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2006 April

Quote of the Day

April 28, 2006

“It has to be official. And it has to be urine.”

Name the tv show. And if you aren’t watching it, why the heck not?

Posted by Chris @ 8:31 am | 37 Comments  

No more pretending to like them

April 27, 2006

Yesterday I read a post about having a “favored” child, a child who, for whatever reason, you feel the most connected with. I commented on the post, perhaps at too great a length, but my love for being wordy and and using run on sentences can not be stopped sometimes.

I wrote, in part:

If I were to be honest I’d have to say that I see in him all the characteristics that I don’t like in myself, and in my other son I see all the things I wish that I could be.

I love them both equally, but differently.

Some person felt the need to track me down and email me about my comment. It would take no less than visiting four different web pages to find my email address. One would think that any ire a trollish person would have would dissipate by that point. But one would be wrong.

I went to my email box and saw an email with the subject line “BREEDER!!!1!” I almost deleted it thinking it was yet another offer to satisfy my partner and enlarge my PENi$.

But I am so glad that I read it. Because how else was I to know what a horrible mother I am. And what a disservice I am doing to my children. And how people like me don’t deserve to have children. I could have emailed the person back, you know if they left a legitimate email address, or ignored it… but I have issues with letting things just go. Also neither of those options are much fun.

The email said (capitalization and punctuation corrected for ease of reading by people with a modicum of intelligence), “What would your children think if they found out you liked one of them best?”

It was then that I realized I must do something. I couldn’t just go on letting my children think I loved them ALL. So I decided to make some t-shirts. That way they, and the rest of the world, will know exactly where my feelings lie.

I made the t shirts all the same size so that when we are out and one of them does something to annoy me I can make them all switch shirts to suit my whim.

“Uh huh, you want to have a tantrum and roll around on the ground. Switch shirts with your brother.”

And yes I realize I made 8 shirts even though I only have 7 children. That’s in case I decide I don’t like ANY of them on a given day. So just in time for Mother’s day, I present shirts to show your children, and the world, how you really feel about them.

Shirt Number 1:

I am my mother's favorite t-shirt

Shirt Number 2:

I am my mother's  2nd favorite t-shirt

Shirt Number 3:

My mother likes him best t-shirt

Shirt Number 4:

Black sheep of the family t-shirt
Shirt Number 5:

My Mother drinks because of me t-shirt

Shirt Number 6:

UnlovedandUnwanted t-shirt

Shirt Number 7:

My mother doesn't love me t-shirt

Shirt Number 8:

or me t-shirt

And of course, a shirt for me:

BREEDER!!!1! t-shirt

I like to think that errant 1 gives the shirt a little something extra, saying I put a lot of time and thought into this.
Posted by Chris @ 1:55 am | 117 Comments  

And the week has only just begun

April 26, 2006

Mistakes I have made this week:

1) Buying my daughter a ridiculously priced pair of linen Ralph Lauren capri pants… in white. Yes, white. I was blinded by their cuteness, and perhaps their whiteness, and was unable to think rationally while in that state. That is the only explanation I have.

2) Buying this daughter a Reese peanut butter cup and allowing her to eat it in the warm car on the way home from the store, while she is wearing those cute white capri pants.

3) Allowing my toddler to play with my cell phone, because what could he possibly do to it?

4) Cleaning the sticky cell phone off by soaping it up and rinsing it off under the running water

5) Upon discovering that the vibrating feature on the phone will not turn off no matter what buttons are pressed, repeatedly smacking it on the counter

6) Planting some adorable little flowering plants in front of the house without reading the name of the plant, because who really cares what the plant is called.

7) Discovering that the adorable plant is catnip and all the neighborhood cats are now in the yard eating it and rolling around on the lawn like they are stoned. There are only so many jokes one can make about having the neighborhood stoner house before it gets old and not funny and makes one wish they had a gun and accurate aim.

Learn from me, people.

Posted by Chris @ 7:49 am | 35 Comments  

Fwee, the number after two

April 24, 2006

“I love you better.” you say to me as I tuck you into bed. As I walk out of the room I turn to look at you in your bed. A big girl bed. You look so small lying there among the huge duvet and huge throw pillows, and suddenly the tiny purple crib blanket hardly seems adequate, though you wouldn’t dream of going to bed without it. The satin has ripped away from the blanket in several places and the soft knitted weave is beginning to unravel and fray, but still you love it.

Every night at bedtime you ask me if I can turn on the tv and “hold you”. You will drink a bottle of soymilk (”Big girls DO TOO drink bottles”) and snuggle up. Your little brother will climb all over us, sometimes trying to steal your bottle from you. But usually a couple of good whacks with the bottle from you, makes him reconsider. Then you hold onto the the blanket’s “tail” and suck on your two middle fingers.

Swinging

I have never won anything in my life. I have never won a contest, or some cash from one of those scratch off lottery card things, or even a free cup of coffee from McDonald’s. I never win at anything. But somehow I won the kid lottery. And I just don’t mean by the sheer volume of kids I have somehow ended up with. But rather the fact that I have ended up with kids who are far cooler, smarter, and cuter than I could possibly deserve. Really, how did I get this lucky?

I want to dunk you in my coffee, like a chocolate covered biscotti and eat you up.

I have sat down and tried to write this post about you turning three years old several times over the last few days, and each time I do I find that I end up writing more about me than I do about you. I suppose that is how it is with mothers and daughters, as we weave our entangled web of expectations, hopes, fears, and disappointments. I can’t help but look at you and think of all the ways I hope you turn out different than I did. How I hope you are happy and fulfilled in ways that I can not even begin to fathom.

Three years ago you were born and I became a mother to a daughter. I had all but given up hope of ever having one and in fact had accepted my role as the mother of sons. In fact we didn’t even bother with the pretense of picking out a girl name. I’ll admit that after you emerged from my body in a traumatic and exhausting labor, part of which involved the doctor sticking his arm up inside me like I was his hand puppet. I had a moment of disappointment. I could never be adequate. I remember sitting in my hospital room, looking at you, and thinking, “Holy shit. Now what?”

Getting A Ride in IKEA

I was the mother of sons. I knew how to do that. I was good at that. Now suddenly I looked at you in my arms and felt sad. Sad at the baggage I would inevitably pass down to you. Lord knows I have so much of it that it requires me to pull a cart behind me to carry it all. No matter how hard I try I am sure that I will pass down some of it, though I promise you I will try my hardest to keep it all to myself.

This year has been a big one. You have learned to use the potty, ride a tricycle, appreciate a good joke, and perfected your temper tantrum and crossed arm pout. You have learned to wrap your father and brothers around your finger, okay and me too. You announce to anyone who cares to listen that you do not have penis, you have a big butt and a little butt, called a china. You think armpit farts and hearty belches are the height of sophisticated humor.

You are surrounded by boys who love you. Boys who will grow up to be men who love you. And I can’t help but think how lucky you are to have that.

Dancing With a Big Brother

Annoying Rage inducing Aggravating Well meaning assholes strangers often come up to me in the store and tell me how sorry they feel for you, to be surrounded by all those boys. And how you will never have a date. They say it like that would be a bad thing. I want to tell them that no, you will never settle for a boyfriend who is abusive, or one who belittles you, or one who makes you feel diminished. You won’t because you will have the knowledge that men are not all like that. You will have six examples, six brothers, setting high the bar of expectations. And that is a good thing. Any boy who wouldn’t want to date you because they are afraid of your brothers is not someone worthy of dating.

Also, your brothers have been instructed to beat the crap out of any boy who dares to treat you badly. Don’t let the suits and the clean cut appearance fool anyone.

The Boys

And so when strangers approach me and say those things, I just laugh. Sometimes I’ll say that there have been a few dates in my life that I wish I didn’t go on and turn back to my groceries, or diapers, or mega pack of toilet paper.

Sometimes you seem to embody all the stereotypes of being a girl. You love clothes. Your brothers all view clothing as a necessary evil. Something to be put on and left on as long as possible until a) I make them take it off and put on fresh clothing under threats, or b) the clothing, having achieved a life of it’s own, walks off of their bodies. You, on the other hand, love clothes. You change your outfit several times a day as well as accessorize. No outfit is complete without “pretties” for your hair, jewelry, and a twirly skirt.

Baseball PLaying Princess

You love to shop. And often will cry when we are driving home after a day of shopping, begging me to go to “just one more store, mommy.” It beings tears to my eyes, because after having endured shopping with five sons who cry and carry on like they are being stabbed with hot pokers at the very mention of shopping, it is refreshing to have a kindred spirit who understands the joy of finding the perfect shirt, pocketbook, shoes, or all three.

This frightens your father, who keeps asking you things like, “Wouldn’t you rather go fishing?” or “how about a hike?” or “Don’t you have enough shoes?” And you just laugh and wiggle your little finger around in the air, causing him to melt and throw money your way.

You love you brothers, “your boys” you call them. And they love you.

What made your birthday video so funny to us is that usually you love being the center of attention. You love to sing. And you love to make us all laugh.

This video is one I took of you right before we lit the candles on the cake. And is way more indicative of your personality. I love how you are looking around at all of “your boys” while you are singing.

And finally, I will end this with a joke from you, one that didn’t involve the words poop, potty, or other nonsense words.

“Why did the chicken cross the road?”

“Why?”

“Because HE WANTED TO!”

It must be a three year old chicken.

Posted by Chris @ 3:56 pm | 55 Comments  

She Turns Three

April 23, 2006

Oh yeah, three year olds are MUCH more reasonable than two year olds. Thank God those terrible twos have come to an end.

Posted by Chris @ 11:48 am | 55 Comments  

Daring Young Sleeper

April 22, 2006

Friday I was talking to Daring Young Mom and she mentioned that her son had suddenly begun sleeping through the night. She had a new, never before discussed or written about, method of sleep training.

And I was let in on the secret. I wasn’t sure that it would work, because after having seven children her method seemed so simplistic and so easy. Because if it would work wouldn’t someone have thought of it previously?

But I decided that I had nothing to lose and decided that I would utter the Magical Words of Sleep TM.

At 9:30 last night when Miles was winding down for bed, which to the uninitiated would appear to be screaming, crying, and throwing his body around like a rag doll having an epileptic seizure, I looked him in the eye and said, “Tonight if you wake up in the middle of the night Daddy will be getting you. Did you hear that? Daddy. will. be. getting. you.”

He looked at me like he had no idea what I was saying, obviously his ploy is to act cute and stupid. So for good measure I decided to embellish, “And you will have to suckle Daddy’s hairy nipples.”

I’ll admit I didn’t have high hopes when I went to bed last night.

But this morning I woke up, disoriented by the sun shining in the windows and also confused by my rock hard stripper sized boobs. It was 7:00am and he had been asleep from 9:30 the night before.

And once I determined that he was not in fact dead, I rejoiced.

I briefly contemplated becoming Mormon, but then I remembered that I already worship at the altar of Juan Valdez. So I raised my glass carafe to the sky, inhaled the scent of the caffeinated nectar of my god, and let out a hearty, “Hallelujah!”

Posted by Chris @ 8:43 pm | 25 Comments  

Where are those gags when you need them?

April 21, 2006

I hate talking on the telephone.

It’s no secret. Anyone who knows me in real life would tell you this. Often times the phone will ring and I don’t bother to answer it. Isn’t that what voice mail is for?

I don’t have caller id, because I don’t need the stress of knowing how many times people are calling me and not actually talking to me. I don’t have call waiting because 1) I think it is rude, and 2) the last thing I want to do when I am already talking on the telephone is field another phone call.

This afternoon at 5:00pm I have to talk on the phone. I haven’t been all that stressed about it because I figured I would just hold the mute button on my phone down and listen to everyone else talk. That way no one would hear my children who will be distressed in the background that I am not paying attention to them with every fiber of my being.

Also no one would have to hear me shrieking things like, “Put down that stick!”, “Don’t run your brother over with your bicycle!”, or “For the love all things holy shut-up!” Not that I actually say those things, these are just examples of what I could say, you know, if I were so inclined.

Imagine my horror when I discovered that my phone does not have a mute button. How can a phone not have a mute button? Aren’t those things standard now?

I’ll let that sink in for a few seconds. My phone has no mute button.

This means that my screaming needy children will be heard in all their glory. I will probably ramble on and on like some sort of side show comedian. And instead of yelling at my children, I will be alternating between hiding from them and boring holes through their skulls with my penetrating stare.

Help.

Update: My threats and bribes and went over really well and the children behaved like perfect angels, or more accurately kept their noise and destruction away from me. Once I was done with the phone call I was treated to a laundry list of the ways that each person had been wronged in my absence.

“Wow, I am SO sorry that your brother looked at you and then ::gasp:: breathed on you. It truly is unforgivable that he would want to draw oxygen into his lungs. I am just so glad that you waitied until I was off the phone to tell me and that you didn’t retaliate. I’m so proud. ….. What? Oh. Ummm, please don’t hold your brothers head under a blanket and fart.”

Closing myself off into rooms never has helped because they all know how to work door knobs, except for the baby. And if he began screaming and kicking on the door someone would be bound to open it up to “tell me the baby is crying” because obviously I was unaware.

I only have one child over the age of ten, and he already has enough of a God complex that I shudder to think what he would do if I left him in charge of everyone.

So I locked myself outside on our screened in sunporch. The only funny time was when the two littles found me and were staring at me though the sliding door with their faces all smooshed on the glass.

But it turned out fine, like most of these parenting things do.

Posted by Chris @ 4:43 pm | 25 Comments  

Your New HMO Doctor Team

Wow, I had no idea that drilling fingernails would elicit such strong reactions from so many of you. It didn’t make me feel the least bit queasy, making me think that perhaps I have been desensitized by the overwhelming level of testosterone in my home.

Many people emailed berating asking me about infection and wasn’t I worried that his finger would develop gangrene and fall off. The truth is, no. Maybe I am a bad mother, but I was more concerned about my brain exploding and oozing out of my broken eardrums if I had to listen to him whine much more about how much it hurt and how it hampered his ability to squeeze his baseball glove. And really people can live normal and productive lives without thumbs.

To put everyone’s mind at ease, I’ll tell you that I did instruct him to wash his thumb really well and pour hydrogen peroxide over it. Everyone loves the way peroxide bubbles up over wounds, it’s the best part of getting hurt at our house. Then I sealed up the tiny hole in his nail with Crazy Glue. See, all better. Why yes, I am a doctor.

I got a bottle of Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface Daily Sanitizing Spray in the mail last week to test out, and I was tempted to spray him with it as it says it is safe and “gentle enough to use around children, pets, and food” But then I thought I would save it for more important things.

Next time I am concerned I didn’t grill our hamburgers quite long enough I am going to spray them with the Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface Daily Sanitizing Spray before putting them on the buns.


Mindy
tagged me:

Four Jobs I Have Had:
1) GAP-very first job at 16 (fired from it)
2) Ann Taylor- second job at 17 (fired from it)
3) Nanny -while going to grad school
4) Indentured servant (17 more years until I earn my freedom)

Four Movies I Can Watch Over And Over:
I can only watch a movie once

Four TV Shows I Love To Watch:
(Love would be a bit strong)
1) The Office
2) 24 (though we are watching season 2 from netflix)
3) American Idol (yeah, I know)
4) ?

Four Places I’ve Been On Vacation:
1) Spain
2) Canary Islands
3) West Africa
4) Florida

Four Tunes That Play In My Head:
(this one is hard, I frequently have songs running through my head like a soundtrack to whatever is going on. I often find myself thinking that if my life were a movie this would be the appropriate background song. Yes, I am nuts. But the only ones that get stuck are usually insipid kid songs)

1) You are my sunshine
2) Slip Slidin’ Away
3) Elmo’s theme song
4) ?

Four Favorite Dishes:
1)Toasted bagel with PB and honey
2)Starburst jellybeans (that counts as a dish if you eat the entire bag, right?)
3)Spinach salad with vine ripened tomatoes, feta cheese, and balsamic vinegrette
4)Fajitas

Four Websites I Visit Daily:
1) this one
2) Google.com
3) cnn.com
4) all the ones over there in my sidebar

Four Books I Really Love:
This would be easier if it were four books I have hated

Four Places I’d Rather Be:
1) On a trip around the world with unlimited time and funds
2) On a warm beach
3) A house that has already been completely remodeled
4) Did I say on a warm beach?

Posted by Chris @ 8:43 am | 24 Comments  

I Am Gardener, Hear Me Roar

April 20, 2006

I have been “gardening” or as I like to say, planting flowery shit around the yard in an effort to beautify the house and, most importantly, distract from the chalk drawings all over the driveway, the scooters, bikes and balls strewn about the porch steps, and the sea of plastic primary colored Little Tykes toys.

It’s an exercise in futility.

When you drive down my street there is little doubt who lives in my house. In a neighborhood of perfectly manicured lawns and yards handled by professional landscapers, ours sticks out like a sore thumb, a sore brown thumb. I’d like to say our yard has character, but that would make it seem like it were something positive.

We had landscapers over to our house a couple of weeks ago to give us an estimate on some work we wanted done. They got the estimate to us on Monday and they may have well asked for our first born as payment. As a matter of fact, that would have been preferable since these days I’d be much more likely to part with him than cold hard cash.

But once the realization hit that we weren’t going to be able to do the extensive work we wanted this year, I thought I had better get busy doing something, anything.

Tuesday I raked until my hands were blistered and wondered, yet again, why in the fall it always seems preferable to wait until spring to get up the leaves. There is no answer other than procrastination. Deep down I know that if I wait long enough it will snow and I won’t have to deal with it for six months. My motto is: Why do something today when you can possibly win the lottery and then be able to pay someone to do all your dirty work tomorrow. Not that this motto has worked out real well for me, but I am optomistic.

When I couldn’t take raking any longer, I got out the leaf blower. What a thrill to see the leaves, dirt, and plants with poor root systems, be torn up by the tornado like wind. I felt so powerful and God-like. It was fun blowing the debris over the stone wall and into our neighbors yard, at least until their landscaping crew showed up and I had to stop doing it.

Yesterday I went and bought lots of plants and cedar bark mulch. And I bought a cute pair of gardening gloves. I’m working my way up to the clogs. I figure if I keep these plants alive for a whole week I totally will deserve the gardening clogs. Then I can embrace the title “gardener” instead of “planter” which is all that I have been successful in doing these past 30-something years. Gardener implies that the stuff lives beyond the planting phase.

I spent the rest of the day digging, planting, putting in landscaping stones, mulching, and having my arms and hands scratched up. In between this I tried, mostly successfully, to keep my 16 month old out of the street. As soon as I avert my eyes from him he takes off running for the street. Thankfully it is a long driveway and he has short legs, making the trek to the street a marathon for him.

This morning Rob and I were standing outside in the front yard, where I was forcing him to admire my mad gardening skills.

“It looks really nice, Chris. You know you have to water it now, right? ”

“Does it ever end? Am I going to have to be a slave to this for the entire summer?”

I was left wondering, would plastic flowers be really tacky?

I’m not holding my breathe on getting those gardening clogs. I wonder if they make planting clogs.

Posted by Chris @ 7:19 am | 27 Comments  

Free Medical Care Here

April 18, 2006

I am the mother of six sons.

It occurred to me this past weekend that I have become so accustom to their boyness (yes, that is a word, shut up) that the things they do don’t even phase me (much) anymore.

For instance, washing shoe marks off of the wall at about the five foot high mark where they tried to run up the wall and do back flips.

or, the fact that they can not walk by one another without engaging in a full body slam

or, the fact that I am afraid to stick my hands into their jeans pockets after having touched slimy disgusting things once too many and now open the pocket wide and peer inside first.

Gone are the days when I still harbored illusions of them sitting in a circle singing songs, expressing their love for each other with their words, and not making burps or farts purely for their comedic value.

On Friday my 10 yr old was out in the yard playing with sticks. (no, he has no real toys at all and is forced to make his own playthings from debris he finds lying around the yard. His is a hard, hard life.) Anyway, my repeated warnings about getting hurt went ignored, which is not unusual, but I feel that I should point it out lest anyone thinks I encourage this behavior.

He came running inside, clutching his hand close to his body, in tears. It seems he had somehow smacked his own hand with the stick. The details are sketchy, which means I am probably not privy to the whole story, and frankly at this stage in the mothering gig, I’m sure I don’t want the whole story.

When I finally got him to show me his hand, with the promise that I wouldn’t touch it, his thumb nail was already turning black.

“Whoa, that looks like it hurts.”

“Yeah, it does. How am I going to play baseball? It hurts too much to put into my glove.”

“I don’t know. I hate to say this, but that is going to hurt for quite awhile.”

His fingernail continued to turn black and swell up. That night at baseball practice he couldn’t even catch a ball since it hurt too much to wear his glove. He pitched with no glove on and kept his left arm cradled at his side. He was SO bummed out and looked so pitiful.

The next morning I looked at his thumb and it looked awful. The blood blister under the nail was huge and lifting the nail up from the nail bed and the entire thumb was swollen. (Are you feeling queasy yet?)

“Do you think I should bring you to the emergency room? They could use their tiny little drill and relieve the pressure on you nail? We maybe should have your thumb x-rayed also. What do you think?” I asked.

“No. I don’t want to go. The doctors always make things hurt worse. My thumb isn’t broken.”

“Well, but it would feel better in the long run.”

“How would they do it?”

I explained how they would use the tiny little drill to go through the nail, the blood would be able to escape, and the pressure would be relieved. Blah blah blah. He’d be able to play baseball.

I then went upstairs to get dressed and left him to think about it.

“Mooo-oooom?!?”

I came down the stairs. “What?”

“My finger is all better now. I fixed it myself.”

“What? How?”

I came downstairs to inspect his finger and he told me the rest of the story.

He had gone and gotten Rob’s set of tiny drill bits and drilled though his own fingernail. The blood had spurted out and was, by all accounts, very cool. And most importantly his finger didn’t hurt anymore. He said he knew that if I brought him to the ER that they would insist on giving him some sort of shot for the pain and he didn’t want that. Ah yes, a shot of lidocaine would be much, much more frightening than having a drill taken to your fingernail.

And yet again I realized that he is exactly like his father, in ways I never imagined could be inheritable. Rob who refuses novacaine even when having a root canal. Rob who when he was about the same age as my son, got shot by a bb gun toting neighbor and rather than go to the ER, performed surgery on himself to remove the bb.

Anyway, his finger felt better. We had saved the time and expense of a trip to the emergency room. It was a win-win situation all around.

Maybe we will have a doctor in the family, or at least one who plays doctor. An entire new world of self care has opened up before us. Who needs that pesky medical license and schooling.

I’d love to wrap this post up by writing how he had learned his lesson and how all of his brothers have learned their lesson as well. And how no one is running around the yard playing with sticks. And how the rough play has come to an end. And how they are singing Kumbaya in five part harmony and making macrame plant holders for the elderly.

But the truth of the matter is that the very next day, in a game that has since been called bumper scooters, this same 10 yr old purposefully crashed into his brother, went flying through the air, and ended up with road burn all over his back. He did learn a valuable lesson about Newton’s Second law though, so it wasn’t all for naught.

As for me, I am just thankful for the grey covering properties of hair dye, and hoping that my sons all make it to adulthood, hopefully with most of their precious brain cells intact, though that might be wishful thinking.

Posted by Chris @ 8:07 am | 73 Comments