Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Ballad of Three

Three (To the tune of "Cecilia" by Simon and Garfunkel)

Three-ee-ee
You're breaking my heart
You're shaking my confidence daily
Oh Three-ee-ee
I'm down on my knees
I'm begging you please to calm down
(Calm on down!)

Took you out to buy you shoes
At the consignment store
Over by the mall (by the mall!)
Light up shoes, your happy face
Then you kicked me so hard at the pizza place

Three-ee-ee
You're breaking my heart
You're shaking my confidence daily
Oh Three-ee-ee
I'm down on my knees
I'm begging you please to calm down
(Calm on down!)

Baking bread in the morning sun
With tha-ree-ee-ee
During Wes naptime (Wes naptime!)
I ask Three to go potty
When I turn to repeat what I said
A remote control it is flying at my head

Three-ee-ee
You're breaking my heart
You're shaking my confidence daily
Oh Three-ee-ee
I'm down on my knees
I'm begging you please to calm down
(Calm on down!)

Want to play with my brother,
In the playroom
With my trucks and cars (trucks and cars!)
If you touch my special car
For the rest of your life you'll be dealing with scars

Three-ee-ee
You're breaking my heart
You're shaking my confidence daily
Oh Three-ee-ee
I'm down on my knees
I'm begging you please to calm down
(Calm on down!)

Thoughtful, kind, and so loving
or obnoxious
Mean and vi-o-lent
Never know which kid you'll see
When you're manic-depressive because you are Three

Three-ee-ee
You're breaking my heart
You're shaking my confidence daily
Oh Three-ee-ee
I'm down on my knees
I'm begging you please to calm down
(Calm on down!)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Amazing Race

You are lingering over your oatmeal with brown sugar and walnuts while your children destroy the living room when you decide to take a peek at the radar to see if that rain that was supposed to show up overnight is actually actually coming and WOAH there's a lot of rain coming. Based on the rain's position and motion you estimate you have about forty-five minutes to an hour before there will be a whole tonna rain falling at your house.

Your only goal for the day was to go to the gym to work out on the treadmill. Based on the radar and forecast discussion the rain will continue for the rest of the day.

Can you get two kids into coats and hats and into the car, gather your shorts, sneakers, and headphones, get one kid out of the car and take him to the potty and then put his coat and hat back on and put him back in the car, get him a snack, let the dog out, get the other kid a blanket, find your gym ID in your old shorts in the laundry pile, let the dog back in and then drive to the gym and get everyone unloaded and into the building before the rain begins?

It's a race against nature, a child's pea-sized bladder, and the clock.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bree Van de Kamp I am not

Sometimes I swear I have Tourette's.

Tonight I was standing in line at the grocery store behind a nurse who was wearing scrubs and an ID from a nearby hospital. I was only buying a box of wipes and she had a few days of groceries so she asked if I wanted to go ahead of her. "No thanks," I said, "I'm happy to be out of the house for a few minutes and it looks like you're on your way home from work." She smiled and gestured at the wipes "Mine are fourteen and nineteen. It goes fast! How old is yours?"

"I have a one-year-old and a three-year-old."

"Oh, where did you deliver your one-year-old?"

I gave her the name of the hospital, a place I privately refer to as the Guantanamo of childbirth. A place I hated with every fiber of my being to the degree that I told Ryan if we ever had another baby I would be moving to The Old Town during the last trimester so I could deliver there.

"OH! That's where I work! And I'm in Mother-and-Baby! How was your experience?"

She beamed at me expectantly.

I froze as a filmstrip of Wes's first two days played in my mind. Getting woken up three times a night BY NURSES, usually when Wes was FINALLY asleep. Being forced to keep him in the room all the time because there was no nursery. The nurse taking Wes out for his PKU at eleven o'clock at night, fifteen minutes after we finally got him to sleep, then bringing him back inconsolable twenty minutes later. Ryan getting reprimanded for carrying Wes around out in the hall so I could get some rest. The nurse bursting into the room at midnight and turning all the lights on to get my blood pressure. The giant hassle they gave me about giving Wes a pacifier after nursing him for more than an hour. The nurse who pushed Ryan out of the way because she didn't like something about the way he was changing Wes's diaper.

So what did I say? Did I smile and say "great!" like a normal person making polite chit chat with a total stranger in line at the grocery store at eight o'clock at night would? Of course not. Because I am socially awkward.

I gave her the best smile I could muster and said "I think it only bad because my baby was such a difficult newborn." Then laughed nervously and busied myself with my wallet.

She was less friendly after that.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas, Take Two

Saturday night we met Ryan's parents at their hotel for happy hour before going out for dinner. I was feeling fancy so I got Charlie a Shirley Temple. How cute would that be? I thought.

He gasped with excitement when he saw it. Loved that it was pink. Loved the marachino cherry. HATED the carbonation. Still talks about how "that pink drink hurt my tongue. I didn't like it." And yet he will slurp down the medium salsa like there is no tomorrow. Meet the tree you didn't fall very far from, my little apple.

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Next up we went to Buco di Beppo for dinner. Ryan was trying to explain it on the phone to his dad and kept saying "Buco da Poppo? Bucko di Poopo? Buca da Fuca?" while I very supportively laughed until my eyes watered. Whatever it was called it was just the place for two exuberant children to blend in with the rest of the loud crowd and where we could still get a nice meal.

Charlie was bruchetta man. He is quite the little host, serving everyone more salad every time they put down their fork, completely full. Just wait until he's manning the wine. We'll all be passed out under the table and he'll be helpfully topping off our glasses.

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Wes ate more than Ryan. Poor Ryan was sitting next to him and I am sure he regrets having taught him the "more" sign because Wes ate Ryan's dinner when he finished with his own. I was very surprised, but perhaps should not have been, that a platter of chicken canneloni meant to feed six adults was insufficient to feed four adults and two small children. But that is the way it went. Next time Wes gets his own platter.

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"Yeah it's a serving spoon. What? No, really, WHAT?"

This morning we went straight to the park after church. Obviously I hadn't considered that possibility when planning my outfit. I am sure everyone behind me enjoyed watching me crawl under the playscape to retrieve Wes. Or did not enjoy, as the case may have (likely) been.

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My new favorite picture of Wes.

But we had a GREAT time. Especially when the little park train drove by and I told Charlie that we were going to ride on it and he grabbed my hand and ran towards the train station and yelled "I am so EXCITED!"

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Ready for some magical fun.

The dark tunnel decorated with Christmas lights at the end of the ride was so exciting I could feel Charlie's heartbeat through his jacket. He stayed VERY EXCITED until the train pulled back into the station after our ride and it was time to get off. That part was less exciting.

On the way back to the car we stopped into the museum to watch a terrifying video about the "GREAT FORCES" (said in a booming voice) that formed the earth, more specifically the landscape near where we live. There was thunder, lightning, volcanoes, and earthquakes and the movie was shown in a dark simulated cave. Very effective in scaring Charlie away from any kind of earth science profession for the rest of his life. Ryan and I thought it was kind of awesome.

After naptime Ryan's parents came over and I made another Christmas dinner. This time I made roast beef to go with all those leftover green beans and also to use the new well tree pan of my grandma's that my parents gave me. I was so proud of my roast--made all by myself with nary a phone call home--that I took a picture of it. No microwave shenanigans required and even Charlie said "I wike da meat!"

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Our first dissertation-guilt free Christmas in six years!

As always, Christmas started Christmas Eve at my aunt's home for the traditional Polish Christmas Eve supper (which we had at lunchtime to accomodate the little ones) called "Wigilia." Charlie ate his whole bowl of borscht before the rest of us made our way to the table then finished off Wes's leftovers and a roll before disappearing until the pierogi course.

Next we went to the three o'clock children's service at our church, which they call "Bedlam in Bethlehem" because the kids get to participate in the service by wearing a hat (making them either a shepherd, king, or angel) and standing near the front and acting out the nativity. Charlie was a king, but was so tired and stressed out by all the excitement he didn't make it all the way to Bethlehem to greet the newborn king. Poor kiddo.

After church both boys took a nap until six, which gave them plenty of energy to stay awake until eleven, singing and yelling from their beds about Santa and Mary and Joseph coming to their house. He was a little confused.

We woke up to Charlie screaming about Santa, who had left his and Wes's stocking in the hallway outside their rooms. Santa was very generous with the treats.

Wes was not a fan of stocking time. After a few matchbox cars and a box of animal crackers he became overwhelmed and dissolved into a puddle of tears. Poor little kid, all he wanted was some new pants and a banana.

Facial bruising courtesy of the windowsill in our foyer.

He was pretty excited to see his new stacking game though. This one is made of wood for the baby who has everything.

Fun for all ages! This brief moment of brotherly cooperation brought to you by Christmas morning adrenaline. Also note the light-up shoes I found at a consignment store that Charlie WILL NOT take off. WILL NOT. Also? He makes them light up by stomping. It's adorable, the stomping.

Several times this morning I thought "I should really wear something nicer than this ice cream store tshirt my sister found on the beach. I bet I'm going to be in a lot of pictures. Nah!"

Charlie: "IT'S A GARBAGE TRUCK! IT HONKS FOR ME, BEEP BEEP! THANK YOU GARBAGE MAN!"

(Charlie and the garbage man are like this)

The globe!

And then, oh shoot! The turkey, it is still crunchy! Into the sink with you while I peel fourteen pounds of potatoes.


There are no more pictures of the dinner prep. Because I was, you know, cooking dinner for seventeen people. The turkey came out great save one teeny mishap at the end with the thermometer telling us the turkey was ready and then Ryan and my dad squinting at it as they carved it and ultimately declaring it "a little bit rare" and then, NO MATTER, let's just MICROWAVE IT for a couple of minutes! And the green beans almondine were easy and good and my uncle mashed the potatoes for me and the rum cake was practically illegal it was so good. The kids all had cookies for dinner I think, but it didn't matter because they spent the whole evening watching basketball and roughhousing upstairs in our new game room (which Ryan created by moving our guest bed out of our ironing nook and into our bedroom, creating a pleasing Ramada Inn kind of feel with the two queen sized beds in one room).

During the ten minutes I actually saw them, the cousins sat at the kitchen table. They got paper plates and plastic forks wrapped in Halloween napkins left over from Charlie's birthday party. And outdoor furniture for an extra touch of klass.


The adult table, beautifully decorated by Ryan. Perfect tablecloth provided by Labmama, table runner by my aunt, all festive centerpiece-ery provided by my mom. Thank you all for saving me a painful visit to Hobby Lobby.


The table wasn't long enough for ten, even with both leaves in, so Ryan pushed my desk up to one end and covered it with the table cloth and VOILA! A comfortable table for ten, with convenient access to pens and camera cables and calculators at one end.

We all had a good time and one of my guests even said she would pass along a good report to my grandma. High praise, indeed (but she has probably never had to microwave a turkey).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dinner is at My House!

I freaked out a little yesterday when the final RSVP for Christmas dinner came in and the tally stood at seventeen people. Naturally, I called my mother to freak out on the phone and then headed to the supermarket for a little retail therapy, Magical Christmas Feast edition.



I realized I might be overreacting a little when I was standing in the frozen poultry department considering whether the ten pound ham and ten pound turkey would be enough meat for seventeen people. Although three of those people will be teenaged boys, I am thinking that MORE THAN A POUND OF MEAT PER PERSON should be adequate.

Especially because I think I bought enough green beans that I could also invite Santa, the reindeer, AND all the elves and still not run out.

Also, I bought ten pounds of flour and eight pounds of sugar and thirty ounces of pumpkin puree. If my guests get hungry and revolt I plan on fortifying my kitchen with an impenetrable wall of Christmas cookies and pie.

Next up in plan Manage Entertaining Anxiety was to give out the assignments. I found a delicious looking but hard and time intensive recipe for rum cake that I decided we NEEDED to have for dessert (for the adults, the children will be having pumpkin cupcakes with homemade cream cheese icing because I HAVE LOST MY MIND). I casually brought it up to my brother-in-law who likes to cook and I thought might know where and how to buy rum. He laughed and then I fixed him with a steely gaze and he agreed to give it a shot. He also said you can buy rum at 7-11 then drink it in the parking lot from a paper bag. Good to know.

My mom and dad agreed to bring the booze and a side dish we call Corn Corn Corn. No need to expose the extended family to my wine selecting skills! Turns out you really need to spend more than six dollars for the big bottle for special occasions. Really!

So, it's coming together. I think I can fit all the adults at the dining room table if we all like each other a really really lot and then I can relegate all the children (aged fifteen months to sixteen years) to the kitchen.

Now, if I can just stop confusing Ryan by referring to it as "Thanksgiving Dinner."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Because when you ask Santa for something, it's as good as yours

The other day we were pulling out of the driveway--on the way to school and after only about a half cup of coffee--when Charlie asked why it gets cold in the winter. I sputtered out something half-coherent about the earth revolving around the sun (originally said sun revolving around the earth, how eleventh century Catholic Church of me) and then got into the tilt of the earth's axis and how the northern hemisphere, where we live, is closer to the sun in the summer and further away in the winter. He listened thoughtfully and then said, again "Oh, because?"

Which is weird, because I think I made myself pretty clear, even though the only thought I was currently having about the sun was that I wish it would just go away because my head hurt.

So, I told Charlie, it would be easier to explain this if we had a globe.

He thought for a minute and then said "I ask Santa for a globe."

Alrighty then, NOOO problem. Why could we not have had this conversation a week ago when I could have gotten Free Super Saver Shipping? Where the eff am I going to find a globe?

Don't get me wrong--I am thrilled to support Charlie's interest in planetary science. It's just, have you seen a globe in a store recently? I saw two at a yard sale this summer. One featured the USSR and the other one only had Europe and a huge sea monster where North America should have been.

Any chance he forgot about asking Santa for a globe? NO WAY DUDE. Not only did he tell Santa, he also told my sister, my neighbor, Labmama, and his grandparents. Santa was going to bring him a globe.

So this morning after we went out for breakfast tacos I thought I'd just go to Target and pick one up. Twenty minutes later I returned to the car empty handed and totally pissed off then enchanted the entire family with a lengthy monologue about electronic toys and why the hell do kids even learn to read anymore when you can get a PEN that does it FOR YOU. Ho ho ho, MERRY CHRISTMAS.

I was even more annoyed by Office Depot, whose only globe was in the "office decor" department and was FIFTY BUCKS but at least they had a convenient and clean bathroom.

I was beginning to wonder how well Charlie would handle Santa giving him an IOU when I decided to make one last stop at the annoying potpourri-smelling, saccharine music-playing Christian bookstore slash educational supply warehouse to see if I could find a REAL globe with current geopoliticial information. And possibly mountains you can feel. Because those MAKE the globe, I say.

It was a Christmas miracle.

They had two!

I had to resist also buying the inflatable version (although now that I am typing this I kind of want to go back for the inflatable version) and all the solar system workbooks they had nearby. Charlie is bright, but I think grade 4-8 might still be a little advanced.

I cannot wait for preschool geography class. I am also wondering how long it will take before someone tries to throw it like a ball. Maybe I will go get the inflatable one too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Biped 2.0

My favorite part is at the end when he shows off with the cup.



I am delighted that he is directing some of that energy of his in the x- and y-direction instead of the z!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A two sided coin

Yesterday Sucked. Capital S Sucked.

It started out well. I took Charlie to school, Wes and I ran an errand up to my school. On the way home we stopped at Target for Christmas shopping then took lunch to Ryan at work. Then Wes took a nap and ate lunch and then we went to pick up Charlie. A perfectly pleasant and average day.

And then I picked Charlie up from school. I don't really know what happened to him yesterday. I don't remember the ride home and I don't remember the first few minutes after we got home either. But I do remember feeling really tense and angry for the next five hours until Ryan arrived and asked how my day was and I gestured to Charlie, catatonic on the couch wearing his school tshirt and a diaper and nothing else and Wes strapped into his booster seat at the table trying to eat some junk mail and gave him the "How the hell do YOU think my day was?" look.

It started to go downhill when I tried to get Charlie to take a nap. He didn't, is the short story, but the long story involved lots of noise making, potty accidents, foreign objects being put in the potty, and screaming because OMG I put the baby shampoo IN THE TOILET FUNNIEST THING EVER OMG! And then, obviously, Wes was awake and shrieking delightedly from his crib.

So, I thought, I'm not going to turn this into A Thing because when I do that we all end up miserable and it was way too early in the day for that to happen.

We all came downstairs and ate a snack and then I declared it TV-free playtime. Which went great until Charlie whipped Wes with a belt. The buckle end. On the face.

I think my reaction made it clear to Charlie that he had made a bad decision and possibly injured his brother very seriously because he jumped about ten feet when I screamed so loud I had a ministroke asked him nicely to please return to his room and not come out until the Senate votes on Obamacare. And then he collapsed into a miserable heap on the stairs, sobbing into the carpet. During this "naptime" he managed to completely empty his dresser of every piece of clothing he owns in an effort to find his school shirt.

By this time, mercifully, Labmama was on her way over. Charlie greeted her at the door in his carefully chosen school shirt and diaper ensemble and proceeded to dump every bin in the playroom into the middle of the floor for a nice game of train track/Little People/Tool Box/Tea Party/Trucks. Labmama and I let all four kids run around for a couple of hours while we sighed and wondered aloud if we were raising future serial killers.

Ryan came home early and we salvaged the day by heading out to look at Christmas lights and have some ice cream.

Today was the TOTAL opposite of yesterday. We went to the gym where Charlie and Wes got to play in the playroom while I walked on the treadmill and watched CNN. I took them to the basketball gym where they ran around like crazy men screaming happily and laughing and shooting and dribbling pretend basketballs, which is the cutest thing ever. Then we went to the store and bought dinner for the next three nights and bought blueberries and oranges and lunchmeat for lunch. They were appreciative and excited because ORANGES! HURRAY! The bakery had whole cookies as free samples. Everyone was happy and chatty and pleasant. Then we came home for Wes's nap and Charlie watched Word World while I (finally) cleaned our fridge of all the month old leftovers and washed all the shelves. The boys ate lunch and then we all loaded into the car to go to Charlie's ENT appointment where we learned his tubes are out and we are done with the check-ups. To celebrate we went to my favorite bakery where the special was a half turkey-sandwich, tortilla soup, chips and salsa, and a chocolate chip cookie and where they had adorable Christmas sugar cookies. The boys each ate their cookie calmly and neatly. I ate my lunch. A stranger commented on how well behaved they were. The salsa was beautifully spicy, the tea was strong, and the sandwich exactly the way I liked it. When Charlie had a potty accident waiting in line for the one-seater bathroom it was OK because a pair of undies and jeans had magically appeared in my trunk. And then everyone fell asleep on the way home and should be down for a couple of hours.

Days like today I feel a little sorry that Ryan has to work while I get to have so much fun with the boys. I can go wherever I want. Or I can not go anywhere if I don't like the weather or am just having too much fun baking cookies with Charlie. It's totally up to me. I can clean up the house or I can play trucks or I can read a magazine. I never know what to say to Ryan when he asks how my day was on days like today. He is always thrilled when I report a fun, easy day, but he hasn't had a day that was fun or easy in at least six months!

I am not one of those women who says things like "I just love staying home with my precious little angels. I can't imagine doing anything else!" Because I don't always feel that way and I can definitely imagine doing many other things. There's just not that much to show for all of your hard work at the end of the day--OK so the house is tidy and the kids are still alive, that's a good day! And I'm exhausted, mentally and physically, but there is no one thing I can hold up and say "I did this today!" I find myself decluttering or cleaning out the fridge or straightening or moving curtains from an upstairs window to a downstairs window because otherwise I feel like I am just spinning my wheels--jobs like dishes and laundry are never truly done!

But days like today, I know that something I did somewhere along the line is tangible and lasting. Kids don't learn table manners by accident. They're not born knowing how to talk nicely in restaurants. They don't say please and thank you unless someone has been drilling it into them since birth.

And let's not forget how funny it is to watch your kid turn into a mini-you. Charlie LOVES iced tea and cookies. When I told him I couldn't think of a better snack than a glass of iced tea and a cookie he said "Me too!" and asked for "another taste of your tea, please." (Yes, I let him drink tea occasionally. He's 95%ile for height, a little growth stunting will only ensure I won't have to special order his sneakers from the NBA one day).

It's tricky, though, because you never know what kind of day you are going to have. Is it going to be one long giant fight, like yesterday, or is it going to be a happy, carefree, easy day like today? And even on the best days I find myself always at the ready, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Today when I showed Charlie the tray of sugar cookies and gingerbread men he could choose from at the bakery I was still nervous that he would ask for something else and flip out when I said no (he didn't. He was entranced by the sugar cookie Christmas trees with the red and green sprinkles).

I wish you all happy days for the rest of the week. I find sugar cookies help grease the toddler wheels of compliance nicely.

Monday, December 14, 2009

So, how is potty training going?

From Thursday-Sunday kid laundry:



On the other hand, I have divised a clever index which can be used to track potty training progress scientifically. It is a simple ratio of the number of shirts in a load of laundry to the number of pants. When a child is fully potty trained the index would be 1.0. When your child is just beginning to learn the index would be much lower, maybe 0.25. When you have been wearing undies since May and you just wake up one day and decide you don't want to use the potty anymore the index (our current index) is more like 2.5*10-16.

Banging my head against the wall over here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Angels we have heard...

Really all they had to tell me to convince me to sign us up for our church's Live Nativity again was that Wes could be an angel and that I could make him wear wings!

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They wanted him to be Jesus again, but when we did a trial and tried to get him to sit still for fifteen minutes, and were very VERY unsuccessful, we decided a less central role would be better. He did well, too. He laughed through the whole first show because the donkey kept braying and banging its chest against the fence. I kind of wanted to laugh too. The second show, he wanted to get down and play so I fed him bits of sugar cookie to keep him quiet.

Charlie was a shepherd again. And he escaped Ryan's grasp again and wandered over to the livestock again. Until I broke character and grabbed him.

Both were excited about the cookies.

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Very authentic fleece jacket to keep shepherds warm on those cold Bethlehem nights.

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I hate this freaking halo, but cannot take it off because my hands are full of cookies, nom nom nom.

Ryan is a very good sport. He rarely gets asked about these sorts of things and usually finds out he's doing them with like twelve hours of notice. Come on! It was totally written on the calendar (that I keep in my purse and the other one inside my brain). And then he gets tasked with taking the little shepherd to the potty and figuring out how that is supposed to work. And there's the little matter of HAVING TO DRESS LIKE A SHEPHERD.

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Charlie wants to be an angel next year so he can have wings and "fly upside down." I am just hoping he will be old enough to not think we are at a petting zoo.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

While You were Sweeping

Today I tried to clean up the kitchen during Sid the Science Kid and it took the entire episode! Just to SWEEP! It is not a big kitchen!

I got behind the table then had to go break up a fight over the door to the playroom. Open or closed? Brothers fingers smashed to a paper-thin bloody pulp or not? Many screams of indignity on both sides. One instance of smashed fingers. Resisted the urge to shout "This is why we don't %#@$ around with the door!" Yay for teachable moments.

Then I got the part by the garage door and heard MORE FIGHTING. This time it was a showdown over the Position of Honor. Standing directly in front of the TV. One of them had opened the door to the cabinet where we keep CDs and the other was using his entire body weight to crush the other one's arm in the opening. It was adorable, really, displaying their love for each other this way. I don't ordinarily intervene in brother disputes, but in cases of potential compound fracture I make an exception. I also managed to nearly dump a full dustpan of crumbs, cheerios, and banana slices onto my living room floor. That would have been awesome.

Next, I got the refrigerator/stove/sink area, but was interrupted when I looked up to see Wes standing on my desk chair, cup of coffee in hand. I opened my mouth to screech "PUT THAT DOWN" just as he took a sip then dumped the whole thing down the front of his shirt. He was not a fan.

Wes is in bed now and Charlie is content, but I've decided we would all be safer if I didn't clean up the kitchen for now. Instead I am here wishing Wes hadn't spilled all my coffee and wondering if I should make another pot. Clearly I need to be at my most alert--which I haven't been--I have FORGOTTEN to go to the grocery store two days in a row. How do you forget that you have NO FOOD? Last night for dinner we had cheeseburgers with no buns and a bag of frozen green beans. I ate the last piece of stale bread with the last of the peanut butter for breakfast. At least we still have about half of the two-pound tube of premade cookie dough that was FREE with COUPON, so I have my dinner covered.

It will be interesting to see if this gets better or worse when I start working.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Whoops!

Today we had a magical playdate during which Charlie acted like one of "those children" at the mall playground the whole time. I was pretty frustrated and when they went home and I told him to sit at the table so I could make his lunch and he instead ran up the stairs and laughed at me, I told him that if he would rather be upstairs than he could just go to bed. Since he laughed at me again I figured it was a go and put him in his room with the babygate across the door.

He had eaten approximately seven pounds of pumpkin bread that morning, so I figured hunger wasn't the issue. I returned to his room and held him until the miserable sobbing abated, then calmly tucked him back in and told him that he would feel better if he got some rest. Then he kicked down his baby gate and then shoved me with both hands on my ass as I tried to set it back up.

He was on fire.

Perplexed, I called Ryan and asked him whether he remembered Charlie eating anything for breakfast. Ryan thought he had eaten a Clementine. So, awesome! My forty pound child has had nothing to eat all day besides a clementine and three loaves of pumpkin bread.

I immediately brought him downstairs and made him a sandwich. He saw a bag of salad on the counter and the remains of my turkey and spring mix sandwich and asked if he could have a salad sandwich too. And then he ate an entire turkey, cheese, and spring mix salad on whole wheat sandwich, CRUSTS included. Then drank a glass of milk and had another piece of pumpkin bread.

And then he was MUCH calmer. Poor, poor kid.

**

And this is all I have to show for my "work time" tonight. It never fails that if I go work out after dinner I think the whole time I am on the treadmill "I feel great! I'm going to go home and work on my paper! I'm going to get back into research and feel really good about myself! And I'm going to work out every night! And I'm never going to eat another cookie as long as I live!" and then I get home and I clean up the kitchen and putter around for a few minutes while my computer boots up and then check out Facebook and read blogs. And then it's bedtime and I've done no work and eaten a handful of cookies! Yay!

Monday, December 7, 2009

More scintillating Craigslist action

Some weeks ago I took a picture of my kids sitting on the couch to show you just how seriously we take those AAP recommendations re: children under two and television watching. But instead of noticing those two little cutiepies on the couch, I noticed our awkwardly large and blank wall and the blinding light coming through the wooden shades that came with the house.

Here is the picture, which also documents a rare uncluttered moment for my living room. Probably because the TV is on and supressing any brain impulse that may have otherwise spurred the movement of a muscle group other than those that move the eyes. Which, believe me, after all those various trips to Pediatrician Man to get innoculated against flu, MMR, etc, was truly the only way to get anything done around here. Like cooking dinner or luxuriating in the bathroom for forty-five uninterrupted seconds.


Curtains, I thought! We need curtains! Choosing a color and style was tricky, though, because our living room is open to the dining room, which is painted red and has black toile valances. Because of my rather specific needs, both stylistic and budgetary, I turned, naturally, to Craigslist.

I typed in "curtains" and the first listing I came across was exactly what I needed. Two curtain rods, four cream colored satin-looking (actually polyester, bien sur) panels, and four giant heavy metal things designed to hold back the curtains but which will not be used due to their potential function as weapons. All for $30! I emailed the seller and arranged a meeting. She replied "If you take everything, I'll let you have them for $20." Although the seller should probably never work for the State Department, I had to admire her negotiating style. Especially when she revealed that she originally bought everything for $200.

I brought everything home and stashed Wes in his crib for a nap, then ripped open the bag to discover there was no hardware provided to hang the curtain rods. GAH! Disappointed but undeterred I found some screws in the garage and cleverly rested the curtain rods on them then covered them up with the curtains. You totally can't tell that we are one step away from thumbtacking sheets to the windows like a couple of broke college students.

Then I rearranged the furniture because I felt like continuing with my "Design on a Dime" morning fun.

When Charlie returned from school he walked slowly into the room and said "It looks so pretty, Mama!"

And what more can you really ask than the approval of a three year-old, am I right?



I think it is a huge improvement, and moving the ironically named "loveseat" to the same side of the room as the couch means that now each of us has our own couch to sit on while we watch Law and Order. It doesn't get any better than that, folks.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wes goes to college

We packed up the kids and went to a candlelight Advent service at my new school tonight. There was a choir and an orchestra and it was beautiful and reverent and peaceful. At least, that is the way it looked from the lobby of the chapel, where Wes and I watched.

Fortunately he made it through the procession, because it was SUPER AWESOME. The choir assembled at the back of the church in their black robes. The front guy held a cross on a long pole and started singing "Once in Royal David's City" acapella. It was beautiful. After the first phrase, the rest of the choir joined in and they all walked to the front of the chapel together.

Did I mention that it was beautiful? Because it was. It was everything I love about liturgy and tradition and the chapel was wonderful. The weather was cool and the campus was decorated for Christmas as we joined the students and faculty walking to the chapel.

We were seated in the very back pew with two other families with small children. Unfortunately we were between the two families, so when Wes started up his one man show one of them had to get up and completely leave the pew to let us out. More on that later, because I have to tell you about Charlie and his lady friend.

Charlie was sitting next to a sweet little girl who looked about his age. At first he leaned heavily into me, but I guess after I left with Wes he warmed up to her because in the car on the way home he said "I liked that girl. Her face was pretty" and when I laughed he said "and her coat felt nice." DUDE!

So Wes didn't last long past the processional. By that point he had totally run out of things to do. He had already removed both shoes and both socks and sucked on both socks and tried to destroy a Hymnal and tried the back arching jelly body slow slide to the floor followed by indignant shrieks when we wouldn't let him crawl away under the pews. Seeing that things weren't going anywhere good I figured we better make our exit. So we displaced a family of four with perfectly behaved children so that I could take Wes to the lobby.

He did OK in the lobby for about thirty seconds before he started trying to crawl up the stairs, eat the candles, leave the building, and make a holy hell lot of noise. Refreshed from his three and a half hour nap this afternoon (I thought being rested would be a good thing, I was wrong) he had energy to BURN and that tiny lobby simply was not big enough.

He thoroughly enchanted a faculty member who was in the lobby and was dying to hold him while I went back in to watch the service, but when she reached out her arms he suddenly became Mr. Shy and buried his face in my sweater.

When I couldn't take it anymore I poked my head back into the chapel and asked Ryan if we could switch places. Ryan swears he heard Wes say "Bad boy" during this time. I swear I only said it once and it was in a joking tone. Nothing wrong with his receptive language, apparently. Ryan left Charlie in the pew and came out to take Wes. I went back in and stood behind Charlie to listen to the last hymn and watch the candle lighting part, which was done in TOTAL SILENCE. It was very cool. And then we all stood in the lobby as everyone sang carols and processed out with their lit candles. Charlie was highly disappointed that he didn't get to hold a lit candle.

Despite all the distractions, the service was very special. I had to pinch myself several times because I can't believe I get to work at this school. It is such a peaceful, nurturing place and it is exactly how I envisioned college before I went. It is EXACTLY the kind of environment I saw myself in when I decided I wanted to be a professor seven million years ago when I started grad school.

And I'm not going to lie. I had to supress a very dorky urge to tell everyone I saw that I was going to be teaching.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Murphy's Laws (Amended)

  • If you decide at preschool dropoff that you will drop off your tuition check at pickup, you will most certainly be running late at pickup.

  • If you are running late to pick your kid up at school, the stroller will definitely be buried under seven tons of outgrown children's clothing that you've put off taking to the children's shelter.

  • If you then decide to bag the stroller, because you are late anyway, you will remember that you have to write the tuition check. While holding a squirmy almost-toddler.

  • If your children are playing nicely by themselves and no one is fighting or whining and the house is clean and you have a new Newsweek to read, you WILL SUDDENLY REMEMBER that you have missed an H1N1 booster appointment and then you will call, hoping to reschedule for next week, and then they will say "No problem, just come in now!"

  • And then when you get there... WHY THE HELL ARE THOSE CLOTHES STILL ON TOP OF THE STROLLER?!

  • And they won't let you wait in the waiting room because it's just flu clinic so please line up by the sign.

  • So you will have to hold a squirmy, angry baby with a disgusting diaper for fifteen minutes while your squirmy three year old with wet undies wraps the string that holds the pen to the clipboard around and around his head like a headband.

  • And you can't get out of line to take care of the diaper and the undies because it's a LINE and you will LOSE YOUR PLACE.

  • ARGH!!!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rainy Day



I am getting tons of things done today. Why? We are trapped inside the house. Together. All day.

Because it is freezing and, raaaaaaiinnning.

And raining and raining and raining some more.

We have ventured out only twice, once to yoga at the community center, after which I sat down with the paper for a few minutes only to be waved into the nursery by the babysitter who told me, AFTER THE KIDS HAD ALREADY SEEN ME, that "They're playing so nicely! You can get some coffee and read the paper if you want!" HELPFUL.

And later we went to the grocery store because it is freezing and raining and not making something in the crock pot just wouldn't do. So I have cream of chicken and wild rice stew going in the crock pot and a loaf of rosemary-olive oil bread in the bread machine. Go little appliances! Make me look like Superwife!

When Charlie wakes up we're going to make cookies.

UPDATE: Predictably, the bottom fell out at dinnertime. Wes loved his stew and ate it by making sculptures out of it on top of his sippy cup then licking it off. Charlie didn't eat anything because he wasn't hungry after stealing approximately seven cups of cookie dough off the counter. Now Ryan is putting them to bed by himself because, in his words, "I don't know how you do this all day and still seem so happy by dinnertime." He wants me to eat cookies and watch the president on TV.