Thursday, August 31, 2006

Guess we'll have to have a talk

Recently after Benja was potty-trained we had some minor obstacles to overcome and I realized as I was scooping his poop off of my back porch, there are some aspects of this motherhood thing, I was NOT prepared for. And how could I be? My own mom is in the land of Grandma-bliss---she only remembers these things after I relate an experience. "Oh, yes, I think child #2 did that....yeah, he did that until he was NINE if you can believe that?" At this point, I believe anything. And there are some things they just don't write about in books. Unless, I've just been reading the wrong books. Maybe I'll write a book. I think it'll be something like, "Things You Never Thought You'd Hear Yourself Say, Particularly When You Were a Hot 20-Something, Making Out With the Future Father of Your Children"

The other day, during one of the few short hours my husband was home before he had to fly off again---in which we relish every second and try not to waste utterances on the unnecessary---he heard me say to one or both of our children, "Because when you put your fingers in your bum, it makes your fingers stink and because it's gross" and "where did you put that booger that was on your finger, I need to get it with this tissue?" These are things I'm sure he never imagined hearing when he nervously, but with grand dreams of the future, asked me to marry him. Or when he whooshed me away in my lovely white gown to a secluded honeymoon. Or even just 2 years ago when we had a one year old who hadn't discovered his orifices yet.

I often find myself laughing at things that come out of my mouth. Things I say in exasperation, "Stop trying to snort that milk up your nose, it's going to hurt!" Things I say in praise, "Oh, I'm so glad you stopped sitting on your sister's face, I'm sure she is happy too." Things I say for the 500th time in 4 hours, "Please get your hands out of your pants!" Things I say without thinking, "You won't ever grow up to be a girl, you'll always be a fantastic boy and grow up to be a man like dad. Because we can't change that. Because I'm not a Swiss plastic surgeon." These just aren't things I ever imagined saying.

This morning, I got caught up chatting with a friend and my poor hungry children started to eat each other scavenge for food. I finally went into the kitchen to pour them cereal and it wasn't until I was putting the milk back into the refrigerator that I realized Benja had been doing some of his beloved cabinet scaling. I often find trails. Like marshmallows wedged between the fridge and the cabinet or half a dozen opened granola bars stuff back into their box. This morning, I almost missed it---but spotted it just as I closed the refrigerator.
See, now this forces me to say things I never thought I'd be saying, at least not this soon, if ever.
*Benja, you can't drink Bacardi mixer straight.

Benja, don't waste a perfectly good daiquiri mix by putting it on top of the refrigerator.

Benja, everyone knows you need an umbrella with that straw before that's suitable to drink.

I understand his affinity for it, I lived off of these things when I was pregnant with him. Recently I noticed the caloric count of one measly serving and gave it up for carrot-flax smoothies.

Benja of course knew I was taking a picture for the blog. He requested I take a picture of his rash for the blog. Um, I think that actually is illegal.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

New job description

Apparently I am also a short order cook.

At dinner,
"Mom, I want you to born me another Avee, but this time make it look like a boy. His name is Clifford."

He's probably the only 3 year old who has seen Avee that doesn't think she looks like a boy.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Something Has Gotta Give

Okay, so I think I have hit an all new low. Or high, depending on your perspective. I dreamt about blogging last night. No, not dreamy images of me floating in front of my computer, happily typing away, interrupted only by the ever inquisitive three year old, "are you blogging about me mama?"

I had full-on, made-up experiences and conversations. During these completely fabricated scenarios, my mind, that was already busy constructing these fabrications, was ALSO busy trying to artfully stream words together in a creative and appealing way so that I could blog about it.

What is that!?

I think I may need to get a life.

But before I leave, and embark on this lofty endeavor of getting a life, you must know---there were Cucumber & Salt flavored chips in my dream. CUCUMBER & SALT. Do you realize how much fun could be had with that----if it had been REAL?

I am left to ask the question I often ask after dreaming such vivid absurdity---where is this coming from? I get the dreaming of blogging---but CUCUMBER & SALT?

I don't know.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Quiet whispering at bedtime

Did you have a good day today Benja?
Really? Was it a bad day?
So, it was a good day?
What was your favorite part about today?
You really like Ikea don't you?
Yes. And do you want to know what was not a favorite part about today?
The bad part about today is, I don't know where Mary keeps her little lambs.
Yes, that show-ly is the baddest part of today. Do you sink we could bring the lambs to stay
No. Dad and I have a prenupt stating we will never have animals. Lambs weren't cited specifically, but they are animals.
Well, I'm going to go now, it's been two minutes.
Are you going to go blog about me?
Sure am!
Oh. That's nice. You blog about me all the times, don't you mama?
Pretty much buddy---you're one of my favorite topics.
I sho am....What's a tawpix?
You. And you're a perfect one. Goodnight my love.
Goodnight sweetheart. Hahahahaha!

I am compelled to add that this conversation, in hushed tones, was set against the background noise of Avee in her bed (in the next "room"--okay, fine, she sleeps in a closet---it's not quite the boy who lives under the stairs scenario---the closet is practically bigger than my kitchen) cooing and hushing her baby. The baby has suddenly become more important than her appendages or food. This girl stuff is INNATE. I put her in her crib and tucked her in like I have hundreds of nights before. Sometimes she sings, sometimes she plays hide and seek, sometimes she plays tag, sometimes she tells jokes and laughs heartily, and sometimes she just lays there quietly and falls asleep. NEVER does she cry or whine or call for "babybabybaby". I got her the baby and she squirmed around her crib fussing and tugging and straightening blankets to tuck her baby in. Seeing those kinds of things make me feel like I'm doing something right. The entire time I was with Benja we heard, "sssth, sssth baby, sssth" and "BAYbeeee...BAYbeeee....ohhhh baby" and then some things that may have been scolding harshly---but I show-ly do not know where that would have come from.
I really need to do something about ending sentences with prepositions. It's like chocolate ice cream at 11 pm. I know it's wrong, I just don't know how not to.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Second Language

Yesterday I was filling out a form and one of the questions asked if I spoke a foreign language, and if so, which one. I stared at the box for a few minutes. I so wish I spoke another language. I wish that cute Eugenio hadn't sat next to me in high school Spanish and that I remembered even one simple conjugation from that semester. I wish my college Spanish teacher hadn't mistakenly thought he was a hot college student himself and spent the entire semester flirting with my cute classmates causing a Pavlovian response in me of wanting to puke when I heard some phrases, "Atención classe! Silencio por favor! Escuchan, escuchan..."

Here I sit, done for a while with formal education, knowing whatever goes in this ol' brain will have to be done by my own motivation and discipline. Two things I've managed without this far.

Then today as I was driving down the road, Benja asked if we could rent the movie Madagascar. I remind him that when he did have it to watch in the past, he had no interest---he didn't even watch it. To which he responded, "I had it when I was born yesterday." At which I laughed heartily and repeated to him. And he said, "Yes, when I was born yesterday at Home Depot." I realized then, that what he said made perfect sense to me. And I realized, I DO in fact know a foreign language. I can imitate it perfectly but my expertise comes more readily in comprehending, more than speaking. Benja was saying, "I watched that movie a long time ago (yesterday) when I was a lot younger than I am now (born) and when we lived in Utah in a fixer-upper and went to Home Depot two times a day and four times on Saturdays." It was quite remarkable what he was recalling.

I feel proud of my newly discovered bilingual status. So proud, that I thought I'd give a brief lesson on Benjaminese.

Some basics:

yester-day [yes-tow-day] Definition: Any time in my life before the present day. I was born yesterday, was 2 yesterday, had a train party yesterday, Avee was borned yesterday. When I meet new people, they often leave thinking I've had a very full week based on what I did yesterday. And that Avee is the largest 1 day old child known to man.

Punie Pooka! [poo-nee poo-cuh] Definition: Must be yelled in frustration, directed at nearest parent meaning, don't tell me what to do, I hate going potty when there are toy trains to be played with, I don't want to go to bed, I wish I wasn't born yesterday and still had to do what you tell me to do.

Now I'll Never....[Now I nevohhhhhh] (new phraseology recently adapted to Benjaminese) Definition: a. I can't believe I have to wait. b. I can't believe you are denying me my rights as a 3-year-old. c. My perspective on things is 100% accurate.

AVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! [Avee] Definition: a. My sister stole my train. b. My sister got her hands on the remote and changed the channel and then ran from the room laughing. c. My sister is beating me at my own game of "beat up my sibling". d. My sister stinks and keeps standing by me. e. My sister just stole food off of my plate again.

Why? [why? why? but why? and why? so, why? why, why, why] Definition: a. I would like to talk to you about this but my conversation skills are severely lacking. b. I am tired and I can see you are as well, I would like to drive you over the edge with one small word. c. I am my father's son and endlessly curious and inquisitive.

Popsicle [pop-suh-bow] one of the cutest words in the Benjaminese language. Definition: a suitable choice of food for every meal, every day.

Naaahhh [naaahhh] Definition: a. no b. no thanks c. NO WAY!!!

BACKPACK. MAP! MAP! MAP! EMPUJEN!! BUSH! OCEAN! COQUI ISLAND! BUSH! OCEAN!! COQUI ISLAND!!!! [just like it's written but I couldn't possibly write it as loud and as annoying as it is] Definition: I'm watching a cartoon about a little bilingual girl who likes to yell and be repetitive and has the same addictive effect on me as Kit-Kat bars have on my mother.

Then where are we going? [den where are we doe-ing?] Definition: I suspect you are driving home now but home is dreadfully boring, I would much rather drive around in this blazing Texas heat and run endless menial errands, if at all possible.

That will have to do for today's lesson. The rules aren't so hard and fast in this language. Once you get a handle on pronunciation, meaning can be applied indiscriminately. For example, today while at Bl0ckbuster, Ben shouted "What the hell is that mom!?" while I was checking out. He was in fact asking about a helicopter candy toy, and utilizing a phrase he heard on tv before I could get it turned off. It wasn't SO clear that I couldn't pretend he said something else. And so I did.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bedtime Conversation

I wonder how long it will take me to realize and not be surprised everytime--Benja notices EVERYTHING.

As Benja was stalling for bedtime, I started opening the long awaited DVD I got in the mail from BB. Benja had been talking nonstop trash--like, "I'll only go to bed if you shake me up like salt and pepper" and "I'm gonna throw you in the trash" and "If you don't say I go to bed I'll say you're being nice and let you get out---is that a good idea?" so obviously I was not listening to him, much. I have my self-esteem to consider.

Then he says, "I hope it's a lion movie and that you are going to let me watch it for 5 minutes." Lion movies are the ones where the lion roars at the beginning, is that MGM? Of course, I never notice the lion because that's not what the movie is---but he always gets so excited with all the lion movies we get. I tell him he's not watching, he's going to bed. He says, "Why, are you watching the rest of the merriment?"


The rest of the merriment!

I have no idea what you are saying Benja, what are you talking about?

That show you watch every night, The restive the merriment.

The show I watch frequently, long after he's gone to bed.

Arrested Development.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Benja's cousins are visiting. They are having a great time. Blue sand, remote control cars, swimming pool and endless access to PBS. I took my SIL to Chic-fil-a because I feel we should treat our guests to the finest. And she'd never been there before. I'd say C-f-a found another believer.

One of my earliest posts on my first blog, I posted about the color yellow. I think today I'll talk about blue.

I actually just have a couple of things to say about blue, and it being my favorite color isn't even one of them.

About a month ago I was lamenting to my friend about how unnecessarily expensive a water/sand table was. I had no assurance it would be utilized, but plenty of assurance that Big J wouldn't be too happy with me buying yet another thing to clutter our house. She suggested just buying two large Rubbermaids and filling one with water and one with sand. This is why I believe in complaining--you get answers! So, about 2 weeks ago I bought two bags of sand and two plastic bins. I was pretty thrilled with the cheap alternative and what a good mom these purchases were making me.

Cheap, short-lived thrill. Within minutes of setting up the CheapMama's Blue Sand Playland in a corner of our "porch", I was kicking myself. The kicking would have been hard and effective if I was capable of it. But I had not yet joined the gym and begun my Body by Elliptical yet.

The only choices in sand were orange and blue and since I was afraid that one day of forgetting sunscreen, I might lose Benja and Avee in orange sand, I went with blue. Have you ever seen sand melt? Did you know it could melt? Welcome to Texas.

It also sticks to sticky sweaty kids. It was just dumb. And I can't bring myself to take away this gift I so bounteously and benevolently bestowed. While I applaud you Dawn for your resourcefulness in ideas and suggesting the alternative to a sand table, couldn't you, oh mother of three, been kind enough to remind me that no mother ever became better for buying her children sand?

Believe me, next time I cruise around a kid's toy website, I'm going to do it sitting nekkid in a bucket of blue sand. Some stupid things shouldn't be forgotten.

The other day while watching Sesame Street with my kids, I discovered two things. First, I believe I enjoy the show considerably more than either of my children. However, they do know the characters better. Once when I told Jay that the voice of Elmo was done by a middle-aged black man Benja piped up from the back seat, with a look of complete incredulity at such stupidity and said, "He is NOT, he's red!" I have given up sharing that interesting tidbit of information with others(the origins of Elmo's voice) because even now, Benja's on me like red on fuzzy monster when I dare suggest Elmo's color be anything other than the obvious.

The other thing I discovered is how very much I have in common with Cookie Monster. I don't have googly eyes and I'm not so much blue and furry as I am peach and fluffy, but other than that we are quite similar. I watched as he announced the letter of the day and held up the cookie with the "W" on it. He started talking himself out of wanting to eat it. Very similar to the, "You don't want sweet and sour shrimp Ang, you want lentils and cottage cheese soufflé" conversations I have with myself. "Me must not eat delicious MSG-laden Chinese heavenliness, must be strong, me must thing of other things. I know, I will think of Chinese food that is not delicious like this delicious sweet and sour shrimp I must not eat, must think of duck. And rubbery noodles, and watermelon picked last May. Me must think about dark meat that may or may not be chicken. Must think of sauces of questionable origin, and crab ragoon that's short on ragoon...Ohhhhhhhhhh it's no use! YUMYUMYUMYUMYUM!!!!" Exit fluffier, peach me, covered in sweet and sour sauce and a sorely disappointed Prairie Dawn, left to clean up my botched efforts with the diet of the day.

At least Cookie Monster is funny. If we could just do something about the colorful monster tendency to confuse pronouns.

Four things heard today while hanging out with 4 adorable children. Maybe you can guess who said what.
"My Name Is Jericho! Get Your Hands Off of Me!"
"BOY! That was a good nap. I sure needed it. Sorry about that trouble I gave you earlier mama"
"Let Angela know she has 15 more minutes before she has to give her goggles to me"
"Aaaack! Nooooooooooooooooo! Mom!Mom!Mom! hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii"

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Life While My Brain is Sleeping

So, I stumbled across a post today that was titled "I Hate Mommy Bloggers". I was surprised that a person who probably values diversity and intelligence would post something so short-sighted and ignorant. Unless of course a blogger who happens to be a mother also savagely attacked her entire family, tied them up with extension cords, burned vinegar incense, and forced them listen to a scratched CD of Yanni (pre-domestic altercation). Then I could understand the hate--COMPLETELY.

I have read a lot of stuff that I categorically disagree with, or sometimes find offensive (I use that term loosely because I do believe offense is taken more readily than given), or writing that's just not my style. To quote a fellow mommy blogger "The worst that could happen that little X". That's pretty much as ugly as it should get in the blogging world, in my opinion. But, this post, it was like a bad accident. The kind my mom always told me to look away from if we passed by. "If you were the one in the accident, you wouldn't want people staring at you." I didn't mean to be the one staring, but I couldn't look away. I wanted to see how a person could justify making a public, published on the internet, judgment on me because I blog and because I've given birth.

And somehow, because I find humor, or frustration, or enlightenment, or fatigue, or befuddlement at the hands of a 3 year old and 1 year old---my world is small, my mind has gone limp and useless and I have nothing worthwhile to contribute to the blogging world or to conversation. That's a shame. Before my mind became useless, I was going to raise some spectacular children who were going to find a cure for heart disease or develop a strategy to end homelessness or grow up and have children in whom they find humor, frustration, enlightenment, fatigue... I was going to raise children who were kind and true and strong. Ones who are not easily offended nor easily dissuaded from their convictions. I was going to raise people who would consider the effects of their words. How unretractable they are. How powerful they are. How permanent they are.

But alas, I will instead wallow here in the numbness of my mind and the deep puddle of my drool.

OR I will tell you how my life today was dramatically better than yesterday and nothing had changed except me. My Avee is sick and teething and whined enough to make today alone feel like the entire month of August. I got to hear Benja say things like, "I'm just not feel liking that Mom" and "Mom, say 'Good job Ben for putting water in the toilet!'" and "Help me take off my pants, I want to go outside".

I stood at my kitchen sink, wiping off a high chair tray for the 43rd time today and searched my brain futily for the best approach to answering some of Benja's questions. I thought I had at least until Pythagorean Theory before I was in over my head, but it has come much too soon.

A sample conversation:
Benja watched a cartoon about the Good Samaritan today.
6 hours later:
B: Mom, why did that man get hurted?
M: I have no idea what you are talking about, give me a minute. (grasping for clues) What was he wearing?
B: A dress. A green dress.
M: (in my head: Oh crap, he turned on Jerry Springer today while I was in the shower!) Did he have all his teeth? Was there a naked woman beating on him?
B: He was hurted and needed help and no one helped him, why did no one help him?
M: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh---parable, no Jerry Springer---YES!
B: Who's Jewwy Fpwingoh?
M: Nobody. So, the man got hurt and he needed someone to help him---who helped him?
B: The man in a purple dress. Why did he get hurt?
M: Well, it was bad men who hurt him, they were being very naughty.
B: Why were they being naughty?
M: I'm not sure---I guess they were making bad choices, or maybe their moms didn't teach them to be kind to people. (if you think that's a lame answer, you're right. I am not a fast thinker when it comes to 3 year olds. Or 17, or 23, or 42 year olds) (I know it's not "olds" either)
B: Why not, why didn't their moms teach them to be kind?
M: tell me about the man who helped him.
B: You tell me.
M: He was a Samaritan. The cool part about that story is, the man who got hurt thought that Samaritans wouldn't be nice, but it was a Samaritan that helped him after nobody else would.
B: Do Samaritans wear purple dresses?
M: Almost exclusively.
B: I sot so.

I can handle fashion questions. At least with a 3 year old boy. I have until Avee can say Gucci before I get in over my head that way. But I really don't know how to answer moral-type questions. I know what I think and believe, I just don't know the best approach in conveying it to a 3 year old. I'm dreading the question about skin color. He's had a lot of exposure to different races and has never said anything, but he will, right? He's bound to notice his lack of skin pigmentation, isn't he? I want to be able to teach him perfectly on such matters. I want to teach him about looking at a person's eyes and hearing the words that come out of his or her mouth, long before he notices anything else about their appearance. I want him to immediately want to help if he sees someone hurt or being hurt. I want him to know what kinds of things are worth his time and energy, and what kinds of things aren't. I want him to understand the importance of his choices and how to make wise ones. I want him to know so many things and I'm not sure of the approach. His mind is SO RIPE right now---he wants to know everything, and I'm supposed to be the one providing the answers. Pretty soon I'll be the dumbest person he knows, so I need to seize the day here.

I would love any ideas on teaching effectively and appropriately for his little mind. My knee jerk reaction right now is to call Grandma or Grandpa and have them answer his questions, and well, I think I should start doing things on my own now.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


The title of this post is Benja's doing. While Avee paced back and forth in our living room as she "talked" on the phone with her dad (who was undoubtedly pacing back and forth in his hotel room), Benja was at the computer saying, "I'm blogging about you Avee. I'm just typing a blog about you." The title is as far as he got before the law was laid and teeth were brushed and beds were utilized.

I've been a grump to trump all frumps today. And I watched one too many episodes of Dr. Suess on dvd as well. Not my choice, thank you.

I fell asleep on the couch for 20 minutes and woke up to an open bottle of water balancing precariously on my hip, my purse raided, and the words to "Sneetches" running on a continual loop through my mind. Benja thought he'd be helpful and place my water within reach in case I got firsty while I was sleeping. I haven't fallen asleep like that while babysitting in a long time.
Don't you think it's funny how when dads watch their kids it's called babysitting, but not when moms do?

I really didn't have anything to blog about and was going to just skip it today because I'm so grouchy, but then I thought of something I saw on TV yesterday and I wanted to write about it.

Also, this evening I was in the living room dressing my kids in their pjs when our front door opened kind of suddenly. A 7 year old neighbor kid was surprised to find us home. I guess. He seemed surprised. I said, "hey--get back outside and knock!" He did. I yelled "come in!" from the living room. I can't be bothered to open the door for would-be prowlers. Then he pokes his head in and looks past us to Benja's toy area, catches himself and asks, "Can he come out and play?" pointing at Avee and then readjusting his point to Benja. First clue, he doesn't even know the potential playmate's name. Second clue, he's in second grade and wants to play with a 3 year old who's mom won't allow him to wipe his own butt until he's 4. Being the astute parent that I am, I said no. He said, "okay, then can I just have his light saber?" Uhhhh. No. He seemed genuinely surprised---only a little less than his surprise at finding us home. Guess I'll have to lock our doors....better. Harmless I'm sure, but we have some very valuable McDonald's toys that I don't want to end up in the wrong hands.

The original point was this. They took my TNT off the TVs at the gym. Very sad for me. I can hardly get out of bed in the morning now. No Judging Amy. Apparently football season has started. Like THAT matters to fat housewives...

Anyway, I was forced to watch The View. Which, I actually enjoy, but I was forced nonetheless because it's not my first choice when the Honorable Amy Grey is presiding just a few channels away. They announced their guest Gene Simm0ns. I didn't know who that was. I imagined a sort of hybrid of Gene Shallot and Richard Simmons. Which is interesting because GS just sort of looks like an RS in humidity with some water retention. Anyway, Gene Simm0ns appeared. He's from KISS, if any of you reading this are like me. And if any of you reading this are my mother, KISS is a hard rock band from the 70's and 80's. He was there with his commonlaw wife and his two teenage children. A 17 year old boy and 14 year old girl. At one point his wife was extolling his virtues and he told her to hush, she was ruining his image. I thought that was funny. He sort of poked fun at his image. So, later one of the hosts of the View mentioned what good solid people his children seemed to be. I have to say, from the limited exposure, I was agreeing. She asked, "Are your parents strict?" His son answered, "Yes they are strict, but it's not just that. They are strict, and they are good examples. They don't do the things they teach us not to do."

Isn't that cool? Wouldn't any parent love to hear their 17 year old child say something like that about them? On national television no less?

I tried to tell J about this last night but it was much to late and I ended the story with a punctuated, "So take THAT Ozzy Osmund"

It's a scary day when I can't distinguish between the fried, I-can-say-effin-more-times-than-the-average-human-brain-can-process, bumbling product of Rock & Roll, and Utah's finest head of hair who's a only a little bit Rock & Roll.

That's really all I had to say. The day I learned who Gene Simm0ns is.
The End.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

And Then There Was The Update

I just got an email from my friend and she referred to "checking my blog to see the update on Benja's birthday party". Uh, hi. I'm so lame sometimes. I have a lot to learn about the blogging world. Respond to comments, don't respond? Post comments on other blogs referring to comments on my blog, or no? Update posts on previous dilemmas or not....I don't know. I'm flying by the seat of my pants here. But I will update you on the party.

The two year old went to bed before he even opened his presents. I think that's so funny. It was a small party. Avee and Ben and big brother were the only guests. And, as per usual, I made this whole parenting thing way more of a job than it needed to be. Did anyone notice the sage advice my husband offered? Yeah, me neither. Benja had a ball playing with the 3 year old brother. The cupcakes were decorated with little trains that match ones he already has. He got to go home with two of those and a train book. I forgot that party-attenders these days get gifts for coming to the party. A tradition I SO missed out on in my youth.

It was a non-issue. How boring of a post is this turning out to be?

Just to spice it up a little, I'd like to report, 3 more pounds have vanished from my girth. The last time I referred to myself using the word "girth" was over two years ago and my husband got annoyed with me for talking like that and made it known. I learned my lesson, I don't talk like that in front of my husband. I do however talk like that in front of my kids, which was stopped abruptly after hearing my son repeat such things. Although, I have to confess, I didn't know if I was coming or going after the following conversation with Benja this morning.
B: Why are we doe-ing to the gym?
M: So I can work out and you can play at the daycare.
B: Why do you want to work out?
M: Oh, I want to get in shape and lose weight.
B: What's lose weight?
M: Get smaller
B: I'm detting bigger. When I drow big, then I tan det fmaller like a baby. Why do you want to be a baby uh-den mama?
M: No, I don't want to be a baby again, I want to be in better shape, you won't really notice that I'm smaller.
B: Oh. That's nice. Betuz baby's tan't talk and they just try (cry) all the time. Like Avee. Even though she tan walk, she still tries a lot. And has poopie diapers that fmell bad. Is that why we are doe-ing to the gym mom?
M: Uh, what we were talking about? Could you repeat the question?

Also, I dared to take a shower while they ate lunch.

At least I can say with confidence, my children understand the importance of whirled peas.

Thanks for the cue MA.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I Hope I Don't Spoil the Plot...

So, I've been watching Arrested Development. I'm consistently surprised at how much it can make me laugh. I'm hopelessly in love with Buster. He does his character so well, it's hard not to be. His compulsive back massaging, his delight in foul-mouthed construction workers....
Anyway, I have only seen most of the first season, so I may be speaking too soon, but I have a favorite. It's the one with flashbacks to the "lessons" George Sr teaches his kids. He uses a one-armed man to terrify the kids beyond reason for fairly benign offenses.

Here is the quote that has had me laughing all day:

Michael (who's son he thinks might need a "lesson"): I want the guy with the one arm and the fake blood. J. Walter Weatherman. How do I get a hold of him?

George Sr.: Well, he's, uh, dead. You killed him when you left the door open with the air conditioner on.

Memo to Benja

Dear Benja,

In reference to our recent conversation;

As long as your hands are chubby and your knees are dimpled,
As long as you say things like "Frite" and "fpoon" and "fmell",

As long as I find towers and trails like these through the house,

As long as you translate Avee's babble into your specific wants,

As long as you are quirky,

As long as your favorite things at night are cold water and me or daddy to "lie with you in five minutes",

As long as you dance without hesitation, in front of a crowd,

As long as you say things like "that will feel me bettoh"

and "evoh, evoh!"

and "yep, it sho is!"

As long as you can think of nothing better to do for fun than to cook and clean,

As long as you say "that's what I'm talkin' about" when you see commercials for things you like,

As long as you dress yourself without care or awareness of societal norms,

As long as I can always tell by your face and your shirt what you've eaten in a day,

As long as your mischief can secretly make me laugh,

As long as you actually like when I sing,

As long as you love to be near your sister,

As long as your sweetness, your giggle, your explanations, your attempts to understand, your pleadings, your bargainings, your requests, your love of everyone, your joy for Wal-mar+, and ability to instantly forgive my mistakes make my heart smile....

you will be my baby.

Very Truly,
Your Mother

Friday, August 11, 2006

Learning To Say I'm Sorry

When Benja was very young, before he could even really talk, we began teaching him to say “I’m sorry”. He has always been such a sweet boy, but like every other kid in the universe, with toys he’d get territorial and attempt to maim or decapitate anyone who dared to touch one of his 532 Lego blocks. First rule of toddlerhood is: One must petition the King or Queen before touching or even eyeing his or her toy. Ownership is determined by proximity and whoever’s slobber glistens more freshly on toy. Petitions are always denied. However, frequently denial is overturned by astute Royal Parent, or by appealing to Parent in the form of wail or scream. Failure to follow these guidelines will result in a fit of Royal proportions. Screaming, biting, kicking, bawling, pinching, or body-slamming will undoubtedly occur.

There were dozens of times I would take Benja into my arms and firmly “impress” upon him that such non-sharing behavior was unacceptable. There were dozens of other times when I just barked orders from across the room. From very early on we were telling him that sharing was part of having friends and we used the word “share” over and over. He didn’t know the word. He didn’t even grasp the concept---but we taught it tirelessly.

Since the concept of sharing doesn’t even click in a child’s mind until they are about 3 years old, we spent a lot of time just hearing ourselves talk. So it seemed. And we spent a lot of time having him repeat “I’m sorry” after he’d reduce an unsuspecting playmate to tears. (Note: unsuspecting playmate excludes Avee, she is very suspecting and a little on the antagonizing side). Being sorry was another concept he didn’t understand. Saying “I’m sorry” could have been pointless at 1 year old. He most likely wasn’t sorry, and definitely didn’t understand what it meant. But as parents, we are in the practice of encouraging good habits and teaching appropriate behavior, long before it is comprehendible. Even today, well into his adult years, and with a perfect ability to share, my husband still finds it useful to say “I’m sorry”, even when he’s not sure why. :)

We also taught the principle of saying, “I’m sorry” by doing it ourselves. I am the mom, and I usually know what’s best, but I make mistakes. A lot. And some of them on my children. When I know I have made a mistake, I apologize. Even if it’s to a 20 month old child who may or may not understand what I’m saying.

A young college student who was staying with us for about a month during a transitioning time in her life, scoffed at me for apologizing to my 2 and a half year old. “Why are you apologizing to him---you’re the mom!” I was a little surprised by this. It had never occurred to me to not apologize to him because I’m the mom. I apologized because I was wrong and I quite possibly hurt his feelings and spirit. Even if he didn’t understand my offense or my apology fully, he felt it, and it was important to me to establish a pattern of saying sorry to him when I’m wrong. I certainly don’t ever want him thinking I purposely hurt him, and that I don’t feel bad if and when I do.

As Benja got older, he started to see the common sense in sharing. He realized that someone else playing with his toy didn’t mean he was never going to see it again. He’d even exclaim, “Look she didn’t take my truck with her!” A pleasant surprise for us all.

Recently Benja has become quite the apologizer. The other day I was so frustrated by his actions, I didn’t readily appreciate his cute apology. I had just changed Avee for bed. She had gotten patches of sticky rice all over her clothes and on parts of her arms and legs. It wasn't even five minutes after changing her, I found Benja rubbing rice all over her by the handfuls. It was mashed into her hair (albeit thin and scarce, her hair can cling to rice like it’s follicles depend on it), covering her entire body, front and back. I was pretty annoyed. I have much better things to do than wrestle with rice grains and bathe and change my 16 month old all night. I scolded Benja. He knows better. Only a couple of words into my scolding he interrupted, “I’m sorry! I won’t evoh do it again! I won’t evoh put rice all over Avee and the table and the floor and off my plate again. Evoh.” Because I wasn’t in the mood to be charmed by his adorable self, I growled, “A lot of good that does me now,” and went about my business of de-rousing Avee.

In the following days, those apologies came frequently. “I’m sorry I didn’t put my lid back on my water and it spilled” “I’m sorry I don’t want to watch Barney, it’s not good” “I’m sorry I put my shoes on the wrong feet, can you help me?” He would apologize appropriately at times and then frequently for things at other times where no apology was needed. It is endearing to me, and at the same time, fascinating to watch him try out the words and grow to understand them.

When he knows I’m not happy with something he has done, he apologizes immediately. Sometimes it’s sincere; sometimes it’s just to shut me up. Sometimes he apologizes for silly things, “I’m sorry Avee is poopy” (you and me both, babe) and sometimes they are heartfelt, “Mommy, I’m sorry I pushed Avee, now she’s sad.” Sometimes I think he really means he won’t do something again, and sometimes he’s just saying it because I often punctuate my frustrated rants with “Don’t EVER do that again!” Regardless of what those words mean to my son right now---he knows them. He understands (mostly) the importance of them, and frequently the place for them. I feel a little parenting success with this. And it’s made me think about “I’m sorry” in my own life.

From an early age I started gathering data from my surroundings. I was gathering “material” for how I would conduct my life when I was a grownup and could call the shots. Coming from a virtual potpourri of religious beliefs as a youth, I learned early on how to gather what works for me and try to assimilate it into my life. And now, I use the same process with my husband for how we teach our children. I believe there are core values that are always in place, but there are often different approaches to how one applies and/or teaches these things.

One of the things I struggled with a lot was the principle of repentance. I understood the need for it, just didn’t understand the process, or believe fully in its effectuality.

I don’t even remember my parents teaching me about repentance directly. When I was 5 or 6 years old, I stole a candy bar from the store. My mom caught me with it in the parking lot after we had left. With my mom, stealing a candy bar is bad; actually intending to consume that much sugar is deplorable. She says she realized that I understood I had done something wrong because I was hiding it under my shirt (a foreshadowing of my Twinkie smuggling days). She took me right back into the store and got the manager who harangued me behind the stand of sunglasses. Looking back I realize he was very gentle, very appropriate, and handled it perfectly. At 5 or 6 I couldn’t believe my mom was letting him go at me like this. I remember thinking I’d rather be in jail than get yelled at by this man! For years to come, even when the store changed names, I couldn’t look at that rack of sunglasses up by the cash register without getting a nervous pit in my stomach. To this day, when I go home, I still frisk myself at the checkout---just to be sure.

This experience may have been one of my first in learning about repentance. Returning the candy bar was the restitution. Then I had to confess my crime to the man from whom I had stolen. I wanted desperately for my mom to bail me out and just tell him for me, but I had to do it. And then I had to listen to him give me a piece of his mind.

It works that way now with my son. He does something wrong, I make him return the toy, replace whatever contraband he’s acquired, hug his sister, sit alone for a while and think, etc and then he has to listen to me or his dad lecture him for what most likely feels like an eternity to him. And quite frankly, he’d probably gladly take jail time over one of our lectures. Bars to climb, urinals to play in, bunk beds to jump off of….

I often struggled with repenting of the same thing(s) over and over. With friends, or family, and God---didn’t any of them get sick of hearing the same apology? If I kept saying sorry and kept doing it, wouldn’t that lead to the belief that perhaps I wasn’t really sorry? But I really did always feel sorrow if I ever was asking for forgiveness. I felt like a failure if I would ask forgiveness and then repeat the offense. It would lead me to not want to bother with the apology or supplication at all. Why bother, I’m just gonna mess up again. It’s not going to matter if I say I’m sorry or not. Sometimes I could feel like a real heel because I couldn’t get it right.

Enter motherhood. Enter sweet Benja. He “messes up again” all the time. Sure, his offenses are benign. Like making me clean strawberry ice cream off of every surface of my kitchen after he “sneaks” it and carefully “replaces” it in the “bottom freezer” (refrigerator). Lately, he apologizes almost immediately. Sometimes the apology is the confession. “I’m sorry I hit Avee when you were taking a shower.” Sometimes he says them in the middle of committing the crime, with really no intent to stop. “I’m sorry I’m going outside in my underwear mom, I’m sorry.” Sometimes his lower lip trembles and he feels genuine sorrow. “I’m sorry I wasted the 4th bottle of shampoo you have bought for me in the last month” (Okay, so he didn’t say it like that, but I’m the writer and that was what he meant to say and why the lip was trembling!) Often, they are just words---but he says them.

Guess what? It ALL MATTERS. I am happy he understands the process. I’m happy he knows that apologies are appropriate after undesirable behavior. I’m happy that sometimes he means it and he probably won’t ever do it again. And I’m happy when he just shows he knows he should be sorry, even if he’s not there yet. And guess what else? I love him even more as I see him learn and grow and apply what he learns. I love him even more when his pink, sticky, hands grab at my waist and with his pink little strawberry-smeared mouth say, “but I putted it away!”

I figured out some monumental things as his mother. It isn’t so much what he does or doesn’t do that makes me love him. It’s more about his very existence. I just don’t think it’s possible to go backwards in loving him, it just grows more immeasurable every day.

This is what having children has taught me about God. I know that He is happy with my efforts. He is happy when I learn and grow and apply what I learn. He is happy when I come to Him, a sticky, miserable mess from the decisions I have made, and tell Him how I tried or how I can’t do it alone. I am His child and He loves me. Always. I still don’t think I fully grasp the concept of His unconditional love---but boy, Benja and Avee sure make it easier.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Conspiracy Theory, Parenting Advice Completely Unrelated

So, I weigh myself compulsively. I see a scale, I step on it. I know, I know, people have opinions about stuff like this, but whatever, I am who I am. At the gym, there's a scale like they have at a dr's office. I stepped on it my first day there and it weighed me like 17 pounds more than I "thought" I was. I was horrified and panicked that maybe the scale I have at home only weighs to a certain point. After 127 pounds, we're all the same. Then I asked around and they said the scale was screwy. The next couple of days I'd weigh myself on it, just for kicks, and get the same results.

Then I had the idea to start lurking around the scale. Teenage boys who want arms they can't put down at their sides, for the bulging muscles, are the only other people I see weighing themselves. I have stopped several of them on different days, after stepping off the scale to ask if it was accurate for each of them. They have ALL said yes. The first one was this skinny, skinny kid and I just shrugged and figured he WANTED to weigh 16 pounds more, so he'd believe it. Another guy said last week the scale was totally off, but today it was fine--it actually weighed him a pound less. That got my interest and I jumped on the scale. LONG after the area had cleared. It weighed me 22 pounds more. You'd think I'd stop already.

Yesterday I went to Bed Bath, etc, Tarjhay, and TJ Maxxeroni looking for some bathroom accessories. I had to pass the scales in two of those stores---so of course I stepped on some. They weighed me, on average, 10 pounds more. Do you know what this did to my sense of security? If 98 pounds isn't actually 98 pounds, what's next---lettuce is fattening!?

Then I figured it out. It's totally a conspiracy. The gym scale is a no-brainer. It's right by the locker room. You step on it on the way to your workout, you see a number that's appalling and you work out like mad and become a success story for that gym. Or you get wildly depressed, bypass the machines, go home and eat 4 pints of Ben and Jerry's and never return to the evil scale-bearing gym. And the gym gets all your money in start-up fees, first and last month charge, etc. It's a win-win for them.

At Target, you weigh yourself and see you are actually 12.7 pounds more than you thought. You either don't own a scale and realize that if 12 pounds can creep up on you like that, it's time you own a scale. Or you own a scale and realize the $12 piece of Womart crap you own isn't really your friend and its time to move on. Either way, you walk out of Target with a $54.99 scale that tells your weight, body mass, water content, menstrual cycle, and mood.

It's brilliant. Thank you, I know.

Onward to the second portion of my post. Shortly after Benja's 3rd birthday, in which he was entirely indulged and had 2 fantastic parties and got tons of presents---we attended the birthday party of cousin turning 1. Naturally, when Benja saw all the presents, he assumed they were for him. As he lunged for them in a crazed frenzy with his mouth foaming, every adult in the room said something to him. Pretty much at the same time. Loudly. His parents not excluded. It was harsh. And sad. And J and I both had a "wow, we suck at parenting for not preparing him for this" moment. I had two. Because that's what motherhood has done to me.

Now we are going to another birthday on Saturday. And have one on the schedule for a little later in the month. Both for little two year old boys who will undoubtedly be getting things Benja is very interested in. We picked out one of the presents already. Benja holds it about 7-10 times a day and rubs the box and drools a little and talks about how complete his life would be if he could play with it. He hopes the birthday boy will be advanced in the art of sharing at age 2 and suggests perhaps we could let other people bring the presents, and we just keep this tractor set.

I tell him about his birthday and how he was the only one who got presents and now it's his friend's turn. And how it's fun to give presents just like it is to get them. And blah blah blah. I don't even fool myself when I say junk like that. Whoever heard of someone actually liking to give more than to get? Puhlease. Not in our house.

Anyway, I feel like there's some good teaching that should be going on, and that I'm not quite cutting it on the preparation aspect. Is it just something he has to go through, the hard way, or is there a gentle way to teach and experience this. Part of me wants to go buy him a tractor set and let him have his own and give another one away. The other part of me doesn't want to have to tell my husband that I have yet again coddled our son beyond the point of no return and he WILL in fact be living with us until he's 37, at which point he will get married and his wife will join him. And they will have many tractor sets to keep them happy.

And how come "preparing your child for birthday parties after they have been indulged beyond reason" isn't in any of my parenting books? Oh wait; we don't have any parenting books. We like to wing it around here. Or just post questions on our blogs.

Let's have it---you have until Noon on Saturday to save our children from us. And win brownie points with me.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bob the Tomato, Books, and "Benja!"

I'm ignoring Avee's squeals from her bed. She's happy, she's not climbing up my backside, I'm typing in peace---why tamper with something so beautiful?

Before Benja was born and even shortly after, I heard my cousin refer to Veggie Tales on more than one occasion. She thought they were funny and would sing the songs periodically. I didn't know anything about them, so her reference to them was lost on me, and not recorded in my short term memory. A few months ago Chic-fil-a started giving out Veggie Tales CD singles in the kids meals. I heard some SUV song and thought it was hilarious. I have since acquired 3 videos. I have put them on in the recent past for Benja, but they have never held his attention. Until last night. If I had let him, he would have watched it over and over into the wee hours of the morning. Instead I made him stop and play trains with me and I had to listen to a broken record of "Caw-da-reeeee, celereeeeeeee, VEGGIETALES!" If it weren't for the inherent therapuetic qualities of pushing Thomas the Train over and over around a track, I may have lost my mind.

Of course, first thing this morning came the request, "If I promise not to get into the fridge, can I dit up and watch Veggie Tales". I put in a different one, in hopes of another loop being repeated incessantly. Benja has interrupted every activity we've done or attempted, to say, "But, we forgot to watch Veggie Tales!" We didn't forget, we just aren't remembering to watch it 47 times today. One of those activities was SCHOOL.

Since the public schools started here today, I started school with Benja. My friend told me about this cool preschool site and we did it for a little while last Spring, but there wasn't a whole lot of interest on his part. It was amazing to see how dramatically his interest and attention span has changed in these few short months. I also see this earnest desire to do it right and the delight when he does and the frustration when he doesn't. What happened to my kid who shamelessly smeared his own excrement on his bedroom walls? When does this awareness of "doing it right" kick in? It was very enjoyable for me to work with him. I always feel entirely incompetent when it comes to "teaching" but today was good. And the pupil was adorable.

I was inspired to blog by the books we read. This curriculum comes complete with book suggestions for each week. I can go online, reserve the books and pick them all up at the same time. I always wonder if that's annoying to librarians, (Emily?) but it is SO convenient for me. For some reason I can NEVER find children's book. I can be right in the PRI's and there will either be no PRI's whatsoever or the entire P section is on vacation. Probably over at the ZYT's.

We read 3 books, all of which I enjoyed thoroughly. Which is rare. I find many children's books mind-numbingly dull. Yesterday at B and N, reading to the kids, I was appalled by some, nay, most of the books that were pulled off the shelf. I guess touch and feel pictures is the new "intelligible sentences and worthy of print".

"How to Make an Apple Pie" was pretty much over Benja's head---but he liked the idea of being read to for school, so it didn't matter. And he is SO his mother's son, at the end he wanted to go make an apple pie for dinner. Not sure about copyright laws and whatnot but the jacket reads: "It's easy to make an applie pie! Here's how: Pack one suitcase--Add a shopping list---Hop a steamboat to Italy, then gather two armfuls of superb semolina wheat....
Isn't that enough to show it's going to be a good book? I think my 4, 5, and 6 year old nephews would get a kick out of this book. Plus I learned that cinnamon comes from the bark of a kurundu tree. And those are found in Sri Lanka.

The other one made me laugh out loud. It's called "Animals Should Definately Not Wear Clothing" It was an okay read and then I got to this page:

because it might make life hard for a hen,

And then the whole rest of the book seemed very funny. Good book.

On another note, Avee has one particular behavior that is puzzling to me. When I say her name, most of the time she ignores me. If she doesn't ignore me, she's just busy putting distance between us. Whatever I have in mind, she wants none of it. Sometimes when she is being naughty, I will say her name sharply and every time I truly anticipate it startling her. She doesn't blink. Doesn't budge. Doesn't stop her misdemeanors for a second. However. When she is nearby and I call for Benja---for any reason, she FREAKS OUT. She does this yelp and mad scramble, usually up my front side as though she desperately needs protection. I can't figure out why she does it. Because I'm just this kind of mom, I spent half the morning calling for Benja, just to see her do it. Is she afraid of Benja? Does she think her name is Benja? Does she have a parole officer named Benja? I have no idea. If you ever come visit me, I'll show you.

Oh, and this is another thing that makes me laugh and it's random, but I do want it recorded for posterity. A few months ago, Benja was really into praying. He wanted to say every prayer everytime. It was cute for a while, and then I felt that we had been sufficiently thankful for our good days, and that we were bound to sleep well that night for all of Benja's supplications. So I stopped letting him dominate prayer time. After a couple of nights, he was over it. And now he almost never volunteers. But the other night he started this bizarre thing. It's something akin to one trying to sing along with a song they don't know. Only it comes out in these gutteral moan-like noises with a slight tilt of sing-songy at the end. Uhhhhhhhh-ehhh. About two sentences into J's prayer, I was laughing uncontrollably. Our little mute boy trying to talk.

Again, not real sure on why he does it.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


J and I are only capable of one mold, with one variation.

With and without hair.

I have never seen their identical-ness until tonight.

Evolution of Story Time

Well, the cure for blogger's blah for me, is to get out more. My mind was flooded and I couldn't get back to my computer fast enough today. Fortunately for my everlasting soul, I had a workout and a drive home that made me filter somewhat and I'm not going to be catty and rude. But I do have to say one thing about the evolution of story time.

When Benja was 17 months old I ventured out to our local library in a little college town in Utah. I was pregnant with Avee and still had ambition in parenting. This storytime was phenomenal. The Indigo Girls could come and perform for me in my living room, complete with a puppet show, and I think I'd still hold that this little storytime was the best ever. It was two college kids, one an older guy with a guitar and wicked sense of humor, and another 20ish girl with red boingy curls and boundless energy. They sang, dance, razzed, honked, wiggled, and glubble-glubbed like I haven't seen since. Benja had the attention span of a lima bean and lap-hopped shamelessly. I didn't care, I was usually enthralled with the storytimers. Guitar man would sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" like Elvis and Red Boingy Curls would do herkies at the end of "Mr. Alligator" and "Wheels on the Bus". The one drawback was this. It was a normal size area for story time, in a not normal community of children per parents. So there were always like 12 parents/caregivers and 57 kids. I'm not exaggerating.

We moved 40 miles north and I, still blindly ambitious, took my two kids. It was a huge room, and the story teller was this librarian that perfectly fit every stereotype there is for a librarian. She sat squarely on a chair with her cardigan draped over her shoulders and read book after book after book. To a room full of 2 year old children. She scolded kids who squirmed and asked mothers to remove small children who breathed through their noses.
We didn't go back.

Then we moved here and I took them to the local library and there we found a nice fit. It wasn't Red Boingy Curls and Elvis day at preschool by any means, but we liked it. Benja got involved immediately and was "interactive" even when the story teller wasn't. I think it helped that she was like, 3 and a half inches taller than Benja. In heels. Just a tiny lady. She's very sweet and has a schedule and a little voice, and you know how kids love schedules and little voices. I like her because she laughs when Benja says, "That's not a sheep, it's a lamb!" and "That's not blue, that's periwinkle!"

But the library is taking a break until September. And I'm sick of reading to my kids myself. So I took them to Barne$ and N0ble. And here's the part where I'm not going to be catty and rude. I just want to say, if you have a choice when it comes to storytime leader, try to find one that hasn't been smoking since grammar school. "The whee(gasp)eels on the buu(gasp)us go round (gasp) and round...." That's all I'm going to say.

We are so going back to cute little squeaky lady.

Before I go, just a few conversations from my morning:
At the store while looking for a birthday present
B: I’m donna hafta push the cart betuz you tan’t betuz you’re so fat.
M: Wow Benja, that’s just not a nice thing to say.
B: Really? It isn’t?
Me, to myself: Only because it’s true. Anyone been to Ross lately, those aisles are insanely narrow.

In the car:
B: Bebble bubble little bribble, how I wonder what you zibble.
Booble beeble bipple bip, zizzle rizzle mizzle mip. You know that song mom? Sing it!
M: I can’t sing that song to you Benja.
B: Why not?
M: Because you just made it up, I don’t know the words to songs that just come out of your head.
B: It didn’t come out of my head, it came out of my hands. And a little bit of my mouth.

At lunch:
M: Finish up those grapes and I’d say you’re done.
B: I caaaaaaaaaan’t
M: Oh really? What’s the problem?
B: They're uh-scusting
M: No they aren't, you love grapes!
B: Yeah, but these ones are too deep and wide.


Monday, August 07, 2006

Simple Math

Ellipticals + Judging Amy = muy enjoyable and rapido workout.

When I first had Benja we moved from St. Louis to Utah for J to go back to school. I was adjusting to motherhood, nursing, not working, b00bs with their own orbital path, no social life, and going from a dual income to no-income lifestyle. Because I'm a realist and pragmatic, I knew, and let it be known, that I would absolutely need cable television to make this transition possible. So I spent my mornings cooing at my newborn, taking pictures of him until my pointer finger calloused, and watching Law & Order and Judging Amy reruns. It was a good life. I actually grew weary of the Law & Order formula, but NEVER of Judging Amy. I could spend hours watching Maxine tell it like it is, try to be gracious, but end up ripping someone a new one. Or Donna. Donna Kozlowski. If ever there was a character that can consistently make me laugh, she's the one. What gets me is, that the dumb show can get me EVERY time. Today Judge Grey returned a Croatian boy to his parents and I wiped sweat from my brow and choked back tears. What is THAT!? I'm in a gym, on an elliptical watching a tv that's 30 feet away for crying out loud! Regardless, I'm thrilled to be watching Judging Amy while I work out.

Judging Amy+ellipticals-soda+some semblance of self control=2.5 pounds lost.
And I can gar-own-tee I won't be looking for them.
I'm on my way folks. I told every person in the gym that I passed. "You see this belly man? It used to be 2 and a half pounds heavier---that's right, feel that lack of chub, go ahead...."
By the way, as soon as my membership at this gym expires, I'll be looking for another gym. They informed me RIGHT AFTER I signed up that shirts must be worn at all times. I can't live with that kind of oppression.

8 Episodes of the first Season of Lost - one husband on business trip + 1 crime alert notice on front door = one jittery mama.

I gave the first disc (four episodes) of Lost a chance several months ago. It was such the rage, I figured I should give it a try. I scoffed upon those episodes. I was interested, but it didn't snag me, I was not a believer. Plus that whole "monster of undeterminable size and origin" was just too much for me to swallow. People got offended if I said I wasn't in to Lost. Then a few more months pass and Lost keeps being talked about and I decide to give it another try. Second Disc, 2 episodes in...I'm hooked. I watched 8 episodes in 2 days. I went to church and mentioned "Lost" and of course, the two women were avid watchers of the show. So I tried to bring up some commonalities and I'm all, "Whoa, can you believe Charlie lived? I SO thought he was dead. At first I thought he was alive, and then I was sure he was dead, and then he WASN'T---can you believe that..." Blank stares. Furrowed brows. Serious concentration. And then, "Oh sweetie, you're WAAAAAAAAAAAY behind." I wish that was the first time I've been told that. I'm gonna watch Monk and Arrested Development (a delightful discovery--prompted by other cool people referring to it) reruns until J gets back home cuz, scary shows - (minus) virile husband in close proximity= mama screaming through the neighborhood in her skivvies at 3am.

Verbose 3 year old + weekend at home with no obligations= Lots of laughs

Overheard this weekend:
Ha! I was just about to say that was fun!
When I'm a girl, will I shave my legs?
Avee wants to doe to McDonalds
I don't want it to be a five five five five five five five nap. Only a two.
Can I get out of my time out or not? No or yes? No or yes? (the backlash of the superb parenting technique of frequently giving choices)

Just now, from the computer I called for Benja to give him a toy he's been asking for all morning M: Benjaaaaaaaaaaa?
M: Huh? What's your problem?
Benja: (rounds corner and sees toy. Chuckles) Heh. I sotted you were doe-ing to tell me to take a nap.
M: Oh, and that certainly didn't prove you need one.
Benja: (trotting off happily, potato-head in hand) Nope, it sho didn't.

It shooooo didn't.

update: Someone just found my site by typing in "showing off their b00bs tv". Dang I knew I shouldn't have been so risque typing that part about my you know whats.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Daughter Dearest

Dear Avee,

I love you. More than you can comprehend. There's never a second in the day when I love you any less. In fact, if anything, I love you more everyday. Yes, I know, it's cliché--give your mom a break, you'll understand someday. I hope. And I hope you "understand" from a daughter. Just like you. Because there needs to be some retribution here and that's the best I can come up with.

When I was a little girl and did harmless "naughty" things like putting a burning match in our trash can and walking away, or leaving a wool blanket (aka, fort) resting on a lightbulb and again, walking away, or sneaking Twinkies by the shirt load into my room from the neighborhood Hostess delivery man's house, or use swear words I didn't know the meaning (but apparently right context) of, or not coming in when I was called, or lying about whether I had practiced the piano or not or....what a minute, this isn't about me, it's about you! Anyway, when these kinds of things occured, my mom would warn me, "when you grow up and have kids, they will behave just the way you behave". I really took that warning to heart and tried to clean up my act. I would eliminate pyromaniacal behaviors and stop using a few unknown swear words, for days on end. I wanted good kids. I was sure I would have good kids based on my efforts.

You my sweet daughter, are here to make me repent of ALL my sins. As a young child, I just thought if I eliminated a particular naughty behavior, I saved myself from my future child repeating the same behavior. What I didn't understand at that young age was that my behavior in general was driving my mother barmy. And while you can't light matches or smuggle Twinkies, or even know what they are---you are perfectly capable of making me crazy. I see now, that you are the living proof of my mom's warnings.

Why though? Why!? Can't we just be friends? My mom has forgiven me for my youthful indescretions. And yes, I'll forgive you, I already have---but maybe we could just skip that part all together.

I don't know if my nerves can handle one more day of incessant whining and yelling. Even when you are happy, you yell. I don't get that. We don't talk like that around here, where did you learn that getting milk was grounds for screaming like an ape on crack? I don't even like milk, so it sure as beans wasn't me.

And FYI, servitude to your poopy diapers and nutritional needs (in no particular order) is not a sign of weakness. I do it because I have to and because you can't. I know you think it's because you won't and because you are the boss of me, but it's because you can't. Your brother won't play with you if I don't. And you start screaming like the aforemention ape when I don't feed you---so please don't mistake this as weakness on my part. Yes you are smart, but I can construct complex sentences. You probably have more complex thoughts than me already, but at least until you can do what I can do with words, we'll have to agree to disagree on who has the upper hand in this relationship.

While your climbing abilities are extraordinary and draw comments from anyone who sees you, really, it's just annoying at this point. I know your quads are ripped and your biceps are beastly, but sometimes I just want to sit in peace at the computer without my left arm being yanked from its socket while you grunt and squeal your way to my shoulder. To perch. Uninvited. And dipping your head down and planting an open mouthed kiss on my face is adorable, but couldn't you just wait to be invited?

The street? It's a no-no. It will always be a no-no. I'm 31 and I don't play in the street. It's just not safe. And when you try to, and then run from me when I come to retrieve you, I will be mad. And I'll probably take you inside and make you stay inside until such behaviors desist.Potatos? Yes, I know they are on the pantry floor within reach, but that doesn't make them good. That brown stuff on the outside of them? It's dirt. Yes, I know you like to try dirt everytime you see it, but you never like it. Just try sometime NOT trying it and see how that works for you. In the meantime, leave my potatos alone. I'm not so in love with them, but I do love not having a bite taken out of all of them with said bites spit all over the floor.
Stick with red grapes. They're a no-fail.

I know it sounds like all I'm doing is complaining about you. I think it's because your dad has been gone all week, we miss him, you might be teething (by the way, if you do in fact end up in kindergarten having only gotten 5 teeth, do not blame me, I come from a LONG line of good teethers), and well, I'm weary from being enslaved by your demands combined with your unnatural capabilities, compounded by some natural limitations.

For the record, they way you pat your brother's back when he's upset and I'm comforting him, is incredibly endearing. And how you can book it through the house to the kitchen when I ask you if you want some milk---makes me laugh every time. And your babble melts my heart. Even when it's tattling on an inanimate object that hurt you. Your love affair with the carton of eggs whenever I open the refrigerator? Strangely adorable. How you blow on whatever food I put in front of you, even ice cream---precious. Your penchant for wanting to be held at the most inconvenient times, both tender and annoying.

I love you so much sometimes it hurts. It's a different kind of hurt from what your yelling does to my ears. Or untrimmed nails do to the back of my arm. It's a desire for the best for you always. It's a desire that your big brother will break out into song "Avee Suuuuuuue I love you. Avee Suuuuuuuue we love you" your entire childhood. It's a desire to bottle up your personality and sell it because you have enough to go around. It's a desire to not overlook the sweetness you have and the inexplicable way you fill my heart to overflowing when you smile. It's a desire that we will survive each other.

Yours, ever so truly,
Mama Llama
P.s. Thank you for always being such a good sleeper. It's a saving grace. Oh, and thanks for cleaning up my bathroom counter. I really wanted to get that email sent to your aunt and I was sure you were causing all sorts of havoc on my counter since I CAN'T KEEP YOU OFF. Imagine my surprise to find everything neatly stacked in the corner and you sitting pristinely with your toothbrush and toothpaste, waiting for me to dispense. You and your brother must get your OC cleaning tendencies from your dad. xxoo