Saturday, September 27, 2008
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.
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
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.
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!"
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
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
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I think that's a very sane policy for a church to adopt. Are they including sermons that run really long and old ladies that sit in front of you with too much perfume in that policy? How about children who talk during services and kick the back of your seat? These are the details I'd like to know.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
"I heard through the grapevine that Lehman Brother's Realty has been waiting on a call from me, because they need me to do tours at a location undisclosed to all but my assistant. While this may not be as exciting as all the hormonally charged goings on at your house, they are still our biggest client, providing us with $90,000 a year, so in the future, I'd appreciate it if you'd pass along their messages."
Ha ha ha! So what we've learned is, I have such a guilty conscience over missing some messages that I am apparently now subconsciously blaming myself for the economic state of the NATION? Really?
I also dreamed that I was being held hostage on a bridge, by someone who clearly wanted to kill me, and I was trying to talk him out of it, but I had a terrible rash all over my arms, and I was CERTAIN that if he saw the rash, he'd go ahead and kill me. So I kept tugging my sleeves down past my fingertips and trying to be charming, so I could stay alive.
This brother, the one in my arms in this picture:
Granted, that picture is about 29 years old, but still, I feel the same way about the boy in it. And to be honest, it doesn't feel like it's been that long.
I won't tell the proposal story here, it's their story and not mine, but suffice it to say, there were roses, and candles, and a ladder was procured, there was a serenade, and a grand sweeping gesture...ahh, enough to make any old married lady swoon, much less a hopeful young girl. I'm utterly delighted for both of them, and couldn't be happier if it were my own romantic engagement. Both my adorable brothers are now engaged to lovely girls I'm excited to call my sisters.
When I told my Oldest, he said "Ah, that's cool. How do you think I should propose to S?"
How? Or did you mean, in how many decades? La la la la, I can't hear you talking about making that adult of a decision...
In other news, my Small One turns two tomorrow. At three thirty in the morning, two years ago tonight, I woke up after twenty minutes of restless sleep, and my water broke, and just over twelve hours later we welcomed this little girl, who has kept us hopping ever since.
I can't believe it's been that long, it seems like mere minutes, and I want to make it go slower, this precious time where she delights me almost every minute of the day. Every day there's a new concept, something else she's ecstatic to have learned. Yesterday, it was the concept of big and little.
She likes to point out large and small pairs of things and say "Aww, Mommy___ and Baby ___" Sometimes this is Mommy Bunny, Baby Bunny, other times it's Mommy Kitty, Baby Piggy- species does not figure into her reasoning. But yesterday, she brought me two dolls, one large, one small, and said, "Look! Mommy Baby and Baby Baby?"
This did not make sense, even to her, and her confusion was evident. I said "I think what you mean is 'Big Baby, Little Baby'." and her face brightened as she repeated it. "BIG Baby! LITTLE Baby!"
Later we were outside, and she was rolling a truck, when she stopped, and I could see the wheels turning. She said "Car!" and then looked at me like I was supposed to say something significant, and when I didn't she looked impatient and ran to her Ride-on Car and smacked it. "BIG CAR!", she yelled. Then she ran back to the other vehicle and looked at me. I said "Little car." and she grinned and said "LITTLE CAR!"
Aha! Yes, the mystery was solved. Thank you, Mom, for providing me with the correct terminology!
I'm sure it will seem to me to be tomorrow that she's asking me how she should proceed with her engagement.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Ok, she started off rational enough:
"She doesn't really need the hpv vaccine yet, since she's not sexually active."
(I nodded and smiled, 14yo confirmed that she is indeed not sexually active, I said I have issues with unnecessarily giving such a new vaccine, and she continued...)
"Oh, and they don't know how long the antibodies last, either. The protection may just wear off after a certain number of years, and then there she'll be, and maybe she'll have a husband who goes all WOO HOO on her, and brings her home something! Because that's what these men DO! They reach a certain age, and who KNOWS what even goes on in their minds? It's like they have a brain fart or something and they go out there all WOOWOOWOO and then God only knows what they're bringing home."
(Yes, the large and bold indicates high pitch and high volume)
As you can imagine, I had no response to that. Unless you count stunned silence as a response.
In the car, my child said to me, "Did my dr just say that when I grow up, my husband is going to have a brain fart that will cause him to cheat on me and give me an std?"
Yes, my darling, I believe she did.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Me- Ahh, too bad you're sick, tomorrow is the practice PSAT
MC- That's stupid. Why would I practice for the PSAT? It's not even something you're graded on. Sounds like a waste of time.
Me- No, it's good to practice, because you'll do better on it when you take it for real, and it'll help you on the SAT, which will help you get into a good college.
MC- Like Harvard?
Me- Yeah...I guess... but I don't really see you going to Harvard.
MC- (suddenly shrieking and crying! believe it or not! I'm not even kidding!) YOU'RE CALLING ME STUPID! YOU HAVE NO FAITH IN ME! YOU THINK I COULDN'T GET INTO HARVARD!!!!!!
Me- (taken aback, to say the least) Erm... Harvard is really expensive, for starters.
MC- (still at an unbelievable decibel level) YOU THINK I'M TOO STUPID TO GET A SCHOLARSHIP?!?!?!?!?!?
Me- (trying to regain my balance) Um... people who go to Ivy League schools typically are in one of two categories. Category A- Rich parents. Category B- Truly passionate about academics. Into which of these categories do you believe you fall?
MC- I'M TRYING TO BE IN THE SECOND ONE!!!!!!!! YOU CAN'T HOLD MY THREE WEEK PROGRESS REPORT AGAINST ME!!!! YOU DON'T KNOW ME AT ALL!!!!! (runs from the room, in hysterics)
Seriously? Have I mentioned that I homeschooled this child for 5 + years? Do I need to bring Ms. Kat up in here for a retelling of the nightmare that was Latin class? Seriously? Seriously.
I pulled up the cost of Harvard tuition online, but she gave me an injured glare and informed me she did not wish to discuss it further.
Friday, September 5, 2008
First, the good news. The Small One slept in her own bed ALL NIGHT! Well, ok, from 9:30 until 5:30, but that counts as all night, right? There was one moment, after midnight, when the man and I were watching a movie (silently, reading subtitles, so as not to wake her), when she thrashed about, woke herself up, and stood up. My dear husband stage whispered at me through his teeth, "DON'T LOOK AT HER!"
I didn't look at her. Then she put her head back down, and I peeked, and she popped back up, and the Man hissed at me! "WOMAN!"
It made me giggle. And then she lay her little self back down and that was that. Until 5:30.
Sadly, I did NOT sleep all night. I was not feeling well, and spent a great deal of time awake, and actually had JUST begun to doze when Small One woke up and joined us in our bed. Thankfully, she went back to sleep and slept until 7:45. (I would've preferred 9:15, but what can you do?)
Middle Child was home with a stomach flu, so of course there was much moaning and declining to do any chores, which made me tired again before I was even fully awake.
My sister in law had to have a procedure done today, and I was to drive her and then pick her back up, since she needed to be under general anesthesia. I was trying to be all organized (not my strong suit), and I had this great plan to get up this morning and be all perky and clever and put dinner into the crockpot before I left, and maybe even leave early. Uhh... no. Didn't happen.
I don't know if I've ever mentioned it here before, but I really think running a household full of kids is pretty much like giving a pig a pancake. And in case you don't know what I mean, I'm referring to the charming series of children's books (If You Give a Pig a Pancake, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, etc) that urge children to consider the consequences of their actions through the weaving of cautionary tales wherein one thing leads to another and soon you're building a tree house with a pig in your backyard, and your house is a wreck.
Anyhoo, if you want to make dinner before you leave to take your sister in law to the dr, first you'll have to force your Small Child to eat breakfast. She'll probably be in a clingy, whiny mood, and buck and squirm and resist, and refuse to eat anything but grapes, so you'll have to wash the grapes, and when you go to wash the grapes you'll remember that you were supposed to be washing a chicken in order to put it in the crockpot. In order to wash the chicken, you'll have to clear the Big Kids' breakfast dishes out of the sink so they don't get contaminated by chicken nasties, and when you do that, it'll cause the dishwasher to be full, so you'll need to run it. Turning on the dishwasher will remind you that your Oldest asked you to wash a particular shirt, so you'll go into the laundry room to start the washer. The howls of protest from your Small One will remind you that she is still not pleased with the idea of eating a waffle, so you'll go back in to wash the grapes, and come face to face with that chicken, still waiting to be washed and put in the crock pot. You'll wash it and get it started, but then you'll have to bleach the sink before you can wash the grapes...
Yeah, so you get the idea. I was NOT early. But I got there just in time, whisked her off to her appt, and since the Small One had by this time fallen asleep, we obtained permission from the nurse for me to drop the sister in law off and leave. The nurse was to call me on my cell when it was time to pick her up. Because I did not feel like driving all the way home, I went to a nearby mall and parked under a tree, intending to read while Small One napped. I kept turning the fan on and then back off, because it was hot out, and I ended up chatting with my mother on my cell for a while.
Whoopsie! Cell phone starts chirping out its sad little battery death song. I decide that a trip home must be made after all, to retrieve the charger. I turn the key in the ignition, only to hear the very disappointing ratatatatatat sound of a run down battery. Whoopsie part two! Seriously dumb move, all the fan turning on business. I call the Man, frantic. "I'm at the mall," I say, "at the corner of Bloomingdale's, behind the Container Store. I hate to say it, but I need you to grab my phone charger, bring it up to me, and jumpstart the car, because the car is dead and the phone could go at any second." He groans, but agrees.
Ten minutes pass. I turn the key again, and the engine roars to life. Hooray! Well, ok, but not really, because the Man is on his way here unnecessarily. I call to tell him I'll meet him halfway. He does not pick up. What?!?!? Did I mention I'm stranded with a dying phone? And a toddler? I try him again, and my phone dies. Argh.
About this time, Small One wakes, and says "Drive car, Mommy!" I explain her we're waiting for Daddy, but when ten more minutes pass, with no sign of Daddy, and Small One growing increasingly insistent, even throwing in some sign language in case I didn't understand what she meant by "drive car", I start circling the parking lot. When forty-five minutes have passed, I'm absolutely beside myself. It occurs to me that the gas station across from the mall might have a pay phone, so I head over there. I call the man, and he says "I'm here at Macy's and I don't see you." Argh again.
I'm twenty minutes late retrieving my sister in law, which obviously means I am not in the running for Sister In Law of the Year. She was quite good natured about it, to her credit. I dropped her off at home, and decided to stop at a local produce stand with the Small One, who'd at this point been in the car for about five hours, with very little respite. When I released her, she immediately started running laps around the support pole of the little shed, which, strangely enough, did NOTHING to quell the cries of "AREN'T YOU PRECIOUS?!?!?!" from the very enthusiastic produce lady.
In fairness, Small One was wearing this outfit, which does make her pretty hard to resist:
But! What I found very interesting is that the lady kept saying "Oh, you're a KEEPER! Your parents should KEEP you! You're a KEEPER!" What a weird way to compliment a child, by planting the question in her head as to whether her parents were planning on letting her stay. Besides which, does that woman ever start crowing "Oh, you're NOT WORTH KEEPING! Your parents should SELL you!" to any other children that come by? Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
Got home, raced around making dinner. Roast chicken, fresh butter beans, fresh cucumber and tomato salad, cornbread... quite an undertaking. As I'm putting the finishing touches on the dinner, Oldest breezes through the kitchen. "Hey, Mom, don't know if I told you, but I'm not eating here tonight- Dad's taking me to the football game, and then out to dinner!"
No, you didn't tell me. So I cooked this beautiful chicken for me, a toddler on a hunger strike, a teenager with a stomach flu, and my vegetarian husband. FanTAStic.
Will anyone blame me if I refuse to leave my bed tomorrow? I feel about like this:
Thursday, September 4, 2008
- I teach, but not really at "school", rather at a home school group
- Small One goes to Children's Morning Out while I teach, which is not technically "school", (as my Middle Child keeps pointing out with much eye rolling), but we call it school so she can be more excited over it. (C'mon! Would she be running around saying "Oh BOY!!! Children's Morning Out!!!"? I don't think so.)
Anyway, back to today. Small One got so excited about school that she spent all morning yelling "OH BOY! SCHOOL!" (which sounds, actually, like "Oh Boiyee! Cool!") I love her. I spent last night getting UBERprepared- her bag was packed, my bag was packed, a sack lunch was involved, all things were labeled, I even laid out our clothes the night before. So why was I late? Yeah, one of my shoes went missing. That's how we roll!
Here is a picture of my Small One all ready for school.
Note the piggies on her shirt- those are her piggies, and if you don't believe me, just ask her. "MY Poggies!", she'll tell you. Note, also, the Elmo name tag. ("Melmo! Melmo!") She LOVES that name tag, though not for wearing. She absolutely refuses to wear it, so they went the route of writing her name on masking tape and sticking it to her back. Oh well, so much for the cute name tag.
When I took her to school, she yelled "Bye Bye, Mommy!" and was gone, without a backward glance.
My class went well. More students than I expected, which is lovely for my bank account! Bring on the students! Woo! Actually, my classes are still quite light, so I'm hoping that perhaps I'll pick up a few more students next week, when I begin in earnest. This week, I could only teach one class, because I had to pick Small up early, because that's the policy for "first timers".
I hadn't received the books I'd ordered for my class, so I had to sort of wing it today. It went fine, it was a good way to ease into it and get to know the students. I taught Kipling, and you can't go wrong with Kipling. (Maybe that'll be my new motto.) However, much to my bitter chagrin, when the books DID arrive, this afternoon, there were about 5 times as many as I ordered, including a bunch of resource materials I was not expecting... but all for the wrong grade! I guess I got someone else's shipment? What the heck?!?!? Of course, if I'd known that a month ago, I'd have just switched gears and taught a different grade, but now... well, it's an issue, isn't it? I truly hope I can get this resolved by next week, because otherwise, I'm going to look like an idiot. Bah!
When I picked up the Small One, she did not want to leave her school. That's really just SO great. Greater still, I discovered today that I am going to have some days off that she is NOT going to have. 4 whole hours all by myself, roughly once a month- what to do with all that free time?!?!?
An unexpected bonus- she was so worn out from "school" that she slept THREE and a HALF HOURS this afternoon! Woot!
They're SO cute when they're sleeping.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
N is for Neville, who died of ennui.
Making it possible for me to take the necessary "do nothing" time was my fabulous Man, who had a three day weekend and spent much of it lounging about with me or playing with our Small One. He's quite a good Man, and a great Daddy, despite the fact that last weekend he
(Why I oughta...)
Seriously, who leaves a toddler alone with dark chocolate m&ms and a laptop?
Anyhoo, this weekend he was fabulous. We went to a Book Festival on Saturday, then on Sunday, we took the Small One to a playground we've only recently ever heard of, located right in the middle of a small airport. It was pretty cool, lots of little planes coming in and taking off, and some parked near enough that we could have touched them if we'd wanted to reach through the fence.
She had a really good time, despite the strange dreariness of the weather, and she really loves the quality time with Daddy.
I'm always sorry to see the weekend go- we need to go ahead and get independently wealthy so we can just play every day.