Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

How OCD Are You?

1. Your child comes downstairs after a bath dressed in a Star Wars pajama top and Super Mario bottoms. You:
a.) Don't notice.
b.) Note that Dad selected the pjs and shrug.  They're ready for bed so it's still a win.
c.) Remind yourself to take the 'matching' selections out of the rotation until the laundry catches up.

2. After placing your groceries in the back of your SUV, you note that the 'carriage corral' is overflowing with shopping carts.  You:
a.) Tuck the shopping cart between two cars and drive away.
b.) Park your cart behind the last in line, further blocking the driving lane
c.) Reorganize the carts so that each one tucks neatly into the one before it, freeing up valuable corral space.

3. Your husband loads the dishwasher.  You:
a.) Thank him profusely to encourage future behavior.
b.)  Move the taller glasses to the designated "taller glasses area," and mugs to the "mug area," remove the larger bowls to wash by hand, and arrange all plates according to size and type.
c.) Explain exactly what he did wrong and why. Are surprised and disappointed when he declines your offer for further dishwasher-loading instruction.

4. It is Christmas time.  This means:
a.) The correct order of tree decoration is: lights, garland, ornaments, tinsel, angel on top of the tree.
b.) A color-coded Excel spreadsheet listing recipient, gift, expected price, actual price, delta, percent complete, notes, and totals.
c.) Pulling out your wrapping paper caddy and wrapping each and every box in such a manner that you could easily land a job at Macy's.
d.) All of the above...


5. You're 7-months pregnant and moving into a new house.  To help, your sister unpacks all your pots and pans and arranges them in your new kitchen. You:
a.) Pledge your undying love to her.
b.) Recognize you might have arranged them differently but will leave them that way for now - fewer boxes to unload!
c.) Sit your gigantic pregnant ass on the kitchen floor and rearrange them according to size, type, and function. 
C
C
B
D
C

Yeah, it's that bad.  You think it's easy being anal?  How 'bout you?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Just So We're Clear


If I hear "what the American people want" one more time, I'm going to...insert hyperbole/expletive here

Just so we're clear, I thought I'd let you know what this American wants:
  • I want my husband to have a job lined up when his expires at the end of this month.
  • I want our savings to be savings, not living expenses.
  • I want to be able to refinance our education loans to a reasonable interest rate so we're able to pay them off before we retire.
  • I want you to pass legislation that encourages jobs and growth.
  • I want you to pass legislation that takes care of those in need, and weans those in want.
  • I want you to be nice.
  • I want you to remember that although it's only natural to believe that your idea is the best idea, it's not the only idea.
  • I want you to listen when others talk.
  • I want you to to respect your office and the offices of others.
  • I want you to act in the best interest of the country, not just your state, or your constituents.
  • The only time I want you to use "us" and "them" is when referring to "Americans" and "Terrorists".
  • I want you to remember you're there because a majority of us put you there.
  • I want you to remember that your job is not to keep your job or to ensure that someone else doesn't keep his.
That's our job.

I know you've got a lot on your plates so thank you for listening.  Carry on.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Here It Is, Your Moment of Zen...












This would be mine
The Problem
The Solution
Possibly my Favorite




Clever!


(but not usually at the same time)
Photos compiled by The Huffington Post.  There are more than 400 more posted here.  Make sure to take a look.

Stay Sane, America!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wonderful Words Wednesday



I still need to hear these things.   Everyday.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Can't We Just Talk About Juan Williams Instead?


Scene: Driving to school this morning.  Radio inaudible.

Gremlin:  Mom, can you turn up the radio?

NPR's Madalit Del Barco: "...lights up her glass Hello Kitty pipe filled with primo California weed."

Note: Mom is navigating a rush hour traffic Rotary in a standard shift car.  Can't...safely...reach...radio...

Gremlin:  California Wii?

HRH:  No, she said Hello Kitty pipe.

Gremlin: No! She said California Wii!

HRH: No, she didn't!

MM changing radio station:  HRH, Gremlin is right; she said "Wii"

Oh, thank God.  Nirvana. Smells Like Teen Spirit.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Put On Your Sunday Clothes...

Dear Gremlin,

I would like to make a date with you every day for the rest of your life to sit on the couch and snuggle and watch WALL-E. 

I know that you're a big boy now; you're in Kindergarten for goodness sakes!  Kindergarten! You sit at the kitchen table and do your homework along side your big brother. We talk a lot about letters and numbers and sounds and words.  You and Daddy played War with cards nearly every night this week.  Since you've been back in school all your learning and thinking and doing has just accelerated. 

And I want to tell you a little secret, when you hold my hand with both of yours and tell me you hate school and you want to stay home with me? A big part of me wants to let you. Even after nearly a month, leaving the playground after drop-off all by myself still feels really strange - and kind of lonely.  You're growing up.  It shows in your struggles and in facing your fears by walking in that door and making new friends and going to gym and music and computers (you're not too crazy about art...).

Then, you and Wall-e sing along to "Put on Your Sunday Clothes" with Cornelius and Barnaby...

Close your eyes and see it glisten, Portabee.
Listen, Portabee!

And you're my baby again.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Use Only As Required

As Andy and I stood in Room 319 stalking waiting to speak with HRH's teacher, I had an epiphany; we didn't need to.  Curriculum Night had gone swimmingly.  Mrs. C. seemed great! HRH was happy in his new class, happy with the work he was being given, happy with his position as A Second Grader.  He started his second week of school by exclaiming, "We get homework this week!  I can't wait to see what it is!".  HRH is happy.

When last we spoke, I was in the throes of The Question of whether or not to move HRH's class based on word on the Mommy Telegraph that his assigned teacher was "not a good teacher". What I learned was that she quite simply "wasn't there".  As in, too many subs, kids from her class entering the third grade a little behind, projects that other second grade classes completed never gotten to.  Due to the teacher's absence.

After much deliberation and discussion, I spoke with the principal. I gave him our Kindergarten sob story.  I told him of HRH's in-the-box mentality, his need for continuity, how he thrives on routine.  And the principal moved him to another class.

So when our turn came to speak with Mrs. C., we spent a moment discussing his penmanship (which could be better) and his need to "hold that thought" (rather than having to express every thought he is feeling in real time).  It was a two-minute conversation designed to let her know we were interested, involved, and aware.

But we didn't want to take time away from parents who might really need to talk.

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Son, The Rocket Scientist

Scene:  Manic Mommy and HRH, reading a few chapters of "Mrs. Roopy Is Loopy" together before bed.


MM (reading aloud): "If you want to make your friends laugh, all you have to do is stick your face in their face and say either 'bathroom' or 'underwear.' It works every time."

HRH:  Or Uranus...

MM: (Cough, laugh, sputter)  True...do you know why?

HRH: No...

MM (Brain screaming 'stop and think!' Mouth, damning the torpedoes, moving full speed ahead):  Well, you know that Uranus is a planet but it's also "your anus".  Your anus is your bum.  The place where the poop comes out.

HRH: Knowing smile as The Phrase That Launched a Thousand Potty Jokes plays through his mind...

MM:  Babe, obviously, it's a bathroom word.  You cannot to use it at school. Please don't make me sorry I told you.

HRH (mind still fully engaged in the possibilities):  Okay...but...can I say it to other boys when we're in the bathroom?

MM: N.O.


It is 9:12 am the following morning.  I expect 'the call' by 11:45.  Why do I do this to myself?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

This is Why We Own The Pancake Puff Pan

Remember when we were kids? Remember life before ubiquitous computers and a laptop for every lap?  And remember life before eleventy-thousand cable channels all telling us what to buy? Remember before cross-marketing - before your toys appeared on cartoons, had their own website, and little substandard versions would appear in your Happy Meals?

Remember when the Sears catalog would come out around Thanksgiving? Remember sitting hip-to-hip and cheek-to-cheek pouring over that inch-and-a-half thick tome with such loving reverence and awe? Remember turning that last page that transitioned from the bikes to the camping equipment?  Remember starting back at the beginning of the toy section again and again?

Remember the hell that would come crashing down on the unsuspecting child who dared rip a page from its spine? Remember fighting tooth and nail with your siblings for the opportunity to browse through its pages alone? Remember imagining receiving just the right Barbie Townhouse/Dream Car/Giant Hairstyle-able Head?  Who are we kidding?  We wanted them all.  Remember when Christmastime started *after* Thanksgiving, not before Halloween had even ended? 


Today, I remembered all those things in an instant.  When the IKEA catalog came.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

For Christmas, Gremlin received a Fisher Price Power Wheels battery powered Mustang.  He's literally worn the wheels out driving it and Dad needed to order some new ones, which came the other day.


Further confirmation I chose the right person to be my sons' father:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Back to School Reminders - Part 1: Mornings

Dear Boys,

I know it's been a long summer (God knows it's been a long summer) and during that time, some rules have been allowed to slip.  In the interest of smoothly transitioning to the new fall schedule, I felt it would be in everyone's best interest to post a few reminders.
  • Each day, you will be required to wake up.  I know you are fully capable of waking up in the predawn hours of summer so it only stands to reason you can also emerge from your bedrooms at a time suitable to complete all morning tasks and still arrive at school on time.
  • Speaking of tasks, each morning you will be required to change out of your pajamas and place school-appropriate clothing on your body.  If mom is on top of her game, those clothes will be placed on top of your bureaus.  They include but may not be limited to:
  • Pants/Shorts
  • Shirt
  • Clean underwear (yes, every day)
  • Clean socks (see above)
The act of dressing should take place in your rooms. Upstairs. The living room is not an appropriate place to change or casually hang out naked.
  • Your parents are legally obligated to provide a breakfast of somewhat healthy, energy-producing, brain-feeding foods.  You are legally obligated to accept one of the two to three breakfast items offered daily.  You may have noticed that your personal preferences lean toward a pretty starch-heavy list.  For the love of God, from time to time, please eat a banana/apple/yogurt!
  • Brush your teeth.  You are both old enough to lose teeth.  The replacements are the last set God will ever give you.  Take care of them.  "I brushed them really well last night" is not an acceptable answer.  Also?  Have you smelled your own morning breath?  Seriously.  And Mom can tell the difference between ACT Fluoride Rinse and actual brushed-teeth smell.
  • Your hair will be gelled into place for the foreseeable future.  Mom has an irrational fear of lice and her only louse remediation plan involves shaving everyone's head and burning the house down.  Don't make me do it.
  • We leave for school at 8:15.  To clarify, at 8:15 am, you are required to get off the couch/floor/table, pick up your backpack from its designated spot in the dining room, walk out the front door, and get into the car.  It's really that simple.
Boys, thank you for your attention and anticipated cooperation.  Once we've had a chance to internalize this list, you can look forward to the next in the continuing series:
II. School Arrival Etiquette (subtitled: stop climbing on your classmates)
III. Post-School Activities (subtitled: it's your homework, I've already completed grammar school)
IV. Baths and Bed (how not to flood the bathroom)

I'm so very proud of both of you and looking forward to a nice, long, fun, school year!

Love you,

Mommy

Saturday, September 11, 2010

To Always 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 nine 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 CNN.com 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. Every time 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. No one was on the roads. 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.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

42 Years, 42 Things

Well, I believe in the soul, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. - Crash Davis, Bull Durham

Here's what I believe:
  1. I believe all religions essentially worship the same God, only in different manners
  2. I believe eating chocolate makes you feel better
  3. I believe having pets adds to a family
  4. I believe holding a newborn is life affirming
  5. I believe human beings are capable of great things
  6. I believe there is life on other planets
  7. I believe in dancing in the kitchen
  8. I believe in education
  9. I believe in girlfriends who share the unvarnished truth
  10. I believe in good manners
  11. I believe in hard work getting you to where you want to be
  12. I believe in having a life plan
  13. I believe in healthy past times
  14. I believe in Kevin Bacon
  15. I believe in making popcorn and watching The Wizard of Oz
  16. I believe in mother's intuition
  17. I believe in multiple orgasms
  18. I believe in safe sex
  19. I believe in separation of church and state
  20. I believe in singing loudly in the car
  21. I believe in tea in the morning and wine in the evening
  22. I believe in using proper grammar and spelling at all times
  23. I believe it really pisses God off when wars are waged in His name
  24. I believe it's a choice to grow closer or to grow apart
  25. I believe mental illness is a physical illness
  26. I believe not all babies are beautiful
  27. I believe people in the public eye have a responsibility to behave better
  28. I believe political correctness has gotten way out of hand
  29. I believe professional athletes are paid way too much
  30. I believe reality TV is the lowest common denominator
  31. I believe Rome is burning and we need to find the fire extinguisher
  32. I believe sometimes people need a leg up, not a free hand
  33. I believe -strongly - in personal responsibility
  34. I believe that consenting adults have the right to marry whomever they choose
  35. I believe that the equality of women and men is a basic human right, regardless of religion
  36. I believe the Earth is warming
  37. I believe humans are largely but not entirely responsible for it
  38. I believe in respecting the position if not the person
  39. I believe the Muslim woman who rang me up at Target is just trying to make a living, like everyone else
  40. I believe the sound of my sons' laughter heals my heart
  41. I believe we are largely a nation of hypochondriacs
  42. I believe that in the end, we all do what's best for ourselves 
What do you believe?

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    Shiny, Happy People Holding Hands...

    Have you "friended" any news outlets on Facebook?  If you haven't please do!  And be sure at least one of them is local.   One of my greatest pleasures these days is reading the comments - and comments on comments - posted by the jury of my peers currently populating my Facebook space.

    So one of our local news stations (best known for their sensational journalism, hyperbole, and alliteration) posts this pretty dry, yet informative piece about Hurricane Earl:


    Ladies and gentlemen, I present The People of Facebook:

    You've got your Generic Likers

    The Slightly Pissed Off

    The I Told You So's

    The Truly Pissed Off

    The Attackers

    The Defenders

    The Rebutters

    The Defenders - This time it's personal

    The Random Hate Speakers

    The Clairvoyant Grammarians

    The English Teachers (okay, these are my people)


    Think I'll stay on the right side of the law.  The jury pool's pretty shallow...

    Monday, August 30, 2010

    Lather, Rinse, Repeat

    Two and a half years ago, I wrote about the angst and anxiety associated with deciding where to send HRH for kindergarten.  We made our decision and felt good about it.  Let's go buy some uniforms, it's off to Catholic school we go!

    Two years ago, I met several mothers at Little League who warned me repeatedly about the Kindergarten teacher to whom HRH had been assigned.  We chose to take these cautions with a grain of salt and form our own opinions. 

    A little less than two years ago, I wrote in excruciating detail about moving HRH out of St Somewhere's following a harrowing several months where every warning I'd received and then some came back to bite me in the ass.

    First grade was ideal!

    Last month, we received Gremlin's teacher assignment.  We got my first choice!

    School starts nine days from now.  There are four second grade teachers.  According to the Mommy Telegraph, two are good.  One is new.  And one is She-who-must-not-be-named. Yesterday, we returned to our annual pilgrimage to Storyland to receive our class assignment: Mrs. Anyone-But-Her.  Here we go again.


    I read back through my old posts on the topic and find a common theme; Kindergarten is such a watershed year.  It's important to have the right teacher. This is his first year in a new school, it's so important to start off on the right foot.  And now?  Second grade is so early on.  He loves school.  What if this teacher is as bad as everyone says?

    I get it.  He won't always have the best teacher.  I didn't.  I survived. I'm not going to spoon feed him through college but isn't part of my job to make sure he does get what's best for him? 

    This time, I am listening to the warnings.  I'm asking specific questions; what do you mean she's "not a good teacher?"  Can you be a bit more specific? Did your child have her or was it just someone you'd talked to?   I talked to good friend of mine who happens to teach.  I've got emails out to other teacher-friends.  I also emailed HRH's 1st grade teacher asking if she thought this assignment was "a good fit" - and yes, I included my cell and home numbers so she can call me below the radar. 

    I've gotten Andy's agreement if not his blessing.  I'm in my Discovery Phase today and tomorrow.  Then it's decision time.  And all this is assuming that I'll get my own way and the principal will honor my request for a change.

    Lather, Rinse, Repeat...

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    Wordless Waterful Wednesday

    Summer is a time for weeknight picnics on the boat.
    (no, ours is the little one)

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    Nice Girls Get Restraining Orders, Too

    This post has been a long time coming. It is for my dear friend, J. Who is not na├»ve and certainly not a fool.  We do not think like them because we are not like them. And we do not want to be like them.

    Eleven years ago last month. It was a Sunday night. I had been at Andy’s house but decided to sleep at home that night rather than having to run home early the next morning to shower and dress for work. My apartment was four, adorable rooms on the first floor of a two-family, that I had painstakingly decorated myself. My sanctuary. It was in a college area and within easy walking-distance of nearly everything. An elderly woman was my landlady and my next door neighbors were my sister’s in-laws.

    That night, I entered my apartment and - just like in every cheesy detective novel - the house simply “felt funny”. I walked through the living room to the double doors of my bedroom and peered inside, seeing nothing. I retraced my steps and walked through the kitchen, to my bedroom’s other door, flipping on lights as I went. Again, I saw nothing. I stood in front of my closet door and reached for the knob. As I did so, the door opened. In front of me stood my old boyfriend.

    His name is S and we had spent several angry, hurtful years together a long time ago. It had ended with me moving out of the apartment we had shared for less than a year, back in with my mother, and within a few months, into my sanctuary. He had been to this apartment before. During the “we can still be friends” foolishness as I tried to take the high road. Eventually, after many fights and threats, and even a call to my father to have him removed, we fizzled out.

    So five years later, I stood face to face with him again. He was six years older than me, making him 36 at the time. He looked ages older.; The mileage was taking its toll. I didn’t scream. I simply gasped and backed up through the door and into the kitchen with my hand to my heart. I grabbed the wall phone. He only said, “please don’t”. And for a second, I didn’t. My old, co-dependent self was telling me if he simply went away, it would be enough. I didn’t want to create a scene, or make things bad for him. Then I said “no.” Maybe it was out loud. Maybe it was only to myself. But I dialed 911.

    He took off, I think through the dining room window. The police told me to go to a neighbor’s. I had my cell phone and called Andy as I ran next door. My sister’s mother-in-law answered her door immediately. “S was in my closet!” I yelled simultaneously into my cell and to her. She pulled me inside and locked the door. Andy’s previously-sleepy hello turned instantly awake and he told me to stay where I was, he was leaving right away.

    The police were there in moments. Andy’s car came bombing down the wrong way of my one-way street what seemed like seconds later. Of course they didn’t find him. I sat with the officer and answered his questions and told my story. It was the first time Andy had heard much of it. My brother, having been notified via my sister, who had received a call from her mother-in-law, also showed up. He conducted his own search and I think it made him feel better to do so. When I talked to my mother, she used words I didn’t even know were in her vocabulary.

    Everyone wanted me to sleep at their houses that night. I didn’t want to. This was my home and I wasn’t going anywhere. Of course, Andy stayed the night with me. We didn’t fall asleep for a long, long time. As I was dozing off, I remembered that feeling from when we were young. Of not wanting your arm or leg to hang off of the edge.  Because the monsters under the bed might get you.

    The next day, I went to my district court and filed my very first restraining order.

    Monday, August 9, 2010

    Let Me Hear Your War Cry!

    What?  This stuff doesn't happen at your house??


    Last week, I am awakened from blissful slumber in the middle of the night by the sound of my husband doing his best Braveheart immitation.  (I actually likened it to that scene in Return of the King when Aragorn says, "For Frodo,"  then runs headlong into a phalanx of Orcs at the Black Gate.  But I digresss....)

    I go from sound asleep to still asleep but on my feet, running, and yelling "What? What?!" while following my husband, in full battle cry exiting our bedroom.  Here is his sequence of events:

    0.0 microseconds - Andy awakens to the sound of HRH screaming. 

    0.1 - Mind immediately processes "HRH is having a nightmare."

    0.2  - Localizing sound...HRH is sleeping in Gremlin's room...sound not coming from Gremlin's room!

    0.3 - Clearly, HRH is being dragged from the house by a kidnapper and is screaming in terror!

    0.325 - Every microliter of adreneline empties into bloodstream.

    0.4 - Eject from bed, issuing war cry to alert kidnapper to his approach with intent of kidnapper dropping HRH.

    0.5 - Formulate plan while running down hall: Will bodily throw kidnapper down flight of stairs then land on top of him and proceed to pummel him until dead.


    1.0 - Arrive at top of stairs where HRH is standing at the safety gate, alone, still asleep, and screaming.

    1.5 - Processing...Child is not being kidnapped.  Child is sleepwalking, came up against the safety gate and could not compute.

    2.0 - Hugging child. Adrenaline still flowing like oil into the Gulf.

    2.5 - Second, totally confused child emerges from bedroom to find out what all the screaming is about.

    3.0 - Still piecing it all together, Mommy ushers everyone toward our bedroom to calm everyone down, try to return to sleep mode.


    3.5 - Best guess is Daddy will be prepared to sleep by Thursday.

    Friday, August 6, 2010

    WWSD - Dipshit Friday

    I'm sharing a similar thought with Sarah, in her Trenches of Mommyhood, "If a blogger blogs but every other blogger is at BlogHer, will anyone read it?" 

    So, as I sit in my kitchen *not* at a bar in NYC, I thought I'd live vicariously by linking to two of my favorite bloggers, one of whom (Sarah) is also *not* at BlogHer but with whom I have shared a drink, and one who is, Jean, Queen of Stimelyand, rodent aficionado, and friend with whom I had dinner at BlogHer '09. One of Jean's newest, funniest, and (IMHO) most brilliant ideas is Dipshit Friday, in which we lay it all out there and share one of life's blunders.  Shall we begin?


    Every year, Andy's family plans a week together on Cape Cod.   Nearly every year, we have rented the same house. It's a lovely cottage with plenty of private space for us, the boys, and my mom, who enjoys her own little suite on the first floor away from the chaos that is my immediate family.  One of its best features is a gorgeous deck right off of our 2nd floor bedroom, with a fantastic view of the beach from the side and the river and salt marshes in the back. The Cape tradition started when everyone was in town for Andy's and my wedding, 10 years ago and subsequently, our anniversary frequently falls during our vacation week. 

    A few years back, my mom kept the kids so Andy and I could enjoy a nice anniversary dinner, which we did along with a bottle of wine.  Upon returning to the house, we decided to share a romantic drink on the deck, in the moonlight.  Things progressed nicely and maybe a half hour later, Andy and I reentered our bedroom through the open door to (ahem) continue celebrating our anniversary only to find....every surface of the room covered with flying bugs of every description!

    For the next hour, we two dipshits jumped across the bed, swinging beach towels, ducking dive-bombing mosquitoes, itching like mad, and spraying anything aerosol at the disgusting (and quite resilient) creatures.  Let's just say that the mood died long before the last of the bugs did and I left Andy to fight the good fight, choosing to sleep on the family room couch.

    I was awakened the next morning by my rather confused but smiling mother who admitted that, judging by the racket coming from the ceiling of her bedroom, it definitely sounded as if we had very much enjoyed our anniversary...

    Monday, August 2, 2010

    Alone Again (Un)Naturally

    Take Two 

    Some long-time readers may remember last year's camp debacle in which Gremlin was moved from the camp group containing about 20 of his closest friends and classmates to a group of strangers, due to a clerical error.  This resulted in tears (for both Gremlin and Manic Mommy) and an abrupt end to a week of pre-paid day camp for Grem.

    Being a masochist optimist and figuring the PTSD would surely have lessened by now, I signed both Gremlin and HRH up for a week of camp.  I planned ahead this time to ensure they would (a) be together and (b) be with friends. A few weeks ago, Andy and I began introducing the topic.  The boys would be together!  Annabelle, Jack, Sophia, and Abigail would be with them!  It would be different; it would be fun!  I can't understate Gremlin's enthusiasm strongly (weakly?) enough but he didn't say no.

    So.  Today was the day!  We arrive at the Boys and Girls Club. Gremlin nearly needs to be physically removed from the vehicle, but is eventually coerced to exit of his own accord. With Gremlin clutching my hand but still moving under his own power, we arrive at the basketball court meeting area where the kids are divided into groups by age.  HRH joins his group with barely a goodbye. As promised, Grem is with Jack and Sophia! 

    I introduce Gremlin and myself to the 12 year old counselor and explain Gremlin's reticence due to last year's fiasco.  She is mildly interested but is thrown off course by a very enthusiastic camper eager to tell her all about his trip to Water Country yesterday; "Everyone there was fat!" He's right of course, fat people are drawn water parks much as flies are to roadkill.  "And there were lots of Mexicans!" Awesome, let's check to make sure the altar boy from the Westboro Baptist Church isn't in our group.  He is not!  Amen!

    As the milling becomes more focused, Gremlin realizes I'll be departing soon.  I seize upon a happy, playing Jack (a seasoned camper, our next door neighbor, and Gremlin's closest buddy) and ask him how much fun he has at camp.  Response?  "I hate camp!  Camp is stupid!  Annabelle's friend hit me!"  Totally awesome.  I block Gremlin's ears as Jack's mom quickly pulls him away. 

    My knight in shining armor arrives in the form of a 13-ish year old junior counselor who came along asking to be Gremlin's buddy, asked to sit next to him in circle, and knows everything about Star Wars.

    Gremlin's two armed death grip around my thigh loosens.  I repeat that I love him and I'll be back. That I wouldn't sign him up if I didn't think he'd have fun.  That all I want is for him to try.  And that if he does try...I'll buy him the Lego X-Wing Fighter...and...I...left...



    ** Full Disclosure; after I (physically) separated from Gremlin, I spoke to one adult counselor then found the director of the program to go into Gremlin's situation in exquisite detail, going so far as to describe his and his big brother's bathing suits for easy identification.  Then I hid behind a door and watched for a while. I gotta be me.

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    The June Cleaver Response


    We've all been on the phone with someone and either you or they say "well, I'd better let you go now" when in reality, it's the person saying it who actually wants to get off the phone.  The little trigger in our heads that makes us say that is "The Politeness Filter".  Scientists have recently discovered a correlating filter that operates in the Mommy Brain.  For our purposes, we'll call it "The June Cleaver Response" or JCR.

    Much in the same way the Politeness Filter helps us more easily move through society, the JCR helps us navigate the waters of parenthood in such a way that future therapy bills are kept to a minimum, also allowing us stay well below the radar of Child Protective Services.  Below are a few examples of the JCR in action:

    Situation 1: Children milling around the room, underfoot, standing directly in front of exactly where you need to be.
    Unfiltered Brain: Get the hell out of the kitchen!!
    JCR: Why don't you guys play in the other room?

    Situation 2: Child tattling on sibling.
    Unfiltered Brain: I don't care!  Just make it stop!
    JCR:  Why don't you guys try to work it out yourselves?

    Situation 3: Child prattling on unceasingly until you want to stick needles in your eyes.
    Unfiltered Brain: Shut up! Shut the f&#k up!!!
    JCR:  Sweetie, why don't you rest your voice for a little while?
    Note: In the car this translates as: Let's play "who can be quietest the longest?"!

    Situation 4: Anything involving food
    Unfiltered Brain: For the millionth time, stop eating like a cow!
    JCR: Honey, remember to chew with your mouth closed.

    Situation 5: Child up for the 3rd/8th/11th time after being put back to bed.
    Unfiltered Brain: I don't care if you sleep or not.  Stay in that bed before I tie you to it!
    JCR: Just lie in bed and think about all the fun things you'd like to do tomorrow...

    Situations 6 through infinity: (fill in the blank)
    Unfiltered Brain:  Are you insane? What were you thinking!?
    JCR: Buddy, that wasn't a good choice.

    Our research would be greatly enhanced by additional examples provided by the reader.


    * Apparently the unfiltered brain is quite profane when left to its own devices.

    ** This post is a work of fiction.  Any resemblance to actual persons, blogging or deceased is purely coincidental. 

    Sunday, July 25, 2010

    Never Question the Nickname


    Scene: Driving home from an impromptu day trip to the Cape.  A day which featured orange soda and fried clams at Spanky's Clam Shack, hitting two buckets of balls at the driving range, hundreds(ish) of dollars spent at the arcade, and frappes at Four Seas Ice Cream.

    From the backseat, we hear HRH:  I don't remember too much appreciation these last few days... 


    You and me both, buddy.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    Nearly Wordless Wednesday

    There are only so many beings living in the house with the opposable thumbs necessary to fill a glass and return the bottle to the fridge with this much juice remaining.  I will find you.

    Sunday, July 18, 2010

    25 Things I Now Know As a Parent

    Over at SuperSisters Jen (sister of my friend, Kristen) wrote the best post and invited us all to play along.  I'd love to hear what you've learned.


    1. Even if they've been quietly entertaining themselves for a hour, the second you pick up the phone, they will need you.

    2.  No matter how much healthy food you fed them as infants, they will not willingly eat it as preschoolers.

    3. You can survive on far less sleep than you ever realized.

    4. Classic Disney movies really are as good as you remember them being.

    5. You really will love the second child just as much as the first - only differently.

    6. It's extremely important to talk about parenting styles prior to getting married.

    7.  You can sleep in any position if you're tired enough.

    8.  You are your child's biggest advocate.  Never fear being "that mother."

    9. Legos are probably the greatest toy ever invented.

    10. Mommy kisses really do make boo-boos better.

    11. No matter what the weirdest thing you've ever done or said, another mom has done or said it, too.

    12. Time away from your children makes you a better parent.

    13. If you're stressing out about being a good enough parent, you are.

    14. You will say and do things as a parent you swore you never would.

    15. Most every disgusting thing they do contributes to healthy immune system.

    16.  Boys can make guns out of anything - Tinker Toys, tree branches, food...

    17.  Toy guns won't make them serial killers any more than toy kitchens will make them gay*.  They are who they are.  Love them because of it, not in spite of it.

    *no, I don't put the two in the same category

    18. Kids like seeing their parents hug.

    19. Time with a coloring book and crayons is very therapeutic.

    20. You can never be too vigilant around water.

    21. No matter how vigilant we are, sometimes, it's just luck and grace that keeps them safe.

    22.  It's my job to stay healthy and well. I am very, very important to my children. 

    23. Loving and liking your spouse provides your children with more of a sense of security than anything money could buy.

    24. You have more patience than you ever knew.

    25.  Boys are just wired differently than girls.
     

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