Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Potty Training 101

I figured I would start potty-training Adam last week. Because, you know, I haven't done that yet. I just had a baby, get off my back! Well, that was my excuse last year, it's not my fault that time passes so quickly. Really, I blame Plain Jane. I couldn't let all those free diapers go to waste! Can you believe we STILL haven't finished them all? Three months supply my ass. It's been six months and I just opened the last case. Don't they say not to attempt it during holidays? Or in winter or something? Shut up, I know there's a good reason deep down somewhere.

Anyway, my potty-training preparation consisted of purchasing a package of pull-ups and washing the Diego underwear Santa so kindly brought, oh, five months ago.

And that was about it.

Adam asked to wear the underpants on Thursday and he's pretty much been using the toilet ever since. He even wipes himself and washes his hands thoroughly. I pretty much haven't had to do a thing which is exactly how my lazy soul likes it.

The key to successful potty training? Wait until your kid gets tired of waiting on you to show him. He'll get it eventually, why knock yourself out?

Now, who's going to take the pacifier away from him?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mountaineers Are Always Right, Right?

Okay internetz, you need to settle a discussion for me.

Tell me what you would do in the following situation and then tell me what you think of what actually happened.

Saturday was the annual WVU alumni obligatory family function. Because, they must hold a family function to justify all the happy hours and wine tastings they sponsor and since we know no babysitters, it's the ONE time of the year I can tote my brood while I enjoy some cold ones with people who actually know about The Dungeon and start spontaneously chanting "Let's Go Mountaineers". I don't think I need to explain how very much I look forward to it every year.

See that guy? That's the new football coach. The football coach was in our crowded little Texas bar. Since I know most (or none) of you are from West Virginia, I should just explain that The Mountaineers are our state's Steelers and the coach, well, the coach is the King of our state. So, yeah, it was a good time.

Until the shit hit the fan.

Let me start at the beginning:

We got to the bar early because we knew we'd need our own table since there are now FIVE of us. Luckily for us, the girl in charge sectioned off family tables so those assholes people who don't like children did not have to sit near them. Of course, a childless couple chose to sit right next to us since we were quite close to the coach's table and everybody wants to be closer to the king. We talked to them for a little bit and found out that the husband was from WV but the wife was an Aggie from town covered in WVU tattoos who didn't like cold weather and, seriously, if you didn't go to WVU don't insult the rest of us who did by trying to deck yourself out in all things gold and blue. It's just wrong. You can not understand, even by association. Spouses do not count. Notice how my own husband respects the rule. Children can, and should, be decorated accordingly because they are legacies. And yes, this is a rule I made up in my own mind but I think other Mountaineers would agree with me.

Anyway, so I'm feeding my herd and drinking some beer and trying to hold a decent conversation when the husband starts completely freaking out because the aggie next to me is completely freaking out and before I knew it he had taken Adam to the bathroom leaving me wondering what the hell had just happened.

My sweet three year old spit on Mountaineer Wanna-be. Sort of.

You see, Jacob and Adam have this new little thing. They like to blow spit bubbles. You know, use their own saliva to blow a big bubble out of their mouths. They have contests. Adam usually wins. Another wonderful skill for which I am paying tuition, but that's not the point. Adam likes to come up to me and give me a kiss and then try and blow a bubble on me. I act all disgusted and wipe my face and then give him a big regular kiss and it's all fun and games. For us. You know because I wipe poopy butts, a little saliva doesn't bother me. It does, however, bother other people.

Miss Aggie did spend a while talking and playing with Adam before the food came. He seemed to like her and at one time she actually let him wear her Mountaineer bracelet so to him this is code for we-must-be-friends-now. And what have we taught our children about sharing and being kind and thankful? Adam decided to show his thanks by playing spit bubble kisses with his new friend. FYI: Aggies do not like spit bubble kisses.

Of course then she freaks out and tells Derick what happened and he proceeds to freak out because he doesn't know much about spit bubble kisses and just takes Aggie's word that my baby spit a big fat loogy on her Mountaineer shirt. The Mountaineer shirt she shouldn't have been wearing anyway, but whatever. By the time I figure out what has really happened, my husband has offered to buy Aggie Bitch a brand new twenty-six dollar tee-shirt (they sell them at the door) although there was not so much as a mark on the one she was currently sporting. And you know what? She accepted his offer. So he bought her the tee shirt I was planning on buying for myself WITH THE MONEY I MADE OFF THE RICH BIBLE STUDY LADIES. She was standing right there all scowly-faced while he came over to rummage through my wallet all jittery-like because he didn't have any cash "to give to this poor lady our son has accosted" I think I actually said "WTF?" but you know, not like that. And if that weren't bad enough? He gave her the change left over "for her trouble". AND SHE TOOK IT!


I really wanted to make a scene, but I wouldn't do that in front of fellow Mountaineers. An Aggie wasn't worth wasting what was otherwise a pleasant afternoon. I ordered another beer and talked hometown business with the coach (you know, because he's from my hometown and we went to the same small high school and we know the same peeps, makes me sort of WV royalty right?)

So when I get into the car without my cool tee shirt or Future Mountaineer onesie that I know the internetz would've loved to see on my gorgeous tot, I casually ask the husband "WTF?" while following Aggie in her brand new Lexus out of the parking lot. I will spare you the gory details, but it turned into Almost-Divorce 2008 which made for a wonderful drive through downtown traffic.

As I tried to explain to the husband-who-would-not-listen, I was not mad at him for offering to right the situation, although that amount of dough for a little bit of dried slobber was pretty excessive. I was LIVID at Aggie for taking it. Doesn't that go against some Mama code? I mean, would you, as a Mom or Dad, take money and hand-outs for the actions of a small child that did not cause you bodily or property harm? I mean, if he'd have knocked her teeth out with a bat or smeared her Lexus with a sharpie, oh yeah, I'd be pulling out the check book, but a spit bubble kiss? Buying her a beer, yeah, buying her a shirt and some pocket money, no.

So, wise internet, what is the parent code of conduct here?

**And if you happen to actually be an Aggie, I am sure you are a perfectly wonderful person, it's just Aggie's can't be Mountaineers as we have clearly been shown.**

Friday, April 25, 2008

Money Changes Everything

When I was in college, I used to baby-sit for a Mom's club once a month. It was a pretty sweet gig for two hours of my time. I'd arrive at the house of the moment, set up a boom box full of Disney tunes and some art supplies wherever the Mamas wanted me, and play with the children while the Mamas sipped wine and gossiped in another room. I was paid six bucks per child and sometimes I'd leave with eighty dollars in my pocket. Eighty dollars bought a lot of pitchers way back when.

That was fifteen years ago.

I now happen to go to a mom's club most every Friday. I used to really enjoy it, but lately, well, lately not so much. You see, some of the moms belong to an ultra-exclusive, invitation-only bible study that tends to overlap with most of the club activities. I have been a member for three years now and still don't understand the bible club requirements or what clique you need to belong to be included. I am not, apparently, one of the chosen ones. It all reminds me of high school where we had a club called YLU (Young Ladies Union, I think it was only OUR school that had it and I am sure some prissy girl came up with it) and at the beginning of each year you signed your name to a list and if the members thought you were cool enough you got in, if not, sorry Charlie, have you heard of the drama club? But, of course, YLU was much nicer because I was involved and I still have the shiny blue jacket to prove it.

Anyway, so three years have passed, and I am thinking I will never understand the inner workings of the bible study, when I get an email from one of the chosen ones about the bible study. Really, they want me to come to the bible study? Well, yeah, sort of. Their regular baby sitter was unavailable so could I come babysit for them for two hours?


And you think I told them where to shove it right?

Hell no! The little tidbit about earning between forty and eighty dollars for two hours work had me replying yes in less than thirty seconds. Forty bucks buys a lot of Tuesday morning donuts people!

But it was a tad uncomfortable in that nerdy-girl-serving-punch-to-the-popular-kids-at-the-homecoming-dance sort of way.

I am almost forty years old. I live a pretty good life. My kids are healthy, we always have food on the table (and usually the floor too, but that's another story), and I am able to stay home with my kids. I feel pretty lucky about that. When I was twenty, though, I imagined I'd be living like the wine-sipping mamas for whom I babysat every month: in a huge house, wearing fancy clothes, taking frequent vacations, and paying some poor college student a small fortune to watch my kids for an hour or two while I gossiped with my friends. Uh, where's my six bedroom house? I forgot my beemer somewhere. Babysitter? What the heck is that? Vacation? BWAHAHAHAHA! I am still the poor girl getting dollar bills stuffed into her palm like a cheap tip. Where have I been? I went from working for rich women older than me to working for rich women younger than me. How did that happen?

Man, that really depressed me. Kinda made me want to go nickel beer night at The Dungeon until I remembered I was no longer in college and it wouldn't be right to go drinking with my children. You know, the law and all.

Until I got out to the car and dug out all the dough I'd stuffed embarrassingly into my pockets. Apparently the hourly rate for babysitters has gone up significantly in fifteen years.

So I lost a little dignity. Who cares! I like this gig. Where do I sign up?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Party Like It's Your Birthday

I cannot believe my baby is a year old already.

I was sure I would sob all day, but I didn't. I was a little teary when I thought no one was going to show up for her party, but when the guests began arriving forty-five minutes late I felt better.

I never thought I'd see pink cake in my house.

Or pink party hats and a princess sash.

And I'm glad I got a redo on the first birthday cake tasting since we missed out with Adam. Just like Adam, she liked the frosting but could care less about the cake.

Wow, what a year it's been! We survived. Hallelujah!

I'm almost afraid of what this next year might bring. Let us pray for sleep.

Yo, internetz! I am one! Watch out!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dear Disgruntled Target Shopper,

I am so sorry your shopping experience was less than wonderful yesterday. It does suck to be in a hurry and have to actually wait your turn, I know because my children struggle with this often. Thank you for allowing me to use you as an example of how NOT to behave in such a situation. Your behavior really paved the way for a meaningful discussion on proper public etiquette when frustrated. Allow me to help you now with a little helpful advice that might make your next shopping trip a bit easier.

1. You can use the carts for free. They are also located very handily at the entrance so you don't need to juggle twenty huge items in your arms throughout the store.

2. If you are in a hurry, do not get in line behind a woman with a full cart AND three wiggly children. I don't believe this needs much of an explanation.

3. The handy item divider is a useful tool in letting one know that the person in front of you has finished unloading their cart. If you do not see the divider, do not place your items on the belt.

4. Realize that others are trying to be helpful in letting you know they still have things to unload. "I just need a place to set this heavy shit down, bitch" is not an appropriate response. The belt isn't yours until the divider goes up. See number two AND number one.

5. If you call the lady in front of you a bitch, know she's only going to do everything slower to hold you up.

6. In reference to numbers three and four, if your heavy items are taking up the entire belt before the customer in front of you has finished unloading, she will have to hand each item separately to the checker to scan one-by-one. This takes up valuable seconds of your time.

7. It's funny, but "hurry up, bitch" just doesn't make anyone want to hurry up.

8. Yes, some people really do need gift receipts.

9. No one needs parenting advice from a person sans children. If children singing and laughing bothers you, maybe you should wait to do your shopping in the late evening when most children are home in bed. And again, maybe children wouldn't touch your stuff on the belt if you had waited for the handy-dandy divider. Babies grab things if put right in front of them.

10. Purple camo pants with duck slippers is not a good fashion statement.

11. If you still insist on behaving so rudely in public, be sure you have parked far away from others so you won't have to face them again in the parking lot where they might be able to get your license plate number. Or follow you home. All the way back to your house in your neon green mustang in the bitch's neighborhood. Nice to meet you new neighbor. Don't expect the Welcome Wagon for me now.

12. Neon green mustang? Really?


Slow Ass Bitch Who Obviously Doesn't Know how to Control Her Children.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

But It Is Very Hard to Pull Now

Jacob got this little red wagon on his first birthday.

They had different sizes and for a while I wondered if maybe we should have gotten the smaller one because the big one seemed to swallow him whole and sometimes when we'd make turns he'd topple over because he had nothing to hold him steady. Sometimes I would look back there and he just seemed so lonely; all that room and no one to share it.

That baby sure doesn't look so lonely anymore.

That wagon was much too big for one, but it seats three perfectly.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I Swear I've Never Driven With Her on my Lap

Did I tell you about the time Elizabeth fell out of her high chair?

Well, you know, fell, jumped, whatever, but whatever she did, first she was in the high chair and the next second she was face down on the cold, tile floor doing her best Britney Spears baby impression.

So we got rid of the old high chair and set her up in her kitchen home: the high chair in a chair! So cool, so chic, so I-am-toddler-I-am-big!

But she scrambled for freedom fell out of that one, too.

Amazingly, child protective services did not show up at our door after either of these instances and she suffered no trauma whatsoever, except the indignity or being removed even farther from the goodies she sought.

Yeah, we quit boiling the pacifiers after every spill and we let her eat cheerios off the floor if the dog isn't in the house, but no one can say we encouraged her to perform feats of daring from the kitchen table. She was strapped as tight as we could manage and seated between two adults when she did it the third time.

Yes, the third time.

So, yeah, a kid CAN fall out of a high chair while she's strapped in.

I'm guessing this officially makes me a white trash parent now, huh?

I know! First the bumbo, now this!

So in an effort to curtail her acrobatic accomplishments during dinner, instead of duct tape (which was tempting), at the advice of yet another escape artist's parent, my husband broke out the bungee cords.

Stifle the Jedi resolve, you will not, oh, padawan learner.

C'mon, man. I ain't down with this. Free me from the chains that bind me! Give me five.

Oh, I am feeling woozy, oh so woozy. It. must. be. the. strap. cutting. off. all. oxygen.

You'd think that bright orange strap would be the end of it, but no, you'd be wrong. She apparently was lured by the open dishwasher and leapt right out of that tight bungee cord. Right in front of our eyes.

Elizabeth: 4
Experienced Parents: 0

You know we feed her on the floor now, right?

(She was not hurt, ever. No fractured skull. No broken arms. She was quite pissed, but never hurt. She scared the shit out of her mother whose blood pressure will never be the same, but she's just fine. I promise)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Yesterday I took the kids to the park. We were there, alone, for about twenty minutes when a lady and her son pulled up and came right to the swings where we were having a grand old time. The boy was about ten or so and took the only available swing left, next to Jacob. This was Jacob's signal to begin a conversation:

Jacob: Hi. My name is Jacob. What's your name?
boy: (silence)
Jacob: Do you like Star Wars? I have a Star Wars game in my Game Boy. I can share it with you.
boy: (silence)
Jacob: I'm seven years old and in the first grade. My name is Jacob. How old are you?
rude ass boy: (silence)

The same old shit continued for another five minutes while the other boy ignored my son and other boy's mother just stood by and watched it. I really didn't know what to think about that. It kind of pissed me off. If one of my kids were blatantly rude to someone else like that, I would've stepped in and at least told them to say hello and be polite. She just stood there. At one point the kid pointed at Jacob while looking at his mom and made a face and she laughed. A grown woman laughed at a child trying to be friendly. Amazing. I really wanted to confront her, ask her what in the world she was teaching her child by behaving that way but I didn't. I went to Jacob and whispered in his ear that maybe that boy was shy and didn't want to be friends right then and why don't we take the other kids to jungle gym. And that's what we did.

Of course the big boy followed us right over there, and Jacob took that to mean they were now friends and started to include him in his game.

Jacob: Come on boy, I'm playing Star Wars. You can be Anakin and I'll be (somebody, I don't remember who)
boy: Mom, get this weird kid away from me
Jacob: (To me) I'm being nice to him Mom, maybe he'll play with me (with a big fat smile on his face)
boy: (Goes out of his way to walk past my kid and shoulder shoves him making a face at him as he does) Move it.
ass boy's mom: hee hee hee

WTF? I lost it. I gathered up my herd and yelled up at Jacob:

Me: Let's go play in the sand. I don't you or your brother around this rude boy learning to behave that way. He doesn't want to be your friend. He doesn't want to play with you. Get the hint and let's go.

So Jacob scrambled from the playground while I huffed in a blind rage to the sand pit. I was pissed. First I was pissed at that boy. Then I was pissed at his mother. Then I got pissed at myself because I in the heat of the situation, I didn't handle it well. I wish I had confronted the mother and asked why she was allowing that(in a nice way). I wish I had left out the entire part where I told him the kid didn't like him because, really, that was probably the only part he heard. Me telling him someone else doesn't like him. Me knocking his self esteem down another notch. Way to go, Mom.

Today when I picked Jacob up from school, we walked out to the parking lot and ran into a kid from his class and his father. Jacob said hello to the boy and the kid said nothing in return. Jacob said hello again and again nothing. When Jacob said have a good evening and the kid ignored him a third time, his dad stepped in and encouraged the kid to say hello. He didn't until the dad forced him right about the time we made it to our car. I'd like to think he got a tongue lashing when they got in their car, but I doubt it.

When we got into our own car, I had all kinds of questions for Jacob:

"Does that kid treat you like that all the time?"
"Do the other kids play with you?
"Is anyone nice to you there?"

He was all "whatever" about the whole scene while my blood was boiling. I am paying too much money to send him to a CHRISTIAN school to be treated like a complete outcast! Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no. I stewed the entire way home. When I'd come to a red light I'd turn around and tell Jacob not to put up with kids treating him like that or to stay away from that rich kid in the parking lot or grill him about how each and every little kid behaved toward him and he'd just keep playing the game boy and look at me funny.

Of course, I made cookies when we got home because I know my son needed consolation from the horrible day he must've had at that wretched school. While we were sitting at the table eating cookies and sipping Pepsi (because Pepsi makes things better, too), he says to me:

"Mom. I think Ty*** might just be a little shy around you because he doesn't treat me like that all the time, just sometimes. All the other kids like him so I do too. He plays with me sometimes and sometimes W*** plays with me and other times the whole class plays with me and sometimes they don't. But it's okay. I like them all anyway." And he grinned the biggest grin at me. I wanted to sit him down and explain the truth about how mean people can be and to distance himself from all of that. "They think you're weird! Are you going to stand around and take that? Stay away from them!" Because, geez louise dude, you don't need to put up with that crap! Don't stand there and let them make a laughing stock out of you. Let me teach you how to fight, boy.

But he kept smiling. Instead I asked him if he was happy at school, if he liked it there, if he felt comfortable with the teacher and his classmates and he proceeded to tell me what was good: Burgers on Friday, Star Wars on the playground, writing and drawing and craft time, and the class butterflies that just emerged from their cocoons.

So I let it go.

My kid is smarter than me, I think. At the very least he has a much thicker skin. He's likes to be nice people. Makes him feel good. To him everyone in that class is his friend, even if it isn't reciprocated. As much as it hurts me to know some of the other kids think he's "weird", he doesn't care. He likes himself. He likes other people. He's happy. Period.

I will never get used to other people being mean to my child. It hurts me deep in my gut to watch it or hear about it. I want to punish everyone who does it or allows it to happen because my instinct is to protect my child; protect him from those who could cause him harm. I don't know if I will ever be able to fully accept that this is the way things are for him, but for now, I need to learn to let go what I can and let him get comfortable in his own life.

The question is: When will I get comfortable with his life?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Who Needs a Birthday Present....

When you've got these fun things around?

It's so nice of you to share Goose, but I think I'm good.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Are You An Organ Donor?

Have you heard about Tricia?

I'm sure you have because most of the world has been waiting with Tricia and her family for new lungs. You'll have to read her husband's blog for more information about her (and her beautiful baby) but Hallelujah! She received her new lungs last night.

How awesome for them. How wonderful that she can spend more time on this earth caring for her newborn daughter, enjoying her life, loving her friends and family.

But I'll admit. I'm just a teensy bit jealous.

I wish Laura would've gotten new lungs.

I wonder all the time what it would be like if those lungs had come.

Would her body have accepted them and healed? Would she be able to RUN for the first time in her life? RUN. She really wanted to run. Would she have become a surly teenager begging for the car keys? How would it be for her to go to restaurants and amusement parks without the big oxygen can? Well, we liked the can at amusement parks because we didn't have to wait in line, but I'm sure it would have been nice to eat out without strangers tripping over her canula line. Would she have had a baby one day? We'll never know the answers to any of that because her body gave out before the lungs came.

I never wanted to be an organ donor. I always felt like if a doctor saw organ donor on my license that he wouldn't try as hard to save me, that I'd instantly be on some sort of secret DNR (do-not-resucitate) list. And yeah, I guess too, the creepy part of me figured if they ever found a way to bring me back to life, they couldn't if I was missing some of my parts. I watched too much sci-fi as I kid, okay? I'm still uncomfortable discussing anything that revolves around my untimely demise, but yeah, if that were to happen, I'd hope I'd be able to give another family a fighting chance at a healthy life.

Because I really wish we'd have gotten one.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April 1

Well, it's April.

April is Elizabeth's birthday month. In less than three weeks she'll be a year old.

I really don't know where all that time went because I'm still right here:

Wasn't that just yesterday?


I guess this was yesterday:


I miss that wobbly-headed baby.

I'm not ready for her to be one.

I'm not ready for April.