Showing posts from May, 2010

Looking for Heaven?

I went on the Kindergarten field trip on Friday. On the bus ride home, I had the privilege of sitting next to a charming little boy who told me that he was going to throw up. I got a bag for him and hoped for the best. He would give me periodic updates. "I haven't thrown up yet. But I will!" Then he noticed that the bus was going in the same direction his family takes to his house, so he got very excited that the entire class seemed to be on their way to visit his family. I told him we were all coming over for dinner. He asked me if I would hold the bag for him while and after he threw up. I assured him that I would be there for him when and if the time came. And that he would not have to ride home holding a bag of barf. We got closer to the school, and finally went a different way from his house, and he said: "I live over there, next to Heaven." I looked up in the direction he was pointing, and there was a cemetery there. "I get to walk

Advice Every New Parent Really Needs to Hear

People usually need to make a few life adjustments when they become parents. We have to change our language, perhaps, maybe drink a little less, probably watch more tame television. Rick and I have done all of those to greater and lesser degrees. But a few things have slipped by. So, in the interest of sharing what I have learned from experience, I offer this little nugget to all of you new parents out there. If you, in your pre-child life, referred to kiwi as camel nuts or gorilla testicles , it would be wise NOT to bring these phrases into your home filled with small ears. Otherwise, you'll be at a huge soccer tournament, with mobs of people you do not know, or do not know well, and your five year old will come up to you gnawing on a kiwi, and she will announce, loudly and with a big smile: " Mmmmmm, I LOVE gorilla testicles !" Heed my words, people. If you do not, you will want to die of shame. * * *


I just saw a commercial for Stouffer's frozen italian lasagna dinner thing. The tag line of the ad was " MADE WITH REAL INGREDIENTS ." Really? Is this how far we've fallen? Using actual food is something to brag about? How sad is that? I swear, our culture is unsustainable. We will crumble like the Roman Empire. It will take longer, what with all the preservatives we consume. * * * And YES, I am watching TV in the middle of the day. A mindless distraction while I am actually working , preparing a newsletter mailing. So in a way, I am being paid to watch TV in the middle of the day. Find me some real food, and I'm all set. * * *

Step Off, Lady

I took my girls with me to the local courthouse today to pay a traffic fine. Remember, today is the day I'm trying to remember to breathe and not yell. So there I was, in a very unadorned municipal office, standing in a long line of weary people unhappy to fork over their hard earned cash, hoping my girls would act at least partially civilized. And pretty much, I'd say they were precisely partially civilized. The other part was sort of Animal Kingdom-ish, but it wasn't the worst display I've ever seen. When you have small children in a long line, in a boring office with nothing interesting to look at, they tend to get a little squirrely. Mind did. But they also occupied themselves by making up their own game having something to do with jumping over the linoleum squares, stepping on acceptable squares, avoiding squares of death, etc. Then they started playing tag, which was a little much. I did my best to stop them, and I was mostly successful, but they were d


I am tired of being a nagging mom. I am sick of hearing myself say to my kids: " Not now, I'm too tired ." I'm tired of yelling. I'm tired of listening to my kids yell at each other. I'm weary of feeling like the tail is wagging the dog around here, and the dog is a big grump anyway. So. I am trying to do things differently today. Two kids home sick...I'm feeling under the weather toddler-from-hell wreaking havoc wherever she goes. Everyone freaking out at the slightest provocation. And still. I am trying to go gently through the day, taking time to explain things to the kids when they fight. Taking the time to find tape for the 5 year old, even though I'm writing a blog about trying to be patient and good, and would rather tell her that I can't right now. Trying to approach Mt. Washmore with the right mix of fortitude, efficiency and flexibility. Trying to do the impossible. I think that's really the job description

Curse You, Bruno

I stopped by a local Rubio's for lunch on Friday. Little did I know they were serving humble pie for lunch. At a center table sat three little girls and a woman. One of the girls, looked around 5, was being really cute and funny, and dancing around in an adorable fashion. She would waltz over to the napkins, grab a few, turn back, take a crazy bow, and then waltz back to her seat. She did a little Vanna White thing with the salsa display. She did jazz hands at the drink counter. It was super cute. I was thoroughly entertained, and she knew it. She totally hammed things up for my benefit, and I was duly charmed, as were a handful of other patrons. But then, she morphed into a Solid Gold dancer , and began dancing like she was on a catwalk instead of circus platform. It was bizarre. Clearly, I thought to myself, this girl watches too much TV. She dances a little too "old" for her age. That was nothing, however, compared to her younger sister. The littlest gir

Coffee, Stat!

You know you really, really need a cup of coffee when you repeatedly press the OFF button on the coffee maker, getting more and more panicky each time, wondering why the damn thing isn't working and cursing the fate of having a broken coffee machine. If ever I needed proof that there is mercy in the world, my accidentally hitting the ON button in my frenzied pushing of the OFF button was it. Boy, did I feel silly. But I'm caffienated now, so I don't care. * * *

Look What I Found

On the day of our annual garden tour, my 9-year old son set up an art stand. He drew pictures, put them in frames, and sold them for a couple of bucks each. Here is a picture of one of his creations: (If you'd like your very own Cenzo original to hang on your wall, I can hook you up. I have an in.) By about mid-day, he was carrying around a small wad of money. Not putting it in his pocket, or storing it somewhere safe, just carrying it around with him. I told him multiple times to put it somewhere, but he wouldn't listen. He liked that little wad of cash, and wouldn't part with it. At one point, a garden visitor came up and handed me a clump of dollars: " I just found this on your lawn... " That was the first of three times he lost his money. The kindness of a stranger helped him that first time. Luck helped the second time. The third time, it was getting late in the evening, the tour was long since over, and we were enjoying a fire in the back yard

Hims Makes Stuff

Mommy, am I going to die someday? Well, what do you think? Yeah, I will. When I a old lady. Mommy, who made dis? (indicating car seat) Hmmm...I'm not sure who made that, honey. Proly God made it. Cuz hims makes stuff. Hims makes arms, and chests, and legs, and faces, and lips, and knees, and hair, and smiles, and feet and socks. To read this properly, you have to say aaaaaaaaaaaarms and cheeeeeeeeeeeeeests, and leeeeeeeeeeeegs. Draw out the words to really hear her voice. Yeah, God probably made it. When I die, I'll be sad because I won't see my mommy that I love so much. But I see her now! I love her and I smile at her! Mommy, rember when you got me? You goed to the zoo and saw the yiddle monkey in the cage and asked the zookeepuh if you could take the yiddle monkey home? An he let you? Or the other one? I was in a egg, under a rock, and you came and picked up the rock and the egg started to crack...??? And you were inside the egg? YEAH! And I

Apologies, Mr. Frost

Stopping By My Living Room on a Regular Evening Whose shoes these are I do not care Their stink and steam do fill the air; They’ve been here for a week or more Kicked beneath the comfy chair. There are backpacks thrown behind the door And cheerios stuck right to the floor. Is that a banana, for the love of God? This disarray is the stuff of lore. My three year old must think it odd To see me hone my staff and rod When spying books and dishes--UGH! And towels and clothing stained with sod. She gives her blankey a tighter hug To warn siblings of the coming thug. She sees the quaking in my gait And tries to hide beneath the rug. It’s chaos that I truly hate. But with children, chaos is my fate. The laundry's always in a heap. The order always little and late. The mess is scary, dark and deep. But I have a house to clear and keep. And heads will roll before I sleep And heads will roll before I sleep. * * * My inspiration . * * *

Pathetic, But Effective

When the first four of my children were all under school age, their TV time was severely limited. They didn't watch any regular "shows," and the TV was never on during the day. They watched a handful of movies over and over and over again, but didn't really know any better and were quite happy in their ignorance. Enter Child #5. She came of TV-watching age in a household that had discovered I Carly and Sponge Bob, that was deep into Dora and Diego and Max and Ruby. She skipped right over Sesame Street and goes directly for full length movies starring the Teen Idol Du Jour and featuring lots of teeny-bopper behavior. This is perhaps why she once called me "smokin' hot," talks to her stuffed monkey about all her boyfriends, and shakes what her mama gave her with a little too much verve. She watches too much television. My fault. I let her. I can't stop myself. I resolve to keep the TV off, but I crumble too quickly and before I know it, Miss

A Tender Moment It Was Not, but a Cherished One, Nonetheless

We have largely cleared our bed of small people, at least between the hours of 9pm and 5am. After 5am, it's sort of a free for all. This morning, the three year old climbed in for a snu- snu- snu- snuggle. (Sound familiar, D'bee?) It's so nice to lie with her, exchange little eskimo kisses, and whisper sillinesses to each other, until she wakes up a little and starts jumping up and down on top of me. This morning, pre-jumping, we were enjoying that drowsy, just-woke-up state, and staring lovingly at each other's faces, with about three inches between us. Her: "Mommy, why do have stripes on you?" Me: "I'm not wearing stripes, honey; these are flowers." Her: "But why do you have stripes?" Me: (The thought occurs to me that she's talking wrinkles. I say nothing. I start fantasizing about the children she will one day have, and the grief they will cause her.) Her, giving me her best Whoa Lady, This Is Not What I Signed Up

Get Back In That Taco!

My daughter wet the bed last night, due to a wardrobe malfunction, a.k.a., a poorly-placed diaper. She stumbled upstairs, where I changed her in the dark, stuck a shirt of mine on her and tossed her unceremoniously in my place. I grabbed a pillow and spent the next few precious hours of sleep under a meager blanket on the couch. Combine those events with this day being one of the WORST pms-related symptom days I have had in many, many moons, and you get one colossally difficult day. Each month, I get to spin the wheel. Sometimes, no symptoms at all. Other times, symptoms that turn me into a completely non-functioning person, except for the rage function, which goes into overdrive. Between the blinding headaches, the weakness in my arms and legs, the pains in my muscles, the tearful tendencies, the impatience, the lightning-fast rage response and the wanting to crawl out of my own skin, it can be simply awful. (Actually, today I sort of felt like I had a little window into what


My son is one of the Commissioners of Religion at his school. Basically, this means that he and the other Commissioner lead the school's daily prayer at the Morning Assembly. It's quite nice to hear him each morning stumbling over strange words, or mumbling through the Lord's Prayer, or proclaiming a prayer with confidence, depending on how much sleep he got the night before or whether he ate more than a few bites of toast that morning. I'm usually one of the parents who walks everyone into school and hangs out until the student body president says "You're all dismissed, have a nice day" and the kids file into their classrooms. The younger ones turn to catch my eye and blow me kisses. The older ones studiously ignore me. But with the busy-ness of our lives this Spring, instead of walking up to the school each morning, I've been pulling up to the drop off zone, slowing down to 5 mph, opening the side door of the van and tapping the brakes severa

Happy Mothers Day, Mom

I didn't call my mom on Mothers Day. How lame, right? Very lame. But she just ordered cookies from my son for his soccer team's fundraiser, so I managed to send her an email...and realized while I was writing it that I had failed to mark the day. So I wrote her a quick, impromptu HMD message, which, it turns out, was as heartfelt as anything I could have spent more time and money composing, or communicating with a gift. So I thought I would post it here. It's brief, but truer words were never typed. Mom, so that this message lives in public and in some kind of posterity, I hereby post my Mother's Day Greeting to you, complete with cookie sale minutiae: OK. We are turning in money tomorrow, so you can make the check out to me, and I'll add your $15 to our total. Thanks! By the way, I failed to call you on Mothers Day, can you believe it? So here is my kind of lame, belated Happy Mothers Day to you. I can't tell you how much I appreciate everything

Baby Mode Has Been Good To Me

I am too tired to clean my kitchen. It's only 7pm. If I were more industrious, or more organized, or more motivated, or more better, I'm sure I could do it. But I can't. Does that make me a terrible housewifely person? I know, with certainty, that I will go to bed tonight with a dirty kitchen, because I can't get myself to care enough to either clean it or make anyone else clean it. I do, however, find that I have enough energy to turn my wrist just so , such that the red wine flows directly into my glass, which is already 1/4 full. * * * It occurred to me today that I need to catch up with my kids. For 11.5 years now, I've been in baby mode, and I've taken full advantage of the slack afforded to mothers with babies. I've watched my friends with kids who are all out of diapers and headed into school, or well into school, and I've always thought: "Well, I'm sure I'll be as together as they are when I'm not in baby mode anymore

Boldly Going

Today, I am attempting the impossible. I am stepping into the abyss, taking on the dark side, engaging the forces of chaos. I will go forth and conquer, and I will not falter. Today, I am going to help my kids clean their rooms without losing my mind or my voice. Wish me luck; it's never been done before. If I am successful, I shall mark the calendar and celebrate the anniversary of this day every year with much dancing and rejoicing. I will not yell. I will not yell. I will not yell. I will not yell. I will not yell. Five vows for not yelling. Five, because I got five, and also because five is a Fibonacci number . I'm invoking the natural order of things to keep myself from yelling. Today, I will be one mother, cleaning two rooms, with three cups of coffee on board, for five children; I will serve dinner for eight people (MIL is visiting), I will break up thirteen arguments, I will kiss my kids twenty-one times. Each. I will remind myself to breathe

Random Rants and Reflections

The garden tour is over. Which has left a great void in my brain, which I have filled in the last few days with a startling number of rants and reflections. I share some of them with you, so that I don't become a facebook embarrassment with too many "from left field" status updates. Random #1: Today, a mom friend of mine was telling me about her morning getting the kids to school, and about how she had not managed to pack her girls' lunch and so had to buy the "hot lunch" du jour. Actually, Tuesday is the only day at our school that we can buy "same day" hot lunch: the other hot lunch days require a pre-order. Whenever a Tuesday rolls around and I'm not ready for lunches, I rejoice. She commented to me that she had to buy the school lunches today because she's "the loser mom who didn't have stuff for lunches." I've called myself this same thing before, for some reason or other, usually having to do with my percept