Smell my fingers

There has been a whole lotta pukin' goin' on in this house this week. First my son, now my daughter. Me, I've been tired and a bit under the weather, but so far nothing projecting from any of my orifices which I usually consider to be a good thing.

More than a couple of times today I had to use my hands as an emergency bowl when my daughter was caught unawares of emanating puckage. Unfortunately, the cup runneth over so I have a ton of laundry to do.

On other appliance notes...our dishwasher broke down yesterday. YUP! The warranty *just* expired! We had considered renewing the extended warranty, but if we had the thing would still be working so no worries.


No horses were harmed in making this post

"Hey Mom! Look at what I can do! It's so cool!"

My daughter proceeds to wipe her nose on the palm of her hand, slap said palm down onto one of the playing cards spread out in front of us, and then waves at me like a prom queen on a parade float, "My boogers are glue!"

"Hmmmmmm..." is all I can come up with, because I am trying not to laugh.

"What did she say?" my son asks as he sits down to join the game.

"You don't want to know, honey."


Apples, trees, whatnot

"Mama, remember you said I could get a lollipop today?"

"Okay, we'll stop on the way home and get you a lollipop."

"But I don't meant the big food store, I mean the one with chips. We went there and cleaned our car, and I went there with Daddy and we cleaned the car. Not the big store. Not the big store! NOT THE BIG STORE!!!"

Eventually I realized she meant the mini-mart at our local gas station. My girl was crying to hit THE MINI MART AT OUR GAS STATION to get her lollipop fix. She's only been there the two times, but I guess it made an impression.

Oy. What have we done?


In Wonderland

I may not always make the right choices, but when it comes to my children it always comes from that Mama Bear place...I may make mistakes, but my love is no less ferocious. In fact, sometimes that very primal ferocity is what compels me to go down the wrong Mama Path, to make the wrong choices as a mother.

Our children need our freedom, but it is our responsibility to nurture them, and then, our joy watching them blossom sometimes feels paramount in its instinctual rawness. Ideally, those three parenting prongs braid nicely together, each taking their rightful turn, one not overshadowing the other, the tenacity of each equal to it's neighbor, thus resulting in the anticipated strong, glossy, autonomous plait.

Sometimes, however, a parent makes mistakes. Gathers too much in one third of the braid and it becomes lopsided. The other parts suffer...they are jilted, not given their fair share. It can be unbelievably difficult to allow our children that freedom to strike out on their own, whether that be walking down the street to a friend's house...or moving out on their own. That urge to nurture, to hover, to protect is so overwhelming that letting them out of our sight, for a minute or a month, feels like part of our very self is missing. It is, in fact.

And when they are out of our sight, they are blossoming without our witnessing it.

That is a whole different kind of pain. And joy.


Tempus fugit

It's nothing new, how these months keep going by faster and faster, the years whizzing past so quickly it's hard to keep them in focus. Modern life may exacerbate the situation, but the lamenting of the fleeing of time is as old as...well, time itself.

Then there are those days that shove the proverbial calendar in my face, "CHECK IT OUT! TIME IS PASSING! AND YOU CAN'T GET IT BACK!"

Today was one of those days. My baby boy turned nine.


Tomorrow he finishes third grade.


It was the first thing I thought of when I awoke, "It's my boy's birthday today. Tomorrow he finishes third grade." As it turns out his birthday was also a huge day for the entire third grade class; I spent most of the day at school watching their productions, hanging out in his classroom, jumping from shady spot to shady spot during the end of the year picnic. My daughter was with me, and she spent much of the day pointing at her big brother and calling out (inappropriately but in that way that makes everyone around her go, "AAAWWWW!"), "That's my BROTHER!" She was a trooper.

After the picnic, I lugged her, our picnic paraphernalia , my camera, our waters and the rest of the crap I had with me the half mile back to our car while she snuggled into me. Her tired arms circled my neck and her sweaty head snuggled against my cheek while the corner of a Dora the Explorer book that stuck out of a bag over my shoulder kept poking my triceps with each step (after the same bag banged into my thigh...WHY did I bring my lead weights with me?), I knew* I was going to drop my 2K worth of camera/flash that I was barely holding onto, I stank from the hours outdoors, and I was terrified that my kids were going to be up all night with a sunburn**.

Nevertheless, I reveled in how sweet she is, how sweet my boy is, how much I love my life and where I live, how amazing my husband is and how I love him, how lucky I am in general (sure, part of me was trying to distract myself from my physical discomfort but really I was just marveling about how flipping LUCKY I am).

Why are those moments of utter joy so fleeting? I would think that we'd hold onto the joy, what with how fast tempus does fugit. But I know I spend far too much time complaining. My friends complain. My husband complains. My kids complain. Why are we all complaining so much about the little things that comprise our daily lives, then also complaining about how fast time flies?

* I didn't
** Nope, they fell asleep promptly once in bed and their fair skin was still see-through.


On Paris and Parenting

Not that I don't love my kids (a fun blog, check it out) brought an awesome article to my attention; it is written by Jamie Lee Curtis and is over at Huffington Post.



One more reason to love batteries and hate oil

For too long Mr. Scale has been saying to me, "STEP OFF, bitch! Yeah, I'm talkin' to YOU! Why do you keep coming 'round here looking for something you KNOW you won't find? To quote Albert Einstein (or maybe it is Benjamin Franklin, or Rita Mae Brown, or a Chinese proverb...what do I know, I am a SCALE?), 'The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.'"

But AHA! I have discovered how to make Mr. Scale do my bidding. The other day I tapped it with my foot, waited for the tare function to do it's zero thing, and then stepped on.

It was so lovely. My scale told me, in no uncertain terms, "TOO LOW."

It's been many years since those words have been applied to my weight. I am TOO LOW!!! And I have been every morning since.

I *knew* my clothes were shrinking. Just knew it. My wedding rings being too tight for comfort? Clearly a function of solar flares or some other phenomenon causing them to decrease in diameter.

I really don't want to change that particular battery any time soon.


I'm gonna make it after all

Ugh, I was a wreck of a bitch yesterday. It started with the old woke up on the wrong side of the bed excuse combined with the syndrome of EVERYTHING is falling apart at the seams. Every other moment I felt like I was putting out fires, then turning around and hearing bad news, then being head-butted by the most ugliness humanity has to offer, then finding out that life as I know it is probably crumbling under my feet.

At least, that's how it felt.

So I called my Mommy. She always makes me feel better (belly poking notwithstanding...and honestly I invited it when I asked her, "Do I look like I've gained weight?").

Anyway, today I called her to talk me down, which she did. She always can; no one else helps me like my mom. During the course of our conversation, my daughter kept interrupting (the audacity!) and whining and yelling. Eventually I lost my "cool" and bellowed, "KNOCK IT OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

It's almost like my daughter didn't understand how badly I needed to talk to my mom. I mean, sometimes a girl just NEEDS her Mommy.

Later that night, as I was putting the kids to bed (my husband still at work, or at a fantasy baseball meeting, whatever) my daughter disappointed me. Out of respect for her three year-old privacy I will refrain from sharing (she peed on my bed) but let's just say she knew better.

I lost it.

I yelled at her, "YOU KNOW BETTER!" then lugged the linens downstairs to the laundry room, cursing myself because I was so behind on laundry that I didn't have enough to scrape together to make my bed properly. I bitched and moaned and complained and blamed everyone I've ever met.

Even as I did so, I knew I was acting like a lunatic. I didn't care. Some weird, primal, reptilian part of my brain actually enjoyed entertaining the thought of punching a hole in the wall. Another part of my brain worried that I had in fact lost it, and that this was The Beginning of the End.

This morning I woke up on the right side of the bed (and no, there is no subtext here). As soon as I opened my eyes I knew I wasn't in the same dark place that I was yesterday...that was certainly a relief, but I wondered what the hell was wrong with me yesterday, and felt heaps of guilt about my inability to keep my emotions in check the day before. I felt great today, except for that guilt.

As the day went on I was relieved to find that little things that would had set me off yesterday I was able to deal with in a rational way. While that was reassuring, I felt the echoes of yesterday tugging at me. You wouldn't have been so level headed yesterday, eh? Why NOT?

Mid afternoon I unexpectedly started my period (Wait! What is that sound? The out-clicks of all my male readers?). OH! THAT is what my deal was yesterday. I wasn't descending into lunacy, I was just PMS'ing.

Since being an optimist isn't my strength, I've come to the conclusion that at the age of 41 (and a half), since my periods are now not following the normal pattern of utter predictably (yes, I have neglected to share with you that my last cycle was nearly a week late) that I have entered perimenopause. Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.


The (First*) Cable Guy

The other day we switched our phone lines so that we had cable, internet, and phone from one provider (plus it saves money! Yippee!). When the cable guy arrived I opened the front door and was greeted by a lovely plume of second hand smoke so strong I thought for a second he was squirreling a lit cigarette behind his back.

I let him in and lead him where the Ethernet fraternizes with the cable and phone and cap this and thats and say, "Have at it; I will be upstairs with my daughter. Call me if you need me."

Fifteen or so minutes later I hear, "Ma'am?"

Ugh, Ma'am'ed.

I scurry down to see what the matter is, and he proceeds to tell me how our house isn't correctly wired for the job. We'd need to rewire EACH individual phone jack, and he isn't allowed to do that. We'll have to hire an independent electrical company to come in...shouldn't run us more than a few hundred.

Our house is four years old, and we paid a ridiculous amount so that ANY wiring needs we might ever possibly, conceivably, potentially have in the future were already in place. So, I ask him to explain EXACTLY how it is that our house isn't up to snuff. My swell cable guy went on to explain how yadda this wire yadda that wire blah that blah not correct ahem.

What he was saying didn't make any sense to me, but then I not the most fluent in Wiring Speak. So I admitted that I just didn't know what he was talking about (my polite way of saying YOU ARE NOT MAKING ANY SENSE).

He said, "Well, like I tell my daughter, you're beautiful so you don't need to be smart."

I can't tell you how incredibly relieved I felt to hear those words. What a burden lifted off my shoulders. I don't NEED to be smart. I am a female (which is what he meant by beautiful, believe me) and so I'm off the hook.

But wait! There's more!!! Later as he was leaving he felt the need to reiterate, "My wife always slaps me when I say this, but I am going to go ahead and say it anyway. If you're not smart, it's hard to understand."

Inwardly I just rolled my eyes. I didn't care what this guy thought of me and didn't feel the need to defend myself. He wasn't trying to be a jerk and in fact was trying in his ass-backward way to make me feel better about not understanding what he was saying. But my nearly nine year-old son was nearby; I didn't want to leave the impression that it was okay for people to talk to others that way. However, I *knew* the guy was just being folksy in the best way his one and a half standard deviations below average IQ would allow him.

So I just handled it the way I would have if my son hadn't been there. I smiled and nodded, thanked him, and showed him the door. Then I used it as a "teaching moment" (more rolling of internal eyes) and we discussed the difference between the words smart and ignorant, and the irony in the cable guy using the term incorrectly. We also talked about the whole sticks and stones vs. breaking bones theory and when to apply it, and a few other things as well.

I'm glad I didn't alter my behavior because I had my son as an audience. I've always trusted my instincts and they have generally served me well; parenthood isn't the time to stop. At least that is what my gut tells me.

*More irony: the cable guy totally messed up the wires when he as here. He managed to not only NOT install our new phone service, but to disconnect our old one. I discovered within thirty second of him leaving that were left without phone and internet (!!!) service. We managed to get the cable company to come back later that evening and the new cable guy had everything up and running in less than half an hour. Seems we didn't need to rewire EACH phone jack after all.


You know you need a date with your husband when…

Huh? A date. With my husband? What's THAT? I do vaguely recall hanging out with him in public, like at a restaurant or something. But I am pretty sure we lived in a different state then. Literally and figuratively.

It's bad...we're bad. Making time for the two of us just hasn't been on our radar for a long, long time. The demands of the kids, his job, the house, the zoo we call our animals, the vortexes we call our computers (aka "some time for me"), and that thing called sleeping take up a LOT of time. I don't even know if I have my babysitter's current phone number. Time for the two of us has has dropped low on the priority list. That's just wrong.

It's crazy to be living in the same house with someone and yet miss them. Especially when it is a sweetie who brings you black coffee in bed every single morning.

We need a date.


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