Saturday, August 30, 2008

Something Close to Perfect

I had the audacity to show my face at another Weight Watchers meeting this morning. I took the kid along so that my other half could sleep in. The scale rewarded me with a 2.8 pound loss, though I will probably need several more weeks to atone for the "summer o'fairs and festivals."

After the meeting, we picked up "Father" and drove to a place called The Farm. It's . . . well, it's a farm. The first thing you do when you get there is to buy a couple of bottles of whole milk to feed to the baby goats (kids, right?). We knew to get there early, because by 11 a.m. the goats are all lurching around, each with a distended belly stretched tight as a drum, while young visitors continue to poke them with rubber nipples. We also bought some corn to feed to the older animals. I know that the farm has a lot of baby animals on the premises and part of me wonders what happens to them when they become adults. I mean, there ARE adults on the farm but I imagine that they can't keep every animal that's born there. But, I probably don't want to know. It's one of those "don't ask, don't tell" sort of things.

We spent a couple of hours on the farm, feeding animals and wandering around on the nearby trails. The kid had a lot of fun. She got to see chicks hatching, to watch a goat being milked, and to hug an unwilling barn kitten.

After a thorough hand-washing, we headed to a nearby restaurant for lunch. The hostess instructed us to select any table we wanted, so we grabbed a booth in the corner. A few moments later, the God's-gift-to-culture family sat at the table next to ours. Lunch kinda went downhill from there.

The family consisted of an elderly couple, another couple roughly our age, and the younger couple's son. The son appeared to be seven or so, and frankly, he was the most likable person in the bunch. The elderly woman commenced shooting us dirty looks as soon as she sat down. (And remember, they chose their table, too!) We reminded A to use her inside voice, but she was still giggling and attempting to juggle sugar packets and whatnot. I mean, she was trying to behave, but she's three and . . . giggling and touching stuff are in her contract.

We couldn't help but overhear the dad blathering on and on about opera and also how some of the local museums had NOT lived up to his expectations. He was using words like "discourse" and "dichotomy." My favorite part was when his food arrived.

"I said I didn't want any peppers on this!"

The server: "Oh, I'm sorry, does it have peppers on it?"

Pompous ass: "Yes, there are green peppers right here. Don't you SEE them? I can see them."

He sent his dish back to the kitchen so that the cook could spit in it, or whatever happens to food when someone like Mr. Pepper-hater sends it back.

Oh well, at least it gave us something to talk about on the way home. My guy may not say much (when we drove to Myrtle Beach for our honeymoon, he went an entire state without uttering a single word), but suddenly I realize that maybe I didn't get such a bad deal after all.

As I type this, several hours after arriving back home, the kid is so tired that she, in all likelihood, is hallucinating. She is driving us around the bend and has served several time-out sentences this afternoon. But, she perseveres, because it's in the contract and all.






Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Grammar Police, the Zoo, and a Dog with an Owie


Chloe, looking through the cat door.

Our foster dog had surgery on Monday. Chloe had a small mass on her back that needed to be removed (assumed to be non-cancerous - we're just waiting for the histopathology report to come back from the lab). She also has some chronic issues with her ears. It seems she has had yeast infections in the past and that her former owners didn't bother to treat them. So, the condition just sort of snowballed over time. While Chloe was under general anesthesia, Dr. Barr flushed out her ear canals all the way down to the ear drum (she was born deaf, so no worries about harming her hearing). She is on meds for a week or so, and we are hopeful that her ears won't need more than routine maintenance in the future.

She doesn't have any adoption prospects so far, but it looks like she and I may have a couple of television appearances (local news) in the next couple of weeks in order to promote an upcoming fundraiser for the rescue. I'm hopeful that someone may see the smooshy-faced girl and fall for her goofy charm.

When we brought Chloe home after her surgery, the kid said, "Mama, Chloe doesn't feel well." I was so happy that she had used the correct word (I think a lot of kids would have said "good") that I nearly shed a tear over it. The poor kid - being the daughter of an English major she'll grow up not knowing what it's like to end a sentence in a preposition or to split an infinitive, as I will have headed her off at the pass. Or at least I'll try like hell.

I am never sure, however, if it's okay to correct her at this stage. We have a crack in the ceiling inside our garage, because my husband climbed up there and then somehow put his knee through it. Almost daily, A eyes that bulging crack and says, "Father breaked our house." So then I respond, "Yes, Father broke our house." I figure it's better for her to hear me say it correctly than for me to tell her that she said it INcorrectly.

At the same time, I am also trying to lead her down the path of good manners. So far, the results are mixed. When she says, "I want a cookie," I tell her to "try again." So then she asks, "Please may I can have a cookie?" Rome wasn't built in a day, as the saying goes.

At the zoo yesterday I heard a little boy use the word "ain't." He appeared to be around the same age as my daughter. Then I heard his parents speaking to each other and I understood. It maketh me weep. I am not a grammar expert by any stretch, but I do hate to witness the bastardization of our language. Somebody's got to take a stand, right?

It was a fun little trip to the zoo, though. Our little local zoo is no great shakes, but it's free on Wednesday evenings, so that's a plus. And the kid wore herself out, so that's worth the trip right there. I always feel conflicted about zoos, though, I have to admit. Part of me understands that they are necessary for conservation. We are destroying habitats at such an alarming rate that many species will be lost if not for these conservation efforts. And yet, when I am gazing a lion sitting forlornly in an enclosure that provides not even a fraction of the room he really needs, my heart always sinks a little. Granted, it's not like the zoos you see in the old Curious George books, all bars and concrete, but still . . .


At the zoo

p.s. Please accept my apologies for weaving three topics together in such a clumsy manner!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tattletale

As both of my readers know, I hate going to the grocery store. I would rather contract a violent stomach flu (and have my period and a head cold at the same time) than to venture into my local supermarket. I never really enjoyed it before A came along, and thanks to her, I have grown truly to abhor it.

We were at the grocery store on Friday evening, me grimly pushing the cart up and down the aisles and she smugly sipping the Icee with which I had bribed her. I tossed a box of cereal (Cocoa Puffs, if you really must know) into the cart. She was sitting in the front of the cart and grabbed the box. She proceeded to open the flaps so that she could eat the cereal. Not surprisingly, I put the kibosh on that little project and shoved the cereal to the back of the cart, where she couldn't reach it. The kid got mad. Really mad. "I'M GONNA TELL YOUR FATHER!" she yelled at me.

"Really, you're gonna tell Granddaddy how mean I am?" She nodded, brow furrowed and lower lip jutting outward.

I actually have two dads, so initially I wasn't sure which one she meant. I'm not sure that she understands that her grandfather is my father. I know she doesn't believe that her Meemaw is my mother. She gets pretty mad when I try to tell her that the woman did, in fact, raise me. A must think I was raised by wolves or something (and I guess they were rude wolves, too, judging from how horribly I treat her).


A and her Granddaddy (he said he is standing by for her call,
so that she call tell him what a horrible mother I am)

In other news, I registered the domain name http://www.alabastermom.com/, which redirects to this blog. I thought that might be easier for people to remember/find. I also figure it's a good way to start building my brand, my empire. Ha! I thought I'd better grab it before some mom who actually lives in Alabaster did. It's kind of funny - occasionally I do get an email from someone who lives in Alabaster, AL asking me about swim lessons. Apparently if you Google "alabaster swim lessons" or something like that, you get me. I know I had a few blog entries about swim lessons, so I'm sure that's why.

Some other searches that led people to my blog:
  • "inky dink my mom's a rock star"
  • 30 facts about jazz,tap, and ballet
  • butty butt
  • horse peeing
  • i love you, in spanish
  • oklahoma mystery diagnosis burning in head
  • scooby doo orange push up
  • swimming lessons alabaster alabama
  • when did i get old?
  • rock star same birthdays
I think the first one's my favorite.

But at least most of those search terms are pretty innocent - I didn't include the vulgar ones. Months ago I wrote this blog entry, not ever dreaming that a bunch of pedophiles would actually search for terms that would bring them to that entry. Ugh. Bad people . . . I may have to tell my father on them. Or their fathers. Or something.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hey, where's my body?

The kid drew this picture inside a birthday card that I am sending my Aunt. I am assuming it is Jesus, what with the walking on water and all. However, I am pretty sure Jesus had a torso.

She got another chance to flex her artistic muscle at an art festival we attended this morning. Or festibul, as she called it.

Speaking of festivals . . . you may have noticed that we've attended quite a few this summer. I signed us up for every fair and festival I could find. These celebrations, combined with two vacations in a row . . . well, let's just say that they weren't altogether compatible with Weight watchers. I did attend my Weight Watchers meeting this morning. Well, lumbered in was more like it. As it turns out, the scale did notice my summertime over-indulgences. I apologized to it and vowed to make it proud next week.

I'm picking up a local owner/surrender this afternoon, which will bring my household dog total to four. Fortunately, I am attending a volunteer meeting out of town tomorrow and will be taking the new girl down with me (so that another foster home can take her). One day of chaos is plenty.

Friday, August 22, 2008

At least it kept her busy for a little while

"You don't need to open every can," I told her helpfully.

"But I made you a birthday cake. You have to blow out the candle." It's not my birthday, in case you wondered.

(Speaking of cakes, have you seen the Cake Wrecks blog? It's hilarious! My favorite was the Grand Theft Auto Cake . . . for a four-year-old!)

But back to the topic of Play-Doh . . . my younger sisters never had the opportunity to play with Play-Doh, because our mother banned it before they were even born. I got to play with it for a brief and shining moment when I was very young. Apparently, I promptly ground it into the carpet, where no amount of scrubbing/cleansers/elbow grease could remove it. It's probably still there . . . in a little apartment in Maryland somewhere. Little hard blobs adhered tightly to the carpet fibers. But anyway, thanks to my failure to play with the colorful dough responsibly, my sisters never even got their hands on a can. So sorry, sisters o' mine.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Pox on Thee, Facebook!

I resisted it for as long as I could. I didn't want to join MySpace or Facebook, both of which seemed, at least in my mind, to be nothing but a time-suck. Between working full time, donating my time to Boxer Rescue, and oh yeah - raising a child, I just didn't want anything else lapping up my time. But then my moms' group from BabyCenter decided to defect in light of some changes that BabyCenter has made. They headed over to Facebook. So, not wanting to lose contact with all the moms I've met over the past three years, I joined Facebook.

Lo and behold, though, I started getting "friend requests" from people I hadn't seen since high school. Then I dug around and found some on my own. I found several friends that I've known since elementary school! Next thing you know, people are sending me virtual gifts and I'm reading their updates and so on it goes. It's almost downright fun. I also get to harass my middle sister online, which is worth the price of admission right there (well, it's free, but you know what I mean). If you find my sister, write "You eat pork rinds" and "You wear Army boots" on her wall. She loves it, trust me!

Facebook is exactly what I predicted, though - a time-suck. I really do try to limit my time on there, seeing as how I have this pesky career and a child who needs to eat and all.

One old friend sent a message through my Facebook page asking me if I remembered the song "Beaux Yeux" from Madame Danisavage's French class. (I can't remember what year - sophomore maybe? I took French for eons.) I have no idea how (or why) he has kept that song in his head for over 20 years, but now it's in mine. And it WILL. NOT. LEAVE.

In other news, we received Incident Report #2 yesterday from A's school. It seems my sweet little sunshine buttercup . . . kicked another kid. Did she kick him in the shin? In the knee? No, she kicked him in the face. Was she content to boot him just once? Alas, no - she got him twice.

Clearly, it was the other kid's fault, because he shouldn't put his face so close to my kid's foot like that. Kidding! She did get quite a lecture, of course. I gave her THE TALK and then put her on the phone with her dad, who was still at work. I heard her saying, "But Josiah pushed me!" and also blaming a few other kids who must have been in the vicinity during the incident.

When she hung up I asked, "Did he tell you not to kick your friends?"

"No, he said it doesn't matter." Of course, I knew that he had said otherwise, but apparently she is operating under the assumption that her father and I don't actually speak to each other and compare notes.

I don't know what to make of the kicking incident, but I sure hope it's the last one and is not indicative of a future life of crime or something.

Beaux yeux, beaux yeux, depuis que je vous admire . . .

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Graceful Like Me

We received our first incident/accident report from A's new school on Friday. It was filled out in triplicate and I had to sign it and everything. I wonder if this will . . . GO DOWN ON HER PERMANENT RECORD!

The upshot of it is that she was attempting to sit down in her little chair and have some lunch at the table. She missed the chair, slammed her chin on the table on her way down, bit her tongue, and went into hysterics. She may be adopted, but she sure seems to take after me in the "grace and poise" department.

Needless to say, her tongue bled impressively. According to the report, her teacher cleaned her up and then gave her a freeze pop and some TLC. (The report actually stated that my child received some TLC.)

I signed the report when I picked her up on Friday afternoon and then called her dad on the way home. "We got our first incident report!" I told him. I figured maybe it was one of those landmark parenting moments or something.

I put A on the phone so she could tell him what happened. Now, we were in the van and she was in the back, so I could only hear her half of the conversation.

"Father, I bit my tongue. Miss Angela gave me a freeze pop. It was grape. No, it was GRAPE. Yeah. Father, do you know Miss Angela's name? Do you know her name? Ryla is my friend. She didn't have a freeze pop. We don't have a park. Okay, I'll see you later, father."

She re-told the story later that evening to my mom. The story seems to get a bit more dramatic each time she tells it. Before long, her tongue will have been severed completely and she will have been strapped to a gurney and carted off in an ambulance.

Everything seems to be back to normal now. When I picked her up yesterday I got the usual oral report: she didn't listen today.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Summer: It ain't over 'til I say it's over

In my ongoing quest to suck all the marrow out of summer, I scheduled a bunch of stuff again this weekend. You see, in our neck of the woods, winter is long - far longer than any reasonable person would deem necessary. Sub-zero temperatures, snow piled up to my cooch, frozen car door locks . . . these days are not too terribly far away. So yeah, I schedule the hell out of summer and make no apologies for it.

Early Saturday morning, I headed to church to help out at a rummage sale fundraiser. Each room within the fellowship was filled with a different product type: clothing, books, bake sale, electronics, and so forth. I somehow ended up working in the children's toy room. It wasn't long before I was engaged in a full-scale covert operation: namely, hiding stuff that I wanted to buy for my kid. I collected games, stickers, and other paraphernalia in a corner and then guarded my pile with a ferocity only a mother could muster.

After my shift at the rummage sale was over, I picked up A and P and we hit the county fair. Our tickets gave us access to all the rides at the fair; not having to deal with a pocketful of tickets was nice. P won her a couple of trinkets at the hit-the-balloon-with-a-dart game. He somehow paid $15.00, hit every shot, and still walked away with only about fifty cents worth in prizes. A ran up to a couple of random strangers and exclaimed, "Father winned this for me!" After a few hours we were sticky (well, SHE was sticky), hot, and all faired out.


After the fair, I picked up my friend Jennifer and we headed to a girls' night out, about two hours away. We had made plans to stay overnight at our friend Becky's house, with another friend named Jennifer. I think about half my friends are named Jennifer. Of these two, I dubbed one "The Nice Jennifer" and the other one . . . well, "The Other Jennifer." The four of us met up with three other friends downtown and we had dinner at an Italian restaurant. The food wasn't as good as I'd hoped/expected, but it was certainly better than anything I'd manage to prepare at home. We probably would've stayed at our table longer, lingering over wine and such, but the hostess seated us in the attic, where the temperature was approximately equivalent to the temperature at which I re-heat food in my oven at home.

After dinner, we headed to a local bar downtown that is known for making fabulous martinis. I am not a martini drinker, so I drank some sort of fruity libation instead. It was supposed to be a raspberry-flavored variation on Lynchburg Lemonade. It didn't taste like lemonade at all, but I dug it nonetheless. After that, Becky suggested a nearby piano bar. It wasn't the quiet jazz-heavy type, but rather the loud sing-along-to-anthemic-radio-hits type. At first she couldn't remember which block it was on, so we walked several blocks to the tune of "I'm sure it's right around this corner" while I took her name in vain. For reasons that escape me now, I was wearing 3 1/2-inch (I measured them to be sure) wedge heels.

The piano bar turned out to be a lot of fun. My middle sister would have liked it, as there were several opportunities to belt out Journey songs during the course of the night. I was hoarse when I woke up this morning. We stood near the bar (farther from the piano) and mangled various lyrics as we went along. We started to notice that the corner next to us was occupied by some, um, interesting patrons. Eventually we dubbed it the "creepy couple corner." First up were two gentleman who were separated by some three decades. The younger half of the duo was impeccably dressed in a suit and bow tie. He was exceedingly polite, even offering the Nice Jennifer his bar stool. His date wore Bermuda shorts and markedly grey hair. We came to the conclusion that they met on Craigslist.

The second couple to occupy the corner (after the first pair left), consisted of a thin, scantily-clad, tattooed chick who was sporting long hair and high heels. Her date was a smiling but shapeless sort of entity in a white suit. The dark-haired, white-suited half of the twosome wore glasses and rocked a Zac Efron 'do. They proceeded to grope each other and carry on an (apparently) in-depth, intimate conversation . . . did I mention we were in a piano sing-along-bar?

It wasn't that these were same-sex couples (we had one such couple in our group, after all), but the fact that they were just . . . creepy. Speaking of creepy, later in the evening a person dressed as a bear came through the bar.

I went to bed at around 1:15, which is pretty late for me. Oh, did I tell you that I was the oldest one of the group that went out last night? Yeah, learning that little bit of trivia made me feel all warm and fuzzy.



Thursday, August 14, 2008

A bowl of what?

As usual, the kid woke up in a less than joyous mood this morning. We used to ride out the 6:18 tantrum with the resigned assumption that it was unavoidable. But, one day we discovered that if we carry her straight from her bed and lay her on the couch in the living room, where "Blue's Clues" is conveniently playing on the television, the tantrum is much more tolerable. She sleepily gathers the clues while I get her dressed (I've also learned that she is much less likely to protest the ensemble I've chosen when she is not completely conscious). Good ol' Blue's Clues. I always thought it would be kinda funny if Steve/Joe actually failed to figure out the clues and then left the mystery hanging. Then he could go back to it years later, a la "Cold Case." Ohhhhh, Blue wanted to have a finger puppet show! It makes so much sense now!

This morning I got her dressed and then suggested that she pick out a box of cereal from the pantry. Some days I make eggs and the whole shebang, and some days she gets cereal - you got something to say about it?

She rummaged through the pantry and pulled out a bright yellow box. "I want this cereal," she announced.

"That's Bisquick," I told her.

"Yeah, I want it."

"But it's not cereal - it's Bisquick."

She threw herself on the floor, wailing, "But I waaaaaaaant it!" so I opened the box and showed her the powder inside. Half of me wanted to just pour it in a bowl and then add milk - I'm pretty sure that's what my parents would have done. Not one to admit she was mistaken, my little buttercup said nothing, headed back to the pantry, and pulled out a small box of Honey Smacks instead. Remember when they were called Sugar Smacks? Those were the days, huh? They're probably still about 90% sugar but we can't go calling them that, I guess.

So, all's well that ends well. The breakfast debate at our house is somewhat of a moot point anyway. When A gets to school, they feed her breakfast again. She gets "second breakfast" just like a little Hobbit.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back from the Northwoods

What a four-hour drive gets you!

Our wee family took a vacation last week. Yes, I know we just took a vacation last month, but that's how we roll, suckas!

We spent five days together in a beautiful cabin next to a pristine lake (the cabin is actually located in a National Forest). A friend of mine owns the cabin and lets us use it every year. It's a four-hour drive (involving lots of dirt/gravel roads) to get there, so we don't go unless we have at least a few days to spend.

There is something to be said for a vacation with no internet access. Hell, I can barely get a cellular signal at the cabin. I have to sit out on the deck and face North, and then maybe I get two bars. I did a lot of reading. I read The Memory Keeper's Daughter and also finished When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. I also completed a good chunk of Dog is My Co-Pilot. It is pretty rare for me to find the time to do that much reading. When I wasn't reading, I was eating and/or drinking. And plenty. Oh Weight Watchers, how I have forsaken thee!

On our first day there, I thought I would take a quiet walk with the dogs. The boys and I headed up a dirt road that actually has a fair amount of grass poking through. The kid saw us leaving and insisted on coming along. Now, before she was born, I took a lot of quiet walks up there with my dogs each summer. We'd walk those peaceful, scarcely-used roads and check out the scenery. Now, with she-who-must-narrate-every-nuance-of-daily-life along . . . not so quiet.

My senior dog, Karl, was still wrung out from the long car ride, and started chewing grass to calm his old-man stomach.

"Hey, Karl is eating grass! Now he's puking! Why is he puking? I puked one time, but I puked in a bowl. I didn't puke outside. Why is there grass in the road? The grass tickles your tires when you drive on it. There are a lot of bugs here. Hey, Karlie is puking again! I puked last time, but I puked in a bowl."

We went "into town" once and to a state park on another day, but other than that, we generally hung out either in the cabin or by the lake. We played Hi Ho Cherry-O (a lot) and we watched the one channel that the cabin's television agrees to broadcast - PBS. I've never had the heart to ask my friend, the cabin owner, what's up with the TV (since we're supposed to be communing with nature and whatnot while we are up there). It is a mystery, though. I mean, you get PBS clear as a bell and that's it. Sometimes you get CBS up until 11 a.m. or so and then it bids you adieu. There is a DVD player in the cabin so we watched "Toy Story" ad nauseum.

I have some other random thoughts about the trip and I may bore them with you later. I just thought I'd better get a blog entry out there before I lose my massive readership!

It was nice to have days where my biggest concern was whether or not the hummingbird feeder was empty. But now, I must pay the piper and work . . . (well, technically, I am paid by a corporation and not a piper, but you know what I mean).




Karl on the boat - we couldn't tell if he liked it or not. Guessing not.

Gideon, checking out the lake.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Innocence

Sleeping on the beach

The other morning I was leaving for work and P and the kid were leaving at the same time. He takes her to daycare in the morning and I pick her up in the afternoon. I backed out slowly as she stood in front of the garage, holding Teddy in one hand and waving to me with the other. I eased the van into the cul-de-sac and then rolled down my window as I passed the house. I kissed my fingertips and then flattened my hand and blew the kiss in her direction. Her little arm shot into the air and then her hand closed into a fist, capturing the kiss inside.

"I caught it, Mama!" she yelled to me.

It is moments like that that make me want to scoop her up and eat her alive or something. Like most three-year-olds, she spends most of her spare time plotting new ways to push old buttons. But there are those other times, too - the ones that make your heart swell and leave you grinning like a fool. When we walked into the state fair on Saturday, she was exclaiming over the Ferris wheel ("It's taller than me!") and just about everything else she saw. That's why we sign up for this parenting job, I think. That wide-eyed moment of discovery.

Watching my daughter explore her world also leaves me feeling nervous about her eventual loss of innocence. Two weeks ago one of our dogs killed two baby bunnies in our backyard. It was Karl, the big, black, fluffy dog who carried out the carnage - the Boxers would never bother with that sort of thing and in fact, didn't even notice the carcasses at all. A was playing with her water table on the deck. I hoped she wouldn't see the rabbits, so I tried to move them as surreptitiously as possible using a long-handled gardening implement. (The four-pronged rakey thing? What the hell is that called?)

Of course, she came running over. "Mama, what is it?"

"It's a bunny, but I'm afraid it died. I'm going to put it on the other side of the fence for now." I opened the gate and and put the two small bodies on the other side until P got home (disposing of dead things = husband's job). I felt awful for them, but why oh why do animals keep giving birth in my backyard? We have three dogs! Surely there are dog-free homes in our 'hood?

She watched me close the gate. "Is it not dead anymore?" she asked. I told her that it was still dead and then tried to change the subject. I don't know that I'm ready for an in-depth discussion about death. She has seen photos of our Boxer, Lucy, who died when A was 18 months old. I tell her that Lucy's body didn't work anymore and that she died. I have no idea how to explain this type of thing so that she isn't left with some weird, disjointed, incorrect idea in her head.

I suspect that this is why I have also been dragging my feet a bit about having the big adoption discussion. While the initial discussions will be simplified to match her level of understanding, eventually she will have to learn details that may not be so pleasant - like the fact that her birthfather is in prison, denies that he even is her birthfather, and wasn't in any way supportive of A's birthmother. She struggled alone. If A starts asking tough questions when she gets older, we have to answer them honestly.

I am sure most parents have had some of the same feelings I am experiencing now. You don't want your young child to know that things like war and crime exist. How do you explain abortion? Addiction? Pornography? Ack, my brain goes limp just thinking about it.

I am so eager to see who she will become when she grows up, but I can't help but want her to stay three forever. I often ask her, "Why do you keep growing? Can't you stay little?"

"I have to grow," she always responds matter-of-factly. Right now the worst thing she ever has to face is being separated from Teddy because he is in the wash. And, that's just fine with me.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

The best laid plans


On the skyway

We got to the State Fair bright and early yesterday morning (after a two-hour drive). We go every year, so we've got it down to a science. We know where we can park for free. We know which attractions to hit first, before they become too crowded. Everything was going as planned until . . . I nearly puked on the midway. P and I were standing behind a giant pig, which had a slide inside. We were waiting for our daughter to slide out of the pig's butt, when all of a sudden I felt faint. I'll spare you all of the details, but my stomach was churning and I was sweating in a way that was not at all ladylike. I spent a fair amount of time in the ladies' room trying to decide if I was going to be able to keep the baked potato I had eaten or not. And that was the kicker - I hadn't even eaten any junk yet! I had eaten a $5.50 baked potato (I think that's, what, a 500% mark-up?) and a pinch of cotton candy. No deep-fried Oreo's, no food-on-a-stick, nothin'.

We found a spot where I could sit in the shade until I felt better. We were right next to a cantina of some sort, where a belly dancing act had just taken the stage. P kept A occupied while I kept up the sweaty nausea routine for a bit longer. The kid decided she was thirsty.

"What do you want to drink?" P asked her.

She pointed to a banner that was hanging on the wall of the cantina. "I want that," she announced, pointing to a picture of a dark bottle with red writing on it.

"That's a Bud Select," her father informed her.

"I want a Bud Select, she confirmed.

"I'll get you a lemonade."

At the top of her lungs: "I WANT A BUD SELECT!"

I'm sure no one heard her because, you know, only a few hundred thousand people attend the fair every year.

Eventually I did recover enough to continue strolling around the park for a while before we headed out. I still don't know what went wrong, but I'm guessing it was just the heat. Maybe I wasn't hydrated enough - who knows. If anyone should have been sick, it should have been my child. Every time I turned around her father was letting her eat cheese curds or ice cream.

Despite my bout with nausea, we still managed to do everything we set out to do. The kid got to ride some of the kiddie rides on the midway (she is precisely 36 inches tall now, which is the minimum height for almost every ride). She saw animals, she petted a cow, she collected some freebies, and she got to slide out of a pig's hinder. It's all good.

After we left the fair, we headed to the home of some friends from the rescue. They invite us to stay at their house every year when we go to the fair. And we get darned good service there, I have to say. Later in the evening, we met more of our rescue friends for a nice dinner at Buca di Beppo. My stomach agreed to let me have some manicotti and some garlic mashed potatoes. A circled the table several times, trying out her "Guess what? Chickenbutt!" joke on everyone who was willing to play along.

Now that we're home and unpacked, I need to starting packing for a trip "up north." We're leaving early Wednesday morning to spend some time at a friend's cabin. It's a long drive, but I'm looking forward to floating on my back in the lake and doing a whole lot of nothing.



Our little family, out to dinner. Ignore the wine glass in the foreground. I can't imagine who would have been indulging in such things, particularly with a small child present!