Sunday, November 30, 2008

Because it was just too natural not to do so

This little person...
...did this. Mama found a keepsake ornament with her name on it, broken in the pile of rubble underneath the tree. So, Mama fixed it......and it is missing an arm. This delighted Mama because now, every year when Lindsay hangs her cute little bell with her name on it, she can be reminded about how she pulled the tree down trying to play with a Cookie Monster ornament. Probably when she is married and has kids of her own, Mama will send this ornament with a note: "Remember the year you wrecked the tree, dear?"

Which she won't actually remember.

But I guarantee you, she will be damn sick of hearing about it.

How it All Started

5 years ago and still going strong...

I had no idea my husband was using our 4 month old son to pander money from the nice, lovely tourists visiting Key West...I was shopping...

And although you may not be able to tell, we introduced Kyle to his very first sex shop ever...the whole family was in on it. Auntie Paige and Uncle PG took this fabulous picutre. Went very well with the 1 year subscription to Playboy he received from his auntie and uncle.

Kyle also got to visit many bars from Marathon to Key West. All because he is lucky enough to be born to us. And because he is lucky enough to be dragged all around Key West on New Years Eve.

Our parenting prowess has not diminished at all over the years. Unfortunately I have been out of town all week and cannot for the life of me remember any tales even though there are many. So, for my very last post for the 30 days of posting thing...I will leave you all with the above.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hello From Abaco!

I don't have much time...these international internet connection rates are expensive. Even so, ladies, I refuse to let you down! PG, Zane and I are enjoying a lovely Thanksgiving week in the Abacos (northernmost island chain in the Bahamas) with PG's dad and stepmom. We left our cares, worries and stress at home; but our bad parenting skills earned a passport stamp along with Zane.

In our first four days of sun and fun, Zane has tumbled off a bed (a bed located in an upstairs loft, where he was supposed to be napping while I took a nice, long, hot shower...); smacked his nose on the bedside table; and has been allowed - and even encouraged! - to crawl with abandon along un-barricaded docks, gathering splinters in his feet and legs; and has visited so many bars...oh, so many bars...a fine, fine display of parenting, indeed.

But today promises to be the piece de resistance. Today is the day for the annual Florida - Florida State showdown (or, smackdown, as it should be today...) In our divided house, the agreement is that Zane will wear a onesie with the colors and emblems of the home team, and another garment with the colors and emblems of the visiting team. That means he has to wear an FSU onesie today, with a Gator hat. Anyone who knows me well, will understand that dressing him in a garnet & gold FSU onesie amounts to torturing my child. So, that's just great. He'll be a crawling, babbling identity crisis, watching the biggest game of the year in a bar, overlooking the ocean with two parents who have been swizzled.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Ruining creatures of all species

This is a bit of a rule-breaker here, since usually we only discuss our human children on this blog, but we did technically adopt our dog and we do take responsibility for her behavior and I feel I've wrecked the lives of Kate & Sarah enough as reported here that I've earned mention of a pet and I was a terrible, terrible puppy mama tonight.

Lola's cousins from Virginia, Jake & Ramona, are visiting this weekend. They're very sweet. Jake and I have hit it off, which I'm told is unusual for Jake; he's usually not a real people doggie. I think we must be kindred spirits. Anyway, we never really know how Lola is going to treat her guests so we're always on edge when dogs come to visit. She is often, I'm ashamed to admit, a very rude hostess. Especially when it involves food or her favorite stuffed toy, the squeaky carrot. To our surprise, after an initial tussle to establish her alphaness, she's been very good.

This evening while we were all sitting around the dining room table a fracas welled up. There was growling, a bark, a yelp and the already elderly and gimpy Ramona (still puppy soft, how does she keep her hair so stunning at her advanced age?) wound up thrust into the sideboard, yelping and limping. I leaped from my seat and roundly scolded Lola. A quick swat under the chin and a stern "Bad girl!" preceded a doggy time out away from all the humans.

When Lola was released from her penalty box she rushed to me for a reassuring snuggle and I noticed at that moment that she was bleeding directly above her eye. As best we could determine, she'd taken a solid kick to the face and nearly lost an eye. And I'd punished her. Worst. Doggy Mama. Ever.

(OK the bloody spot is hard to see here - it's just above her left eye there see? No? Well it's terrible. She's resting with her head above her heart so she won't bleed out.)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Traditions, Old and New

Thanksgiving is the first holiday that Chris and I hosted together. We cooked at his apartment in New Jersey - the first time either of us had roasted a turkey - and his parents drove down from Buffalo with a dining table, saving us from serving on the floor. (Several years later, we enjoyed a holiday dinner on the floor in their new house and determined that you could drink more wine as there was no danger of falling off your chair but, retrospectively, I'm still glad we had a table for our first Thanksgiving. I'm sure Amy Vanderbilt would recommend that falling off chairs drunk in front of your in-laws be saved until you are at least engaged...)

In the years since, we've hosted many more equally memorable Thanksgivings like the year we cooked two turkeys because we reversed the fraction when figuring out how many pounds of turkey you should prepare per person, the stellar-planning year I crossed a state line to shop in an all-night grocery on Wednesday night, and the year we closed on our first house and moved into a new state the day before hosting (with good china!) for eight. Wait - scratch that last one - that was Easter.

Recently, we've been cycling Thanksgiving with Fraukow and Chris' parents so we get to host once every three years. This arrangement has already provided some good memories, like the time Fraukow and I poured hot cranberry sauce from the stove into her beautiful crystal serving bowl, which instantly cracked and soaked her newly renovated green & white kitchen in bright red cranberry (which never stains or anything).

This year was supposed to be our turn to host and the fates aligned - the CO for our new kitchen arrived yesterday! We are, however, not hosting. Nor are we bound for anyone's house - sadly, Fraukow's going to have to bring about the demise of her good dishes and nice decorating without me.

We are headed for a hockey tournament in Hershey, PA, where we will spend three days with about 100 kids from our own hockey club, a thousand or so other hockey players and their associated families. If last year's Rochester Rumble experience is anything to go by, we'll have a lot of fun! There will, however, be quite a bit of between-games time that has to get filled with activities or the kids will take it upon themselves to terrorize the hotel and rinks. I'd thought of a few possibly suitable activities but nothing that seemed cool enough to interest the kids for very long...and then Michelle Mitchell of Scribbit posted the perfect idea:

How to Escape from Duct Tape from Michelle Mitchell at Scribbit on Vimeo.

Did you see how Michelle's kids clamored to try? I'm betting I can get most of the team taped up before they figure out that getting out is not as easy as it looks! Chris thinks the other parents will not be pleased but I think they'll all come around. Drinks, anyone?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Last night I was up playing on the computer until 1:00AM. So when Ben was standing beside my bed at his typical 6:45AM I was not a happy camper. The sleep deprivation was completely my fault but still, I was grumpy. So when Allison rolled upstairs around 10:00AM I offered to pay her 6 bucks (a weeks allowance) to babysit Ben and Clara so I could go back to sleep. She happily complied and I took a two hour nap. Maybe not points worthy, but pretty much awesome.

It's a Zero Nutrition Morning

This morning it was cold and rainy, so I stayed in bed for ten extra minutes, which meant that when I finally got Matthew out of bed, he had approximately twelve minutes to get ready for school. I dug out some clean clothes for him from the laundry basket where they were waiting patiently to be folded and put away (someday). I even packed his backpack for him, because I'm such a nice mom.

Now, eating a bowl of cereal typically takes him at LEAST ten minutes. We now have 4 1/2 minutes left till he needs to be outside waiting for the bus. What's a mom to do?

Chocolate chip cookies, of course.

I rationalize this with the reminder that if he'd have eaten breakfast at school, he'd have gotten a pop-tart. Cookie...poptart...same difference.

However, I did stand outside in the freezing rain with him so I could quiz him on his spelling words while we waited for the bus. (Okay, I was standing outside in the rain to walk the dog, but let's just pretend it's because I'm a good mom.)

(I just realized that he did not brush his teeth. *sigh*)

Second Hand Christmas

A month or two ago I found myself driving through an affluent (i.e. crazy big houses) community in the midst of their community wide garage sale. I am not much into garage sales with all the bargaining and picking through things. People are always so cheery and chatty and I find myself compelled to buy something rather than face that awkward moment of walking away empty handed and conveying that their stuff really is all junk. Which, lets face it, is usually the case.

Which is not to say that I am opposed to putting my own garbage out there for people to pick through and belittle. But that's different. It's humiliation for cash and it's usually going towards a very worthy cause. Like a night at a hotel without my children.

Anyway, all this is to say that I wasn't looking to shop that day but I spotted a couple of Ben sized bikes at one house so I stopped. Ben doesn't have a bike and we were debating whether to purchase him one for Christmas because we weren't sure how much use it would get. There were two bikes, the nicer of which did not have training wheels. The other one did so I asked the man to switch them and he said if I bought one he would throw in the other. So I did. Two bikes for $9. Score! Then a few houses down I saw another brand new Princess Bike. I purchased that one for Clara for $6 and voila, bikes for the Weekids for Christmas for $15. I could feel my adrenaline pumping. A plan was forming.

The next day I sent my husband an instant message (because that's how we talk to each other in this house) that I would be purchasing all the Weekids Christmas gifts used to save us money and the environment. I think he may have done a jig. Since then I have been on a quest. I purchased Ben a used Leapster, case and 6 games for $50 on Ebay. I was so proud of myself I told everyone. Including the woman next to me in toy isle who wanted to know if I could help her decide between a Leapster 2 and Didj for her kid for Christmas. I explained to her that I could not because my kid was getting the old Leapster..."Because, oh my goodness, I got it and a case and 6 games on Ebay for $50." She looked at me strangely, backed away and started in on another woman. Obviously just jealous of my shopping savvy.

Anyway, I have done very well on my mission to have a second hand Christmas. While I did purchase a couple new things, even Brandon's new blackberry like cell-phone thing is pre-owned. Most shopping has been done through ebay, with one repeat of the late night covert Craigs list pick-up. The pièce de résistance of this whole thing is Clara's big gift. Every time she goes down to the basement she plays with the Fisher Price dollhouse Allie received when she was two - 10 years ago. The thing is colored with marker and has TWO peices of furniture and one ratty mama doll. But she loves it. So I went on ebay and for $20 ordered a huge lot of furniture (the same ten year old furniture we once had. In fact it could be ours. I'm not sure what happened to it) and dolls and am cleaning the thing up and giving it to her for Christmas. THat's right folks, I am giving Clara the same dollhouse for her 2-year-old Christmas as I gave Allie for hers. The exact same dollhouse, the one Clara already plays with when she gets to go down stairs. And you know what, I think that's awesome. She's gonna love it.

Next year I just may give her Allie's old kitchen.

By the way Worst Mamas, in case any of you missed it, I am giving away a personalized superhero cape at my place. Deadline for entering is tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fail: pick up from school

I decided when I put Lin down for a nap today, that I would lay down for a little while too. After 3 hours of sorting cans last night and 2 hours of sorting clothes this morning, I was feeling pretty bushed. I set my alarm for 2:35 PM (pick up is at 3 PM).

I only hit snooze once. I glanced at Lindsay, motionless on her bed.

I thought, if I leave right at 3:00 PM, maybe I won't have to wait in line and then I can be back in 10 minutes before Lindsay wakes up. Because, you know, Mamas, there ain't nothing worse than the woken-up-out-of-sound-sleep tantrum.

I started reading about something on the Internet, and before I knew it the clock read 3:10 PM. Oh no! I rushed out of the house and drove over to the school to be the last car through the pick up line (but, hey! no waiting!) and made it home by 3:20 PM as Lindsay called downstairs, "Hi, Mama! I woke up by myself!"

Yeah. Maybe all that helping people is starting to karmically pay off?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Salty Language

I am asking forgiveness for posting a day early, but I know I will not have time tomorrow.

Lucas confessed to me the other day while waiting for his big brother to get out of school, that he found it hard not to say bad words sometimes. I managed not to snort and say "DUH!". Instead I said, " Mommy has a hard time with that too. Let's make a deal. Every time you catch me using a bad word, you say, 'You owe me a quarter!' and I will do the same for you." Lucas giggled and agreed.

"Who do you think will end up with more money?"

"Definitely me Mommy!"(more giggling from both of us).

A few quiet pondering moments pass, "Mom, can I still say 'Crap'?"

A few more pondering moments pass, "Yeah, but try not to say it in school. Okay?"

At least I won't be broke in a week!

Catty the lovey

Catty the purple, tailless cat, was a gift for big sis. She is knit, though. And Lindsay lays claim in our house to all things knit. The problem is that knit things can only withstand so much love, and the way Lindsay loves these things is to insert her left thumb into the weave so that she can suck on it while she twirls the rest of it around her index finger. This has resulted in all but the tightest knits coming unraveled. Lindsay has destroyed about 3 blankets at this point. The holes in the knit get bigger until they are strangulation risks.
Catty now has a hole in her chest and her stuffing keeps falling out, but because I can't knit, I just keep shoving the stuffing back in her and handing her back. I told Lindsay today that she can't take the stuffing out of Catty because then I will have to throw her away. Lindsay erupted into tears."But I love my Catty..."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hush...I Cant Hear the TV

I generally try to get to the gym 3 days a week to workout and then do a video at home one additional night. I am not sure why I continue to try and workout at home...with the boys here. There is only so much candy and tv you bribe them with before they actually do really get hungry.

Tonight I decided to try something a little different.

I typically give them cups to get something to drink and a snack. They can then get something more out of the fridge. However, even with all this built in protection I still get lots of interruptions. With me generally telling them to go away and leave me alone. Which apparently only causes a boomarang effect. I tell them to leave they come right back.

In order to minimize the whining and complaining I generally get for 50 mins of my 60 min workout I told the boys (3 &5) half way through to go get a bath by themselves with no actually eyes on supervision. They actually did it. Managed to get the next 25 mins with uninterupted exercise...then with only 5 lousy mins left to go my little one comes in all naked and wet and cold (shivering actually). Asking me to help get his underwear and pjs on. Really? I only have 5 mins left.

My response...

You can dress yourself or wait until I am done. Now hush so I can hear the TV.

Not going to let the team down

I don't know. Do you have President's Choice food where you are? Because my children would not have eaten for the last two days except for the President's Choice.

Somehow, the magic elves have emptied my pantry, as in, no tuna, no pasta, no eggs, no rice... how did that happen? And why, oh why, is there *nothing* written on the shopping list? *sigh*

Anyhow, after they rejected frozen waffles and cereal as dinner options... we went all carnivore, all the time. President's Choice frozen pre-cooked meatballs. Just nuke and serve. With ketchup, of course, because every meal needs a vegetable.

Just don't ask me what I'm serving for daycare "healthy, litterless, nut-free, trans-fat-free" lunch tomorrow. It might be breakfast cereal. Wonder how that'll go over?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Might Lose Points for This One

Unless you count the fact that we have not bathed our son since Wednesday, both PG and I have been model parents all week. That must be a new record for us. Despite all the goings-on in our household - a two-day trip to Tallahassee for Mama's work; long hours in a car; sleeping in a pack 'n play in an unfamiliar environment; only three days of school; a wild Friday night with Hayden's parents; and planning for a week-long Thanksgiving trip to Hope Town - we have managed to keep Zane on a pretty even keel all week. No splashing in diarrhea, no futile imploring Mama for food and no un-comforted crying jags. We're tired, and we're bound to slip. This stellar-parenting streak cannot last. Rest assured you will be the first to hear of it when we do!

Friday, November 21, 2008


I committed so many horrible acts of bad parenting this week it seems I should be able to recall them all here for you. I know there was some lack of hygiene (Sarah currently smells bad but we put her to bed that way anyway). And I sent Kate to bed when she was claiming to be starving (she hadn't eaten her dinner, you don't eat dinner, you find yourself hungry at bedtime, life's hard.) I accidentally left Sarah's favorite pacifier, with which she still sleeps, in the car that we just dropped off at the shop and just now I sat here listening to Kate whine "I want my mommy" over and over until she got sick of it and quit. In my defense, I'd tried several times to give her a kiss goodnight and she wouldn't let me. Those are the ones that stick out, but it seems like there were so many more.

I'd love to regale you with tales of my ineptitude but right now, on this, the last workday of my week, I am so tired that I don't care that Sarah stinks or that Kate is upset. I don't even care that I'm contemplating going directly to bed at 9:30 on a Friday night instead of yucking it up at some local pub (sometimes I get nostalgic). This parenting business is exhausting. Come to think of it...I think I might stink a little. I don't care about that, either. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

The smelly kid at school.

This has been a busy week for us. I didn't realize just how busy until I got my son up for school today.

"Time to get in the shower."
"Aww, mom, do I have to? I'm not dirty."

I think back to the last shower he wasn't yesterday. It wasn't Wednesday. I don't think it was Tuesday.

"You haven't showered since MONDAY. If you don't take a shower this morning, you'll be the smelliest kid in the third grade."

He continued to complain for a while, and I considered allowing him to be a social outcast for the day. He did eventually shower, but I doubt he brushed his teeth.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Going To Bed Games

The boys have hockey practice almost every night this year, so they get home at or after bedtime and they're pumped full of adrenaline. Our routine is for them to take a shower and get into PJs before coming down for snack of what we hope will be nourishing and calming (milk, banana, turkey, cheese...). Most nights, it takes at least half an hour before they're in bed and it isn't all that unusual for them to be up an hour or - give me strength - two before we finally manage to get them down for the night.

One recent evening found me sending prayers for strength to every God and passed ancestor I could think of. Finally, after umpteen zillion attempts to calm the boys down, I stormed upstairs, switched on their bedroom light and snapped, "Ross! Vacuum the upstairs! NOW. Lars, clean your bathroom sink. GO."

They leaped into action, Ross jubilant about not having to go to bed, Lars ecstatic because he got the shorter task. Boy was he mad when I snapped, "TOILET NEXT," as soon as he'd polished the sink! The tub also got a wipedown and Ross had made it to the downstairs hall with his vacuum before they both began to protest wildly. I calmly informed them that if they were awake enough to be such pests, they were awake enough to contribute to the household and then sat back to enjoy the show.

Lars instantly put his cleaning things away and washed his hands, all the while saying, "I'm really tired, Mama! I skated TWO practices and I really need my sleep." Ross staged a big yawn and asked how much more he had to do before he would be allowed to go to sleep. I struggled not to smile.

Four minutes later, both were snuggled into bed. The upstairs looked neat, the downstairs looked as if an attempt had been made, and I didn't hear a peep from either boy until morning.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Say Cheese!

Thanks so much to Jen for letting me off the hook on posting today. I've been frantically trying to take and put together my Christmas Card order at Tiny Prints before the sale ends today. Here's a preview of how it went.

And lest you think that this is the result of hours of photographic torture, this is the very first shot. It was it was a very enjoyable afternoon.

And I guess it's worth noting that Brandon has strictly forbidden me to post pictures or mention him on my blog. Which is why he has been something of a ghost in my writings lately. But for some reason, I kind of liked this picture of Brandon all annoyed at his bratty sister so I figured I'd rebel. Besides, if I was Brandon I would use the argument that this isn't technically my blog. So there.

Why I qualify to be a Worst Mama Ever

1. I allowed my husband and his friends to coach my firstborn in saying "boobies" on command. I might have even giggled at the performance.

2. My youngest has eaten dog poop. (I know...ewww...I'm still traumatized)

3. My children watch entirely too much tv because I spend entirely too much time online.

4. I have been known to strap my two-year-old in her high chair with candy to keep her quiet so that I can take an uninterrupted shower.

5. I let my oldest avoid cleaning his room until we almost had to shovel a path to his bed.

6. There are grody crumbs under the high chair padding that have been there for...well...too long.

Hi, I'm Jen from Surviving Life, and I'm the newest WME. I'm mom to Matthew (8), Lauren (2), and Oliver (9 months), and I've been a Worst Mama since my oldest first yelled "I hate you!" and slammed his bedroom door - I believe he was two at the time.

I'm a full time college student right now...just over a year from now I'll be officially licensed to mold young minds, which is a pretty scary thought. For now, I stay home with the two little ones during the day, try to keep the house clean(ish), and spend massive amounts of time online goofing off when I should be studying. I also work as an online tutor in the evenings, whenever I can stay awake past 9pm.

I tend to blog sporadically, but I think I have enough Worst Mama moments that you'll see me around here fairly frequently.

Finally, because I can't resist, here are my kids:

Lauren, who is two, never stops moving, and usually makes faces at the camera.

Matthew, 8, the morning after staying up late and overloading on sugar for Halloween.

Oliver, my youngest, eating leaves. Yes, I ran for the camera before I fished the leaves out of his mouth.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tooth Fairy Steals Money

So whenever one of my boys looses a tooth, my first thought is, "Crap, do I have any singles in my wallet?" This time, Lucas lost a tooth and I knew I didn't have any singles, or have 4 quaters to fake it with. How do I get change for a $10 bill at 8pm on a Tuesday night when my husband isn't home? I didn't get change. I took a single from Lucas' wallet, praying that in the morning he wouldn't count his money and notice he was a dollar short. (He didn't!) It's amazing how quickly I get over the guilt!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Better late than?

Our toilet broke. That was the highlight of my week.

And while the plumber was there, talking about how children don't get to play with power tools these days... Clever Monkey noted his opening and started asking about the acetalyne torch.

Could he *touch* it?
Could he *help*?

As he nudged closer and closer to the fire, I said the first thing that came to mind...

"Don't touch the torch... playing with fire is the reason you don't have a big sister anymore..."

And the plumber burst out laughing. And said "Lady, you are very, very, bad.... I love it. The next time my grandkid tries something like that, I'm totally stealing that line."

Anybody but Mama

You see that little one not smiling. Not wearing a shirt. That's the one.

After this lovely family portrait, I twittered and checked my Facebook page while Lauren and Lin went upstairs. Lindsay can undress herself these days, so I asked Lauren to help her put on her pull up and her jammies and to call me when they had both done so and brushed teeth.

In the middle of an IM conversation with another Worst Mama, I heard, "Mama, come quick! Linds pooped on the potty!"

And she did. I finished cleaning her up and tucked her into bed. I retold the story via IM, "I wonder what Lauren said to make her use the potty," I wondered.

My husband had one of his rare working weekends. Although it's hard when he travels 3 of 5 days during the week, the sheer exhaustion of doing the single mom thing on the weekend is staggering. With everything going on, I needed a lot of help this weekend...and I have great friends.

Karen and Lars arrived on Saturday morning with coffee and cocoa to keep an eye on the girls while I was at class. When I came home from the lecture, Karen gave me the Mama briefing, which included, "Oh, and Lindsay pooped on the potty."

"Really? What did you say to her?"

"Well, Lauren had just used the potty and I asked Lin if she had to go also, and she did."

I puzzled over that. Karen and Lars had to run off to a hockey game and the girls and I were working the church bazaar, collecting and selling gently used toys for the thrift shop. About an hour in, Jessie arrived. Lindsay ran to her.

"Ewww, girlfriend, you are STINKY." She set her down. "Do you want me to change her?"

While balancing a big box of toys to sell and two little hands, I'd opted to leave the diaper bag in the car. "Um...I left the diaper in the car..."

"Oh, it's fine. I'll take her home with me," Jessie lives about a block from church. "Jack is having a playdate, so it'll just be one more."

Jessie returned with Lindsay about 2 hours later. "Oh, she used the potty at my house..." She said casually.


"Yep. She said, 'I have to make a pee-pee' and then did."


Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Refuse To Be The Weakest Link

Darn it all...I got nothing. No story of terror or doom worthy enough for w.m.e. post. However, I refuse to be the one caught not posting...

The worst I got is my oldest son in currently on his way back from Miami after getting Nascarified today. With all the other stringy hair, one tooth, trailer park living lovelies who always seem to be only people media can find in Florida to interview after some natural disaster. I am positive my 5 year old will be all sunshine and rainbows tomorrow at 6:30am after finally getting to bed at oh say 11pm. Awesome.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Just when I started to fret that I had nothing to report from this week, IT happened. To properly tell the story, I have to rewind to Monday.

On Monday, I awakened with a lingering and worsening three-day sore throat accompanied by the grossest of gastrointestinal flu-like symptoms. At 2:30am. During the four-day vigil that followed, we took great pains to ensure that Zane would not contract the nastiness.

All was well until Wednesday when a call from daycare disturbed my drug-induced coma. Miss Bonnie called to let me know that Zane had "two nasty diapers" and that we should keep an eye on him at home. Awesome. When Zane got home his hiney exploded two more times, and we started 24-hours-of-Pedialyte. Double Awesome.

By Thursday, things were looking better for everyone: Mama was returning from the dead, and Zane was well enough to go to daycare (equipped with two Pedialyte bottles, bananas and rice cereal). Our fortunes continued to improve through Friday, when things seemed to be back to normal - in every sense. THAT'S when it happened.

PG and I were regrouping and chatting in the office after feeding Zane his supper. Zane was crawling around on the floor amusing himself with anything he could find. He was laughing, smiling, and...splashing his hands in a puddle of something wet. It took me a full minute to realize that Zane was not playing slip 'n slide in a pool of drool...he was frolicking in an explosion of, yep, you guessed it...

Horrified that our son had been crawling in a spot of his own mess, and clapping his hands together, and bringing them dangerously close to his face, we sprang into action. PG took the kid to the sink in the laundry room while I drew a bath and mopped the floor with disinfectant. Nothing to see here, DCF. He might have been playing in a mess, but at least it was his mess.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Taken Down by Song Therapy

I want to begin by stating that I am fully aware that when a child has been traumatized sometimes the best way to find out what's doing the hurting is by getting said child to produce a work of art. I have great respect for the professionals who are able to tease out the gruesome details of a horrible event from a silenced kid who really needs to begin to heal. That said, though, there is always something nearly comic to me when this type of event is depicted on television, such as in Law & Order. The worried cop or assistant DA watches unseen from through the "secret window" while the therapist gently coaxes the victim to doodle. Then, the therapist shows the results to the camera and it's an unholy cartoony interpretation of blood and guts and OH MY GOD the softball coach did it!!!

Back to real life. At Kate & Sarah's daycare they sing "Where is Thumbkin" a lot. You know, that little song to the tune of "Are You Sleeping?" in which we sing the name of each digit on our hand. "Where is Thumbkin where is thumbkin [produce your thumb] Here I am! Here I am!..." Any time the subject of someone or something's location comes up both Kate and Sarah set it to that tune. My favorite was when we were taking pictures of all the Obama supporters in our immediate area and they started singing "where's Obama? where's Obama?" and Jeremiah and I responded "we don't know! we don't know! Possibly Ohio or maybe Virginia...Flor-i-da. Flor-i-da" Good stuff.

The other day I was having my usual hard time getting the little rugrats from the bed to the bathroom to the closet to the car to daycare in what I considered a timely manner. As I hustled them out the door they both objected "it's cooooooold!" It was what I would describe as crisp, but would be nearly 70 by midday. "Oh, just get in the car, I'll turn on the heat!" Of course, daycare is 2 miles from our house at most, we generally arrive there well before the engine warms up enough to produce real heat. They whined and complained the whole way there while I gripped the wheel and clenched my teeth, eyeing the clock. When we arrived I leapt from the car and pulled each kid out. Holding Sarah in one arm and Kate by the hand I hustled down the sidewalk toward the building. That's when Sarah began to belt out "Where's my sweater? Where's my sweater?" and Kate cadenced back "I don't know! I don't know! Mommy it's so cold out! Mommy it's so cold out! We are cold. We are cold" while all their teachers looked on.

It's not that I allowed them to be cold for 7 minutes that bugs me so much. It's that I got caught.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Boys are TOO Stinkin' Cute!

Just a shamlessly proud Mom, sharing a photo of the two most gorgeous people she knows!

Homework - A Survival Story

This year, the most challenging thing Ross faces is his homework. It's not that the assignments are tough - it's that he forgets to bring the papers home or, when he does bring them home, he forgets to put the completed work in his knapsack to bring back to school. Ross sees how absolutely senseless it is to DO the homework and still take a zero because he left it at home but it doesn't seem to inspire in him a need to put the assignments right into his backpack when he's finished them.

To encourage Ross to remember all aspects of his homework, we've derived an incentive program - if he does his homework, he can play video games. If he fails to do or turn in his homework, he forfeits video games that week. Since he's recently taken to playing a game online with his friends, losing video games hits especially hard when he has to tell his friends on the phone that he will not be logging in that night.

On one such sorrowful evening, Ross hung up the phone and turned his woe into anger. "You know," he declared, "You are the ONLY mother who makes up rules like this! NONE of my friends have to do their homework before they play video games!"

"Oh, really?" I looked at him doubtfully.

"REALLY," he spat.

"I think you've got that wrong. I'm willing to bet that other mothers DO make their kids have homework done before they get to play games. Have you asked the other moms?" Ross paused, thinking of what to say next so I held out the phone. "Why don't you call and talk to someone else's mother about it?"

Ross glared at me, grabbed his jacket and stormed out shouting, "I'm going to live somewhere else! Where I don't have to do my homework!" I shut the door behind him, wondering if there was enough time before dinner for him to figure out there are no places like that.

Chris heard the stomping and the door and came in asking where Ross had gone. "To live with parents who won't make him do his homework before he plays World of Warcraft," I said.

"There are parents like that," Chris asked?

"Apparently there are," I said.

"You know it's raining?"

"Yep," I nodded, "He won't get far."

Sure enough, Ross appeared again about ten minutes later - a little soggy. "Can I still have dinner?"

"Of course you can! If your homework is done before we sit down. You have about ten minutes," I said and turned to do something that wouldn't let him see my face. He stomped a bit but got his papers and a pencil. "Couldn't find a better place to live?"

He shot me a look, "Nobody was home." Then he finished his homework and pointedly put it into his knapsack before we all sat down to dinner.

When we'd cleared the meal, I asked if Ross was going to see if the other family was home, so he could move. He rolled his eyes, "Mama! My homework is DONE now."

I sighed, "You know you still can't play Warcraft this week, right? You didn't do your homework when you were supposed to?"

He gave a frustrated grunt, "I KNOW."

I caught his eyes, "Want to do something together or would you rather storm upstairs and be alone?"

He grinned, "Can we play a game? I could run away tomorrow..."

"As long as your homework is done before you go."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Oh go put on a sweater.",

We recently had some family over to spend the night for Halloween. Now, we hardly ever have overnight guests and I was in a frenzy trying to get my notoriously (yes, it really is notorious) messy home under control. Cleaning bathrooms. Taking a shovel to the guest room in the basement, which hadn't been used in six months and had since become the kids dumping ground. Changing sheets. Mopping floors. Biting the heads off anyone who dared sit down. You know, the usual stuff.

The morning of Halloween Shane popped his head in the kitchen and said "I forgot to call someone about the heat pump." I was in the middle of mopping and just game him an annoyed stare, trying to comprehend why he was telling me this. "It's too late now to get someone out here in time" he stated.

I kept staring at him blankly. "What does that mean?" I asked irritably"

"There won't be any heat in the basement when your brother comes..." he responded just as irritably.

No heat...

Oh my goodness, I had forgotten. The heat in the basement broke at the end of last year. The basement where Brandon and Allison's bedrooms are. The nights the preceding week had been in the upper 30s. Lower 40s at best. The heat upstairs (where my bedroom is) had been running for weeks. When Brandon and Allison had grumbled about how it was freezing down stairs they were being literal. It was actually freezing.

And, I had just told them to put on a sweatshirt. Awesome. At least now I know why Allie had been drinking hot chocolate by the gallon.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ding! Ding! Ding! Round Two!

Yes, dear reader, less than an hour later and we have round two of "I hate Mommy! Mommy's a witch!"--all because there was fighting over the peanut butter jar and the jelly jar and I said no Thomas the Tank show. I'm so mean.

Straight From the Horse's Mouth

Last night, dear reader, you would have found your Tuesday correspondent fretting. "What antics have my children been up to? What anecdotes can I relate?" she questioned. All had been quiet on the home front. All was peaceful. All was calm. All was bright. Round yon Mama gathered happy children watching Rin-Tin-Tin.

And then.

This morning.

Well. All was no longer peaceful, calm, or bright.

I made the mistake of suggesting a list of fun things that my children could do whilst they were out of school today (three cheers for veterans!). The list is as follows (having absolutely nothing to do with veterans):

1. Run around the house five times.
2. Make slinky walk down the stairs.
3. Color a picture.
4. Do homework.
5. Read a book.
6. Play a game.
7. Play with a toy you haven't played with in over a week.
8. Look at toys in a toy catalog.

I know. Really painful. The list produced a fit that led to my son running up to his room, screaming, "Mommy's the worst mommy in my life!"

And that, my friends, is straight from the horse's mouth.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Too much on Mama's plate

This Mama is overscheduled. This seems to be my mantra these days.

Public school has made me a frustrated parent. It probably makes me more frustrated that I put in as many volunteer hours on the PTO that feel unappreciated and occasionally make me feel I am trying to wade through molasses to accomplish even the simplest task. Where I pushed Lauren to learn her letters because her daycare seemed to think letter recognition by age 3 was required, I really haven't made any attempt to teach Lindsay anything that doesn't make my life easier. Being able to distinguish pink from yellow and demand the yellow socks so that we don't have a 20 minute tantrum makes my life easier. Being able to communicate that she wants her sandwich cut into 4 pieces makes my life easier.

But silly me, I assumed because I haven't been teaching these things that she isn't learning them.

Last week's swimming lesson, she pointed out that the number 10 was written on the edge of the pool (the side is marked with the number of feet in 5 foot increments along the length of the pool for swimming evaluations). She also pointed out the numbers 15 and 20. I was genuinely relieved that she did not recognize the number 25.

Yesterday, during church, she was sitting on a friend's lap. On each page of the book was a letter written in upper and lowercase along with illustrations of objects that began with the letter.

"Look, Meena. That is the letter B," she pointed to the uppercase letter, "and the letter b," she pointed to the lowercase letter. "Ball. Bat. Bell." She turned the page. "There is the letter G, and the letter g. That is a girl, a gorrilla and a grape."

I leaned over a bit farther, hoping to see that it's a copy of a book we already own and maybe this is the result that school game that Lauren keeps talking about playing with her sister. It wasn't a book we own. Damn.

I mean, shoot.

On top of it all, I'm probably going to Hell for thinking Damn in church.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

All Except for the Laughing....

I've been a good mama...really...I have. The kiddos are sleeping on clean, non smelly, non pee encrusted sheets and they have actual kid toothpaste again. This of course after two additional trips to the store without remembering and finally having to go back to the store for a third time. Is it so bad that the kiddos were using my adult whitening toothpaste? At least they know how to spit. Swallowing of toothpaste was minimal and their teeth are a very pretty shade of white.

Now for the laughing. It was not something I did. My husband is the bad daddy today. He is the one who pushed our older son in the pool. After many, many, many lectures about not pushing other people in the pool, my hubby decides it would be really funny to push Kyle in. We live in Florida. We are used to Florida weather. We are used to Florida warm water. Our pool does not qualify. The water is probably 65 degrees.

Kyle was not amused.

At all.

He screamed.

And cried.

I laughed.

I did not bring him a towel. I did not comfort him. I did not give the stern lecture about how we do not push people in the pool and that daddy was not nice for pushing him in the pool.

I laughed.

Ha ha ha.

It's been a long weekend. Yesterday, Bruiser only got changed out of pajamas around 4:30pm when I noticed that he was totally soaked. Then again, that might have been from me making him do dishes (he's two, it was a messy job). It was sometime after that when I finally connected that sad & clingy behaviour with the substantial fever. Duh.

Note the long-suffering look he's displaying, as I read him "Who Loves Tonka Trucks" for the tenth time in a row. Note the slightly crazed look I'm sporting. And we've got another two days before Daddy comes home. Wish us luck!

ps - Clever Monkey isn't in this photo, because he's in time out, where he's spent most of the last three days, for shouting at me.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Stellar Saturday Single-Parenting

It's a good thing the coffee table was there to save Zane's face. Oh, and yeah, those are crusty snot boogies in his right nostril; I gave up trying to keep his nose clean today. And his tray table is devoid of snacks. Sorry, baby, Mama had to check the score of the Alabama-LSU game. PG is back home now after an overnight trip for work. Zane is thrilled. But, then again, PG is the one who forgot to feed him breakfast yesterday.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Black Friday

The morning was off to a good start. I'd worked out. Kate got herself up and pleasantly ate breakfast then headed to the TV room for Pee Wee's Big Adventure (again) while I showered. Ah, Friday. Aunt Jo Jo will be picking the girls up from daycare and they're going to have an overnight at their house so we can all hang out together in the lovely yard with the big outdoor fireplace.
Then it all went I managed to get Sarah up and dressed, hair sweetly pulled into pigtails. Then I moved on to Kate, who wasn't moving away from the TV. I'd asked if she wanted a dress or pants and she said a dress. So I came in with dress in hand. Wrong dress. There was screaming. I refused to go fish out a different dress and told her she could put that one on, or wear jeans. She opted for jeans. I got the jeans (why was I not sending her upstairs her own self? We were running late...) Then she didn't want the jeans. I said "tough" and started to force her into them. She flailed and screamed and cried. I told her if she didn't stop behaving so poorly there'd be no sleep over at Uncle Steve's and Aunt Jo Jo's. She wept "I want the dress! I want the dress!" On and on this went until I let her have the dress, but told her if she didn't shape up and apologize for her behavior I was keeping the promise to cancel her sleepover. Then she kicked her sister.
While I was brushing the numerous knots from her hair Sarah declared she wanted me to do her hair. "I already did your hair! It looks gorgeous." I said. Sarah's solution to this problem was to pull her pigtails out. We were now running very late.

Kate was still intractably refusing to apologize for her various slights against me (and now Sarah, too) while we rode in the car to school. "Last chance!" I said. Silence. I pretended to call Joy. "Hi" I said, into my phone that had dialed no one "Kate has decided she doesn't want to see you today. She would rather go home from school and directly to bed, so, no need to pick her up as planned. You can still get Sarah, though." Then I pretended to hang up. Still silence from the back seat.
It wasn't until we arrived at school (she refused to speak to me, and walked as far behind me as possible on the way in) and one of her teachers told said "all you have to do is say you're sorry and you can still have your sleepover? Hello, no brainer!" that she saw fit to apologize. I thought I had another 9 years before this stuff started. I am exhausted, and remain unrepentant regarding lying about calling Aunt Jo Jo. I'd do it again. I wonder where Kate gets her stubbornness?

Not speaking to mommy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

No Bedtime on Election Night

To celebrate the election coverage (or very possibly because I am sick of crafting nutritious meals in the toaster oven), we ordered Chinese food for dinner on Tuesday. The idea in my head involved us all sprawled in front of the TV, spearing food directly from the little paper containers that we'd pass around (think college) while we watched the poll information roll in. Luckily, reality struck before I mentioned that out loud so the kids were not disappointed when we ate around the dining table, as usual and cleanup only involved stripping one boy of his sauce-covered shirt and wiping floor & chair instead of steam cleaning a rug and upholstery.

After dinner, the kids got into their pj's and we all settled in to watch the districts report. I honestly thought the kids would lose interest in a few minutes and we'd have them in bed by 8:30pm but they were interested in the results and asking questions left and right, so we let them stay up. Every so often, they'd get rowdy or off topic and I'd come out with, "It's bedtime, unless you're watching the elections," and they'd settle right back down. By 9:30, they were still involved but Lars was drooping and he was out cold by 9:38. We tried shaking him awake but once Lars is down, it's over and, since Lars was sprawled across the arm of the chair between Chris and his beer, Chris took Lars upstairs to get him out of the way.

Meanwhile...completely nonplussed by the holographic reporters (aren't they all over Star Trek? What's the big deal?), Ross had become enthralled by the CNN 'Projection' segments. Every time the intro came up, he'd sit a bit straighter and shush us. He had the presentation graphics all figured out and as the night wore on, he'd inform us if he thought the green bar noting the percentage of districts reporting was far enough along to make the data beside it worth discussing. He asked why the votes were only being counted for McCain and Obama - what about all the other candidates on the presidential line? (In the school elections, Ross voted for Ralph Nader, because he was last of ten candidates on our ballot and Ross felt sorry for him.) We started explaining the relative futility of third-party candidates in our political system but, thankfully, another 'Projection' spot came up and we were shushed.

At 10:15, Ross figured out that California would close at 11pm and declared that he was going to stay up for it. He made the declaration in a slightly menacing voice, as if I might be about to suggest he go to bed, but I'd already decided to let him stay up as long as he wanted. This election, whichever way it fell, would be an historic first and he might remember watching it happen - might have a sense of his life spanning an important moment in history. Also? Sending my kid in blisteringly overtired for one of the mere seven (7!!) school days he will have this month seemed like a fitting form of quiet protest.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Alright, already.

I know, I know, it's late. I'm had a bit of trouble getting my post up today. I should have set it to auto-post earlier in the week. It's just been crazy day and even as I type this, Clara is attempting to scale me like the rock climbing wall at the mall. Except this wall is not very rock-like, more like a marshmallow wall. A marshmallow wall that keeps screaming out inappropriate things like "Clara, OW, let go. That's my nipple!" After which Ben hops around the house saying "Nipple, nipple, nipple. We all have a nipple."


I was planning on going back and posting some of the ridiculous costumes I tortured my children in as babies. I have pictures of all of them but Clara (poor neglected 4th child?) screaming their heads off as ducks or ladybugs or bumblebees or whatever. But I can't seem to locate them on the computer and the scanner is downstairs and once I post this I have to head to Walgreens to work on pictures for my choir parents. Because that's what I really want to be doing at 8:30 on a Wednesday night.

Here are two pictures of my kids from Halloween. In both these pictures the kids were ill about something concerning their costume.

So I guess I didn't stop torturing them as babies. And if you read my personal blog, you will see that these are not even new pictures. I posted them there last week. I was just too tired for original content. Which I guess not only makes me the WME, but also the worst NaBloPoMo participating WME too.

Just a reminder...

Today is Joy's day to post.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Refusal

Call me a party pooper. Call me a spoil sport. But you'll see no pictures of my kids at Halloween. I didn't take many. Son #1 was not happy that day, and son #2 has decided that a smile is some weird facial expression involving the lips getting sucked in and the eyes bugging out and the cheeks flapping over.

But beyond the photographic trials of the day, I've decided to put the kibosh on Halloween next year. I don't like where it's going. Too many Halloween socials where there are 7-year olds dressed as axe murderers with vivid fake blood oozing out of everywhere; too many skulls and zombies; too much horror.

And when my 7-year old dressed like a clown gets shown the most disparaging disdain from a third-grade girl dressed like a hooker, then enough is enough. No more Halloween socials, because apparently, the parents of these kids have no sense.

Sure, we'll still carve jack o'lanterns. Sure, we'll still roast the pumpkin seeds. Sure, we'll still decorate the house in orange and black paper chains, candles, leaves and acorns. Sure, we'll even still go trick or treating in my neighborhood. But that's it.

Worst. Mama. Ever. Yeah, that's me.

Monday, November 3, 2008

From Halloweens past

Alright, this is going to be a cute post, but you'll also get an idea of how I've thrown in the parenting towel...Exhibit 1: Halloween 2002. Six week old Lauren with Seamus. Just ignore the man behind the curtain. Note that there are 2 bottles of wine and several cans of cat food in the frame.

Exhibit 2: October 2003. This isn't even a Halloween picture. I think Lauren may be nipping at the cider...
Exhibit 3: Halloween 2004. We had just moved in to Chez Stoll, you can tell by the lack of stuff. Lauren loved this costume and wore it for weeks before and after Halloween. Her shoes also have elephants on them. Yes, it is rather like I clone my children.

Exhibit 4: Halloween 2005. This one was purchased by my mom. Also a favorite that got worn for weeks and weeks.

Exhibit 5a: Halloween 2006. Lauren's Pre-K party. If not for Karen, there'd be no costume - I was pretty much flat out with trying to deal with public school and an infant. This was beautifully handmade by Momo. It is both adorable and toasty warm.

Exhibit 5b: Halloween 2006. Lindsay, perched in her Snugli, dressed up as Tigger. She refused to wear the hood, so mostly she just looked like she usually looked, but in an orange fleece instead of a pink one.

Exhibit 6: Halloween 2007. And here it starts to fall apart as Lauren dresses as Blue for the second year in a row. This year, Lindsay fits into the Green Puppy costume that Momo made for Lars. I tried to paint noses on them. Fail. They are both crying in this picture.

Exhibit 7: Halloween 2008. You'll note Lindsay is wearing the same costume from exhibit 4, although it was my intention to put her in the one Lauren wore in exhibit 3. My mother purchased 3 costumes - two bride costumes (one for each) and a black kitty costume for Lindsay. Lauren wore the bride costume to school, but had her heart set on trick or treating in a handed down chicken costume that the babysitter from the Y gave me. It was at least a size too big. We kept having to hike up the fleecy pants because they puddled around her ankles.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Eeeewwww...I smell pee

Is the first sentence out of my 5 year old sons mouth this evening as he got into bed.


It does.

You should not have accidents in bed.

And, even better the sheets have been soiled since, oh I dont know...Thursdayish.

And, and I am not washing them tonight nor do I have a spare set to put on the bed. I could have put them in the top bunk of the full-on-full bunk beds they have...but oh that would make me a "good" mom. Besides I do still have a fear of my 3 year old rolling off the top bunk and donking his head on the wood floor...then I would have to get up and all and miss sleep.

Even better...I have been told now for like a week that the kids are out of toothpaste. Yep, you guessed it. They are still out of toothpaste and I am not going to the store tonight to get it.

Time change - you're doin it rong.

For those of you not in places that use Daylight Savings Time, yesterday evening was the switch. The media happily crow "Get an extra hour of sleep!"

For various irresponsible (and completely irrelevant) reasons, Round the Bend rolled into bed last night at 2:40am. "Not so bad," I thought - it's only 1:40... I can manage.

Apparently, nobody notified the children. At 6:30 normal time (5:30 new time... less than three hours after I went to sleep) Clever Monkey had his bedroom light on and was singing in full voice, while keeping the beat on the wall with his heels. I stomped. I growled. I was completely nude. I made it perfectly clear that his wake up time was 7am, which was almost 90 minutes away.

My message was not heard. I am very bleary. There has been a lot of shouting in my house today. And a lot of time out. Also PBS (Parenting By SesameStreet). The next time I believe that changing the number on the clock will reset my children's internal clocks - kick me. Hard.

It was not a good day.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Hallowe'en Edition

"Aw, folks, come onnnnnn, ANOTHER photo?? What is the matter with you people? Don't you know it's time to go trick-or-treating? I want to go now! See all my peeps? They're already OUT THERE, hauling in all the best candy! Come on! Let's go! Another photo? No! I won't smile. No! No! Nooooooooooooooooo! I want CANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNDY!"
Zane - 10-1/2 months.