  That's weird.  It wouldn't taste good."

Then, a voice hisses from downstairs, "No!  Lilly, we want it to make a Mr. Potato Head."

"Oh!  Mom!  We're going to make a Mr. Potato Head!"

HA!  It's like my children ARE living in the Depression!  With their homemade Mr. Potato Heads.  Maybe they can get some corn husk dolls and an orange for Christmas.

Except the playroom suggests that we do, in fact, have actual toys - made of real plastic!

Though, point taken, I have not shelled out for a Mr. Potato Head.  It violates my cardinal rule of play things: They Must Not Have Pieces.

So I told them they could have a potato.  And they stuck old screws and nails in it to make a face.

It was the most adorably hideous and terrifying thing ever.  Like Edward Scissor Hands meets Jason meets . . . well . . . Mr. Potato Head.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Princesses NEVER!

Lilly, despite seeing only her second princess movie ever in the past few months, is quite comfortable with the idea of being a princess.

To Lilly, being a princess means only two things:

1) wearing a "beautiful" outfit
2) not doing something she doesn't want to do.

I believe I have mentioned the "princesses don't wear underwear" debacle.

I didn't know at the time, but that was the dawning of a new age around here.

The ushering in of a new era of "But MOM!  Princesses don't . . . "

. . . take their plates in!

. . . go to sleep!

. . . eat tuna for dinner!

And that's all fine, really.  I get it.  It's not the MOST annoying way for her to say she doesn't like something.

Whatever, right?

The thing is, she also uses it In Public.

So she says things like:

"Princesses don't put their heads underwater, right, mom?"

"Princesses don't climb on monkey bars, right, mom?"

"Princesses don't ride bikes, right, mom?"

Which is her way of saying, 'I'm a little scared of putting my head under water, or climbing on monkey bars, or riding a bike.'

Which is no big deal.

Except, apparently, if you are a stranger sitting next to us in public, it sounds just a touch like I'm a pageant mom.  A Toddlers in Tiaras kind of situation, if you know what I mean.

Like I've just been drilling into her that she is a princess and princesses don't eat fattening foods and they don't get their hair messy and they never rub their mascara off, right Lil' Lilly Lou Bobbi?

And I just feel like I don't really deserve the look that that lady standing near us in the pool just gave me.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Babies and things

I am just on pins and needles waiting for my newest niece!

I asked Chris if he ever had any regrets, vasectomy-speaking.

"No.  Absolutely not.  Not at all.  No.  Never."

I think it's probably painful for him, this longing for another baby, so he has to stuff those feelings deep inside.

"When I think of what Thomas and Jessica are about to go through, I get nauseous."

Deep, deep, inside.

It's funny how your perspective changes as your kids grow up.  I remember being with Sam at the Children's Museum when he was probably 18 months old.  Somebody had their older child with them - probably a 7 year old - and I was APPALLED.  It was like this kid was some kind of hulking monster.  Now I have a hulking monster, and I'm like, "well, yeah, but what are you gonna do?  It's not like you can trade them in."

It's a bait-and-switch, this "having children" thing.  I signed on for babies, but really they are like gremlins.  Or tribbles.  Or something that is cute but will, faster than you can imagine, be rolling his eyes at you, mumbling, "I knew this was going to be an awful Sunday" because you had the gall to propose a trip to Costco.

Even though I think Uncle Mike might agree that Costco makes for an awful Sunday.

The thing is, after you've dragged three kids through Costco on a Sunday, your regular life seems awesome in comparison.  You are never so grateful to be at home than after that particular torture.

Speaking of trading-in, the brakes on our car just went out.

Hey, I have an idea, Devices-That-Help-Me-Live, how about, instead of breaking, you try NOT-breaking!  I know it's a novel, outside-the-box, suggestion, but I just thought I'd kind of throw it out there and see what sticks, you know?

Still, I will admit I have a damn good support system.  After I published my last list of things that broke, many of those items miraculously appeared.

My Mom and Dad sent over a mattress pad, which I very graciously accepted.

Michael brought me a new hair dryer, which turns out to have been enormously valuable in this winter that will not end - and spending freeze that cannot thaw because of All The Expensive Fixing.  

So, things could be worse.

It could be US having a baby any day now.

Not because babies aren't awesome, but because then Chris would be throwing up and I'd have to live through another 13-year-old.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Looks can be deceiving.

I went to dinner with some work friends recently.

I was the only one there who was married or had kids.

There were a lot of us.  It was rowdy.

Young people!  Sheesh!

At the table next to ours, there was a couple with their daughter.  I'd say about 13 months old.  Biggish baby / littlish toddler type.

Much ruckus was happening at our table, until whispering floated down from the other end of the table.

Apparently, we were now feeling bad, because the baby at the next table had cancer.

Aww.  That's terrible.  How sad!

Wait, but how do we know the baby has cancer?

I'm thinking there must be an IV port in her arm, or a hospital tag on her or something.

Because she's lost all her hair.

"Guys," I say, "I don't think the baby has cancer.  I think the baby is just bald."

I'm pretty sure the baby was just bald.

But if she did have cancer, sorry about the noise.


I was dropping the boys off at school today.

Let me set the scene.  Cold.  Like, "feels like -8" cold.  Blustery.  Limited vision because of all the awful snow.

I see a teenager - probably about 16.  He is dressed only in a hoodie, jeans, a pair of very visible boxers, and a weird backpack.

As he got closer, I figured out that the weird backpack was his little brother, whom he had given a piggy-back ride to school.  In the cold and snow.  Wearing only a hoodie.

At one point, his pants started to go down, as they are wont to do when you wear them that low to begin with.  But he just shifted his brother up, grabbed his jeans, held on to them both and kept on truckin'.

It was really very sweet.

I guess teenagers are not 100% awful.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Just for Fun Girls

I read a blog post today - it was shared by someone on Facebook, not a blog I regularly follow.  So I don't know these people, and I have no context for this post.

In the post she - the mom - was discussing how hard it was to make choices about how and when to let their daughter do "grown up" things.  Specifically, it centered on whether or not to let their four-year-old wear nail polish.

SERIOUSLY.  I didn't even know I was supposed to feel conflicted about that.  High heels, sure, I get that.  They are gross and damaging, but she wants them.


Make up.  It's disgusting.  Terrible message.  But she want to try.


But nail polish?  Really?  It had literally never occurred to me to worry about that!

She talked a little bit about "sexualizing" and how it was a part of the "growing up too fast" problem we are encountering with girls.

But, I kind of thought that had to do with thongs and bikinis and what not.

Do I get a pass because I let the boys paint their nails when they were her age, too?


I took Lilly to Target the other day.

Near the checkout area, they were displaying bikinis.

"Oh, MOM!" she says, "They have boobies!  You need boobies!"

Near the crowded, crowded, checkout area.

In my best barely audible, but hissingly sincere, voice I replied, "Lilly.  We don't need to talk about that in public."

"But why, Mom?  Why don't you want to talk about boobies?  But you NEED boobies."

My barely audible, but hissingly sincere voice is apparently not at intimidating as I had hoped.

I'm pretty sure she means "bra" when she says "boobies."  Either way, I don't know why she calls them that.  Or why she cares.

Honestly, the boys are so unaware that they will still casually slingshot a bra across the room without even noticing.


At work, I don't use my computer for cool things like social media, or shopping.

Mostly because they block those sites.

But I do check my personal email.

Today, one of those groupon-esque mailings came through, with offerings for discounts on clothes and toys for girls.

I usually just keep multiple windows open, and click back and forth as time allows.

I had someone stop by office today.  We were working on my computer.  It was fine.  I helped him.  It took a fairly long time.  Probably a million hours.

And when he left, I noticed that the tab at the bottom of the page identified my personal email page, but the email I happened to have open:

"Just for Fun Girls."

Is it just me, or could that skew inappropriate?

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Night Time Report

So I think we all know that Chris does this middle-of-the-night thing where he gets all stressed out and gets up on his hands and knees in the bed and . . . well, I guess I don't really know what his plan is after that.  Mostly that's as far as we get before I wake up and, like a good Pet Parent, tell him to lay down.  Sit.  Good boy.

"I haven't gone up on my hands and knees for a long time!" Chris says to me, proudly.

"Dude.  You did it last night."

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one awake over here.

In the middle of the night.

"I did?"

"Yes.  Last night.  And also last week."

"Oh.  I don't remember that."

"Well I do."

At least last night he laid down quietly.  Last week when he did it he fought me on it.

*rustle rustle rustle*

"Chris.  Lay down."

*hovering on hands and knees*

"Chris.  Lay DOWN."


"What?  Shut-up.  Because that's what we do in bed. Lay down."

*hovering on hands and knees*


"Why do I have to lay down?"

"Are you kidding me with this? Because I said so.  You are legitimately turning into a fourth child here with this."

He did eventually lay down, but only after a bunch more suspicious, squinty-eyed, "Whys?"

On a brighter note, Chris and I finally accepted that Lilly was incapable of keeping both her body and her blankets in bed all night without the toddler railing.  After two months of waking up to retrieve her blankets / body from the floor of her room three or four times a night, believing that, surely, eventually, she would figure this out, we now understand that, no, she will not figure it out.

So we put the railing back up and it's like back when the baby started sleeping through the night.

Mostly because the baby started sleeping through the night.

It is bliss.

If only Chris would lay down.

Friday, February 14, 2014

However you would spell the sounds the Peanuts teacher makes.

I was driving the boys to school one day.

They were in the back seat chattering about snow days, and how many they had had, and how many more they were likely to have this year.

"Guys?  I just want to say that the number of snow days you have had this year is really unusual.  Lots of years, you don't get any snow days.  I don't want you to be thinking that you will always get this many snow days."



"Hey Mom?  What if they are deciding RIGHT NOW to cancel school?  How would you find out and what would we do?"

"Owen.  They are not GOING to cancel school right now.  That's kind of what I'm talking about.  Snow days are unusual.  They don't happen very often.  Just because you've had a lot doesn't mean you will have a lot more or that you will always have a lot."


They turn to each other.

"Maybe we'll have a snow day tomorrow!!"

I am the cause of global warming.  I waste all kinds of hot air with my useless, useless words.

And wouldn't you know it?  They had a goddamned snow day the next day.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I don't think that means what you think it means

Sam woke up this morning and said he had a headache.  This was the second day he'd said that, so I was little bit worried.  We've all been suffering from colds so I wondered if maybe it was a sinus issue.

"Are you stuffed up?  Are you congested?"

"Well, my stomach does hurt a little when I poop."

I kept a straight face, of course.  Because there comes a time when you are no longer allowed to openly laugh at your children.  Sam would be SO mad if he knew I was writing this.  And probably a little confused because he still wouldn't know why it was funny.  But they do reach a point where they know they don't like being laughed AT.

This is another thing nobody ever tells you about having kids.

Eventually, this shit actually gets HARD.

Sleepless nights?  A cake walk compared to wondering if your kid will ever learn to read.  Poopy diapers?  A mound of lemon-scented clouds next to the anxiety of friendless-ness.  Introducing solids?  A double rainbow with a cherry on top compared to all the goddamnned mother-fucking homework.

All that baby stuff?  It's just about endurance.  Living through it.  Keeping everybody alive.  It's relentless and it's hard work, but it's just work.  I can DO work.

But then they get older.  And it's all this stuff that you, as a parent, can't control.  But it's still going to be your fault.  You can't fix it, but you have to figure it out.

All of a sudden, I'm looking at the gaping maw of years of things I can't DO.

And, given technology and kids these days, Sam could actually be blogging about me in the near future.

I'm probably not going to find that very amusing.

Friday, February 7, 2014


Sometimes, when I'm working on the computer, and then something goes wrong with the computer, and every thing I was working on so hard just gets lost, I want to punch the computer in the face.

It occurred to me that life was easier, in that respect, before computers.  But then I remembered this story I heard on NPR about monks writing out the bible by hand, and how each page would take months, and this one time they realized after they finished the page that they had forgotten a line.  They solved the problem but adding the text with, like, a medieval asterisk.

So, I guess that would be worse.  But I still worked for a goddamned long time compiling that list of addresses that the computer just ate.  Bastard.

Also, Lilly is well on her way to being able to put my hair in a pony-tail.

Which puts her well ahead of Chris.

We've been doing Lilly's hair more recently.  And by "we" I mean "me" and also, "never Chris in a million years."

The man has the fine motor skills of a hippopotamus.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sam: He's Not That Bad

Sam stars in most of my stories about sassy children.

(We're going to say "sassy" instead of "disrespectful and awful" because it sounds a lot more fun.)

He stars in these stories because, so far, he's the only one who DOES that kind of thing.

But I don't mean to imply that he's not great.

The dishwasher broke today.  I was talking at dinner about how the kids were going to have to leave me alone for a while because I had to hand-wash the dishes.

And Sam said, "Why don't I help?"

So I washed, and he dried, and we did that for a half an hour.

We talked about so many things.

Mostly things I don't care about.  Olympics, science, card games.

But sometimes you talk about boring shit with your kids, because that's what matters to them.

Nobody ever tells you that about having kids.  They tell you about sleepless nights, and diapers, and potty training, but people rarely mention that kids care about stuff you really could not care less about.  Also, it's the one thing you can't mention when you are spouting off about how much you do for them.

"I do all the laundry, I make lunches, I clean up after you, I cook you dinner, I drive you places, and I listen to you talk about some ridiculously irrelevant shit."

See?  You were a hero right up until that last bit.

Even most other parents won't admit that kids care about some truly uninteresting things.  While you are trying to have a conversation about their lives, and school, and hopes and plans, they are on the other side of the couch talking about "do you think green or blue is better?  If so, why?  Please compare and contrast the two.  Also, please describe the two, and explain the difference" until eventually you just want to die.

I'll admit that my capacity for this seems to be pretty low.  I've seen some people weave wonderfully intricate conversations with children.

These are very good people.

I, on the other hand, find it difficult to be forced to develop an opinion when I don't actually have one.  And then being forced to defend it.

"WHY is green better?  Does that mean grass is more important than sky?  Actually, mom? Is grass better than the sky?  Why?"

Anyway, my point is, Sam was a great help tonight, and I enjoy him very much when he is not being a punk.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Lose / lose

Apparently today was "spirit day" at the boy's school.

I didn't know that.  I might have known that if I actually read all the paperwork that comes home in their folders.  But, YOLO, and also, HATE PAPERWORK.

This spirit day consisted of wearing something sports related.

"MOM?!  Where is my new Browns shirt I got for my birthday?"

"Um, it's short sleeved so I think I put it with your summer clothes.  There are two white baskets next to your dresser that I put your shorts and t-shirts in.  One is yours, the other is Owen's.  Look in there."

"MOM?!  It's not in here!"

I walk in and he is literally throwing clothes over his shoulder, as if he were a cartoon of a little boy looking through a basket of clothes to find something.

"Are you sure you're looking in your basket and not Owen's?"

"YES!  Why can't you keep better track of my stuff?  Why did you lose it?!"

"Whoa, there.  If you want to make sure your stuff doesn't get lost, you better be responsible for your own clothes."

"I WOULD if you would have told me that you were going to lose it."

"I didn't do it on purpose, Sam.  So I couldn't tell you it was going to happen.  If you want to make sure it doesn't, feel free to take over the laundry."

"I don't see why you can't just do a better job."

At this point I feel the way you would probably feel if you bought someone a nice shirt, washed said shirt along with all the other clothes you bought that person, folded all those clothes and put them away, and then that person took a poop on your face.

I am not ruining the curve on this parenting thing, I'll tell you that much.  I have not the first idea how to teach gratitude and respect.  My first instinct is to kick him in the face, but I can't, and I don't really have a second instinct.

I'll take suggestions.

That don't require work.

Because I'm tired.

I have all this goddamned laundry to do, see?


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The man with the yellow bucket

We got a set of mixing bowls for our wedding.  The small one was green the middle one was orange, and the  big one was yellow.

Chris has managed to destroy two of the three.  Which, come on.  That's pretty impressive.  We're talking heavy-duty, fancy, hard plastic mixing bowls.  I wouldn't have guessed it was possible.

He SHATTERED the green one by microwaving and then immersing in cold water.

Don't do that, guys.  

He melted the orange one.  I guess that isn't surprising.  I mean, what HASN'T he melted over the years?

But none of that is the point.

The point is, a couple years back, one of the boys was feeling sick.  We needed a vomit bucket.  The yellow bowl was brought out.  It was the best we could do at that moment.  But it turned out that it is a nice, comforting, size.  Small enough to be portable, but big enough to inspire confidence in its capacity.

From that day on, the yellow bowl was our go-to vomit bucket.

I would, however, like to state, EMPHATICALLY that the yellow bowl has NEVER been touched by vomit.  Chris and I are pretty good at making it to the toilet.  The kids prefer to throw up on the floor or us.  The yellow vomit bucket has always just been an unused precaution.

But apparently, the kids have made some strong associations.

Because the other day, the boys walked into the kitchen when Chris was making dinner.

Sam froze.

"Dad?  What are you doing with the vomit bucket?"

We tried to explain, but they were horrified.

I kind of see their point.

We should probably retire the yellow mixing bowl.

But, the thing is, it is a great mixing bowl, too.

Though, admittedly, no longer part of a set.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Not entirely my fault.

See what I did there?  I lulled you into a false sense that I might be a reliable blogger.

That's only really applicable for the five of you who check regularly.  The rest of you (7), check twice a year so have no real understanding of my fits and starts.

So Lilly came to me tonight.

"Mom?  My penis hurts."

We've been though this, I swear.  I have told her A NUMBER of times that she doesn't have a penis.  I've not been unclear.  Some people don't like to say penis or vagina and rely instead on vague references to "down there."  That could be confusing.  

But that's not what's happening here.

What's happening here is that the boys like to say "penis."

A lot.

They will reference their penis whenever possible.

"He squashed my penis!"

"Oooooohh! He hit me in my penis!"

"Let's use our penises to sword fight!"

So you can see how Lilly could be forgiven for not always remembering that the area from which she pees is not her pee-ness.

Also, I will tell you that I sincerely, and severely, underestimate the challenges of teaching three small people about basic hygiene.

Children are savages.

Also, I was reading some old entries.

Oh man, it was funny.

Except for the ones where I was pregnant.  Those were honestly just uncomfortable.

I did notice a fair amount of typos, though.  I'd like to note that I do, in fact, know the difference between between your and you're, and their and they're and there.

I suppose I could have fixed the mistakes as I found them.  But that just seems like an awful lot of work.    Instead, I will use this section of this entry as a basic disclaimer of sorts.  People, I know some grammar.  I have some spellcheck.  Please assume that only half of the mistakes you find are due to stupidity.  The other half is just due to laziness and half-assed-ness.