Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hee! closely followed by: Yay!

As I have mentioned in previous posts, my husband says two or three funny things a year. This season's installment came a couple nights ago, at dinner. Now, the kid has been very mercurial lately. One minute she is a sweet little cherub, full of hugs and kisses. The next minute she is screaming and levitating in the time-out corner, using her forked tongue to take our names in vain.

So, back to the dinner story . . . She was sitting in her booster seat, glumly poking at her food. I had served her some pasta with mushroom sauce, which she had always liked (usually even asking for seconds). Finally she looked at her father and said, "I don't like this."

Him: "Well, can you send out the personality that does like it, because you ate it just fine last week."

In other news, my foster girl got adopted today. Yay!


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Further evidence of our exceptional parenting

Why does she always have a ding on her head?

We spent lots of "family quality time" today, even though the grown-up members of our little trio are plenty sick. So sick, in fact, that when our lovely daughter took a dump in her potty (in the middle of the living room) a couple hours ago, our clogged nasal passages failed to notice it for quite some time. (I'm not sure why the dogs didn't point it out, because they ALWAYS notice.)

Nonetheless, being the good parents that we are (also the generous kind that share their germs with the masses), we took the kid to the library downtown for story time. I kept it somewhat of a secret just in case it got canceled or something tragic like that. The big surprise was that Max (of Max & Ruby fame) was in da house! Holla! For our kid, meeting Max is the equivalent of the average Catholic meeting the Pope.

A friendly and mightily pregnant librarian-type lady led the kids in some pre-Max songs, dances, and stories. At one point she asked everyone to jump up and down. I started to jump around, too, and then I remembered that the bra I selected to wear today does not supply as much, um, lift and support as one might like. I did sing along to "Little Bunny Foo-Foo" with great gusto, though.

When Max was brought out, A shoved past at least 30 kids to get to the mute, over-sized bunny. She hugged him and patted him. And looked happy as could be. She was rewarded for her adulation with a hand stamp (of Max, of course) and a picture of Max that she could color later (but which she chose to mangle in the car instead). We were almost out the door when she turned around, stripped off her coat, and ran back for one more tete-a-tete with Max.

After we left the library (I did hear a fully-grown adult refer to it as the "lye-berry" while we were there), we headed out for pizza. Then we went to a pet expo at a local arena. There was a petting zoo and lots of informative booths and whatnot. Also, an insane number of people. I think the whole town was there. Our rescue does not participate in this particular event because, while our volunteers are very dedicated, it is difficult to staff a booth for three days straight.

The afternoon went downhill after we got home. A had an impressive meltdown right before dinner. While we were sitting at the dinner table, she announced that this wasn't her home and she wanted to go to her home. We were going to ask her for the address so that we could drop her off, but calmly instructed her to eat her veggie "chicken" nuggets instead.

Anyway, I think someone is going to bed early tonight. I just don't know if it's gonna be her or us.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Random Questions

Three random questions that have been on my mind today:

1. Why would a minivan ever ever ever ever have the word "sport" in its name? I see these all the time and become so perplexed I almost drive into the path of oncoming traffic. It just seems so wrong. I mean, I drive a van myself and don't even try to pretend that there's anything vaguely hip about the whole scene. My vehicle is not cool. I am not cool (as evidenced by my use of the word "cool.") Let's face it - that ship has sailed.

2. How come, when you go through the drive-thru at a fast food place and ask for salt, they deposit EXACTLY ONE miniature salt packet in your hand? Isn't salt something like eight hundred million grains for a penny? What is up with the salt rationing????

3. Why don't Max & Ruby have parents? What happened to them? Did they die a fiery death in some horrific car accident? (The rabbits on the show all wear clothing, so it's not inconceivable that they can also drive cars.) For that matter, how come none of the cartoons seem to include parents these days? Dora and Diego are cousins, yet they have no parents and don't seem to require any supervision whatsoever. You don't want to know how much time I have spent pondering this.

So, I am trying with all my might not to talk about poop in this blog entry. MUST . . . NOT . . . DISCUSS . . . POOP. I hope you know how hard this was for me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"I DO IT MYSELF!" (Or: The Beginning of the End)

The 6:18 a.m. tantrum, which we enjoy daily from Monday through Friday, has reached new heights. My "sweet little cupcake baked by the devil" has decided to dress herself. You'd think I'd be happy about this sort of progress (as in, "awww, she's growing up!"), but I'm not. Trust me, letting her dress herself will only lead to pure misery - for all of us, even the dogs. I remember my middle sister yelling, "I DO IT BY MESELF!" when she was a wee lass, and now her niece is following in her footsteps.

This morning, for the first few seconds after she awoke, we almost thought she was going to be in a good mood. Ha ha! I made a funny! Hoo, I kill myself sometimes.

It all started to go downhill when I tried to get her dressed and put a Pull-Up on her (this potty training stuff is still in its early stages so I didn't want to get all cocky and send her off to daycare in her Ariel underwear). "No, I do it!" Fine, be my guest. Then she wanted to put on her pants by herself. After five minutes of contortions and crying, they were on. Then came the shoes and socks (I had scored an early victory by slipping her shirt on before she was able to stage a protest). As her breakfast grew ever colder, she was on her back on the floor, red-faced, snot running, one cock-eyed sock partially stuck on her left foot. If she knew any obscenities, she would have shouted them. (She should know a few - she lives with me, after all. Now that I think about it, I'm pretty disappointed in her.) And then a minor triumph - the sock was on. The other foot, however, would not go down so easily. Finally, several minutes later, she was dressed. Or some close approximation - I don't know about you, but I'm sure not going to be the one to tell her when her gear is crooked. (Go ahead, tell her - I triple dog dare you.)

Just when we thought the battle was drawing to a close, she decided that she no longer needs help getting up into her booster seat. We watched her struggle for several minutes. She had her fingers hooked around the back of the chair, legs flailing behind her as she fought to get her knee up onto the plastic seat. We dared not offer our assistance. P and I looked at each other and shrugged. "Did we keep our receipt?" I asked him. "Maybe we could return her?"

Moments later, she was sitting happily in her booster seat, munching a Flintstones vitamin and chatting merrily with the dogs. When it was time for her to leave with her dad, she found me in the bathroom, kissed me on both cheeks, and gave me a hug. "She, um, swings like a pendulum, doesn't she?" He just nodded.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He's a pooper, she's a pooper, wouldn't you like to be a pooper, too?

It finally happened. She pooped. In the potty.

We've had some pretty big breakthroughs in the housebreaking department this weekend. What seemed to trigger this progress was that I moved her potty into the living room, which I never wanted to do. However, when the kid is watching Max & Ruby and the potty is right there in front of her, she just seems more inclined to use it.

She didn't poop for a couple of days and I was getting nervous. I tried to praise her for peeing and not place too much emphasis on the solid output. I've heard of kids freaking out from the stress and then holding it FOR DAYS. So, I didn't want that to happen. But, she pinched a loaf in her little potty . . . and she did it of her own free will.

A spent most of the weekend wearing princess panties, which was a big deal, of course. There have been a few accidents, needless to say. She peed on the couch earlier (and she pulled this off even with me saying "Do you need to go potty?" every 2.8 seconds). To my friends who visit . . . beware of the cushion on the right.

Earlier she thought she had to poop, so she hiked up her dress, sat on her potty . . . and farted. I explained that sometimes it feels like you have to do one thing when really you need to do another thing. Totally unfazed, she hopped up, pulled out the plastic bowl that attaches to the bottom of the potty, and skipped off to the bathroom to flush her fart.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Another fiery redhead, comin' right up

I’m going to be an auntie again – my wee baby sister is with child.* It's fun to come up with synonyms for "pregnant," isn't it? Knocked up. Bun in the oven. In a family way. Eating for two.

In my mind, my sister is still in the first grade but in actuality, she is 26. We (the whole fam damily) are all very happy for her, because what’s not to like about a baby? Particularly a redheaded one? She would tell you herself that the pregnancy was unplanned, but I figure that if we all waited until the time was right to have a baby, the population would surely plummet. After my nephew was born, she told me that she was going to have her second baby when the first kid reaches kindergarten. My nephew is nine months old so . . . well, hey, she only missed the mark by four years, give or take.

Redheaded Nephew #1

The first time around, my sister’s pregnancy was definitely a big surprise. She called me sometime around the holidays to tell me the news. She and her husband had moved to Oklahoma and then moved again (same area, different house) shortly after they got there. Here’s what she told me: “My pills were in a box somewhere; I just wasn’t sure where.” Now, call me crazy/anal-retentive/just-plain-organized, but I think most people would try to keep track of where they put their birth control. You wouldn't just shove it in a box with your canned soups or something. My sister is very bright, but she is a head-in-the-clouds sort of person and she doesn’t tend to obsess over things the way I do. One time, she and her husband came to visit me and literally caught their plane by the skin of their teeth. They threw everything into a suitcase and jammed it shut. When I picked them up at the airport, my sister said, “We knew we’d make it – we just didn’t know how.”

This time around, she took her pill late and now she is "with child." She told me she took it late "just a few days in a row." She started telling me how this particular type of pill is kinda tricky, kinda goofy and then I reminded her that it might just be her who is goofy. Birth control pills generally make it to market because they are . . . um, effective.

I poke fun at my sister but of course I am thrilled at having a new niece or nephew. It would be great if this one has a vagina because then I can pass girls’ clothing along to her.

My sister writes in her blog that she knows she is fortunate that this pregnancy business comes so easily to her. I lost four babies to miscarriage, and I have to admit that watching my sister’s ease in bearing children might be a little hard for me if not for the fact that I did become a mom three years ago. When I was struggling for so many years to achieve that goal, two people in my life offered to carry a baby for me. One was my youngest sister and one was my lifelong friend, R. I cannot begin to tell you how much it meant to me that they made that offer. Ultimately I became a mom through adoption, but I never forgot the selflessness of those offers. But now it's all behind me. And, I can relax with a glass of wine while my sister enjoys her morning sickness and swollen ankles and . . . no wine. I love her, even though she splits infinitives far more often than is necessary.

*Fine print included for the sole benefit of my baby sister:

Let it be known by all parties present that this blogger agrees to furnish birthday and Christmas gifts for up to three (3) redheaded nieces and nephews. Subsequent nieces and nephews will need to share what the first three got. Non-redheaded children shall not be eligible for gifts, cash, or prizes. This offer void where prohibited. Contestants need not be present to win.

Dear Future Boy Who Dates My Daughter,

Dear slack-jawed teenager who will someday slouch up to my front door to pick up my daughter,

You probably like my daughter because she is pretty and smart and funny. She is outgoing, a life-of-the-party sort of girl. When you pick her up she is probably wearing an outfit that cost me about a week's pay. However, at the age of almost three, this is what she wore:

Yes, those are black socks. And a dark purple sweater from H&M. And a leotard and tutu that her Meemaw sent her. The tutu has roses inside it, which she loves. If you look closely, the sweater has some icing smeared across the front (from a Dora the Explorer cookie that she had eaten earlier).

So yes, in addition to taking well over 1,000 photos of A since her birth, I am also collecting a few "first date" photos just to keep her humble.

So anyway, have a nice time with my daughter. Her dad and I will be sitting right behind you at the movie theater, but don't mind us.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Ectr Bune is Coming!

Easter snuck up on me this year. It falls way too early on the calendar, for starters. It's still cold here and even though I did buy the kid a dress to wear on Sunday, she'll be wearing it under a sweater and her winter coat. And she'll be clomping through the snow in white shoes. It's all good. We'll go to church and then go out to brunch. We don't celebrate Easter in the traditional sense, I suppose, because we are UUs. We (our little family) treat it as a celebration of spring and rebirth. And chocolate.

All week long I've been tossing out various threats and linking them directly to the Easter Bunny. "Oh, it's too bad the Easter Bunny won't be bringing you anything, since you decided not to pick up your toys."

When one of my sisters was little, she wrote an essay at school about Easter. She was at that age where teachers tell the kids just to sound it out each word and then spell it like it sounds. So my sister (I can never remember which one did this) wrote a story about the "Ectr Bune." Our parents, who exhibit unflagging, unwavering support for their children at all times and would never make fun of them, took one look at it said, "Who the hell is the Eckter Boon?" My middle sister once wrote a story about "Ronded Raygun who lives in the whit house." "He got shot," my sister wrote, "But he did not doy." You have to admit that Raygun is a way funnier spelling than Reagan.

Speaking of the Ectr Bune, I pulled P aside the other day and asked him what sort of egg-related Easter traditions his family had when he was growing up. I was trying to decide how things should play out at our house. When I was growing up, the Ectr Bune hid real hard-boiled eggs around the house (eggs that we had dyed, of course). The thing is, we didn't have dogs when I was a kid. If we used real eggs now and the dogs found them first . . . man, I don't even want to think about it. So, the Ectr Bune is going to hide plastic eggs, each containing a fun-size pack of "Neminems." If all goes well, the kid will have a sugar buzz before 9 and then disintegrate into full-on hysteria by noon.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What you get when you Google your dad

Don't ask me why, but I decided to Google my parents yesterday. I don't know what I was looking for, but I figured maybe I'd find evidence of the sordid life they've been leading since all the kids moved out. (My sisters and I have been replaced by several cantankerous cats, I can tell you that.)

I didn't find much (my parents have an insanely common last name), but I did find this article featuring my dad, who manages and tends bar at an Irish pub: (if someone is reading this six months from now and the article is featuring someone other than a man named Greg, then it's not my dad, 'kay?)

If you're looking at the photo of my dad and thinking he's too young to be my dad, you're right. He's actually my stad and he is 13 years older than I am (my mom found him shortly after her marriage to my father fell apart). I've known him since I was around 8 years old. My kid calls him "My Friend Granddaddy." It's kind of interesting having parents that aren't much older than I am. My mom is 18 years older, my stad is 13 years older, and my father ("Grandpa Ted") is 19 years older. I figure that when I put them all in a nursing home someday, I'll just go ahead and get a room for myself at the same time since I'll be pretty old and decrepit, too. I'm always threatening to put my parents in a home now, because they are pretty unruly.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

That's a mighty big spirit you've got there

"You're always dancing down the street, with your suede blue eyes."

Today, a lady at church said: "Claudia, that child has a huge spirit. I hope you know that." Another time the same lady remarked that A "is a large presence." I smiled and thought to myself, "Yes, that's one of the names we call her . . . "

I hoped that she wasn't telling me, in some roundabout way, that my kid is a pill. I don't think so, though. For starters, this fellow church member is very nice and I think she genuinely likes my daughter. My mom used to have a friend who referred to her own children as "high-spirited." My mom always said, "High-spirited, huh? Is that just another word for 'horrible brat?'"

It goes without saying that it is my job to think that my daughter is adorable beyond all definition and, of course, borderline genius. She has impeccable comedic timing and makes me laugh every day. (Just to prove that I don't think she's perfect: her math skills are horrendous and she's as clumsy as they come. Also, she craps her pants.)

Everyone at church seems to like her. We sing a hymn during the first part of the service and A always dances and spins in the aisle (even during the subdued, hard-to-sing hymns). She talks loudly and laughs intermittently during the "candles of community" ritual, even when people are lighting candles of sorrow for illnesses and car accidents. During the children's story time today, she interrupted the pastor several times to tell her important facts about Teddy Bear, even though her anecdotes had nothing at all to do with the story that was being read. (I did pull her out of the front row after a while, for the record.) I'll tell you, though . . . there is nothing that a bunch of Unitarian Universalists like better than a free spirit, and my kid fits the bill.

It's weird having a kid who seems determined to cut a very wide swath through life, because P and I are generally pretty introverted. I find it very challenging to keep my head up when I walk through a public place, or to make eye contact with another person during a conversation, but my daughter has no such trouble. She introduces herself to strangers (I guess we'll need to have the "stranger talk" eventually, but for now it's more endearing than anything else.) She would never dream of walking with her head down, and I admire that quality more than she'll ever know.

Yesterday afternoon we made "carpet angels" in her bedroom. We laid on our backs, making wide arcs with our legs and arms. We made ourselves giggle and then couldn't stop. Earlier today we spent some time balancing plastic Easter eggs on top of our heads. It's very hard to take yourself too seriously when you spend your days with an (almost) three-year-old.
It wasn't a perfect day, though, because she spent a portion of it in time-out. The infractions were of the usual nature: not listening, listening but ignoring, etc. After she was released from time-out, she grabbed Teddy Bear, shoved him into the corner, and imposed his sentence: "Three minutes!" I asked what Teddy Bear had done, and she said he had stepped on one of the dogs. Teddy Bear, clearly, is incorrigible. We put her in time-out and she puts him in time-out. Shit, as they say, rolls downhill.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Party Pooper

Every party needs a pooper, that's why we invited you, party pooper, party pooper!

Actually, I'm the party pooper. I've decided not to throw a party for my kid on her birthday this year. Is that terrible? Will my child be in therapy someday? I picture her sitting in some therapist's office and saying, "It allllll started with my third birthday . . . " (and then she'll go on to talk about the innumerable ways in which I've ruined her life)

A's birthday is coming up on May 3rd. I suspect that the actual day will be somewhat anti-climactic for her, in as much as she believes that every day is her birthday. "It's my birthday!" she says, and then waits for some sort of fanfare. So, the other day I hoisted her up on my hip, and showed her the calendar on the refrigerator. I flipped to May and pointed to the 3rd. "THAT is your birthday. May 3rd. Learn it, live it, know it."

Then I told her that instead of having a party this year, we are going to take a trip. We are going to take her out of town for the weekend (as luck would have it, the big day falls on a Saturday this year). We will spend the day at a children's museum and any other kid-centric activities we can find. She can have ice cream for lunch if she wants. Then we'll take her out to dinner. And we'll stay at a hotel where she can go swimming.

When I told her of my plans, she didn't seem upset at all about the lack of a traditional birthday party. All she said was:

"Can I have cake?"
"Sure, of course we'll get you a cake."
"A NEW cake?" Shoot, I guess that the used cake I got her last year didn't go over so well.
"Yes, a new cake."
"A pink cake?"
"You want the cake to be NEW and PINK? Now yer talkin' crazy."

So anyway, I hope this doesn't make me a bad mother. The first year, we had a party at our home. It was a lot of work but that first birthday is such a milestone that I don't think there is any way around the whole party machine. Last year we had a party at The Little Gym. I didn't have to clean my house so I can't really complain. This year I just don't feel like doing a party at all. Don't get me wrong - I don't mind parties. We've been to lots of kids' birthday parties. I just feel like it could easily get out of hand each year. Next thing I know I'll have a pony milling about in my backyard while a juggler entertains the kids out front.

Okay, I just ran the spell check tool, and spell check does not like the word "pooper." Talk about a party pooper.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I Love You in Spanish

The crabby winery lady agreed to take our photo. "You may have six tastes each," she told us. And by "taste" she meant a droplet that could only be seen under a microscope.

I had a fabulous weekend with my friends. We ate, drank, shopped, and ran our mouths. We sat in the whirlpool and ran our mouths some more. It was funny how excited we all were to sleep in beds without dogs in them (we all volunteer for Boxer Rescue). I think I actually slept for nine hours last night.

You will not be surprised to learn that the potty-training experiment (conducted in my absence) was a dismal failure. P put A in her Little Mermaid underwear on Saturday morning and she peed in them .0002 seconds later. He put a Pull-Up on her and she pooped in them. He gave up and put a diaper on her. The Pull-Ups are such a freaking racket. Sooo expensive. She was back in diapers completely by the time I got home today.

Speaking of The Little Mermaid, A likes to pretend she is Ariel when she is splashing around in the bathtub. She calls herself "Little Ariel" and she calls me . . . "Big Ariel." Now, I think I can speak for ALL women, regardless of race, color, creed, age, you name it, when I say that we do not want to be called "big" anything. A is always playing pretend games and she routinely casts herself as Cinderella, Ariel, Princess Fiona, etc. She casts P as Prince Charming, King Triton, or Eric (the prince from The Little Mermaid). Me? I get to be Shrek or "Big Ariel."

Today when I got home I knelt next to the kid so that I could give her a hug. She hugged me around the neck and then held my chin in her hands and looked me in the eyes. "Big Ariel," she said solemnly, "I love you in Spanish."

Friday, March 7, 2008

I'm off like a prom dress

I'm going to slave over a hot PC for five hours at work today, and then head out for the weekend. I'm joining five of my friends for a ladies' weekend up north (calling us "ladies" is a bit of a stretch, but work with me here). We are staying at a resort, three to a suite. We don't have any specific plans other than drinking, eating, shopping, and whirlpooling. Needless to say, I will NOT be weighing in at Weight Watchers this week.

P says he will work on housebreaking the kid while I am gone this weekend. If he pulls it off, I will certainly give him full credit. He has more patience than I do so who knows, maybe he *is* the man for the job. We have made some progress this week. She wore her Dora panties quite a bit each evening without soiling them (the panties or the evenings). I bought her some Little Mermaid underwear as an incentive, too (don't get me started on one of my anti-Disney tirades again!). So far nothing seems to be incentive enough, though. She is such a manipulative little cuss that she's already figured out ways to get everything she wants, so there is not much left. Plus, you have to admit that peeing where you stand, no matter where you are, is pretty darned convenient. It must be hard to give that up.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tag, I'm It

My friend Melinda tagged me and well, I find it easiest just to do whatever Melinda tells me to do. She has a May 05 kid as well, and I know her from Babycenter.

10 years ago:

We were in the process of buying our home and packing up to move. I am still so traumatized by the move that I would rather live with too-small closets and a yard the size of a postage stamp than to consider moving ever again. You can give your friends all the pizza and beer you want, but I am here to tell you that they don't care if your shit gets dinged up.

5 Things on my to do list today were: This is an easy one, because I am a chronic list-maker and can't stop doing it even when I try.

  1. Clean the bathtub.

  2. Clean the litter boxes (we have one cat and two litter boxes, but she uses them both so I don't dare get rid of one).

  3. Laundry.

  4. Work on some adoption packets for the rescue.

  5. Work on the website for the American Boxer Rescue Association.

Things I would do if I were suddenly a Billionaire:

  • Flaunt it in every way possible.

  • Donate obscene amounts to animal welfare causes everywhere.

  • Pay off all my bills.

  • Fill the college fund of my kid, as well as her cousins.

3 of my bad habits:

  1. Leaving one sip of Diet Pepsi in a can in the refrigerator.

  2. I never refill the ice cube trays if I can help it.

  3. People Magazine (I guess I would consider this to be more of a vice than a bad habit).

Jobs I've had:

  1. Project Manager at a web development company

  2. Office Manager at a software development company

  3. Executive Secretary at an international marketing firm

  4. Research & Budget Analyst for a defense contractor

  5. Bookkeeper for a women's clothing store

  6. Assistant Manager of a clothing store

  7. Accessories stocker at Kids Sure R Bratty

5 Things people don't know about me:
  1. I used to hide food so that my husband wouldn't know how much I had eaten. I kicked this habit when I started Weight Watchers, though.

  2. I have a self-destructive streak a mile wide.

  3. I have never had a pedicure. However, I'd rather be dead than to leave my toenails unpainted.

  4. I would love to learn to play ice hockey.
  5. I have a girl crush on Robin Meade from CNN.

Let's see . . . I'll tag Miss Leslie-Marginwalker, Red Earth Redhead, and Sassy Sadie's Mom.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Just a little longer


This morning

As I have mentioned in previous entries, our little family seems to be caught in some endless loop where the kid stays up too late, wakes up crabby and tired, doesn't nap, stays up too late, wakes up crabby again, etc. Lather rinse repeat. Every so often, the lack of sleep catches up with her and she'll sleep for 12 hours straight. This happened on Saturday night. She rolled out of bed at around 9:00 on Sunday morning. I guess I could have woken her up earlier but . . . that just seemed like pure craziness.

So on Sunday night, P was working and the kid was wiiiiiiide awake. I, on the other hand, was tired. I climbed into bed, arranged everything thus and so, and closed my eyes. "Mama, I wanna come in your bed." Figuring that having her in my bed was better than not knowing what she was up to in other parts of the house, I pulled her into bed. This is new for her, because we never brought her into our bed when she was a baby. We felt it was better that she learn to sleep independently. So on Sunday night, her excitement was palpable. We watched TV for a while. She flailed around, kicking me in the knees a thousand times. Restless, she turned and turned like she was on a spit. Mercifully, she fell asleep eventually and then her dad carried her to her room when he got home.

Not surprisingly, I heard that little voice again as I lay in bed watching "Mystery Diagnosis" last night. "Mama, I wanna come in your bed." I reminded her that she needs to sleep in her own bed. Undeterred, she went back to her room and returned with her blue IKEA chair and positioned it next to the bed. And then she was on my pillow seconds later. I watched her brush a curled tendril out of her face and smiled as I noticed that her little hands are still a bit chubby. As are her cheeks. Soon she will enter a growth spurt and her little Buddha belly will be gone for good.

I blink. She is 5. She turns to wave as she climbs onto the school bus. It is her first day of kindergarten. She is not the type of kid to cry on her first day of school. But I am the type of mother to wail long and loud. My daughter hops on the bus and sits next to a kid she doesn't know. And starts talking to her, because she is that kind of kid.

She is 10. I have taken her to the amusement park with her friends. I hold her cotton candy while she rides the Ferris wheel with the others. I cup my hand over my eyes to shield them from the sun as I search each swaying car, looking for my baby. She sees me and waves.

She is 13. She is mad at me. I have told her that she is too young to date a boy. (My friend Jen says that his name will be Scab.) She storms off and yells "You're not my real mother!" over her shoulder. Her bedroom door slams.

She is 18. She is leaving for college today. She pulls out of our driveway much too fast and heads down the street. She thrusts her arm out of the window and gives one last wave. I want to run after her, but I don't.


My friend Erin spent the day yesterday honoring her daughter Birdie, on Birdie's first birthday. What should have been a happy occasion was surely not, because Birdie was stillborn. A full-term, beautiful baby who never took a breath. I thought of Erin and her daughter as I lay in bed with mine last night. Pie and I smiled at each other in the dark. "Do you know how much I wanted a baby?" I whispered to her.

She nodded. "Here I am."

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That!

At Sunday School today, I'm assuming that the Pre-K class must have been covering the topic of "family." When I went to pick up my kid after the service, she handed me this family picture she had created from cut-outs. This is our family. A is represented by an adorable little girl holding a teddy bear (and she does carry a bear everywhere!) Her father and I are represented . . . ah, let's see. We both, um, have breasts.

I guess I'll just leave it at that.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Last night I watched a documentary that I had ordered from Netflix (it was called Murder on a Sunday Morning, as recommended by my friend Miss Leslie, and it was very good). So this morning I started hunting around for the envelope so that I could return it. On the rare occasion that something *I* ordered from Netflix arrives, I'm expected to watch it and return it within .008 seconds so that the next piece of crap P ordered can arrive.

ME: I can't find the Netflix envelopes. Weren't they on top of the TV?
HIM: Well, the kid can't get up there.
ME: Awwww, it's cute that you think there are limits to her powers.

In other news, I did make it to Weight Watchers this morning. I gained 1/2 pound this week without even trying. Sa-weet! Then I headed to Younkers because I had a $10.00 coupon and thought I could pick up a couple of spring/summer items for the kid. It turns out there are only eight items in the entire department store that are not excluded from this coupon. :::SIGH:::

I should be excited that it's March, because that should mean that spring is on the way. But I'm not. I hate March. Porquoi, you ask? Well, March Madness for starters. My husband doesn't even watch basketball - until March rolls around. I don't know why it irritates me so - maybe because he donates our money to some stupid pool that he never wins. Or maybe it's just because people can't seem to shut up about it. Another reason I hate March is that the circus always comes to town. I mean, nothing says family fun like abject cruelty, right?

And finally, I am biased against March because it lies. It tries to tell you that it holds the promise of springtime, but it doesn't. Here in the upper Midwest, springtime arrives in June. When I was a kid in the 'burbs of DC they taught us this little ditty: "March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb." Do they teach that to kids here? I think it would just confuse them. March comes in like a lion and out like . . . some other equally dangerous carnivore, I suppose.

Here's hoping I can pack on another 1/2 pound this week. :::CLINK!!:::