Wednesday, December 29, 2010

And then I lost it

So what was to have been 2 weeks of Christmas break has really been almost 3 weeks, since there was a snow day on the 13th (and N was home sick anyway), N stayed home again on the 14th, and then there were two more snow days on the 16th and 17th.

D has been off work almost 2 full weeks.

In the last 29 days, M and G and I all had some kind of highly unpleasant viral thingie, and N and I both had strep throat, resulting in 2 and a half weeks of being stuck inside with someone feeling cruddy.

And due to the busy nature of December, my social group that meets for dinner didn't meet, and I wasn't able to go to bunco because of an ice storm.

I am beyond thrilled that this year, unlike last, everyone was well on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

But now I would like a slice of nice normal life again.  Please and thank you.

N is to the point that she has admitted aloud that she is bored and ready to go back to school.  G is plum sick of having to share me, his space and the television with not only M but N (and Daddy.)  D has been helpful, but I am tired of asking him to do this, that and the other (my fervent prayer every day is that one day he will just do it without being asked or reminded---but who am I kidding?)

At least in the summer, we can escape to the it a park, a pool, a playground.  But in 30 degree weather and cloudy?

I had a game plan for tomorrow and Friday but learned today that both of those have fallen through, so now I'm scrambling.

It was this scrambly, panicky mood that led to me throwing a Grand Mal fit and demanding that D, N, G and M go upstairs and leave me the hell alone.  I had just had it with G hoarding toys away from M;  M screaming in disgust at having toys taken away by G; and D standing there doing whatever he was doing while the boys had at it as I was trying to take down the Christmas tree.

Internally, I was trying to think of options for the next couple days, to keep everyone somewhat sane (especially ME), while listening to G and M fuss and holler which meant I had to stop what I was doing (removing ornaments) since D was standing there (possibly checking his iPhone, but I can't say for certain) but not dealing with the boys, which pissed me off because goddamit I'm fucking tired from having
1. bought the gifts
2. wrapped the gifts
3. put up the tree and all other Christmas decorations
4. taken the Christmas pic and ordered copies
5. mailed the Christmas cards
6. purchased and made the food for Christmas morning
7. AND been concierge for my tribe for the past 14 days without a goddamn break (since I'm not getting my 'Mommy Completely Left Alone Time While the Boys Sleep' since N is here).

Seriously, the last thing I want to have to deal with is taking down the tree, boxing all this shit up and still having to contend with kids while I'm doing it.

(Deep breath)
It really is a Christmas miracle that it took me this long to rant.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Picture(s) of the Day(s)--December 24th and 25th

Um, someone is a little excited by the Justin Bieber doll.  

He's a kuato now.  

If you're happy that tomorrow's Christmas, clap your hands!

The gang in our jammies.  

Books from Mommy & Daddy (and a jaunty cap from Santa)

More books......

I can nurse a baby and open Christmas presents (and balance a 3-year-old on my knee).  

My girl got me a bookmark.  Does she know her mama or what?

G's present to me (a charm bracelet).

G already stealing toys from M.

She makes the best present-opening faces!

My little fashionista. 

Christmas?  Huh?

Engrossed in his toys.

It snowed enough to make Snowman Santa with Nana and Mamaw.  

(Sing to the tune of Frosty the Snowman)
Santa the Snowman
Was a jolly, happy soul.
With a lava rock mouth and a formerly operational blinking red nose
And 2 eyes made out of brussel sprouts.

G knocking Santa Snowman down for the 3rd and final time.  

Who knew she would be just as excited to have 2 Justin Bieber dolls?

M trying to slay me with his cousin's Star Wars lightsaber.  

We survived, and I managed to hold off re-organizing everything into bins until the 26th.

Picture(s) of the Day--December 26th.....A tradition

Every year I buy the kids an ornament so that when they fly the coop they will have a nice ornament collection for their own trees.  When N was little, I sometimes let her pick her own, but I have yet to let G do that because......well because I don't take him and M anywhere there might be something breakable.  I mean, I'm not that nuts.

This year I choose ornaments that show something they like or are into:

N is a complete shoe freak.  She has more shoes than D and I put together.  Seriously, she could almost give Imelda Marcos a run for her money.  

G is a car/truck freak.  If Imelda Marcos had been into cars/trucks, he could have given her a run for her money.

M isn't into anything per se, but when I saw this monkey, I knew it was perfect since M's sidewinder crawl was gorilla-like, and we dressed him as a monkey for Halloween this year.  

Last year I found these ornaments, which were perfect for our new family of 5:

N's ornament

G's ornament

M's ornament

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Things I've remembered/realized in the past couple of days

1. I seem to have forgotten that my mom had a speech impediment when she was a kid, which has me wondering whether such things can be inheritable given G's difficulties?  I would assume so, since most everything else can be.  She could not say "J" when she was a kid, so her brothers Jimmy and Joe were "Shimmy" and "Show."  And she could not say the "Tr" sound either.

One of the funniest stories she tells is how she and her brothers would play a game whereby they would count the cars that passed by their home, with extra points the bigger the vehicle.  Apparently, one day a huge line of trucks came rumbling down the way, and my mother started screaming with excitement....

"Shimmy!  Show!  The FUCKS are coming!  The FUCKS are coming!" 

2. Sometimes I feel like we live paycheck to paycheck, which is completely absurd.  I have no clue how difficult it is to live that way.  I think because I squirrel away money into various accounts (from which it is not allowed to escape), my checking account looks pathetic.  It only appears like I've got $150 to last me 2 weeks.   (And then I remember that, duh, I made a donation to the state's public television fund and the zoo, adding up to $145....which explains where a nice chunk of the paycheck went.)

In discussions with friends about private/public schools, I often find myself saying, "We can't afford private school," but I have realized that this, too, is not accurate.  We could afford private school if it was a priority.  Instead of funneling money into a "Home Improvement" account or a "Fun" account, I would funnel it into the "School Tuition" account.  As my parents did when I was a kid.  

The truth is that we could afford certain things by sacrificing, as most people can.  It is simply impossible to have it all at the exact same time.  (Unless you are Paris Hilton or someone of her ilk.)

3. Yesterday at the mall, as I was waiting in line at the Starbucks kiosk, I noticed a mom with 4 kids standing behind me.  Her two oldest boys were standing completely still, just waiting patiently, while the younger two kids were doing a St. Vitus dance.  N and G were over by the fountain, with instructions to stand there and wait.  What they were actually doing was running around, chasing each other around the fountain, with N perching herself on the ledge on occasion and G dunking his arm into the water to try to touch the pennies.  M was throwing a fit trying to get out of the stroller.

I asked the smaller of the boys standing behind me how old he was, and he said ten.  I began talking with his mom about the age at which children can stand still.  She said age eight.  So N still has a little over a year to go.

It was nice to know that at some point my kids will be able to stand still in public without me having to repeatedly say, "Stop moving.  Quit running around.  Don't mess with that!"  That at some point the entire mall won't know the names of my kids because I won't be hollering them in a vain attempt to get N and G and M to stop, wait, whatever.  


N said that at one point, she overhead a woman say, "She's got her hand's full" about me.  This may have been when M was walking away from me to the right as N was walking 100 yards ahead of me as I was packing a crying G in my arms (who was upset I wouldn't wait in a line of 50 people to see Santa), as I was trying to push the stroller.  

I am really and truly one of those moms now.   A mom with her hand's full.  
Is it weird to feel a little proud? 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Picture of the Day--December 20th

I took my car in for a recall, oil change and tire rotation and walked with the kids over to the mall to waste away a couple hours.

After buying a bag of Starbucks coffee at the kiosk, purchasing $5 shirts/pants for the kids for next winter at Old Navy, buying them pretzels and Icees at Auntie Annie's, and giving them pennies to throw in the fountains, we went to Claire's Boutique where N did this:

A few tears and hand squeezes, and then she did this:

And has spent every opportunity since looking at herself in the mirror.  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Picture(s) of the Day--December 19th

Wow!  I've done a bang-up job with this picture of the day for the month of December.  Strep throat for mom and N, stomach bugs for mom, M and G, and 3 snow days in 19 days.  Do I have good excuses or what?

Anyhoo, back with the program (for the moment).

Christmas cards from friends and family line the entrance to our home.  

A free homemade coloring page to leave on Christmas Eve courtesy of N.  

Musical Beds

We have a fun game we like to play in our house with the kids.  It is called Musical Beds.  Here is how it goes:

Buy a crib (A) and put firstborn in it.  

When firstborn gets bigger, convert crib (A) into daybed/toddler bed option. 

When second child comes along, put firstborn in mom's old twin bed 

and put 2nd child in firstborn's crib (A).

When unexpected 3rd child comes along and 2nd child is still sleeping happily in crib (A), purchase a used crib (B) from a friend and put it in your bedroom, since the 2nd child is happy in his room and 3rd child sleeps in carseat for 5+ months of his new life.  

Break used crib (B) when trying to move it into 2nd child's bedroom so that 1st child and 2nd child can share a bedroom since 3rd child now wakes up at every little move mommy & daddy make.  Breakage results in purchase of crib #3 (C), which you don't take a picture of because you have 3 kids now and keep playing musical beds.  

When it becomes impossible to read to 1st & 2nd children in mom's old twin bed, convert 1st crib (A) into full-size bed.  Now that used crib #2 (B) has been fixed, 2nd child sleeps in it.  Third child sleeps in new crib (C) purchased after crib #2 (B) broke.  

When child #2 is well over 3-years old, discover that you don't have the conversion kit to transform used crib #2 (B) into daybed, so move crib #3 (C) into shared bedroom and convert into day/toddler bed.  

And then move used crib #2 (B) into 3rd child's room.  

 This game is something straight outta Dr. Seuss.  
Sorta like "Up, Up, Up With the Fish."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Harpy wife

There is no definitive way to prove that I am the world's worst wife, but sometimes I wonder if I am in the top 10.  (Bear in mind, I have never watched any of those 'Housewives of Witchita' or whatever shows, so I don't really know my competition.)

Last week D was telling his co-workers about how he intended to take 2 full weeks off over the Christmas holiday until I said something on the order of, "I think we need to rethink you taking 2 weeks off."  That can't make a person feel good, but, I swear, it is less about him and more about my schedule being fubared for 14+ days.

It's like having a nonstop weekend.  Five days of the week, I have a regular routine: N goes to school, D goes to work, the boys and I do our thing, they nap in the afternoon, I have some much-needed "Mommy refresher time," we pick up N, the kids go ape-shit for 3 hours as I try to pull some kind of dinner together, D comes home to witness the insanity, we haul their asses up to bed.

But then the weekend comes and this is the routine:  The kids generally wake up way earlier than normal, D stays in bed and sleeps in, the kids are all discombobulated knowing that Daddy is home and school is out (which means N is home and therefore G has another person with whom to compete for attention for 12 hours of the day), the tv shows are all different because it is the weekend, I can't do my 'normal' thing because places have different hours or no hours or every place is crowded because everyone is off work and going to those places.

One of the biggest issues I have when D is off work stems from the fact that D isn't home 40+ hours a week so therefore doesn't understand "Mommy Windows of Opportunity," (MWoO) which means that if we are gonna do something involving a drive in the car, we have to be in the car ready to roll at no later than 9:45, but preferably 9:35, so that we can arrive by 10:00, eat a snack somewhere between 10:45-11:00, leave the facility at 12:00, return home while shaking the baby's foot to keep him from falling asleep, get everyone in for a quick cheese sandwich, put the boys down for a nap, followed by mommy collapsing in a heap.

We simply cannot wait to leave the house until 10:30.  The MWoO is long since closed which means we will be stuck in the house until tomorrow morning at 9:35, assuming we can get our shit together.

And D kinda wants to and expects to lounge around in his pajamas for longer than what a MWoO will allow, which brings me ever closer to an aneurysm.  Because as much as I understand that he needs "downtime" and time to relax, my blood pressure goes through the effin roof if a MWoO is missed.  Because if I don't get out of the house, it means I am stuck inside not getting to relax or have downtime.  I mean I could, right this second, take clothes out of the drier and fold them.  Or take the clean dishes out of the dishwasher and put them away.  Right this second.  There is never any downtime for a stay-at-home mom (and probably working moms, either....but I can't speak to this).   When D is not at his job, he is off-work.  When I am not at my job.....oh fuck, I'm always at my job even if I'm not at home because I always have the kids with me.

For the most part, I try to keep a lid on my frustration with it all, but the lid is levitating from all the pent up steam underneath by the time 5-6 days have passed.  I realize that I am fussing at the kids because I am aggravated at D.....not because he did anything wrong, but because his presence (and that of N by day 5) is just a kink in the normal daily operations.

To preempt my lid popping off or D having to forego extra days off, I sat down with him tonight with my day-planner and laid it out:  "These 3 days, I'm doing x, y and z.  You get down time.  These 3 mornings I am going to the dentist and exercise classes by myself.  And these 2 days are family together time (which means MWoO dear husband, so be ready to leave at 9:35, please)."

I am such a joy to live with.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Highlights (and lowlights) of the week

ONW (Operation Night Weaning) UPDATE:
It has been about a week since ONW began.  The first two nights M fussed a bit, but he quickly realized that 1.) Momma was not going to pick him up and nurse him, and 2.) he could survive Momma not picking him up and nursing him.  Last night he slept from 7:00(ish) until 7:30 this morning....without once needing me to help him settle.  And his daytime nap has gotten longer too.  I felt so well-rested today after last night's solid chunk of sleep I even hopped on the treadmill and took a mile in the afternoon.

that mile is not going to help when I have a super-fantabulous neighbor who 1.) offered to have N help her make cookies this afternoon while the boys napped so I could have some downtime and then 2.) sent N back some 3 hours later with 3 bags of cookies in hand.  What a Christmas gift!!!!!  HAC knows the upcoming 2 weeks of family togetherness may kill me, so having N home sick from school Monday and Tuesday, and then school being canceled today and tomorrow due to ice....well, that was just someone shitting on my cake as opposed to putting icing on it.  One day when my kids are older, I fully intend to do some kind of niceness for a mom with young kids like HAC does for me on a regular basis.  I told her she and her husband must live next door until M is 10.

has ruined the psyching myself out that I had intended for today and tomorrow in preparation for the next two weeks.  And N was so bummed because with school canceled tomorrow so to is her class party.  Not a good way to start a vacation.
Mother Nature is kinda being a bitch right now.

the documentary was simply wonderful.  I watched it on Netflix and found myself appreciating M so very much.  Offering him extra kisses and snuggles in a vain attempt to slow down the process of him turning into a little boy.  It is truly amazing how a baby changes in a little over a year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why is it that? children often smell like butt, even when they've just been washed the day prior? soon as the worst sleeping child becomes a slightly better sleeping child, the best sleeper starts becoming a royal pain in the ass and waking us up multiple times a night?

.....when I can get my children to do a cute craft (an idea I stole from Midwest Mom) that we hang on the front windows they then delve fully into their creativity and produce weird napkin drawings that they also hang on the front window?


......I am sometimes completely unable to understand G but he is totally clear and intelligible when he sings after supper, "I need a cookie.  I, I need a cookie to looooooooove" a la Justin Bieber? takes my mom almost running out of my house to relish her freedom after watching the kids for me for most of today that I realize staying at home with kids, especially in winter, can truly make you bat-shit nuts?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Raising sons

I feel like I have a harder time "raising" my boys than I do my daughter, and maybe a lot of moms feel this way since as women we don't have an intuitive sense or understanding of what our sons are all about.  I don't "get" the taking apart of everything to see how it operates.  I don't "get" the inherent need to push, shove, crush, or generally take down whatever is in the way.  I don't "get" the inability to sit.still.for.even.30.seconds.  It is all foreign to me.

And as much as the boys baffle me, their father baffles me even more.  I don't "get" how he can remember all sorts of minutiae related to programming and work, but he forgets to buy his mother a gift card at the hair salon while he's there.  I don't "get" the appeal of playing violent Xbox games for hours and hours on end (if left on his own, which he rarely is these days).  And because he is a grown man, and I tend to have higher expectations of him than I do the boys (since they are young children), I become frustrated by these things that make him a "typical male."

And so I do what a lot of women do and think, "Men is dumb."

My friend REW shared this post on Facebook, and it really bothered me because I would be a big fat liar if I said I didn't think at least a couple of these things fairly often (specifically:  "Men are scatter-brained," "Men don't help enough around the house," and "Men don't spend enough time with their children.")

And as a mother of sons, I feel like I need to be their champion.  And I can't very well be this if I tend to think "men is dumb."

Maybe I'm stupid, but I feel like I don't know where to begin with this challenge.  Read Raising Cain again?   Is it enough to love them and guide them and simply accept that I'll never "get" them and I might often think what they do is actually dumb?  Does that qualify me as a bad mom?

I'm still chewing on the answer to this one.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Speech issues

Yesterday I took G for a free developmental screening through our local public school system.  For a while now, he has had some issues with being intelligible when he speaks.  As D sometimes says, G is a "mushmouth."  Words run together, and there are times that I have to ask him to repeat himself again and again and again.  And then still ask him to show me what he's talking about.

He passed 4 of the 5 categories, but failed the one with pronunciation/intelligibility.  We will have him fully evaluated to determine if he qualifies for services.  The speech pathologist seemed to think he has some definite issues that he is unlikely to outgrow.  Given his history of ear infections, congestion, and current hearing loss due to the holes in his eardrums, it's no wonder his speech is a little wonky.  Plus, he can't purse his to make a kiss, a pucker.  I knew this from his kisses on my cheek, but it didn't dawn on me that this could impact his ability to make certain sounds (like q or r).

His vocabulary is great, and he was able to do most of the 4-year-old skills she asked of him, so that made me feel better.  I'm not overly worried about him, although the speech issue coupled with the fact that he's a boy makes me a little apprehensive about how he'll do next year in pre-school.  (Actually the boy "issue" in and of itself, makes me nervous about how he'll do.  Boys are just so.different from girls.)

I tend to feel sorry for G a lot of time.  Poor guy.  Sandwiched in the middle.  A boy.  Who's 3.  And with speech challenges to boot.  Dang.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Report on Night 2 of Operation Night Weaning

M went to sleep a little before 8.  Woke up around 12:30.  Hugged/snuggled without picking him up.  Laid him back down.  Woke up around 3:30.  Same routine.  Woke up at 7:30 only because G marched into M's bedroom yelling, "Momma, where are you?"

The next generation of great writer...

I try to send a little note in with N whenever she takes her lunch to school.  The other day I sent in an acrostic poem using her name.

She loved it and has been writing poems like it ever since.
Here is the one I found in my pajama drawer from her:

Cares for everyone
Awesome at loveing
Runs not much   (This is my favorite line)
Rock'n out
Everyone loves her

I have decided that this is the perfect way to introduce her to quatrains, cinquains, haiku and others.

She's brilliant, I tell you.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Report on Night 1 of Operation Night Weaning (and other things M related)

It went surprisingly well.  I think I was up with M 3 times.  Each time I leaned down to hug him, snuggle a bit.  And then I laid him down saying, "Night, night."  I kept my hand on his back a few minutes until he settled.  There were no massive screaming fits because I never picked him up.

He slept around 3 hours between each waking until the 3:30 a.m. one.  After that he didn't wake again until 8:30.  Nearly 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep is a Christmas miracle in my book.

Some things that M is doing 14 months:

* He finally brings me books to read to him.  He is pretty picky...I can't just pick up any old board book.  But he does like to sit in my lap and be read to.

*He knows that ducks say "Cack, cack," because every time he sees a duck--in a book, on tv, in real life-- he says, "Cack, cack."

*He says "Maow" for cat.
*He says "No" uber-clearly.  And uses it completely correctly.  Like when I'm trying to wipe food off his face.
*He says "Bow" for "Wow."
*He walks 90% of the time, so I guess he is officially a toddler.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Operation Night Weaning

N weaned from night-time nursing at 4 weeks of age.  She just started sleeping 8-12 hours a night, every night.  I didn't know how super effin easy I had it with her.
I can totally see why they say girls develop and mature so.much.faster. than boys.

I was able to wean G from night nursing at 10 months.  I was able to pick him up, hold him for a few minutes, he would settle down, and then go back to sleep.  He still woke up 2-3 times a night until he was 14 months old and had tubes put in (at which time he started sleeping 12 hours a night, every night).

And then there is turd.  I mean M.
At 14 months old, he has slept 2 times through the night.  And he still night nurses.  I had started letting him sleep in bed with us, thinking he just wanted to be close to me.  But he quickly realized he had an all-night open bar laying right next to him.

I am tired.  And I am tired of being tired.  So I am weaning him from night-time nursing.  He can suckle as much as he likes during the day, and he usually does 3-4 times.

But I have reached the point where nursing him at night and being woken up so much is making me resentful.  And I don't like that feeling.

Stupidly, I feel sorta like a bad mom.  Guilty.  Whatever.  And it is completely unjustified thinking.  I have given it way more than the ol' college try.  Fourteen months of night-time nursing is effing OUTSTANDING.  Some babies don't get fourteen nights of night-time nursing.  And I'm still happy to daytime nurse him until he is ready to wean.

I have decided it is time to partially reclaim my body, reclaim some semblance of rest.  Time to parent him to sleep, learn that he really can be comforted by someone other than mom and something other than my breast.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Picture(S) of the Day(S)--Dec 4-7--Sickness rules my roost

G started feeling crappy on Saturday.  

Followed by me later in the day on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday....
Still waiting for a return to normalcy.
Just pretend this picture counts for Sunday and Monday when I felt at my worst. 

The boys cleaning my table with baby butt wipes.  (Clean ones, to be sure.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Picture of the Day--December 3rd--Putting up the basement tree

The problem with only choosing 1 picture is having 3 very adorable kids.
So here are 3 pics of the day...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Picture of the Day---December 2nd---One down

Tonight N and G helped me put ornaments on the tree in our dining room.  This is our special ornament tree......with ones from mine and D's childhood and all the ornaments the kids have been given.  Every year I buy each kiddo an ornament, so that by the time they leave the house they will have a nice set of decorations for their own trees.  

Picture of the Day--December 1st---A New Tradition

My friend K does a Picture a Day blog in December, and I am totally stealing her idea.  (I hope she doesn't mind.....)
I'm going to do two today since I'm starting a day late.

The start of something new.....

I saw this at Meijer and thought it was really cute.  Every night I add 2 pieces of candy to the next day; N and G take turns opening the door and each gets a piece of candy in the a.m.  We began on December 1st.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More from the author-in-residence

I was going to write about raising sons, but I have Christmas decorations to get out so I don't want to spend eons on this here blog.  So raising sons will have to come later.

N continues to write like crazy...jotting notes, sending letters to cousins and friends.  And over the long Thanksgiving weekend she wrote a couple stories.  Nothing Newbery Medal worthy, but cute nonetheless.

But first, a journal entry I found.....

Dear journal
I wish I could right in cersive when im 7 or 8 And I want too get my ears pearsed  Thank you!

And now......the short, short stories of NGL:

The magic journal  
(This is an original story. Any similarities to the dvd The Barbie Diaries are purely coincidental.)

Oce there was a girl named Makenzie  She had a journal.  She thoght it was magic
So she took it too school and she asked her teacher "every time I right in this it happens"  Why?
And she figured out is was magic
The end.

The super-sour lenonade  
(This is an original story.  Any similarities to Olivia Opens a Lemonade Stand by Kama Einhorn are purely coincidental.)

One day a kitty named Princess opened a lemonade stand so her friends could not get any warmer and the color was pink and when she tried it she said "it's sour!"
And all she had ta-doo was putt some ice and water in.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What's that racket?

I have not been cool in ages (if I ever was) or up-to-date on what's hip and hot in music, but browsing through MP3s on just makes me feel like a relic.

Some of the songs I recognized were because I had heard the Chipettes sing them on the Squeakquel soundtrack.  Some of the songs I know because N listens to Pandora sometimes and tells me who is singing what....Selena Gomez, for example.  How pathetic that my 6-year-old is guiding me through pop culture these days.

I was surprised that I actually knew some Katy Perry songs.  I was also surprised at just how sucky Katy Perry songs are.  Teenage Dream?  Seriously, what grown person would write about or deign to sing such stuff?

My kids throw grand-mal fits if they have to listen to my music, which I admit is fairly moody and weird.  Flaming Lips, Black Keys, Jeff Buckley.  So I try to buy music that is trendy/catchy/danceable for the kids, but is also something I don't mind listening to.

This evening I bought the clean version of Empire State of Mind, just because I like it.  The kids can deal.  And then I purchased Taylor Swift's You Belong With Me and Selena Gomez's A Year Without Rain because I can tolerate them, and N will be thrilled and think I am the world's greatest mom for 30 seconds until I do something totally lame.

The hardest part was finding clean stuff.  Most of what was out there is explicit.  When N was two, I played Hollaback Girl and told her the, "Ship has bananas.  B-A-N-A-N-A-S."  But she is way too savvy now to fall for that.  Listening to Pandora on Sunday I was waiting for her to ask me what a disco stick was, thank you Lady GAGA.

I'm gonna go crank up my gramophone now and do the fox trot.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


In the movie The Incredibles Helen Parr whips out her Elastigirl arms to separate her two oldest children during dinner as they try to kill each other under the table.

But Carrie as Elastigirl feels pulled and torn between children on one side and husband on the other.  Everyone wants me to be on their side, wants me to meet a need they have.  Everyone grabs an arm and stretches, using me in their game of tug-a-war.

Both my mother and Ayelet Waldman have said, "Love your husband more than your kids because one day your children will leave you but your husband will still be around."  At it's most basic, I agree and get it, but I think trying to equate one's love for a husband to one's love for one's children is flat out stupid.  There is no comparison---two totally different kinds of love.

My love for my kids is primal.   I would kill for them, and I would die for them.  I carried them within my body, I suckled them, I am with them constantly----there is no other relationship that will ever compare to this.

But they will leave me, and because they are children and I am their mother, they can never fulfill me completely on an adult level.  As children they are immature and whiney and annoying a good portion of the time, which is why I have my husband (although most women I know could and do say the same things about their husbands).  I also have my friends and this blog.  And things I want to do in the future.

I am not in love with my children, but most of the time I also do not feel in love with my husband.  Maybe it is due to being Elastigirl.  Trying to keep the kids quiet and getting frustrated by how impossible this is to do so D can sleep in on the weekend (being pulled by his needs).  Getting the kids a snack for the 11th time in one day even as I'm trying to prepare supper and their dad is sitting right there and could easily do it instead of me (being pulled by their needs).  Being tugged on and nursed on and hugged on all day and then knowing my husband has physical needs as well.

Elastigirl can only stretch so far.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


For as long as I can remember I have never liked holidays.  As a kid, I absolutely hated being cooped up with my family, unable to do any of my normal stuff like play with friends or go to the mall.  I just felt bored, disconnected.  I was always thrilled to get back to normal life.

So it's not surprising that I still dislike holidays for much the same reason---I am cooped up with my family, unable to enjoy the normal day-to-day routine of my life.  Except now I'm the mom, not the kid.  Which makes me think that the problem is me.  Common denominator and all.

A 4- or 5-day holiday like Thanksgiving, which drags on from Wednesday through Sunday, is tolerable for about 3 days.  But after that, I seriously start to lose my mind.

My routine with the boys is completely off-kilter with N and D being home.  I mean it is their home and they should be able to enjoy themselves here and relax.  But this home is also my 24/7/365 place of employment from which I never get a break.  When they are home, they don't have to mess with homework or project deadlines, be well behaved in class or answer questions from colleagues.  But I still have to do laundry, fix supper, give baths, pay bills, clean up toys, go to the grocery, etc, all the while watching N and D enjoy their "days off."  And I'd be lying if I said it didn't totally piss me the hell off.   Especially by days 4+.

I tell myself this is one of the problems with being a stay-at-home mom, but I don't know that it would be any better or different if I worked.

I would likely be even more ticked off knowing that I was technically "off work," but still having to do all my mom work while N and D got to relax.

One just can't seem to win in this mom business.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Last things

(Seriously, is November almost over?  I'm getting tired of this daily blogging business.)

The last...

thing I ate----chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream

thing I drank----hot chocolate

thing I watched----Winter's Bone special feature on the making of the movie

chore I did ---- put clean kitchen towels away

(fun) thing I did with my kids---- sledding at the park this morning

thing I bought----lunch for myself and kids at Pizza Hut

thing I read----the kids' children's bible Christmas story chapters before bed tonight

thing I will do before going to sleep---take half a Unisom

time I took a bath----last night, I think....(let me sniff my pits)

God, that was immensely boring.
4 more days to go.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Blissed out or exquisite calm

I guess because hubby has a cold (again) and the past 2 nights M has slept in bed with us pretty much all night due to barking seal cough and G threw a temper tantrum before leaving Mamaw's house after our Thanksgiving celebration.....maybe this is why I started thinking about occasions in my life when I have felt either blissed out or insanely serene.

Because as thankful as I am for my life and everyone in it, sometimes the day-to-day drudgery requires one to harken back to the biggest moments of greatness or calmness or joy or love that one has felt.

For certain I can't pull all of them out of my brain at one time, but there are some that consistently stand out.  Tonight I remembered standing on top of a hill in Wales when I was 19.  It was nearing dark, and it was extremely windy.  I don't know if I was alone or with someone, but seeing the clouds move and the sun set, the rolling was just amazing.

Another was in 8th grade when my class put on a Good Friday play.  I was the "set director," I guess, and I recall standing in the balcony at the back of church watching the part where Jesus is nailed to the cross.  We had a big wooden cross and one of the Roman soldier actors used a mallet against the wood.  The whack-whack-whack echoed in the church, and I felt startled.  It was overwhelming to me, and perhaps the only time I ever actually felt a god-like presence within a church building.

Of course the instantaneous flooding of love and tears when each of my children were born stands out in my head.  That is a feeling I wish I could turn on and off like a faucet.  Sometimes when I'm dealing with tantrum #467 since breakfast (and it is only snack-time), I would like to feel flooded with love so I don't knock someone's head off.

At the time I didn't feel particularly blissed out, although the memory of this does it for me now---walking through Sorrento Italy as well as the Isle of Capri with D.  I just remember little blips of the narrow streets as we walked and walked, and it brings a smile to my face.

I think because I am guilty of over-reflecting....chewing on stuff for way longer than necessary and then blogging about it....I tend to always be pretty cognizant of the little "big" things for which I should be thankful---health, a family, a home, food in my fridge, being educated. etc.

Sometimes it is nice to be thankful for those "once in a lifetime" experiences and the feelings that went with them.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What my real Christmas letters would say.....

The hardest thing about sending Christmas cards is finding a little nugget of our lives that doesn't sound (a.) pathetic, (b.) boring, (c.) depressing, (d.) TMI or (e.) braggy and offering it up to friends/families to digest until the next 365 days roll by.

Here is the little ditty I have been jotting down with pictures of the kids included:

Merry Christmas!  Hard to believe it is this time of year again.....

We are well.  N loves 1st grade and is becoming a better reader all the time.  The boys are finally playing nicely together, and M is walking now.  Chaos reigns over here.  

Hope 2011 is good to you.

C & family

Here is all the stuff I don't mention because it is either a, b, c, d, or e.

Merry Christmas!  I cannot believe that this year has flown by as quickly as it has given how little fucking sleep I've gotten over the course of these 12 months.  Even if D hadn't been snipped in April, you better believe there wouldn't be any more kids because we are too tired to do it very often.  

M is perhaps the world's suckiest sleeper.  I have friends with newborns who sleep better than he does.  And when I try to do all the things the "experts" recommend he just screams ad nauseum so I eventually stick a boob in his mouth because I can't stand it anymore.  

G is so 3 it's not even funny.  He screams at the top of his lungs often---I am "this" close to ripping out his larynx.  All he will eat is vanilla yogurt with sprinkles and breakfast cereal.  He poops constantly which I assume is due to all the live & active cultures in him.  He might have the world's healthiest colon.  And he has absolutely no desire to potty train.  

N loves school and has finally gotten a little better about entertaining herself, which is awesome.  I like her most because she can dress herself, wipe her own butt and she knows not to scream.  But now that she knows how to read I can't write what I really want to write on Facebook because she is always looking over my shoulder.  I thought parents were supposed to censor their kids....not the other way around.

D still has his Xbox and plays regularly.  He keeps getting colds from the boys, which just means one more annoying person to listen to honking and snorting for weeks on end.  We don't talk too terribly often because by the time the kids get into bed, we just want to be left the hell alone and do our own thing.  

I continue to do my little blogging thing and have written some for a local magazine, which is cool.  I got all my hair cut super short so G and I are twins, and I've been working out with a trainer to help build up my strength so I can continue to lug chunky butt baby all over creation, since he is starting to walk on his own but nowhere near ready to do it on a full-time basis.  

The cats have been permanently relegated to the basement.  Annoying little fuckers just meow for food when they have the opportunity to come upstairs, and I can't handle any other living creature hollering at me for anything.  

Hope you and yours are well and continue to be throughout the coming year.  I'm just hoping for some longer stretches of sleep I can count on.  I would love to rejoin bookclub but can't focus on reading anything longer than a 2-page magazine article due to fatigue.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Prayer. (Huh) What is it good for?

I grew up saying formal prayers---The Hail Mary and Our Father.  "Now I Lay Me" at bedtime.  "Bless Us O Lord" at meals.  The Apostle's Creed at church every week.

(Side note here:  Am I the only kid who was completely freaked the hell out by "Now I Lay Me?"  What child wants to think about dying before they wake???)

But eventually it started to bother me that I didn't feel any meaning when I said them, although I now understand that just saying the prayers in a "seemingly thoughtless" way is actually sorta meditative in its own right.  I don't know what I thought I should feel, but I wasn't feeling anything.

I also didn't (and don't) subscribe to the idea of praying for something means what you want will happen.  Sometimes I hear people say, "God is good," and I often wonder if they would still say that if "god" didn't make whatever they wanted to happen, happen.  I don't often hear this phrasing used when someone's tire goes flat 15 minutes before a job interview.

Whatever "god" is....evolution or higher power or far, far smarter than any human to determine what is "best."  Eventually I just kinda made a blanket one-time prayer to "Let whatever is supposed to happen for the best occur and give me the ability to deal with it."

Whenever a friend asks for prayers for themselves or a loved one, I never say anything on the order of, "Dear Jesus, Redeemer of my Sins...." because that just weirds me out whether said aloud or inside my head and heart.  I tend to think of sending good thoughts/vibes to another person as my favorite, most comfortable kind of prayer.

I also really want to and try to live my prayer.   For example, we don't say grace at mealtimes, but I donate food to food banks occasionally.  And I try my darndest not to waste food, even if it means making beet bread.  And I support CSAs because I think this is perhaps the best form of thank you for my food---helping the farmers who bring it to my table.

Self-reflection seems to me a pretty good form of prayer.  Reviewing what you have said or done, examining your desires, grievances, joys, sorrows, seems to me a pretty good way to show thankfulness or make amends (the next time).

Prayer can be used as an insult, I think, although to the one who offers it I don't think it is meant that way.  Someone once said they would pray for me because I haven't accepted Jesus as my personal saviour and given my heart to him.  I know this person strongly believes in Jesus and wants to share that good feeling, but I do believe in god/higher power/karma....and I do believe in historical Jesus (just not died for our sins Jesus).  And I am ok with that.

Is there ever any feeling of longing in my heart?  Well sure.  But even the most "in-tune with Jesus" person feels that way.  I think it's called the human condition.

So being offered what felt like a "pity prayer" (as in Carrie's soul is in such need of repair) really bothered me.  Because I thought it was "god's job" to judge my heart and soul and determine my overall worthiness on this planet.  And that is why I am a little suspicious of prayer.

But I don't doubt it's power.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A history lesson about me

Going through all those boxes of childhood stuff in the basement helped jog my memory of what I was like and things I did as a kid.

1. I tried out for and participated in my school talent shows from grades 1-8.  It kinda blows my mind that I had the nerve to try out when I was only 6 years old.  I danced to Blondie's "The Tide is High."  In 2nd grade, I danced and lip-synced to Manhattan Transfer's "The Boy From New York City" with a 1st grade boy.  He was the NYC "boy," and I kinda danced around him.  We won that year...solely based on cuteness because talent was nil.   I think most every year after that I danced to something by Duran Duran.

2. In 1st and 2nd grade, I played Star Wars on the playground with two boys, Mark and Greg.  Mark was my "boyfriend."  He was Luke.  Greg was Chewbaca, I think.  I was Leia.  Mark's birthday was the first party I ever attended.  He had a place-setting for me right next to him.  We played some kind of game where we had to balance a potato on our shoe.  I remember I won and his mom took a picture of me in my rockin' fake leather boots with the potato on my toe.

3. When I was in 3rd grade we were instructed to do all the math problems at the back of our math book.  I don't know how long we were given to accomplish this, but I didn't do any of them.  I hated math from the moment this was assigned, and I hated math even more when I had to stay in from recess for weeks and weeks to do the math problems at the back of the book.  I distinctly remember my mom sitting at the dining room table with me as I cried and cried over the horror of doing that math.

4. When I was in 4th grade I got a retainer to keep me from sucking my thumb.  It was a medieval torture device with prongs sticking down from the roof, basically making a metal gate so that I couldn't put my thumb into my mouth.  It took awhile for me to be able to speak properly with it.  After I saw the orthodontist, I remember my teacher asking me to read aloud in class.  I had to read something about the hemispheres.  I lost a tremendous amount of saliva trying to pronounce that word multiple times for the reading.

5. In 5th grade I got into a "fist fight" of sorts with a classmate.  She and I had an on-again/off-again relationship.  One year we'd be friends, and the next year we'd hate each other.  Fifth grade was apparently an "off" year.  My mom had made me a winter coat made of a white fur like material.  What I remember is my on/off friend dragging it on the gym floor.  I seem to recall walking over to her and popping her in the face.  It got ugly after that, and Mr. S had to intervene.  (I'm Facebook friends with this woman now so she can set me straight if my memory is off.)

6. In 6th grade a classmate got pregnant by an 18-year-old guy.  My introduction to the "real world." I remember our teacher wrote "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" on the board, which was also my introduction to that word and what it meant.

7. In 7th grade I was perhaps the most hated kid in junior high.  To this day I still don't know why.  That sucked.

8.  In 8th grade I was hell-bound on seeking revenge on the assholes who made my 7th grade year a living hell.  So I became a cheerleader and got straight As and won the Principal's Award, which is like the Oscar of my former school.  It might have felt better to give 'em all black eyes, but just rubbing their faces in my awesomeness was pretty good too.

9. In 9th grade I started at an all-girls Catholic school downtown.  It was my first experience with black girls.  I am ashamed to admit that my initial thought was, "How will I ever be able to tell them apart?"  That first day of school they all looked the same to me.  This is part of the reason I am pro-public schools.  Diversity is a good thing and really shouldn't just begin when one becomes a teenager.

10. In 10th grade I began dating BM, my high school sweetheart whom I fortunately did not marry.  He was (and is) a good guy, but I'm just not the type of person who could have married my high school boyfriend.  I guess this is where being inherently "boy-crazy" is a good thing----check out the other fish in the sea.  He and I dated for the remainder of my high school career.  We dated for my first semester of college, but once I got a taste of being around guys all day long, I was over it.

11. In 11th grade I was voted Junior Class President.  I had run for class president in 9th and 10th grades but no dice.  Junior year meant planning a prom.  I almost didn't get to attend prom because I had strep throat.  I missed my ring ceremony due to strep.

12. During spring break of my senior year of high school, my friend Kelly and I went to.......Cincinnati, OH for a couple days.  Somehow you don't get the screams and catcalls when lifting your shirt at the art museum and zoo as you do in Fort Lauderdale.  It was fun but even then I knew this was terribly lame.

Other things I remember in no particular order----
* Coming home from elementary school and eating a snack at the kitchen table with my mom every day.  Telling her about the events of the day.  This is part of the reason I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.

* Dressing up as hookers one year for Halloween with JP, DD and MBP.

* Making mud pies in the backyard with my brother.  When he went into the house to get something, I put mud into his Spiderman house slippers.

* Peeing under/behind the wiegela bush in the back of the yard.  (I mean we had indoor plumbing....I guess it was just for the thrill of peeing outside.)

* Swinging on the swingset in the backyard singing Buffy Sainte-Marie's, "I'm Gonna Be a Country Girl Again."

* Laying in the back of the car listening to Eric Carmen's, "All By Myself," and brooding.

*Dancing in the basement with my mom to various Johnny Mathis songs.  She did her sewing down there and would listen to his LPs.  She and I would waltz around to various tunes.  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

ABCs of my iPod

I'm kinda stealing an idea from my friend G's blog but putting a twist on it.  Just to show how "back in the day" my music selections are, as well as how infrequently I get to listen to music I want (since I technically share this gizmo with the younguns).  I am certain you will find it rather difficult to determine which songs were selected for or by my kids).

Here are the first 3 artists listed on my iPod with the 1st song under that artist.

Aaliyah, Rock the Boat
Alison Krauss, Down to the River to Pray
Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch, I'll Fly Away

Backyardigans, Theme Song
Barbie, Connected
Beach Boys, Surfin USA

The Champs, Tequila
The Chipettes, Hot N Cold
The Chipmunks, Bad Day

Danny & the Juniors, At the Hop
Danny Elfman, Augustus Gloop
Dean Martin, Baby, It's Cold Outside

Earth, Wind & Fire, Shining Star
Elvis Presley, Hard-Headed Woman
Emmylou Harris et al, Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby

Fairfield Four, Lonesome Valley
Feist, 1234
Flaming Lips, The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song

Gwen Stefani, What You Waiting For

Hannah Montana, Best of Both Worlds
Harry McClintock, Big Rock Candy Mountain

Iggy Pop, Lust For Life

James Carter & the Prisoners, Po' Lazarus
Jeff Buckley, Mojo Pin
Jeff Conway & John Travolta, Greased Lightning

The Kids, Kryptonite

Lady Gaga, Paparazzi
Laurie Berkner, Rocketship Run

Michael Buble, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
Miley Cyrus, Start All Over
Music Together, See How I'm Jumping?

Norman Blake, You Are My Sunshine

The Peasall Sisters, In the Highways
The Pipettes, Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me

Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody

Ralph Stanley, O Death
Randy Newman, You've Got a Friend In Me
Rascall Flatts, Life is a Highway

Sean Kingston & Justin Bieber, Eenie Meenie
Sha-Na-Na, Born to Hand Jive
Sharpay, Humuhumunkuakua

Ting Tings, That's Not My Name
Toni Basil, Mickey
Tony Bennett, Fly Me to The Moon

U2, Beautiful Day
Usher, Yeah

Van Morrison, Wild Night
Vince Guaraldi, Skating

Whites, Keep on the Sunny Side
Wiggles, Monkey Man, I Like to Move It

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Not really "fun" but needed anyway

Today I went shopping for some new clothes.  Well not technically new, but "new to me."

Since everything I own gets snot, slobber or various other bodily excretions on it on an almost daily basis, in addition to dust, dirt and mud from shoe bottoms and a variety of food particulates, namely cheesy poof crumbs, I don't put a high priority on buying brand new or expensive clothing.  But when I see that my shirts are developing holes or I feel I am having to do my own laundry more frequently, I head out to local consignment stores.

The good things about consignment stores is that I can find items cheap, and the jeans have already been worn-in sufficiently.  The bad thing is that I have to try on everything because every brand's sizes are a little different which makes my preferred shopping method of "walk in, scan the store for something I like, and walk out if it doesn't pop out immediately" unsuitable.

Plato's Closet was good to me today---3 pairs of jeans, a pair of yoga pants, a hoodie jacket, and 2 long-sleeve shirts for $75.  I had hoped to find something a little festive to wear to D's company Christmas party, but the dresses I tried on were either entirely too short or clingy.   Having had 3 babies makes abdominal fabric clinginess not terribly appealing.

I had to stop for cat food before heading home, so I dropped into Dots, which sells brand new items.  Now the clothing was nice and reasonably priced, but the clientele at this particular store on this particular day---a little scary.  But not scary enough to prevent me from purchasing 3 "casual for anyone else but dressy for me" tops.  I have had 2 occasions now where I've wanted to dress up a little nicer for dinner out with friends and have nothing non-stained or faded to wear.

The biggest problem I had at Dots was trying to figure out how some of the tops were to be worn.  That is a bad sign, isn't it?  A clear indication from the gods that I wasn't meant to be a fashion icon?  When I have to ask the saleperson, "Um, how exactly does this here blouse-thingie work?"

Those 3 tops set me back $53, which leaves me almost $50 still sitting in my clothing budget for some other time in the future...after I've recovered from this shopping adventure.

D asked me if I had fun.  Shopping for clothing for me is never fun, but it was extremely nice to be able to shop without the distraction of keeping children plied with Goldfish and raisins in a vain attempt to delay a tantrum.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas re-decoration challenge 2010??

Last Christmas I decided to buy some new holiday decor for my mantel.  Much of what I have has been given to me....since I'm generally not a big shopper and all.  Particularly for stuff that only stays up 3 weeks out of the year.

But the problem with not putting your own stamp on it is that everything is a hodgepodge and doesn't really speak to our home, the feel of it, the style of who we are.  (I say this as if we have a style.)

Anyway, so here is the before.  And here is the after.

When I was shopping for some Halloween decorations last month, I happened upon some really cute Christmas decorations, and I am now debating whether I want to re-do my decor for my built-in bookcases.

I am also toying with the idea of doing a themed Christmas tree upstairs...although I don't really know what the theme would be.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Letting go of some things

It can be tremendously difficult to allow one's child to do things for himself/herself, especially when it comes to crafty-type activities.  An adult's idea of what looks good is very different from what looks good to a child.  And for most kids, it is the doing of it that is most essential and the pride generated  rather than the professionalism or perfection of what has been created.

In the past two weeks, N's Girl Scout troop has done a couple of crafts.  Last week they painted their daisies on their smocks, and this week they began making Christmas cards and ornaments for nursing home residents.

I couldn't help but notice some exasperated "be carefuls" and the "don't do that theres," which were always followed by a sulky Girl Scout being completely uncooperative.  And I hoped that I wasn't sounding like that to N.

On occasions when I have allowed my adult creativity to impede her child creativity, I have seen the defeat on her face.  Because to her it sounds like, "You're not doing this right," and truly that is what it means (even though I can tell myself that I'm just trying to help her do it neater or whatever).

I try to remind myself that when it comes to crafts & similar things, I have to accept whatever it is N comes up with....just as I do her clothing choices.  My openness to whatever she does with only the most gentle assistance (and only if she wants it) tells her that she's ok the way she is.  That her choice of a green shirt, orange and purple striped pants and strawberry-patterned leg warmers is alright especially since she is doing it herself (and that is one less thing I have to do for her).   That her placement of stickers and stamps and her misspelling of Cristmas is ok, especially since the most important thing is that she is doing for others to bring them joy.

There are times when holding one's tongue is the best course of action and one that every mother needs to become a little better at as her child develops.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The good, the bad and the ugly

The ugly would be my response to the bad.  Just so ya know.

The good
*Now reads aloud to me most every evening for her reading response journal.  According to her report card, she improved from a 28 to a 34 in this 6-week period, which puts her at, I believe, a 3rd grade reading level.  I don't usually brag on my kids (part of that critical parent gene), but I am really very proud.

*Likes making these Push papers.  She writes "Push" and you push the paper, then she opens it and you have to pick "Boy or Girl."  After this selection, you have to select "Love, Hug, Kiss or Marry." The final part is to pick a number, which N has coded with someone, like her brothers or a school friend.  She and I recently made some new categories like "Bootie Bump" and "Tickle" and "Tackle."  Because I don't necessarily want to kiss her friends.  Just her.

*Makes a really wonderful big sister...sometimes to G (since he tends to bug her), and always with M (because he hasn't yet figured out how to push her buttons).

The bad
For the most part, we are having a nice run whereby she doesn't get on my nerves.  If only she could sit still for longer than 20 seconds at dinner.

The good
*Says "Where we are?" whenever we're driving.  He wants to know the name of the road.  Today he asked, "Where we are?" and when I told him he replied, "How can that be?"

*Said while driving past the small local airport, "There's an airplane port."

*Continues to use completely illogical cause/effect:  "You're Carrie because you're mommy."  Uh, ok.

*Hugs everyone at the end of Music Together class.  The teacher.  The moms.  The kids.  Even when we go to a make-up class and he knows no one except me and Ms. M.  So sweet.

The bad
He has been waking up more frequently at night, having more fears.  Nothing too terrible, but just one more little person disrupting sleep in this house.  But the worst thing is his shrieking/screaming when he is having a tantrum in the car---there is simply nowhere for the unholy sound to go.  It is all I can do to fight the wicked desire to pull over, park his ass on the curb and be on my merry way.

The good
*Doing the Frankenstein walk all over the house with greater frequency which never, ever ceases to be cute.

*Says, "Kack, kack" whenever he sees a duck.

*Gives the best open-mouth kisses on my cheek, including the smacking sound at the end.

The bad
13 months. 10 days.  Crappy sleeper.