Wednesday, September 27, 2006

From Within the Asylum

It wasn’t an ice-cream induced coma that caused my week-lapse in blogging. It was more, I had six pints of Phish Food, I really didn’t need anything else in life. But alas, all good things do come to an end. Unfortunately, my rear end is not one of them, now. Tell me there’s more to life than perfect ice cream.

We are eagerly entering round #2 of the chicken pox. You’re sick of hearing about chicken pox? Tell me about it.

Benja broke out yesterday. He calls the Benadryl I give him his “chicka-chicka boom-boom medicine”. Today I gave him a dosage just before I shoved him into a dark corner to take a nap. As I poured the clear bubble-gum flavored liquid onto a teaspoon he stated, “I’m in luck!” Tell me that’s not a good-natured boy.

He’s having a more rough go of it, he seems to have more pox on him and of course he is inclined to scratch them.
I am trying to get him to tell me when one itches so I can put cream on it. After a morning of reminding him “Don’t scratch, tell me when it itches!” we had an after noon of “oh my knee, my knee—hurry! Ahhh my butt, ohhhhh my awm, quick, hurry!” Those scenes altogether were not for suitable for general audiences.

Since my kids have become accustomed to only each other, and periodically me, for friendship, they have become quite the pals. Only a few times a day will Avee grab, pinch, poke, knock over, or otherwise agitate Benja only to run from the room screaming with glee. All the girl wants is a good chase through the house. So naturally, only a few more times than that will Benja demonstrate (loudly) his firm grasp on the if/then consequences he’s so aptly learned from my superb parenting techniques and yell, “If you do that again Avee, I will poke your eye out. Both of your eyes!” I promise I have never threatened to poke out both eyes. Ever.

I’ve captured some candid shots in the last couple of days that just melt my heart, and so I’m going to post them. If they don’t melt your hearts, you have a heart as cold as Phish Food kept on Dry Ice from DC to Texas. That’s all I have to say about that.

Oh yeah, one of the non-melting pictures is just the progression of Ben’s unsightly fpots in less than 24 hours. We still coo’ if it doesn’t melt your heart.

I came out of another room to find them hanging out together like this.
This is Ben yesterday before the spots showed up.

Before you call CPS you should know, we only let them play in the dryer AFTER they've finished playing in the kitty litter and have returned the keys to our car. If you are thinking Avee has an abnormally elongated torso and shortly legs, well, it's not abnormal, it's actual. And she'll thank me and my genetic contribution when she is 16 and 5'11 and doesn't have to shop at Monstrous Inseams R Us just to avoid the "I even wear capris in the winter" or the "yeah, so what if I'm waiting for a flood" look.

And then came the pox.

This was lunchtime today.

As unsightly as a smiling leper may appear, it was nigh impossible to get him to NOT "smile".

I'm not sure if pictures capture how incredibly adorable this was to me. Avee is giving herself five. After they were done in the dryer, I closed the door and Avee "helped" me. As I praised her for her help, she began to give herself five. J often gives the kids "five" as his form of praise and they really dig it. She was just fillin' in for him. Since he has to go to work and all.

And that stuff they say about sleeping "babies". It's true. I just wanted to eat him up, all mismatched in his 2t firetruck pajama top and 4t fpido-man boxers, snuggling with 4 miniature monkeys, curled up like a little baby, covered in chicken pox. I can hardly believe my life was complete before I saw this.

If Only We Lived In Seattle

Last week it rained. Benja LOVES rain because he can accessorize with his bumblebee boots that are two sizes too small that he mooched off of his cousin a year ago. I won't let him run errands with me in them. I won't let him wear them to the pool, the park, or church. But he can wear them when it rains, and so he does.

So when it started sprinkling last week, he made a mad dash for his boots. Then it really started coming down so he insisted he needed a coat. I don't even know where his coats are, since when we moved here last Christmas it was 80 degrees outside! I wouldn't help him dig for a coat, but he somehow, he managed to find a yellow jacket that he was growing out of last winte.

When I told him I had to run up to the office to get a couple of things and he wanted to come with me. While I slipped on my shoes, he grabbed some eye protectors and we were on our way. I said, "Wow, that's quite an outfit, I don't think anyone will laugh when they see it." My friend's 5 year old daughter piped up, "I'm not so sure about that!" Ben was undeterred. He knew he was cool.

Sadly, I only got one picture and it's a little blurry.

That day I ordered him a raincoat and umbrella and boots off of Ebay.

They came yesterday.

And even though it was over 80 degrees outside, he put everything on immediately and road his bike and ran all over outside in it. I convinced him to share the bonus "rain hat" with Avery.

Benja in his polyester-vinyl glory.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Oh, just you wait

You will never guess in a million years what I got in the mail today.


Just try.

Nobody has. I couldn't have even guessed.

If I wasn't as experienced at continence as I am, there would have been an awful scene when I opened the Fed Ex box.

Did you read this post?

Oh yes, I was in rough shape.

Well, there were a lot of responses and a lot of "hang in there" "I'd help if I wasn't an internet friend that lives 1000 miles away and probably wouldn't know you from Adam" which really just made my heart smile. It's nice to get support like that.

But, I have to say, and proudly, I feel confident I will be able to one-up just about any person when it comes to a "I have a friend who once" conversations.

Not one. Not two. Not even 5. SIX. SIX I TELL YOU.

Six of the most beautiful pints of Ben and Jerry's Phish Food EVER packaged in the western hemisphere.

I can't even tell you the utter surprise and sheer delight that overcame me and has not yet lifted. I walked around the rest of the afternoon, anyone within earshot heard things like, "Dude, I got ICE CREAM in the mail today. ICE CREAM! IN THE MAIL! Do you hear me? Next thing you know they'll have time travel and floating cars....ICE CREAM IN THE MAIL!"
Probably the best part to watch about this event (you know, on our video footage in heaven after we die) will be the opening of this package. I wasn't home when it arrived so it was left at the management office for me. I went to get it and saw a return address of Ben and Jerry's. After the manager handed it to me, I saw the return label, did a double take and then exclaimed loudly, "SHUT! UP!" Ms. Manager who was walking away, stopped abruptly. I showed her the return address, as I was in shock and needed it verified. We both started saying things like, "No, surely not---perhaps they have a line of cookies, no, it's not possible, well, let's look!" She scrambled for some scissors and I opened it. We both literally jumped back in shock. I've never seen six pints of ice cream in a box before. Never.

Then Ms. Manager asks me why someone is mailing me six pints of ice cream. The ensuing explanation---wacky-macky-smokin'-cracky.

"So I blog? You know about blogs? So I have this blog and my kids have the chicken pox and my husband travels and I got escorted out the back alley of the drs office and I had a friend coming in from out of town and I self-medicate with ice cream and my husband's hotel doesn't always answer their phone and I just moved here at the beginning of the year and all my friends live far away and I blogged and I was quarantined and I wished Wal-mart delivered ice cream and the chicken pox are making me get fat again and my son still hasn't broken out with pox yet and my husband travels and I love ice cream and....

I wasn't making sense to myself, but I couldn't stop because I had six pints of ice cream in a box in front of me. And then Ms. Manager screws up her face and says, "So, you blog about chicken pox and ice cream and someone from the internet sent you ice cream?"

But oh no---it wasn't a 53 year old man who "works from home" and poses as a witty 30 something SAHM that sent me ice cream.

It was my friend. And she's f'real guys.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cleaning Day

I should have been in bed 2 hours ago.

This post may prove it.

My friend flew in from St. Louis tonight with her daughter and so I spent the whole day trying to get the house presentable. It didn't happen, but at least there was an improvement. I didn't clean up anything last night before I went to bed and when we got up in the morning Benja said to me, "Mom, could you do something about this?" and pointed to all the toys obstructing him playing with his toys. Some kids. He sounded alarmingly like his father when I leave used diapers on the floor.

Then Avee, unable to find comfort in my loving arms (because they were elbow deep in toilet water) found solace in a small white box. I hope she stays petite long enough to enjoy the petite-ish things she does with her little body.

(To the right of Avee, you will see the carpet mural done by Benja. The medium is magic market on cheap carpet, a 2nd year masterpiece. During his brief time as an artist he suffered immense persecution and dessert-withholding but always maintained that his contributions to the art world were "pwetty").

I spent a lot of time in conversation with Benja today and realized he doesn't get enough of that with me. He gets a lot of distracted answers and exasperated sighs when he traps me in circular conversations about why our car is green. He's really a funny kid and great at conversation. He's quick with compliments, "That's a great idea mom, I'm glad you sot of that!" and "Wow, this is a cool turkey sandwich, you did a good job with the turkey and I did a great job with the cheese!" He's got a wicked 3 year old sense of humor. "Ahhhhhh ahhahahahhaha! Did you see that? I almost fell off my chair and hit my butt. Ahhahahhahah buuuuuutt--is that so funny mom?" And he says things I swear he's only heard from me when I've been posessed by an elderly woman who wears nurses shoes and double pocket cardigans. Today while I was eliminating the blue sand from our lives (sad, short-lived existence), I retrieved a shovel from the bottom of the sand-tub Benja had been playing with this shovel less than a week ago. Yet, he exclaims, "Oh THERE it is, I've been looking for that for YEARS!" Later while trying to remove a stubborn watch from his wrist I heard him say through gritted baby teeth "This is a nightmiwoh!" That was the SECOND time I heard him say that today.

He also did an amazing job of entertaining himself while staying mostly out of my way. Benja gets his creativity from his father, but his fashion sense from me.

And so,the "Robot" is born.

As I worked endlessly on making my house presentable, I rehearsed saying things like, "Oh, the house is a wreck---please don't mind the mess" while trying to mask my true expression of wonder that my house has ever actually been this clean. I was good by the end of the day. I was confident in my abilities to act like I always have a clean house and the fpecks of debwee on the pictures constitute a "total wreck"

Drive to the airport. Benja falls asleep. Even better. None of my sins would be revealed through his incessant chatter. I have to switch around carseats so I ask my friend to hold Benja while I do that. He wakes up in her arms, looks up at her, completely unalarmed that a total stranger is holding him (he hasn't seen her in almost a year and a half) and says, "Our house is really clean. My mom cleaned it all day and I'm a real good cleaner too." And there it went. My wildest fantasies, the ones I spent all day creating and living and reliving, squashed by one half-asleep 3 year old. Of course, my friend doesn't just leave it at that, she gets all the juicey details on what the house used to look like and what exactly was done. I knew it was coming though. I told J it was a bad idea to teach our children to talk.

Monday, September 18, 2006

In Which I Am Cured of Delusions of Being a Supermom

I haven't been able to go to the gym for a week. I'm not the kind of girl who's very soul depends on the physical exertion of a good workout. I know those kind of people---I'm not one of them. I am the kind of girl who's very gut depends on it.

I know myself though. I know that if I don't go to the gym, it's highly unlikely to near impossible that I will work out on my own initiative in my own home, with my own resources. I just know that. I know, exercise fiends will roll their eyes and say something about wills and ways, and other such nonsense that doesn't exist in my world.

And there are skinny people who's paths have crossed mine who say things like, "Oh, I used to just throw Skinny Jr and Naturallyhighmetabolismina into the stroller and walk and walk and the baby fat just melted off me." First of all---the ONLY thing that melts off this body is the periodic glop of ice cream that falls off my spoon enroute to the mouth. And second of all, I think we are beyond calling it baby fat here.

The weather has been incredible here lately. Every morning Benja steps outside in his skivvies and exclaims "It's a beautiful day with a nice bweeze!" And he's right. It's lovely. I take back any mean thing I have ever said about the horrible Texas heat. Unless it comes back.

Well, after today's exclamation about the day's beauty, (which was about 9 am, incidentally) I decided I would take the kids for a walk. It would serve as exercise for me and good medicine for their ailing poxed bodies. From the moment I made that decision (9:02 to be exact), I was working fairly aggressively toward getting us out the door for a walk. Breakfast, diaper, clothes, shoes, shoes, shoes, snack, phone call, no TV!, phone call, wrestling, shoes again, time out, phone call, unloading of pantry cupboards, reloading of pantry cupboards....I PROMISE I was working toward getting out the door this entire time.

11:53 it was. Kids were appropriately attired, I had a sippy cup full of ice and water, two granola bars, two individual bags of Fruit Loops, my piece of junk camera that makes me swear at least twice a day, my freshly-made protein shake (that was UH-MAZING, btw), and my own lukewarm bottle of water.

Benja on his purple and red bike, Avee in her grey and black stroller. We set out on a bike trail just behind our house. The day was even more beautiful than we thought. Benja books it on his little big wheel and is like a well-trained dog who stops at corners without crossing. Unfortunately, he gets way ahead of me, and passersby can't be sure he'll stop, especially given how fast he's going. A kind man ran toward him as he was fast approaching the cross walk with no appearance of slowing. Benja never saw him, but stopped suddenly at just the right place. As I approached the man I said, "He knows to stop, but I wasn't sure he would---thank you for your help!" He smiled and kept walking and my sweet boy yelled back over his shoulder as he was racing off again, "Thanks for trying to keep me safe!" I can guar-own-tee, that kind Mexican man had never seen a gringa guffaw as loudly as I did. I love that little boy!

So, the walk, because I wasn't in the lead, got detoured to the park. That's what I get for being slow. So I let the kids play. On the slides that ended in puddles and on stairs that gave me heart failure every time Avee traipsed down them like she's fully grown. And then I put my little angels in swings. And they were cute, and enjoying themselves immensely. Benja was instructing me to swing him like "Unko Garrett did" and Avee was demanding that I pick up her dropped Fruit Loop. I did neither. But I did start working on gently coercing them to go home and what an excellent idea that was. Benja wasn't buying it.

Then, suddenly, without warning, a speck of dirt flew into Benja's eye and savagedly attacked his cornea. Oh my gosh! The drama rivaled Avee's when I accidentally put her sippy cup in the wrong cupholder. He was genuinely distraught that a speck of dirt would do that to him when he was just sitting there. "Why did the wind have to blow and get that fpeck of dirt in my eeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyeeeeeeee? Why does the breeze have to wusso up debweeeeeeee?" The first 12 times, it was kind of funny, and I was very sympathetic and had all the patience in the world to talk him through it. He couldn't get past it, and it wouldn't stop hurting him. I escorted him, he blind, I hauling Avee, to the water fountain where I pretended to have a clue about how to treat fpeck-infested cornea trauma. Interestingly, one of the "toys" of choice that Benja had smuggled out of the house, tucked into the waistband of his shorts, was none other than, a wet washcloth. I tried to make it a teaching moment about being divinely inspired in his toy selection but he wasn't interested.

He just kept asking why. And after 12 times at the park, 1/2 mile's walk worth of asking, and 4 more times on the couch with a wet paper towel over his eye, I lost my patience. "THE FPECK CAME FLYING OUT OF THE WIND AND INTO YOUR EYE BECAUSE IT HEARD YOU WHINING. IT KNEW YOU DON'T EAT YOUR VEGETABLES AT DINNER AND IT GOES AFTER LITTLE BOYS WHO DON'T TAKE NAPS AND PUSH THEIR SISTERS OVER--THAT'S WHY!!!!!!!!!!!"
He quit asking why.
That didn't really happen. Well, it really happened in my head, but I'm sure that doesn't count.
I still don't actually know what happened. But his eye is quite red. Either from whatever attacked him, or the rubbing, or from being punched to stop the whining.

So here it is. You get the picture AND the 1000 words it's worth. The real reason why this mama doesn't just throw her kids in the stroller and walk off the baby fat.

Friday, September 15, 2006

For The Weekend

Daddy's home. He's on the couch telling Benja one of his five million versions of The Three Little Pigs. In this one, the pigs made their houses out of cotton (not as in cotton balls, as I imagined, but as in cotton shirts), rocks (just randomly plunked on top of each other, not built to code) and the last house of paper. The poor little pigs didn't have a chance.

I was thinking tonight as I drove to the airport, about things that can consistently make me laugh. There are ridiculous things like undone zippers or stumbling---I know, it's really really wrong, but it just makes me laugh, AND newscasters mis-speaking. I never tire of those.

Then I remembered a story that Jay told me several months ago when he first started this job. This story can make me fall over laughing EVERY time I hear it, like it's the first time I've ever heard it. I know the story well enough to tell, but I always ask Jay to tell it, like it's the first time. I just can't get enough of it.

I started thinking of other stories that can always get a good guffaw out of me. I thought of a couple.

One of my friends in our early twenties, went to Burger King. Back when hardly anyone swiped debit cards---she wrote a check. She wrote the check out to Burger King. And signed it "Burger King". Maybe it was the setting when she told it, I couldn't stop laughing. We sign our names dozens of times in a week---that is a mistake I just can't ever imagine making. But anything is possible.

It's funny, right?

Another one of my favorite stories that can always make me laugh is one my Physiology Professor told---my senior year when I took his dumb class for the SECOND time. It was almost worth it for this story. We were learning about rods and cones and night blindness and such. He talked about how some people's rods didn't work as well as others and that's what caused poorer vision in the dark. And he used the example of walking into a dark theater after being out in the light. For some people their eyes take much longer to adjust, and others---their eyes never do. His wife, for example. She went to a movie alone one day and got there after it had already started. She fumbled around the theater trying to get to a seat and hoping not to step on any toes. She made her way to a row and started feeling around to get to the seat. She bumped into someone. She tried to move to another seat but ended up continuing to grope someone. She was embarrassed, but figured if she kept groping, eventually she'd find an empty seat. She continued to fumble and grope. Finally she felt two strong hands on her arms. These strong arms led her gently but firmly to the row in front of where she was and plunked her into an empty seat. She was relieved. She started to be embarrassed but realized, hey, it's a dark theater, it's bound to happen.

When the movie ended and the lights came on, she turned to apologize to the people behind her for stepping all over them. As she started to turn to them, something caught her eye. She looked around the entire theater. It was completely empty. There were only two other people in the entire theater. She had found them. They were not amused.

In a lecture hall of nearly 500 students, he told this story. I completely lost control and couldn't get it back together for a good 15 minutes. It's a curse, really. But I just couldn't get the vision of it out of my head. Those people she was groping KNEW there was no one else in the theater. They had to wonder what the heck her game was.

Then there was a story I laughed and cried about for about 2 weeks straight. It's much too long to relate completely, but it involved J (when we were dating), two coworkers who were visiting my church, and a recently baptized woman who was quite outspoken and not entirely well-versed in world history (I suppose). In the lesson J made a comment about what "honesty" was and used the example of how you'd answer if you lived in Nazi Germany and the Nazi's knocked on your door and asked if there were 20 Jews in your basement. It was a great point he made and well received. By most. It took us all by surprise when this woman turned and said, "No offense to you my brother, but the Lord promises that no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and my answer would be "yes". If them Nazi's knocked on my door and said, 'Do you have twenty cans of juice in the basement?' I would say YES!" I've never seen two people more close to exploding than my two coworkers that day. They were guests and were trying to be polite. I had no such expectations for myself and I was just laughing away. Quietly. Discreetly. I can only imagine what kind of ideas this woman had about our devotion to food storage.

The story I love to hear, that triggered all these memories is this:
J oversees the facility management of a company here that is owned by a certain Diminutive Big-Eared Former Presidential Candidate (DB-EFPC). This man is pretty amazing in the things he has accomplished. There's a really cool story about him rescuing his own employees who had been taken hostage during the Iranian hostage crisis (along with about 30 other Americans). Jimmy Carter couldn't do it, but doggonit, good ol' Texas boy DBEFPC could!

But that's not the one I want to tell. DB-EFPC has a philosophy about hiring the best employee candidates. He doesn't necessarily think the best employees were straight across the top 10% of a graduating class. He thinks you need to dig a little deeper than that and look beyond the resume. He conveyed this philosophy with a saying, "Eagles don't flock, you have to find them one at a time." Pretty cool eh? I particularly like this philosophy because I'm definitely an elect, most-baldest, high IQed eagle that is camouflaged in the top 65% of a graduating class. I appreciate being looked for one at a time.

So at his company HQ there are hundreds of plaques, statues, signs---etc that all display this slogan. If you know DB-EFPC, you know this slogan.

Well, there is a HUMONGOUS, GARGANTUAN, UNBELIEVABLY BIG statue of an eagle on a foundation about the size of a mini-cooper. It's large. It's in the central lobby of this campus. On it is a sign that says, "Given to DB-EFPC on his 75th birthday, from DB-EFPC Jr". Sweet, right? I mean, if money is no object, I think you should give your father a statue the size of a third world mansion. I probably would. That's not even the best part. The best part is the new slogan JR had coined as his contribution to the empire that had thus far been built. His father's "Eagles don't flock" philosophy had gotten them this far, right?

Engraved in brass. Carefully chosen words to live on forever for all the world to see.

"Eagles don't flock, they team."

That's it folks. Those five words can send me into convulsions of laughter EVERY TIME.

Can you IMAGINE what that must have been like for DB-EFPC when it was unveiled? I mean, you can look beyond the flocks of eagles all you want with employees, but this is FAMILY.

And I know, I just KNOW that every one of the tens of thousands of employees who may walk past this statue have one of two reactions. J's---"WHAT THE....?!?!?!?!" or mine "AHHHHHH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! (falls on floor) CAN'TBREATHE MAKEITSTOP THISISTOOMUCH WHODOESTHISKINDOFSTUFF AHHHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!!!"

Let's hear your stories. You know you have one. Or two.


If you are unscrupulous and live near me, please stop reading this. We can't afford it.

I spent most of yesterday painting and crackling my dining table. Lots of paint. Fumes. I'd like to think that factored in to the story I'm about to tell.

Last night one of my neighbors pulled up in her car and Benja immediately pounced on her with 50 questions, "What are you doing? Where did you go? What are you eating? Why are you eating in your car?" She was sweet and answered him. When you don't have to live with it, it's kind of cute. Then they moved on to what she was going to do next. He's great with timelines. She said she was going to pick up her boys from football practiced and asked if he wanted to come. Of course he did. The kid knows the routine, he said "But first I need to put on some pants." Yes, it was about 6 pm. Yes, he was outside. No, I don't think there's much cuter than a 3 year old running around in navy blue undies. Yes, I'm low-rent.

Since the poor kid had been cooped up all week, I let him go. She knew we were battling chicken pox, so I figured it was her own choice to take the risk. The risk of being scurried out the back door of a dr's office in about 10 to 20 days. I went in and got the keys to the car and pulled out his booster seat to put in her car and off they went.

We finished up the table, cleaned up the yard and went inside. Benja came home. I put my kids to bed. Some of them twice.

This morning I took the trash out to the curb and saw something on top of my car that didn't belong. I stepped closer and about fell over.

Do you see what I saw?

Twelve hours they were there.

Not only is this something that should NEVER happen. It is something one should never let the father of one's children know she's done.

And yet, I blog.

The end.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Alive n Kickin

I may have created a monster. A sweet, cute, happily playing one, but a monster nonetheless. It's 10:46 pm and Avee is contentedly sitting in the sink playing with the toothbrushes. I put her to bed at 8. I put Benja to bed at 8. He fell in a drunk heap onto the bed and was never to be heard from again tonight. She, on the other hand, sang drunkly, wailed, whined, cried, and cursed until I went back and got her. She has never objected to bedtime. She enjoys bedtime.

But today, while she was napping, I was outside with the baby monitor on to cue me when she woke up. I kept waiting to hear her hearty guffaws (from whatever jokes she tells herself when she first wakes up) or her loud yells to be retrieved. But they never came. I finally went near her room and just heard a desperate, exhausted, lost-hope wail. I have no idea how long she had been crying. The monitor had been unplugged. She usually will play happily in her crib for a good 20-30 minutes (I know from the 7:00 am wake-up calls she sometimes gives) without ever crying. And then she'll sort of whine for another 15 minutes. Not that I ever let it go that long...

She had long passed those stages and when I got to her she had clearly been crying for a very long time. Nothing makes me feel more crappy as a parent. Fortunately she suffers from short-term memory not-having and she was over it soon enough. But man, what a lousy way to spend an afternoon!

However, I think I'm paying for it now. She wants nothing to do with that black hole of a crib where no one hears her cries. Can't say I blame her. I'm going to indulge her in a little late night carousing. I owe her at least that. And as soon as she's done with her diet cherry coke, we're both going to bed.

I'm mostly just blogging so you don't think I got eaten alive by a poxed up, broken granola bar-bearing couple of kids.

Avee seems in better spirits, (extreme neglect aside) and she still hasn't scratched a single chicken or pox.
Here's how she looks. After she's been crying an indeterminate length of time, it looks a little worse.
Her face is the worst, and as you can see, it's fairly minimal. Not bad for a pale skinned redhead who's bound to suffer some skin difficulties in her formative social years. I'd say there were a couple of jr high days weeks years in somebody's past that didn't fare as well as this.

Her back is probably the next most poxed. The biggest reddest mark is a birthmark. Do not be alarmed. Yes I've seen it. I gave birth to her, I saw it when both she and it were 30 seconds old. It is only a birth mark. No it's not growing. Yes I keep an eye on it. No it's not moving. Yes it has its own zip code, but as far as I know, that doesn't make it fatal.

Aren't those little curls precious?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The End Has Come

The end of the world came today to Northern Texas. It was subtle and unassuming at first.
In the beginning, it was just this:

Harmless enough, right?
I didn't recognize it for the beast it was. I proceeded as usual, without caution, as any mother with two hungry children would do, whilst holding a granola bar. And then it looked like this:

And it was still good. It was even peaceful. There were shouts at joy at the anticipated consumption of sugar. There was praised offered to the mama who would bestow such hand-held delightfulness.

And then this happened:

And there was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. There were tears and mourning, and suspectible adjectives used in describing the once magnificent bestower. There was sticky goodness flung about and arms flailing in despair.

You say this isn't the end of the world?

Well, by the mouth of two [or three] witnesses, it was.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sick N Dafflicted

Yesterday was a hard day for me. It was all me having low tolerance and whatnot, but these two little monkey-bums were not all that innocent. Avee screamed and cried at the drop of a lego. Benja wouldn't stop body slamming her. Or me, for that matter. Everyone kept needing food and water and milk. I actually fell asleep on the floor and woke up to Benja doing sommersaults on my back and Avee sitting on my head yelling at him for kicking her while she was just minding her own business SITTING ON MY HEAD.

And then there was the talking. Oh the talking. Benja seems to think that if he's silent for more than 3 seconds his head will fall off and roll under the car and get run over and he will never get to sing the ABC's ad nauseum again. I don't think it's nice to say "stop asking why" or make someone stop talking just because the sound of his voice makes you want to climb on top of a barbed wire fence and do the splits---because it would just be more pleasant. So I don't say anything. I just suffer in silence. Yesterday he was so hard up for new material in his running around the house with his fists extended out in front of his body as a "superhero" he yelled, "I AM A JAPANEEEEEEEESE MAN!" That's how many superheroes he's been through already. Or he just doesn't know any more.

So I thought Avee had spent the night with some fire ants because she woke up with some bites on her scalp and a few on her neck. She got attacked a couple of weeks ago and was covered in bites. It devastated me to see her hands and feet like that, but she couldn't be bothered and wasn't. Yesterday, after nap she woke up with a few more bites. I went after those vicious ants like only the mother of a bitten baby would. I found nothing. I put her to bed last night and she woke up with even more bites.

I ransacked her "room". Nothing.

So I called the doctor. Because I'm a genius like that.

We have the pox upon our house. We have the curse of the chicken. We are quarantined. Whatsmore, there is no chocolate, pizza, OR ice cream to make this quarantine in the least bit worth my while. I can't go to the gym. I can't go to Blockbuster. I can't go to Wal-Mart. I can't go to church. I can't go to the peace. Ugh.

The thing that cracks me up is this. Chicken pox are not pleasant. They are generally not fatal. They are even less of a big deal the younger a person is. I didn't vaccinate my kids for the pox for that reason. I can understand the financial toll it takes on mothers who work and then have to miss two weeks of work because of it. If I were a working mother, I would vaccinate. And for that reason, I won't take my kids out in public---that wouldn't be fair. That still isn't the part that cracks me up, but I'm getting to it. The part that cracked me up is, after seeing the doctor today, we were escorted out, by the doctor himself. Out the BACK door. He said to me, "Have you been out the super-secret special back way?" I looked at him, perplexed for a minute. Perhaps he meant to be asking my children that, but was looking at me instead? Perhaps my small size and stature since I've lost 12 pounds mislead him to believe I was a child? I don't know. But honestly, I didn't really know how to answer him. Should I pretend to be Avee and babble back while shaking my head fiercely? Should I answer like I was Benja? "Soo-poh see-cwet WHAT? I wanna see-cwet, I wanna see-cwet---get me a gwape one!"

It's okay that I didn't know how to respond, apparently a response wasn't necessary. We were shuffled out the back door to the back alley and pointed around a corner to make our way to the front. I laughed REALLY loud in that alley. I would expect something like this if my children were homely---or if I hadn't lost 12 pounds, but just passing through the lobby with the pox? Where is the love? If I can't get it in a doctors office---there is no hope. I did however insist on two grape suckers before the door was slammed on our butts. The drama that ensued after last weeks visit (for the butt rash) when only ONE sucker made it to the car was not something I was willing to endure again. Especially not after being hidden from the general public and shooed out the back door. And now quarantined.

Does anyone know if Wal-Mart delivers. Ben and Jerry's?

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Way We Were I Was

I just read an email I sent to Jay when we were "just friends" exactly 6 years ago. I had only known him since June, but clearly we were very good friends by early September.

What I'm mostly in shock over was how articulate and intelligent I was in the email. I mean, gall-darn I talked good. It was almost like reading the words of another person. Another smart, lively, witty person who'd had my life experiences. I feel like now I have to focus really hard construct complete, and grammatically correct sentences. I'm sorry, did I leave out a linking verb? Well, you get the gist. If you don't, I'm not sure we can be friends in my present condition.

I was fresh out of college. I think I was high on the smell of my edjamacashun. I'm gonna find that girl, that brain, and I'm going to beat her/it into submission so she/it never leaves me again. I'm going to talk about ideas and relationships and be introspective and profound. No more debates about Shout vs Spray & Wash (does anyone have an opinion, btw?). No more conversations about just how much my kids eat. Or won't eat. No more entire days worth of thought revolving around poop. Or chronicling my experiences with it. Until Avee gets trained. No more deferring to my husband to explain why the sky is blue because his vocabulary is more better.

Just you watch people---I finna be a new woman. Like the old me. But new.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

This is for the big T and I don't mean Texas

A little over 13 years ago I had just turned 18. I left a boyfriend, the only home I had known, and a place where everyone knew my name and moved to a tiny little town in Idaho to attend college. There I only knew one other person, a childhood friend who was going to college with me. She and I had heard all the "horror" stories of living with friends so we made a contract with each other. In writing. We were serious and it was all but notarized. Generally, it was about what we'd each do to make it work and that we'd make other living arrangements quickly for the sake of our friendship if it ever came to that. More specifically, I think there were things like, "I promise not to get jealous and make up reasons to fight when I see you making friends more easily than me" and "I promise not to nag about the health of your future children when all I see you eat are hotdogs". Neither of us really did well at keeping those promises, but our friendship is still going strong today!

I flew in to Salt Lake City and then my cousin drove us up to Idaho. About 100 miles from our destination I had a mild panic attack. I suddenly realized that toilet paper would no longer magically appear in the bathroom and that when light bulbs died I would be responsible for replacing them. It really terrified me.

I moved in with 6 girls I didn't know. It was an incredible year for me n which I learned so much. Not so much scholastically (I worked my hind end off the rest of my college career to atone for my freshman sins and graduate with honors---it's amazing what one dumb health class can do to your GPA).

One of the girls that lived there was a girl named Traci. She was pretty, dark-haired, witty, kind of quiet, a little sassy, and very smart. I liked her immediately. But she was a sophomore in a house full of freshman, she wasn't as immediately impressed by me. She did ridiculous things like, go to bed before 3 am, attend all her classes, study for tests, and talk about things she was learning with others. Sometimes it seemed like she actually enjoyed this learning business.

She drove a teal Tercel which her eight year old brother call "Traci's Tracel". She was one of the funniest people I had ever met in my 18 years. I came from a clowny, full-of-antics, ha-ha, look-at-me, kind of funny family. She could drop a one-liner that would keep me laughing all week. Quietly. Maturely.

She went home to Colorado for Thanksgiving. I remember when she returned that I had really missed her. But I also knew the feeling wasn't mutual, so I played cool. But I was determined to make this girl my friend.

I don't remember when or how it happened, but it did. We soon became close to inseparable. We took a road trip to her home in Colorado. About 9 hours. We had this huge 1970's tape recorder and we listened to Meatloaf for probably 8.5 hours of that trip. I still remember the curves and bends of the road as the mountains went from tall ragged peaks to flatter, ragged, red, bluffs and we yelled at the top of our lungs, "DO YOU LOVE ME? WILL YOU LOVE ME FOREVER? DO YOU NEED ME, WILL YOU NEVER LEAVE ME, WILL YOU MAKE ME SO HAPPY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, WILL YOU TAKE ME AWAY, WILL YOU MAKE ME YOUR WIFE...." We were so proud when we could sing along word for word as fast as Mr. Loaf himself. We laughed hysterically at the lyrics of Wasted Youth and for years to come Traci would interject randomly, "So. I. Took my guitar. And I smashed it against the body of a varsity cheerleader" and we'd laugh like it was the first time we'd ever heard it. We discovered a softer side of Meatloaf with "For Crying Out Loud" and indulged ourselves in the youthful drama of feeling like you know what they're talking about, but really not having a clue. Interestingly, that song still moves me. But so does "Anything for Love" so don't mind me...

I had never been to Southern Colorado and the scenery was breathtaking. Traci was always proud to be from Colorado, proud of where she came from. I never thought to take pride in my heritage, but she did. She adored her grandfather. I didn't know either of mine, so I was always intrigued by her relationship with her grandfather. When I met him, it was immediately apparent that the feeling was mutual. He ADORED Traci. I had never seen such visible adoration. He thought she was brilliant, funny, kind, strong...perfect and he didn't waste a day not letting her know it. I think that was my first realization in what someone's love can make you do. Traci never wanted to disappoint him. I'm certain she never has.

When my freshman year ended we had to part ways. Traci was graduating and I had decided not to return for my sophomore year. I was heartbroken to say goodbye. I didn't have much experience in long-distance friendships. I was sure that once we left Idaho, that would be it. I cried all day. I was SO embarrassed, but I couldn't help it.

We had no problem staying in touch. Traci came to visit me 6 months later in October. During that visit she went on a 3 hour trip in the cab of a truck between my mother and father. And lived to tell. When my siblings learned of this, she immediately became famous. Siblings who lived far away and hadn't met her would say, "Wait, is she the one who went to Wichita in a truck with mom and dad..." and then whatever details of the story I had to relate were much more interesting. We tend to revere others who manage feats we never could.

Traci moved to DC to nanny and I moved to California to nanny and then attend college. I visited her there once. During that visit she played me songs from Les Miz and told me in animated detail the storyline. Jean Valjean's number 24601 and how his story moved her. I "discovered" Les Miz about a year later, and listened to it nonstop for nearly 2 years.

She went on a mission to the Ukraine and had to learn Russian. She called it penance for teasing our roommate for learning Russian "a real useful language to learn". She fell in love with the Ukraine, and I suspect her heart didn't return from there complete.

11 months later I went on a mission.

After Traci had been gone for about 7 or 8 months, her grandpa died suddenly. I still remember the day I got a letter from her, telling me about it. I sat in my little apartment in California and wept for her, thousands of miles away. I read her letter to me a dozen times and cried for the loss of such a great man. I read how she went out on her balcony and sang his favorite hymn, "How Great Thou Art" and cried that she had to do that alone in a foreign country.

When T returned from Ukraine, she went to college in Logan to finish her bachelors degrees. Magically, that's where I ended up too! I lived with Traci for a couple of weeks while I found a place to live permanently. Her roommate before me had been named Angela as well and she had been a nightmare. Her boyfriend David started referring to me as "Good Angela" so that conversations wouldn't get confusing. Not the loveliest of nicknames, but I was glad not to be "Bad Angela".

Traci excelled in her classes. She worked hard and she was passionate about her major. AND she always had a clean room.

After she graduated, she moved to Salt Lake and eventually got a studio apartment. I was amazed at how brave she was to live alone. I couldn't fathom it. 1 year later after I graduated, I moved to St. Louis and got a studio apartment. One weekend when I was visiting Traci, we were walking out of church to the car when a guy came up out of nowhere and asked her out on a date. I got a pit in my stomach for her. She smiled at him and said, "Thank you so much for asking, I'm really not interested." I almost fell over. Seriously. I had never seen anyone do that before. It was kind and there was no room for doubt. I have serious issues with leaving doubt in people's mind. Well, I did. Now I'm married and I believe I don't leave any doubt in my husband's mind. About anything. Once in high school, I left enough doubt for a crazy stalker to leave a dozen roses in a box, under my car, at 6 am, and then call and tell me to "go look at the surprise he left me under my car." Um, yeah, that's not terrifying! When I finally did make myself clear he yelled at me, enraged, "I quit swearing and smoking for you because my mom said girls like you don't like that stuff!" Thanks mom, you failed to fill him in on the "get to know a girl in other ways besides following her in your car" rule.

Traci married an incredible guy. A year later, I followed suit.

Somewhere down the road, Traci and I realized that I did everything about 6-12 months after her---on average about 9 months. She's 9 months older than me, education, missions, marriage, and children--the big things. But even little things like, discovering Les Miz, or loving Pho.

At her wedding I gave the "Top Ten Reasons Why David Is Lucky To Marry Traci", including details like, "David will never have to look for a pair of socks because they will always be perfectly matched, rolled, and arranged by color in the top drawer of their dresser" referring to Traci's impeccable organization skills. She spoke at my reception and gave us a little yellow window decal "Newlyweds on Board" to pass on the cheesieness she suffered from having it in her window the past year. I loved it.

She was 4 months pregnant at my wedding. Not only did she indulge me in stuffing her swelling belly into one of my bridesmaids outfit, she planned my ENTIRE reception all through the throes of morning sickness. I had the most amazing reception, more than I ever could have dreamed of. She did decorations, food, seating, guest "book", EVERYTHING. I'd say, "dots and daisies" and VOILA I had an amazing wedding cake. Three of my friends have practically replicated my reception after attending, it was that good. She told me when to stand in my line, when to cut the cake, and went to get my bride-butt in the car and leave. That was one of the greatest gifts I could ever be given. There was no stress, and because she kicked me out of my own reception on time, we weren't completely exhausted at the end of the night.

She had a beatiful little brown-eyed 6 week old boy when I went to visit her, 5 months pregnant. She had an adorable little blue-eyed blonde a year and a half later, and when I found out I was pregnant later that month, I was POSITIVE it was a boy. Avee broke the trend of me doing EVERYTHING like Traci. But, Avee breaks a lot of molds.

A couple of weeks ago Traci posted a WFMW about cheese slicers and I whined about not even owning one in her comments. A week later I got a cheese slicer, apple slicer, and a couple of other goodies delievered to my door by Mr. UPS.

The other day we spoke on the phone, her husband having been gone for 3 months, mine only coming home on weekends. We were almost a comedy routine. "So, I was thinking about trying....get OFF of there....where was I?" "You were saying....If you hit her ONE MORE TIME....oh, I forget."
Somehow, the conversation was still therapeutic.

T, I love September 10th almost as much as I love that little C&H house where we became friends. Thank you for being the best kind of friend. For teaching me, for making me laugh, for understanding me, for forgiving me, for supporting me, and for being the kind of person I feel honored to know.

"For giving me the answers when I'm asking you why-- my oh my for that I thank you....For pullin' me away when I'm startin' to fall for revvin' me up when I'm startin' to stall....For taking and for giving and for playing the game for praying for my future in the days that remain...Ah but most of all for cryin' out loud, for that I love you"

It's just not the same without teenage angst, is it?

But most of all, for introducing me to Veronica Mars. My life was incomplete before then.

Happy Birthday.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Future Plans

I'm moving to New York, getting a job at the deli, and gonna start buying lottery tickets.

The Snapshot Meme

Code Yellow Hot Mama tagged me for this meme, created by Jennifer in honor of her daughter’s 8th birthday.

Benja, 3 years and 3 months old

Mom: Come here Benja, let’s do a blog together
Benja: Naaaah, I want to play Seh-fuh-me Street instead
Mom: How about you do a blog with me then I’ll set up Sesame Street on the computer. Do you have to go to the bathroom?
Benja: That’s a great idea! I don’t have to go to the bathroom.
Mom: Then why are you dancing?
Benja: Wait a minute, I have to go to the bathroom.

Then muttering, as he walked to the bathroom he said, “Blogs are just stupid”.

Something I do well – “Ummmmmmm, drinking water. Uhhhhhhh, answering the phone.”

Benja is very good at following directions

Something I'd like to improve on(apparently “improve” and “do better” are foreign concepts to this 3 year old. What? You mean I’m not perfect?)

"What does that fpell? Does ‘improve’ fpell ‘Benja answers the phone like a big boy’? Um, Combing my hair. Playing my lego game on the computer.”

Not hurting his sister for any reason, even if she gets in his way.

My favorite food – “Sausage. That’s it.”

The boy has probably had sausage 2 times in his life. I make a chicken and rice casserole that he complimented probably 5 times during the course of the meal and asked for 3rds. Other than Sprite, I don’t know if there are any other foods he claims as favorite. Or that I’m willing to admit I feed him regularly (yogos, gummy bears, FF chicken nuggets, cookies…)

Three words that best describe me – “Let me sink. Ummm, I’m nuffing. What do you want me to say? I’m a good boy?”

Sweet (I know children in general are sweet, but this kid is sweet in general)


My happiest moment
– “Going on the Thomas train.”

This was 7 months ago. I think this is probably his most accurate answer. Also, there was joy like I had never witnessed before the other night on the phone with Dad. Dad told him about dinner when he’d gone to a Hibachi grill. Benja asked if they did “magic fire” and threw shrimp at him to catch with his mouth. Benja was yelling at the top of his lungs, “Oh YEAH oh YEAH!! That’s AWESOME!!!!! I LOVE THAT PART!!!!!!!!!”

The most important thing in my life now – “Popsickos”

At which point, the mama’s heart broke audibly because her little baby doesn’t say “pot-kah” or “pop-si-bows” anymore.Right now I think the most important thing to Benja is having friends to play with. He’s learning that some kids don’t “like” him and he says it with some sadness but more as a matter of fact like, “His shirt is red.” The most recent not liking of him, involved a neighbor Korean boy who doesn’t speak any English. We’ll have to work on what constitutes “like” and what constitutes “understand English”.

Moms: Were you surprised by any of the answers?
Not too much. I was a little surprised at his lack of understanding the questions, being able to answer them. Not that I think my kid is dumb, obviously---but he’s just not at a self-evaluating place yet. Plus he thinks blogs are stupid.
I'm going to tag Terra Incognita for Birdie and Bee to do and Em, if you want to do it---I think I and Q could rock the mommy meme world....

Friday, September 08, 2006

Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast Meal: That would be, peanut butter and jelly and ice water, 3 ice cubes, for the boy and strawberry newtons and Nilla Wafers for the little one. Water, hold the ice, heavy on the North Texas pond scum flavoring.

Breakfast Conversation:
Benja: Mmmmmmm mmm M! M! Mmm mm mmmm mmmmm MMMMMM! Do you know what I just said?
Me: No
Avee: Mmmm MMMMMMMM! Haha hahahahaha!! NOOOOOOO!
B: I said, "The giant is 19 and 13 feet tall"
M: Ohhhhhh. Well, when you don't say the words there's really no way for me to understand what you are saying.
B: Just listen louder. MMMMMMMMMM! Mm, mmm, mmm....M!M!M!M!M! Mmmmmm. See? There I said, "Why hasn't your lord given us minaree".
M: Minaree? What on earth is minaree? Where are you even getting this stuff!?
B: I don't know
A: NOooooooo! hahahahahaha! Tickle, tickle, tickle.... Nooooooooooooo!
M: Eat your....cookies and sandwich, I want to go to the gym so I can be healthy. Red dye #37 for your water before we go?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Two Things

DYM posted today about....oh, childcare at the gym, sparked the post, but the contents were much more involved and thought provoking. It got me thinking about childcare, and basically ANY person who watches my child. Interestingly, my childcare experience today, also involved the gym daycare.

I joined a gym in Missouri when I was there for a couple of months last winter. Benja hated the daycare. After about 2 visits he cried if we even just drove past the YMCA. This boy does not cry. He never has had a second of stranger anxiety in his life. Not even as an infant when it's a normal phase for every kid. At 5 months old in church, while sitting on the end of a pew, he lunged for every passerby just to get a change of scenery. It's a double edge-sword, we have to watch him like a hawk. He stands outside and yells to people walking by, "That's a nice shirt you have on!" "What's your name? I'm Benja, nice to meetcha!" It's in his blood to love people until they give him a really good reason not to.

The caregivers at this Y were unresponsive, blocked off 2/3rds of a relatively small play area to avoid having to clean up, and didn't move from their chairs the entire time I was working out. That just wasn't pleasant for my easy-going preshy.

So, while perplexed by his resistance, I listened to him and didn't make him go. He's the reason I have a weight problem.

I didn't want to make the same mistake here, join a gym, and later find out that the childcare facility stank. I took my kids in 3 different times to give it a test run. They loved it. The childcare provider who is in there 90% of the time I go is a 25 year old elementary ed teacher, who moved here to open up this new gym with her husband. Yeah, they aren't real ambitious at 25, but I can look past that. She talks to me. She greets my children by name. She asks them about themselves. She remembers details of prior conversations. She doesn't fake-fawn over my kids (people who do that don't realize that moms have spidey-sense about that kind of stuff), when I walk past, she's always either playing, instructing, cleaning, or helping kids with a project. When I pick them up, she says things like, "Benja sure likes Fidoman doesn't he?" Not only can she imitate his "accent" but she knows what he's been talking about. That's Spiderman, by the way. She'll say things like, "Avee is so coordinated..." and tell me a story about something she did. I THRIVE on this stuff. When I run to the grocery store and leave the kids with J, I ask him 500 things about what they did or said while I was gone. I love so much about who they are and what they do, I don't want to miss a thing. J says, "Ang, they were asleep when you left, and they're asleep still, not much to tell." I just can't help myself. Most importantly with this childcare provider, the vibe is good. We like her.

Tonight I went to the gym in the evening. I have never gone in the evening with my kids before. There was a different worker there. She barely acknowledged me or my kids, despite the fact that there were only 2 other kids in the entire room. I told her my children's name when we got there and she said, "Oh, okay. I can read their tags if I need to know it". If I need to know it? What the? One of the other kids came up and asked if they could make animal faces and she said really exuberantly in a fake-fawning voice, "Certainly! In just a minute." I was bent over the sign in sheet when I realized the girl had said "animal faces" and that Benja had been dying to make another monkey-face since he'd made one a few days before and Avee pulled off it's little felt ear and stuck it in her diaper just to watch him lose control. I popped up and said, "Oh, you're going to do animal faces?" The girl shook her head and mouthed, as though it were a ridiculous suggestion, "No, we aren't doing animal faces." Funny, I could have sworn you just told a CHILD you WOULD. That is like, cardinal sin #1 in parenting, is it not? You don't say things you don't mean, you don't make promises you have no intentions of keeping. She said it as though I would understand she had no intention of doing it, and that would be okay. So I said, "Well, don't let Benja catch wind of it or he'll drive you crazy asking." Not entirely true, but I really wanted to avoid my son being lied to if I could help it.

I worked out half as long as I usually do, skipped the weights because there was too much testosterone bouncing off the benches and mirrors and I couldn't breathe. When I showed up, Benja ran to me and said, "Why did you work out so long?" I usually have to sit on the floor and let them finish whatever very important thing they are doing before I can successfully get them to leave the gym. Avee was sitting on a rocking zebra with her back to the door and as soon as the girl-worker saw me, she yanked Avee off and said, "Go to your mom!" Avee was ticked and let her have it. I was secretly very proud. I did mumble something akin to "let's not hit...(hard)" when Avee decided her yelling "Nooooooooooo!" should be accentuated with a good whack with her hand.

All of this prelude to tell you this: Ben's eyes were red and his nose was running. He had been crying. Quite a bit. Mom's know the cries, and what the different cries look like when they are done. He had been crying for more than 2 minutes. And if it was only 2 minutes, then he stopped only seconds before I walked in the door. For the record, 2 days ago he got a big heavy door at the church opened on him and it sliced right through the middle of his toenail and tore up the side of his toe, gushing blood. He cried for about45 seconds to a minute and then moved right into how it wasn't very nice to cut open people's toes for no reason like that.

While Avee was attempting to get back on her Zebra throne while intermittently trying to throw punches, I asked Benja what happened. He said "They were fighting and they hurt me". So I said to the worker, (who stayed on the other side of the room with her back to me the whole time, only turning when I asked her this question) "What made him cry?" She said, "Oh, he only cried a little bit." She didn't even answer my question. I shouldn't have even had to ask. With only 4 children in the room the entire time, I should have been told exactly what happened, immediately upon entering that room. You don't hand back a child in poorer form than you got him, and not say a word.

As we were leaving Benja yelled "See ya later alligator!" She ignored him. He said it twice. She never responded. I sent laser beams through my eyes and burned a warty witch's nose on the back of her neck. Mean girl. Go get a job at Gap.

Benja has a red mark the size of a quarter just to the right of his right eye. There must have been some kind of scuffle between the two bigger kids that he got caught in because he doesn't even know what happened. He knows he got hurt and he knows he cried.

Tomorrow I'm going to thank Katie for being so good at taking care of my children. And I'm also going to tell her to "help" her evening employee with some basics. But really, if you don't like children, why are you working at a daycare?

I don't like children. I don't work at a daycare!

By the way, you may think because I haven't mentioned weight loss because there hasn't been any. You'd be wrong. There has been some. I'm waiting for the moment when I can say, "everytime I lose weight, it always comes from my chest first!" because laaaaaawzee, me and some underwire I know could use a break like that. But alas, 11 pounds and I still can't tell which part of me is getting the break. Probably my knees.

Dirty Diapers For Family Planning

Leave it to a smelly topic like poop to break my silence.

My absence has come from being busy, not even being able to think of words like "menopause" and calling it "pre-menstrual" and "post-partum", feeling annoyed by people thinking my personal blog has to be interesting, and fighting the tendency for blogging not to be 100% enjoyable. I started it for fun, I'm going to keep it fun. Dangit!

So, 4 short days ago J and I had the talk of "will there be a #3?" and "If there will be, when?"

Normally, I consider family planning a relatively private topic, but uh, you'll see how it's a vital part of this story.

Since I don't want to be changing diapers while waiting for my dentures to dry before I head off to Wal-mart to buy diapers and baby food---for both of us, I would like to get the whole show on the road. Not the immediate road, but the near future one.

Some of the reasoning for waiting much longer between Avee and #3 than we did between Benja and Avee is....oh I'm not gonna lie, Avee's pretty much the whole reason. As much as I cherish that little pumpkin head and want to eat her up for all her cuteness, she has really done a number on my ability to see myself as a rational, reasonable adult-like person who doesn't throw cantaloupe slices at walls and regularly growl my frustration like some kind of curmudgeon mountain man who hasn't had to speak in 45 years. Actually, it's more about---she's spirited and opinionated and along with the typical challenges that come with raising a child like that I just want to be sure I can give all I need to give to raising such a child. That and two babies who couldn't talk and pooped their pants all the time, just about did me in.

I set some goals to be achieved before we bring a 3rd bundle of perfection into the world.

We set a reasonable space of time, but not so much that Avee would be learning to drive while #3 suckles and I scream "shift already, SHIFT!"

J said things like, "Are you sure Avee will be potty-trained by then because I am certain I don't want to do the 2 in diapers thing again." And other such insightful questions/opinions.

I'm sure.

What I'm not so sure about anymore is if she, or her brother will STAY trained.

Benja. Sweet Benja who has had nary an accident since the blissful day he and Spiderman boxers became trusted friends. I was prepared for accidents. I know they happen. Since the beautiful spring day, he had one oops when he was sick. I don't really count that.

So, 2 days after mine and J's conversation---Benja poops his pants. He didn't even bother with the petty crimes. I went to a church activity and afterwards was in the parking lot having a very necessary conversation with another woman, that no 31 year old woman should have to have. Something along the lines of, "Please don't hate me because I'm beautiful". It had to be done.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Benja is standing with his fists clenched up by his face, and I'd wager his little cheeks were clenched too, I just can't be sure, and squealing with genuine panic "Poop is going into my pants and I just can't stop it!" These are the kind of moments I would like to watch on the video footage of my life, from heaven. I had a very "I am my mother" moment. It went like this:
Me: So, like I was saying Mary Beth---I really can't help how beautiful I am and it's just not fair to not have...
Benja: Poop is going into my pants and I just can't stop it
Me: (Looking down calmly, as though I just noticed there was a 3 year old running around my legs chasing his 1 year old sister and knocking her down on the hard concrete every 30 seconds) Well, just let it, don't panic, we can take care of it when you're done....friends just based on how I can make an entire room swoon by my presence.

Ben took care of his bidness, and I took care of mine.

He ended up wearing a plastic bag home. You think things like that will be a deterrent for repeating undesirable behaviors. They aren't. The next day he told EVERYONE about his "tool puhlastic pants". I did the smile-shrug-aren't-kids-sweet-when-they-talk-nonsense-like-that and shoved tic tacs in his mouth to stop the talking.

His accident was understandable. Unpleasant, but understandable.

He did it again this morning. 4 feet from the bathroom. Initially he was pretty distraught about it. I worked him through the initial unpleasantness of feeling your own crap in your pants and then added some unpleasantness of my own with a stern talking.

The kid had the nerve to give me instructions on how to change him. Excuse me? When you are the one with your own crap stuck to your body and someone else is removing it, I think you lose ALL credibility in the "how to" department. He offered tips like, "don't get any poop on the tarpet, it will really fmell when I watch my Blue's Clues video from the library" and "don't let Avee touch my poop---she already fmells bad". Avee did in fact fmell bad. And so this lovely morning, I changed two poopy "diapers" back to back. There is something considerably more disgusting about "changing" and cleaning a bum you haven't had to change and clean for 5 months or so.

That is where I had my flash of inspiration on exactly when #3 should come.

Avee should be through her second year of a Ph.D program and Benja should be finishing residency in pediatrics and have had plenty of kids poop or pee on him by then.

At that point, if either of my children have accidents (because they are bound to happen, right?) it will NOT be my problem. It will be a big problem, and probably several people's problem, but NOT mine.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Testing, testing, one...two...pee

I canNOT stop laughing about this.

For all you paranoid people out there----it's all for good reason.