Friday, March 30, 2012

Who needs Pinterest?

I don't know much about Pinterest.  Given what a time suck Facebook is to me, I'm none too eager to discover more about Pinterest.  I know friends who get lots of cool ideas for home decor and baking and such from it.

But I don't need Pinterest because I have really cool ideas of my own.

Like this for N's room.

I took an old shelf from the garage and used decoupage glue to put small pieces of tissue paper all over it.  I purchased unpainted wood letters and 2 painted cutesy wood attachments (cost around $3 total).  Then I painted the letters, and used gorilla glue to attach it all.  I nailed in a wall-hanger to the back and voila!  A cute initial picture.

N had drawn some pictures and taped them to the closet, which looked messy, so I bought a $5 piece of thin aluminum and cut it into strips. I then used gorilla glued magnets to the back of glass beads.  I screwed the aluminum strips onto her closet and now she has a neat way to hang her drawings in her room.

I also nailed a strip into her bookshelf, which she can use for her reading log.

The story of a room

Our home is about 12 years old, and we have been in it for almost 11 of those years.  Despite all the ways in which D and I have changed in those years, and how our family has changed, I have never really thought of our home having much of a history.

Until recently.

A couple weekends ago, D and I painted the room that has served as a nursery for all three children.  It is now N's "big girl" room.  Since 2004 its walls have changed from fleshy peach to moonlight yellow (N's nursery wall color) to bright orange (the boys' nursery wall color) to dahlia purple (the big girl color).  

N's nursery.

The boys' nursery

As I was painting I remembered how I had the room decorated when it sat empty for a few years between us purchasing the house and making it the nursery.  I remember buying N's crib and changing table/dresser.  I remember working on a cross-stitch wall-hanging for her room that I didn't complete until she was 6 weeks old.  I remember her as an infant in that room, in her crib, on the floor.  Laying on the changing table reading a book, or the two of us reading together in the rocking chair in that room.  

N in her crib.

And I remember the boys in that room, in the crib, on the floor.  Nursing all three of the children every night before bed.  Groggily wandering into the room in the wee hours of the night when they cried and whined and needed momma's tender touch.  

G in his crib.

G crawled for the first time in his nursery.  

Monkey M in his nursery, prepping for Halloween 2010.

As happy as I am to be done playing musical bedrooms (for a long time until one or the other of the kids decides to sleep in the downstairs guest bedroom that now serves as a playroom), it also makes me a little sad to know that my nursery is gone, that my babies are no longer babies.  That my big girl feels "like a teenager" now that she has her own room (which she wrote to Nana in a letter).  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

She gets it from her momma

Since I was a girl, I have been told I am a good writer.
I think my daughter might hear this a bit as she grows up.
Tonight she wrote the following 2-and-a-half page (double spaced) story using her spelling words.
I'm pretty impressed with it since she's only in 2nd grade.

A Silly Fairytale story

Once upon a time in a land far away, there was a farm.  And that farm had alot of dark art work.  The park they had was very delightful and sweet.  A person named Lorax had a car made out of an actuall star!  Lorax was a man who worked a movie theatre.  His part was to start the movie by telling some jokes.  Alot of people wore dark clothes, but not Lorax.  Lorax wore crazy socks every day and always had crystals and stars on his shirt.  It was hard to get dressed everyday and put all his jokes together for work.  He had to keep writing jokes so much that his arm hurt.  He started to work for the Easter Bunny!  When the Easter Bunny said yes, a disco ball and some music suddenly apeered and they had A ROCKING AWESOME PARTY!!!

Parka's appeared on their bodies and it started to rain!  They took those parka's off and a scarf appeered on both of them.  The scarves had many properties like rough fabric, and fluffy fringe.  The words rough and fluffy that I just used are called textures.  The scarf's luster would be sparkly.  The sun was shining on the sparkles so it looked like crystals.  The Easter Bunny pulled of his scarf and it ripped.  Lorax told him that it wasn't durable.  They did all that the day before Easter.  They all had a happy easter.  Especially Lorax!

Happy Easter!

Pants on the ground

When I found out G was a boy, I was more than a little terrified.  Excited, to be sure, but also highly anxious.  I mean, what was I supposed to do with the penis?  From my limited understanding of the male gender, I knew those things have a life of their own.

Once G was born, I realized that he was simply a sweet little different, really, from N when she was an infant.  I felt the same with M.

It wasn't too much past the boys' infancy for me to once again be confounded by the whole penis thing.

M went through an fairly intense penis-playing phase some time ago, but that eventually passed.

About a month ago, G had a foreskin infection, which freaked me out, mostly because my brain instantly went into, "I don't want him to have to be circumcised at this age."  He can retract a bit, so the doctor said for G to retract as much as he could and for me to apply a tiny bit of steroid cream to reduce the inflammation.  Dr. B gave G an antibiotic, and things cleared up just fine.  Apparently, these infections are fairly common among little boys G's age.

Ever since, G has been very, very interested on "pulling his skin," as he calls it.  One morning after he woke me at his usual 6:30 a.m., I left him on the couch watching tv while I walked into the kitchen to fix my coffee and check my email.  I walked back to the couch to check on him and found him with his pants at his knees and him busily "pulling his skin."  I just turned and walked back into the kitchen because that is a party to which I do not want to be invited.

The boys have nekkid time on a somewhat regular basis.  I will be cooking dinner or cleaning and see G streak by.  Soon after M will come in saying "Pants!" or "Shirt" and want my help removing his gear so he too can run around in the buff.  Both Mamaw and Nana (and even my neighbor HC) have gotten pretty used to having the door opened for them and being welcomed into our home by boy parts in their glory.

Like jumping on the bed and the Wiggles, eventually kids lose interest in these things.  If it's not hurting anyone, why make an argument out of it?  Plus, what would I have to write about if it weren't for my kids' antics?

Tonight G came out of the boys' shared bedroom and when I went in to settle them down and tuck them in, I found that M had taken off his pajama bottoms, a feat of which I didn't think him capable.  I may have to resort to the onesie over the pajama thing again if this continues.

I think the only solution for "pulling the skin" is duct-taped hands.  

Sunday, March 25, 2012

More ass-ish-ness

I simply cannot help myself.  I have to poke fun of the whole March Madness stuff.  It is just tooo good for a non-sports-minded person.  And fortunately my basketball loving friends have a good sense of humor and haven't defriended me.  Yet.

Here are some of my recent FB posts:

I want the good guys to win.
What are they fighting about anyway?

(Since I don't root for any particular teams, I would like good to reign over evil.)

I write cards and read cards. But I don't watch cards. They are kinda dull, just sitting there.
(A whole bunch of folks were making comments about the University of Louisville's Cards, so I had to throw in my 2 cents.)

My brackets look fine. [ See. ]
This is the only kind of bracket I understand.  

GO Honey badgers!! Wooooo! Hooooo!
(All of these animal-themed team names.  I thought I'd root for an animal that doesn't get a whole lot of media coverage.)

If I hadn't had 2 glasses of wine, I might be able to make some witty comment about the verbal basketball orgasms posted all over FB.

(Because there is no end to the Ahhhhhs and Ooooooos and other sexy sounds over b-ball.)

Who cares? (Everyone else but me....and my husband.)

(Whenever D is driving me bat-shit nuts, I remember that he doesn't give a rat's ass about sports and that is one of the main reasons I liked him to begin with.)

The update

N and I began taking piano lessons on Jan 2 of this year.  We are now into month 3, and while we still enjoy it, I admit that getting N to practice is often as fun as getting daggers shoved into my eyes.

Some of the practice unpleasantness is due to N's desire to play too quickly, which often results in her messing up, which results in her becoming frustrated.  Our piano teacher tells both of us two things over and over and over:  Play slowly and count out loud as we play.  N does neither of these when she practices at home.  I ask her to do these things repeatedly.  But as I am her mother, I am also an idiot.  Yes, that mother-daughter "thing" has only worsened since piano lessons began.

Some of this piano practice unpleasantness is due to the boys' desire to interrupt our practice by throwing books down the steps or running through the dining room and screaming.  Even if I don't lose my temper with N, I quickly lose it with the boys.

I will not be surprised if my blood pressure reads higher at my next wellness assessment.

I have committed both N and me to piano lessons for a year because I think that is a decent amount of time to get used to an instrument and get beyond the initial learning curve challenges.  In Jan 2013, we can reevaluate whether to discontinue or go on.  My hope is that N will continue, but I will allow her to stop if she chooses at that time.  I expect to continue because I do enjoy learning and knowing that I am getting better....although my own ability to practice is hampered by my daily sidekicks who often like to bang along as I'm trying to get through an etude.

Though is greatly dislike motivational charts as a means of getting kids to potty train or give up pacifiers, I have decided that a motivational chart may be the key to getting N to practice without a fight with mom.  She is supposed to practice 5 times a week, and often those practices fall between Fri-Mon (with her going back to the piano twice daily to practice on Saturdays and Sundays).  If she practices without an argument and works carefully/slowly, she will earn star stickers.  If after a month she has earned a certain number of stars, she will get a special "treat."

She seemed to like this idea, as do I, although it means one more thing for me to keep up with.

I tell myself that I don't make a stink over things like her clothing choices or other "little" things, but I feel strongly enough about learning an instrument that I am willing to fight for this.

I think.

Burnout in its various forms

For awhile now I have been suffering from SAH Mommy Burnout.  I keep telling myself that this is normal...that had I been doing anything 24/7 for the past 8 years I would be sick of it.  Other than one 8-hour shopping/lunch spree at some outlet malls with friends when N was about 2 years old, I have not been been even "temporarily childless" for any extended period of time for me to do something fun just for me (not grocery shopping).  D and I have gone out to dinner a handful of times but we haven't gone to a concert or a movie or had a whole night to ourselves that hasn't been interrupted by a child.

Some of this is self-imposed. We haven't taken the time or wanted to spend the money.  And my parents are in their 70s, so I really don't want them keeping the kids overnight.  I mean, I'm 38 and being with them (the kids) wears my ass out.  My MIL is widowed, so I don't really want her dealing with all 3 of mine by herself.  Plus, M is still nursing before bed so that limits me quite a bit.

Lately I have just felt extremely grouchy and too easily set off.  Perhaps I'm having some late 30s hormonal thing going on.  I'm going to bring it up with my psychiatrist when next I see her.

Or perhaps it is that G is still challenging...his usual and something that I hope I will one day just accept.  And now N seems to be going through her own hormonal stuff and is being increasingly difficult with me---wanting my help and not wanting me to help at the same time when it comes to homework and piano practice.

When I have my moments of thinking, "Maybe I should go back to work," I think that I will be spending all day dealing with other people's children. Their attitudes, their tantrums, their unpleasant moods.  So that offers me no solace because I would be strung-out from them and then have to come home to my own children's attitudes, tantrums and unpleasant moods that would likely be even worse because I would have less time to spend with them.  As it is my children, especially G, spend entirely too much of their time vying for my attention.

D is experiencing his own burnout issues that are different from mine.

We are absorbed in our own personal dissatisfactions and also worried about the other's discontent, doubling the ruminating and stewing and general feeling of floundering.  Of muddling through the muck.

This will pass just as mine and D's other funks have passed.
But it makes me think that enjoying the journey of life is overrated.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A question I had to ask myself

My neighborhood, for being as small as it is, is fairly diversive. A Pakistani family, two Bosnian families, a Russian family, a few African-American families, a gay couple, some old folks, many retired couples and families with varying ages of children.  This is one of the things I really like about it.

Part of the reason I strongly support public education is because of diversity----meeting others who are not like you racially, economically, culturally, etc.

But I recently had to ask myself whether the reason I dislike two families in the neighborhood is because they are black.

My initial, instant answer was no, but I had to ignore that and really look at why I dislike these particular families.  And I had to discuss it with some people I trust.

Recently a little African-American brother and sister pair has been coming to the house asking N to play.  I don't have a problem with the occasional door knock, but they come over A LOT, like a few times a week at approximately 5:00 when I am fixing dinner.  Since I have the littles it just doesn't work for N to go out to play at that time because G and M want to go outside too, and I can't let them go alone.  (We do not have a fenced backyard, and M is only 2 besides.)  And if I allow N to go but don't allow G and M to go then I have World War III on my hands, which further hinders the preparation of dinner.

Plus, on the occasions when I've told these siblings that N can't play now but can play after supper, they continue to ring the doorbell asking, "Well what time can N come out?"  My own children bug the shit out of me so I don't need other kids doing the same.

They are also kinda rough when they play, especially the boy, which is potentially dangerous with G and M being in the mix.

These kids' grandparents live in the neighborhood.  They are the neighbors who let their house go to junk.  Shutters missing, siding missing, weeds everywhere.  And if I am prejudiced against anyone it is people who keep their homes in disrepair.  I'm not proud of feeling this way, but there it is.  I just don't understand spending thousands and thousands of dollars on a home and then not taking care of it.  It suggests a general disregard that goes beyond their home to, well, everything.

(Side story:  After a storm, one of the family's shutters was about 6 houses down from them.  After about a week of them not retrieving it, I decided to take it to them.  They couldn't get their front door open---apparently there was so much junk behind their door they couldn't open it.  That was close to a year ago and they still haven't put the shutter up.)

The other African-American family with a child N's age who live close by is the one who has the invisible fence that they can't seem to operate, which means their dog goes running around loose.  At least twice I have seen this dog almost get hit by a car.  This dog also runs around into my yard.

And I am prejudiced against people who have pets that they don't keep close tabs on because it is dangerous to the animal.  If you are going to have an animal, you should be responsible enough to ensure the animal's safety.  (This same family used to have Presa Canario dogs that they allowed to stay outside deep into the night who would bark and howl, and this shows a general disregard for neighbors who are attempting to sleep.)

After much thought (that still continues), I decided that I think my dislike of these families has nothing to do with their race and everything to do with their actions....or lack of actions.  I think I would feel exactly the same if they were Caucasian.  Or Asian.  Or Native-American.

However, my dislike towards these families does reinforce my feelings that I am a snob, which is an entirely different and potentially more long-winded rumination that should be saved for another blog post.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The calm and then the storm. Now repeat. Constantly

D said to me tonight, "I think you may have over-extended yourself."

And I may have.

(When he says this and gives me the look it reinforces my feeling that I will likely never go back to work full-time while we have children living in our home.  Because that would really over-extend me, and by me, I mean him.)

But what happens is the proverbial shit all hits the fan the same week.  Monday night was piano.  Tonight was Girl Scouts AND a neighborhood board meeting. Tomorrow night is a troop leader meeting.  Some weeks all we have is piano on Monday and the remainder of the days we are left to putz around.

I don't like weeks like this, but that is just the way they happen.  And they feel unbearable, but they are over quickly and forgotten about until the next time we have 4 busy nights in a row, at which time we think we are gonna die.

The same applies to the kids.  There are occasions when all of them have their panties in twists and are fighting and demanding something of me at the exact same moment, and it feels unbearable, like it has lasted at least a week and will continue for the rest of my life.  But then it is over. All three kids are playing quietly, content and not up-in-arms or clingy or calling my name.

And there is much relief and rejoicing.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Why I hate this summery weather when it isn't even spring

1. Brings out my latent Cassandra complex:

I don't know whether my anxiety over the warm, record-breaking weather is a sign that I am cursed like Cassandra with the ability to prophesy the end of days as a result of global warming or just my natural tendency to worry about things over which I have zero control.  Regardless, I feel like I am constantly in low-grade panic over whether the dinosaurs' extinction was caused by global weather changes and how likely it is that we humans will succumb to the same fate before I die.  If it happens after I die...well, so what?  But before I die is a real problem.  

2. Makes my decent closet-spaced house look pathetic:

When I was a kid, my mother kept our off-season clothing in big barrels in the basement.  She wouldn't crack them open until there was absolutely no doubt that the weather had completely and totally changed for good.  Which was usually mid-May.  My current home has pretty decent closet space, but it is still the pits having every imaginable stitch of clothing out and about because we never know whether we'll need our jeans and hoodies or shorts and t-shirts on any given day between March and late May.  Or layers of all these aforementioned clothes.

3. Results in fighting over what not to wear:

As a general rule, I'm not going to fight over clothing with my kids.  As long as their butts are covered and they aren't breaking school rules, I'm good.  But this warm weather in March gives N the bug to rummage through the bin of spring/summer clothes, which wouldn't be a problem if she didn't decide two minutes before leaving for the school bus that she MUST change clothes.  She can change her clothes 16 times before school if she wishes, but she needs to get that junk done before standing on the porch with her backpack and shoes on.

4. Makes me feel semi-menopausal:

I'm running warm and cool and chasing around/lugging around the boys day-in and day-out on a cold day.  So when the day begins cool and then warms up and then a rain shower comes through causing the temperature to drop a good 20 degrees, I feel like I'm doing prep work for menopause.  

Friday, March 16, 2012


Blame it on waiting for Aunt Flo.
Blame it on the boredom of checking Facebook only to see endless strings of posts about college basketball which might as well be written in Sumerian as far as I'm concerned.

Mostly it is waiting for Aunt Flo.

Every single solitary March I think to myself, "Gee, Carrie, perhaps you should go live in a commune for people who have no effing interest whatsoever in college basketball."  Because every single solitary year many, many people in my part of the world lose their minds over games in a fit of mass hysteria.

Truly, I don't hate basketball or any sport, per se.  I simply have zero interest.  (I am a freak of nature because I also have zero interest in watching broadcast television either.  I've never watched Grey's Anatomy or Modern Family or Dancing With People Who Used to Be Famous and Now Just Need to Supply Their Coke Habit).

If one or two or all of my children develop an interest in sports I will most certainly also develop an interest in it and knowledge of it.  Because my love for my children is far greater than my lack of interest.  I never thought I would know who Ratchet and Starscream are, but I do and that is fine.

What I do enjoy is poking gentle fun at all the sports talk. All the blood pressure spikes people experience over men in shorts dribbling balls.  I mean, dribbling is simply a funny word.  Any word that also describes what my 4-year-old does when he stands at the commode to pee is funny.

So I guess this is my sorta half-assed apology to friends and acquaintances who adore their college hoops.  Go on about your madness while I write stupid comments that are funny only to me and the 3 or 4 other people in this state who should also live in my commune.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Drowning in a sea of Girl Scout cookies

Even though I had a rough start getting going as N's troop leader due to this, it seems that we are now in a nice little routine and enjoying ourselves (except when this happens).  The girls are earning as many patches as they can legitimately earn in order to make up for the dearth of patches they earned the past 2 years.  I am planning for them to have a little "Art Gallery" of their paintings (for their painting patch work) and do a small ceremony whereby my co-leader and I bestow on them their great abundance of patches since they have never had any kind of ceremonial anything before.  I thought it would be nice for moms/dads/siblings/grandparents to come.

The only downside to this troop leader business is......
the 200-odd Girl Scout cookie boxes sitting in my dining room.  

Now some people might look at this "problem" as a godsend.  How is it possible, Carrie, that you are totally PMSing and not eating a box an hour?  Having just eaten 2 highly unsatisfying bowls of Rice Krispies in an attempt to not eat anything chocolate should give a clear indication of just how amazing my willpower is.  

We originally thought the former troop leader's daughter was going to remain involved in the troop, but she never came back so that messed with our numbers a bit.  And then last weekend there was a basketball game going on when we were selling at a cookie booth, and basketball trumps everything, evidently.  (I need to find a country that doesn't go bananas over sports and move there.)

So N and I went out and about into the neighborhood tonight, with Girl Scout cookies in the wagon for pete's sake.  Because who can resist Girl Scout cookies when they are sitting right there at your feet, begging to be taken inside your home and devoured?

Yes...................Actually, no. A better game than Flip the Poops.

My kids love to play this game.  They play it when they are distracted by the television, as well as when I am directly in their grills.

There are many variations of it, but all variations end up with me gnashing my teeth, unable to undo what has been done as a result of the "yes" response during the game's play.

Some of the most played variations in our home are:

Me:  "Do you want me to cut your grilled cheese?"
Kid:  "Yes.........."
Me:  Cuts the grilled cheese into squares.
Kid:  "Actually, no."

Me: "Do you want milk in your cereal?"
Kid: "Yes.........."
Me: Pours milk in the cereal.
Kid:  "Actually, no."

Me: "Do you want butter on your bread?"
Kid: "Yes........."
Me: Spreads butter on the bread.
Kid: "Actually, no."  

Me: "Do you want me to peel your banana?"
Kid: "Yes......"
Me: Peels the banana.
Kid: "Actually, no."

This game is played multiple times a day in our house, by all the kids.  When I lose, and I always lose, a tantrum ensues if I am playing against G or M.  N just gives me "The Look."  

Sometimes I try to win by asking the question twice.  Never works.  I still lose. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Quirks in the family

Everyone has quirks, but it is funny now that I have my own family to see their quirky behaviors.

I have listed some of mine I won't wear chinos, I mismatch my pajamas even if I purchase them as a matching set, and one of the best small joys in life is taking the first spoonful in a new jar of Jif peanut butter.

This weekend D and I painted N's new big-girl, all-by-herself bedroom a pretty shade of purple.  Seeing him unscrew the outlet covers reminded me of one of his quirks:  all the screws in all the outlet covers and light switches in the entire house have to be vertical....perfectly vertical.

G has to sit in the crack between the couch cushions in this one particular part of the couch.  Who the heck likes sitting in the crack???

N has never liked the sound of flushing toilets.   When she was little she would cover her ears with both hands.  Now she simply refuses to flush (gross).

I think M may be a little too young to have established quirks.  Plus he doesn't have an original idea in his head since all he does is imitate the other two.

Friday, March 9, 2012

How children are like tornadoes

As spring approaches these parts, and with recent tornadoes nearby doing some serious destruction, it occurred to me this evening, which is a repeat of Wednesday evening (though tonight N flipped out because her iPod shuffle's earbuds kept falling out of her ears and G flipped out because he wanted more cheese on his pizza slice, that children are very much like tornadoes.

Their violence, loudness, tantrums truly don't last long.  But it feels like forever.  Afterwards you are exhausted, as if your body and emotions have been slammed by drywall and steel beams.  You are spent...wondering how you are going to go on.  How you are going to face tomorrow when the fallout from this one lay all around you in shreds?  When you know that tomorrow another whirling wind of screaming and crying and flailing on the floor  could blow through because the weather where you live (with children in your home) is unstable.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Queen of TMI

There are two things I won't talk about.  One is the reason I painted my bathrooms poop brown (although my MIL knows why, and she and I have discussed it).

Another is a memory from childhood.

There are some things I am not allowed to talk about on this blog, per my husband.  He got peevish after I posted about something dumb he did.  I abide by his wishes, but I still talk about him with my momma and all my friends.

Beyond that, everything else is pretty much fair game.  With anyone.

The ladies I work out with twice a week often blanch whenever I get going.  I think the last time they gave me the "TMI" look was when I talked about how G had a recent foreskin infection and how I told him he needs to go to the bathroom with Pa (this summer when my whole family is on vacation together) so he can see how another uncut dude looks.  It is hard to explain to G that his parts look just like daddy's parts except daddy's parts aren't covered with skin like G's and M's are.  I don't think he quite gets it.

Part of this openness about most everything is just my personality.

Part of this is that I haven't gone to the bathroom without an audience in 8 years.  There is no keeping private parts private when one has no privacy.

Part of this is that I have been told numerous times that my honesty is one of the best things about me....that people feel much more normal after hearing my stories or reading my blog.  I think they have meant this in a complimentary way, although as I typed it, it did dawn on me that perhaps they mean that my nuttiness and uncouth ramblings make them feel stellar in comparison.


I'm not squeamish, and I never have been.  It takes far too much energy for me to consider propriety.
I would have made a horrible Victorian.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I don't embarrass easily.  If you saw how I look when I walk out of my house most days, you would know this to be true.  And my kids normally don't embarrass me.  Normally.

Tonight was an exception to this general rule.  N decided to lose her mind at the Girl Scout meeting.  The troop is working on its Painting patch, and the girls were painting a "mood."  I should have known this wouldn't go down well.  N was originally painting a happy mood, but for whatever reason she decided she disliked her painting.  (I think she started mixing colors and realized too late that mixing too many colors ends up a dull shade of brown.)

By the end of the meeting, she was sobbing, head in her arms, demanding that I allow her to do another painting RIGHT NOW!  (I had told her she could do another painting but not right then because we were wrapping up the meeting.)

On the way out of the building where the troop meets, she started saying, "I HATE Girl Scouts!"  Now this embarrassed me because I'm the troop leader, and it looks pretty shitty for the troop leader's daughter to be carrying on like this.  It was all I could do to not throw that girl down on the ground and beat her ass.

It is hard for me when she acts like this, which isn't often thankfully, because she is the child who usually stays calm and can be semi-logical.  By no means do I think of her as an adult or even a little adult, but I do expect her to not carry on like a 4-year-old.  To not act like her brothers.

When we returned home, I did the dishes and had D work with N on her homework because I'd had quite enough of her by that point.  Of course, at bedtime G decided to start his usual tantrums.  It is aggravating at the best of times, but tonight I had not a single fleck of patience left in me.  My reserves were, and are, all used up.

Tonight was one of those nights when I felt like I could have walked out the door and started driving to g*d knows where and said, "The hell with all of 'em."  Tonight is one of those nights when I remember my own mother taking off for a long walk, leaving me and my brother with dad because we had pushed, and pushed and pushed.

I get it now.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm with Garfield

70 degrees and tornadoes on Friday.
Snow on Monday.
60 degrees on Tuesday.
Which is why I'm with Garfield.

Our snowman was doing the limbo today.  Or he is just one laid.back.dude.

In g*d's time and in g*d's way

Today while painting my master bathroom poop brown (I think the technical name is "fudge," but poop brown gets a much better response from the 4-year-old), I was thinking about g*d, tornadoes, how I parent, and how I don't fall into the category of secular humanist.  And strangely, they were all connected within one somewhat meandering line of thought.

I had a thought recently that it seems like moms I read about who tend to be more religious-minded also tend to have more strict beliefs about their parenting.  Maybe the two necessarily go hand-in-hand....I don't know.  Generally, though, it seems to me that they are less granola, less attachment-style mothers (which is how I would characterize myself).

What I find interesting is that while I wouldn't be surprised to hear something like, "It will happen in g*d's own time," from them (perhaps if they wanted something to happen in their lives), I would be surprised if any of them had this same sentiment about when their children do things, such as giving up thumb-sucking or weaning from nursing or potty-training, as in "It will happen in Bobby's own time" or " Sally's own time."

My own perception is that they seem to believe that their timeline is the "right" one and the child has to fall in line with this.  And it occurred to me that this is a similar view of their belief about g*d---that g*d's timeline is the "right" one and they have to go along with it.

(And, by the way, I am not making a judgment about this.  Only a statement about what I perceive.  I feel like I need to specifically clarify this for anyone who might read this with an uncritical eye.)

Anyway, in the midst of this thinking it reaffirmed to me that I am more a mom who wants my kids to go at their pace, to do things when they are ready.  A large part of this is laziness...because I'm not going to fight battles that I cannot win and that really aren't that important anyway.  I'm not going to make any more work for myself than absolutely necessary.  Another part of this is that even if I think something or prefer something, I don't necessarily know if it is "right."  It may be right for me and the things I have going on, but that doesn't mean it is right for my kids' timeline.

And this may be why the whole religious, g*d stuff isn't appealing to me.  Because if I don't know what the heck I am doing, and I am in g*d's image, then maybe he/she/it doesn't know what he/she/it is doing. I don't like g*d thinking he/she/it knows what is right in every single situation, and I have to tow the line.  I am a rotten, tantrum-like toddler in this respect.

Generally, whenever I have thought to try and label myself and my beliefs I have tended toward the idea of secular humanist.  But the truth is I do believe there is something greater than myself, greater than any individual human.  I just don't like to give it any form of human characteristics because....well, has anyone ever heard of Rush Limbaugh?  Is he in g*d's image?  Or perhaps the thing greater than me IS humanity when it is working collaboratively, peacefully, kindly for the greater good.

And all of this line of thinking brought me to the tornadoes in Indiana, the destruction, the loss of life.  I read about the victims who lost loved ones, homes, everything they owned and who say, "G*d will see me through this."  And I wonder if they aren't lifted up by the kindness of others who have been sending much-needed items and helping go through debris and sending kind messages via Facebook and newspaper?  Is that what g*d really is?

All of this while slapping paint on walls.

Friday, March 2, 2012

8 years of goodness

My dear N,

Last weekend we began celebrating your 8th birthday.  Our family doesn't do huge birthday blowouts, but we make up for that by extending the partying in little snippets for days on end.   Tomorrow will be your final 8th birthday celebration with a couple of your girl friends.

Every year when I write your birthday note, I look back at photographs of you from when you were an infant, a toddler, a preschooler, a kindergartener, and every year it feels ever more that I am seeing someone I don't remember.  Those days have slipped past in a blur of busyness.

My heart yearns for the times when you were smaller, when I could plop your entire self in my lap, when you weren't up to my clavicle in height.  And yet my heart yearns to know more of you as you are now and as you will become throughout the coming years.

When I was a girl, (like most kids do) I often didn't feel that my parents loved me.  They didn't show love as affectionately as what I felt I needed at the time (or perhaps they just didn't give into my every whim).

Now as your momma, I worry that I am the same way, that I come across as too critical, too naggy, too grouchy.  If you like you can blame your little brothers since they do take whatever stores of patience I may have with your name expressly written upon them and use them up before a quarter of the day is through.

But you should also know that I am so, so glad you, of all girls in this world, are my daughter.  That I always adore you, even when we are fighting about doing your homework or practicing piano.  That you were the key that first unlocked doors of my heart I didn't know existed and began filling them up with love.

My love always, dear girl.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A business-related pet peeve

I have a serious problem with business names.  Not every business name but the ones that either try to be "novel" or ones that don't try to be novel enough.

There is a hair salon sign I notice that is spelled EclipZ.  And every time I see it in my head I say, "E-clip-Z.  E-clip-Z....what does that even mean????"  But it is meant to be read as "Eclipse" because the sign also shows a crescent moon.  So I totally get the hair salon connection to "clip," but the rest of it sucks.

Another sign I noticed was "Quala Care," and it was a daycare center.  What sent me over the edge was not the spelling but the picture of a KOALA to the left of the words.  So I don't know if this daycare is meant to be a QUALITY daycare and so did a little funny thing with the "qual" or if it is a KOALA daycare whose owner has no fucking idea how to spell.  Suffice it to say, if I was in the market for a daycare center, this place would not be on my list.  Ever.

Every day on the way to pick up N after school, I pass another daycare called 'Drop a Tot."  I don't think I even need to discuss how poorly named this place is.  CPS should shut it down.

Even though these places are poorly named (or spelled or whatever), I do have to give them credit for trying to be original.  Unlike lots of other businesses, like Dick & Jane's Reading Nook, and Bert & Ernie's Puppet Shop, and Turner & Hooch's Animal Training Center.

Now I can mark this off my in-car list I keep of things that drive me nuts.

Was I gifted? Are they gifted?

I admit to knowing squat about giftedness in students.  My friend K (whose own daughter is gifted) has been reading about it and suggested a book called Emotional Intensity in the Gifted Student.  She seems to think part of my children's high-strung natures (G) and emotional sensitivities (N) could be because they are gifted...not because they are raging maniacs, which is generally my go-to diagnosis.

Given my lack of knowledge, I can't begin to answer whether my kids are gifted.  I think they are bright...perhaps smart, but is that the same as giftedness?  In my head, I guess it is.   And it makes me wonder whether I was "gifted?"  And my answer to this is, "I don't know."

When I read about the characteristics of gifted children, I can see that my children have some of the attributes, but none of them are the kinds of kids that knock you over the head with their awesomeness.

And I certainly don't think of myself as ever having been that way.  Ok, well maybe I was awesomely weird, at least in elementary school.  Awesomely made fun of.  Awesomely unhappy.  

I would certainly agree that I had emotional traits of a gifted child:  anxiety, feelings of guilt, perfectionism, wild mood swings.  Still do.

And perhaps it could be argued that I had intellectual characteristics, such as a deep love of learning in general (hell, I'd still be in college if I hadn't had to grow up and all that other anti-Peter Pan stuff), ability to concentrate deeply and retain information.  Often pointless information, but hey.....

I would imagine D was gifted as a child.  He had that Bill Gates-like obsession with computers.  Super, duper, uper shy and reserved, which he still is to this day.

So maybe K is right.  Maybe what I see as my kids' insanity is that my kids are gifted.

Which means that my kids will likely be the kinds of kids I didn't like teaching in the classroom.

This should make for some interesting blogging as time goes on.