Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Challenge

Slacker Mommy is hosting a contest over at Slacker Moms R Us where you have to come and post your slacker mommy confessions and then are eligible to win something. Some parent-child bonding thing I think, which wouldn't really appeal to us Worst Mamas, but you know, just in case we decided to try something new.

Anyway, I think the Worst Mamas should all go rock the slacker mommy contest, because really, who's more slack than us? :)

Oh and my slacker-mom entry was a follow up on my previous post on my kids on a Saturday morning. I have to confess that this scene repeated itself this Saturday as a result of staying up too late the night before (with wine) and Clara waking up at 6AM because her thigh-rolls were wedged in the crib rails. She also had the nerve to complain about this loudly enough that she woke up Ben.

This time though, they spilled there Fruitloops all over the floor and I told them (from my semi-conscious position on the sofa) to eat them off the carpet.

Another shining moment for me.

Friday, September 28, 2007

More on Zero Nutrition Thursday

So yesterday, in honor of Zero Nutrition Thursday or poor planning, I left my children in the hands of my husband at 5:15 pm with no supper, even though I knew they had cub scouts at 6:30. I had to leave to go to Boston. I was supposed to be meeting friends at 5 pm. The Gingerbread Man asks me what to give them for supper. All I can say is, "There's raw bacon in the fridge. Cook that or give them cold cereal."

The bacon is still in the fridge. Raw.

The Cat Lady Cometh

Forgive me, WMEs, for I have sinned. It's been three weeks since Zero Nutrition Thursday and, for the most part, I have been a very, very good pregnant mama; but, today the lure of chocolate glazed doughnuts and a decaf cafe au lait from Dunkin Donuts was too strong for me to resist.

Lest you think I'm just a hyper-indulgent weakling with the willpower of sloth, or that I have finally plunged to the depths of weird pregnancy cravings (which, in fact, is partly true since I am neither a chocolate person, a coffee person nor a doughnut person...but, I digress...), today's doughnut and coffee extravaganza is brought to you by The Cat Lady, aka my child's paternal grandmother.

She is coming for an overnight visit this weekend to attend my baby shower on Sunday. Oh joy! 24 hours of "house arrest" because "Mom won't be up for that..." - no matter what "that" would happen to be - and, of course, our mission is all about her. What do you get when you mix cabin fever, passive-aggressive manipulation and martyrdom, a thick, stuck-on layer of fur and dander from eight cats and an on-edge baby daddy? A general ill-at-ease feeling...all on a weekend that is supposed to be about celebrating the little soul growing within my womb, and maybe even celebrating the fact that I am joyfully incubating the little darling. I deserved those doughnuts and that coffee, n'est ce pas?

The last straw broke on Wednesday night when baby daddy shared the news with Cat Lady that paternal grandfather's wife, Kent, is coming into town to also attend the shower: "oooh, ummm, oooh, huh, hmmm...well, I guess I can adapt to anything..." Never mind that Cat Lady and paternal grandfather have been divorced for 37 years, and that he has been remarried since 1992, and that there have been many family occasions where both Cat Lady and Kent have been together and have interacted quite cordially. Never mind, too, that the shower is supposed to be about ME and my baby, and that Kent and I are pretty close, and that I am thrilled she will be here. As if it's all about her. Sigh.

Pray for my sanity this weekend. There will be wine at the baby shower, so it is highly possible that my next entry will actually warrant the award of a WMP for abuse of substances that are much stronger and more harmful than a sugary, fat-laden chocolate doughnut and decaf coffee.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Being Supportive

You know how you're supposed to be supportive of your children, once they get older and start making their own decisions? Take room decor, for example. When we decorated the boys' room, I thought maps would make a good theme but they picked space ships. Even though I wouldn't have made that choice myself, there wasn't anything dangerous about their choice so I threw myself behind it and helped them select coordinating paint. I even hung the spaceship paper myself! (About 25% of it has been ripped off the wall near the upper bunk and another 30% is sagging down because our state motto really ought to be The Humidity State but I still supported their choice.)

Watching the boys make their own decisions is fascinating! At this stage, you can really SEE them think something over. Ross has an especially interesting thinking face - he can run through sixteen different looks in about five seconds and an actual lightbulb appears, illuminated, above his head when he reaches his conclusion. After the fun of watching them think, I feel it's only fair to reward their hard work by letting them actually make the decision. I know this may be contrary to my WME goal, but I'll redeem myself a little by telling you this:


His choice - the NY Rangers (*spit*) - is SO offensive that it has the potential to get him kicked out of the will (well, ok, if there was a will)...and yet, tomorrow night, I'll be escorting him to one of professional hockey's most sacred temples to watch his team play. Worse, it's not even a Sabres contest! (Yes, yes, I do see all my current WMPs flying out the window.) At least my life will not be in jeopardy, as I will not be wearing any noticeable Sabres gear and I will be rooting, loudly, against the other team (NY Islanders). Note: I will NOT be rooting FOR the Rangers - I will be rooting AGAINST the Islanders. I'm hoping that my staunch refusal to support my kid in this matter will at least keep me from getting kicked all the way off WME.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Saturday Morning

I would like to submit into evidence this picture of my two youngest children on Saturday morning. Note their rapt attention towards the television as they both eat their healthy breakfast of Fruitloops, on the floor. I would like to point out that both children are still wearing the clothes they wore the day before, and slept in, minus their pants. Note the general lack of pants. It is also obvious that no-one has bathed as you can still see Ben's good behavior stamp on his hand from Thursday and his dinner from the night before on his shirt. Note the mess strewn around them on them on the floor. And where was mama? Blogging of course.

PS. To my relatives that might be seeing this pictures. I totally staged this picture for WME. I never actually neglect my children in this way. Are you buying this?

One of the first lessons of motherhood...

Driving to gymnastics this morning, Will discovered the button to open the window. Surprisingly, it took him three years to do so. Anyway, he opened the window. All is quiet. Tunes are playing. Along comes a fire truck. As is my habit, whenever emergency vehicles drive by, I pull over, and shut the windows (because they're so loud).

You know what's coming, don't you?

Yes, I shut four little fingers in the window.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Full Moon at Target

Friday night I took the kiddos for their usual "special" night of CiCi's pizza, sweets & candy, then Target for a movie. At this point in time one would assume that I have a diaper bag with me. Maybe even the wipe box and a spare pull-up...but not to disappoint, I have nothing. At this point not usually a problem except when your two year olds pull-up has a ripped side and front full of pee. And you are in Target. And the kiddos are running around like maniacs all hopped up on sugar. Are you getting the picture yet??? So, there I am standing in the middle of the main aisle in the grocery section of Target, looking left I see Kyle running to the back of the store, looking to my right is Todd coming full tilt out of the sub aisle to the main aisle to follow his brother in a very bizarre version of tag your it. All of a sudden, Todd skids to a stop looks down, looks up, giggles and says "pants fall down." Oh yeah...his pull-up and shorts have completely fallen to the floor. There is no hope. The dang thing is ripped and loaded down. He proceeds to "moon" everyone at least 3 more times as I think the stupid thing will stay put if he just walks instead of runs. No such luck. I think this may be one of my quickest trips ever to Target. At least he did not have to go to potty in the car on the way home.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Next Up: Butter Churn

Our cordless phone batteries died this week (both at once, of course, being the same age), so we hauled out an old Radio Shack corded princess phone. Lars called a friend this morning to respond to an invitation for apple picking. After dialing the number, he began pressing the other buttons one at a time, listening in-between for dialing tones. Unable to hear any, he cried out, “I can’t find ‘SEND’ on this new phone!”

Later, Ross wants to call his friend to ask him to bring over a bicycle when he comes to play. He heads into the den but reappears moments later, looking for the school phone book. Four or five minutes pass and he can’t find it so I headed in to the den to begin helping him look. The corded phone handset is laying on its’ back, dial-pad up, on my desk. Enough time has passed that the “hang me up” honks have stopped; it’s just laying there giving a faint dead line hum. “Ross! You have to hang the phone up,” I cry. He looks at me, wounded. He *did* hang it up…at least in his way. He hit ‘reset’ and then made sure to leave it on my desk where it could be found.

In addition to never teaching Lars to tie his shoes, we failed to teach our kids what to do when they encounter a phone with a cord.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mouths of babes

"What does the kitty say?"


"What does the cow say?"


"What does the dog say?"


"Lindsay, what does Mama say?"

She pulls a stern face. "No!"

Dilbert Hits Home

Where, "get those cost estimates" = "brush your teeth" or "get dressed" or "set the table" or "clean up your toys," this could be a conversation on any day between me and either of my kids:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

But That's Not ALL It Does....

When we were last in Vidler's, Lars found a Sabres keychain bottle opener with the new logo on it. He brought it over proudly, explaining how he would put it on his backpack along with his Snood keychain. Now, I may not recognize a choking hazard until we're half-way through the Heimlich Maneuver but I can spot a call from CPS coming, especially when beer and the elementary school are involved. Big Red Truck, anyone? Wishing to avoid cleaning the house for the social worker visit, I offered that we could get the Sabres keychain but - since I didn't think the school would like a bottle opener on his backpack - suggested we attach it to a hockey bag instead. Lars gave me an exasperated look. "Mama, it's not just for opening beer bottles," he admonished, "I can use it to open your beer CANS, too!"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Clean is overrated

So I'm not that great at getting the younger two bathed every day. Oh who am I kidding? I aim for every other day. Or when they stink. I have lots of excuses though. The older kids have lessons and practices late in the evening, and since I do the single parent thing during the week, just getting their teeth brushed and in bed at a decent time can be a stretch. So we do the babywipes-wipe-down. A lot.

But I do make it a point to wash the "good behavior" stamp from the day before off Ben's arm before he heads off to school. Can't have those things piling up. Someone might think the kid doesn't bathe. Occasionally I don't remember to check until we are in the car and then I am frantically scrubbing his arm with babywipes while trying to avoid the prying eyes of the other carpool moms.

God Bless Babywipes.

This morning we were heading off to school and Ben and Clara were wearing "hoodies" because it was chilly. They were both wearing their hoods up because it was their first time this year with the hoodies and hoods can be quite funny you know. We were approaching our turn in the carpool lane and I pulled down Ben's hood and was trying to use the "lick your finger and smooth" method to paste Ben's hair back into place when I realized he had oatmeal in his hair.


Ben didn't have oatmeal for breakfast this morning.

He had dry cereal. That means the oatmeal was from yesterday. And he already wore it to school once.

Man. I'm totally busted.

Seriously, what's wrong with me?

I was feeling like a pretty good mom yesterday. I got to daycare on time, we had a fun snack of cheese and crackers at home and headed to the park for still more fun. The weather has been glorious. The girls ran around the softball field, rolling in the grass like puppies. We headed home as the sun was setting. I made them fresh pasta with homemade sauce for dinner, bathed them and tucked them into bed. It was 8:30 by the time Jeremiah and I managed to push some food into our pieholes.

I had work to do still, but the evening had been so busy and I was so tired, we settled onto the couch to view more of season one of Veronica Mars on DVD. Jeremiah can't figure out why those insanely rich, spoiled kids attend public school but we're enjoying the show anyway. Just as we began a second episode, I thought I heard Sarah crying. We'd left the monitor in our bedroom. I muted the show. "What are you doing?" Jeremiah demanded. "I thought I heard Sarah, but I guess it's the show". I turned the volume back on and we sat, slackjawed, on the sofa for 45 more minutes. When we turned the TV off we definitely heard Sarah crying. That hoarse, tired cry of a baby who's been going on for, oh, 45 minutes. Jeremiah ran upstairs. Sure enough, Sarah was so distraught she was inconsolable. I ran up after him. I took Sarah while he searched for one of the magically disappearing pacifiers. I felt terrible. I didn't want to put her back down when she settled, so consumed with guilt was I. She kept sticking her finger in her ear. I knew it wasn't suffering from any illness at all, so my next guess was that she got water in her ear during all the splashing. I kept her on her side hoping gravity would do its work. Every time we moved she stirred and cried. Finally she and my extreme guilt settled enough that I could put her back in her crib.

Ah, that's good now, peek at Kate to make sure she's fine and...where's her pull-up? Why is she buck naked? I began looking around for a discarded pull-up, feeling annoyed because I'd just put the only set of clean twin sheets on her bed before tucking her in. Then it dawned on me. I forgot to put a pull-up on her. Fingers crossed, I tiptoed up to her bed and...oh dear...soaked.

So let's see here...left my baby screaming for 45 minutes while I watched a kids' TV show, put my not quite completely potty trained pre-schooler to bed without back-up. I had to move Kate to the guest room because I had no more sheets for her bed. I'm sure she woke up confused and disoriented but, I figured, it's good practice for college. I laid awake feeling like a complete failure for another hour and subsequently skipped my workout this morning. For my next trick...more coffee.

Monday, September 17, 2007

All day Pizza

Thinking about Zero Nutrition Thursday, I have realized that we have a W.M.E. eating tradition in my house as well. And ours is pretty much every Friday. Sigh.

I get really angry with the pre-k that the boys attend as they take the easy way out and give the kids pizza for lunch every Friday. I mean seriously, they really need to leave some of the bad food for us hurried and harried parents to feed our children. Anyway, we have started a tradition on Friday nights where we take the kids to dinner and then to Target to buy a movie if they have been "on green" all week. The kids always want to go to Cici's pizza. Go figure. So, we give in and have found that we now feed our children pizza twice on Friday, every Friday, along with all the candy they "win" in the claw drop candy game. Seriously...I think they will both turn into a amazes me every Friday that we do not have two very sick, puking children in bed with us each Friday. Ewwww.

Oops we did it again...Bad, Bad Words

Did you ever believe that your children would actually be paying enough attention to everything you say to repeat all the (bad) words that come out of your mouth and in perfect context? We apparentely did not learn our lesson the first time this happened because Kyle just keeps busting out with the bad, bad words. When Kyle was a little over 2 he was riding in the car with my husband Kevin when Kevin let loose with the mother of all bad words...f***. He was driving in traffic and just could not help himself. Go figure. Well, Kyle yells from the backseat f***, f***, f***. At which point Kevin tries to tell Kyle, no, no I did not say that, I said TRUCK. Kyle did not buy that and the next thing Kevin knows, Kyle is yelling from the backseat f*** truck, f*** truck. You would think we had learned our lesson. Really watch out language around the kids, no more bad words, blah, blah blah but Oh no no no, we apparently were not as vigilant as we thought. Two weeks ago Kevin and Kyle (now 4) are standing in front of the fridge with the freezer door open looking for dinner or a popsicle, who knows, but long enough to feel the cold coming from the freezer. Kyle, in all his 4 year old wisdom, with a very serious face looks at Kevin and says..."Holy s*** it's cold." My husband blames this on me as s*** is my word of choice.

And then Mommy threw the balloon out the car window

As a parenthetical, I'm finding the points hard to track these days. If you give me a shout out and correct them, I will correct them. Relatives of Worst Mama candidates, your participation is welcome, but your scoring won't be counted. Sneaky Karen...

Yesterday, we were guilted into attending attended an engagement party for one of Alec's cousins. We like his cousins, it's really just the assorted jerks family members that also attended that are problematic. Within about 3 minutes of his stepmother and father showing up, my shoulder blades were tensed so far they were up around my ears. If it wasn't, "Well, you're NOT spending Thanksgiving with Epiphany's family, you spend Christmas with them every year!" (uh, you're Jewish..) it was perhaps "Well, the IDEA of matching dresses was cute, it's too bad you couldn't find ones that fit...or were nice-looking..." or maybe even "We have lists of dates to go over with you..." I wasn't in my best parenting form, n'est ce que pas?

I had told Lauren she couldn't go play outside because there was a pool. It was behind a locked gate, I found out later, but y'know, whatever. I'd said no. After her 3rd 8-ounce bottle of water I'd told her she'd had enough to drink before we had to get into a car to drive what turned out to be 3 hours from Orange County to Brooklyn. And although she was offered the dozen or so mylar balloons, I told her she couldn't take one with her because we were going to be in the car too long.

So you know, of course, that I found Lauren outside on the swing set with the other kids, and when I asked she stated that she knew I told her no, but she wanted to play. And I also caught her asking Alec to get her some "sparkly water". When I went to check her seatbelt in the car and found she was holding the string of one of the mylar balloons, I lost it. I yanked its string and released it out of the car.

Alec looked at me incredulously. "What the Hell?!"

Yeah, not a shining moment for me.

The second party we attended yesterday was Alec's office's annual barbecue. We always have a great time - Alec's coworkers are a great bunch. At one point, I heard Lauren recounting to Jon, "And then Mommy threw the balloon out the car window..." He laughed, and then looked up shaking his head, you know, kids say the darnedest things style.

"I threw the balloon out the car window." I said.

"Wow," he managed.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Just a bonus

Ben and Clara are 2 years apart. Now that Clara has passed the one-year mark, they are actually starting to play together, which always makes Shane and I all warm and fuzzy to see. Tonight we were watching them both playing with a drum. Ben rat-a-tat-tat-ing and then saying,

"Your turn Cwara"

Clara takes a turn. Bam-Bam-Bam, (She's a brute that one) squeals and waits for Ben. It was adorable.

After a few rounds of this I said "I am so glad they are finally playing together now. She's really helping me keep Ben occupied"

To which Shane responds, "Me too, since that's why we had her."

"Oh yeah." I say through my giggles. "And in case Ben needs a kidney or something."

Shane, laughing then at his own crassness, retorted "Yep. The whole love thing? Just a bonus."

The Most Important Thing

Our schools strongly promote a healthy social environment. Toward this end, the school counselors are involved with the kids on a weekly basis. In addition to in-class sessions where the counselor leads discussions about what to do if you're bullied or how to respond if you feel you are being treated unfairly, the kids "win" lunch in the school counselor's room once a month or so. This event brings a small group of kids from mixed classes together, presumably with a moral goal in mind although my kids talk most at home about what kind of drink or dessert was served.

This year, the school is focusing on the school-home connection. Our first joint venture arrived in the form of a short story we're meant to read at bedtime that will be a 'discussion starter' at some point in school. The directions tell us that our expressive words and facial expressions can bring the tale to life! Somehow, I doubt they're talking about the incredulous eyes and pained winces that Chris and I both experienced while reading the tale...but I digress. The tale is of a group of gentle beasts (Coyotes aren't 'gentle'! hollers Ross), on their way from the old world - where we learn food will soon run out - to the glorious new land of plenty. Horse, the cocky leader, whose "mane flew with the spring-like zephyrs" (vocabulary quiz, anyone?), jauntily leads the group to the new stomping grounds but stops short at a rushing river, unable to cross on the narrow, round, log. The other animals all scamper across and, once safely on the other side looking back at Horse, experience a wide range of emotions - anger, abandonment, insecurity, sadness. None of them can fathom that Horse might be scared of crossing the log. Eventually, after an appropriate amount of incredulous taunting, a small voice comes out of nowhere with the idea of everyone helping Horse to cross the log. The material animals point out they can't carry, push, or pull Horse over, and suggest therefore that they will not be able to help but the ethereal small voice offers that they can keep Horse company! So, they all troop back over the log, to the starting side. Coyote whispers to Horse that the MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO KEEP GOING. Horse lines up between the other animals and they inch over the log together and then continue on to the new lands, where they live to this day. The story ends with the admonishment to always remember what is important.

Having made it through the story without using any MST3K voices and trying not to gag over the total B-movie sappiness (..."Finally after almost forever, and almost a longer time, Fox cried out..."), I asked the kids what the most important thing is? Ross immediately replied, "Stopping the puck!" and my heart was once again glad.

Indicators that your child might have a Worst Mama

While standing outside the fence of a great hole dug by an excavator in a gated neighborhood lot, her friends' father asks why there is a hole there.

Child 1: It's going to be a swimming pool!

Child 2: It's going to be a basement for a building.

Your child: It's going to be a place to bury a lot of dead people.

Uh, yeah, it was MY child who offered mass grave as a solution, what of it?! We live in Jersey.

Perhaps we need a border collie

Among a slew of developmental milestones Sarah is reaching these days, one of them is her new desire to walk more than she is carried. She wants very much for us to hold her if we are trying to do something that precludes holding 19 pounds of sweetness (like cooking, showering, working, going to the bathroom...well you get the idea) but if we're on the move, she wants to walk.

It's a somewhat annoying because she walks a bit like a wind-up toy, constantly going off course and running into walls and sometimes just petering out completely and standing stock still in the middle of our path. The other day I was letting her wander a around in the main entry of daycare while I talked with the director. I swear we exchanged no more than 3 sentences when a complete stranger came up to me holding Sarah. "I believe this is yours?" she said, kindly, passing her over to me. Apparently Sarah had made it through the doors to the parking lot and this other mama found her literally playing in traffic. Oh well, it takes a village. For some of us, it really takes the entire village.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How to be a Worst Mama in a three-minute span of time

1. Realize it's 2:50 PM and the bus will arrive in 5 minutes.
2. Pick up your toddler while slipping on your shoes.
3. Hear a metallic clink in your toddler's mouth.
4. Say, "What do you have in your mouth?"
5. Be shocked when she puts her hand in her mouth, retrieves a nickel, and hands it to you, nonplussed.
6. Place the nickel in your pocket as you walk out the door.
7. Step onto the sidewalk, watching the bus zoom past three minutes before you expected it to arrive.
8. Walk to the bus stop anyway, hoping against hope that someone got your kid and that you don't have to drive to school to retrieve her from the office.
9. See another mom carefully crossing your kindergartener across the street.
10. Thank her profusely. Make a mental note to bake her banana bread that will promptly be forgotten.
11. As you're thanking her she says, "Look out!" as your 5-year-old approaches a driveway with a car backing out.
12. Yell, "Freeze." Thank GOD when she does.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Business in the Front, Party in the Back

So I was going through some older pictures the other night and thought I would share with all some pictures showing my apparently very unwise decision to not cut my now 2 year old sons hair. I was convinced that he had the cutest little curls and just could not bring myself to get his hair cut even though he was growing the worst baby mullet ever. Especially for a little boy. Sheez...even if not worthy of a WME point at least we can all laugh at my son who looks like a miniture Billy Ray Cyrus!

Saint Elmo's lament

An ancient story was revived recently about my daughter's language. I say only in my defense that we have a Potty Language Belongs in the Potty rule in our house. I'm not telling you that story today.

Recently, Lisa told us on her personal blog that Sarah received Tickle Me Elmo from Jeremiah's mom.

Kate schools Elmo while Lola and Sarah look on in terror

We received Limbo Elmo as a Hanukkah present when Lauren was about 15 months old. I can't say that one Elmo is cooler or more annoying than the other, they all seem about the same. I imagine in the context of factory production, I would probably throw a rope around my own red plushy neck if I got the Chicken Dance Elmo assignment, but that's just me.
Like all great toys for the toddler set, Limbo Elmo comes with a stick.

Elmo dances to his own version of "Limbo Rock", which includes the disturbing phrase, "How low can Elmo go?!"

Lauren had the stomach flu when she was 17 months old, 2 days before we went to visit my mother-in-law in Hawaii. She vomited pretty much hourly and everything. Back then we lived in an apartment with the laundry in the basement of the building, so we changed the sheets and had to bag them for later laundering since it was against the building rules to do a load of laundry after 11 PM. So one of us was holding Lauren, trying to get her to take tiny sips of Pedialyte, and the other was frantically changing sheets. When we ran out of sheets, we placed towels over the mattress pad. In the first bout of sick, Lauren had thrown up on Elmo. Since he's an electronic toy, you can essentially only spot clean him, and last night's mac and cheese smelled pungently sour enough to deter me from that idea. I chucked Elmo in the garbage in the kitchen.

At 4 AM, I was rocking Lauren in the rocking chair. She was almost asleep, wearing only a diaper with a blanket wrapped around her. It was then I heard a small muffled voice from the trash.

"Help me!"

Every horror movie involving a doll or stuffed animal flashed into my head, my brain too tired to process them. I placed sleeping Lauren in her crib, and walked into the kitchen.

"Elmo fall down. Please pick Elmo up!" His little red hands reached up at me.

I'm not dreaming this. It's a talking doll.

"Please help Elmo!" he pleaded.

"Elmo, I can't. You're just too dirty." I said sadly. "I can't fix you."

I heard Lauren stir. I went into the bedroom and woke Alec. "Sorry, babe. It's your turn. I was talking to a stuffed animal in the garbage."

"Alright." Alec said.

I fell asleep, hearing Alec talking to Lauren and the rocking chair on the wood floors.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What I learned at Curriculum night

Tonight was Brandon's curriculum night at the high school. It's where I go and meet all his teachers and find out if there is anything special I need to know about his classes. There are only a handful of parents that come to these things, but I, being mother of the year needing all the help with Brandon I can get, am faithful to them. I figure if the teachers have something they want to tell me (or are being forced to) I should go listen.

Brandon is a character. He's really funny and while he is definitely smart he is much more interested in making people laugh than in his academics. As a result he often gets less than stellar feedback from his teachers. He occasionally gets a teacher that really connects with his wry sense of humor but mostly they are just irritated with his antics and general academic apathy.

And I admit I have been known to cringe a bit when sharing which child is mine. I know. I should get a whole slew of WMPs just for admitting that.

Well today, I brought Ben with me to curriculum night. He loves visiting the older kids schools and I figured Brandon might get some points for having such such a cute little brother. The last class we went to was World History and I had already received a distinctly non-positive vibe from the rest of Brandon's teachers. His History teacher was a fresh faced eager kid and I did my best not to cringe at all as I introduced myself and explained what student I belonged to. The teacher responded with "Oh, I love having Brandon in my class. He is such a smart young man and he really adds a lot to our class!"

And I, being truly awful, responded by bursting out in incredulous doubt,

"Brandon Abcdefg???? (insert appropriate last name here.)

And when the teacher looked back at me surprised and confirmed it.

I said "Seriously?"

And Ben said:


Oh yes. Not only was I unable to believe that anyone but me would actually enjoy being around my teenager, I have taught that sentiment to my three year old son. I spent the rest of the meeting looking for a hole. One big enough to crawl into.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Decisions, Decisions

Something I've learned during my adventure in gestating is "it's all about choices." Having been admonished by my fellow contributors to this blog that WMPs are awarded for "knowing acts" and since my bid for WME is limited right now to choices that affect a child in utero, I offer up the story of Thursday. I like to think of it as Zero Nutrition Thursday, and it goes something like this: for breakfast, an enormous and highly caloric, fat- and sugar-laden Starbucks blueberry muffin washed down not by nutritious milk, but a venti iced passion tea shaken with three Splenda. For lunch, a sodium-bomb Arby's roast beef sandwich topped Arby's sauce and washed down with a MEDIUM Diet Pepsi. Lunch context: inhaled in my car, SPEEDING to a meeting, because I left my office really, really late, after spending too much time building a baby registry. For dinner, I was craving Raging Burrito. Alas we have no Raging Burrito in Florida, so I settled for a Triple Lindy from Moe's. It WAS made of black beans and tofu, but wrapped in a flour tortilla made with lard and also washed down with a MEDIUM Diet Pepsi. Did I drink any milk? No. Did I eat any vegetables? Not really, unless you count the sweetened blueberries in my muffin and the salsa in my burritos. Did I enjoy any whole grains, whole fruits or 64 oz. of water? No, no and no. Do I feel guilty about any of it? NO! After all, I DID swallow my once-daily Expecta pill and prenatal vitamin.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Shower Wars, Part 1

Hockey season kicked into full gear this week. The boys have team practice two nights per week and Ross has an additional night of goalie practice. On hockey nights, dinner and homework are done before we leave for the rink. They get a snack and drink after skating but once home, they are supposed to shower and brush teeth and hop into bed.

Ross has never been much for a shower. He doesn't mind being clean but he prefers a bath and he despises having shampoo or water poured on his head. Last year, we held an every-other-night policy for getting clean but would frequently skip two days unless there had been some serious dirty-getting going on. This year, with all the hockey, Ross has warily identified the daily showers on his horizon and is angling for a dodge. "Mama, how about if I shower in the morning, instead of tonight? I could get right into bed faster..." he trails off.

I know Ross can easily manufacture a ten or fifteen minute distraction, enough to run him right out of time to shower in the morning. Also, there's no way I'm letting all that hockey sweat into his bedsheets. "You can't put your dirty self into your bed but if you want to sleep in the bathtub, that's ok with me."

Ross waits to see if I'll crack a smile, if I'm kidding, and when I don't seem to be, he baits. "Ok, I'll sleep in the tub then," he says brightly.

"Fair warning - if your brother has an accident, he'll throw his pee-pee pants on your head. You know he always puts the wet clothes into the bathtub." Seconds later, Ross is in the shower. Good thing we had that second kid!

Preparing for a trip with 4 children.

So we are leaving for the beach this morning. The house is atwitter with excitement. The older kids left for school this morning knowing they would soon be checked back out. Ignoring the sleepiness from staying up too late to stuff last minute items in their bags. Ben keeps jumping around, "We're going to the beach! The beach!" which he really has no concept of but certainly sounds fun.

And then there's me. In full-on martyr-mode for the last 24 hours as I frantically try to get together the things we will need. Waking up in the middle of the night to remember to put swim diapers on the list. Shopping to replace the beach towels that somehow wandered out of my house. Making lists and piles and last minute trips to the store. Trying to find sun hats and travel games for the car and sheets for the pack-n-play. Snapping at my husband that he still hasn't gotten the tires rotated on the van. Do I have to do everything?

Basically feeling sorry for myself about how this one long weekend has had me working my tushie off for the last week. Snapping at people in my family that have the nerve to act carefree the day before we leave. How it's always me, just me, doing all the work.

Can you hear the whining? Can you hear the violins? They are playing Celine Dion's "All by myself."

As I walk around sucking the joy out of every room I enter like a vacuum.

Sigh. So how many points do I get for "joy-sucking?"

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

September Is Probably Mine

Dinner is just starting to smell good and I hear Chris actively shooing first one and then the other boy out of the kitchen. Cries of, "Put that down! We're going to have dinner!" and "No, you cannot have a granola bar!" are rapidly being issued. I'm pondering what has inspired the frenzied hunger when I realize what's wrong. The first day of school here is a half-day - no lunch at school and I never fed them when they got home. Oops...

Portent of Another Long Year?

It's the first day of school and already, the third graders have homework - just a get-to-know you sheet, but still. Ross sat down to do it right away, though, a good start! Among several correct responses, he included the information that his hair is 'bland', his favorite class is 'gum', and he likes to eat 'sqash'. When I marked the items he needed to double-check, he stormed away grumbling loudly that B-L-A-N-D IS in the DICTIONARY! A grumble-filled minute later, he came back with his corrections: 'bloand', 'guy', and 'squash'. I praised his correct spelling of squash and started to say that he could bring the dictionary in and I'd help him find the other two words, but he flew off the handle so, eight minutes after sitting down to do his first-ever THIRD GRADE homework, Ross landed in time-out.

Rather than setting a time, I told him to sit there until he was ready to give the right sort of attention to his assignment. I figured he might sit there all afternoon but it only took about ten minutes before he called, in a calm voice, that he was ready...and it turned out that he was. He came in and collected the paper, took it quietly into the other room, made his corrections and brought it back for my review: sure enough, his hair is blond...and his favorite class? P.E.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Laundry Detergent Savings

With school about to hit, stained, holey, too-small outfits will no longer suffice, so I've been making a list of things I really ought to replace before the school calls us out for indecent exposure. As Lars tumbled through the hall yesterday, I called out, "Lars, how does that underwear you're wearing fit?"

Barely distracted from his role as a Baby Pokemon About to Hatch From His Egg, he replied, "What underwear?"

Administrative stuff

Thanks to Karen and VDog for putting me ahead in points for August! September's competition begins today and ends October 1st. Meanwhile, I will be strutting around wearing Cinderella's plastic tiara the Worst Mama Ever crown for August.

I know the best thing to do is to just let this thread die. I feel it's necessary to point out a couple of things, however:
  1. Lindsay isn't an infant. She's 15 months old.
  2. My car seat is installed properly.
  3. The picture I took was in the car while it was parked.
There are plenty of stories I've told here using hyperbole, and I can see why this one was reacted to while the one about perpetual vomit was not.

Anyway, it seems this example, and the previous one with an anonymous commenter brings up some issues here with what's allowed and what's not. I don't agree with deleting comments that offer different opinions, but leaving blog comments to trolls doesn't make very good reading.

What say you, blog authors?