Navigating the sticky, jam-covered road of life.  

Friday, August 28, 2009


I have this one really intense memory.  Well, if you ask my Mom, she'd tell you that I have lots of memories.  That I'm practically an elephant and peanuts are my favorite snack.  And I do.  I have a fabulous memory for all things associated with my childhood.  Now the location of my husband's keys, or perhaps what happened 20 minutes ago, those memories aren't so strong.  

Anyway, I'm digressing.  Back to this memory.  I was just a bit older than Sunshine is now.  And I believe we were living in Charleston.  My mom was getting ready for a bunch of ladies to come over to the house.  Probably the ladies she worked with, but I'm not certain.  I really wanted nothing more than to be with my Mom in the kitchen, and I happened upon this wonderful idea of cleaning the sink.  I could make it beautiful, and I could be there in the kitchen with my mom.  Maybe if I were useful, I wouldn't get relegated to my room to play.  

So clean the sink I did.  Scrubbing.  Bubbles.  Hot water.  I remember being so proud of myself, exclaiming to my Mom that everyone would see how beautiful the sink looked, and that they would know that I cleaned it.  She completely agreed with me, and didn't fail to tell everyone who came that it was I who cleaned the sink.  

That memory came flying back to me tonight as I was cooking dinner.  Sunshine got up on her stool and suggested that she could clean our sink.  She put all her heart and soul into cleaning that sink, much like I remember doing myself.  And she was so proud of herself when she looked at the finished product.

And because we don't have anyone coming over to our house tonight... I'm telling you all.  Sunshine was the one who cleaned the sink tonight.  She worked so hard on it, and she is so very proud of herself.  And so am I.  

Thursday, August 27, 2009

See One, Do One, Teach One

To My Wonderful Husband?  Boss?  Partner? (Damn.  It gets confusing when some of those lines get crossed.)

I think I'm ready to quit.  I think I've tried really hard to help you.  I was somewhat understanding when you demanded that I get letters out on a Sunday morning.  Because hey, even though the Post Office is closed and those letters won't get sent until Monday morning, they absolutely must be ready on Sunday-freaking-morning.  OK.  So maybe I wasn't all that understanding.  But you get the point.  You did finally concede that it was probably the wrong time to get them out.  But only after I sent you a few passive aggressive murderous looks while typing away on the computer, listening to the children run wild, and thinking about the nasty breakfast dishes that were awaiting me while I worked on your letters.  

But this?  This is just downright obnoxious.  You ask me complete a relatively important task, but you only give me part of the information required.  You want me to figure it out on my own.  Because apparently it's important that I keep my brain functioning.  Which would be fine.  If I had four hours to figure it out on my own.  Four hours where I wasn't listening to one or both of my children yell that they wanted to play games, pee on the floor, pee in the potty, eat an ice cream, or just to please, please, please put down the computer because they hate the computer.  But frankly, I'll be damned if I spend so many precious hours on a project that you will toss when I show it to you because it's not what you wanted.  It's called training, dude.  And I could use a little bit of it.  I don't throw my kids off the deep end to teach them how to swim.  

And honey, if you want a letter.  Say L-E-T-T-E-R.  If you want a form.  Say F-O-R-M.  No more of these amorphous emails.  Clarity.  That's where the law is headed.  Embrace it.  Practice it.  Love it.  For the love of God, and your tired, slightly overwhelmed wife.  

Seriously?  I don't want to quit.  And I do want to help.  But I've got two active kids, a house that doesn't clean itself, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to cook, laundry to do, school meetings to attend, carpool to do all by myself (because YOU conveniently planned early meetings all week).  I just don't have the time to figure out what you want.  Just freaking tell me.  Spell it out.  I know you've got a ton of work to do too, but we'll be a bigger help to each other if we aren't resentful.  

OK. Rant over. 


This was the first week of school.  Hallelujah.  Sunshine was ready.  I was ready.  I think that I must have repressed the memory of what school mornings could be like though.  And it's not over arguments about clothing or hairstyle.  Sunshine and I?  We just move at two different rates of speed.  And I hate to be late.  


We're turning Ladybug's world upside down.  Last week it was the sippy cups.  They're gone.  Every single one of them.  Really, she just got in the habit of losing them, or hiding them for me to find later, usually still filled with congealed milk.  But we've been freed.  And Ladybug has been tethered to the kitchen table.  Well, she is if she wants something to drink.  This week though, it's the diapers.  If I've any hope of Ladybug being ready for school in January, it's time.  Of course these changes are exponentially increasing the amount of mopping and laundry I'm doing.  Fabulous.  No matter what I do I create work for myself.  

First day of school goodness.  Sunshine is thrilled to go.  Ladybug wants to go so badly.  Soon.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I so knew this was going to happen. And I have a bruise on my butt and a knot on my head to prove it.

I knew this was going to happen.  A little background perhaps.  I have two small children, one of which who is learning how to use the bathroom.  It's messy business, raising children.  Consequently, our little bathroom downstairs, the one all of our guests use, often smells like I have two children who use the bathroom.  I hate it.  

A little while ago we were staying with some family who had a delightful pomegranate oil with reed diffusers in their bathroom.  It smelled so good.  Surely something like that could improve our little bathroom.  Right? 

But I knew it.  The kids could never leave it alone.  As I was purchasing one, watching the saleswoman scan the UPC code, I knew its days would be numbered sitting on the top of the commode (which by the way is one of my least favorite words in the English language).   But such was my desire for a pleasant smelling bathroom that I bought it anyways.

So yesterday it was placed in the bathroom, and proceeded to work its magic.  The bathroom was smelling just delightful.  Such a lovely combination of pomegranate and mango has never been smelled before in our house.  I knew it was too good to last.

And I was right.  I knew it.  I heard one of the two little mischief-makers fooling around in the bathroom.  And I heard some glass fall to the floor.  Forgetting that there was a lot of (expensive) oil in said glass container, I ran into the bathroom and... wait for it... I totally bit it in the oil.  My feet went up, my rear went down, my head slammed onto the floor.  So there I was: bruised and covered in pomegranate mango oil.  And now my bathroom?  Well it reeks of pomegranate mango oil just about as much as I do.  And the floor?  Well lets just say that I'm still slipping everywhere.  

The moral of the story?  I don't think I can have nicely smelling things until my children have left the nest.  Sigh.  It'll be a while.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Strangely Weird and Weirdly Strange Part 1

 Sometimes I think I'm surrounded by quirkiness.  Ladybug HAS to sleep with two extremely hot, fuzzy blankets.  Said blankets must be perfectly straight.  Heaven forbid they fall because there will be hell to pay.  Oh, and baby.  Or WaWa as Ladybug likes to call her.  WaWa has to be tucked in next to Ladybug, under her own blanket, but not disturbing Ladybug's blankets.  And the water?  Oh, the water.  It must be ice cold.  And tucked neatly under the fuzzy, hot blankets.  Afternoon sleep will only occur if all of the above stated conditions are met.  But sometimes not even then.  Today being one of those days.  

The fearless Ladybug.  The one who bravely climbs to the top of the playground equipment all by herself, sliding down poles and slides that her sister is hesitant around.  This fearless Ladybug squeals like the little girl that she is if she thinks that a bug might even be in the nearby vicinity.  I have to try so hard not to laugh, because that would embarrass her.  But seeing her throw back her head and howl THE BUG! THE BUG! is funny beyond words.  

Sunshine is no less quirky.  It starts every morning with the panties.  Should she wear these panties?  But she might want to save them for a play date.  And does the pink in this pair match the dress that she wants to wear?  The pattern doesn't matter, just the color.  Stripes with polka dots?  Great, as long as they have the same color.  Then it's the outfit.  She wants to be pretty, but not messy pretty.  I'm still not sure what messy pretty is, but I'm fairly positive it's an unintended consequence of our infrequent America's Next Top Model rerun watching.  Daytime TV really is lousy.  But it's better than her walking up to someone on the street and asking if they know who their baby daddy is.  I do have standards.

She likes her drinking water served warm, and her shower water cold.  I know.  She can't possibly be my kid, right?  She'll devour weird seafood like squid and octopus.  But chicken?  Only when Mars and Jupiter are in alignment on the 2nd day of the 5th month, and it's raining. She keeps me constantly on my toes.  I just never know how she'll respond to something.  Today she spent much time telling me that she wanted to be a mom and a cook when she grows up, but only if she doesn't have to have any children.  Because then her tummy would grow big, and so she just wants to be a mom to dog children.  Apparently having a big tummy would not be messy pretty. 

And that brings me to my dear husband who also always keeps me on my toes.  Apparently our laughing over the photo I posted on Saturday was supposed to tell me that he didn't want me to post it.  Ooops.  Must have missed that.  Selective hearing, you know.  So, honey, this is for you.  

*Sorry, Mom.  But you have to admit, we do look a lot alike!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Honey, You Had To Know I Would Post This.

I have it, folks.  Proof positive that my daughter's posing is descendant not from occasional screenings of America's Next Top Model...

But from her Dad.  

I'm sure I will pay dearly for this.  But man, I love genetics and flipping through old photos.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What I Wouldn't Give For An Instant Teleportation Device

We're almost there. Tomorrow we leave on what will be the longest leg of our journey, but it will be the one that brings us home. We've had such a wonderful time, but I can barely contain myself. My own bed is calling, and I can't wait to get the children back into the completely dark room that keeps them sleeping beyond 6 am.

The trip home tomorrow should be interesting. I'm knee deep in a fantastic book, which likely means that I will ignore the pleadings of my children for something to drink, and when are we going to get there, until they are so loudly high-pitched that dogs 10 miles away are cringing.

We'll probably be leaving at around 4 am, which means I get to drive the first shift. I love that time. The car is (usually) quiet, and then I can turn on NPR at 5. I should get an hour or two of Morning Edition in before my husband wakes up and starts muttering about bias in the media and the kids come out of their early-morning stupor and start demanding, not requesting, liquids. I'm really tempted to put tin foil up over the kids' windows to keep them quiet a little longer. And what is it about road trips that encourages my children to drink as much as possible? I don't serve salty snacks. Really, I'm just trying to avoid stopping at every nasty gas station between New Jersey and Atlanta. You'd think they were camels and this is their only opportunity to drink for the next 30 days.

We'll stop for breakfast, and people will stare at me a little funny because Good Lord, it's 9 am and those children are out in public, but still not out of their jammies. What kind of mother am I? And then I'll be able to relinquish the driver's seat which means I'll finally be able to get back to the book that I haven't been able to put down for the last 2 days.

The rest of the day will be spent fending off requests for drinks, begging the girls to keep their feet to themselves, passing out gummy bears to stave off grumpy attitudes, and trying furtively to sneak looks at my book while my husband looks at me out of the corner of his eye, wishing I would put it down and keep him company. And yes, the book really is that good. There will also be a very healthy smattering of Ladybug singing I like to move it, move it. Because we were smart enough (?) to rent Madagascar 2 for the trip from VA to CT.

With luck we should be home by bedtime. Just in time to attempt to convince the girls that it is indeed time to go to bed. Any bets on how likely that scenario looks?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

We're leaving (not) On a Jet Plane

Oh my G-d.  I am packing for a trip with four different destinations and I think my head may just explode from the logistical nightmare of it.  Snacks to pack.  Toys to pack.  Things for the beach.  Things for a garden party.  And how many pairs of shoes do I need?  The entire summer contents of my shoe wardrobe?  Sure.  Why not?  Because hey, we're not flying on an airplane.  But we are driving in a car 36 freakin' hours.  Not all at once, of course.  But I don't think that matters to the kids.  One hour in the car is just the same as the next.  And I think I may need to relax my 2 movies/10 hours driving time rule because I just don't think I can handle the whining.  Red Box, anyone?  

Sigh.  Breathe.  

Repeating slowly to myself.  There are stores where we are going.  If there's anything we need, we can pick it up.  There are stores where we are going.  If there's anything we need, we can pick it up.  

I will inevitably spend the first part of the trip worrying.  Did we actually set the alarm?  We didn't leave any of the windows unlocked, did we?  We did let the cats out of the bathroom that we stuck them in while we packed the car, right?  They didn't get outside, did they?  And the lights.  We turned them all off, right?  And shut the curtains.  Did we leave the water running? 'Cause hey, we left at 4 am.  Who the hell knows what the house looked like?  

And then 8 am will roll around, and I'll be able to call our lovely neighbor.  And she will assure me that everything is in perfect working order.  And I will be amazed, because hey, we left at 4 am.  And of course we had to watch True Blood the night before so we didn't actually get to bed until 11 pm.  

And I think this is where anti-anxiety meds just might come in handy.  

Back to packing and that mental list that I'm making that just keeps getting longer and longer.  Underwear, nighttime diapers, pull-ups, swim diapers, bathing suits, dresses, laptop, charger, phone charger, makeup (Although why this?  Because I never use it...), pictures, presents, alcohol (not to be used while driving, yes, I know), blankets, pillows, ...., ...., ...., 

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I feel pretty, oh so pretty...

Lately I've been getting too many peeks at my daughter's rapidly approaching adolescence.  I'm mean she's four, almost five, with the attitude of a 13 year old.  This should be the fun, inquisitive stage.  Not the moody, emotional stage where she'll stamp her foot, growl (yes, this kid growls), and slam her toys down at the smallest perceived slight.  She's a tiny little emotional roller coaster, bursting into tears if her favorite skirt isn't ready to wear when she wants it because, and I quote, "she wants to be pretty, not messy pretty."  

It occurred to me today that we could probably use some serious mother-daughter bonding time.  So we set off on an adventure.  An adventure that took us to a place filled with medieval torture devices, otherwise known as a nail salon.  Now I am sadly the sort of person who just doesn't take care of herself.  I go too long between visits to the hair dresser.  I don't wear makeup.  And I just don't get pedicures all that often.  But I don't want Sunshine to be like me.  At least not in that respect.  

I should have said stop the moment I heard the lady say something about an ingrown toenail.  But I didn't.  And then my big toe was attacked with a long, skinny, stabbing instrument and something that looked and felt a little like a pair of pliers, and it felt like she was actually trying to rip my toenail off.  And all the while I'm trying to sit there and smile and politely answer my daughter when she asks me why I'm gritting my teeth and making that weird noise.  And when the nail tech had finally removed the offending portion of my toenail, she put it on my toe and laughed at how big it was.  She left it there to mock me and my lack of foot hygiene.  Then she discovered three more, and I'm trying desperately to forget that portion of this afternoon's events.  

Sunshine loved her mani/pedi.  She decided that purple, with a top coat of purple sparkles would be perfect for her feet, while her fingers were just screaming for blue, with a top coat of blue sparkles.  And while I think that we bonded a bit during the time we sat next to each other in those comfy chairs, I can't really remember talking much.  At least her choice of colors reminds me of the child I think she should act like.  Gives me hope that we're just in the middle of some funky transitional stage.  That I'll get my non-snarky kiddo back.  The one who doesn't roll her eyes at every one of my suggestions.  I mean she's only four, right?