Friday, May 30, 2008

Good medicine

We were driving in the car, running what seemed like an endless number of errands, when I had a conversation with one of the boys that pretty much summed up the way my entire day was going. It went like this:

WHAT?! WHAT!?!! WHAT!!??!!!!!!

Are you kidding me? After all that, and you've got nothing?! For a few minutes there, I considered channeling Linda Blair from the exorcist -- rotating my head 360 degrees on my shoulders while spewing all kinds of vileness from my mouth.
But you know how I handled it instead? I ate 1/2 a box of assorted chocolates.
Yeah, baby.
20 pieces.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'm saving this one for the teenage years.

When I was a kid, my mom had a prayer taped up in the inside of one of our cabinets. As I recall, it was newsprint. So, accurate or not, I remember it as something she read in the newspaper and thought was really nice. She cut it out and hung it up in the kitchen -- a place we used often so that it could be a daily reminder of the kind of parent she wanted to be. I'm 99% positive it had a line in it about being a patient parent -- A line I remember fairly vividly, because whenever we had a disagreement or when I was pushing her buttons and generally frustrating the living shit out of her, I'd whip open the cupboard door and read the poem to her, making sure to put extra emphasis on the 'having patience' part. Finally, in the midst of one heated argument, I whipped that cupboard door open one too many times. And as I was reading the prayer back to her, in the kind of nasty and exaggerated tone that is almost exclusive to teenagers, she reached across my face, ripped it off the cupboard door in one swipe, crumpled it up into a ball, and slam-dunked it into the garbage with as much force as she could muster. She spun on her heel to face me and said "That prayer does not apply to YOU!" Then she left the kitchen.

I remember it clearly because even then I think I appreciated how appropriate her response was.

So when I came across this little gem the other day, I determined that I would save it until my own kids become teenagers. I plan on taping it up inside the cabinet in the kitchen, and whenever it's appropriate I'll whip open the cupboard door and read it to them. It's not as pretty or well-meaning as that prayer was, but it should serve it's purpose all the same. It certainly reflects the kind of parent I aspire to be, and I think they're gonna' love it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ten random thoughts

#10. Why does Gibson think he can speak fluent Spanish? And why does he think we can understand him? He knows he's just making it up, doesn't he? But then again, maybe not....... Maybe he really believes it. He certainly seems serious about it, and uses it at times when you'd think one would want to communicate clearly -- like when he yells out warnings to his brother. (Just so you can follow my train of thought here.....We'd been hiking a trail in a local park and a mountain biker was riding up behind us. Both boys were hiking up ahead, with Landis a good 10 yards ahead of Gibson, and I didn't want them to get smeared. "Hey you guys!!" I yell. "Get over to the side. There's a bike coming!" So Gibson stops in his tracks, leans forward, cups his hands to his mouth and yells out, "Landis! Basta did a ye yammo a la esta!" -- which loosely translated apparently means "Get over to the side so you don't get smeared by the oncoming mountain bike!") And that's just one instance. He does it all the time. He sings along to the radio in "Spanish", he gives instructions in "Spanish", and he speaks to native Spanish speakers in "Spanish". Seriously. He even rolls his R's and gets the accents in the right places. Where does a kid get that kind of confidence?

#9. At what age is it appropriate to decide that you will no longer be wearing underwear? Is 3 too young? Landis refuses to wear it, and I'm not sure if I should make him. When I insist on it he acts like I'm torturing him -- rolling around on the ground and yelling "PLEASE!!! NO UNDIES!! I don't want to wear undies!!!! NO!!!!!!! NO!!!!!!! NO!!!!!! PLEEEEEEEEAAAAAASE!!!!!!! I HATE UNDIES!!!!!!" The way he carries on, you'd think I'd lined his tighty-whiteys with sandpaper. Is he old enough to decide for himself?

#8. Hot dang! I just made some baked oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins, and it's FANTASTIC!

#7. How to you appropriately time-out a kid who enjoys being solitary? Like when, a couple of days ago, I sent Landis to bed 2 hours early for acting like a complete and total turd for the majority of the day. And how I cleared out his room so he wouldn't have any toys to play with, and how he pitched a huge fit about it, but then we found him an hour later skipping in circles around the upstairs wearing my kayaking helmet, lost in his own little world of make-believe. His early bedtime was supposed to be a punishment, but instead he was thoroughly enjoying himself and his time alone.

#6. I've been working so hard on my "post-baby saggy pelvic floor", doing yoga and pilates for the past year and a half so that I could finally laugh, sneeze, or cough unexpectedly without whizzing in my pants. I've been doing really well too. And then I went and got this horrible cold where I can't stop coughing and coughing and coughing and coughing........ and now I think I'm back to square one. (cough,cough,cough,cough,cough,cough,cough,cough...Dammit!!)

#5. Earlier in the week, when Mike went to the "chop-shop" for his appointment to render the boys useless -- or at least directionless -- and I was doing my usual pick-up at school, I found myself sitting in the car staring at the clock. And when I knew he was actually in the doctor's office, under the knife, I got all emotional and cried. And as I gripped the steering wheel and listened to the argument happening in the back seat about who was looking at whom, and who had to look out what window, and who had to wear what sunglasses, I had to ask myself "Self......? What is THIS all about?" I don't think it's so much that I am sad at the fact that we are done having babies. My kids are old enough to go to the bathroom on their own, eat on their own, play on their own, and for the most part they sleep through the night -- which are all huge accomplishments. And, if I may be frank, I can say with complete certainty that I am not anxious to go back to non-stop butt wiping, and diaper buying, and middle of the night feedings, and all the other things that make having a newborn exhausting. Square one is a hard place to go back to when you've been away from it for so long. Not to mention the fact that I'd have to put the brakes on going back to work for at least another four years. And as a family, we can finally do things like multi-day rafting trips, and roller-coaster riding, and lots of other super-fun things that would come to a screeching halt if we were to procreate one more time. I was, and am, totally on board with keeping our family as it is. So if the tears have nothing to do with the fact that we are done having babies, what then?

#4. Hmmmm.... Wonder if Mike minds that I just posted about his "boys".

#3. I've almost kicked my Diet Dr. Pepper addiction. I can say this with confidence, since I just made a 12 pack last for 2 weeks, instead of 3 days.

#2. Ugghhhh. It's bathing suit season. Our pool is officially open, and I'd still like to cut these last 8 pounds. How does one do that when everything tastes so yummy?

#1. Twix bar or apple? Twix bar or apple? Twix. Definitely the Twix.
(Cartoon credit goes to hugh macleod at

Where are you learning these things?!?

Last night, at the dinner table Gibson turned to me and said
"Mom, this means 'Hush Up!'".
And then he flipped me the bird.

Friday, May 2, 2008

My life on Wisteria Lane

You know when you have those days where things just keep coming at you and coming at you so that you are always racing the clock, running around like a headless chicken? Well I had one of those yesterday. The one that starts with the mad-dash in the morning to get Gibson to school on time and ends in the evening back at school for his spring concert, with work, and work, and juggling Landis, and dashing back to pick Gibson up from school in between.

The only reprieve I had was the hour between the time that we got home from school at 4:00, and when we had to walk back out the door at 5:00 to get to the spring concert on time. I was SO looking forward to this smidgen of down-time -- the one hour of my day that didn't have to be nuts. Well, as it turns out, something came up. And doesn't it always? In this particular case, it came up in the form of a teeny tiny little wiener dog from across the street.

We'd just rolled into the driveway, the kids were spilling out of the car, and the constant chorus of "HEY MOM CAN WE PLAY OUTSIDE FOR A WHILE? HUH? HUH? CAN WE? CAN WE? CAN WE?" was ringing in my ears. They took off tearing around the yard and I was cleaning out my car (because God-Forbid that my friend Janice, who was going to good naturedly accompany me to Gibson's concert, should actually see what the inside of my car looks like on a daily basis) when the little wiener dog came bounding across the street and into our yard. She was extremely excited to be away from home - to put it mildly - and spent the next 10 minutes running in large circles and carefully avoiding my grasp, stopping only occasionally to sniff our dog's butt. I finally got my hands on her (high pitched baby voice: "Come here little wiener dog. That's right....... Come here. Who's a good girl? Who's a good girl? Yes...yes you are. Good girl! Come here.........Gotcha!!") and I took her back across the street to her home.

Now normally, I wouldn't go so out of my way to catch and return a loose dog, because frankly I think most dogs can fend for themselves. That, combined with the fact that we don't live in a high traffic area and our neighborhood is pretty quiet. But little wiener dog is very.........well,........little. And she's black in color and doesn't wear a collar, and I've seen little wiener dog's owner F-R-E-A-K out when little wiener dog goes missing and I certainly didn't want to see her get hit by a car. So I guess I considered it my duty to return little wiener dog safe and sound to her home.

So there we were, marching across the street, me carrying little wiener dog, Sam trotting along beside me stopping to pee and/or poop in as many yards as he could cover on our short walk, and the boys straggling along behind so as not to get too close to little wiener dog. Because even though my kids live with a 100 pound lab, they are terrified, terrified, of any dog under 12 inches tall.

We rang the door bell and waited. It was pretty clear that someone was home because the windows were open and there was a car in the driveway, but no one came to the door. We rang again. We waited some more. I turned to the kids. "Let's go around the house and I'll see if we can just put little wiener dog back in her fence." Perhaps it was a futile exercise, since I was relatively sure that that's where little wiener dog came from in the first place, but since no one answered the door, I figured it was our best shot. The fence is relatively tall and the gate had no outside handle, so it took me a minute to figure out how to open it, but open it I did. And much to my surprise, there was little wiener dog's owner, laying out in her bikini on a lawn chair on her back deck. "Oh," I thought to myself "so that's why she didn't hear the door bell."

"Ummmmm..... Hello?" I said.

No response.

"Hellooooooo....." I shouted. "Excuse me....."

No response.

I wasn't sure what to do because I knew how I would feel if I opened my eyes from an afternoon nap to find my neighbor and 3 kids (oh yes.... did I forget to mention that at some point in there we'd been joined by a 6 year old neighbor girl?) staring at me while I lay out in my bikini.

"Well......." I thought to myself "I'll just chuck little wiener dog inside the fence. Maybe she'll stay." So I did. I pitched her in, shut the gate, and turned around to find little wiener dog standing beside me, because apparently she is a better escape artist than Houdini.


I turned to the kids and said "Stay here." Then I started creeping down the sidewalk toward her back deck carrying little wiener dog.

"Hello....? Um..... Excuse me......? Hello...?"
I tried to announce my presence with each step as I inched closer and closer.
"Ummmmm.......HELLO?????? EXCUSE ME.......... EXCUSE ME........"

Eventually I was standing right next to her lawn chair and she hadn't budged. Tentatively I touched her on the shoulder. "Ma'am?" I shook her a little. "Ma'am? Excuse me..? Ma'am?" I stood. I waited. I weighed my options. I hemmed and hawed. Then I shook her a little harder. "Um.....Ma'am?" She stirred in her sleep. And when she did I caught the unmistakable whiff of some serious beer breath. Little wiener dog's owner apparently had numerous cocktails before laying out, and was now passed out cold in her back yard.

"Oh for cryin' out loud...." I muttered.

I looked around as I tried to figure out what in the heck to do with little wiener dog. Then I saw that the back door was open. I crept toward the door, sure that little wiener dog's owner would wake up from her alcohol-induced slumber just as I was standing there with the back door open. I tossed little wiener dog into the house and mad a mad-dash for it. Little wiener dog, determined not to be left behind, pushed the screen door open. (Apparently it doesn't latch very well.) "Oh no you don't." I muttered. I ran back and pushed little wiener dog back inside, then shoved the screen door closed with as much force as I could. I made another mad-dash for it, and herded the kids back down the sidewalk, since (surprise, surprise) they'd completely disregarded my instructions to STAY HERE and had wandered up to study the lady in the lawn chair. "I think she's dead." observed Landis. "Practically." I told him as I ushered them out.

We returned to our house proud of ourselves for making sure little wiener dog was safe at home, and only ate up 15 minutes of our precious hour in the process. The kids stayed outside, and I went upstairs to get nicer clothes for Gib to wear to his concert. I was pawing through his closet, when out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang down the stairs to see what was the matter! (Sorry. Sometimes I can't help myself.) Turns out that little wiener dog had magically returned to our yard and thought it would be fun to "play" with the kids by running around behind them while they scattered in all directions screaming their heads off. FUN!!! Little wiener dog was having a BLAST! Wish I could say the same for the kids.

Thoroughly exasperated with little wiener dog and the unreasonably terrified kids, I stood in the middle of my front lawn - hillbilly style, all barefoot, and sweaty, and completely disheveled - and yelled at everyone as loudly as possible so that I could be heard above all the shrieking and crying.

"Little wiener dog!! GO HOME!!!! Kids!! STOP FREAKING OUT!!! For cryin' out loud that dog is barely 12 inches tall!! AND it's shaped like a wiener!!!! GET A GRIP!!!!"

My hour was ticking away and so far it hadn't been the least bit relaxing. I decided that I was done with little wiener dog. I made the kids come in to get changed and let little wiener dog do whatever the heck she damn well pleased. But then I noticed that what she damn well pleased to do was to run in and out of the street 18 times. I knew she was going to get smeared, and it would be on my conscious.


I opened my front door and made little wiener dog come in so I could put her in the garage with Sam when we left for the spring concert. It was a great idea because the kids didn't mind having little wiener dog in the house at all. ("OH my God!! Where is the DOG???? Is she going to get ME??!?!? Where is she??!!!! Where is she??!!! AAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!") They screamed, they cried, they ran away, they ran back, they ran all over the upstairs half naked because no one could concentrate on getting dressed, being that little wiener dog might be hiding somewhere in the house just waiting to ambush them.

"She's in the garage! Just get dressed!!!! GET DRESSED!!! WE HAVE TO GO!!!" WE HAVE TO GO NOW!!!!!! My hour was up. Now we were cutting it close, on the edge of running late. I kept shouting at them as I wrestled Gibson into his clothes, and threatened Landis within an inch of his life if he did not get some pants on right this instant! And in that moment I realized what it was like for my own mom when we'd have the weekly Sunday morning fight while trying to get out the door to go to church. (By the way, Mom -- I totally get it now. And all those things you wished for me in your moments of complete and utter frustration? They're happening. Your voodoo is strong.)

And because wonders will never cease, we eventually made it out the door and to the spring concert, looking presentable, with a tad bit of time to spare. (Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!!!) I will admit, however, that I wasn't sure what to expect when we got home because I knew that little wiener dog's owner was probably frantic with worry, having risen groggily from her alcohol induced coma to discover that her beloved was missing. I got the kids out of the car, scooped little wiener dog up out of the garage, and took everyone across the street once again to deliver little wiener dog to her rightful owner.

I rang the bell and waited. The door swung open and little wiener dog's owner's boyfriend was standing there. (Or at least I think he's her boyfriend. He seems to be around a lot and sleeps over regularly, though the confusing part is that I'm pretty sure he is married to another woman in our neighborhood; a woman that everybody sees regularly because she is the HOA President.) Anyway.... Mysterious boyfriend opened the door and I held little wiener dog out to him.
"OH MY GOD!!" he shouted, as he snatched little wiener dog from me. "Where did you find her?! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!!!"
I explained that she had come bounding over to our yard to play earlier in the day -- that I'd rung the doorbell, but that no one answered and that I'd kept her in our garage until we got back home so she'd be safe.
"Yeah!" shouted Gibson He was excited by this man's obvious relief and wanted in on the conversation. "My mom went in your house and put her back but she didn't stay there!"
I shushed Gibson and swatted at him with my hand desperately trying to get him to please shut up, since the last thing I wanted to do was explain that we'd kept little wiener dog once we'd discovered that his girlfriend was sleeping one off. Luckily, mysterious boyfriend didn't catch what Gibson said because he was so busy God-blessing me and smothering me with hugs and telling me what a wonderful, incredible angel I was.

They were so overcome with joy at the return of little wiener dog, that I think I've hatched a new plan. The next time I am feeling down in the dumps, or overwhelmed and under appreciated, I'm going to sneak across the street and kidnap little wiener dog from her passed out owner. It should be easy, if yesterday was any indication. I'll keep her in my garage for a few hours, and then I'll magically return her to her frantic owner and her mysterious boyfriend so they can fall to their knees at my feet and lavish praise upon my being. That'll be good for an ego-boost. And that's how they do it on Wisteria Lane, don'tcha think?