Spring Break and I'm Exhausted

What's up with vacations tiring you out?  Spring break week just finished.  I was sooooo looking forward to sleeping in.  But apparently, I negated that extra sleep by just having too much damn fun!  I can't keep up with my own fricking party schedule.  We had playdates, went to museums, the amusement park, and the beach. I don't know what I was thinking.  I'm ending the week feeling frazzled and burnt out.  Chance isn't much better but, you know, he's younger so he recovers way faster or compensates by working mommy's nerves as a form of personal entertainment when he's too tired to watch TV. (Also, I think my period might be starting so there's that.)  I would like something chocolatey and alcoholic now, while I chant the eternal parental mantra...

School starts tomorrow, school starts tomorrow, school starts tomorrow.


And the parenting award goes to...

We're at Starbucks and Chance is asking questions about his babyhood.  (He gets very nostalgic over a blended strawberry lemonade.)  I've run through all the usual stories - his first teeth, diaper-changing pee mishaps, vomit disasters - and I'm running out of material.  Yet he keeps on asking.

"Tell me another story about when I was a baby, Mom."

"I've told you all the stories."

"No, another one!"

*sigh*

"Come on, Mom, tell me."

"Ummmmmm... well... there was that time that purple alien showed up and wanted to trade you for shoes. You remember that, right?"

"What? No."

"You don't remember that?"

"NO!"

"Oh well, this alien wanted to trade you for shoes and he kept asking and asking but I said 'No'.  Those shoes were really ugly."

"I don't remember that."

"Huh. I could swear you would remember that because you kept looking at me and shaking your head and saying, 'No Mommy, no Mommy'."

"What color was he?"

"Purple."

"How many eyes did he have?"

"Three."

"How tall was he?"

"I don't know exact inches but he was well over 7 feet tall. I mean, he was huge!"

"What else happened?  Tell me another story!"

"Umm... oh, there was that time on the boat when this giant octopus reached up and grabbed you and snatched you right off the boat. I had to wrestle you away from him. It was like one of your first boat trips."

"You had to what?"

"I had to wrestle you out of the grip of an octopus."

"With the beak?! Did he bite me?!"

"No, no, he hadn't gotten you to his mouth yet.  Just, you know, those big suckers on his tentacles were all stuck to you."

"Was this on the Pacific? Because that's where you find giant octopuses."

"Yes, it was!"

He chewed on that for a while and I got to sip my chai latte for a whole minute before...

"Tell me another story when I was a baby."

"I think I'm all out of stories, kiddo.  Oh wait, do you remember when Superman came to visit?  He was going to teach you how to fly.  But you hadn't even started walking yet so I didn't think that was a very good idea."

"Moo-oom! Superman isn't even real."  (This is where he questions me.)

"Yes, he is. He's coming back when you're twelve to teach you to fly."

"Mom!  Ugh. I don't want to learn how to fly anyway."

"What?!  Who doesn't want to learn how to fly?  That would be awesome!  You could swoop down... hey, can I have your lesson if you don't want it?"

At this point a lady at the next table (close but probably not close enough to actually hear us) leaned over to me and said, "You know, I teach a class on parenting for social services and I wish I could video tape you two. I've been watching how you interact with your son and this is exactly what we talk about in our classes, spending quality time with your child!"

"Uh..." I'm sure my face went beet red, "You didn't hear the story about the octopus, did you?" 

                   - the weirdgirl


Game on!

When I picked up my son for lunch today this is what he was drawing in the office.

Bloggable 008 cropped

Then he followed up with, "Mom, does this look like a .          .?"

Take a guess what he was drawing.  The winner shall receive fame and glorious adulations!  No, really.

(Oh, I think I'm gonna tear up. The first time your child draws a phallic image is just so special!)

               - wg


Bad Mom Move #1,346

So apparently I sent my child to school with a moldy sandwich.  Which I find ironic considering that whole other incident involving bread.  I was going to pack a lunchables but Chance inisisted on a bologna sandwich and I was kind of in a hurry so I admit I did not inspect every element of said sandwich while making it.  When I heard about the issue I figured there was a spot of mold on the crust or something and one of the lunch attendants just didn't want to chance it.  But upon lunch box inspection I found one of the inside pieces smeared with a good swipe of mold in a lovely shade of blue-green.  Which then got all over the bologna. Chance was pretty pissed about not getting to eat the bologna.

I used to totally give my mom crap about not paying attention when she made our lunches and one of us kids getting an all jelly sandwich while the other got all peanut butter.  And there was that one time when an ant got in the sandwich.  So obviously karma is getting me back for not just shutting up and eating that PB&J ant lunch.  Because nowadays I would probably just eat the ant.  Frankly, the bread mold worries me more than eating ants.

How many bad mommy points does that count for?

- the weirdgirl

P.S. The teacher totally laughed at me.


The day I was going to sleep in

At 6:22 by my clock (which is really 6:12 because I do that ridiculous thing where I set the clock ten minutes ahead in a sad attempt to be on time (or at least, get another free hit on the snooze button)) Chance comes charging in to my room.  He zips to the bed, then to the bathroom, then to the walk-in closet, then back to the bed like an errant hummingbird on speed, and in my groggy state I knew he was looking for Keen.  Keen was in Vegas for training, but normally if Chance woke up early he went right to his dad.  (Those damn morning people always stick together.)  Of course, Chance normally woke up no earlier than 7:00 and sometimes as late as 7:45!  Which is kind of what I was counting on.

See, yesterday was preschool and a lunch playdate and swimming.  Today was an open day.  I wasn't planning on doing much of anything until lunch time, at least.  

So I mumbled something to him along the lines of stop jumping on the bed and why don't you go play DS until mommy wakes up.  Yeah, I'm that mom.  Deal.

7:25 (which is 7:15, you're with me on that, right?) - thump STOMP STOMP STOMP up the stairs

Me (still groggy): "Chance? Are you wearing shoes?"

Chance: "Yes Mommy!"

Me: "Hey, don't open any doors, OK?  I haven't turned off the alarm yet."  (For the record, that statement I just uttered is a vast improvement because usually I set off the alarm accidentally at least once every time Keen is out of town. It's my job to turn it on in the evening.  It's HIS job to turn it off.)

Chance:  "Mommy, guess what?  I'm not just wearing shoes... I got dressed!  AND I got my own Cheerios!  And I ate them all because those will give me energy!  Because I want to get to school sooner today."

Me:  "You got... dressed?!"

Chance: " Yes!  I'm all ready!  Because I want to go to school and play with my best bud!!"  Chance climbs onto the bed where he harasses the cat with excessive fidgeting.

Me:  "But kiddo... can you stop jumping please?  Leave the cat alone!... it's great that you got ready," (which never ever ever happens), "but there's no school today."

If I had been marginally more awake I would have made him go do his homework sheets before telling him.

            - the weirdgirl


Kids are real (annoying) people, too

I know this is breaking the mommy blogging rules but I need to take a moment to bitch about my child.  Yes, I know!  We're only supposed to talk about how much we love our kids, and the cute and great things they do, or, barring that, how misunderstood they are because they are actually secretly wonderful even when they are misbehaving.

But come on, my son is a person, just like anyone else and that means he has strengths and weaknesses.  Potentially annoying ones.

I LOVE my son.  To pieces.  And I will get all mama bear up in someone's ass if they try to mess with him. Chance is smart and super creative and I love that.  The creativity is one of my favorite things about him.  I love that he can whip out a story at a moments notice, that he is always thinking, that he looks at things in different ways, and says the unexpected thing.  But sometimes?  Those smarts and creativity?

Kill me. KILL ME!

Chance doesn't understand what "fast" is.  Or at least he doesn't understand the difference between fast and slow.  He doesn't understand the word "focus".  And god forbid he actually does one thing at a time.

This morning we're trying to get ready to leave and we were ON TIME! and he insisted he wanted to do another homework sheet before school.  So I, like a big dummy, said, "OK, if you go fast as we get ready we'll have time. So go fast."  But the fast never happens. 

When Chance finishes his homework sheet (which was punctuated by numerous unrelated questions), and I say "OK, write your name," he launches into a story.  "What if Abraham Lincoln and the Mario Bros..."

When he actually writes his name he decides he must do each letter in a different color.  Which is fine.  As long as you do it quickly!  Nope, he tries to start a discussion about the coolness of different colors. (Which I nip in the bud, to speed things up. I do a lot of bud nipping.)  

If I say "come here, it's time to put on your shoes", Chance lays flat on the ground, points out that he's lying down, sits up, grabs a toy, and then spins around on his butt three times.  By that time, I've snagged an ankle to haul him over. 

This happens for EV-ERY-THING!

I try to give him useful definitions for what I'm talking about.  Such as, "going fast" means only doing the things that need to be done, no extras.  And then I point out what the extras are: telling a story, playing with toys, jumping up and down when I say "come here", trying to do two things at once.  "Listening" means stop, looking at a person's face, not talking/interrupting, etc.  But ARGH!  This is not meant to be a "secretly wonderful even when he's misbehaving" post because seriously?  Seriously?  He's driving me nuts!!  Some of it is the SPD, some of it is just his nature, and some of the time he really is just misbehaving because he thinks it's funny.  (So NOT funny.)

I can usually repress the frustration.  I'm very good at repression.  But this morning I lost it and slammed my hands on the floor and now my wrist hurts.

Because I'm not perfect either!

             - the weirdgirl


Who knew cause and effect was genetic?

So essentially, I'm a smartass.  (Shocker, right?)  A smartass and a storyteller.  I have probably been these things since I learned to talk, spinning some facetious yarn about how binkies are actually the detached udders of cows.  I also have three brothers.   Therefore, as with many children in large families, I grew up feeding those brothers lines of crap and seeing how much they’d buy.   What?  It’s fun!  A healthy family activity.   

However, call it fate or karma or what have you, I am now saddled with a child who puts an awful lot of emphasis on personal empirical knowledge.  For example, the lovely Motherbumper one time told a story about her child playing with a ratchet gun (without a bit) and Motherbumper told said child that if she unscrewed her belly button her butt would fall off.

This is exactly the type of thing I would have reveled in telling my brothers!

But, for a long time, I couldn't (and maybe still can't) say anything like that to Chance... because he would try to unscrew his belly button.  Just to see if his butt would fall off.  See, he seems to have the unfortunate combination of intense curiosity and a certain lack of self-preservation.  When he was younger I often caught him trying to touch the thing that I just told him was hot.  If I explained the cause and effect of hitting the wrong end of his spoon, next thing I knew he'd be flinging food in the air.  He had to test everything.  By the time he was ready for warnings about electric outlets I knew to intentionally leave out any mention of forks.

I couldn’t figure out where this... I don't even know what to call it... scientific spirit? foolhardiness? ...came from.  Regardless of the fact that my brothers and I told each other great big whoppers we knew better than to try them out.  I mean, what if one of those stories were actually true?  When my older brother would stick his tongue on a battery and pretend to be electrocuted... did I ever test that?  HELL no!  Did my youngest brother really think that if he didn't wear his underwear his penis would fall off and he'd become a girl?  I don't know, but I do know he started wearing underwear again. 

Anyway, you can see my dilemma... with Chance's million questions (and trust me, he has a LOT of questions) sometimes a smartass story is just burning to get out.  But I can't!  Given his nature I just need to suppress my facetious instincts until (hopefully) he grows out of testing everything.  Which I hope is soon.  I still can't figure out where this came from; I mean, in my family, I admit, we're all a little detrimentally creative at times but we're still healthily self-protective about bodily harm.

So one day I'm discussing (complaining about) this aspect of Chance with my mom and she says, "Yeah, I was like that.  I'd scratch myself because I thought blood was interesting."

*blink blink blink*

Thanks Mom!     

                     - the weirdgirl


And here's where I piss everybody off #1

Since there is always someone on the web foaming at the mouth about "breast is best" or the ethical (?) considerations of foreskins or whatever other reason why their parenting preferences are better than everyone else's, I've decided to start spouting off a few of my own.  Mainly because I just find a lot of that shit ridiculous.

I like to be subversive that way.

So here we go... I feed my son chocolate milk once a day!  And not just sometimes, pretty much every single day he gets chocolate milk. 

The HORROR!

I've been reading quite a few news articles lately about offering healthier food choices at schools, which I completely support.  However, every single article feels the need to point out that the schools offer chocolate milk... and so, oh my god!, the kids pick the chocolate milk over the regular milk!!  Aagh!

Check it out, prepared chocolate milk has about the same amount of sugar as a similarly-sized glass of apple juice.  (And I tested that against the 100%, no sugar added Treetop apple juice.)

Chocolate is a power food.

Milk, whether it's chocolate flavored or not, still comes with all those great dairy nutrients.

My son is kind of on the skinny side so I don't mind a few extra calories getting in him. 

As for all the people pointing out the horrifying effects of sugar on focus, hyperactivity (myth - unless you have a sensitivity to sugar (which occurs far less than people realize)), and the subsequent "sugar crashes"... you really have to scarf quite a bit of sugar for those effects.  (Like I personally have not had a sugar crash in a really long time and I eat some chocolate or a couple of cookies or some other sugar-based treat once a day.  At least.  ahem)  So is it really the one carton/glass of chocolate milk?  Or is it the chocolate milk, the candy bar, the cookie, and the corn dog?

I'm just foaming saying.           - wg


Soccer Moms and their contribution to the oil crisis

Our life without school

Mornings:
Watch kid TV and have leisurely breakfast
Do activity sheets (i.e. coloring pages with letters on them); read stories
Have lunch at home (home-baked bread, fresh vegetables from garden)
After lunch do an outing to Target, a park, or maybe the pet store, all of which are close by
Afternoons:
“Quiet time” (i.e. the two hours Chance is required to play quietly in his room; Me – nap or work)
Clean up after quiet time

Art project or play outside, garden or go for a walk
Dinner time, then bath
More stories and bedtime

Our life with school

Mornings:
Watch 1-2 kids’ shows, scarf down breakfast and run out the door
Drive Chance to school
Stop at Starbucks because I didn’t get enough caffeine and/or breakfast
Stop at bank
Run errands to stores that are lacking in “child entertainment value” (i.e. anything that isn’t Target, Toys R Us, or a pet store)
Stop briefly at home (because that seemed like a good idea)
Drive back to school to pick up Chance
Stop for drive-through lunch
Eat crappy fast food lunch at home; realize I need to stop by the bank again (feel guilty AND broke)
Afternoons:
Enforce shortened “quiet time”
Sit exhausted on couch (me)
Prep for next outing (because of course all the playgroup/kid oriented activities start up again now that summer is over!)
Pull Chance out of quiet time, cram snack in him
Drive to playdate/group activity/seasonal outing/grandma’s house
Drive home (in traffic)
Dinner time (hope that Keen has cooked; if not, run out to pick up food)
Skip bath (Eau d’ Exhaust is so lovely!)
Stories and bedtime

Over the summer I had maybe two to three guaranteed outings in a week. Last week I had seven! I gassed up my car last Wednesday midday… by Friday I was already down a quarter of a tank! My carbon footprint has not just expanded, I think it’s grown a corn or two.

          – the weirdgirl


A quick digression

My friend Jade came over last night with a lovely box of French style chocolates. You know, in the pretty shapes and a pretty box and tissue and ribbon and the oh-so-very-pretty flavors. Chance was still up when she visited, got to check out the box in full, and I even gave him a small bite of the dark chocolate Valencia before he went to bed.  Which he, surprisingly, enjoyed quite a bit.  (I just don't figure most kids would like the more bitter, dark chocolate flavors.)  Later that night I moved the box out of immediate sight to a place better suited to my enjoyment (i.e. on to the shelf of "mommy treats").   

This morning Chance wakes up, runs to the front room, and I hear...

"Oh no!  My chocolates!"

Eeerrrt.  His chocolates?

Shit.  "Oh well... um... Jade brought those over for ALL of us.  To share.  See, they're right here.  But chocolates aren't for breakfast kiddo."  (Except for mommy.)  "You can have a treat later, OK?"

I couldn't very well tell him I wasn't going to share at this point, could I?  Maybe he'll take a Dove chocolate instead. 

At least he's got good taste.             - wg


Rent My Husband

My old buddy Fuzz has once again led me to the wonders of the Internet… the latest of his great finds, Marry Our Daughter.  This site made me think about the other helpful, revenue-generating services that our society just hasn’t explored yet, sites that could be a benefit to everyone involved if only we have the vision and the balls to try them.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have those balls. 

I’d like to propose a similar service… Rent My Husband

For those single gals, single moms, or anyone who’d like the benefits of occasionally having a man in the house without the permanence! And for those married ladies and families who’d like to generate a little extra income by capitalizing on their husband’s unique skillsets.

Rent-a-husbands would be great for an endless variety of tasks, including opening jars, fixing things, yardwork, scaring away that stalker ex, and other “husbandly duties”. (nudge nudge wink wink)

Just like on Marry Our Daughter, families/wives who want to take advantage of the service could write up a pithy description of their husband’s skills and attributes, set a rental price and voila! start earning some dough.

I can already see the glowing testimonials

“I love the service! Jim, my regular rent-a-husband, is great at scratching those household itches and when he starts rambling on about sports or his political beliefs I can just send him home!” 

- Carrie, single mom and renter

“As the mother to five kids I felt exhausted all the time and like I couldn’t quite keep up.  Now that I’m renting out my hubby, during downtime he’s fine when I just want to take a nap.  And the extra income isn’t bad either!”

- SueAnn

“We’re both much happier now that we’re using the service. It gives me a little more time alone in the house, let’s Bob “try new things”, and it’s helping fund our son’s daycare!”  

  - Martha and Bob

“I’ve been really pleased by the performance of my rent-a-husband and I’m looking forward to trying some of the other husbands as well.”

- Samantha, renter

Now excuse me, I’m off to write Keen’s ad… I’m betting with his cooking skills I can get quite a good price off of him!       - the weirdgirl   


WPT Gone Wild

I messed up. Messed up something fierce. I thought I was being a good mom but nope. The whole day was just one mommy faux pas after another. In retrospect, it was like watching one of those bad action flicks where the hero just keeps screwing up.  Really, by now I should know better. 

Here’s how it went down:

11:30 Trip to a new park. I figured that was a good outing before lunch and it would give me a chance to scope out the local moms/nannies for the best toddler hang-outs in the new hood. Chance was slow to warm to the other kids but there was construction near by with a mini steam roller. (That’s the equivalent of truck heaven in his book.) Things were cool.

12:15 “OK, kiddo, we’re going to leave in a few minutes for lunch.” Chance utterly ignores me as he is now “playing” with other kids. (“Playing” meaning he finds the only older children in the toddler playground and has to be in their vicinity! Such a groupie for five-year-olds, that one.)

12:30 “All right, Chance it’s time to leave.” Utter.  Meltdown. Complete with lunging, shrieking, and back arching as I tried to get him into the car seat. Speeches of “I’m sorry you’re mad, but we’ll come back another time,” fall on deaf ears. Usually the acknowledgement of his fury will slow down the tantrum. This time, no dice. The other moms/nannies look at me with pity.

12:35 Almost… got… the seat…. latched! “Hey! Let’s pick up something new for lunch! Want to go for a ride?” More screams and laser eyes of death. 

12:40 Still tears and protests! This is beyond unusual. At this point it’s starting to sink into my brain that he must be really ready for lunch. Duh. Offerings of juice are only met with sobs between slurps. He finally quiets down as I arrive at the lunch place, get him out of the car, and walk into the shopfront. (Yes, the place required that we walk in. Yes, I know I’m stupid.)  I briefly consider sitting down for lunch at the place for faster food. Abandon idea.

12:45 Order and wait for food. Try to entertain Chance by looking at the pretty (but breakable) items in the shopfront. All admonishments of “look, don’t touch!” are met with willful and determined disobedience. Seriously, he was being a little hellion. Give silent thanks I decided not to eat at the restaurant. Take Chance outside shop for remainder of time.

12:55 - 1:00 Back in car and driving home. I feel pleased (stupid mommy) because I’ve timed it perfectly to have lunch and get Chance down for a nap sometime between 1:30 and 2:00, his usual time. I look back to see Chance’s head nodding in the car seat. Crap! Not so good timing. “Oh, no… Chance! Don’t fall asleep, honey. You haven’t had lunch!”

The idea of my child going to bed hungry fills me with guilt. Accelerate driving. “Wake up wake up wake up…”

1:05 I park, rush into the house and toss him onto the couch, all the while talking like a cheerleader on speed about the great lunch waiting for him. Take off his shoes. Chance stares at me blurrily then promptly starts to curl up on the couch for his nap. (He never does this.)  “No No No No!” I grab him again, run into the kitchen and prop my sleeping child up in his booster seat at the kitchen table. I arrange his “new” (brilliant fucking me) food as quickly as possible onto a plate and slap it in front of him. 

At the sight of grub he finally perks up enough to eat.

1:20 Lunch time is done. I transfer Chance immediately to his bedroom where, after the usual token protest cry, I figure he will collapse in sleep.

1:30 – 2:30 Chance plays in his crib.  And plays. And plays. He never falls asleep!  (At least he wasn’t screaming.)  Normally he takes a 2-3 hour nap at this time so we all get a break. I get him up but he was obviously tired and a bit of a brat the rest of the day. I, and my crappy timing, effectively screwed up his (and my) whole schedule. 

Bad mommy. Baaaaaad!

Lesson learned: LET THEM SLEEP! 

(Really, I should have had my parenting license revoked for violating this one. And it wasn’t even early morning - my usual WPT (worst parenting time).)

 - the weirdgirl

Hey kids! Can you find the other Mommy Mistakes wg made on this fateful day?  Just jot down your answers on a 4x6 card along with your name, age, and address and mail it to: What A Dork,  Anywhere, US, and YOU could be entered to win fabulous prizes!  Including a grand prize trip to Parenting Camp 101!  Enter now!


Me and My Poop KARMA!

GODDAMNIT! I know this is because I was looking at pictures of shit!  I jumped in for a quick shower while Chance was distracted by Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, with the door open as usual so he can wander in and out as needed.  And what does he stroll in with?  A fucking cat turd!  A FRESH cat turd!  In his hands! So of course I'm freaking out (but trying not to scream so I don't freak him out)... well first I had to lean in REAL CLOSE to see it because I don't have my glasses on in the shower... AND he's making those "umm" sounds like when he's EATING so I was thinking it was a piece of muffin or something... so I grab it, throw it into the toilet, grab him and start washing his hands with antibacterial soap, all the while trying to smell his breath in case he put it in his mouth! Can you feel the multiple layers of freakout here?!  In the meantime, I don't even know where he got it as the catbox is still safely behind a baby gate so I start running around the house (while toweling myself off) trying to find a pile of steaming cat poop.

I couldn't find a damn thing.  It must have been a dingleberry that broke free from the cat's butt.

Usually for the 15 minutes I'm in the shower I'm just freaking out that Chance will fall or hurt himself.

Eww, I still feel ill.


Why Playgroup is Occasionally Painful – a not so isolated incident

It was a gentle scene; the soft afternoon light cast a glow on errant dust motes. Children playfully chase cats chasing the dust. The Sam Champion band played softly from speakers, the bootleg mp3 streamed via a network server to an appropriately compatible media center (of course). Laughter and quiet talk fills the air. 

Then a pall… a miasmic cloud creeps around the room, a stench more foul than day-old lap dance puke after a weekend Vegas binger.  It hits the occupants suddenly, violently, without remorse, like a really smelly mugger.  The cats flee.  The dust motes quiver in terror.  Every mother immediately drops to the floor and puts nose to their respective child’s butt.  But I, with sinking gut, knew the perpetrator. Then, to confirm what my gut already knew, the dance begins… a flailing, squirming, twisting gyration, more disturbing than a Michael Jackson sidewalk instructional, as my son frantically tries to escape the noxiousness of his own bottom.  (Just like daddy.)

And I, standing stoic amid the eye-watering fumes, knowing that the other moms can’t possibly have built up the same tolerance that I now have to this excruciating olfactory pain, I still wait a full five minutes before changing his diaper… to make sure it’s ALL OUT!

Bad (playgroup) mommy.                – the weirdgirl

Thanks, CroutonBoy, for the inspirational search terms for this post!


Out of Sync Again

I’ve noticed more and more on the web people have been discussing books they’ve read, reviewed, shared, etc.  Since most (not all) of the blogs I read tend towards parenting most of these books have been about child development and so on. 

I decided to jump on in and share the last few books I have read recently (in order):

The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad, by Minister Faust (currently reading)

Ultimate X-Men, hardbound #1-12, story by Mark Millar

Definitely Dead (Southern Vampire Novel), by Charlaine Harris

Paths Not Taken, by Simon R. Green (it’s still SF/Fantasy, not self-help like it sounds)

Hidden Warrior, by Lynn Flewelling (ditto)

I’m sensing a rather large disparity between what I hear the other parents are reading and what I am reading.  *cough*   I would feel guilty except that I thoroughly enjoyed every single thing I’ve read, though I will admit there seems to be a certain lack in intellectual or educational tomes here.  (I DO read Scientific American and Zyzzyva (for the poetry) but that reading is squashed between perusing Maxim and Lucky magazines so I think they all cancel each other out.  Plus, I usually do most journal reading in the bathroom and I think that automatically deducts intellectual brownie points regardless of how high-brow the magazine might be.  I mean, you’re sitting on the crapper!)  I actually do think reading child development books is a great idea and one that a good parent should do!  I even have a list of them on my Amazon wishlist waiting to be bought.  But since I haven’t run into any major childrearing problems yet (or at least none that appealing to the people of the web – or as I like to call them, POW wisdom! – haven’t been able to solve) I’ve been basically… well… procrastinating.

There.  I admit it.  I haven’t done my homework.

Bad mommy.  Bad.

I didn’t even read much while I was pregnant because, frankly, my brain didn’t work too good then.  I have some basic child reference books that have been very helpful, but I can’t honestly say I’ve read anything cover to cover.  They just don’t have good character development in those child-rearing books, and the plots are so predictable.

So I’d really like to know… what are you all reading?  (parenting books or otherwise)

             - the weirdgirl


Orange Eight, Green Seven

Our house, like many families, looks like it has children living there.  Telltale signs include toys scattered all over the floor, half-masticated lumps of food, grubby fingerprints showing up in the oddest places, and a refrigerator covered in magnets.  (Which is pretty funny considering it was not so long ago Keen would throw a mild fit if I tried to sneak a couple of artistic or decorative-looking magnets onto our fridge.  He swore he would never let our fridge become one of those refrigerators.  Poor guy.) 

Now the dominant magnets on our fridge are those big plastic number magnets (they always seem to be sold out of the ABCs) that are superficially considered “educational toys” (though I think the primary concept they teach is the power of magnetism – and kids can learn that from the X-men movies, right?).  Of course, Chance loves them, he moves them around, flings them off the fridge, and carries them around with him.  Kid heaven.  They cannot resist something grabbable on a flat surface.  (Yes, “grabbable” is a word.)

Then I noticed something weird.  Chance always seemed to have certain magnets he was carrying around.  I started paying closer attention.  He seemed to like certain shapes, and among his regular rotation there were a couple he kept coming back to.  In particular, it was the orange eight and green seven.   

Nah, I thought, those have just got to be in the same place on the fridge when he goes to play with them.  Or I must be putting them back in the same place… or something.  He can’t really be picking out that eight and that seven out of all the numbers, not to mention all the other eights and sevens on the fridge.  Right?  I mean, a favorite toy is one thing, but two favorite number magnets out of twenty?    

So I started running some tests… I moved the green seven and orange eight around to different spots on the fridge, I grouped a bunch of 8s and 7s together, I grouped colors together, and so on.  (Wow, that sounds much worse in print than in my head.  My poor son has been sick even, and I’m playing mind games with him! Oy!)

Keen almost wrecked it all after I told him what I had seen.  The next time Chance approached the fridge Keen started chanting “seven and eight, seven and eight,” like a frickin’ cheerleader!

ME: “Hey. Stop that!”

KEEN: “What?”

ME: “You’re ruining my experiment. I want to see if he’ll keep picking up those two numbers without any influence from us!”

KEEN: “Oh. Sorry.”

ME: “That’s OK. Now go group those 1’s and 3’s together. I need a control group.”

Through all the trials Chance still picked out the orange eight and green seven the majority of the time.  Occasionally, if he couldn’t find one or the other of his favorites he would substitute an eight or a seven with one of a different color.  It was pretty eye-opening.  I didn’t know what it meant, but it was eye-opening.  I was working up the courage to put the orange eight on one side of the fridge and the green seven on another (I had moved them apart previously, but not very far – I’m not a complete bitch, you know) when sadly, all my tests came to an end. 

It seems Uncle Matt coming to visit jinxed the whole experiment.  The orange eight is now missing.  It was last seen as Chance headed towards the living room (and his uncle), the eight clutched in one hand while the green seven was clutched in the other.

We’re not giving up hope for recovery; green seven is lonely.  (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it).         

                 – the weirdgirl


Honker Ducky Dinger Jamboree

There is a catchy little tune sung on Sesame Street. It’s called the Honker Ducky Dinger Jamboree and features Ernie and the usual musical monsters. The lyrics pretty much follow the title but it’s also punctuated with actual honking and dinging and rubber ducky squeaking.  It’s quite upbeat.  It always gets stuck in my head and I’ll wander around the house singing this song. 

Except I really shouldn’t. 

I cannot for the life of me sing this song!  I try, because you know, kids like to be sung to.  And it’s fun, right?  Everyone wants a fun household!  However, here are some examples of the manglings that have come out of my mouth.

hucky ducky donger

honker donker dingy

honky ducker dinger

honker dicky donger

honky donkey dinger

And of course, the ever popular…

Honky donkey donger jamboree!  The honky donkey donger jamboree!

Maybe a bit too much fun.  Maybe all that rubber squeaking and ducky dinging are more public service announcement than I suspected.  Obviously something subliminal is creeping into my vocalizations.  It can’t be me (world class mom) that’s demented, right?  It MUST be the puppets!            - the weirdgirl


I Didn’t Realize It Was Such an Issue…

I have guests over.  Chance is playing one of his favorite games, pulling all the DVD movies down from a shelf under our TV in the front room.  He studies each of the DVD covers intently; some he smiles at (he particularly likes Dave Chappelle), some he just joyfully flings to the floor.  Once he has a good pile going he slides them around on the rug like cars, scattering them everywhere.  He plays this game at least once a day. 

My guests are looking at me with that look.  Finally one of them ventures, “Do you really want him to do that?”   

“Yeah,” I say, “he’s having fun and there’s nothing that’s gonna hurt him.” 

“Buuuuuut,” they say back with incredulous googly eyes, “he’s making a mess.”  Capital M on mess implied.  Doesn’t that drive you crazy, their looks seem to say, it’s messy and how will you ever keep up?  What kind of unclean mother are you?

I consider explaining that I left the shelf that way on purpose when I babyproofed.  I think about mentioning the stage of development he’s at; you know, exploring, pulling objects off shelves and out of boxes. Getting into things.  Healthy stuff.

Finally, I shrug, “I don’t mind.”  I watch quietly as their brains explode.  Googly eyes roll along the carpet. 

Seriously.  I may be a little anal but if I was going to stress every time I had to pick up something I might as well go catatonic now, because the way I figure it, life is about 1/3rd cleaning up stuff.  Or, at least, it seems that way lately. 

I’ll sweep up the brain bits and eyeballs later, when I get around to the DVDs.    

                  – the weirdgirl

"The silicon chip inside her head gets switched to overload..."