Saturday, June 30, 2007

Evidently wrinkle cream should NOT be mixed with hemorrhoid cream

What is it about vanity that makes you do stupid, stupid things? This morning I awakened to under eye puffs resembling twin Goodyear Blimps deflated. They looked big enough to re inflate and my day was over before it began. That bad. Yes.

Not that it matters, but a dear friend has hired me to take photographs of her baby boy's baptism. Today. Yes, TODAY! In 3 HOURS! Well, I could use tea bags. No. Time to resort to drastic measures. What's here in the medicine cabinet? Oh, let's try that models trick you're always hearing about of using hemorrhoid cream.That is supposed to be a miracle cure for circles and puffs. Oh, I don't think it works. Besides, there seems to be a lingering odor. Uh, oh... I can hear the whispers already...that JCK taking pictures seems nice, but do you smell anything? There is an odor. Do you smell?... OH, HORRORS! This can't be happening!! Will they be sidling away? Wait the smell is being taken over by a burning sensation. Ouch! Is my skin sizzling? Wait a minute.... I hadn't considered that I was putting this hemorrhoid cream on top of my wrinkle cream. Oh, GOD. Could this be an acid peel? Not NOW! Quick! Put cold water on the flames!!! Jesus!! Dammit!!! Am I ALLOWED to SCREAM! EVIDENTLY WRINKLE CREAM SHOULD NOT BE MIXED WITH HEMORRHOID CREAM. IT IS A PROBLEM! I am a moron! Wash everything off. Starting to hurt a little less.

OK, let's take a look. Uh, oh... there seem to be red marks under my eyes. Are those burns?? Will I have to wear sunglasses indoors? Wait, I can't!! I'm the photographer. I need my eyes. DEEP BREATHS.... I now have 2 hours and 40 minutes until the baptism. Perhaps I could meditate. It will be fine. It WILL be fine. IT WILL BE FINE! Screw meditation! Should have stuck with those tea bags...

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Friday, June 29, 2007

I saw a Sea Snake!

Today at Boy's school a marine lab aquarium came with a big tank full of sea creatures. I saw jellyfish! And a sea snake! He was very, very sick. "What else did you see?" Silence. "Did you see fish?" Yes, I saw fish. Silence. "Anything else?" Beat. Beat. Deep contemplation obviously going on. "Boy, anything else?" A Sea Snake! He was very, very sick. "What was wrong with him?" He was very, very sick. "Oh....Were there any turtles?" No, they didn't bring the sea turtles today. "Did you get to touch anything?" The SEA SNAKE! Obviously, the sea snake made a big impression. "What about a crab?" Yes, there was a little, little crab. I didn't touch him! I didn't touch him...oh, no, no, no.

Last summer Boy stuck his finger in a crab hole on the beach and withdrew a very large crab clinging to his finger. After several looong seconds it finally let go. Although he was in a lot of pain, he was most hurt that the crab had chosen to bite him rather than being his friend. My brother-n-law caught it and put it in a bucket. At the very least I wanted to boil that crab for dinner! My BIL had a better idea. He walked over to Boy, showed him the crab and then with exaggeration and a pointed finger said, "NO, NO, NO Mr. CRAB! You DO NOT BITE Boy's finger!! And then he released the crab into the ocean to the awe of all the children gathered around. The crab story has become part of our family lore. In fact, Girl brings it up frequently. She knows that Boy is the greatest explorer of all time.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Girl's instructions on how to put on underwear

Girl has been practicing loading up her backpack for our trip next week. Today the backpack contained wadded kleenex, 2 baseballs, 1 hook from Boy's rescue helicopter, 1 small car, a small baby brush and comb, toy saxophone, small flashlight, 1 board eraser, and 1 pillowcase containing a pair of E's socks, 1 fancy blue Easter glove, a RR crossing sign and a lamb puppet. Whoooaa...glad someone's prepared for going to the beach!

I also had the pleasure of overhearing her instructions to her lamb on the proper placement of underwear:

Girl: Furst the little part goes in the front. Then the BIG part goes on your bobum because your bobum is BIG.

I'm not sure who Girl is referring to with the BIG BOBUM. Oh, yes must be E. I come from a long line of flat BOBUM people.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ooooh NOOOO.... She's got the WEEPY GENE!

This afternoon Girl's nap was pushed back pretty late due to an hour or so in her room of looking at books, putting panties on her lamb, (I want Lamby to share them with me), and sorting all of the dolls and bears on the corner cupboard shelf. When she surfaced close to 5pm she was a bit dazed. (Yes, I'm an idiot for letting her sleep that late!) By that time E was home and was mowing the grass. Did you know that the lawn must be mowed in blazing 90+ degree heat? Yes, it is apparently a law; at least around here. So...I fixed Girl a snack and told her that I was leaving to pick up Boy and would be back soon. She stood up and her lower lip quivered, her eyes filled with tears, and she valiantly tried to get control of her face, but I saw it! The expression. The family manifestation. Oh....NOOOO...she's got the WEEPY GENE! First the lip quivers, the tears fill, the desperate attempts to not cry which leads to water truly gushing out of the eyes and gut wrenching sobs seeming with no end. I know this well. I have it. It comes from my mother's line. All big weepers. It is not necessarily a bad thing. I mean it proves that you are an incredibly, amazingly, unbelievably ultra-sensitive being. But, it is a handicap. And good-bye tends to be what sets it off. I was really hoping she'd get the we weep at appropriate moments gene from E's side of the family. Normal crying which requires maybe a Kleenex rather than a beach towel. Poor girl. Doomed. Just doomed.

Boy really cracked me up today. I picked him up from school and as we were trying to exit the lot, a woman was very slowly sauntering across the parking lot in front of us. While we sat and sat in the car waiting, there was a pause in which Boy said: Come ON Laaady! Just...WAAALK! It was truly hysterical. The tonal quality, the timing - everything was perfect. My little whippersnapper is witty! Cool.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Saved by the perpetual neglect of the unfolded laundry

Tonight E took on the kids and I went out with a girlfriend. It was heavenly. Chat, chat, chat...good wine. CHAT, CHAT, CHAT, more wine... chat, chat. I was obviously hungry for chat. On the rare occasions that I do manage to get out of the house with a friend, after complimenting me on my ethereal beauty and flowing locks, E always complains that I dress up more for my girlfriends than I do for him. Alas, it is true. I think it is good for him. He gets to be reminded that yes... I am a hot mama. Tight pants and make-up. Lots of make-up. Thank GOD for make-up. Hallelujah. Amen.

I try to leave the house in some semblance of order before I go out. I want him to enjoy the evening solo with the kids, so that he'll do it again...and again..and... well, you get the picture. Tonight I had everyone fed and the kitchen cleaned up. I figure doing the bed and bath routine is about all that I can leave him to take on after a full day of work. Why I should feel guilty about leaving him with all of it is a bit puzzling. I mean I work all day, too. And then am on pretty much at night, too. As a mother do you ever get time off? On the one hand I want him to truly appreciate all that I do during the day. And he does. On a certain level. But, I don't think he really gets it.

Besides we think differently. The other night Girl was playing catch with Boy and Daddy in the living room. She was goofing around jumping on the couch and dove head first over the end. The only thing that saved her was that she landed in an overflowing laundry basket. Saved by the perpetual neglect of the unfolded laundry! I'm a hero! If I had had that laundry folded and put away, there would have been no cushion to land on and her head would have been stopped by the hardwood floor. Not a sight I want to imagine. Thank GOD for bad housekeeping!! E, although very grateful that Girl did not do a face plant on the floor, would be much happier if that basket was not there. Too bad. I like thinking of myself as a hero. Maybe I can acquire Supaah Powaahs and be a Super Hero. I wonder what that will take? Ooooh...too much contemplation. I'll have to keep you posted on the Super Hero status. Since the laundry is unending and he doesn't do it and doesn't realize the pressure of getting his work clothes washed and the only kind of socks he likes to wear of which there are maybe 3 pairs and 1 sock is always lost, which lowers it to 2 pairs, so the laundry needs to be done a lot.... well, all of that seems to ensure that at least I'll continue to be a hero. Supaah Powaahs!

And do I want him to get it? On the bad days I do. I desperately want him to get how hard it is to be at home with two preschoolers whose only intent at times appears to be driving mommy crazy. But, if he truly knew what it was like to stay home he would be really concerned about my state of mental agility at this point and start looking at me like are you my wife? Or just an insane person? And my life as a SAHM is certainly filled with good days and more importantly, the moments. Those astonishing moments are what keep me going. They are sacred ... precious... and I wish that E could experience them, too. But, then they wouldn't be my moments.

I left him with the playing, the baths, Pj's, many stories and his creativity-which is wondrous. He of bear hunts, flashlight reading in sleeping bags, pretend airplane flights with backpacks, the builder of intricate train track labyrinths with Boy, and the master tickler. [Girl told me the other day "You can't do that. That is daddy's job to tickle me.] When I pulled into the driveway tonight after my evening out, I was halted by Boy's sippy cup planted smack in the middle of the driveway. It made me smile. I got out to pick it up and felt grateful. I come home to this family. And I am blessed.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Snow hat and mittens in June and Miss Destruction

This morning Girl insisted on wearing her mittens and hat with shorts, tank top, and sandals with socks to take Boy to school. Boy thought about making the leap, but compromised with wearing his sun hat in the car.

This afternoon Girl insisted on loading up her Dora backpack with several baseballs and toys and wearing it to pick up Boy at school. She is practicing wearing her backpack for our plane trip next week. (I'm flying with both of them solo. Am I insane?) Boy was quite impressed with her backpack attire upon pick-up. He was, as usual, covered head to toe in dirt with a good little mud glob stuck on his cheek. The percentage of dirt/mud seems to equate with the happiness he has had that day - usually quite high.

While I was preparing dinner, E played catch with Boy & Girl in the living room. They were having a blast. Then after I tucked Girl in for the night, E played with Boy in the playroom. First on the blackboard. E colored, Boy erased. Then Boy set up his Thomas trains and tracks and they played for quite a while. Boy just eats up that one on one time with daddy.

Girl seems to be on a destructive mission lately. For about the 3rd time she messed up the toilet paper holder. It is once again inoperable and the toilet paper roll keeps rolling across the bathroom floor to the opposite wall, not a discovery you notice until it is too late. Then when I was cleaning today, (yes, that actually happened!), I found a broken slat under her toddler bed. Apparently bouncing like a maniac over and over again on a toddler bed can break it. She seemed surprised. Boys are more destructive than girls? Naaaaahhhhh

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

No naps, Girl flies on her trike and bathing suits in the bath tub

No naps were to be had today. Boy rarely naps at home anymore. Of course, he naps at school beautifully. Must be the peer pressure. Girl still naps most of the time and really needs her nap, but she is often up to shenanigans. This day was no different. After closing the door to her room, I continued to hear quite a bit of loud conversation and movement coming from inside. I opened the door. The light was on and she was walking back to her bed carrying a stack of books. Apparently she "wanted to read right now." I told her she could read for a few more minutes and then she would need to turn out her light and go to sleep. After about 10 more minutes she started banging on the door saying, "I have to go poop poop." I let her out to go the bathroom and then my mom called. About 10 minutes into the conversation, Boy & Girl both burst into the office in full firefighter attire. Apparently they were off to a "very important fire" and this took priority over a mere nap and the very clever manipulation of "I have to go poop poop" had freed our Girl from her slumber of low importance.

We then loaded up the two trikes and headed for a local park that has a wonderful sidewalk/ideal trike course circuit - a big loop around the park. Girl was a vision in her flowered hat, multi-striped shirt, green skort and ankle socks pulled half-way up her shins. Round legs pumping, an intensity on her face of pure concentration, she maneuvered around the bends and was tireless. It was exhilarating to see her really get to fly on her trike for the first time. Just a couple of weeks ago she was screeching in pure frustration as she couldn't figure out how to pedal. Today she was pedaling like she'd been doing it for years. It felt like a momentous occasion. Somehow seeing her little person independently taking to the bike path was not unlike how I felt the first time she started walking. Really walking. And now she is doing it "all by my own" as Boy would say.

Boy wanted to be "in front of Girl" most of the time, which was fine with her as she loved following him. There is a small hill coming down from the parking lot into the park and of course Boy wanted to go down it. He would go full tilt and then stop himself with the rubber toes of his sneakers, skidding to a stop. His ability to go at a pretty good clip and then stop on a dime amazes me. There were some college kids hanging out with skateboards and Boy was fascinated watching them. I can see him on a skateboard already. It is just a matter of time.

The latest thing with bath time is that they want to have their bathing suits and water shoes the bath. I'm not sure who the wise Sage was who originated the phrase of knowing when to pick your battles, and it is good advice, but sometimes by the end of the day I feel more like a freaky Mommy Dearest rather than a calm parent who methodically chooses to let her children have that little bit of fun. When I'm really tired, the battles tend to come out in me. Especially if moments before they've tornadoed through the house for the millionth time that day. However, I did manage to take a deep breath and let them have their fun in the tub. And I felt better for it. After all that bicycling, they were out in about 5 minutes and E and I actually got to watch a Netflix movie. It was a good finish to the weekend.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007 is good, and this is why

Moments to remember:

  • Boy and Girl zooming on their trikes, following each other in circles going faster and faster and faster. They stop. "Let's try this parking spot. No, not big enough for the van. Let's try another one."

  • Girl excitedly opening up a book of stickers and saying, "Boy! Boy! Let's do stickers together. There's this one and this one and this one..." Both hunched over their little table.

  • Girl wearing her first ponytail.

  • First one then the other, E holding each of them upside down, their peals of laughter causing my heart to almost burst.

  • Girl, "Mommy, Mommy, femember we have to brush teeth."

  • Boy and Girl sleeping in until 7am this morning! And then crashing into our room with big smiles
  • After bath: Boy, "Tonight I'm not wearing underwear. Tomorrow I'll say bye-bye to pull-ups.".

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Friday, June 22, 2007

A trip into Beverly exotic land

The only thing I like about Beverly Hills is that it seems exotic. A foreign land. Since most of my excursions are via minivan, locally, with children in tow, a jaunt to the other side of town and by myself is almost racy.

I arrive in Beverly Hills; a place of perfectly manicured people, lawns and palm trees. And, oh yes, here are the cars... Audi's, Jaguar's, Mercedes and of course, the Bentley convertible. Not that we don't have these things in the town where we live, but here in Beverly Hills it is different. For one, there doesn't seem to be any dust. Or even dirt. Anywhere. Is that normal?! Everything is shiny. I see no chaos. No mess. Storefront windows are gleaming. People are freshly nipped, tucked, manicured and pedicured. Look, there's someone walking by in bandages from a recent visit to the plastic surgeon. Do they think they are invisible? I guess it is so normal here that people don't even notice it. Here's a beautiful children's store. There are no children in it. Do children live in Beverly Hills? Maybe there is a 24 hour toddler curfew? Preschoolers? I think they've been banished. Beverly Hills is child-free! That's why it is so quiet!!

I always notice how my behavior changes when I come here. I feel self-conscious. Today it doesn't help matters that I'm wearing my suburban bright Purple CROCS. I swear the woman waiting by the elevator just sneered at my CROCS! To alleviate the potential awkwardness posed by sharing an elevator with said woman, I decide to exit the parking structure by taking the stairs. As I pass by her, I feel the need to say, "Oh, I'm taking the stairs. I SO need the exercise." For someone who is naturally chatty like me, Beverly Hills is not the place to hang shall we say - not if you obviously don't belong there. Except for the overly courteous valets or the man who runs the smoothie store, chats are discouraged. In fact, conversations can just die on the vine. I do overhear some interesting coversations involving other people. A woman says, "She just completely lost it. Fell apart." Just when I'm feeling relieved that there are tantruming toddlers around, and she's talking about one of them, she continues, "...and so she just checked herself in." OK, not talking about toddlers. The other people just went into The Farm of Beverly Hills. There are no cows there. Maybe a few pigs. Could these others be from LOST? Even if my socioeconomic class were different, this would not be a place where I'd be inclined to spend my cash. Noone looks like they are having much fun. It is all so serious. It's a very weird place. No, I'd probably spend even more money at Costco or maybe I'd splurge and get a Target credit card! Or, take trips to other exotic lands.

I am here to see my dentist. The 3rd visit in a month. It has been a very looong time since I've seen my dentist. It has been SO...long that they had to take a complete set of x-rays (lost count after 8 billion) and basically, they didn't know who I was. Don't they know who I AM? My God, I'm a mother! OK, I'm baaack! I'm here for my 2ND of 2 parts...a deep cleaning. The women who work in the office are actually very nice. The dentist is a little intimidating; a walking ad for the Beverly Hills Man. He tends to stare at me as if he were about to suggest a quick stop off at the plastic surgeon's downstairs. The plastic surgeon's office is strategically located across from the elevator. Once, to kill time while I was waiting for the elevator, I read the list of services posted on the door. I swear a lady with a very tight smile bounded out from behind what I thought had been a closed door - asking if she could help me? Yes, I need help, but not the kind you are talking about lady. Maybe I'm not being fair about the dentist. He could be, not a bad looking wench, some "had a baby" belly and her hair is pretty outrageous - kind of like Emmy Lou Harris...only younger. Mmm...probably not thinking that. Besides, I think he is gay.

My dentist's teeth are WHITE and sparkling. And that is why I go here. Because, I covet the sparkling WHITE teeth of my youth. And they also take my HMO! I'm now coming up for air after having two children in 1 year. Girl is almost 3 and Boy is a little past 3 1/2. It's time to think about my appearance and not just the grooming habits of my young. Teeth are a good place to start.

I leave the dentist's office with a mouthful of clean, fairly WHITE teeth. I feel good. As I drive out of the parking structure, I catch the eye of a woman driving in. THANK GOD, A SUBARU! She smiles at me. Perhaps she covets sparkling teeth like me.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Boy's quest for Being Captain Underpants!

Little guy woke up yesterday morning and was dry! Amazing. He was SO proud of himself. This morning he was wet and was SO upset. I felt badly for him. I really down played the wetness and told him that it was OK and that he was learning, like all of us learn things. I could tell that he had almost made it to the bathroom, but couldn't get there. The night he was successful in waking up dry, he had awakened in the night and called out for me. I went into his room and he was standing there, very sleepy not quite sure what he was doing. I asked him if he needed to go to the bathroom and he said he did and went. Then he got back in bed and was back to sleep in about a minute. Last night I went to bed at 9pm and he didn't wake up to go the bathroom during the night. Tonight he chose a pull-up to put on rather than underwear and I am just going to let him guide the process. If he decides he wants to wear underwear again, then I will probably wake him up during the night and take him to the bathroom. Hopefully this will establish a pattern and he will eventually go on his own. He certainly has woken up and gone to the bathroom during the night, but it is sporadic at best.

I am just in awe of this whole process. It wasn't very long ago that he was in diapers and now...the very real possibility that he will be done with night-time pull-ups is on the horizon. Today was a school day and as I watched him line up and rush out of the classroom with his friends, I could almost touch the fleeting image of him as a baby, toddler and now preschooler on his way to being a little man. I am so very proud of him.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Summer Solstice Tea Party

"A proper tea was a gathering of friends with light refreshments and chat. Later the working and farming communties adopted the afternoon tea, but incorporated more hearty foods and the addition of meat dishes. They called this High Tea, so called because it was taken at a high dining table instead of lower small tables found in a parlor or boudoir. Whichever suits you, a tea is a wonderful excuse to get together. It can be inside or out, very formal, by today's standards , or not." [Quote and picture are courtesy of The Complete Victorian Homestead.]

Well, Girl and I had a tea party to go to today. It was FABULOUS. It was a tea party to mark the Summer Solstice and was just for Girl, myself, my friend and her daughter, who is very close in age to Girl. The lovely invitation was hand delivered and read:

Summer Solstice Tea Party
Where: Patio Garden
When: Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Time: After naps
Please join us for an afternoon of fun, food, drink and conversation.

And yes, it was as exquisite as that sounds. Of course, no naps had occurred with either girl. My Girl was incredibly excited and didn't want to waste a moment sleeping when she could be actively anticipating going to the tea party. After an hour in her room, I relented and had her come out and have "quiet time" in the playroom. Her smile was infectious and I just couldn't help laughing at her excitement, as I was excited, too!

We arrived to a table set with loving care. Homemade lavender sachets at each place. There was Egyptian Mint Tea, goat cheese and feta marinated in olive oil and herbs to be spread on bread, fresh apricots, blackberries and strawberries from their garden, and little carrot cakes with edible flowers - and the big girls got sparkling rosé, (E agreed to pick up Boy from school so that I could imbibe), which always feels decadent in the afternoon. The little girls had fancy china cups with a small pitcher of water for serving themselves. It was a glorious hot day with a light breeze. The light is very special at this time of year. Very crisp and almost sharp with soft edges. After a little bit of eating, the girls needed to move and busied themselves with blowing bubbles, the painting easel and my girl had to try on several pairs of her friend's shoes - too small or no. And it was so....nice to kick back and talk with my friend, feeling the warm sun on the back of my neck and for a short while the dreaminess of a summer afternoon.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hoping for a dry night

Tonight boy is going to bed sans pull-up. He has been dry the last couple of nights and also dry the last few times he has napped. So...we're taking the leap to see if he is ready to sleep in just his pjs and on his insistence, underwear. This morning when he woke up dry we did a high five and talked about the possibility of his leaving pull-ups behind. To emphasize I kept throwing his pull-up in the air shouting "Good-bye Pull-ups!!!" and he thought that was hysterically funny. They both did. In fact, it gave Girl the idea of throwing her pull-up in the air, which was quite loaded with pee - not quite the same idea. She had a very difficult time tonight wearing a pull-up if Boy was not. She is all about doing the same thing as Boy. That is her duty as the younger sister. She takes it very seriously, her duty. She took it so seriously that we very nearly had another tantrum. Finally we compromised. She could wear her pjs without a pull-up until it was time to go to sleep and then she would have to put on a pull-up. At the very end she almost didn't accept it, but luckily crisis averted and she went to bed with a pull-up on. Of course, there is a very real possibility that she will sneak it off -just because ....she can. Although Boy has been getting up in the night to go to the bathroom on several occasions, I will be stunned if he makes it through the night dry. We can only hope.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Domestic Goddess...I'm not!

It was 1976. I was 15 and my mom was wrong about everything. Especially the necessity of domestic skills. I knew about Ms. Magazine. I didn't read it, but I knew about it. I knew that cooking, sewing, and nurturing of husbands was passe and if I ever married, it would be to an incredibly enlightened man who cooked and did his own laundry. I didn't need those skills. Meanwhile, I read 16 Magazine and dreamed of the Bay City Rollers and Parker Stevenson.

Many years later I met my husband and he wooed me with a platter of brie cheese, red grapes and wine on our first date. At that time he did cook simple meals occasionally. Now, he cooks breakfast for us once a week after church. I gobble that up and it almost sustains me for another week. Unfortunately, our grill blew up at the beginning of last summer, so we are now going into a second summer with no grill. Summer grilling is all about E and he is all about summer grilling. It's his forte. I bow to his expertise, and am thrilled with the break in the monotony of my cooking. So, now I lust after a grill - any grill really. Even one of those George Foreman grills would work; as long as it is someone besides me doing the cooking. Alas, E wants a "good grill," so until we can work that into the ol' budget we are grill-less.

On the domestic front, our house basically looks like there has been an explosion of toys, clothes and shoes everyday. No matter how often I pick up things, there seems to be double and triple the mess as soon as my back is turned. I am continually overwhelmed by the loads of laundry that need doing and never seem to stop. If you were desperate, you could probably dine fairly well off the crud glued to the hardwood floor under our dining room table. I just...don't care enough about it. The bathroom is not as bad as some I've seen, but not exactly pristine shall we say. Whenever the kids drink their bath water I make the sign of the cross, hoping the germ vampires are not embedding themselves in their intestines.

The point, you ask? After numerous times beating myself up and looking around at chaos, I can't help but think... is it really that important? To have a clean house? I mean, it is wonderful when you have it and I envy many a friend of their clean homes, but...isn't the most important thing that I'm having fun with the kids? Well, at least on some days? I now admire those friends who sew, valuing their talents. Truthfully, I envy those with domestically inclined husbands. They tend to be a younger generation than mine and you see them everywhere, taking their kids to the park, cooking dinners, doing their own laundry. Hey that sounds like what women were aiming for in 1976! Maybe things have changed. Now if I could only find that issue of Ms. Magazine...

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Father's Day replete with Golf & CROCS

So, we actually had a very low key, very nice Father's Day. Although E was not served in bed, he was served. No, not what you are thinking. Let me rephrase. He was attended to and loved over. By his children and by me. The morning started out at 6:30am with Boy barreling into the kitchen ready to give Daddy his secret present. Soon after arrived Girl, who ambled in with an aura of cute sleepy girlness, "I'm moving slow, don't mess with me or you'll regret it" about her. After getting tanked up on sippy cups of cold milk and small containers of O's and Mighty Bites, they were ready by 6:45am to start launching into WHINER CENTRAL, at which point all bets were off for having poor Daddy get to sleep in. After much shushing and handling of major crises, like needing a barrette to "GET THE HAIR OUT OF MY FACE...whine, whine" and "I DON'T WANT ANY O's, JUST MIGHTY BITES!!...whine, whine...", I did manage to gulp down some tea, make a cup of coffee for E and deliver that to him on the couch. Not quite serving it in bed, but ....hey at least he didn't have to take 5 more steps into the kitchen. Unfortunately, I did not have ear plugs to give him. That would have been a very key gift on this bellowing morning. As soon as Daddy was spotted, Boy & Girl raced into the office to obtain the hidden stash. Boy had made a set of chimes for E at school, decorated himself and couldn't wait to help Daddy tear open the bag. It came with a card with his hand prints on it and a picture he had drawn of "Mommy and Daddy". Girl had made a Father's Day card covered in purple glitter Goo. I had asked her for a quote and she said, "I wanted to make cookies for you today, but Mommy said we didn't have time." Are you sure you want to say this? Yes. So...I couldn't not put that quote in, could I?

We managed to get out of the house to church, where the former Rector celebrated his 50th anniversary as a priest. He gave a heartfelt sermon, really a story about his journey in becoming a Priest, what that had meant to him, and what the Parrish meant to him. It was very moving and once again I got my weekly cry in. We prayed for George W. Bush, as we always do. God knows he needs it! Don't get me started. I wonder if he realizes that liberals cry in church? Or even go to church? Probably not. But, I digress...

Back at home for a simple eggs and toast brunch whipped up by Moi and then E said all he wanted to do was watch THE US OPEN. So...he did. He kicked his feet up, the kids rode their trikes, wrestled, read books with me, and both took a nap. Yeah! And this enabled me to go out and get E some CROCS that match Boy's. (My Mother's Day gift was CROCS that match Girl's. I know we're too cute for words.) At least that was my mission. I raced over to a local sports equipment store, grabbed the CROCS - made sure they were the right size so that I wouldn't have to come back, picked up some Reisen chocolates (request) for Big Daddy, stopped by Trader Joe's for quick dinner items and got back home all within about an hour and a half. Boy and Girl were up entertaining E, who was still watching the US OPEN (don't golf tournaments last 24 hours?) I hustled Boy to the back room so that he could admire my success. Immediately he told me they were the wrong color. Oh, come on. He ran to his room, returning with his CROCS. He was right, dammit! So, I would have to return to the sporting goods store and obtain the right color. My Uncle by marriage was color blind, but I don't think I can get away with thinking that that is related or is any kind of legitimate excuse. While I stewed, Boy ran into the living room and told E, "we don't have matching CROCS!" I try not to CURSE, which I really, really want to do. And it is pretty damn funny. However, the last thing I want to do is get back in the minivan and drive to the sporting goods store. But, I do, with 2 tots who insist on going. I tried to bribe them to stay with Daddy... wouldn't it be fun to watch Daddy watch GOLF? Can they imagine anything more fun than that? They're on to me and it is no go. So, I tell them they can only go if they have very good "store manners". We succeed in getting out of the house about twenty minutes later, leaving a trail of several tried on outfits, shoes and toys behind us. (E did manage to mutter "I can watch them if you need to go back out", but it was in such a weak, this is my only day, please spare me...kind of voice that I just couldn't subject him to it.)

We arrived at the Sporting Goods store in relatively good spirits and with minimal threats we maneuvered across the parking lot and into the store. We were able to go straight to the CROCS rack, seize the right color and size and make it to the cash register unscathed. There was a brief mention of "This is candy, Girl", by BOY but I managed to whisk them past and into the safe zone of the check-out. We arrived back at the house and Boy presented Daddy with his CROCS, to which E exclaimed with great "surprise"...WOW, now we have matching CROCS!

The US OPEN ended, I have no idea who won....We had a simple dinner and ice cream sandwiches for dessert. By 8pm, I was whipped and the kids were not. They were just gearing up and up and up. By 9pm, Girl was asleep and Boy was still talking very loudly in their room. By 9:30pm, all was quiet and I was too tired to do anything but go to sleep. And then for added entertainment, Boy decided to come into our room over and over and over again with various crises: There's a bear in my bed. Something is biting me. I'm scared. I want to rock in the rocking chair. I can't find my cozy blanket. I want my water. And so it went....until somewhere in there, E walked him back to bed and said good-night and all was quiet...until 6:30am tomorrow.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Was it Deja vu?

I just had a date...with a very sexy stranger. Was it Deja vu? We shared a large bottle of Asahi, ate sushi until we couldn't eat another bite, and had an uninterrupted, thought provoking conversation. Every once in a while he would lightly touch his hand to my spine, and I felt a sensation that I haven't felt for a while...a tingle. YowZA! We talked of his rehearsal process of a play he's producing and acting in, my new blog - the energy and momentum that I can feel from doing it...and just what is the definition of a blog anyway? I've had several friends ask. So, let's look at what The Free Dictionary says: blog - a shared on-line journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences and hobbies. Hmmmm I like that. Love that Free Dictionary! Back to my date... only in passing did we mention the child prodigies. Oh, did I say that? I mean the tykes, scamps, imps and scallywags that are our progeny. Was it Deja vu? Goodnight stranger....see you back at the bedstead.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Last day of Parent Education class for Girl

Today was Girl's last Parent Ed class with me. It feels like an important ending and is bittersweet. We have both so enjoyed the class, offered through a local college. It has been the perfect transition for Girl before she starts full-day preschool three days a week in the fall. We started the class last September and it met once a week. Although she talked about the painting easel quite a bit, she seemed most drawn to a room that contained lots of play house type things - a table set with place settings and lots of toy food, boxes of shoes to try on, and of course the book shelf. She loved choosing a couple of books, sitting in my lap and both having me read to her and she telling me about the book or asking questions. It was amazing to see the growth in her this year. In the beginning, other than a close friend in the class, she didn't seem very aware of the other children. Today she was interacting with a few children she "has a relationship with" and even held a little girl's hand on the way in to storytime. She is an observer and it is facinating to see all that she absorbs and then repeats, especially in her language. For several months she watched the teacher singing the songs, doing the gestures and now she loves singing along and doing the gestures with the group. She also has been doing the songs at home. Once she is comfortable in an environment, there is a freedom and eagerness about her that is beautiful to watch. I will miss the time together and especially enjoyed the instructer, who is able to achieve that amazing combination of love for the children, structure and freedom to grow through play. It is a gift.

I am getting SO excited about her starting school in the fall. This morning, Boy's teacher took a few minutes to talk with Girl about all the fun things Girl will do in her class in September - painting, stories, special projects, costumes, sensory tables, etc. Girl really took it in and smiled. The teacher then asked if she could give Girl a hug and Girl gave her a huge hug. It was reassuring to me to see how well Girl responded to the teacher and how things seem to be falling into place.

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Recall on Thomas Trains

RC2 Corp. Recalls Various Thomas & Friends(tm) Wooden Railway Toys Due to Lead Poisoning Hazard.

I found out about this recall and am absolutely mystified, perplexed...and downright outraged. I mean how in the WORLD could a company put lead based paint on children's toys?!!! Lead has been out of house paint for years, because of the dangers. And even oil paint is hard to come by now. Lead based paint on "various Thomas & Friends(tm) Wooden Railway Toys." Unbelievable. How many toddlers have been putting these little wooden trains in their mouth as a pacifier? So many things are going out into the world these days without being checked and double-checked. We're all in a hurry. Let's churn out those toys...then we'll see if there are any problems or endangerment to our children.

If you want to see the full list of the trains containing lead paint on CPSC's web site, check out:

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reading a story to Boy's class

Today I got to read a book to Boy's class. I loved it! Best audience I've ever had. I read, "Sam and the Firefly" by P.D. Eastman- one of our current faves and a childhood favorite of has been around a looong time. The kids were so good. They all sat in their places on the floor, about 24 of them. Girl was able to be there, too and she and Boy sat right up front. Looking out on all those rapt, young faces eager for a story, listening to every word- it was great. I'm sorry I haven't done it sooner. Boy really enjoyed me doing it, too. Girl did really well. She is not used to sitting on the floor in a group and she sat almost until the very end. When she started to stand up several of the kids said, "NO, GIRL! Sit down, girl." They all call me "Boy's Mom." So it was, "Boy's Mom, Girl stood up." "Boy's Mom...this, Boy's Mom that." Very cute. I was really surprised that they were able to be so quiet and attentive. Somehow I imagined that the teachers would have to structure them or keep them contained. Seeing the progress that Boy has made this year is amazing! For quite a while he had to sit in one of the teacher's laps during story time. Now he is able to sit still! And this is my boy who is always in perpetual motion.

Every time I take Boy to school, I am so grateful that he is there. It is a wonderful preschool daycare. The teachers are just fabulous and the continual creativity at hand there is awesome to see. A couple of weeks ago they pretended they were in outer space for the week and slept in their sleeping bags during nap time. They built a mobile with the constellations on it and are learning all about earth and the various planets. It is going to be a relearning process for me, because I don't remember anything! It is very sad. Between my "mommy brain" and 80's WHAAHOO living (read between the lines, here), I'm in need of some serious brain recharging.

Girl starts at Boy's school in the fall. She'll be going 3 full days a week. It will be wonderful for her, great for me and terribly difficult to let go - I think for both of us. My hope for her is that she will love it and be happy there like Boy is now. My hope for me is that I will find something again for me that will make me a better mother, wife and person.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tricycles and Tantrums

Boy has fallen in love with the tricycle. My brother had given him a tricycle (hand-me-down from Boy's cousin) back in November for his birthday. But, it is only in the last month that he has really taken off with it. It is a tall trike with big rubber tires and Boy's feet couldn't reach the pedals until recently. He is on that trike as soon as he gets up in the morning and throughout the day. Today we went to a local park and Boy was literally on the trike for at least an hour. It was the first time he was in "open country" and he loved it! It is a small park with a bike path that circles around the perimeter. He was all over it. Riding on the path, the grass - just flying around and he had freedom written all over his face. It was a joy to see. He was very drawn to an older 5 year old boy who was there on a scooter. Boy kept following him around and the older boy was leading him into all these places that were out of my sight. So, I had to do parent patrol on a much more vigilant basis than I'm used to doing. It made me realize that soon we're going to have to really talk to him about strangers and all of that...Yikes! One of his endearing qualities is that he is so open, and of course we don't want to stifle that. But, he needs to know about boundaries and to be more cautious - not a word I would ever use to describe him. With Girl we probably won't ever have to worry as she still has that 500 yard stare/glare that she's had ever since she was a baby. As in...What are YOU looking at? She might as well have worked for Tony Soprano. It can be off-putting and surprises people. Yet, it is very humorous.

E took Girl on a special Daddy/daughter trip to the toy store yesterday to purchase a tricycle for her. She was very excited to have Daddy just to herself. They had a great time picking out a tricycle, which unfortunately is a bit small for her. We're going to pick up a bigger trike for her this week - one that she can grow into and have for a while. She was getting too frustrated with the little bike and was not able to really pick up any kind of momentum, although she will have to practice for a while before she learns how to pedal.

The infernal whining coming from a certain Girl and temper tantrums are about to do me in. If we get through the day with 2 melt downs/temper tantrums/whining extravaganzas we're doing well - usually it is more like 3 or 4. Everything is life and death. She wants her barrette in her hair. She wants it out of her hair. NO, she wants it IN. NO, SHE WANTS IT OUT! NO, SHE WANTS IT IN!!! And this lasts for a while...and I SO deserve my chocolate. I've recently discovered Trader Joe's dark chocolate covered caramels. Try them. I dare you!

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Sometimes I catch my breath...

It is very late and I look in on my children. I open the door to their room and listen to their soft breath in the stillness of the night. I pull the covers back over Boy, who is lying sideways with his sweet little foot dangling over the side of his toddler bed. He senses my presence and turns away from the dim hallway light, cuddling with his "baby jaguar." I gently kiss his soft cheek, marveling at his long eye lashes and move over to Girl's little bed. She, too, has kicked off all of her covers. Her hair is a mass of ringlets at night, inspired by the warmth of the room. I sweep the bangs off her face, kiss her impossibly round cheek and readjust the covers. She rolls back on her tummy and scoots over to the wall side of her bed. Before I leave the room I stand quietly at the door...sometimes I catch my breath. This is my life. This is it. I am living it and how did this happen? This wondrous gift of my children...I cannot describe the joy or the catch at the back of my throat. It is deeper and bigger than anything I could ever have imagined.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Me...all about me...and a 103 year old woman I met today

I am sitting in silence ....... It is 8:30pm. Oh, MY GOD...I think I've found Nirvana. E is out at a lecture, kids are asleep...I sit here with my double bagged Irish tea with extra sugar, half and half, and I feel like the world is my oyster. It is luscious. This fleeting, so unusual in this house. Silence....mmmmm aaaahhh let me breathe it in.

OK, so I met a woman today who is 103 years old. Not kidding. I was sitting outside in the courtyard after church this morning with my friend. We had 45 minutes in which to feast on a conversation unencumbered by kids (love that childcare!!) or interruptions and we were grabbing it! Attracted by our laughter, the woman walked over to us with an obvious intention to engage us. And she did. I found her quite mesmerizing. She was dressed very well in a sky blue suit and was aided by a walker. We only talked to her for about 10 minutes, but in that time we got a real glimpse into the life this woman has lived. How much she has seen! 103! Amazing. And her thoughts were pretty damn organized. Of course she was talking to two mothers who've had a few years worth of sleep deprivation, so who knows?? (I lost count last night after the 10th time Boy came into our room and tried to climb into our bed and I walked him back to his room...)

The timing on meeting this 103 year old woman is interesting for me as I've been feeling old lately. I look in the mirror and am scared. There it is. Frightened by the creep of age, although it feels less like creeping and more like stalking. It is here. I'm getting older and for really the first time, it is bothering me. I even went out and bought one of those creams that is supposed to help reduce fine wrinkles and maybe attack deep crevices. Yeah right. It is called ROC, and all I can think of is that goofy celeb THE ROCK (wasn't he a wrestler?) and wonder if this ROC is going to smack down my "fine lines?" Who came up with that one? Fine lines. Looking at those lines I'm not feeling very fine, baby! Oh, no. More like Edvard Munch's The Scream. I'll try the cream. I'm sure I'm years too late, but I've been just a little preoccupied with two rascals who thankfully keep me in the moment more than not. That's why this blog is so invigorating for me, because it is something that I can create for myself, the focus comes from within, and I will take it wherever it leads me. I'm not sure yet where that will be, but at the very least I hope it is and will always be a work in progress.

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

A picnic and reading by flashlight...all in a day's play

I think I've worked up to drinking gallons of strong Irish Tea by now. Giving up coffee, but not the caffeine. No way. No how. Love that caffeine. Coffee was making me anxious and bitchy. Got the whole neurotic thing going double, triple time. I'd worry so much that I'd worry if I didn't have a problem. Thought process cycle: Should I have a problem? Maybe that's a problem? God, I have a problem!!

So, today was a great day with Boy and Girl. I was going to go to the Y and do yoga and get a break, as E works on Saturdays, and they have child care there. But, it sounded like more fun to hang with the kiddos at home. And I'm glad I did. They had a camp out on the floor of their room in sleeping bags, while I took a shower this morning. They were having so much fun that I had to practically drag them outside. Instead of Boy saying, "Mommy, do you want to play with me?" was me saying, "Don't you want to play with ME?" Pretty funny reversal of roles. I left all phones inside and was just there in the moment with them. We played in the sandbox with a pirate, a cement mixer and several cars and trains, one of which of course was Thomas the Tank Engine. Boy continues to be fascinated with going in and out of the new dog door on the garage. I continue to be frustrated by his fascination...aah well, there are worse things. Then we had a picnic lunch outside and read several books. They love picnics! I made one phone call during the whole day and of course Boy had to take that opportunity to do his Nature Call Pee Break in the open air.

This afternoon Girl took a long nap, Boy watched the Curious George movie and I took a break. Later, E got home from work and then headed out to a friend's open house for their new office downtown. I was so happy that he was able to get out and do something for himself. He deserves it! He works so bloody hard.

Dinner was fairly uneventful. A few pieces of corn scattered on the floor, but most of the food was eaten and no one got cranky. Then the usual bath in which at least 1/3 of the water seems to end up on the outside of the bath tub....The latest thing with Boy is that he likes picking out some of his PJ's for Girl to wear. Tonight he picked his rocket ship T-shirt and his fire truck PJ bottoms. It was quite the fashion statement. I always check with Girl and see if it is cool with her - as in, Boy has picked these PJ's out for you, if you want to wear them? She cracks me up, "Mommy, I told Boy that that would be OK with me."

Tonight we read "Curious George goes to the Toy Store" by flashlight on the floor of their room. I stole the idea from E, who did it the other night with Boy, while they were "camped out" in the living room. Great idea, E! The fabulous thing about Boy not napping, the only good thing about him not that he is out for the count by 7:30pm and I can put Girl down by 8pm. And then we have an actual evening, if I'm still functioning... which is always a dicey call! On that note...

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Friday, June 8, 2007

Out of the mouths of babes...

Girl: After this I'm going to appreciate it and I'm going to wash my hands.
Boy: I'm strong & mighty. Uttered while lifting one side of a 3ft X 3ft leather ottoman off the ground.
Girl: It's not called a swim suit, it's a bathing suit.
Boy: I'm not a child. I'm a big boy.
Boy: Mommy, there's poop on the sidewalk. (Luckily dog poop.)
Girl: Cannonball!!! Said while jumping down off a fairly low dresser onto rug with doll. Over and over and over again.
Boy: It's giving me 'tatic 'lectricity. Said as he pulled his shirt over his head.
Boy: I'm having a meeting. Reply when caught exiting the dog door with his dump truck.
Reading Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Boy & Girl - "...and the Dwarfs went cheerfully off to work." Girl: Just like Daddy!

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Leaving the crusts

I never thought I'd have children who would leave their crusts. That seems a foreign concept to me. I remember in elementary school some of the kids would have white bread with the crusts cut off. I always thought that was wierd. But, my mom was radical on nutrition. I had sandwiches on whole wheat with things like cream cheese & olives or meunster cheese and mustard. My mom wasn't into "American kinds of foods", even then. No fluffernutter sandwiches for us. Anyway...after having children who would eat just about anything, I now have picky eaters. Distracted eaters. They continue to mow through their snacks, but meal time can be somewhat torturous. Girl now hates pasta, even with sauce - won't touch potatoes, avoids vegetables. Boy, who once loved spicy enchiladas, will now call anything too spicy and refuse to eat it. He once loved green beans. Now he doesn't like them. I'm not overly concerned or worried about it, just incredibly annoyed by it. They've always been great eaters and most people will probably still call them good eaters, but I will call them the pickiest of good eaters. Sad little crusts left sitting on the plate...

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Monday, June 4, 2007

A Book of Manners from Dystopia - At WHAT AGE is this appropriate??!

O.K., here is the scenario. I picked up a book of manners illustrated by one of my all-time favorite children's illustrators. I actually purchased it over a year before we had Boy - back in the days of yearning for a family and the hopes that buying a children's book would bring luck in achieving that goal. I never opened it until today. It has been on our hallway bookshelf and I had put it there thinking that we would pick it up at a later time. We're working on the importance of good manners now, so I thought - Great! This is a new book that looks fun. I flipped through the pages and came upon this: "You are a cowboy riding around the range. Suddenly Bad-Nose Bill comes up behind you with a gun. He says,'Would you like me to shoot a hole in your head?'" Then the next line is, "What do you say, dear?" ...

I'll tell you what I say, DEAR. What the HELL!!! Not only are these the words, but it is fully illustrated with a cowboy pointing a BIG gun to a little cowboy's head. I mean at what age would this be appropriate?? The back of the book says that it is aimed at children ages 4 to 8. (No pun intended.) Am I insane or does this seem CRAZY!!? I am just friggin OUTRAGED that this book is out there. I'm tossing it! Oh, if you're wondering what the response to "What do you say, Dear?" was ... it was this: "No, thank you." A book of manners for 4 to 8 year olds. Yeah, in Dystopia.

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Friday, June 1, 2007

Thank GOD for IMITREX & Can you get a straight jacket in size 3T?

Tonight was fabulous! Just what I needed. I have an amazing group of women friends who are part of a playgroup. I joined the playgroup when Boy was 4 months old and I was pregnant with Girl. If ever I needed the support it was then. These women are just the best. And occasionally we get to do a ladies night and last night it was at someones house, which is always great as we get a better visit in. I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to go as E had a friend in town who invited him out for dinner and I was coming off a vicious migraine. But, it all worked out. E's friend is here for a couple of weeks, so E graciously bowed out, bless him, and my IMITREX medication kicked in. That stuff is a miracle! Expensive, but a miracle. So, the ladies night was celebrating the in-town appearance of one of our favorite ladies, who moved to Connecticut last summer. It was great to see her and laugh with all the women. It's wonderful to have witty friends, especially when a migraine has left you feeling wit-less. We did a potluck and we all sat around and gabbed, mostly about our kids of course. It is like a shot of Vitamin B-12 to be around my friends and not be with the kids. I ADORE my children and am so grateful that I've been able to be home with them - stressful as that is, but ... I really, REALLY, REALLY appreciate a night out with the girls - brain fried or no. We were commiserating on the terrible twos and challenges we also have with our 3 year olds. There were SO many laughs, witty comments, the best of which was "Can you get a straight jacket in size 3T?"

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