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March 2008
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May 2008

Chunky Trunks

We're having some trees trimmed and one removed from our backyard.  Yay!  Picture it... chainsaws, men in trees, backyard chaos.  I don't know who was more excited to see them show up, me or the kiddo.  (OK, it was probably me.)  But still, all around entertaining for a kid (which is great 'cause it's not like I'm whisking him away on a field trip while we have big chunks of trunk falling into ours and our neighbor's backyard.  You know, liability issues). 

I thought Chance might be scared by the noise but as soon as I explained that we were having a tree taken down in the backyard his rather accusatory response was, "Yeah, they're TOO tall!"  ?!  OK then.

Between the two trees we're having trimmed and the one taken down there has been A LOT of debris.  (Oh, and if you'll all excuse me a mini rant here... who the hell plants two (huge) avocado trees, a pepper tree, and a privet in their backyard  as well as a myriad of other small trees - all of which drop shit like there is no tomorrow?!  I swear, we had thought the two sycamores in our old house could drop a lot of leaves, but at least that was once a year and they were pretty!  Every single tree in our backyard seems to produce a continuous stream of fruit, pollen, and leaves all year round.  Keen is out there sweeping every couple of days.  And you can't even eat the fucking avocados.)

Anyway.  One load of many to be ground up.

Dsc02889

Pulling out the big tools on the condemned tree.  Manly!

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And the giant erection award goes to...

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Ah, phallic jokes and landscaping.  Good times.         - wg


In Which I Am a Dillweed

So we’ve been living in our new house for about a year. In the beginning, as with most new house inhabitants, we were furiously decorating – picking color schemes, buying furniture, perusing catalogues at every bathroom break, it was practically orgasmic – and that decorating frenzy eventually came to a standstill.  This is just part of the natural transition from “excited new homeowner” to “settled-in mortgage payer”.  Until it’s a year later and we realize we still don’t have pictures on the wall. Or ever replaced the light fixtures we hated. Or unpacked that last box of knick knacks for that empty corner shelf waiting at the top of the stairs.

OK, then. Let’s get some fricking decor up already! The catalogues are once again in the bathroom. (BTW, that whole artistically grouped seaside artifacts thing that Pottery Barn is sporting? They stole that from me.) 

Anyway, most of this week I have also been trapped in the house with a very clingy, whiny, contrary about everything I suggest, little three-year-old. We were sick… sick of the house, sick of being sick, sick of each other. I needed a break (I’m sure Chance did too, but kiddo, you don’t drive! Ha!). Saturday, when Chance actually went down for a nap and as Keen dozed on the couch, I could see I was presented with a rare and potentially fleeting opportunity… so I took it and I ran like hell! 

I thought a quickie art decor project would be a good pick me up so I planned on hitting Marshall’s (possibly Michael’s, but hoped for a sale) for good frames at discount pricing. On the way out the door I put on my brand new four inch, green plaid wedge sandals to break them in on my quick trip.

Feeling all spiffy and purposeful, I arrived at Marshall’s and it was a smorgasbord of cute household items! Frames! Prints!  Pretty glass bottles! All exactly the type of things I was looking for. (Sometimes you just go on the right days.) And ooh!  Look! BOOKENDS!! I can never find bookends! At least not at $7 a pop.  (They’re always, like $40 or $50 bucks. What’s up with that?)

By the end of the hour I’m all done; I’m loaded down with frames and other goodies at ridiculously low prices, I should be back home well before Chance is up from his nap, and my new shoes were just starting to pinch. I was feeling quite proud of myself; I was time efficient, fiscally conscious, and clad in cute shoes. The frames were a bit heavy (stupid Marshall’s doesn’t let you roll their carts past the doors) but, being such a super chick, I managed to hold on to all my bags and totter on out to the car.

And this is where I discovered I am a dillweed.

My car had a flat tire. Which I noticed immediately because it was flatter than flat. This was no slow leak, but a split rubber seamed disaster. My car not only had a flat but, given the amount of tire damage, it was probably flat when I left the house!

Did I notice? No. No I did not.

You gotta understand that I am a girl who likes machines. I like mechanical objects. I like cars. I’m not an aficionado by any means, but I do go out of my way to learn enough to feel in tune with whatever car I’m driving. Some more than others, of course. I was much more up on my ’66 Bug than I am on my current Audi. But then, my Bug needed a lot more tinkering (and I’m a VW fan).  In any case, finding a sudden flat – that I should have noticed – made me feel like a dork.

My options flashed through my mind… call Keen, call Triple A, call tow truck. But wouldn’t you know? My phone was sitting on its charger at home, because what could possibly happen when I was just going around the corner?!  OK. Loaded up all my crap in the car and hiked it on over to the Target next door. I could not spot a pay phone on the street level at this mall but I was certain Target could save me. (Target’s like that.) Shoes were definitely rubbing at this point.

Keen’s advice, once I located a phone, was to drive it over to a nearby Wheel Works. Oh, and while driving to not “take it crazy”. (Duh.) Hike back to the car. Trying to back out of my parking space, two different couples flagged me down to let me know that my tire was flatter than flat. (Audi’s must be popular because no one wanted to see me damage my car.) One very nice lady called Triple A on her account for me… only to discover her account had expired. And one very nice guy, her friend, even offered to change out my spare tire… which was also flat. Fuck! But the kindness from strangers was really quite touching. (On an even more bizarre note, I belatedly recognized the three-year-old with them. He was a classmate of Chance! Isn’t that weird? And they had offered to help me before any of us realized we sort of, kind of knew each other.  We’re setting up a playdate later.)

So drove my car at an annoyingly slow pace to Wheel Works. Dennis and Marty, the guys there, also super nice and were even going to fill my spare and change it for free. Because, you know, I was hoping to consult with the hubby before shelling out a bunch of cash on tires right that very minute. But wait! That spare can’t be fixed! It was damaged from a previous flat tire incident... an incident where we obviously forgot to replace our tire. (We’re both dillweeds!)

Call Keen again, this time from Dennis’ cell phone. At this point I’m probably half a mile from home but it’s also unseasonably warm. Keen was OK with getting the tires (I mean, what were we going to do?) and then asked, “So are you just going to walk home?”

I looked down at my four inch wedges, the glowing raw spots I knew were there discretely hidden by green plaid, and said, “No, I’ll wait.” (I should have been hobbling at this point but I was totally playing it off. A girl has got to look poised, at least, fixing her dillweed disaster.)

I hung out with Dennis and Marty as they worked (‘cause I like garages, I’m weird like that) and in short order, everything was fixed. I even made it home before Chance woke up from his uncharacteristic, long ass nap.

But still, an all around weird day.  That trip to Marshall’s ended up being a lot more expensive than I thought.

       - the weirdgirl

Updated to add photo

Plaid_wedge_sandals

Honestly, I know how to change a tire.  I've done it before. I just didn't want to in four inch heels.



Sprightly Writing

I saw this on a license plate yesterday… 

BE 4 U I AM

You know, it’s this kind of cutesy, flagrantly ungrammatical shit that is slowly killing my soul.  (I know this because I can hear my soul whimpering when I encounter words like “lite” or “grillz”.) 

Not that I’m always the paragon of proofreading excellence either but at least I know I’m just being lazy or inattentive. (Case in point: this blog!) I’m not doing it out of ignorance or, worse yet, going out of my way to come up with something like the above license plate. (I’m sure the person responsible thought they were being poetic. But I’m not bitter.)  Speaking of which, I’ve just embarked on a huge project to go through and organize, file, and input into electronic storage all my creative writing from the last 20-odd years. I’m starting with the poetry and, whew baby! does some of that early stuff have horrific errors in it! But again, I know most of the blame came from my habit of procrastinating writing projects (or any homework) until the very last second and then oh my god, I don’t have time to proofread I must print this out right now and get it to class! 

(Professional disclaimer: of course if I’m getting paid to proofread then I am extremely precise. Just so ya know. Oh, yeah, and I’m proactive now, too, potential employers.)

Anywho. I’ve been getting very little computer time lately because apparently coming within five feet of a computer, alone and with intent to work, is on the list of things you are absolutely never allowed to do if you are the parent of a three-year-old. Also on this list is talking on the phone. As you can imagine this makes that paid work very difficult to complete, let alone my pet projects. (The irritation factor of age three is not all that conducive to creativity either.)

Speaking of more writing, I’m also very excited to go see the lovely Rebecca Woolf tonight, doing a reading for her book Rockabye. I haven’t mentioned this before but I was part of Rebecca’s online writing group where we read the book in draft as she was writing. She included me in her acknowledgements and I was so very touched. I really didn’t expect that at all (or even noticed at first, because it didn’t occur to me that there would be acknowledgments and that I should look for them).  So if you haven’t bought her book yet and are looking for a great book about parenthood I really do recommend it; she has a lot of talent. (And I’m all snobby about that shit, you know.) 

 - the weirdgirl


Pride and Green Snot

Late night last night. We put Chance down about 7:00 and he was fine, and by 9:00 he had woken up screaming with a 103.5 fever, saying his head hurt. We got the fever down but for the most part I sat with him in front of the TV for a few hours. (I think we are officially in the phase of childhood where every illness will come through the house.) Around 1:30 he finally sits up, looks at me, and says, “I feel better, mom.” 

Can I tell you how nice it is to finally be able to communicate, meaningfully and at important times, with my child?! “Does your tummy hurt?” “No.”  “Does your head hurt?”  “Yes.” It sounds like it should be easy… but breaking through that communication barrier is major!

I get him to the doctor this morning; he’s got green snot shooting out of his eyes, nose, you name it, but he’s still crashing around just like normal. Turns out he has ear infections in both ears. I made a comment about how it’s hard to know when to bring him in and his doctor smiled and said, “Yeah, he’s got a high pain threshold.  The criteria I’d tell most parents to watch for… well, he doesn’t really fit it.”

On a similar note (and speaking of germ fests!), I’m very pleased to say that Chance is officially moving up to the next classroom at preschool this week. He has been “visiting” a couple of the older classrooms for the last month, and what a difference the change in environment has made! He’s still a very active kid and his focus can be all over the place, but the aggression issues have gotten way better!  Both of the preschool directors suspected that Chance was getting over stimulated and overwhelmed, and therefore lashing out, in the two-year-old room because it can be really chaotic in there.  (And I think his teachers were struggling because Chance wasn’t acting within predictable parameters for most toddlers.)  The older classrooms are calmer than the two-year-old room, the kids play in different ways, there are no group trips to the bathroom.  I think there are probably more challenging toys and activities for him, too.  So I am very excited about this move.  Best of all, one of my best friends and Chance’s godmother is one of the teachers in his new room!  yay!

Of course, I am continuing to work with him and I’m still keeping an eye on his development (because he IS very active and I am not ruling out ADHD, regardless of what behavior modification work we do or what environment he’s in). The school district won’t do an assessment for him unless/until he is enrolled in one of their schools, AND they don’t necessarily cover the criteria we’re watching for so I need to pursue some other private routes. Again, I am super happy Chance’s godmother is with him as she has an ADHD child herself and she’s so unbelievable good with kids it blows my mind.  (Like, I seriously could not do that job.)

But it feels good to know that we are making progress.  And at some point (and I know this will sound crazy but it’s true) I could see Chance making some decisions to act in certain, better ways… more listening, less tantrums, etc… and for that I am very very proud of him.      

   – the weirdgirl


Foo-foo Improv

Well, there have been some interesting lines, songs, and words contributed by you grand folks.  And I admit this whole experiment has sent me back to prepubescent camp days (and maturity levels).  Check these out. 

First up, things your kids are singing.

"What's Wrong With Your Ass" from Summer's daughter.

"Up the butt the world so high" during Twinkle Twinkle Little Star from demmom.  (I SO have days like this.)

And from Foradifferentkindofgirl's boys, everyone's favorite word... butt munch!   (Ha ha, butt munch.  Yes, I AM three.)  This one definitely needs to be worked into a song.

     *******

A song contributed by Muddleman (I'd really love to hear the tune to this.)

I am a villain, a dirty rotten villain,
I leave a trail of blood wherever I go, I go
I take delight, in stirring up a fight
I beat babies on the head until they're dead

I have gotten, a rap for being rotten
I put poison on my grandma's shredded wheat
I eat
raw meat

I fell from a window
a second story window
and caught my eyelash on a sill
a sill

Go get an axe
there's a fly on baby's mustache

A boy's best friend is his mother
your a liar
your another
my father shot a horse

Yay, father!

     *******

Variations of Twinkle, Twinkle seem to very popular.  There is even a version on my son's potty chair, that surprisingly doesn't use the word tinkle.  However, Jason's suggestion cracks me up...
"Tinkle, Tinkle on the Neighbors Car"   Classic!  I've got to remember this if the neighbor's piss me off.

     *******

This one's by me.  Sung to the tune of Fraere Jacques (And I have no idea how to spell frare. I suck at French.)  Words suggested (duodenum and expunge) by Evyl (who is living up to his name. Evyl, I'm still working on those other words you threw me.)

Duodenum, duodenum, shoots out food
(eventually);
Expunge those greasy burgers,
fries and pepper poppers,
all brown now, all brown now.

(For this to truly be a kids’ song it should end with farting sounds.)

     *******

And another one, words suggested (Schwinn, slackers, and snakes) by Jade. Sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle.

Banana Seat Love

Darling boyfriend, you’re a slacker,
Saw you with her, want to smack her,
Our love I thought would never shake
Once down my back you dropped that snake,
I passed you notes, you passed them back.
(Hopped-up words are ‘tweener smack.)

Crushed to see her on your bike,
Looking like a gap-mouthed pike.
She’s so ugly, you’re so mean,
Hope your teeth turn spotted green.
You’ll never get my love again.
(Unless you let me ride your Schwinn.)

        - the weirdgirl


Foo-foo

I know there’s this new movement to make traditional children’s songs more PC.  However, I swear this is what Chance has been singing lately. (Loudly, I might add.)

“Little bunny FOO-FOO! 

HOPping through the FORest!

… scooping up the winos,

[mumble] booty [mumble].”

I don’t know the words to the song, per se, but I’m pretty sure there is a disgruntled teacher at preschool who needs a raise.      

Hey, I got an idea! I’m in the mood for a little random word improv.  Someone throw out some random words and I’ll try to come up with children song lyrics as interesting as my son’s.  Or if you have any entertainingly creative lyrics, from your kids’ or your own, drop me a line and I’ll add it here. 

       - wg


Back from the Dead…

Or bathroom solitary, whichever you’d like to call it. I felt like death warmed over a couple times this week, because can you believe that flu lasted the entire week? Ugh. E_award

OK, so back to work! Shortly before my unfortunate flu affliction (ha ha… alliteration) I was very graciously awarded an Excellent Blog Award by Lisa at Refuse to Blog.  Thank you my dear!  Isn’t it pretty?  The rules are to 1) acknowledge the person who gave you the award through some link love and 2) to pass on Excellent Blog Awards to at least ten bloggers. Without further ado, the excellent bloggers…

All Rileyed Up

All the World’s A Stage

Charlie Blockhead

CroutonBoy – Cheeky’s Hideaway

From Evyl with Love – an old favorite with a new blog

Life, the Universe and Everything

Little Bald Doctors

Kill the Goat – And apologies, Jay, I never did finish that love poem for you. Stuff with the kiddo got in the way.

No Place Like It

Roth Family Adventures

Rude Cactus

It was difficult to choose only ten (because, hello? see blogroll of excellent bloggers on the right), so I went over just a little but compounding the problem is some of my favorite bloggers have moved on completely or have been on hiatus. Phoenix, MIM, Freedom Monkey House, TisDone (wherever you are now) you are missed. Hope to read you soon.

(Honorable mentions - Mom 101, Motherhood Uncensored, Girl’s Gone Child, Cynical Dad, MetroDad – all these folks get beaucoup accolades and awards already but they make me laugh and are still some favorites. (Even though I’ve been an extra-crappy visitor lately.))

I love you all! OK, and now back to the work that pays me. Bleh. At least this got my fingers all nice and warmed up.

                – the weirdgirl

P.S. Do you want to hear something horrible?  While I've been typing I've been watching Idol Gives Back on DVR, which I've been watching in bits and pieces all week. Anyway, I'm pretty much watching the performances and using it as background noise and avoiding ALL segments about the undeveloped countries.  I totally support the cause, and I do give to charity, but sometimes I'm just not emotionally able to watch starving children.  However, starring in stunned surprise at Teri Hatcher's singing and muttering insults under my breath at the celebrities' stupid jokes is OK.  I'm so lame.

P.P.S.  Annie Lennox rocks.


Feeling like the crappiest blogger ever

Every week  I tell myself I'm going to blog more posts.  Plus, more reading and commenting.  EVERY WEEK I tell myself this.  And I'm down to what?  Two posts a week on average? 

Chance and I have the stomach flu.  Or rather he had it and is better.  I have it now and I feel like c-r-a-p!   I have not had stomach flu in so long I kind of forgot how bad it is... or how long it could last.  I suppose this is what happens when you handle someone else's poop on a daily basis.  Speaking of which, thank you all for such nice supportive comments in the face of my mean mommyness of the last post.  Really, on the days I lose it, it's hard to know the line between coming down too hard or working tough love.  No one wants to feel like they're playing mind games with their kid (even when their kid is playing mind games first).  And despite a few spectacular flu-propelled blowouts (aka, accidents) I think the kiddo's potty attitude is improving.  (Keep fingers crossed!)

In other news, Lisa at Refuse to Blog gave me an Excellent Blog award.  She's so damn sweet.  I have ten people to pass this on to as well, but I think I'm going to do that tomorrow.  My stomach is still gurgling and while Chance is at preschool (because yes, I totally took him to preschool - he was going mental being locked in the house the last few days) I'm trying to juggle the limited work time, a looming deadline, and training for the prestigious Olympic bathroom dash event.

Fun times.              - wg

P.S. Love this, by the way.  Ludo, "Love Me Dead"


In Which I am a Mean, Mean Mommy

So essentially, Chance is at a point where he has the potential to be completely potty-trained… but he’s not. Some of it is normal; he still gets too interested in playing to always stop and go to the bathroom. He doesn’t always tell me he has to go, so I have to make him take potty breaks. If he gets upset or over-stimulated, he’ll have an accident. And he still will run off and hide to poop in his pants. 

But the biggest thing I noticed (or finally clued into) was that he was using accidents as payback. He has an accident and then runs away instead of getting cleaned up. Turns it into one huge game. It’s another way to push mommy’s buttons… and lately, he’s been big into pushing buttons. (Can you tell this totally makes me insane?)

The scene: Chance and I are playing together but he keeps pushing me with his feet.  After I’ve told him to stop three times, and tell him I’m not going to play if he isn’t nice, I stop playing with him. I sit on the couch and pick up a book to read.

Chance pees his pants. 

ME: “Oh kiddo! OK, let’s go get changed.”

CHANCE, watching me intently:  “No!” laughs hysterically, starts to run off

ME, temper rising: “I’m not going to chase you, Chance. This isn’t a game. Let’s get cleaned up. You don’t want your butt to hurt, do you?”

CHANCE, more laughing, tries to hide

ME, (completely mentally snapping): “OK then, you know what?! When you’re ready to get changed, you let me know!”

CHANCE, stops laughing, looks at me warily

ME:  stomp to kitchen, forget what I’m doing, stomp back, pick up something off floor

CHANCE, sees me coming back, starts laughing again

ME: “I’m not going to chase you! Are you ready to get changed?”

CHANCE: “No!”

ME: “All right, you let me know when you’re ready.” I stomp back to Keen in the den and tell him what’s going on. “I’m going to go practice drumming. Don’t change him until he asks.” (Mean mommy!) I head outside and bang on things for a while. 

Twenty minutes later I go in to get a tissue (damn allergies) and Chance has just gotten changed. I then invite him outside to play.

 

Ten minutes later, another accident.

ME, feigning nonchalance (but inside I’m still pissed from earlier): “Oops, looks like you’re wet! Do you want to get changed?”

CHANCE: “No!”

ME: “All right, it’s up to you. You let me know.”

CHANCE goes back to playing.

Five minutes later.

CHANCE: “[I’m] cold, Mommy.”

ME: “Well, that’s because you’re wet, kiddo. You ready to get changed?”

CHANCE: “No!”

ME: “OK, it’s up to you.”

Another five minutes later.

ME (because I couldn’t resist): “So are you going to have an accident in front of all your friends at school, too, and then stay in wet clothes?”

CHANCE: silence

Five more minutes later.

ME (after the wind had kicked up a little): “Hey kiddo, ready to get changed?”

CHANCE: “Yes.”

ME: “Let’s go.”

 

Get inside and Chance waits for me to undress him. (Which, honestly, up until this point I usually did. It was just faster that way.)

ME, not stepping in to help him at all: “OK, take off your clothes.”

CHANCE starts to tug at his clothes but still looks for my help

ME: “Nope, you’re a big kid. You can do it. Take off your shoes first.”

CHANCE takes off his shoes

ME: “OK, now take off your socks.” (The totally sodden, sticking to him socks.)

CHANCE wrestles socks off his feet

ME: “Good job! Now pull down your pants and underwear. Everything off!”

CHANCE gets out of pants and underwear

ME, giving him a quick wipe down and handing him new clothes: “Put your clothes on. I know you know how.”

Chance again pauses, waits for help

ME: “Go ahead. You’re a big kid, you can do it.”

CHANCE s-l-o-w-l-y pulls on all his clothes himself.

ME: “Great job, Chance! See, you’re such a big kid now I knew you knew how to do all that yourself.  And when you have to go potty I know you can come in here and do that yourself, too.”

CHANCE, big beaming smile

 

That was Sunday. The next time I asked him if he had to go pee he ran into the bathroom shouting, “I can do it myself!” The next time he had a (perfectly understandable) accident he 1) told me, and 2) when I said, “OK go take off your pants” he ran into the bathroom and took off his pants.  The angry, button-pushing peeing seems to have stopped (God, I hope I’m not jinxing myself!), and best of all, he actually pooped in the potty the other day! Then the last time he tried to do the run and hide maneuver (to poop) all I had to do was remind him of that great poop he made in the toilet and he went running for the bathroom. 

Who knew me having my own version of a tantrum would work out so well?

 - the weirdgirl