Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Small at Play

I was at my computer today, attempting to get some work done, and my Small One was playing with her little people behind me. She just got a new minivan for the little people, and it's all very exciting. I suddenly tuned into what she was saying in time to hear the following conversation:

(and yes, my 2 year old does use different voices for the different characters in her games)

Voice 1: You need a get out a there!

Voice 2: No, I not need a get out a here, I just a little baby!

Voice 1: No, you not a little baby, you a CAMEL. You get out a there!

Voice 2: Noooo, I not a camel, I a little baby!

You realize, I had to turn around and check this out. What was happening is that a camel from the Noah's Ark set had somehow gotten into the back seat of the minivan, and the dad of the family was trying to make the VERY reasonable point that it was sitting in the baby's seat. They argued back and forth about this a few more times, and finally, the camel was defeated.

"You're right," he said sadly, "I a camel."

To the little dad's credit he said "Oh, it's ok."

So, that was kind of him, I think.

Another random act of kindness has been happening today... I have a Nativity set that is a prized possession of mine, not because it's valuable, or even particularly decorative, but because it was handed down to me from my mother. It's the Nativity set I remember from my childhood, and that "baby Jesus" will always be the official baby Jesus replica to me.

This year, because my Small One has gotten over her phase of putting everything in her mouth, I risked putting the Nativity on the coffee table where she could have access. She's utterly delighted by this and has spent hours today recreating the Bethlehem scene, sometimes adding her own touches, like bringing a giant pink pig for a visit. But the most remarkable thing to me is this: she can't STAND that the baby is in a manger. Because let's face it, a manger is not a comfortable place.

She went through her toys and found a little crib. "Baby Jesus need a sleep in his OWN bed!" she announced. The giant pig agreed wholeheartedly. The engineer from the train set held the baby Jesus and gave him kisses. All in all, a lovely scene.

I'm hoping not to be such a slacker in 2009, and I'm also hoping to get a few blogs in over the holiday weekend, but in case I don't say it, I hope you all have a blessed and happy holiday season, and a peaceful Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sad Moment in a Jolly Season

Just thought it fitting to let you all know of the passing of a small adventurer.

Yes, Sputnik the hamster died last week. Ironically, he died a peaceful death in the still of the night- alive at bedtime, passed on before breakfast. After a lifetime of escaping the confines of his little home for the perils of cats and dog and toddlers and electrical cords (which he considered a delicacy), he apparently died of natural causes. We're thinking old age, because he was huge when we got him, and never got any bigger, so we're thinking he may have been long in the tooth even then. And of course, hard living can age a guy.

RIP, little Sputnik, you will be missed.

But not replaced. And not because you could never be replaced in our hearts...no, just because I'll be dipped and fried before I'll have another rodent in the house.

Stay tuned, as the Oldest lobbies for a hedgehog. (I WISH I were making that up.)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Almost a month!

Is it sadder that I've neglected this blog for almost a month, or sadder that I have unfinished blog entries waiting for me to post them?

My problem has been multifaceted. I find myself bogged down by things that I'm not sure how to handle, and certainly not with humor. This lack of humor obviously impedes my creative process, because I promise you all do NOT want to know the thoughts going through my head these days. My inspiration is low. In addition, my household of crazies is keeping me ultra busy these days, and there are very few moments in the day for me to think, much less create.

How am I having the time to blog right now? Ah, for that I must credit a beautiful thing called Yo Gabba Gabba, a kids' show starring these guys:

Now, some of the music is admittedly a little irritating, but the messages are good, (share, keep your hands to yourself, try new foods, clean up after yourself) and while the orange guy looks a little disturbing to me, my Small One is enthralled. We rented a dvd from Netflix, and 100 times a day she says to me, urgency in her voice, "I NEED to watch Yo Gabba Gabba".

For the record, I do NOT let her watch it as many times as she thinks she needs to, but tonight, we've had a huge amount of quality time, so I'm not feeling too guilty about sitting behind her using the laptop while she sings and dances with these weird looking dudes.

The reason for all the quality time? Christmas tree time! Whee! Yes, another holiday ritual through which I DRAG my surly teenagers, forcing cheerfulness all the way! Sing it with me- "It's the holiday season, so whoop dee doo!" Every Christmas, I plan a decorating night, with tree decorating, cookie baking, Christmas related crafts, snacks and treats, friends invited- the works. Every year, the teenagers act like I'm torturing them, but secretly, they enjoy it. (Yes, they do. Shut up.)

Here is proof they actually enjoyed it last year:

This year, we didn't take pictures. But THIS year, there's something new! This year is the first year my Small One understands what's going on!!! How cool is that? Last night her dad brought the tree in while she slept, so she awoke this morning to a pine tree in the living room. She SQUEALED, and when I came in a found her standing, openmouthed but smiling, in front of it. When she saw me, she turned and said "That's MY Christmas tree!" Tonight, of course, she spent much of the time either dismantling ornaments or lying under the tree in a trance, looking at the lights, but hey, at least she's into the spirit of the thing.

We've been working on the concept of Christmas. Santa Claus is an easy one, she visited him last year and there are pictures she likes to talk about with us. The deeper meanings are trickier for a two year old, but we've been working on learning about baby Jesus, and that seems to please her. She likes to point out baby Jesus in any nativity scene she sees. I've been feeling pretty good about this, until she pulled this guy out of the ornament box tonight:

Yes, most of you will recognize that guy- he's Yukon Cornelius, from the Rankin Bass version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. But Small One, she doesn't know Rudolph, much less Yukon Cornelius. She picked the little guy up out of the box, hugged him, then got really excited and held him up for us to see.

"Look!" she said, gleefully, "It's Baby Jesus!"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


My Small One is generally a pretty amusing creature. Pleasant. Entertaining. Mostly cooperative. I really enjoy her, most days.

THIS day? Not so much. "NEED! NEED! NEED!" has been the rallying cry of the day. The child has been insane. In the membrane.

Oh, she's had sparkling moments of being her own sweet self, like when she stood in front of her daddy's closet imitating me as I cleaned out my closet, or when she "helped clean" the bathroom by polishing the sink with a paper towel while I scrubbed the toilet.

Actually, my favorite moment of the day was when she enforced sharing for the pets... I asked her to set a dish of egg yolks down for the cat, but she decided she needed to make him share with the dog. ("NEED SHARE, KITTY!") She'd hold the dish in front of the cat for a minute or two, then yell at him to share, and hold it in front of the dog for a minute or two before yelling at HIM to share and giving it back to the cat. It was pretty funny, I must admit.

And my other favorite moment just happened. The Man is home now, so he's taking a shift with the insane toddler, and I could hear her yelling at him in the kitchen. "NEED NEED NEED, DADDY! (Unintelligible toddler babble, babble, babble, babble) NO-NO, DADDY! NEED DAT!" but then she came running back to my room, where I've holed up with the laptop. She ran to me, lay her head on my knee, smiled and said "Hi, Mommy! How YOU, Mommy?" Who could help but smile back at her? She's a mess, for sure.

Back to the egg yolks, though... my LEAST favorite part of the day was the moment that created the dish of egg yolks in the first place, an incident that I like to call "Egg Apocalypse 2008". I accidentally left the carton of eggs on the counter when I went to do a run of laundry, and the Small One pulled the whole carton down onto the floor! To make matters worse, since I was in the back of the house gathering laundry, she managed to walk all over the place looking for me, dripping eggy goo all the way. AAARRRGGGHH!!!!

Well, I'll say this much for her- she was upset about it. Deeply troubled by the mess, and the waste of the eggs- which is new for me, because Oldest at that age would have been downright gleeful, and Middle Child wouldn't have troubled herself to try and reach the eggs. When I was cleaning her off, I asked my Small person why she made such a mess, and she said, through tears...

"NEED NEED NEED cheese eggs, Mommy!"

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lax to the Max

Yeah, so I don't blog too often these days! It's not my fault, I can't help it, life moves too fast for me. ;o)

Small One was, in fact, a very aggressive trick or treat-er, commanding us to "go that way!" right before she took off in whatever direction at a dead run, sometimes saying trick or treat, sometimes telling people her name, sometimes just asking for candy. Usually said "thank you", though, so it's all good.

I meant to blog over Halloween weekend, actually, because I got super excited that my friend Kat is doing giveaways every weekend for 10 weeks:

And she started it off with giving away all sorts of "Wicked" related goodies! Wowza! My Middle Child would give her left arm (well, maybe not-thanks Lilly) for Wicked tickets, and perhaps a lesser body part for other "Wicked" paraphernalia. Must...win...giveaway...save...MC's...body parts...

But, I got distracted. Because I was trying to get ready for a big surprise for my mom's birthday.

Then, of course, the election was upon us. Despite the hype, I was in and out of the polling place in about 3 minutes. Took the Small One with me, and she was charming and well behaved, but we were in there JUST long enough to have a run in with an obnoxious mama... you know the type, probably it was her first baby, and truly, the ONLY baby ever worth having, certainly the best one to grace THIS planet, not to be touched or viewed by other, lesser humans. She really should keep it home, is all I'm saying.

Here's what happened. We were waved over to the table where high maintenance mama and her precious offspring were signing in, (I'll call them HMM and PO from here on out) and my Small said "Ooh! A baby!". Didn't make a move TOWARDS the baby, stood about 2 feet away, holding her own baby doll with both hands. Then when we went to the voting booth, we walked down to the one next to HMM and PO. The woman turned to me with PANIC on her face, and said "I don't want your child touching my baby!!!!!!", pronouncing the word "child" as though she meant "disgusting street urchin" or maybe "poisonous snake". I said "Oh, don't worry, she won't touch her." (Again, Small is standing 2 feet away from the carriage, which is one of those that's pretty high off the ground ANYWAY, and also again, she's holding a babydoll in both hands. Not even considering touching little PO.)

HMM goes into full freak-out mode. Flaps her arms a la Wallace and Gromit. Says, in a DESPERATE tone, "I would move away from your booth, but I've already started voting!!!!!!" I said "Oh WHATEVER, Lady! I'll move. Come on, Small, this Lady doesn't want you to touch her baaaabbbbeeeee." Yes, I was sarcastic. But I moved. After I sneezed on her baby. Was that wrong? Actually, I didn't sneeze on her, but I hope SOMEONE did, because what I really wanted to do was lick her.

After we voted, we hit the road! Whee! For the second year in a row, we drove 6 hours to pop in on my mom for her birthday. Next year, we can't possibly pull the same trick, because it'll hardly be a surprise if we keep doing it every year! "Yawn... when are Amy and Small One showing up for my surprise birthday party?"

But, readers, you'd have been proud of me. I got all crazy domestic before the trip. I made lasagna and chocolate chip cookies- two batches! One to leave here to feed the folks staying home, one to take with us so we didn't have to say "Surprise!!! Feed us!!!" And these weren't ordinary cookies either, folks... no, these were Jessica Seinfeld Cookies, complete with super sneaky vegetables in them. (They were chick peas, and no, you can't tell they're even in there.) I made a double batch of Jessica Seinfeld's mac & cheese, too! I made turkey meatballs. I brought fruit and vegetables. I was so super organized, I didn't even recognize me.

My mother was surprised, the visit was relaxing, movies were watched, games were played, no one spent too much time in the kitchen, we even squeezed in a trip to the beach. Small One was well behaved and stuck beautifully to her regular schedule... the only downer on the trip is that she seems to have caught a cold. Probably from that germy little election day baby.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat Conversation

So, my Small One is two years old, which means this is the first Halloween she understands in any way, shape, or form, despite this being her third Halloween, technically. Last year, she was Tinkerbell, to her father's Peter Pan:
Her sister, my Middle Child, was Poison Ivy- a fairly menacing villain-ess for a rather small and frightened looking canine Batman:We went to a Halloween party in the park, with the homeschool group, and then the big kids were released to do their own thing. This year, though, has been more of a production. We did the previously mentioned fall festival and pumpkin patch, went to the same Halloween party as last year, (only this year, Small One won "runner up" in the costume contest!), and tonight, Small's sister has agreed to take her trick or treating.

That being the case, I decided I should clue her into the finer points of trick or treating, which led me to the following conversation:

Me: Tonight you're going trick or treating!

Small: Yeah!

Me: So...you'll go up to people's doors, knock on the door, and when they open it, you'll say "trick or treat!". Ok?

Small: Yeah!

Me: So, you'll knock on the door...(Small One nods her head enthusiastically)... and they'll open the door, and what will you say?

Small: Open the door!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: No. You'll say "trick or treat!"

Small: Trick or treat!!!!!!!

Me: Yeah! And then people will give you candy!

Small: I like candy.

She has this new thing. When she likes something, she tells people that she likes it, in a very serious, somewhat quiet voice, while leaning forward. It's very reminiscent of Senate hearings, actually. Ma'am, could you speak up, please?

(taps mike) "I like candy."

We practiced a few more times. Sometimes she tells me that when people open the door she'll say "Trick or treat!", but sometimes she says she's going to tell them her name, or that she's a girl. So, we'll see how it goes tonight, I guess.

Keep your fingers crossed! And by the way, Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Fish, Some Pumpkins, A Goat and a Veteran

My mission this weekend: family fun time! Whee! It's been a challenging month, to say the least, but the holiday season is upon us, and I was determined to spend some quality time ushering it in with my children.

Friday night was the fall festival at our church. Having fallen in love with a particular costume last year, I've had an ebay search going for it ever since, and finally scored it, JUST in the nick of time, as it arrived an hour before we had to leave. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...

My Fishy! Ta dah!Off we went, my fishy, my kitty-cat, the Man and I. Lots of fun...

And the only crazy was the good kind of crazy:

Moving on to today... I really wanted to visit a pumpkin patch. Not one of those "bunch of pumpkins on the lawn of a church" cheaty pumpkin patches, but a real honest to goodness place where pumpkins GREW, where I could show my Small One some pumpkins on the vine, let her breathe fresh country air, and maybe pet a goat. We traveled to Yule Forest, south of town, and found all that and more.

All three kids had a great time...

Small One got to see animals she'd never seen in real life,

Middle Child got to take a zillion photographs,

(many of herself, which was even more important than usual to her today because she got a new "do" this weekend), we got to go on a completely surreal hayride, with no hay, but many many wooden cutouts painted as Disney characters, wild animals, and even the Sidney Opera House. How bizarre is that?

There were even reptiles.

The best part was when this goat:

decided he loved my Oldest.

He tried to climb the fence!

I was afraid he might want to come home with us. Apparently, Oldest is a really good ear scratcher!

Anyway, a good time was had by all, and it was not until after we left that I realized, we did NOT show Small One a pumpkin on the vine. Oopsie.

On the way home, we had a different kind of adventure, because what day in the country would be complete without some local color? We stopped for boiled peanuts, which seemed a simple enough errand. The man selling the peanuts was probably in his 70s or 80s, and only had one tooth. I'm really not even making that up, he had ONE tooth. It was on the bottom, on the right, and it didn't seem to be in such good shape.

How do I recall so clearly his one tooth? Well, that would be because he stood right at my window and talked to us. For twenty minutes. He told us about his time in Korea, his service in World War Two. He was a chaplain, and also a pilot? He showed us his scar from the bullet he took in his leg. He talked about September 11th. He showed us commemorative medals. Then he moved on and talked about his faith. He told us that his daughter had been healed of cancer, that his other daughter had a melanoma and they were praying for it to be healed... oddly enough, after he told us a story, he'd say "Is that ok with you?"

Example: "I took this bullet in my leg, and they almost killed me 2 other times, but I survived. Is that ok with you?" or "My daughter's completely cancer-free. Is that ok with you?"

It was strange. It was long. His tooth was disconcerting. But the Man and I both felt that it was understood- you just don't interrupt a veteran of two wars while he's telling you his life story, even if your toddler is in the back seat yelling "Come on! Go bye bye car!" But as we finally collected our peanuts and drove away, the Man voiced what I think we'd both been wondering...

"If you only have one tooth, how much good could that one tooth possibly be doing you?"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Moments that make it all OK

Well, I wish I could say that my funk has lifted, the clouds have parted, angels are smiling down on me as they sing, and my creative juices are once again flowing, but alas, such is not the case. I'm hopeful, which is a step up from where I have been, but I haven't quite gotten my groove back.

(I'm sorry sir, you've thrown off the emperor's groove.)

Anyhoo, I did want to share a few moments of my life that have made me smile of late... all related to my Small One.

First of all, her Daddy has been getting her to go to bed, of late, by playing a baby bird game. "Ooooh, my little baby bird," he croons, as he spirits her off the the crib, "it's time to lie in your soft little next and go night-night." She eats this up. She chirps softly and flaps her tiny baby bird wings, and coos at him. (Until he walks away from the crib, and then she's not as charmingly sweet, but I digress.)

So yesterday, she decided to play Baby Bird all afternoon. This was very cute, as she flapped and flew and chirped all over the house, but the down side was, I was only allowed to REFER to her as "Baby Bird". I would say "Are you hungry?" and she would say "NO, Mommy, Baby BIRD hungry!" and I would have to say "Oh, little Baby Bird, are you hungry?" and then she'd nod and chirp and say "Baby Bird HUNGRY!" and then eat. A similar conversation ensued when I asked about going potty, being finished, playing puzzles... everything. Baby birds, not surprisingly, like to do many of the same things two year old humans enjoy.

Last night I took her with me when I went to pick MC up from a school event. Small One never even got out of the car, but halfway home she said "Thank you, Mommy!" and when I asked her why she was thanking me she said "Go bye bye, ride car." Awww, she's thanking me for dragging her along while I cater to her older siblings- the very thing about which I carry crushing mommy guilt. Isn't that something? I was very touched.

Today was more hectic, and less touching. I had a REALLY hard time getting her out of the house today, I kept trying to get her to come with me, I had my hands very full of things I had to take along, and she just kept staring at me with a blank look. After I'd deposited all the things I was carrying into the car, and come back with the intent of picking her up and toting her if necessary, I gave logic one more try. "Your playgroup," I said, "has already started. If you do not come right now, you will NOT get to see ANY of your friends." She smiled at me, a sort of "why didn't you say so" smile, and said "O-tay".

By the time we got home, after we'd been to two completely opposing sides of this vast town, she was overtired. She was shrieking at the slightest provocation, and arguing with the dog about whether or not she was allowed to ride him.

THIS dog:

His vote was "NO." and I sided with him on that.

I finally got her wrestled ALMOST to sleep, and as she was dozing off, her eyes POPPED open, and she sang a full verse of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", then cheered for herself, and zonked immediately out. I mean, from clapping to snoring in less than 5 seconds!

She is the most fun I could legally have, I think.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Why are there no songs about Nebraska?

Or maybe I just don't know any...yet.

So, I haven't blogged in a long time, mainly because difficulties with my Middle Child have rendered me virtually humorless and without creative spark. But in the middle of all of this chaos, my sister in law sent me an article concerning a rather poorly worded law in Nebraska that has brought some unexpected problems.

In case you don't feel like following the link, I'll try to sum up. Many states have "safe haven" laws, where people can drop babies off at hospitals and not face repercussions. These laws are, of course, designed to keep people from dropping infants in dumpsters or ravines or what have you... but Nebraska's law is imprecise, and does not indicate an upper age of children that can be dropped. Consequently, people have taken to dumping their bigger children, with one man dropping off NINE children, because he didn't know how to handle them after his wife died. Another man crossed state lines to dump his 14 year old daughter.

Now before you go rushing to judgment on these parents, I urge you, spend a week with a 14 year old girl and THEN tell me you're not up for a Nebraska road trip. Or if you don't have a handy 14 year old girl, consider this anecdote, regarding a friend of a friend:

This lady I know has an absolutely beautiful, previously quite sweet 14 year old daughter. Lately, though, the girl has been belligerent and hostile, defiant and angry. She's currently grounded for bad behavior and bad grades, but the other night when she couldn't reach her mother on the phone as quickly as she liked to ask about an exception to the restriction, she just took it upon herself to decide she was off the hook and could sleep over at a friend's house. When her mother interfered with her plans, she became hysterical, crying and screaming and threatening her mother physically, saying she'd stab her in her sleep. Yikes!

The mother is divorced, but her ex lives quite nearby for the sake of helping with the kids, (although this is not really his strong suit, and she has to be pretty desperate to ask for his help), became really upset and frightened, and called her ex to come help. When the dad arrived, the girl became even MORE irrational, and took off running down a busy road, late at night, weaving in and out of traffic, with her father in hot pursuit. When he finally caught up to her, she was curled in a ball in a a ditch, sobbing. Drama much?

The mother picked her daughter up from school today, and took her out for coffee, to discuss what happened. (I'm pretty sure she was following the theory that teens are much less likely to cause a gigantic scene in public.) When she got to the part about her daughter threatening to kill her while she slept, the girl stopped her. "I never said that!" she said. Her mother assured her that yes, she did indeed say that, and the girl was all innocence, claiming no memory of it, but then started laughing, as though it was the funniest thing she'd heard all day, that her mother had gotten it SO WRONG.

"No," she patiently explained, "I said I would STAB you in your sleep."

Ahhh! Yes, of course, now it's all ok.

This story made me smile, I'm embarrassed to admit, but I promise the smile was one of empathy and understanding, with only a small dash of "Whew! Someone else's kid was worse than my kid today! Hooray!" thrown in for good measure.

Maybe I should give that mom a call, offer her a listening ear. Maybe she'd like to split the cost of a drive to Nebraska.

I had to come back and edit to add... I DID find a song called Nebraska!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The More Things Change...

Tonight was the Homecoming dance. Oldest and his girlfriend are such ubercool seniors that they opted out, of course, but Middle Child was ALL OVER IT. She was on the planning committee. She was at the school at 10am today to decorate the gym. She cleaned her room.

She had three separate invitations from boys, and it was a bit of a dilemma for her, because while she liked all three boys, she didn't LIKE-like any of them, so whomever the pick might have been, they'd have been going "just as friends". This sort of arrangement, it is comforting to know, has not changed in the years since I was 14. Her two good friends, though, did not get invited, and were considering not going. In the end, the boy who was the front runner was grounded, and thus MC made up her mind that it would be WAY more fun to go as a group of girls, because if you're going to go as friends, you might as well go with your girlfriends, because that's who you'd be ditching your date to hang out with anyway. Wise choice, in my humble opinion.

It was decided that they would meet at one girl's house to get ready, and another girl's mom would drive every0ne home, so off we went, after I spent quite a while curling MC's hair.

The hair:
I have an odd situation going on with the parents of my children's peers. I'm typically about 10 years younger than the parents of my two older children's friends, and about 10 years older than the parents of the Small One's classmates. I guess my timing's always been off.

In any event, my "young mom" status got me ushered into the inner sanctum of MC's friend's room. It was funny to me. The music playing was Indigo Girls and Madonna, the girls were helping each other get ready, chatting and giggling and dancing, touching up make-up, trying out hairstyles and attitudes...

They were beautiful and young, insecure and giddy, gossipy and excited, protective and complimentary of one another. It could have been me in 9th grade, with April and Alisa, or a few years later with Dawn and Andrea, or a few years later still, with Abbi and Courtney. The music was the same, the conversation was eerily similar, there were fingerless gloves involved, for crying out loud! It was all somewhat comforting, actually, to see how little has changed since I was their age.

(Except the dresses! Wowie wow. How'd my little girl get so OLD all of a sudden?)

Friday, September 26, 2008

You Can't Stop the Music

So, no, the day didn't start out particularly different than any other day... I asked the Man to convey to our Middle Child that I did not wish for her to stay after school, and when I asked him about it later, he said she'd told him she HAD to, she had a student council meeting. This seemed odd to me, given that she'd stayed after for a student council meeting yesterday, so I called the school.

Two guesses. You're right! There was, indeed, no student council meeting. Hmm... so I called the OTHER part of the school, and asked them to send my daughter a note that read "No student council meeting, take school bus home". I mentioned to them that the word "school" was very important, because MC is big on semantics, and could easily interpret "bus" to mean "public transit" and then wander in God knows when, feigning innocence, and I just didn't want to have to hassle with it.

And then I was off...slightly delayed by all this dealing with the high school...to a meeting about a job. My dear friend Kim, (of "4 Chambers of My Heart" fame), had graciously agreed to watch my Small One, so I basically threw the child at her as I dashed back out the door, and she invited me to stay longer on the return trip, and have lunch. This is where the day took a few rather odd turns.

For one thing, I got a call from the high school. They'd tried to deliver the message, you see, but failed, because my child wasn't in class. What?!? The lady was pretty blase about it, considering it was basically their turn to watch the girl, and they weren't doing such a hot job. She assured me that she'd look into it further and call me back. I took a deep breath (or several), went to the meeting, returned to Kim's house to pick up Small One and have lunch.

Over lunch, Kim made reference to the fact that I seemed pretty unconcerned for a mom whose daughter was MIA, and I explained that I was going to wait for the school to call me, and then go to the school if she'd not been found. But as I was explaining this, my phone began to ring, and at the same time I noticed that TWO HOURS had passed since MC had not been in class, with no word from the school. I snatched up the phone and ran out the front door, to better hear the other party without 5 children in the same space.

It wasn't the school, it was my Oldest, and as I was wrapping up my conversation with him, I noticed a car pulling up to the curb. A bald African American man, probably in his late 50s, got out and approached me, just as I was dialing the school, and told me he was from Comcast, and I directed him inside, explaining that I didn't live there. Here's where it gets weird.

He said to me "Well, is the baby still crying?" and I conceded that it was possible a baby could still be crying, as there were two in the house. To which he replied "Well, I'm about to go in there and calm EVERYONE down", in a rather lilting tone, with an somewhat expansive hand gesture. Think "conversational jazz hands". (This should have clued me in that this was no ordinary Comcast cable guy.)

Kim came to the door, with a dvr and her Littlest in tow. "Hello, Little Man!" the Comcast guy called out, and her Littlest looked at him with suspicion. Small One, on the other hand, came right out onto the front porch and looked up at him, and he said...

"Hello! HellllO! Hello, Baby! Hello, it's me... I've thought about us for a long long time... Seeing you, or seeing anyone as much as I do you, I take for granted that you're always there..."

Yes, folks, YES, he sang his entire rendition of the old Todd Rundgren song "Hello It's Me." Did I say sang? Oh yes, sang! And in fact, right about the time he said "Hello Baby" he went into a little dance, complete with step-hip action and some side to side jazz hands. The other three children came to the door. Small One was fascinated.

All the children, in fact, were fascinated. I can really only describe it as "stupefied fascination", but Kim put it a little more aptly when she said "They were looking at him like he was Willy Wonka. Like they thought he MIGHT be nice, or he MIGHT be a little crazy, and they just needed to figure it out." Yep, that's exactly right.

Small One extended her arms, and he picked her up and finished the song, dancing with her. During this performance, I was on hold with the high school, waiting for them to locate MC, but when Small started looking a little nervous, I took her from him, smiling at him as if to say "No, no, I think you're nice crazy, not dangerous crazy, it's all good!"

When he finished his song, he turned his attention to Kim's Littlest. He said "What about you Little Man? Would you? Would yooooooou... WOULD you like to swing on a star?" And he was off again. All the children stared. Kim and I attempted not to look at each other, for fear we would burst into hysterical laughter. I walked a little way away to better hear the school administrator. (MC was found, she'd only missed part of one class, and was being duly written up for that infraction.)

By the time I was hanging up the phone, the man had moved on to a song about Jack coming back down the hill because he needed love he couldn't get from Jill. Not too sure I liked where that one was going, but it was broken up anyway, by the small children losing interest and fleeing the front stoop, and the not quite as small children retrieving them, against their will, to a chorus of howling nos.

Kim and I began to herd everyone back inside, saying our goodbyes to Theatrical Comcast Man, when he said to the children, "Wait, little girls! I've got something for you in my car!" We all froze in our tracks. Kim and I looked at each other. (She later told me my eyebrows went up almost to my hairline.) The man amended his statement. "I mean, if it's ok with your Mommies, I've got some candles I'd like to bring to you from my car, if you'll just wait here." Then he turned to us and said "I used to own a Dollar Store." (presumably as an explanation)

Then he was back, with a big bag full of candles. The bigger girls each picked a candle, as Kim and I wrangled the little ones away from the bag, and the man handed each of us a candle, despite our insistance that we didn't really need one.

I got a faux Heineken, Kim got a faux Budweiser.

As we walked in the door, and Comcast Man was headed down the front walk, I turned and looked at Kim. "DON'T!" she stage whispered, "THE WINDOWS ARE OPEN!"

I stage whispered back. "You KNOW I'm blogging about this!"

In about 20 years, we'll stage this picture again, with real beverages, and put both shots together in a double frame.
And you know, we have to keep those candles forever.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Kumbaya, my Lord, Kumbaya

Actual thing that happened in my house tonight:

Middle Child came into my room crying. "Oldest hit me because I said he's a good singer! He hates me for no reason! He hit me with a PIPE!"

(mind you, she'd been WILDLY unpleasant to the whole family all evening, so I wasn't too keen on taking her side)

Still, I went to Oldest's room and asked if he'd hit his sister. He said "Why? Does she have a mark?"

(Where is the raised eyebrow emoticon when I need it?)

I said "I don't know, did you hit her with a pipe?"

He said "She came to my door, I was singing while I was getting ready to work out, and she said 'Nice singing, Asshole'. So I poked her in the stomach with the piece of weather stripping I was holding."

(Don't ask why about the weather stripping, just back slowly away with me, back to the relative safety of my master bedroom)

Middle Child interjects "I was TRYING to give you a COMPLIMENT!" and then slams her door.

I say "Don't call your brother names, don't touch your sister. In fact, no more speaking tonight."

But I should have given Middle Child this helpful hint: when giving a compliment, remember it will be better received if you don't tack the word "asshole" on the end of it.

example: "I like those earrings" sounds a little better than "I like those earrings, Asshole!"

and "Nice place you've got here!" is almost certainly going to be taken with more grace than "Nice place you've got here, Asshole!"

(See, it's the teachable moments that make parenting so darned special!)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Birthdaypalooza Continues

So, because her Daddy is a photographer, my Small One is quite possibly the most photographed little girl in creation. Last year around this time, we dressed her in her party dress and took her out to a local garden for her official 1 year photo shoot... this year we dressed her in the same dress, and took her out to the same garden for the official 2 year old portraits. Amazing how much difference a year makes in a little person.

Last year:
This year:

Last year:

This year: