Showing posts from December, 2009

Is That Too Much to Ask?

or How You Know When You Are Laying It on a Bit Thick Obsessed. Supremely focused. Singularly occupied. Wholly devoted. All phrases that describe my 11-year old's love affair with the Wii. He has wanted one thing, and one thing only this week: playing time. When not playing the Wii, he has been looking up new games on the internet (scary) and making endless lists of the games he wants to buy when he comes into some money. It's all he talks about. It's all he thinks about. It is his crack. (We have always been an anti-game system family. We somehow convinced ourselves that a Wii would be different, and got one for the kids for Christmas. We may well regret this decision; the verdict is still very much out.) It's been a little bumpy for us, but not surprising. This is how he gets: he's been this way about the World Cup and about Shakespeare, so it's par for the course for him. He comes by it honestly -- his own father can have a similarly tenacious hold on a s

Health Care Reform

It was the strangest thing, but I was just walking along, minding my own business, when I fell off the edge of the internet! Thus explains my extended hiatus from blogging: it's taken me awhile to claw my way back up to my keyboard. I'm still a little tired from the effort, so my first foray back into blogging is borrowed. Yesterday, the San Francisco Chronicle printed a letter to the editor written by my father, a wise man indeed. I am reprinting it here. Without further ado... * * * Health Care Reform How history will judge us Soon Congress will pass a watered-down version of a health care bill that falls far short of what most governments see as routine and responsible. Historians of the future will look back on this time and wonder why Uncle Sam could not manage to provide easily accessible health care to his citizens. They will wonder at our unwillingness, unlike every other industrialized nation of the 2000s, to offer government-provided medicine to those unable t

Creative Christmas Carols

We've been singing lots of Christmas songs around here. My kids sometimes hear the words a little creatively. OR... I've got a little capitalist on my hands: "Go, sell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere; Go, sell it on the mountain: Jesus Christ is born." And apparently, we've got a little work to do regarding the Reason for the Season: "Glory to the new born thing!" Can't wait to hear what they do with Silent Night . * * *

Reflections on a Christmas Program

Is my kid the only kindergartner with a big smudge of green ink on her face? Is my 2nd grader the only one with a huge clump of hair hanging down in her face? It appears that all those other girls are perfectly coiffed. Why does my 4th grader look like he is being choked by his tie, which is pulling strangely up and to the left? Is my 5th grader really that bored by the proceedings, or is his arm injured in a such a way that he physically cannot hold his sparkly star any higher than his elbow, rendering it at least 6 inches lower than the stars of all of his classmates? Are we the only parents who yelled at their kids in the 15 minutes prior to the festivities? Are we the only family to arrive at this Celebration of the Season with more than 50% of us grumpy? Is my three-year old really going to throw herself around like a rag doll and shriek like the monkey she wishes she were for the entire program, causing lots of people to toss sympathetic smiles and delighted giggles my way,

"Just Give Me A Big Push!" and other things I am trying to ignore

Rainy afternoons are...interesting. The kids a gettin' a little stir crazy around here, and with soccer practice canceled, and screen time maxed out, and not much homework to do in these waning days before vacation, I'm hearing the words "I'm bored" a little more than I care to. Not tonight though! They've discovered a new activity: they are sledding down the stairway. I am trying my level best to ignore the things I am hearing, such as "Cenzo, I just need you to give me one really big push!" and "Hey, are you laughing or crying?" and "We need more padding!" and "If we could just get this to be more slippery!" There is total chaos in my stairwell. They've got the Brian Setzer band blasting from the boys' room and they are taking turns seeing who can catapault themselves down the stairs the fastest. If they can manage to leave me out of it, they might get away with it for another 20 minutes. One thing

Oh, They Crack Me Up

Kids do. Today, the kids got their class pictures. These are different from when I was a kid. Gone are the days of lining up 30 squirmy kids on makeshift bleachers and trying to keep the kid third from the end from picking his nose during the shoot. Now the photographer takes the individual shots of each kid and the class picture consists of an 8.5 x 11 sheet with the individual pictures of each student, the teachers, and the principal. The children are arranged alphabetically, except that the one your child comes home with features your child larger than all the rest, front and center. My daughter was showing another mom the class picture and said: "I'm the huge one." Yup, she thought all of her classmates got a HUGE picture of her, surrounded by little ones of everyone else. That child has zilch-o self-esteem issues. She's got self-esteem to spare. She's got loads of extra self-esteem just laying around in her bedroom, going to waste in a world filled

It's the Most Discombobulating Time of the Year

Things that seem impossible today: getting my daughter dressed...brushing my hair...finding socks...being peaceful...organizing my desk...finishing one damn cup of coffee...interacting with others without channeling my inner bitch...putting the laundry away...locating the mute button on my three year old...and preparing for Christmas. Questions I am pondering today: Is a muzzle an appropriate Christmas gift for a toddler? How about a straightjacket? Can Santa bring me a martini? Can he come NOW? Do I really need to get new tires and brakes right now, in December of all times of the year? If so, do you think the kids will be happy to find some Michelins and brake pads wrapped up under the tree on Christmas morn? Where are my keys, my blue tooth, my cell phone, my nerves, and my tylenol? If I abscond with the box of Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joe's, which will the children miss more: their mother or the cookies? In the absence of matching socks, can I dress her in m

My Foodie

What do you want to serve your friends at your birthday party, Lola? Lola: "STEAK!" ! * * * The family reminisces: "Remember when we all went to the Exploratorium ? Remember the shadow room? Remember the human brain?" Lola: "Remember the steak?" * * * The Buddy Club performer: "So what are your favorite foods, kids?" Kid #1: "Pesto pasta!" Kid #2: "Pizza" Lola: " Steak !" (with slightly maniacal look in her eye and big crazy grin) * * * She also loves: brussels sprouts...garlic, as in she snacks on whole cloves...broccoli stalks...salmon...cayenne pepper...spicy guacamole...spicy salsa...spicy ribs...paella. Her palette is truly amazing. She is headed for an exciting and varied eating life. Just think: someday, she might be cooking all those wonderful foods for me! Now that's what I would call a great return on an investment -- here's hoping it pays off, preferably before I have no teeth

You know you have a big family when... split the family into two cars for the ride home and both vehicles qualify for the car pool lane. * * *

Because I Can

I served brussel sprouts tonight. This was received with a level of resistance that would impress most revolutionaries. I, however, am the Supreme Dictator, and the sprouts went down. Not before I uttered some interesting sentences, including: "You cannot stand there with your mouth full of food! That's not how we roll! You have to swallow!" "This is so good for you: learning to eat stuff you don't like! I'm so proud of you!" "Not fair that she has two and you have three? You're right. I'll give her three." They hate me. This gives me the glowing feeling of being sure I am doing something right. * * * And the new normal is... On the way home from school today, the girls asked me if we could go to a local bakery. I said no, we weren't going to stop anywhere, we were going to go home and have a nice normal evening. A few minutes later, I told them what we were going to have for dinner and I mentioned that maybe w

I've Been To Hell, and There's a Big Mouse There

I just spent three hours at Chuck E. Cheese. I can't even quite describe the horror show I witnessed. It was hell. And it was just a normal day for the Mouse and his friends. I can't help thinking that there is something deeply, deeply wrong about a culture that can produce such a place. I need a quiet, dark room with carrots, water, and Judy's Breadsticks . When -- or IF -- I recover, I might try exorcising the demons I brought home with me by writing about it. Or maybe I'll just let the whole day die away and never let its memory touch the light of day. * * *

For My Father

Tonight, we are engaging in the holiday family tradition of decorating our Christmas tree. This is such a nostalgic reminds me of when I was a kid, decorating the family tree surrounded by my mom, dad, sister and brother. And tonight, dad, I just want you to know, I am not using hooks. Lovingly, your daughter * * *

Christmas Lists...Morons...and Pee

Three vignettes from my day: "Dear Santa, I want new siblings for Christmas. Ones that will not be mean to me. Love, Elizabeth." I asked her what we will do with the old ones, and she replied, "We'll just have a whole bunch more kids!" * * * "Dear Dad, I'm sorry I was such a moron this morning. I love you. Love, {name withheld to protect the guilty}" * * * As for the pee: all you parents of boys, let's talk about taking aim, shall we? Who among us has a boy-child that hits the target? I confront so much bodily fluid on a daily basis that I often feel like I'm in training for some high-level hazardous waste assignment. Between the daytime carelessness and the nighttime groggy-ness, my bathroom (of which I have ONE for a family of 7) tends to be a sea of pee. I go through many, many bottles of Simple Green in my Epic Pee Battles, and there is no end in sight. We get our boys up at night to go to the bathroom. Let me just sa

Something Not So Beautiful

The paella is beautiful. So is the roaring fire in the fireplace, also made by my spouse. What kind of woman yells at a man like that? My kind, unfortunately. Me? Not so beautiful today. Good thing we all get second chances. And thirds, fourths, fifths, and seven times seventies. * * *

Something Beautiful

This paella is beautiful, as is my spouse who made it. * * *


For your entertainment, here is a list of things I discovered around my house yesterday: One milk-sogged kitchen towel, left in a drippy heap on my kitchen floor, after a child "cleaned up" the milk he spilled in the living room. Two strawberries mashed into my nice black jacket. Approximately 35 dead crickets, in their cricket house, which is a plastic case that sits on a shelf in my kitchen. Just purchased to feed our fire-bellied toads, but attacked and eliminated by hundreds of ants. Oh yeah, and I also discovered the ants. An unidentifiable hard-but-still-sticky substance encrusted in my three year old's hair. After getting the three year old out of the bathtub and getting her into her pajamas, I further discovered that in the time between rinsing the shampoo out of her hair and going to check dinner on the stove, the seven year old had dumped a large amount of shampoo on the three-year old's head. Two sippy cups full of three-day old milk, under the todd