Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Happy Birthday Stinky Pants

I can say that in all sincerity because I haven't changed her diaper yet, and she's been yelling at me all morning. But OH it's a big girl yell! When I rolled over in the oh-so-comfortable hotel bed this morning, I saw her long body lying in the crib next to me and I had to blink over and over. She's two, and she looks it! I don't know when that happened.

North Carolina is BEAUTIFUL. I really really like it here and just might not come back. Except I miss my bed desperately. When we were planning this trip over a month ago, I checked about 8-10 different hotels and every single one of them was booked completely. There's some furniture showcase or something and apparently, furniture people REALLY plan in advance. So, this hotel has "spa" tagged on the end of the name, and I think that title comes from having some rocks arranged artistically in random places, you know, like a Japanese garden. Oh there's a couple of cascading fountain wall-art type things. Jay just keeps saying, "Oh, they try". We're not really hotel snobs---well, I'm not, but when we walked into the room with two full beds, that was all I needed to know about this place. Full beds? Who does that? And then later when the children were completely inaccessible to me in the bathtub, that was the second indication.

I really don't want to blog about our hotel.

I'd like to blog about something 10 times more interesting.

2 years ago today was Easter Sunday. I had gone into labor the night before. I spent most of Easter morning puttering around our neighborhood trying to encourage the contractions along. I had had great dreams of Easter morning with my husband, 22 month old, and my mom who had come to stay with us to help with the baby. My husband was busy with Ben because I was in no mood to care for him. And my mom was in the hospital recovering from a major surgery having part of her colon removed. Yeah, that was an interesting twist to our "how to smoothly transistion from one child to two" plan.

Later that day I swore at my husband, cursed the Utah hospital system, proposed to my anesthesiologist, and just before 9 pm gave birth to a tiny little redhead.

And now she is sitting on my lap, forcing cries, crocodile tears, and smacking my wrist for not letting HER do the typing. How did we get here?

We're going to celebrate by driving around WS looking for a park and a Walmart, in no particular order. Maybe later, if she's lucky, we'll have sushi again.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

We're Off

We're flying to North Carolina tomorrow. Anybody know of any thrilling things to do in Winston-Salem? Besides smoke cigarettes.

We're also going to Charleston, South Carolina for Easter Weekend. I'm hoping we'll find an Easter egg hunt to crash. Think they'll notice we're not locals? We're going to DC this upcoming weekend and I don't really need any ideas on what to do because I already don't know how we're going to squeeze in childcare, diaper changing, personal hygiene, and sleeping with all the talking and eating Code Yellow and I have to do in two short days.

Avery turns 2 on Tuesday. Suddenly she just looks so big to me.

Today in nursery they sang Happy Birthday to her, I happened to be in there to take her home a little early. I'm teaching her the fine art of playing hookie---early. The entire time they sang to her she stared at me and didn't move her eyes. She was either VERY aware that all attention was on her and she froze in a moment of "This is all I have ever wanted in life, and now I have it and don't know what to do!" or she couldn't figure out what was going on. "What is this birthday of which they speak? And how come this is the first time I'm hearing this lovely song with my name in it?" It looked like the latter. Either way, it was a pretty funny reaction.

Jay has arranged for a coworker to babysit for us so we can have a night on the town. I'm wondering what kind of sick joke this is and what this imposter has done with my husband. Or maybe it just takes going to one of the Carolinas for him to woo me. I'm pretty thrilled either way. I can talk openly about this because I didn't invite Jay to read my blog. He was the undesireable commenter.

I haven't packed my deoderant, toothpaste, shirts, makeup...oh I'll stop there. I haven't packed anything.

Hope y'all have a wonderful week. I might be posting tomorrow at noon. Who knows.

Friday, March 23, 2007

THANK YOU---in all caps

I have to say, there is something pretty darn liberating about knowing exactly who is reading my blog. I didn't necessarily feel restrained before, but this is cool! Now if only there was a way to know what you are wearing while you read....

I just really want to say thank you to all of you for lettin' me go private like this and sending me encouraging emails. And if you didn't send an encouraging email, you know who you are...
Just kidding. It's difficult for me to relate how hard this "invasion" is on me. It sometimes surprises even myself.

When Jay and I lived in Provo our cars got broken into 3 different times. His twice (and it's the biggest piece of crap in any parking lot in any town---go figure) and mine once. Sadly, the one time mine was broken into, that very night my friend had left a brand new $400 digital camera, her purse and checkbook in the car. It all got stolen. The checkbook thieves ordered pizza 7 times in the next 18 hours. Who can eat that much pizza? That's just insane. Anyway, I of course felt HORRIBLE that her stuff was gone from my car. I didn't know she had left it. And she figured, "It's Provo, what's the worst that could happen." Yeah well, she forgot which side of the tracks we lived on.

So, I was really really sick about it and just sort of heartbroken about the violation of someone having rifled through my personal possessions. This feeling stuck with me long after everything had been resolved, and I remember it surprising me that it was so lingering and so strong.

Interestingly enough, they rifled through all of my CDs and didn't care for my taste. Not a one was stolen. They did break my Michael McLean CD. Right in half. Probably just on principle alone. I actually understand that.

My whole point is this, I sort of have a similar surprising reaction to this "event". I was really sad and bothered that someone I didn't want to find me had found me.

I caught Ms. No Cool online shortly after I got my undesireable comment and my heart was just a lump in my throat, waiting to spill out all over my keyboard. I kept it together. You know, for the monitor's sake. But it was my online friend who offered typed sympathy and then distracted me with idle chatter and flattering words. I felt much better afterwards. She is one smooth talkin' Mexi.

Then I sent two pleas for email addresses to two people I have never met in my life. But they think I'm funny, and say nice things to me, so we're like, tight and stuff. And they responded kindly. Even though one of them yelled at me for making her have to type the word "rhythm" at 10:40 at night. I totally think she was right to get after me for that. And it made me feel better that these two "strangers" didn't flip me the bird, and responded kindly, and that was comforting.

And yesterday, before my late-night drama, I came home to a gift bag full of the most luscious looking grapefruits you have ever seen. And if Ben were here to read this he would add loudly, "And some chocolate chip cookies too that I only got two of, but Avery got three because she sneaked!" There were cookies too. But I was smitten by the grapefruits. That was a nice sweet surprise, that I kept thinking about through the night, and realized---the fruits of my blogging are SO worth it. Thanks Rebecca. Even though it was "no Ben and Jerry's" like you say, every true friend knows the key to my heart is well placed food. :) You are a good friend to me.

And Code Yellow Mom indulged me in a venting email where I may or may not have said some totally inflammatory things. And she let me, and still loves me. And offered to let me blog at her house since I'M GOING TO BE THERE IN A WEEK!!!!!!!

And tonight I called my friend Millie because honestly, she has the friendliest voice IN THE WORLD. And I can divulge that on my blog because unless Leslie, you really are a 53 year old man sitting at the computer in your boxers, in the basement of your mother's house---that secret is safe here. And I told her something completely juvenile and inappropriate that I did and she laughed and laughed and laughed, and I can't even tell you how refreshing that was. She could have just as easily said, "Your attempts at humor are offensive, I need to go pray for you" and hung up on me. Honestly---just as easily. But she laughed. She has a great laugh too. Makes you feel funnier than you really are.

As you can see, I am feeling considerably better about my membership in the blogging world, than I did last night. So thanks.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Grapefruit Abuse

So, I remember as a child, grapefruits being bitter and disgusting and a definite adult food.

When I was in my early 20's someone told me that cold sores in your mouth could be taken care of by drinking unsweetened grapefruit juice. It worked like a charm, but the cure was not pleasant at all for me.

About 6 or 7 years later J was in charge of bringing drinks to one of his class activities and he returned with his large gallon of grapefruit juice, untouched. He couldn't believe no one wanted any. I hadn't seen what drink he had selected beforehand, so I laughed and laughed that he actually thought he was treating people by bringing grapefruit juice. He still stands by his belief that grapefruit juice was the best choice. I still laugh about it.

When I'm pregnant I tend to whale on grapefruits. I'd whale on oranges, but I can't handle a bad orange and it's not worth the risk. So, having grapefruits on hand is a treat indeed. And I think for once it's something I can sit down and eat without little mouths suddenly appearing out of nowhere, opened wide like I'm some kind of full service mother bird or something.

I was wrong. My kids act like grapefruits are the be all end all of the fruit kingdom. I suspect it's because they get it spoon fed to them like the royalty that they are. But I keep watching their faces every time I give them some, waiting for some sign that they are faking and they really don't like them. They love grapefruit. And it annoys my immensely. I mean, there's only like 13-14 little sections of delectable juiciness for me and my little fetus. And I have to share. I try to say no. But the wailing that ensues is more than I can handle. Don't get me wrong, I can ignore a fit with the best of them. But the image of my 23 pound 2 year old writhing on the floor red faced, tears streaming, all for the want of a bit of grapefruit---juxtaposed to her hulking mother with beady, darting eyes, gorging herself, refusing her offspring food---is more than I can handle. So I give in.

Well, today I sat down and the whole scene started before I had even sliced the darn fruit. Avee leaped from her booster seat, scrambled over her half finished yogurt and lunged for my grapefruit spoon. (Those things are SO COOL). Ben's friend his here and he was intrigued by Avee's response, and having never tasted a grapefruit, asked for a bite. I almost didn't do it. But, the images started flooding my mind and I decided I could share one bite. I stared at his face, anticipating the wrinkling up nose to express distaste for the putrid fruit. Instead his eyebrows shoot up and he exclaims, "Mmm, that's kinda yummy!"

I didn't care. I hunkered down and gorged anyway. It's my blessed grapefruit.

Well, you should also know that one of my biggest peeves is when children don't ask directly for something and just hint around. Every kid does it---but it bugs me. And pretty much as a rule, I insist on direct questions before I will respond. My kids haven't hit that stage yet, but I'm sure they will.

So, this little guy wants more, I've decided I'm not sharing, and he has a habit of only speaking in hint-language. So he continues, "Mmmm, that grapefruit sure is delicious." And I ignore. I decide, while I'm hogging all those little wedges of fruity goodness, I'll see how many times he'll hint at me like this.


THIRTEEN TIMES he said it. There were 13 wedges in each of my grapefruit halves. That means, since I shared and had at least two wedges down before he started, I heard this statement more than every other bite. He got desperate toward the end and said, "Ben, don't you want another bite?" Ben didn't, but he's clueless to that advanced art of peer manipulation and did just what his friend wanted him to and asked for a bite. I had no problem denying my yogurt faced boy something he didn't really want.

You might think I'm mean. I kind of am. You may wonder why I didn't just get the kid his own grapefruit---it was the last one. And did you know those things are $1.28 each if you don't buy them in a bag and risk getting some bad ones? And you may not ever want me watching your children, and well---you're probably right again. Except Amy and Rebecca, I'll give your kids all the grapefruits they want. For a small fee.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Day 2

Oh Children's Motrin how deceiving thou art. I thought my little guy was getting better. I thought our super incredible genes and unique power to leverage leukocytes at will was the cause of Benja's improvement. I was mistaken.

Last night I was awakened by Benja trying to manuever MY body to serve his needs for comfort and a blanket. I guess nobody has really explained to that boy some rudamentary laws of physics. I'm sure there's at least one out there pertaining to muy pregnant mama's and weak sickly 3 year old boys. After kindly barking for him to leave me alone, he appeased himself by practicing counting to 29. He felt a little warm, but I figured if he didn't complain, we should try to ride it out drug free.

Two hours later I woke up to him thrashing and wimpering. And much hotter. He tried to make it to the bathroom to go potty and only got to the door of the bedroom, where wailing and sobbing to beat all wailing and sobbing commenced. I exercised some serious self-restraint not laughing at him standing bowl-legged over a puddle of pee with his head thrown back in a primitive howl. And I really wanted to say, "Hey little guy, not even a year ago you thought this exact thing was your greatest contribution to our household!"

Instead I spent 20 minutes teaching him how to breath deeply. And then the art of "through the nose and out the mouth". He spent most of those twenty minutes expelling stuttered breaths and wailing, "I....caaaan't....stop....cryyyyyyyying." He really wanted to, and just couldn't get the control. You may think I'm heartless, but I gotta say in my defense, at this point, I'm glad I can laugh.

One clean pair of underwear and happy ibuprofen pill later, I lay listening to his shallow, slightly labored breaths get deeper and longer and more peaceful. And I began to think about how much he's changed my life and who I am. And how, deep breaths or not, I wouldn't know how to breath anymore if he wasn't in it. Even keeping me awake during my hours of precious of sleeptime. Even peeing on my bedroom floor at 3 am. Even rarely distinguishing between which of our bodies is his to control and flop around on, pinch, pull, prod, maul---at any hour. I'll take it. Gladly.

Daylight eases my sentimentality a little and fighting with Avee over peeled vs unpeeled apples and Benja over pants vs no pants definitely brings on a different mood.

I'm watching a little boy and Benja is laying on the couch facing the wall while his friend plays Nintendo 64, Super Mario. Some of you may know Ben's obsessed with this game and even after wimpering a few instructions at his friend to salvage the high standard of conduct Benja works hard to maintain for Mario, it was too much and he turned to face the wall. It probably didn't help that Avee, playing in the corner with a piggy bank kept yelling, "Dop! Dop kyyying baby!" everytime he said something. We're so proud of her compassion toward others.

I'd like to go hold and snuggle the little burrito, but apparently, my attempts to cuddle him "just make his skin feel wohse." Pobricito.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Serious Sick Type

Apparently Benja is a very serious boy when he's sick.

I woke up this morning, this very morning and thought, "Wow, it's been over a month since my kids have been sick, that's gotta be a record." Unbeknownst to me in that moment, something was attacking little Benja's immune system. I'm not sure what it is yet, it seems flu-like, but what do I know? I put bandaids on acute respiratory distress. He is engaging in Sick Angela-like behavior, so I know it's real. Whining, moaning, thrashing a little for effect. I do feel for the little guy.

I had a quick dr's appointment this morning, just to get a shot in my right flank. I'm RH negative and so I always have to get that rhogam shot at 28 weeks. I'm 30 weeks, but both Benja and Avee have ended up being A- also, so this time around, I forgot and my doctor did too. Good thing he makes the big bucks and is required to remember.

I called my friend last minute and asked if I could dump my kids on her. She said yes. Benja had started whining a few minutes before we loaded into the car so I wasn't sure if he was up for playing. I gave him the choice and he chose to come with me rather than stay at a very fun house full of cool toys. That was my first clue. Second clue was when I did a curb check with the car and he started wailing like I had used his body to jump the curb and not the poor car's.

In a span of about 20 minutes I felt his temperature jump. And then that strange mom-feeling sets in where you just feel so bad that your baby is sick, but it's not your fault (or so you tell yourself) and really not much you can do. To assuage my guilt for his suffering, I offered to stop and get him a Sprite.

In his halted, wimpery voice: But mom, you can't have sprite when you are sick!
"Well, sometimes people drink it when they are sick to feel better."
To which he very seriously replied, "But not when I'M sick, it's FOH of sugoh!"

Minus the sweet little 3 year old "accent", that is doctrine straight from Grandma's mouth. And apparently mine.

Later, after we got Avee from her friend's house we were driving down the road and I said, "I love you Avee!" and she immediately yelled, "No I NOT!" She just learned this game and given that it's very amusing for me as well, I joined in, "Yes I do!"
"No y'NOT!"
"Yes I do!"
"No y'not do!"
Since she was shaking things up, I thought I would too.
"No I don't!"
"Yesth y'do!"

At which point Benja interrupted urgently with all the force of a wimper he could muster (he really is actually in bad shape) and scolded me, "Mom, you shouldn't say you don't love her, even if you are just joking, those aren't the kind of jokes we have in our family."

He is exactly right. But what's up with an impending illness making him all serious and preachy? Lighten UP dude!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Little Things

It's easy for me to get caught up in the monotony of the little things and forget to appreciate them for what they are. Everyday while the kids are eating breakfast I clean up the kitchen. I know a lot of people, and most of my friends are the kind, who get up from dinner and immediately start cleaning. I'm the exact opposite of that. In case you wondered. Knowing my kitchen is clean doesn't make me sleep better at night. I have no problem laying on the couch and watching Law and Order with dirty dishes just 10 feet away. I'd like to be that kind of person who cares, but you know---when you're lazy like me, you gotta learn to choose your battles.

However, I really do kind of enjoy cleaning the kitchen in the morning. The kids are at the table yapping, Avee's inhaling an inordinate amount of food and Benja is alternating bites of food with jumping off of his chair to imitate a Mario maneuver. And I am near enough to them to be a part of the breakfast experience, but I don't have to sit and just watch the inhaling and the Mario-ing.

But, I have found I've started to let that kind of thing dominate how I run the house. I rarely sit and just play or just talk with the kids. And they are incessantly trying to get me to. So everyday I sort of take a mental inventory of what kind of approach I am taking, and try to make an effort of "dancing" with the kids. You know, like my blog title implies I'm prone to.

And I'm really good at this. It's made me a phenomenal mother and my children are undoubtedly gifted as a result and I find nothing but joy in all I do around this house, and the icing on the cake is that my house just magically keeps itself clean. So, I suggest everyone follow my lead.

Actually, what I've discovered is, the funniest moments, or the ones I find myself so glad I get to be a part of, are when I'm not really involved and I'm sort of eavesdropping.

Benja has become obsessed with letters and numbers. Letters because, well that happened naturally, but numbers because J has really been spending time with him on them. He's in no way ready for them to find a secure place in his brain, but that doesn't stop him from talking about them incessantly, and acting like the know-it-all he isn't about them. And he loves the individual time with his dad. Pretty regularly he and I have arguments like this, "Benja I have asked you THREE times to put your pants on, and it annoys me to no end that I have to tell you something that simple THREE TIMES and you still don't do it, I should only have to ask you ONCE!"

To which he just as rudely replies, "You didn't tell me THREE TIMES, you told me SEVEN TIMES!!!" This is a regular occurrence. Only, what I say to him, I say it nicely---I don't know where he gets his rude tone.

And everywhere we go, at the checkout line, "What does c-u-s-t-o-m-e-r-s-e-r-v-is-that-an-"I"-or-an-"l"-c-e spell, huh mom, what does it spell?" or driving down the road, from the back seat, "What does m-o-r-t-g-a-hey stop you didn't let me finishing reading, stop the car!"

So, recently he's had a regular playdate over 2-3 times a week. This boy is 4 years old. He's 6 months older than Benja. He says the most hysterical things like, "Whoa, look at all those chips, you got the mother load!" and "Why does this door always have to be so difficult with me" after one minor struggle with it. He hasn't the least bit of interest in letters or numbers. But Benja is like me, and with our friends, we talk about what WE are interested in. And that is all. So he's constantly talking numbers and letters and this little guy says, "I don't know I told you I'm not in school yet!" Finally he's given up and has just conceded that Benja knows everything, which Benja also tells him regularly.

So today while they are painting, Benja says matter-of-factly "Blue and purple make yellow, any time you mix them together, they always make yellow." His friend tired of "not knowing as much" says, "Yes. I know. I actually already knew that." And I laugh and laugh and feel like my day has already been made because I got to hear that ridiculous little conversation.

Benja is sometimes really annoying with that know-it-all stuff, and even actually corrected the story time lady earlier this week. The book character jumped on two different couches and she said, "should he be jumping on the couch?" and Benja says, "No, couchES" and I slunk down in my chair. Half moon or not, Know-it-alls are annoying. Is this a stage I should ride out? Is there something I could be saying or doing to curb it? I mean besides, "Shut yer yapper kid, no one likes a know-it-all!" Is my kid going to be the obnoxious co-ed in the social psych class who sits in the front row and quotes entire paragraphs from the textbook and corrects the tenured professor? Because even I, the nice church girl, wanted to beat the hell out of that kid. So, tell me, because I'll do whatever it takes starting now, to dumb him down.

Another "little thing" that I've been thinking about all day, happened with Avee last night. After I put her to bed she came sauntering out like a drunk to the bar for last call. I told her to get back to bed. She told me no. I threatened her. She flipped me the bird. Oh just kidding, mom, I don't teach my kids that stuff. Yet.

As I was making her walk back to her bed, I towered and waddled behind her like Goliath, intimidating my little Israelite. She went the whole way whining and wailing about this injustice. As we turned into her bedroom closet bedroom I stubbed my 2nd to last toe on the door frame. I leaned back my head and howled a little, because everyone knows that howling alleviates stubbing pain. Avee stopped mid-whine and said, "Ye okay mom?" I looked down in surprise that she a) pulled herself together that fast and b) had a perfectly appropriate response to my spontaneous howling. I nodded but was still wincing and she came back and hugged my kneecaps and said, "S'okay mom."

It's the little things, really.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

On Being Gifted

Tonight I read an article written about determining whether or not your preschooler is gifted.
In general, I can't be bothered by the hooplah. Probably because my preschoolers will be raised by a person who uses words like "hooplah" and doesn't even know how to spell them. Or necessarily what they mean...

Oviously when a child is in school and it becomes apparent he or she is gifted, there are things a parent will need to do to make the child's learning experiences positive. But as it stands I have a preschooler who spends much of his day choosing not to wear pants after the tedious task of taking them off to go to the bathroom. So I really don't think it matters much.

But curiousity did get the best of me and I read through the list of things to look for in a gifted child. "Yes, yes, no, no, I wish, never, absolutely, sort-of, oh since the day he was born", etc. I bet every parent could read the same list and answer just like me. But every kid can't be gifted. There are too many dumb adults in this world that prove that fact. Unless of course there is an age where you go from being a gifted child to being well on your way to dumb adult. Actually, I think that may have happened to me...

Even though I did click on the link out of curiousity, in my defense, I stopped reading after the heading, "Testing for Giftedness". Is giftedness a word? Do you have to be gifted to know that? Is it gifted people who know that others make up words in the name of being gifted, but aren't really gifted? Are there gifted adults? Am I one of them? What would be on the adult gifted checklist? I think one of them should be being able to properly use the word "criterion". It's not as easy as it may look.

I'll tell you gifted.

Tonight Benjamin asked me to lay with him at bedtime, as he asks every night. I rarely do it anymore. Tonight when I declined his invitation, he asked why. I told him that we were having playgroup at our house in the morning and there were some things I'd like to get done before I go to bed. "Like what?" the nosey (yet full of giftedness) little boy asked.

"Uh, well, I'd like to take out the trash and clean up the living room a little bit."
His eyes swept around the room and in one last desperate attempt he said, "Well, it all looks pretty clean and nice to me mom."

If only he had included, "and you're petite and beautiful in your last trimester of pregnancy" he SO would have gotten his way. He'll learn though, because even though I can't be certain, I'm pretty sure he's being raised up in the way of gifted people.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Love Is...

Sitting behind 27 preschoolers during story time at the public libarary. Seeing your child's impossible-to-keep-up pants resting low in their "normal" position, just enough to share his half moon with everyone else.
And thinking he's the cutest kid within miles.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Church Edification

Last week the RS teacher at church approached me with a small slip of paper. She asked me if I would be willing to prepare a short two minute "talk" on Joseph, being tempted by Potiphar's wife, as a part of her lesson. Specifically, the slip of paper read, "Joseph with the luxury of Egypt being tempted by a beautiful woman and what we can learn from this."

Well, I was happy. I LOVE the story of Joseph. I have loved it since my mother first told it to me when I was a little girl. I think I fancied he and I had a lot in common, I was my parent's favorite and I was sure any day they would prove it by giving me a lovely coat of many colors. Or some Jordache jeans.

When I was 22 my oldest sister took me to a broadway performance of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". My sister was giving me this great gift and I was shocked and disappointed by it. It was about halfway through when I realized it was a Broadway performance, not a religious demonstration to uplift and edify. I was pious in those days. I remember looking over at my sister who was in hysterics as Pharoah "the King" came out in Elvis garb and recounted his dreams to the tune of "All Shook Up", I was disgusted. I was sure the Pharoah would roll over in his tomb if they could see what we'd done to him in our day.

Then I pulled my head out and FELL IN LOVE with the music from this show. I listened to it nonstop for years and still would if both my husband and son weren't always all, "Why is there music on and why is it so loud!?" all the time.

So, of course when I was given the opportunity to expound on my love of the story of Joseph, you can believe I was thrilled.

I mentioned it to J in hopes of getting some ideas, feedback, insights that he may have.
So I say to him, "So-And-So has asked me to talk for a couple of minutes about Joseph and his temptation with a beautiful woman." Since this particular beautiful woman is more readily known as "Potiphar's Wife" I think me referring to her as "a beautiful woman" threw J for a minute. He is master of all bible stories and knows obscure dialogue between obscure characters in obscure books of the bible. So, you can imagine my surprise when he responded, "His temptation with Bathsheba?"

Yeah well, I don't know a lot, but I know that Bathsheba was David's problem, and MY Joseph didn't succumb to temptation, so how dare he!? I haughtily replied to J, "No! Not David and Bathsheba, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat!"

Talk about looking stupid.

Without missing a beat, J replied, "Well, in that case, I definitely think you should talk about the part in the bible story when Joseph says, "Please stop! I don't believe in free love!"

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Look Who's an RN!

Now she can poke people with needles and get paid for it.

Now when I call her at 6:30 AM to come "fish the whistle toy" out of my 9 month old daughter's throat, and she tells me after 5 minutes of unsuccessful fishing that it's probably actually croup and that I should take her to the doctor, she can charge me a per minute fishing rate. And consultation fee.

Now when I answer the phone, "Helllllooooooooooo NURSE!" it'll be f'real.

Now when she has to work with stupid people....well, she'll still have to work with stupid people. Ain't no degree ever saved any of us from that.

Congratulations "S". I'm muy proud because I know you worked very hard and it wasn't easy particularly in the last 10 months when you were pregnant. I also knew you could do it from the moment you started. I really just didn't know you'd do it so darn well!

So let us recap. I'm not jealous. I'm not feeling like an underachiever. Really. I still have my wit and charm to get me through. And chocolate Easter candy.
She earned one of THESE in December

Then she did THIS 4 days later

And now she's officially one of these

In keeping with the tradition of this blog being about ME---this is what I've been working on.
I won't earn a degree from it or a better paying job or anything.

But I'll probably end up getting a bigger brassiere or something.

Maybe someone will build me a cake or something.

Friday, March 09, 2007


So wait a minute, I'm supposed to take care of my kids and clean the house?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

From Outside the Institution

I was thinking today, while driving with the kids, that I might have to be institutionalized if I didn't get to at least talk to Jay on the phone every day. That's a lovely thought to have while driving around town with two darling kids in the backseat, isn't it?

In my defense, they are the reason I'd have to be institutionalized if I didn't have at least one guarantee of adult interaction in a day. Today has been a kid day, so this sad fact seemed to stand out more than usual. J hasn't called yet today, so the jury is still out as to where I may be sleeping tomorrow night.

Here is a sampling of the kind of institution-heading "conversation" I'm referring to.

While driving through the Target parking lot, at a reasonable, safe, non-obnoxious speed, some teeny-bopper in a BMW whipped around me and turned left in front of/beside me just as I was turning left. I had to stop abruptly and she and I briefly made eye contact as she cut me off. I was genuinely surprised by this and I'm sure it registered on my face. But what I said was, "What the hell!? Are you kidding me!?"

"What? What mama? What?"
"What what Benja?"
"Am I kidding you about what, and what does 'what the hell' mean?"
"Oh geez Ben, don't listen to everything I say. Well, do listen to everything I say. But I wasn't talking to you. And 'what the hell' means there are some ridiculous drivers on the road and mom isn't being very smart to talk like that."
"Oh, well stop being ridiculous yourself then."
"Thanks for that."

I didn't say the last line out loud because I really don't want to have to define sarcasm to a three year old.

Later he asked me if Dad was older than "thirty-eleven". Which is actually "soe-dee uh-weven".
"Well, actually, 30-11 isn't a number."
"Yes it is."
"No, it isn't"
"Yes it is! Soe-dee, soe-dee uh-weven, Fohdee!"
"No, it isn't, let's count all the numbers that have 30 in it though."
"No, I don't want to unless Dad's older than 30-11."

And then, I had a strange communication experience with Avee. The girl seems to have lept from the womb walking and expressing herself. There hasn't really been a "learning to talk" stage, she just suddenly started talking in "complete" sentences. And all very necessary phrases.
A few of them:
Get ow-uh way!
Oh hep me mama.
No way mom, no way! (a simple "no" has never occurred to her)
Want-to waaaatch!

So, with this obvious grasp on the english language at such an early age, you can imagine my utter shock when this exchange took place.

"You like those cheetos Avee?"
"Ya mama! Ya, baby wike!"
"Can you say cheetos?"
"Okay, say cheetos."
"Meeeer-wad! Yay! Happy!"
"Meeeeeeeer-waaaaaaaaaaaaad! Yay!"

What the?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Dreams And American Idol. Totally Unrelated.

This morning at 4:52 AM when I made my regularly scheduled pre-dawn visit to the loo, I got back in bed and began recalling my dreams of the night. I remembered several "segments" vividly and at the lucid hour of 5 AM, thought they were so bizarre. There's nothing like pregnancy or pizza to make my nighttime visions completely psychotic. Or random.

Now, at 8:24 PM after a long day at the zoo, waddling my pregnant butt around in 70 degree weather with two overdressed and scarcely napped children, I can't for the life of me remember any of those fascinating dreams.

I remember one small bit of one dream, there was something akin to kidney stealing but it was a small "organ" under the armpit that was easily retrieved by pulling back a thick flap of skin (almost like a fish gill) and removing a horseshoe shaped organ. This organ was easily interchangeable among people. This is important to know, I'm not just giving you useless information here.

I do remember from my ponderings as I lay in the dark how blogworthy these fascinating dream details were and I even came up with the clever line of, "Who needs LSD trips with pregnancy dreams like this." I won't even try to convey to you how clever I thought this line was at 5 AM. I could hardly wait until daybreak to type it all. And all I can say now is, too bad for you I'm a lazy mamacita. If I had only gotten out of bed then and blogged, you would be better for it. I am sure.

Nextly. I have never watched a whole American Idol Season. I've never really watched it at all, actually. I have flipped through it a lot in the past, but that was the extent of my commitment. I think it was Season 2 when Reuben and Clay were the finalists. I happened to be in labor the final night when Reuben won. My mom, who lived 4 hours away from me, came for Benja's delivery and managed to show up at the hospital 3 minutes after J and I checked in. She has impeccable timing.

However, while I thought she was there to offer support and encouragement, and advice, having birthed 9 children of her own, she showed up with another agenda. It was to watch the American Idol finale. Pardon my preshy for gettin' in the way of that. In between horrendous labor pains (oh, no more horrendous than anyone else's, but lest you think I wasn't in pain...) and then sobs of relief from the horrendous pains, I got to hear things like, "Oh, I sure hope that effeminate boy wins, I like the big boy, but I LOVE the effeminate one" and "shouldn't you get a bigger birthing ball, that one looks awful small for you." This was my first real exposure to American Idol and to be honest, it didn't do much for me. To be fair, anything compared to an epidural after a long day of contractions is going to pale in comparison. Big Big and Effeminate Boy notwithstanding. (I would just like to note here, in case you are the offendable type, which, I'm shocked you're reading my blog if you are, "effeminate" is not my mom's way of secretly calling the contestant gay without saying the word---there's a good chance that never even crossed her mind. However, she is 70, she can and does see fit to dress entirely in hot pink on a good day and doesn't feel the least bit confined by PC rules in not calling a spade a spade. If she sees a spade. Or in this case, an effeminate boy.)

Well, now I'm a pregnant, lonely, SAHM of two and I have all the time in the world to watch AI right when I should be helping brush teeth, put on jammies, read books, etc. So I do.

And tonight while I sat upright on the couch productively folding clothes lay on the couch, tears came to my eyes when Latisha started singing. I know, I know, I'm pregnant. But her voice moves me. I love her story. I love her demeanor. She doesn't seem contrived. It seemed like the first 5 or 6 times I watched her perform, and she blew the socks off of any competition, she would stand there nervously, not having any idea how phenomenal she is, waiting to be criticized. And instead she leaves Randy and Paula speechless or sputtering the same compliments over and over and makes Simon look like a fluffy ball of niceness. I'm good with words, aren't I?

Anyway, what I wanted to say about Latisha, besides what I've already said, is this. In my humble opinion, one should not try to imitate Whitney, Celine, or Martina and hope for it to turn out well. Those women's voices are just not easily imitated. So, most of the time when people try to sing one of their songs just like them, I just think "Oh honey, don't."

So tonight, I wasn't prepared for Latisha to sing Whitney, and halfway through the song I got tears in my eyes and chills up and down my arms. I have NEVER heard someone sing BETTER than the original. That just blows me away. And of course, it's just an opinion, but I swear it was even better. Perhaps I'm a little bias because Latisha doesn't have a known history with the wacky crack and crazy Bobby. I'm willing to accept that.

Also, Melinda's explanation of her OCD behavior made me laugh out loud. Being compelled to chew gum the same number of times on each side of her mouth and calling it "equal opportunity" and willingly confessing it on national television to millions is beyond cool in my book.

I just wanted to include this picture from our trip to the zoo. Seven kids photographed here. 6 of them are older than Avee. 2/3rds of them capable of complex thought processes and completing full sentences. All of them with ideas, opinions, minds of their owns. And who has to be facing in the complete opposite direction? The thing is, in her pantsless pose (yes, I'm that trashy), she makes it look like all the rest are facing the wrong way. How does she do it?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Monday Musings

Hey, I just realized I missed my 100th post. This is my 123rd. I'm sorry you all didn't get in on that important milestone in my blogging career. I remember looking forward to it around #53, and here I've passed it. Oh well. I started blogging a year ago at the end of this month. I'll just warn you in advance that I probably won't be acknowledging that date either because I will be holed up in a hotel in the beautiful smoke-free city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It's "take your family to work week" at J's company. We may be the only ones actually doing it. In fact, it may not be official, now that I think about it. But we'll be there. Just in case you are dying to know, I started blogging on Avee's 1st birthday, March 27th. You can mark that in your PDA's and wall calendars for reference. Just don't abbreviate because you probably won't be able to remember what it's commemorating.

I just wanted to document a couple of things from this weekend that really need to be preserved. You know, for the kids.

First, the husband:
I ran to the grocery store for some essentials and when I returned, upon walking through the doorway, J says to me, "Have you been in our bedroom recently?" I say no, a little concerned about what could have happened in the 45 minutes I was gone. "Well," he says "It just smells really bad in there and I can't figure out why." At first I naively assumed he wondered if I had smelled it and may have an idea of the cause. But no, in fact, that was NOT the case. The truth is, he can't figure out why it smells, if I hadn't been in there recently.

J was a philosophy major before we were married and before I could help him find direction. During this time he often used and referred to syllogistic reasoning. So, it's hard for me not to think the above exchange was sort of a revisit to the way he was back then.
A) Angela smells
B) Our bedroom REALLY smells
C) Thus the bedroom could only smell if Angela was in it

I have to say, it's made me laugh ever since.

The Son:
Yesterday at church I played hookie from Sunday School and sat in the back of Primary. I may or may not have been chatting incessantly with a friend. However, I did get in on Benja's name getting pulled from the jar to "participate." He was brought to the microphone stand and given the statement, "I play video games and watch tv all day". Of course I snapped to attention when I heard this. I wondered, "Did they ask the parents to contribute ideas before Primary?" Then I realized that it was just random statement, not necessarily attributed to my child alone. Next the question was asked, "Would this make Heavenly Father happy?" I'm really rooting for my little buddy up there. I see the wheels-a-turning in his mind. They go something like this: "Well, it makes my mom happy when I finally shut my mouth and get engrossed in something for hours on end so she can lay around and eat bon bons in peace, so well, I guess that would make Heavenly Father happy too."

"Yes!" He answers. And he's gently guided to give the right answer. Then asked, "What could we do instead of playing video games and watching tv all day?" Well I don't know nice Primary leader, because that's what my mom does all day! How's a boy to know?

The leader got some ideas from other kids and then tried to thank Benja for his help and he busted out in some impromptu testimony-bearing. I couldn't hear him, but he was clearly making some profound statements into the microphone. Actually, he had the microphone in his mouth, so I'm not sure who was in charge in that encounter. I saw the Primary leader's eyes get big and then she kind of started laughing and I heard other teachers sort of laughing. I had to wait until the drive home to find out what he had said. Turns out he mistook primary for a sort of Couch-Potatos Anonymous meeting and had said, "I watch too much tv and play too many video games, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

There is something so priceless about watching my children navigate their ways through new territory. Yesterday I learned that Benja will be like his father, fearless and free and even if he doesn't know what he's doing, he'll sure look like he does.

The Daughter:
The last week or so has been really nice weather here, and so for the last several days I have dressed Aves in little summery dresses. Mostly for my own amusement. I can think of only a few things more entertaining than watching a darling little girl, with curls, in a pretty princess dress, acting like a hellion. Yelling, "Don'tdo-at!" and "Geh-owa-waaaaaaaay!" and "No way!" at anyone who crosses her. Or exists.

This was her response when I asked her to sit down. If you've never met Avee, it might need some interpretation. All 32 inches, 23 pounds of her are posed here in what we call the "bully stance". You could blow it off because it sure doesn't look threatening. Kind of sweet, actually. But that would be a novice, and frankly, stupid thing to do. Do not touch her. And I'd even say don't be so dumb as to repeat your request to her. At least not until the stance has softened to a more agreeable "I can be bribed" pose.

See, now isn't it just funny to see something like that all while wearing a frilly dress?
The Mom:
Here are some photos for your comparison pleasure. I'm smiling in these pictures, but to quote an old client from my gainfully employed days, Something needs to be did about this!

6 months pregnant with Avee:

8 months pregnant with Avee

6 months pregnant with Amazon Child of '07

Saturday, March 03, 2007

"I Loved Her First"

Today I was driving in my car
And a song came on the radio
A man was singing about his little girl
That he was now giving away as a bride

“I loved her first” he sang,
About the day that she was born
And tears streamed down my face
As I thought of my own daughter at home

My morning was spent changing and dressing her
And doing her hair fourteen times
Followed by a battle to get buckled in her car seat
Just to hear her wail “no way mom!” two dozen times

Later she wanted me to hold her
But my body ached from the child I carry inside
Nothing I did seem to make her happy
And it was hard not to be annoyed by her whines

But alone in my car an hour later
My tears flowed uncontrollably
So that I had to pull over my car
And let them fall as I sat there alone.

Two short years ago she was the child I carried inside
Who made me too uncomfortable to hold my son
Every night she jabbed my ribs to say hello
Starting early to make her presence known

Then a tiny bundle of pink wrinkly skin
With the most sparse head of red hair
We all fell in love with her immediately
And I didn’t remember my heart before she was in it.

Eye contact, smiling, rolling, giggling, crawling, climbing.
Walking, climbing, singing, talking, signing, climbing.
Giggles, running, greeting, climbing, complaining.
Laughing, hugging, testing, climbing, and she can do it herself.

Every little thing she does, I get to be a witness to.
Kicking a ball, tasting lemons, loving her brother.
Suddenly two years are gone and I sit on the side of the road,
Crying about my two year old becoming an adult bride.

Will I forget to cherish the moments that lead there?
Will I accidentally get caught up in the trivial things,
And forget to notice the woman she’s becoming?
Will remembering I loved her first feel like I missed too much?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Oh meeeeeeeeee!

This is Avee's new phrase. It means, "Oh maaaaaaan" best I can tell.
So, conversations have gone like this today:

A: nack mama, nack, naaaaaack!
M: No snack until you eat some breakfast.
A: Oh meeeeeeeee!

A: Lego-me mama, lego!
M: No, I'm not going to let go, I don't want you going in there, Benja's asleep.
A: (complete with shoulders slumping in defeat) Oh meeeeeee!

I'd like to blog some great personal blogging stuff, but alas, I have nothing. Really, NCS, I'm not taking any liberties. Anywhere.

However, in the span of about 10 minutes I got two messages from my sister-in-law and my sister who BOTH said, "If I had a blog, I'd blog this." Since both stories were blogworthy, and I am the judge of all that is blogworthy, I'm going to steal them and post them on my blog. Because I have a blog. And I'm a stealer.

First, my SIL was volunteering in my nephew's Kindergarten class. A student kept inturrupting the group she was trying to lead with, "I'm Japanese!" The redhaired, freckled-face boy certainly didn't look it. And he was being disruptive. Finally my SIL told him he probably wasn't Japanese and that they needed to move on. He insisted he was because he was born in Japan and then threw a fit that got the teacher's attention. The teacher came over and dealt with it, and it was done. Japanese or not, the boy wasn't doing what he was supposed to.

Three days later this red haired Japanese boy's mother confronted my SIL about telling her son he wasn't Japanese. My SIL shouldn't do such things because she doesn't know what he's told at home. Besides, he has dual citizenship! My SIL clarified that she was clearly talking about being of Japanese decent and the mom stormed off. Fortunately my SIL has a good enough sense of humor that she could laugh about this. But STILL. Some people's mothers!

It seems like once upon a time a child would be told, "So why were you talking about being Japanese during tetrahedron making time? Seems like you should have been listening..." etc But nowadays, it's more appropriate to accost the volunteer mother. Yeah, that's a good approach.

Now, my sister. She lives in England and has for the past 6 and a half years. She's American. This is the IM she sent me while I was chatting with my SIL.

"Today I called the English tax people and cried to them that I couldn't pay their exorbitant taxes and was advised to go have a cup of tea. I thought that was pretty rich. Considering, I'm American and the whole tax war thing started with tea."

Yeah, that made me laugh out loud. Wouldn't you love to live in a country where the customer service agents tell you to go have a cup of tea? It just seems so charming, no matter how unhelpful the advice is.

I also find it pretty funny that she even thought to call the "English tax people". Have you ever considered calling the IRS and giving them a piece of your mind? I find it much more effective to swear, bluster, crumple up notices (because I've gotten so many in my adult life), and swear some more.

These stories were repeated with authorization of any kind. If this bothers you, you should probably stop reading this blog. If it bothers you and you are my relative from whom I stole the stories, why don't you just come over here and try to stop me.

That's what I thought.