Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holy Dustbunnies!

My boys have finally reached that magic age; they're trustworthy enough to come downstairs ALONE in the morning, eat peanut butter out of the jar, and watch cartoons, while Mommy and Daddy get a few more hours minutes of very light sleep with one ear open. Cue the choir of angels, and yet...

Last Sunday, Andy and I are enjoying a few more minutes' sleep when the boys appear on my side of the bed (aside: my side of the bed is farther from the door than Andy's. They never start on Andy's side of the bed.) to inform me that they were going down to the playroom and noticed a 'fuzzy thing' at the bottom of the basement stairs. I slip out of my coma long enough to tell them, oh, honey, that's called a dust bunny, don't worry about it, I'll vacuum it later.

HRH is not convinced but RC pipes up with the very clever idea to sweep it up with the dustpan and brush. RC just loves him some dustpan and brushing. And they exit to tidy up the fuzzy thing.

Fast forward about thirty minutes. I open the lid on our kitchen trash to drop a tea bag in. And staring back at me from the top of the trash is a fuzzy thing - also known as a bat with no wings. Aghhhhhhhhh!

I call Andy over. He calls HRH over. My questioning goes something like this; Didyoutouchit? Didyoutouchit? Didyoutouchit?? You'renotintrouble. Did. you. touch. it!?" HRH's answer was no. RC was required to pantomime out exactly what he did when he swept it up. I'm reasonably certain they were telling the truth. Nonetheless, I Purelled their hands, twice, then washed them in antibacterial soap. I may have burned their pajamas.

Near as we can figure, the bat was looking for a warm place to stay. He somehow got into the house, was met by our bloodthirsty cat, and met his demise. The Bink left the de-winged carcass as a 'present' for us. He's thoughtful like that.

For future reference, Poison Control states that rabies must be spread by injecting saliva through a bite. We then had the pleasure of triple-wrapping the remains and freezing them overnight. On Monday, I took the carcass to our vet, who had it tested by the state lab. I'm very happy (and pretty surprised) that the results were negative. No rabies here.

I haven't found the wings yet...

Friday, December 26, 2008

God Bless Us. Every One.

I wanted to give each of you a little something as a thank you for everything you've given me this year. Well, it didn't arrive in time for Christmas. We're all moms here, so I know you'll understand.

For my friends, the someday moms: May your eggs be viable and your uterus be hospitable. Or may you find another way.

For my friends, the gestating moms: May the first and last trimesters go by with ease. May you take the sleep when you can get it. May you savor the miracle.

For my friends, the laboring moms: May your OB be on duty when you go into labor and free with the drugs. May your baby's head be small. May your partner know his place is to shut up and shovel ice chips.

For my friends, the brand new moms: May your baby latch on like a champ and sleep in long stretches. May you shower most days. May your husband have a great paternity leave policy.

For my friends, the mothers of newborns: May your child find a schedule. May he take a bottle, when necessary. May you be there for her first smile.

For my friends, the mothers of infants: May your child sleep through the night. May she be allergy-free. May he be an "easy baby".

For my friends, the mothers of toddlers: May your child not figure out how to open the child proof locks. May she not share food with the dog, then put it back in her mouth. May he not hit the terrible twos before his first birthday.

For my friends, the mothers of preschoolers: May potty training last days, not months. May she not suffer from separation anxiety on the first day of preschool. May he always like you better than his teacher.

For my friends, the mothers of kindergarteners: May your child adjust beautifully to big kid school. May the teacher recogize the uniqueness and individual gifts of your child.

For my friends, the mothers of elementary schoolers: May your child neither bully nor be bullied. May she love learning in all its forms.

For my friends, the mothers of tweens: May your child find his own moral compass. May friends, music, and movies not steal the precious years of childhood innocence.

For my friends, the mothers of high schoolers: May your children's deeds make you proud. May you be their mother first and their friend, second.

For my friends, the mothers of college students: May your children remember your lessons as they take their first fledgling steps to independence. May they make good decisions and know their own minds.

For my friends, the mothers of adults: May your children grow to be intelligent, loving, kind, good, hardworking, humorous parents. And may they take good care of us as we grow old.

For all of us: Though the days are long, the years are short. May we treasure the good ones and run down the clock on the bad ones with humor and love and friendship.

It was either this or a fruitcake.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Magic of Christmas

It starts off very subtly. A brief comment, "I think I heard bells" then back to the conversation. A little while later, "did you see something fly past the window?" then back to the conversation.

Finally, after dinner, someone near the fireplace exclaims, "I think I heard something land on the roof!" Adults look expectantly at one another, "do you think?" The children can sense the magic at hand. An aunt or uncle, mommy or daddy stoops in front of the fireplace and yells up the chimney, "Santa? Is that you?" And finally, from the chimney you hear "Ho Ho Ho!"

The boys and girls are gathered around the fireplace, some nervous, some wide-eyed, all excited. One by one, each child is introduced and gets his turn to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas. Sometimes, an older brother or sister is pressed into duty for an unwilling, younger sibling.

Finally, after everyone's had their turn, Santa climbs back into his sleigh and flies off into the night. But not before leaving gifts for these good little children. Each adult in the room takes hold of the nearest child and runs to the door and out into the cold. Staring into the sky in search of a miniature sleigh being pulled by eight tiny reindeer.

It's a tradition that's been going on in Andy's family for more than a generation. It's my family's tradition. Someday, I will watch my grandchildren crouch by the fireplace while magic happens.

Friday, December 19, 2008

What to Really Expect

For my friend, Jennifer, who is expecting her first child. These are the things that they can't tell you in books. I give you HRH's six-year check up.

The initial aspects of the physical are going pretty well; height - check, weight - check, eyes/ears/nose/mouth -check. The pediatrician has HRH stand up, touch his nose, touch his toes, pull down his pants - wha? What was that last thing?? HRH is awash in shyness and confusion while I'm doing the "Doctors, Mommy and Daddy" privacy song and dance.

Eventually, HRH mans up and pulls down his boxers. The doctor gets enough of a glance to note that everything is where it should be. Aaaand now it's time for three immunizations, a blood test and a urine test.

We got him on the first shot with the sneak attack. For the second and third, I'm half-lying across the exam table with his legs in a scissor hold between mine, while pinning his hands against my body, exposing one bicep as he screaches in my left ear.

Next, we're off to the lab for blood work. HRH is still hyperventilating when he realizes we're not headed to the car and starts running. I catch up, grab him, and drag him into the lab. More pinning, more screaming ensues but eventually 0.001 cc of blood is drawn from his index finger. The tech then hands me a sample cup. Like I could ever coerce him into peeing into it. I give her the 'you gotta be kidding me' look and she agrees that perhaps I can take it with us and get a sample later. Better plan.

By the time I'm carrying my 45 pound 'baby' out of the building, he is literally speaking in tongues. I don't know what he was saying but it was not English. The only thing to comfort and quiet him? A special occasion (Strawberries and Cream Frapuccino) drink from Starbucks. That's my boy.

Motherhood: A full-contact sport.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Do's and Don't's When Attempting to Adhere To a Strict Diet

  1. Get off the mall elevator in front of the Lindt Chocolate store - Don't
  2. Make your boys extra chocolatey hot chocolate with mini marshmallows - Don't
  3. Serve only food you don't really anyway for dinner for your family - Do
  4. Get the boy McDonalds on your way home to eat a delicious NutriSystem lunch - Don't
  5. Purchase seasonal candles in any of the following fragrances: Egg Nog, Christmas Cookies, Cinnamon and Sugar - Don't
    + Alternate suggestions would be Balsam, Cedar, Tripe, and Morning Breath
  6. Eat your afternoon snack allotment of 15 grapes (it's a full serving why are you still hungry damn it!) near your grape-loving boy - Don't
  7. Consider at least twice daily infusions of English Breakfast Tea (and the glorious caffeine contained within) to be necessary for the well-being of your family - DO
  8. Re-route all travel to avoid all known Starbucks locations - most especially the drive thru - Do
  9. Recognize that 64 ounces of water is about 59 ounces more than you typically drink in a given day - Do
  10. Calculate the nearest restroom in any given destination immediately upon entering - Do
  11. Convince yourself that eating frozen pancakes, dinosaur chicken, and spaghetti with butter and salt for a month straight will not stunt your children's growth - Do
    + (Bonus: Dinner Hero status from aforementioned children).
  12. Notice the aroma of sweetness coming from the discarded M&Ms on the floor of the backseat - Don't
  13. Remind yourself you need to fit into your summer clothes in less than two months - Do
  14. Try on said summer clothes to put an exclamation point on your good intentions - DON'T
    + It's just too depressing.
  15. Start a strict diet ten days before Christmas - Don't

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Kind that Will Even Say, "How Do You Do?"

We're sitting down having a nice family evening; the fireplace is crackling and the four of us are snuggled up on the couch in our 'jamas, watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

We get to the part where Rudolph, Herbie, and Yukon Cornelius land on the Island of Misfit Toys.

Andy: Why is the doll a 'misfit' again?

MM: No one has ever known. It's one of life's great mysteries.

HRH: Maybe she's just really boring to play with...

My son; pondering the impoderable.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nearly Wordless Wednesday - The Dirty Little Snowman Edition

He's been around ever since I can remember. He's survived a basement flood, broken hangers, poor packing, and years of loving abuse.

I kidnapped my dirty little snowman from my Mom's when I moved into my own place. He's the first ornament to adorn the tree each year. The boys know he's special and why.

He's part of my Christmas magic.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Privacy Please

We've been having the occasional conversation about privacy and its importance; in the bathroom, while changing, not touching, who can and can't touch private parts, etc. The usual careful parents stuff.

This morning on Nick Jr., Max and Ruby were having a debate about a private clubhouse Ruby had started with her friend, Louise.

HRH, imparting the following wisdom to RC: Private means something that no one else can have or touch.

MM: HRH, excellent explanation to your little brother!

HRH: Yeah, Mom. Private. Like your breasts.

Message received.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

An Ode to Starbucks

God bless my barista
Man that I love
Stand in line here
Get mine here

Day or night
Venti's right
Chai I love

From the drive thru
To the Target
Back to Starbucks
Light, no foam

God bless my barista
Live in
My home

Monday, December 1, 2008

Piccup Andropov

"...what ever will you do with yourself once both boys are in school?"

7:00 - Wake up to 3 year old face 1/4 inch from face

7:30 - Dressing, breakfast, lunches

8:00 - Shower, dress, corral boys

8:30 - Leave for school

9:00 - Peel suddenly shy boy off self and leave for dentist

9:30 - Dentist

10:40 - Dry Cleaners

10:50 -Starbucks

11:00 - Stop and Shop

12:20 - Put away groceries

1:00 - Pick up RC

1:00 - Playground

2:15 - Post office, Library, Starbucks (yes, twice in one day)

3:00 - Pick up HRH

3:00 - 4:00 - Playground (yes, twice in one day)

4:05 - Stupidly come home for no apparent reason

4:20 - Leave to pick up niece at basketball

5:00 - Home. Blog. Wine.

5:15 - Make dinner

Monday, November 24, 2008

Manic Mommy Goes to Step Aerobics...

Damn it. Five minutes late. Maybe I'll just do the machines. Nah. Just go in.

Oh great. Only space left located behind the column. Just as well, I don't like to cause a fuss. Heh.

Out of step and out of breath. Already.

OMG. If the instructor's ass jiggles, what must I look like?

What was I thinking trying to do football drills after birthing two babies?

Back from Ladies Room. Much better.

It's 9:20. Maybe I'll leave at 9:30.

Shit. I've already finished my water.

Jeez. Someone in here really smells bad.

OMG. I hope it's not me.

Probably not me.

I'm hungry. Wish I'd eaten something.

Nah. I would have thrown it up by now.

Why does the instructor keep coming over by me?

Wrong foot (again).

Maybe that's why.

Oh, I remember this from when I used to take Step back in the my 20s.

That woman in the back is taking her pulse. Is she having a heart attack?

God, all I need is the white man's overbite and I'll look like Billy Crystal at a wedding.
I was dancing at the wedding Saturday night. Does that count as exercise?
Nah. Probably just offsets the food and drinking.
Those stuffed mushrooms were delicious.

Heh. The girl with the tattoos is finally out of step.

Wow. Marilyn's only lifting one weight at a time. Maybe I'm in better shape than I thought.

Damn. She's got the eight pounders.

Oh! Abba! Dancing Queen, young and sweet, only seventeeeeen.

My lungs are burning.

Maybe I'll stay for my regular yoga class after this.

Need to take a little rest or I'm gonna die.

Probably not staying for yoga.

I feel so bad for Jen having to be behind me.

I wonder if I'll get better if I come every week.

Thank God. It's 9:50. We're almost done.

I'm gonna make it.

What? We're doing crunches now?

Crunches? Dude.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Family that Prays Together...

Scene: Dinner at Manic Mommy's Mommy's house.

Gram: HRH, would you like to say grace before we eat?

HRH: Oh, Gram. I don't go to St. Somewhere's anymore. I don't have to do that.

Gram (sidelong glance at MM): ...

Um. Whoops?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What I Want For You

Dear Six Year Old Boy:

I want to gather up you everything you'll ever want and hand it to you on a silver plate. But because I love you, I won't.

I want you to be happy.

I want you to see the humor in people and events and yourself.

I want you to find pleasure in life's small moments. I want you to build sandcastles and create wonderful worlds and stories for them.

I want you to know that you are safe.

I want you to have adventures.

I want you to be carefree.

I want you to have the friendship and loyalty of your brother. No one will ever have your back in quite the same way he will.

I want you to make mistakes and I want you to learn from them.

I want you to be kind to yourself when you make those mistakes.

I want you to know what you want from your life and how to attain it.

I want you to have a back up plan.

I want you to find someone who will love you almost as much as I do. Someone who will laugh with you and at you. Someone who will hold your hand and be your partner and your friend.

I want you to remember not to take yourself too seriously.

I want you to remember where you come from and be proud of it.

I want you to be proud of yourself.

I want you to understand the importance of helping others.

I want you to love learning and continue the journey throughout your life.

I want you to know learning exists in places other than books and classrooms.

I want you to always, always know that we are your family and that we are here.

I want you to feel how very much you are loved by your mommy and daddy. No matter what.

Happy Birthday, my wonderful, special, brilliant, sensitive angel. Thank you for making me a mommy. I love you, up to the sky.



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

WTF Wednesday II

Big Puddle + Big Boy Bike = Yet More Laundry (and one ecstatic boy)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Life - A Snapshot

HRH's class has been given a few disposable cameras and an assignment to take pictures of their house, neighborhood, favorite room, family, etc. HRH is the last in the class to take the camera home. There were about seven or eight pictures left.

Manic Mommy stepping out of the shower, naked as the day she was born (clearly, you can already see where this is headed).

A knock on the door.

RC enters carrying disposable camera that is part of HRH's homework.

RC: I just want to take one picture.

MM (mirror strategically behind her, of course) simultaneously reaches for a towel and the camera. Screeches: NOOOOO!!! Don't take the picture!!

1. Run camera over with newly-repaired truck.

2. Develop all pictures to determine if nudie pic of naked mommy was, in fact taken. Also to be taken into consideration: person working the photo desk at Target.

3. Hand the camera back to kindergarten teacher and hope for the best.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Random Act of Kindness - A Mother's Pride

Just this year, the boys' school inaugurated new, extended hours corresponding with a normal, full kindergarten day. Not many kids beyond the kindergartners stay until the end of the day. RC gets out of school two hours earlier than HRH.

Today, we were returning to school just a few minutes into Barack Obama's first press conference and I may have dawdled for just a minute in the car. I entered the building as two or three other mommies and children were exiting. HRH was one of two remaining students.

As we, ourselves left the building, HRH stopped and asked me to wait, while turning and heading back into the building. Just inside the door waited the remaining child. HRH handed the boy a drawing he had made that day and said to the boy, 'I want you to have this because my mom is here and yours isn't here yet.' HRH returned to me and said that he gave the boy the drawing because he wanted to make him feel better.

I don't have to tell you how proud this makes me.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's Just Another Manic Contest

Actually, it's my very first. I've been thinking about having a contest for while now. I've already got the prizes (note: prizes, plural). But quite frankly, couldn't come up with what the contest part would be.

The it hit me. The ultimate navel gazing self-absorbed Seinfeldian/Bloggy moment: I'll have a contest about...having a contest!

Da Rulz:

1. Leave a comment telling me what type of contest I should hold.
- Should I ask you to guess the next disgusting thing to go near my child's mouth?
Why invite bad karma for the sake of a contest?
- Should I ask you to guess the boys' real names?
I'd prefer to stay married.
- Should I do the movie meme again?
I'm cynical realistic. Too easy to cheat.

2. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time Monday, November 10th.

3. During this time, you may submit additional comments lobbying for your favorite entry.

4. Winners will be decided by ME.

5. I will post the Top Three Winners sometime on Wednesday, November 12th.

Da Prizes:

1st Prize: The Bible, The Wine Bible
2nd Prize: A bottle of Manic Mommy's Finest

(Look for the package marked "cooking oils")

3rd Prize: A $10.00 Starbucks gift card, just in time for Egg Nog Lattes!

So, think funny, think clever, think about a decent Merlot! And think about telling your friends and readers. You know how I feel about putting myself out there waiting for you guys to reply. Can't wait to see what you come up with.

* While family member and employees of She's Just Another Manic Mommy, LLC. Are not eligible to win prizes (although it would certainly save me a bundle in shipping charges), they are encouraged to participate nonetheless.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why I Vote

In July of 1969, my parents brought my sister, 2 years, and me, 10 months, out from our cribs to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. Today, I brought my son with me to vote.

  • Because the United States is my home and I am a part of this republic
  • Because the country needs fixing
  • Because it's my responsibility
  • Because I have opinions and live in a country where we're encouraged to express them
  • Because I don't agree with the war and want to support our troops by bringing them home
  • Because Hillary Clinton's mother was born into a world where women could not vote and Chelsea Clinton was able to vote for her mother in the primary
  • Because we're not perfect but we keep trying
  • Because I refuse to settle
  • Because the United States has an amazing capacity for good in the world
  • Because a 15-year-old girl was stoned to death in Somalia for adultery
  • Because the biracial son of a Kenyan and a Kansan could be president
  • Because I am a mother
  • Because my boys need to live in the best world I can give them
  • Because my children will know that all things are possible
  • Because I have more than most people in the world
  • Because freedom isn’t free

Why do you vote?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How About a Little Context?

Thanks everyone for your comments, words of encouragement, questions, and even your disagreement regarding my last post. For those of you just judging, thanks for stopping by, move along now.

Because I have no brain space for another topic at this time I thought it might help if I provided a little context for those of you just tuning in. Here's a bulleted list (cause that's the way I roll) of our reasoning. I would have alphabetized or categorized it but, you know, I'm not rigid or anything.

  • She is COLD. By all accounts, including her fellow teachers.
  • Any and all attempts to reach out to her have been utterly and completely rebuffed.
  • She's got a 3 month old and a 3 year old. We all know how hard that can be and as a mother, I sympathize. As the mother of my child, if you can't handle the kids, stay out of the classroom.
  • HRH does nothing in school besides busy work - pages and pages of rudimentary work sheets (Last week's homework was to trace the letters of the alphabet).
  • She's done nothing to break them up into groups based on reading/academic level.
  • HRH is constantly being given timeout for truly minor infractions such as talking in the corridors or touching a friend.
  • One day, she forgot about him during one such time out and he sat at his table for the entire free period while the other kids were playing around him.
  • The day we pulled him out, he reported that someone had crumpled up a tissue and thrown it on the floor. Mrs. Smith told the entire class that unless someone owned up to it, the entire class would not have 'free time.' HRH eventually confessed, not because he did it but because he thought he might have done it.
  • His entire class was made to keep quiet for a day because Mrs. Smith had a headache.
  • HRH's out of school personality has changed dramatically. He's having constant meltdowns over nothing, doesn't want to play with his friends after school, and is fighting constantly (up from most of the time) with his brother.
  • His reading skills have deteriorated since starting kindergarten.
  • Last but not least, he's developed a stutter.

Again, thank you all for your insights. Trust me when I tell you this decision was not made in a vacuum. We did discuss moving him to the other kindergarten class and/or talking to the principal however, she's not going to change her entire style of teaching because I complained, the other kindergarten teacher is brand new, so we didn't even have anecdotal history to go on, and we did not want him to be 'the kid whose parents moved him.' Plus, some of the assignments sent home are coming from both kindergarten teachers, so I'm not convinced the other teacher would be teaching at a higher level.

We were very fortunate in that his preschool just started a kindergarten this year. After speaking to the teacher (who was HRH's last year's teacher, under whom he THRIVED) and the director, we were able to move him into that class (at twice the cost...). We need to start back at square one planning for next year and this option definitely created the least upheaval in his life. On the contrary, the last three months would be the blip.

For the past two mornings, HRH has woken up enthusiastically, gotten dressed and ready eagerly and cooperatively, and went to school with a huge grin on his face.

Life's problems are not so easily solved, nor will we immediately jump to fix every bump. But this was something we felt strongly enough about to make the changes. And we're standing behind them.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Think We Made a Bad Call

I've regaled you all before with my misgivings about HRH's kindergarten experience. I think we may have the nail in the coffin on St. Somewhere's. Here is an email (their preferred method of communication) I sent to his teacher two weeks ago. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent:

Dear Mrs. Smith:

If possible, I'd like to arrange a meeting between you and my husband, Andy and me rather than simply the TeacherEase update outlined in Mr. Madden's
Bugle email of 10/3.

Below are the topics I'd like to discuss:

- HRH's transition to kindergarten/St. Somewhere's
- Kindergarteners' daily schedule
- How the individual subjects are taught
- HRH's social development
- HRH's educational plan/goals
- In-class volunteering opportunities (for me)

I apologize if this comes across a little "rigid". I was a Project Manager in my previous life and tend to think in bullet points. Andy and I look forward to meeting with you. Ideally, a half hour prior to school would work best for us however, we will of course make ourselves available whenever works best for all.

Best regards and thank you,

Christine Manic

Here is her response:

Mrs. Manic

I am not offering conferences at this time unless there is an issue. HRH has adjusted nicely to Kindergarten and is doing well. I will contact you when conference times will be available.

Have a wonderful afternoon.
First Name Smith
I spoke at length to his last year's teacher, whom we love and whose opinion we highly value. She was very close to tears when I told her of HRH's "treatment" at the school and truly livid about the letter above. Andy is on board and he and I are making immediate efforts to remove my boy and right what was apparently a very bad call on our part.

How have you and your kids done with transitions?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

To Whom It May Concern:

Dear Person-who-walked-in-front-of-the-car-in-front-of-the-car-in-front-of-me:
Please look both ways before you cross. That three SUV collision you caused is sure to increase my insurance premiums.

Dear SUV in front of me:
Bumpers don't bump even at low speeds if one leaves her trailer hitch on. Can you say "significant front end damage"?

Dear USAA:
Mea culpa on the Et Tu thing. You guys have been awesome throughout the unfortunate rear-ending incident. (Latin with Latin = clever!)

Dear Enterprise Rent-a-Car:
Nissan Altima? "Premium" vehicle? Really?

Dear Nissan:
The button thing? What's wrong with starting a car with keys?
Ps - One week, 250+ miles, half a tank of gas = Four cylinders rock!

Dear Squirrels tunneling in through the wood near the gutter:
We are not your winter home. Don't make me go all Over the Hedge on your asses.

Dear Family:
Hey look! The dishwasher is right there! Next. to. the. sink!

What a rip off. Thanks for making my son cry.

Dear Microsoft Word 2007:
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Now it's broke.

Dear DirectTV:
Your commercial with the poor, dead, little Carol-Ann from Poltergeist is just creepy.

Dear Craig T. Nelson:
You should be ashamed of yourself.

Dear Starbucks:
Smooches. I remain your bitch.



Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blacklisted by Jordan's Furniture

With no less than the fate of the free world and the ALCS hanging in the balance, I've been a very absentee blogger of late. To extend my lazy streak but keep you coming make up for it, I'm regifting (Indian giving?) a post I gave to Merlot Mom back in August, during her trip to Japan. I promise to return to our regularly scheduled programming possibly as soon as tomorrow.

Scene: 7:30 am. Approximately 12 hours after Manic Mommy and Daddy have emptied the living room of the following:

• One oversized, incredibly heavy, and entirely abused living room couch
• Its little sister, the soon-to-be-former love seat, same condition
• Under-couch detritus
• Embarrassingly large pile of under-couch detritus
• 3x3 square coffee table; gouged, scraped, stickered, and colored
• Matching end table with the drawer handled removed. In surprisingly good shape, given the fate of the its compatriots

Jordan’s Furniture Delivery Guy arrives at front door to be greeted by Manic Mommy, looking like a million bucks in grey t-shirt and pink pajama bottoms, hair back in a headband. She did put a bra on.

MM (huge smile – she’s getting new furniture!): Hi!

JFDG: Hi. My name is -

HRH (fresh on the scene, addressing JFDG): Do these look like clothes? They’re really ‘jamas.

JFDG: Oh, very nice. They’re SpongeBob. (back to MM) Hi, my name is Ariel and –

HRH: I also have a pair of baseball ‘jamas. And they look like clothes, too.

JFDG (cheerily): Oh, you like baseball? Who’s your favorite tea-

HRH (points to furniture care kit box in JFDG’s hand): What’s that? (runs off before answer)

JFDG comes in. He and MM discuss placement of furniture.

RC (enters living room wearing pajama t-shirt and underwear): I have a ‘mote control car. My Nana bought it for me for doing poops in the potty. Do you want to touch it?

HRH (not to be outdone): He has two remote control cars now. One from Nana and a monster truck one that Mommy bought when he wore big boy underwear for a whole day!

JFDG: Blank stare.

Leaves to get furniture.

JFDG II (having clearly been warned, remains silent, eyes averted) enters and begins removing French door from hinges.

RC: My Daddy has a hammer. And it’s loud too. Bang! BaNG! BANG!

JFDGs begin carrying in furniture/dodging little boys.

MM (attempting normal service-person-type conversation): Gee, it’s really muggy already. I thought it was supposed to rain all day today.

With each piece…

HRH: Once we had thunder and lightning and that tree over there…

…they are subjected…

MM: Guys, please stay out of the men’s way. Get that remote control car off the new table!

…to more…

RC: I have Diego underwear (sits on floor and spreads legs, knees bent). Want to see?

…of the same…

JDFG: Anyquestions?Canyousignhere?Thanksbye!

Manic Mommy gazes lovingly at pristine, matching, un-destroyed new living room…and barely hears him. Yeah, whatever, dude.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cat People vs. Dog People

Scene: The livingroom, moments ago.
Manic Mommy and Andy sitting on the couch.
The Cat purring while being petted by MM.
The Dog asleep on the chair across the room.
Cat jumps to floor and exits to dining room. Sounds of wretching follow.

Andy: Your cat is the most disgusting creature.

Dog awakens to the smell of fresh cat vomit and runs toward dining room and a late night snack.

MM: Oh, I beg to differ.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Do You Recognize This Face?

Dear Boys:

Do you know who this is?

It's Mommy. No, really. It is Mommy.

This weekend, while you were making gingerbread men and reading "Gingerbread Friends" with Gram, Daddy and I found our smiles.

We went to a special place in the sky called The Mount Washington Hotel. Just Mom and Dad. No, just Christine and Andy.

We didn't bring the 20-minute conference calls that morph into 2 1/2 hours, or the possibly-totaled Trailblazer, or even the kindergarten transition anxiety (Mommy's, not yours, HRH). We even left the wifi, the Vice Presidential debate, and the $700 billion bail out package at home. We knew it would all be here when we got home -- and it was.

Rather, we slept, and read, and ate, and drank, and talked, and lived.

Mom and Dad LOVE being your parents. There is nothing more important to us than doing that well. But we have been neglecting Andy and Christine lately. And it's shown. In the way we behave toward each other and the two of you. And certainly in the way we treat ourselves. This weekend, while we were here, we remembered to be kind to ourselves. And we remembered our smiles.

I hope we'll be seeing them a lot more.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

DaVinci Has His Last Supper, I Have This

Nearly two years ago, we were hosting Christmas at our house. As we were piling the food onto the table and guests and family members settling themselves in, I opened a couple of bottles of wine and began pouring. As I did so, I called out "Who wants Merlot?".

From the living room, the 1 1/2 year old voice of RC answered enthusiastically "I do!".

It's gone on to become a standing family joke, with someone or other yelling out the question and the rest of us replying, Marco Polo-style.

Today, HRH brought this home from school:

DaVinci can have his Last Supper, I'm going to frame this work of art to be immortalized in our dining room.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Oh, The Heart-Stopping Goodness

Artichoke~Cheese Dip

~ 1 small jar artichoke hearts
~ 1 16 oz container sour cream (I use light)
~ 2 cups shredded cheddar
~ 1 brick cream cheese
~ 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
~ freshly ground pepper to taste
~ 1 medium to large loaf round bread, any type (I prefer sour dough)
~ 1 loaf French bread

~warm refrigerated cream cheese in microwave for one minute, in medium mixing bowl
~finely chop artichoke hearts and add to softened cream cheese
~add all other ingredients and mix well with mixer (explain when son asks what mixer is)
~pour into hollowed out bread bowl and replace "cover"
~wrap bowl in aluminum foil and place on cookie sheet
~cook in preheated 375 degree oven for 1 hour

~serve with cubed french bread and this

For Nancy, who asked for the recipe. I could eat this stuff for dinner.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Potty Mouth

Psst, Clorox:

Wanna make a mint? Invent a non-toxic, drinkable bleach product. And here's why:

Item 1: We are at my sister's house and RC has just completed his first successful peep of the new potty-training season. Manic Mommy is at the sink washing her hands after assisting with said endeavor. RC spies the plunger parked next to Auntie's toilet. Before MM can reach him/screech loud enough to wake the dead, RC has upended the plumber's helper and licks. it. Various washing and rinsing ensues. But where's the bleach?

Item 2: First Day of preschool. Andy has taken the day off to accompany RC to orientation while MM attends HRH's Welcome Mass. After we pick up HRH, we take the boys to Friendly's for an ice cream. Except for RC, we each order what turns out to be a pretty meager portion and consequently begin taking little bites from RC's massive make-your-own-sundae.

It is with the taste of hot fudge and Reeses Pieces still upon my tongue that Andy suddenly remembers the men's room incident that had taken place not ten minutes earlier:

RC is standing in front of the toilet having already fondled caressed lifted the toilet seat and is attempting to simultaneously hold the seat up, keep his shirt tucked under his chin, and aim. He is one hand short, and so, he leans forward and places the edge of the toilet seat between his lips to hold it up and proceeds to urinate.

Andy acted fast but of course, the damage was already done. He proceeded to make RC rinse his mouth out and wash his face/lips/hands with Friendly soap. But again, where's the bleach?

Did I mention that I was eating RC's ice cream as the story unfolded? What's a mom to do? I buy fluoride-free toothpaste for him because that's dangerous if ingested. How about the most germ-laden surfaces know to mom?

Please tell me your worst. Am I the only mother with a really, gross little kid?Let me know that his immune system is strong enough to handle it - and that it. will. stop.


Manic Germaphobe Mommy

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Remember

My first "I remember where I was" moment occurred when the Challenger exploded just after take-off. It was January 1986. A nor'easter was blowing into Massachusetts and my school closed early to make sure everyone got home safely. A bunch of us rented some movies and headed to my friend, Joe's house to watch. One movie was Thief of Hearts. I can't remember the other one. My friend Michele called her father to tell him where she was. I can remember her saying, 'What?!" and to us, "the shuttle exploded! Turn on the TV!"

There are others now. But seven years ago,

I was sitting in my office in Andover and Andy called me when he got into his office in Cambridge. He commented he'd just heard on the radio that someone had just flown into the World Trade Center. We both thought it was some poor idiot in a Cesna. We both thought it was an accident. We hung up and I ambled into my boss, Lee's office and told her. She tried to get onto and couldn't. Then another co-worker ran in to say a second plane had just hit the other tower.

Not an accident. An attack.

We were in a new building and didn't have a TV so all over, small groups of people gathered around small images on computer monitors. Everytime someone managed to get some news, it spread as horrible rumors through the office. As we learned about Flight 93, my friend, June got a panicked, crying call from her college-aged son. His dad was flying back from PA today. Had she heard from him? She had not but later learned, thank God, he was not aboard that flight.

Finally, Lee and I left the building to run to a local Best Buy to get a TV. Going home would take too long. It was in Lee's Jeep that we heard that the first tower had fallen. We saw the second tower fall standing among strangers in front of a big-screen TV in Best Buy.

We spent a longer while at work, eventually leaving to watch the horror unfold from the comfort of our own homes. There, I pleaded with Andy to leave the job he had just started a few weeks before. He worked in Kendall Square, where MIT is located. I was sure if there were more attacks "they" would target the academic centers soon.

He didn't leave until 5:00 and was home in record time. He found me in front of the TV exactly where I had landed when I arrived home hours before. We watched more. We headed to his mom's to wish her a happy birthday - yeah, 9/11 bummer. More TV, bed, God-Bless-America-sex, sleep.

In the morning, we woke up back to the bad dream that was our new reality.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

This is 40

And so is this

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Mom that Roared

I should have seen this coming. How could I forget who I am? As each of you has blogged, tweeted, and commented your anxieties about your babies going off to school, I sat here in my little haven I like to call De Nile and pondered if I was the bad mom who couldn't wait for school to come.

Forget no more. The name on the blog ain't Manic Mommy for nothing. And today, it hit me.

Today was HRH's Welcome Back Mass with the entire school present. I attended the mass because families were invited and I couldn't chance HRH being "the only kid whose mommy wasn't there" even if he didn't even know I was. So as I'm sitting in the back of the church with a few dozen other moms and two dads, I peered around to see just how small HRH looked next to his eighth grade assigned "buddy". His head barely cleared the back of the pew. My boy, my baby.

I began thinking about his anxieties about school (his perception of three timeouts on day one), about the things I'd heard about his teacher (all work, no play...not overly warm...), and about my own ideas of what his educational experience should look like. And the more I looked at Mrs. Smith with her dark corkscrew curls tied back in a severe ponytail, the deep set eyes, the unsmiling mouth, she began to morph into The Wicked Witch of the West or maybe just Miss Gulch. She held all the cards in deciding whether this first year of my child's formal education would foster his nascent love of learning and nurture his spirit.

I don't effing think so.

My protective instincts came screaming to the fore. This is my son. I am his advocate. He is brilliant and sensitive and thoughtful and mine. He is capable of great things.

I believe in our choice of school - the principal sent us a quick email day one to know that he'd visited the kindergarten classrooms and all was well. The faculty and facilities, the activities and the community are what drew us to the school. This environment is one in which HRH can thrive.

I have some qualms about his teacher but I am willing and hoping to be wrong.

I will work with or against anyone to ensure his education and his educational experience is everything he deserves it to be.

And so, Mrs. Smith and the rest of St. Somewhere, remember my face. You'll be seeing a lot of it.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Trying to Reason with the Hurricane Season

Full Jimmy Buffet download to follow but for now, Kristen, this one's for you:

Send more business cards. Everywhere I wear these, I always get complimented and questioned.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Potty Whisperer - A Fable

You know how our brains forget the pain of childbirth as a way of ensuring the propagation of the species? There are some other things that our brains hide from us because if we remembered the trauma, we'd never willingly go through it again. For me, it's potty training. I suck at it. It's been two weeks and one day and as I look at RC dancing around in yet another pair of Diego big boy underwear, I think it might be okay to talk about without fear of breaking the spell.

Two Thursdays ago, as I was stepping into the shower HRH screeched upstairs at his most ear-splitting decibel that RC had just peed on the living room rug. Same shit, different day or something like that. I stood in the shower trying to calm down, taking deep yogic breaths, and reviewing my options.

I could-. Tried. Failed.

Maybe if-. Tried. Failed.

What about-? Tried. Failed.

Post shower and no more prepared to deal, I went into RC's room and grabbed two pair of 'big boy underwear' from his drawer. I stomped into the living room (avoiding the pee spot) and held up both pair. "Is it going to be Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Speed Racer?" Huh? "Because I'm throwing all your diapers away. We. are. done."

I then proceeded to take every diaper in the house and toss it in the trash. I wasn't enthusiastic, I wasn't encouraging, I didn't begin to address the rug incident. And I would brook no argument. I resigned myself to never entering a bathroom alone until we were done, packed up seven or eight changes of clothes, and left the house. The boy went about six hours without peeing before finally giving in - in the potty.

Initially, I thought my timing was way off. We were leaving the next day for Storyland. But wait! Daddy would be along for this ride. And so it was, like so many other projects in our marriage, I started the ball rolling and my husband, God bless him, carried it through to completion! He nagged, he cajoled, he sat on the lip of the bathtub and read endless books and offered encouragement. And in the end, my boy was trained! He got his bike last Saturday.

My husband, The Potty Whisperer.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First Day of Kindergarten Tidbits

Damn you Anymommy! How about nearly showing up late for my son's first day of Kindergarten because I was so caught up in your garage trials and tribulations?

Scene: Leaving new school schoolyard. MM holding a barefoot RC in her arms, crocs in hand.

MM to HRH: Did you have a good day, Buddy?

HRH: The best! Did you know we have a basketball court, and a library and a food court?

MM: A foot court?

HRH: No, Mom a food court. You know, where we'll eat lunch.


Scene: An hour or so later. Daddy calls for update. MM puts him on speaker.

Daddy: Hey, Buddy! How'd Kindergarten go?

HRH: Great! I loved it!

Daddy: What'd you do?

HRH: Well, I got three timeouts.

MM/Daddy: Wha????

MM: What happened, HRH?

HRH: It's too difficult to explain.

I'll point to this post to help illustrate the reasoning behind our total shock. HRH is an in-the-box kind of guy. He likes the box. When K-A and K-B were told to line up to go into school, HRH got in line.

After subtle, thoughtful prodding (involving a 90 watt bulb and promises of a puppy), Andy and I were able to glean that HRH was actually reminded that he needs to raise his hand before asking a question and to stop speaking when his teacher was reading a story.

Tomorrow? Day 2.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Et tu USAA?

The gist: Buy our life insurance in the next six days or it'll cost you a bundle you nearly old bat.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Where it Sounds Like the Beginning of a Letter to Penthouse..But it's Not

...Jordan’s Furniture Delivery Guy arrives at front door to be greeted by Manic Mommy, looking like a million bucks in grey t-shirt and pink pajama bottoms, hair back in a headband. She did put a bra on...

If you'd like to read more and from the beginning, I've got a post up over here today.

I say it oh-so-casually. Like I'm constantly being asked to guest blog for Parents, or Cosmopolitan, or Field and Stream, or Merlot Mom. OMG! Sharp, witty, pretty, funny, Merlot Mom (!) asked me to guest post while she and her family take a little jaunt over to Japan.

Do me proud, friends. Head over there and leave a little comment or seven so I can hold my head high in the company of my friend, Fran (waves to Tokyo) and her esteemed guest bloggers. And if it's a Friday before a holiday weekend like I used to have at work, head over and pay a little visit to their sites as well.

Y'know. After going to Merlot Mom's.

Am I making myself clear?

First Merlot Mom. Then these guys:

A Mom Two Boys
Okay, Fine, Dammit
Nanny Goats in Panties
The Sphors are Multiplying
The Newborn Identity

Namaste. And thanks.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

You Can't Go Om Again...

Dick Clark:
Welcome to $25,000 Pyramid! Let's play our game!

Joan Van Ark:
Day Camp
Family Time
Running of the Brides
Swimming Lessons
Weekend Get-Away

Brett Sommers:
Reasons why Christine hasn't been to yoga in over a month?

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Gavin McLeod:
Loss of Flexibility
Loss of Muscletone
Neck Pain
Return of Cellulite
Stressed Out
Weight Gain

Charles Nelson Reilly:
Results of Christine's absence from yoga?

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Paul Lynde:
Glad to Be Back
Out of Shape

Whoopie Goldberg:
How Christine felt to be back in yoga today?

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Dick Clark:
Christine wins three months of yoga at her gym to get back to where she was in June!

Thank you all for playing our game!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

America, the Dream Goes On

I was proud of my country today. It felt really nice. I’ve always been pretty patriotic. Fourth of July was always a big deal for us growing up. I’ve felt patriotism – not the “Support-Our-Troops”-yellow ribbon magnet kind of way. The loving-your-country-the way-you-love-your-family kind. Today I was reminded a little bit of why.

On our way home from a family weekend in New Hampshire, we detoured off the anonymous interstate and made a trip down the Kancamangus Highway, a true, hairpin-turning, river-following mountain pass, which leads up and over the White Mountains for 32 miles from Conway to Lincoln, NH. At its beginning you’re already at a pretty good elevation but slowly, those pretty mountain peaks in the distance get closer until they’re beside you and even the clouds are below you.

I was struck by the absolute beauty, the granite outcroppings, the sun’s rays on the sheer cliffs, and the myriad, winding streams begging you to abandon your car and explore. And you want to know what’s really amazing? You can! This area is owned and protected by the National Forest Service and it’s ours! Not for housing, fossil fuels, timeshares, or lumber.

It’s our backyard. And it’s there for exploring; for hiking and biking through hundreds of thousands of square acres. For swimming in mountain stream-fed icy ponds. Or just for driving through. It’s for our animals, too. Every animal to be found in the northeast is there. Did you know we’ve got moose, and bears, deer and foxes, hawks and trout, beavers and bald eagles, and so many more? I didn’t because I don’t pay attention to that stuff.

Thank God someone’s paying attention. And that someone is actually our government. Maybe today it doesn’t seem like a focus, aside from what these areas can do for us (yes, Mr. President; I’m talking to you). But back in 1918, we were smart enough to realize the inherent value of this land and protect it. And some part of our government is still focused on it today. And that makes me proud.

When I got home, I cut our lawn. Because you take care of what’s yours. And maybe, just maybe, that’s my way of helping my American Dream, my Dream of America, go on.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

The Bink likes a little Merlot with his blogging.

It's Wednesday and it's as close to Wordless as I can get!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Because I'm the Mommy (and the new classics)

- Apologize to your brother.
- C'mon, I'll take you back to your bed.
- Did you do poops?
- Did you flush?
- Did you look under the couch?
- Did you wash your hands?
- Dinner!
- Do you have to go poops?
- Doggies bite, not boys. Are you a doggie?
- Don't touch that. It has germs on it.
- Drink your milk.
- Eat that in the kitchen.
- Fine, we just won't go to ________.
- Get down from there!
- Get. back. in. bed.
- God puts the baby in mommy's belly.
- I am not the maid.
- I love you up to the sky
- If we have good behavior, we can talk about a prize.
- If you do that one more time...
- Inside voice! (better when you scream it!)
- It's chicken. You love chicken.
- It's not morning yet.
- No, it's too early for a Popsicle.
- No, not today.
- No, time out is not over yet.
- No. You can't wear that to school.
- Please put that in the trash.
- Put the cushions back on the couch.
- Seatbelts on.
- Stay where you can see me. What if a stranger took you?
- Stop doing that to the cat.
- Stop doing that to the dog.
- This is not a restaurant.
- Three more bites and then you can be done.
- Time to get in the tub.
- Time to get out of the tub.
- Try and do peeps before we go.
- Turn the TV down.
- We'll see.
- We're going to get ants.
- What did I just say?
- Where are your shoes?
- Where did you leave it?
- Why would you think it was okay to do that?
- Your shirt is inside out.
- You're old enough to dress yourself.
- Yes.

What are your classics?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Head on over to Wordless Wednesday to check out more...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Strength in Numbers

If you've got a sec, could you please head over to my new friend, Meghan's Place? A good friend of hers is nearly 30 weeks pregnant and her little yet-to-be born boy requires in utero surgery to repair his failing kidneys.

We all spend about nine months praying for nothing more than a healthy baby. And most of us get just that.
Pass along some good wishes, strong healing thoughts, and some powerful prayers to help out Meghan's friend Hanna and her baby, Andrew.

Thank you.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hotties Through the Years: Volume I

For your Monday viewing pleasure, we offer a full array of eye candy.

Naughty Candy

Preppy, pretty candy

Cold Dead Hands Candy

Clever, witty candy

Candy with integrity

Brokeback candy

We will be serving up plenty more candy once Blogger and I are back on speaking terms.

So what're some of your favorite candies from Hollywood's Golden Age?

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