Banner courtesy of Chaotic Mom
1. I did a Thursday 13 yesterday, and set it to ‘Autopost.’
2. Then I deleted it when I realized I’d written it when I was really really grumpy.
3. You could really TELL i was grumpy when i wrote it.
4. No one would have gotten past number 3, they all would have clicked away really fast!
5. And you’re still here, so this one must be better…
7. Well, I don’t know.
8. It’s not much of a list.
9. It’s sort of a Pretty Daffodil banner followed by nothing of importance.
10. But we’re friends and friends can do that right?
11. Except I’ve already said i stink at doing the whole friends thing.
12. Tonight I made 2 little boys happy by creating a dessert. It had a blue layer of Gogurt, followed by banana slices, tiny brown teddy grahams, and rainbow sprinkles.
13. It about made me gag, but they snarfed it. Ethan-6yr called it Mom’s Banana Slices, Yogurt, and Bear Sprinkles Dessert. (Not a bad name, really, except the idea of ‘bear sprinkles’ makes me think of bear pee, and that’s gaggier than blue Gogurt.)
Today is the Day of the Short Mommy Fuse. Fortunately, I am aware of it, and working hard against this icky force. This means that instead of blowing up completely every time the boys look under the dining room table at one another I am able to grit my teeth and say SIT UP. AND. EAT. Aren’t I so pleasant? And why do I even CARE that they’re looking under the table?
And earlier when Ethan-6yr was intentionally driving Caden-2yr nuts, I did not freak out in a royal fit at Ethan-6yr (which I SO wanted to do). Instead I fought that urge somehow, and managed to detain Ethan-6yr for a moment by holding his arm. It was long enough to allow Caden-2yr to LICK Ethan-6yr’s arm, which may seem like an odd strategy to you. It was not. Let me explain. I didn’t get involved other than a gentle restraining hold on the child tearing through the kitchen, I did not yell any of the ugly thoughts in my head, Caden-2yr solved his own problem and stood up for himself very successfully since Ethan-6yr hates being licked, and Ethan-6yr? He stopped bugging his brother. Yea.
I hope Ethan-6yr’s arm was clean.
Saturday was not a Short Mommy Fuse Day, and the ‘eyebrowist’ I visited should be VERY glad. I told her I wanted my brows shaped and she said, "Do you want your lip done too?"
Gah! "Um… do you really think it needs it?"
"Oh yes. Right here." She touches some part of my face i had always blissfully assumed was hairless. Apparently not.
"Um, well okay." She does my eyebrows, they look great. She makes no move to attack my lip area, so I’m up off that table and digging in my purse.
"Oh wait! I talked to the baby and forgot about that lip. Come on."
I look at Seth-7mth, then back at her, and try again. "Do you really think it needs it?" (denial, y’all.)
She slathered on hot wax in the shape of a GIANT HANDLEBAR MUSTACHE. No. I am not even kidding. And yes, my ego was ripped off right along with the wax.
The other day in the car, Ethan-6yr were discussing the cat, Charlo. I don’t know what I said that made Ethan-6yr shake his head with disgust and say, "Why didn’t you ask ME, Mom?"
Ethan-6yr is totally put out that I didn’t consult him on the cat issue, which was so important i cannot even remember anymore. "Mom. I am an animal behaviorist. You should have asked ME."
I sputter. He just turned 6. Animal behaviorist?! I’m wondering if that’s even correct, or if it’s actually ‘behavioralist’. I think he had it right though, although my thirty year old self had to google it to be sure. geez. Anyway, I got it together enough to say, "Animal behaviorist? Is THAT what you said?"
Ethan-6yr, suddenly bores with the conversation and gets annoyed. "Yes, Mom. That means I study the behaviors of animals." He sounds so beleaguered at having to define it for me, but sorry. He DOES have to define it for me.
"Um…. when did you become that, and where did you learn that phrase?"
"I’ve ALWAYS been one, we just haven’t always called me one."
Tonight we were all outside, and Charlo the cat wanted to come out to the backyard, too. Once outside, he sat on the sidewalk and the West Texas wind riffed through his long coat. It blew about, so long is his fur, and so strong are our breezes. Ethan-6yr watched Charlo for a few minutes, and said, "Look! The wind is grooming his fur!"
I don’t even know what that meant, except that it was cute, and I loved him for saying it.
A few days after Ethan-6yr pronounced himself an Animal Behaviorist, I pointed out a bird’s nest to him. He says that he can tell exactly what kind of bird made the nest, just by looking at it. I’m impressed. He squints a little, then declares confidently, "That is the nest of a kookaburra!" Uh huh.
"Actually, Ethan, kookaburras just live in Australia."
"Oh. Looked like it to me!"
Moral of the story: do not be impressed by a person’s professional title. It might not indicate actual expert status.
(you can, however, be totally mommy-proud of the cuteness of a professional title, if warranted.)
Maybe it’s the time of year that has me thinking of my first dance recital. May was always the month of ballet and piano recitals. Or maybe it’s something else. But my first dance recital took place in a very small town in central Texas, and I was 4 or 5 years old. My class of aobut 10 girls were doing a ballet dance and would be called Little Pink Clouds. I thought it sounded glamorous. Now it sounds kinda stupid, but that’s ok.
We were all dressed in pink leotards with silver squiggles of sequins on the front, and short sticky-out pink tutus. On our heads… oh, get this! On our heads we wore clear headbands with silver squiggles of sequins – my first and only tiara. Go ahead, sigh with me…
Our teacher’s name was Patti, and she danced the routine in the wings, where we could see her but the audience could not. I remember my mom pointing out that the audience knew she was there because we all kept our eyes glued to Patty, so we’d know what step came next.
At one point in the dance, the Little Pink Clouds were supposed to bourre in one large circle. (that just means you put your feet close together, take tiny steps on your toes and we held our arms above our heads in a semicircle) So we did, and I started at the back of the circle, and my friend Christal was at the front of the circle. The circle slowly went around, each Little Pink Cloud taking a turn at the front of the stage.
I was a shy, quiet kid, who totally got lost in the moment. I remember getting excited as our little circle turned and my turn at the every front of the stage was coming up. All eyes on me. Maybe it was the tiara, or the bright lights, but for some reason, the thought was wonderful and i remember clearly what it was like to bourree with all my heart and look up and see the different color gels over the stage lights above me. I put everything i had into that moment, getting lost in the limelight, utterly.
There’s a photograph somewhere, taken exactly at that moment. A circle of Little Pink Clouds on an elementary school stage. All of the Clouds are looking in one direction. Not at Patti in the wings, but at one pink drifter at centerstage. She has her arms up, eyes up, head thrown back, and is completely unaware she’s drifted out of proper pink cloud formation. The other little four and five year old clouds are giving her a ‘what the HECK!?’ look. It’s priceless.
For years i felt stupid when i thought of that moment – the perfectionist in me would cringe at the memory. But now I love it that I can remember the details of that one moment when I just let go and danced, centerstage, and left everyone else to do their own thing behind me. It was glorious.
I should do that more often.
I guess the silver squiggles all over our costumes were our ‘silver linings’. Funny how I never realized that until now…
Response to Kind Commenters from Here:
I emailed my teacher, thank you all very much. Not one of you said, "Loser! Why bother?!" Y’all are polite that way. Haven’t heard back, but I’m sure I will eventually.
I am working on polishing my manuscript, and will send it to a very special someone at a very special place very soon. (ew. gag. did that sound wrong?)
Luxury MomMobile is this. We got it thinking we’d use it as an advertising vehicle, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. We thought it was crazy to spend a bunch of money on a car that was going to have french fries on the floorboards, but we got over it. i changed a dirty diaper in it today and poo got on the fancy shmancy leather. but? it wipes off! no problem. Really, it might be a good thing that we haven’t yet stuck advertisements all over it, since my mom will tell anyone just how often i hit curbs. (so often, she’ll sometimes grab the door handle, and say "Watch out! This curb up here is one of your ‘faves!’ In my defense, it’s only when I’m making right turns. Like, every right turn.) My kids are so used to it they don’t even react. Curb jumping is not professional looking and neither am I, and perhaps the business’s phone number should not be at the ready when I’m curb hopping my way around town.
I just finished A Girl’s Best Friend, by my FAVORITE, Kristin Billerbeck. I’ll tell you more another time, but do yourself a favor and get it. NOW. It’s laugh out loud funny, as all of hers are. (But if you haven’t read the first Spa GIrls, start there. See my SIdebar for details on that one.) For now, I’ll just say I LOVED every minute I got to spend reading it, and I usually had a smile on my face. Yep. It’s that kind of book, and those are rare.
(Have you seen her blog?)
We have a bathroom that’s a decent size, and there’s a little ‘toilet closet’ at one end with a door. This tiny room has its own lightswitch and fan. I wish my husband knew that the fan feature is useful, and to try it every once in awile.
I drive a Luxury MomMobile. Last week the lady at a drive thru leaned out the window and asked if it was really nice inside as well. No one was in line behind me, and the place seemed deserted. I asked her to come see, if she wanted, but that it was probably dirtier inside than whatever she drove. She declined, horrified I’d even offered, and apologized repeatedly for who knows what. I wish this lady knew that Luxury MomMobiles don’t make you any different than anyone else – I know since I’ve driven far more cars on their last legs than she ever would have guessed.
I wish people knew that there isn’t a difference between loving adopted and biological kids.
I wish my high school English teacher and former friend knew I still think of her fondly. (I know, I know, but could YOU contact your high school English teacher if you punctuated stuff like I do?! Gah.)
Which makes me think that I wish my high school English teacher and former friend knew that such punctuation could actually be considered an art form, and should be appreciated. Because then I’d email and say ‘hi.’
I don’t like breakfast. I wish my family knew this well enough to not make me big breakfasts for holidays. I gag down the thoughtfully prepared meals, and try to smile, but i. hate. breakfast. Especially on holidays.
I wish my sweet church family knew that when they invite me to church get togethers, or ‘fellowship’ things, and i say, "umm, maybe, sure…," what I really mean is, "NUH UH, NO WAY, and please don’t even ask."
I wish a fantastic publisher knew that I’d written an inspirational chicklit manuscript that might make a good book. I know that they DON’T currently know this, since I’ve never sent it to any of them. But I wish they just knew.
I wish my dear husband knew that when I say something like, "I only have seven more pounds to lose," the correct response is NOT: (shock and awe) "REALLY? That’s ALL?" And not on Mother’s Day, either.
Well, in all fairness, he probably DOES know that. Now.
As you know, this is the day to click around to the Works for Me Wednesday Crowd, a genius idea from Shannon of Rocks in My Dryer. (Go there to see who has stopped by her site to claim participation!)
Minor Disclaimer: This particular post isn’t for everyone. Some moms might think my tips distinctly less than helpful, and downright wrong. That’s ok.
Tips for Kid-Friendly Fast Food Eating In The Car
(Why YES! I am an expert on this!)
1. Never get ‘dipping sauces,’ syrup, yogurt, or ketchup. Check the bags to see if some helpful person has placed any of these items inside BEFORE handing them to kids. Very important. And while you’re looking, be sure to take out any little salt packets. Those can be highly entertaining to children, and I mean that in a bad, bad way. ("Look! It’s snooooooowing!")
2. Always de-paper the straw for your kids, so little straw papers are not everywhere.
3. Before handing any child any drink of any sort, GLARE like you mean it and say, "Do NOT take off the lid. NO MATTER WHAT."
4. If you have a child who likes to change his order WHILE you’re placing the order, do the following:
step A: right before you approach the drive through menu, summarize Indecisive Child’s order.
step B: once you get a head nod of agreement or anything else – immediately, QUICKLY say "Great, excellent choice, that’s your final answer and there will be no more changes."
step C: Step on the gas and order before Indecisive Child has a chance to strike again.
(I’m especially proud of this final tip)
5. When you receive food that is too hot for immediate consumption by children, simply turn up the a/c, stick the food in front of your air vent for few seconds and voila! Ready. Ethan-6yr likes his food cooler than anyone else, so his whole bag is directed at one vent, then I can cool Caden-2yr’s for a shorter period of time, and it’s all done and customized to temperature preferences in less than 30 seconds. Because sometimes even fast food just isn’t fast enough.
Need to give your baby "fast food" in the car – and why not? (breastmilk is best, they say) Remember not to park near cars that are housing bored teenage males. Suddenly they’re not bored anymore, but that’s an education that’s not ‘free with the meal.’
Remember to look for those helpful signs in parking lots that read: "You are being monitored by security cameras."
Remember that if you ever see anyone wearing a button like the black one with the rose (and that’s what it is, and they’re $2 somewhere), RUN. And please, if you see me, don’t ask ME about breastfeeding unless your child is about to pass out and it’s that kind of emergency. I believe in it fully, I just don’t talk about it, ‘kay?
Okay, y’all. Please rock the comments today for this one little post, will ya? HolySister and I need help.
We’re planning a getaway trip, maybe 4 days, with just the two of us, plus Seth-6mth. Our requirements are different, and we can’t decide where to go. All suggestions welcome.
My trip preferences:
i’d like to try rappelling
baby friendly, plus baby travel friendly. (nowhere requiring flights with 4 connections, etc)
low humidity or strong local belief in air conditioning
i don’t like spa treatments or any other ‘pampering’ that entails paying strangers to touch me in any way. ew.
she wants to be waited upon, spa or resort style
wants to do very little (but she’s not good at doing nothing, and if she changes her mind, there needs to be stuff to do. trust me. a bored holysister without options is NOT a relaxing travelling companion)
also, she’s coming from New England, I’m coming from TX.
Throw out any and all ideas, y’all! We appreciate them! I don’t want to leave the country – all other places considered. HolySister suggested a cool place in Arkansas yesterday. (To those of you who know her, no I’m not even kidding.)
See, we were both supposed to visit websites and come up with ideas by today, and i havne’t had a chance. so i have no ideas and today is my deadline. (HolySister has probably looked at all the travel sites and then some, and organized the pros and cons of 19 cities on index cards. So help me out!)
Updated to add: A mere 10 seconds after posting this, HolySIster calls, giggling since she’s already seen this post. I’m amazed. And no, she doesn’t even use bloglines!
Sarah posted this, and you simply MUST go. Now. Be prepared to smile, laugh, and admire a really weird and talented man in an Orange Crush T shirt. Have fun! (Put down any beverages you don’t want coming out your nose.)
Updated to add: I was laughing too hard to even notice that yes, the Man in the Orange Crush T Shirt does indeed have a name. Go here to read more about Judson Laipply.
No, I didn’t just look at the sign wrong, or go to a restaurant that thinks it’s cute to put confusing signs up by the restrooms. Because signs that read ‘Men’ and ‘Women’? That’s so… unoriginal! Let’s say it in French or Italian or Spanish or Pig Latin or something, and pretend that all these little West Texans will just KNOW which is really the Men’s Room and which is really the Women’s Room. And these restaurants clearly KNOW we’re West Texans and all that implies. A great group of people, but we generally aren’t so cultured and classy that we speak a few languages on the side, especially under pressure when we just need to pee.
So, like I was saying, I ended up in the men’s room, although it clearly said "Men" in English. My first mistake was taking my three sons to Chick Fil A without another adult or sprouting extra arms and hands. But an after school snack and Ethan-6yr and Caden-2yr in the glass enclosed playroom, while Seth-6mth and I sit and watch? And can’t hear the screams? It sounded heavenly.
Ethan-6yr decides to go to the bathroom though, and Caden-2yr tags along, with me yelling, "No! No!" And they’re barefoot, having taken off their shoes to go play. I manage to get food and drinks back to the table, wheeling Seth-6mth around in a high chair with me from place to place. When I realize that my two little boys are in the men’s room, hyper, and alone (hopefully) – i leave the food at the table, wheel Seth-6mth all the way to the other end of Chick Fil A and open the door. I do not look in. That’s just so wrong. But I open the door with the intention of calling Caden-2yr (who does NOT potty at home, much less in Chick FIl A) and what do i hear?
Screaming. Hysteria. Little Boys In Distress. I throw open the door, wheel Seth-6mth in with me and totally forget to care if there might be some guy just trying to eat a Chicken Sandwich and get some privacy for a moment. But there isn’t, and thank GOD for that. Possibly the only bright spot of this little outing. Instead, Ethan-6yr is screaming because he’s trying to lock the stall door, and Caden-2yr is picking the lock from the outside. Caden-2yr has his pants off, but can’t unsnap his onesie and Ethan-6yr is trying to coach him to "LEAVE MY LOCK ALONE AND GO POTTY, CADEN!" Shrill. Screaming. Reverberating off all that gray ceramic tile they have in the men’s room. (WHICH IS TOTALLY CLEANER THAN THE WOMEN’S. Grr.)
It is futile to try to reason with either one of them, although I give it a shot, and don’t get anywhere. I scoop up Caden-2yr, his pants, and wheel the highchair back out and sit in the nearest booth while i shove Caden-2yr’s kicking legs back into his pants. People. Are. Staring. Particularly? Men. Men who are so thankful they didn’t have to go to the restroom during the moments just prior to My Scene Of Family Chaos.
So, Caden-2yr is pantsed, and I have him under one arm like a football (a kicking screaming football, because he was robbed of the privilege to pick locks and scream like a banshee in the men’s room for the first time). I wheel Seth-6mth back to the table, where our food still sits, and Ethan-6yr joins us with a ‘what’s the big fuss?’ look.
It is impossible to set Caden-2yr down without him bolting for the men’s room. I offer for him to go play and SKIP eating, but no dice. I manage to get sandals on his little kicking feet, the soles of which are already black from the dirt on the floor which i really, really don’t want to think about. I tell Ethan-6yr to grab the bag of food, leave the drinks and I scoop up Seth-6mth with one arm and Caden-2yr with the other. Ethan-6yr says, "No. I’m staying."
The lady in the booth behind us turns and looks, to see what I"ll do. SHe’s been interested, but politely pretending not to be aware of all the thrashing and protests right behind her. I clench my teeth and quietly tell Ethan-6yr to grab the bag and walk to the car.
Now is a good time to point out that Ethan-6yr has a distinctive voice very much like Mickey Mouse. It’s darling, usually. I walked to the door and he sat at the booth loudly proclaiming in his Mickey voice "I CAME HERE TO EAT!" Then he’d look to see where I was. "I CAME HERE TO PLAY!" I’m imagining he’s about to incite a revolt with the under 6 crowd in Chick fil A, but I’m losing my grip on Caden-2yr, so I go hold the door open leading to the parking lot and watch Ethan-6yr continue. He shouts a few more proclamations to his audience, then grabs everything, including drinks and meets me at the door. He can barely hold it all, and neither can I, and just as i get one kid into a car seat, Ethan-6yr drops it ALL. Caden-2yr starts screaming again, and Ethan-6yr starts announcing to the people still in the restaurant who are looking our way – and i so hope they can’t hear him – "MY MOM IS MEAN!"
This was one of those times where I found myself thinking, ‘ok. this is bad and it’ll get better.’ And then it would get worse. And then i’d think, "ok. this is worse, but now it’s gonna get better.’ And then it didn’t. It didn’t get better until they were all in bed asleep and I’d decided never to take my three little boys anywhere alone ever again. I’m practical that way.