Showing posts from May, 2008

Drama at Buh-Lay Class

A had her weekly tap and ballet class last night. Every week is sort of like that movie "Groundhog Day." Before class, I remind her that's it very important that she make some kind of attempt to listen to the instructor. And every week, I watch through the window as the same scene repeats itself over and over. I watch the instructor carry out a dance step of some sort. Then I look at A. And what she is doing never matches what the instructor just did. Often I'll notice her running around the room, skidding in her tap shoes, while the instructor stands there with her hand on her hip. There are only two little girls in the class and, as far as I can tell, the other little girl does whatever my kid tells her to do. The other thing that happens every week is that A claims she has to use the potty. She ends up missing a good 5 minutes of a 30 minute class. So last night, I tried to break the cycle. I made sure she emptied her wee little bladder right before we left the hou

Cheating a little here

A few months ago I wrote a blog entry called "Just a little longer." At about that same time I was asked to submit an essay for an anthology. (A real live book! I know!) I revised the blog entry a bit and submitted it along with another essay. Well, it looks like the other one is more likely to be used for the book. But, I still liked the way the one about my daughter turned out, so I'm including the revised version here. Just a Little Longer Our little family seemed to be caught in some endless loop where our three-year-old daughter, A____, stayed up too late, woke up crabby and tired, didn’t nap, stayed up too late, and woke up crabby again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Every so often, the lack of sleep caught up with her and she slept for twelve hours straight. Recently, she rolled out of bed at around nine o’clock on Sunday morning and we barely made it to church on time. I guess I could have woken her up earlier, but that just seemed like pure craziness. That night, my hus

Further adventures of the introverted parents with the extroverted kid

The kid, on stage, completely univited Today P and I put the kid in her wagon and set off for the park. As we approached the wooded play area, A could see that there were a few visitors already there. "There are people at the park!" she exclaimed. "Everyone will see me!" And that is truly how she goes through life - every day is an opportunity to be seen. Headed to the park to greet her peeps On Sunday evening, we were invited to attend a 10th wedding anniversary party in honor of my friends Nancy and Gary. (When I told the kid we were going, she said, "I love Nancy and Larry! They're my friends!") Now, this was not a kid-type party per se, and please believe me when I say that I tried like hell to find a sitter. It's tough to do on a holiday weekend when all the sullen teens are out of town. But my friend assured me that it was okay to bring A, as it was better than not making an appearance at all. P had to work, so it was just the two of us. The

O Cooter! My Cooter!

Okay, so I'm not actually talking about my cooter, but the Walt Whitman reference didn't work otherwise. If any experienced moms are reading this, I could use some advice. Sometime last year, A began complaining about her nether region. "My gyna hurts," she said. We don't let her take bubble baths, so I knew that wasn't the culprit. As a young child I was hospitalized with a kidney infection and the doctor told my poor, guilt-ridden mother that Mr. Bubble was the cause of my malady. I do have memories of sitting on the potty, totally refusing to pee, while my mother ran my hand under cold water in case that might cause some sort of reflex (it never did, and to this day I cannot pee in front of my mom . . . not that peeing in front of my mom is something that comes up too frequently). But anyway, I am cautious about all things related to the entire urogenital system. I took A to the pediatrician, who could not find anything wrong with her. She examined her tho


I made a bold move this morning: I washed Teddy. He was looking pretty bedraggled. I know for a fact that he had been in at least two dogs' mouths. He had had syrup ("surry-up") spilled on him. At least once I had run over him with a grocery cart. He had been dropped in the snow, in the dirt, and behind the toilet. For all I know he had a couple of diseases. So, as filthy as he was, I knew he needed to be washed . . . but I couldn't help but worry that the spin cycle would be his undoing. And believe me when I say that if something happens to Teddy, life as we know it is over. The kid would sooner live without oxygen than live without Teddy. I bought Teddy during our Thanksgiving trip to DC last year. I got him at a World Market store. I didn't even realize that he was 1/2 off until I got to the register. So, I paid a whopping $5.00 for him. Had I known that Teddy would become so important, I would've bought two of him right off the bat. I have dozens of photo

The Secret

My mom called to chat last night and, since the kid was up way past her bedtime, I decided to let her talk to my mom as well. I handed her the phone and listened to A's side of the conversation. "Tell her the secret about underpants," I suggested. Lately she thinks it's hilarious to grab my head and whisper this secret into my ear: "Underpaaaaaaaaaants." I think you'll agree that the word "underpants" is its own punchline and is just inherently funny to say. A scowled at my suggestion, though. "No, I'm gonna tell Meemaw a nice secret!" She turned back to the phone and held it up to her mouth. "Meemaw," she said sweetly, "I wish I loved you." I couldn't help but laugh. She thinks of a wish as a nice thing (like a hope or a promise) and didn't mean it in any negative way. It was just one of those classic "hey, I'm just learning this language, fer-cryin-out-loud" moments. I took the phone bac

I need a piece of water

A short nap in the garage, fruit snack still in hand It's true what they say about kid's uttering "the darndest things." Yesterday as we left A's dance class at the Y, she started yelling, "But Mama, I need a piece of water!" She had spotted a water fountain and needed a piece of refreshment, I guess. On the way home, the sun was setting so it was coming into our van at all sorts of odd, irritating angles. I handed the kid her sunglasses. "Mama, the sun is birking me." "It's what? Bugging you?" "No, it's BIRKING me." "Oh okay, it's birking me, too." Birking seems as good a word as any other, I suppose. Is it Friday yet? I need a piece of wine.

It's Defective

The kid had her first dental appointment yesterday. The dental hygienist and the dentist both agreed that she was one of the more willing three-year-olds they had seen. I wish I had taken my camera because she looked darned cute sitting there in the big chair getting her spit sucked right out of her. And then we ran into a little snag. Don't ask me how I have failed to notice this, because I feel like I know every inch of her, but we learned that . . . she has an underbite. Frankly, I'm not sure that I'm prepared to deal with a defect of this magnitude. Dr. Fay assured me that "she just comes this way" (in other words, she was already defective when she left the factory and it has nothing to do with the fact that I let her sleep with a nuk in her mouth for far too long). So now I have visions of orthodontia and headgear and retainers dancing in my head. There goes my vacation home in the Carolinas. Drat! I mean, first the birthmark (hemangioma) on her ribcage and

Giddy and Chloe, Sittin’ in a Tree

My boy Gideon has a new girlfriend. Or, ball and chain is more like it. That’s probably what he calls her under his breath. Chloe definitely wears the figurative pants in this relationship. Whenever she thinks he’s getting out of line or being in some way non-compliant, she grabs him by his skinny hips and humps him. Giddy is around four years old and Chloe is fifteen months, so in essence he has sold his soul to a puppy. We have two resident dogs, Giddy the Boxer and Karl the big black fluffy dog. Karl is nearly ten and definitely doesn’t want to wrestle. He has a limited tolerance for the youngsters. He lies in the corner looking perturbed while they play, and I always imagine him saying things like, “When I was your age I walked to school in the snow – it was uphill both ways!” Fostering is a lot of work but one nice benefit is that it gives Giddy a friend, even if just for a few weeks. Chloe is deaf and harder to place, so she will probably be with us for a while. She and Gideon ru

Morose Mother's Day

Warning: abundant self-pity ahead . . . Mother's Day was a bust this year. Maybe P's family didn't make a big deal about Mother's Day when he was a kid. Or maybe he just didn't know that I was hoping for something, anything. He was sick on Saturday so I suppose I have to cut him some slack for that, but if he didn't persist in leaving everything until the last minute, it wouldn't be such a problem. I had mentioned to him a few weeks ago that I could use some summer pajamas. I thought maybe he would take the kid shopping and pick some out. Then on Friday he announced that he hadn't bought anything and that we could all go to the mall together on Saturday. Oh. I took the kid to a birthday party on Saturday afternoon and then brought her home. I decided to go back out and do a little shopping by myself. I had a Gymboree coupon that was burning a hole in my pocket. I ended up buying some summer things for the kid. I did buy some unremarkable pajamas for mys

You Can't Go Home Again

My first car, in front of the old house. I can't believe I actually took a photo of that car. But c'mon, it was mine and it had a sunroof! And a tape deck! Was it Thomas Wolfe who said you can't go home again? Or am I thinking of The Great Gatsby? In any case, I can't go home again. And I'm feeling downright melancholy about it. Because for the past 12 years (since I moved to the midwest), I always felt like I actually could go home again. When I tell someone, "I'm going home for Thanksgiving," they often look at me quizzically and say, "Don't you, um, go home every day?" But, you know, there's home and then there's home . I spent the first 26 years of my life in the DC area (P and I lived in sin in Northern VA for a couple years after I moved out of my parents' house when I was 23 - hey, I was a full-time college student so don't even go there), so in many ways it is still home to me. My parents' home is comfortable,

Fish are Not Vegetables (and other random lessons)

After we got back from our trip on Sunday, I decided to run to the grocery store (well, "run" isn't exactly the right word . . . that makes it sound like I dig it and well, I don't). As I rounded the corner in the frozen foods aisle, I spotted a hair-netted lady with some clumpy-looking samples on a tray. 99 times out of 100, samples at the grocery store are not something I can or would eat, so generally I just ignore the food sample hawkers. "Would you like to try some salmon burger?" Now, normally I just say, "No, thank you." But something possessed me to say this: "No, thank you. I'm a vegetarian." Her smile faded a little. "Oh, but it's FISH." "Right, which means it's not vegetarian." The lady couldn't let it go, though. "My daughter was a vegetarian in college, but she ate fish." I smiled tightly and walked away, because dissing her daughter didn't seem appropriate under the circumsta

All Over But the Shoutin'

The big birthday weekend in the big city went off without a hitch. It rained a lot on Saturday, so we were forced to schlep umbrellas wherever we went. Or, umbabrellas, if you prefer. That's what the kid calls them. It turns out that I needn't have worried about getting access to the indoor water park that was in our hotel. They were more than happy to sell us the overpriced tickets when we got there. We also enjoyed paying the $22.00 fee for parking. We hit the children's museum first. Basically what we do at this type of joint is to tag-team the kid so that she doesn't get abducted. We chased her from exhibit to exhibit, trying our best to keep an eye on the kid with the bouncing curls and the birthday t-shirt. I think her favorite attraction was a simple little slide . . . kind of like the one we could visit anytime (for free) at the park in our neighborhood. We also fell into the "you have to walk through the gift shop to get out of this place" trap and bo

Happy Birthday, Beautiful Girl

Make photo slide shows at We are going out of town for the big birthday celebration, so I'm posting this a day early . . . To my curly-haired, smart, funny, comet of a kid . . . happy third birthday! Not a day goes by that I don't wonder how I got so lucky. Being your mom is the greatest gift I have ever been given. Even during your 6:18 a.m. daily meltdown, I still feel blessed. From the day I met you at the hospital, I knew you would turn my world upside down. I was so full of love for you, from that very first moment. I just wanted to hold you, breathe you in, and protect you from anything and everything that even hinted at villainy. They say that a mother can muster up enough adrenaline to pull a car off her child. I really think I could do that, but don't test it out, okay? I love you for all that you are now and for the person you are becoming. So keep on laughing, keep on singing, and keep on "dancing down the street with your suede blue eye