Yes, I Am Getting Old
May 16, 2006
My thighs are killing me. I can barely walk and am resigned to hobbling around for the second day in a row.
But since it was a “holiday” we had to do it. It was the only thing that I really wanted for Mother’s day.
We have been meaning to get around to it for awhile now, but other things kept getting in the way, namely all the baseball running around. But with the non-stop rain this weekend there was no excuse, no reason to leave the house.
So, we got out all of our tools. Took a few deep breathes and we dove in.
And yes, we took photos.
More photos that you probably want to look at.
Then some of them escape.
Except the baby. He LOVES to watch us from afar.
What isn’t visible in the photo are the hot pokers with which he is being stabbed.
Here is my tool.
Are you asleep yet? Too bad.
Even small children are forced to labor here.
“No, no breaks for you! I don’t care if you are tired!”
Because I had scrub each individual tile with a wire brush, steel wool, and denatured alcohol. My daughter is “helping” with her bucket of water and little scrub brush. And though she tried her best, she could not gouge the already hardened grout out from between the tile.
I love this floor and it’s dirt hiding properties. We have the same tile in our mudroom and it never looks dirty. I haven’t mopped it in… well, how about we say a month. m’kay? But the thing is a quick sweep and it looks clean! My husband likes to point out that it is just as dirty as a white floor, and that just because you can not see the dirt doesn’t mean it isn’t there. But I just plug my ears, say,” lalalala… you know where we keep the mop” Though, after reading about this on Mary’s blog, I think I am going to have to buy my husband this for Father’s Day.
Completely unrelated, my 8yr old made me this at a leather working class he took last week. I don’t know what to say about it other than should I ever run into David Blaine I am prepared.
Posted by Chris @ 8:43 am
Belated Mother’s Day Thoughts
May 15, 2006
This morning my children gave me a card for Mother’s Day. The outside of the card said, we were going to get you the best present of all for Mother’s Day. On the inside of the card it read, but you already have us. Oh how they laughed at this. And oh how I laughed when I reminded my husband that Father’s Day comes after Mother’s Day for a reason.
A few weeks ago we went on a field trip to an old cemetery. It was cool, in a morbid kind of way. It is an historic site with most of the graves from the late 1700’s to mid1800’s, families who lived in the area where I now live. The older kids were listening to a presentation about the people who were buried there and interesting facts that were known about them and their lives.
People now aren’t buried with their entire families often anymore. We have all spread out to different parts of the world. I know my inlaws were talking about the cemetery being filled and so when my sister in law died my mother-in-law bought a plot so she could be buried right next to her.
My father in law wants to be cremated and have his urn of ashes placed inside my mother in law’s coffin when she dies. We all agreed. Though I did point out that he may not be as keen on the idea should she die first. And it could pose some difficulties finding someone to cremate him while he is still alive, but we’re still willing to try.
I walked around holding my youngest son. Mostly I was holding him because when the woman had said to be respectful, quiet, and not to touch the gravestones because they were fragile, he thought she said, Scream like a wild banshee and run at the gravestones full force, slamming into them with your body like you are linebacker.
As I walked through I found myself overwhelmed. I don’t often go to cemeteries… Thinking about the people. Real people, who lived near me, had real lives, loves, and children. And there were so many children who died so young.
That is where my eyes go first to the dates of birth and death. My eyes are drawn to the tiny headstones where the ages are measured in months and days.
Two brothers, roughly the age of my oldest two sons, both died when they fell into a frozen lake and drowned.
And then a few years later their sister.
I often think I would not be able to go on if something happened to one of my children. How did they?
I think about how difficult it must have been to carve out an existence in a place where I find the winter weather unbearable and we have central heating, polar fleece, and indoor plumbing. How many times I have I wrung my hands while my children were sick waiting for the tylenol to give them some relief, or for the anitbiotics to wipe out whatever it is. And my God how did people survive without modern dentistry? I would be toothless.
Since I have had children, I can no longer look at all the flags displayed for Memorial Day and not think of my sons. While I used to see the flags at cemeteries and see old men, I now see boys who are closer in age to my sons than I wish to acknowledge.
My one year old reached out his chubby hand to grab the flag of a soldier that died during the Civil War, I think of my six sons, each one precious to me. All those small American flags blowing in the wind next to their gravestones have a gut wrenching effect on me.
I think of another mother who gave birth, rocked her baby, kissed his fuzzy warm head. I think like a mother who must have rejoiced when her son first began walking, told her a joke, and picked her the heads off of flowers. This is how becoming a mother has changed me. While I didn’t like to hear stories of children who were hurt before I had children of my own, now suddenly every child that I hear about who has been murdered, abused, hurt, has the face of one of my children. I am haunted by these kind of stories.
I paused with my son in front of a set of tiny little grave markers. All of them babies from one family. None of them lived to be more than 3 yrs old. They were someone’s baby. Someone who sat here in this exact spot, just like us 150 years ago, yet they were mourning their child. It’s too much. I hugged Miles tight and the look he gave me said, “Did you take your medication, woman?”. I say to him, “They were loved, just like I love you.” And I cry big fat tears. And Miles headbutts me.
I think back on our busy morning, punctuated by me yelling too much. Me snapping at my children. Me exasperated by their annoying yet age appropriate questions. And I feel guilty for all that I take for granted.
It’s too much. Sometimes being a mother is too much. And the card is right, I do already have the best present of all.
Posted by Chris @ 5:20 am
Way Back Weekend
May 13, 2006
Posted by Chris @ 8:22 am
May 12, 2006
Today you turn 17 months old. Will I still be doing this when you are 205 months old and writing about I called you up at college and you have changed your major yet again and that I think you were out partying? And praying that you will just hurry up and graduate, with ANY major, so that your father and I can stop with the never ending college tuition.
As I type this you are clutching two little matchbox cars to your chest with one hand and trying to scale the back of my chair by hanging from my hair with your right hand. It is a miracle that I am not bald yet. I know what will happen next, you will climb up to sit on top of my head and fling your little cars at my computer screen. You hate my computer. You don’t understand what I could find so interesting about it when I could have YOU in face, YOU jumping up and down on my lap, YOU pulling on my hair and screaming at me.
I wish I could invent a device that would give you an electrical shock every time I am typing on my computer and you try to climb on me. Just a little shock that would render you unconscious for a few
days moments. Also I wish such a device would be socially acceptable. Do I have to say I am kidding? Probably, the internet takes itself so seriously.
The big thing that has happened this past month is that you have stopped nursing. I know I said I was going to nurse you until you went to college, but I reconsidered.
Since you have stopped nursing you have been sleeping through the night. It is strange how quickly it happened and even more strange how used to it I have become already. The transition has been harder on me than it was for you… as these things usually are.
You have to have Funky Monkey in bed with you. I am thinking of buying a second one should something unfortunate happen to the original. Like it self destructs so that it doesn’t have to listen to me sing my personal rendition of the Beastie Boys “Brass Monkey, that Funky Monkey…” Of course I keep saying I’ll buy a second one, but much like backing up my pictures on my computer, I never seem to get around to it.
Then one day it will be too late and Funky Monkey will be gone forever and you will be traumatized and spend years in therapy discussing it.
This marks the end for me. The end of nursing. The end of nourishing another human being with my body. It is like the final cut in the umbilical cord. And while I look forward to wearing clothes that don’t provide easy access to my boobs and bras that don’t have flaps that open and close, I can’t help but feel a tiny twinge of sadness. Both for the end of an era in my life and my now poor sad non existent breasts.
Ah big boobs, I hardly knew ya.
Yesterday I was getting dressed and you were playing in my room with me. Suddenly you stopped and stared at my naked chest. I wondered if you were going to ask for your beloved nursies. And I felt a bit sad for you. But instead, you started laughing. A little too much if you ask me. And you walked away muttering to yourself.
It was much the same way as when I went back to my highschool reunion and saw that boy that I had pined for all those years ago. And there he was now fat, bald, and a much bigger know-it-all than I could have thought possible. I shook my head wondering what it was that I ever saw in him. Well, that was the way you looked at me, like you were thinking, “Wow, I remember those being much better. I can’t believe how much I used to love them all those three weeks ago.”
You still don’t say Mama…though I know you can. I ask you to say it and you giggle, shake your head, and say uh-uh. It’s something of a game now that we play. I tell you to say Mama and you say no. Then I go through every other word that you say… teeth, daddy, bye-bye, nite-nite, ball, baba, tv, and you repeat them back to me. Then I say Mama and you laugh and scream Uh-uh.
You don’t have an extensive vocabulary. I like to say that you are a quiet baby of few words, which we can all agree is a euphemism for I think my baby might be… what is the p.c. word now… verbally challenged.
You have discovered blowing your own spit bubbles, and you say ma-ma-ma while you do it. So I pretend you are saying mama. Yes, I lie to myself. It’s quite pathetic isn’t it?
We have an unbreakable mirror that you love to play with. I’ll ask you, “Where’s the baby?” And you will run over and look at yourself. You will sometimes put your face right up against the mirror and look at your reflection up close mesmerized by your own cuteness. More often you will head butt the baby. It must be a sign of affection because after a long break with no head butting you have suddenly begun doing it in earnest again.
You love riding on your little girly car. But you only know how to power yourself in reverse, which is the source of many tears and much screaming on your part. You will get frustrated with your inability to drive forward, get off of your little car, and try to push it over while you scream what I imagine are baby obscenities. I know that I shouldn’t laugh, but I can’t help it. Your fury is so intense for someone who stands only 2 ft tall.
You love to bang and hammer things. You still love anything with wheels. You can stack several blocks to build a tower, but you seem to enjoy throwing the blocks at unsuspecting siblings more.
You love digging in the garden and tearing out my freshly planted flowers. You love throwing your food off the kitchen table.
You are passionate about emptying the tupperware drawer several times a day. That last one drives your father crazy, with a capital C.
You are a happy little pita pocket, and I love you.
Now, about saying mama…
Posted by Chris @ 8:12 am
It’s Now Officially A Baseball Blog
May 11, 2006
We were at baseball the other night. Really, is that any surprise. Where else would I be these days. My seven year old had a game.
He got up to the plate and took what felt like five minutes getting his feet situated in the perfect spot. He set up in his batting stance, looking the part of the perfect miniature baseball player. He was even wearing his little sweatbands on his wrists, which at this age are much more likely to be used as snot wipers than for absorbing any sweat, and batting gloves.
The pitcher throws the ball. He swings. He misses. He pirouettes at the plate.
The pitcher throws the ball. He swings. He misses. He pirouettes at the plate.
The pitcher throws…
After a few more times I couldn’t take it any longer. He knows how to swing the bat. He knows how to hit a ball. He was playin’ the clown, as we like to say at my house.
“Are you a ballerina?” I screamed out.
The other parents looked at me. A few fathers snickered, everyone else looked shocked.
“Not that there is anything wrong with that.” I shouted out.
“You know if you were at ballet school and not a baseball field.” I muttered under my breath, wondering why it is that everything needs to be qualified these days.
He finally hit the ball.
And that excited face, that is what makes it all worth it. The endless Saturdays spent at the field, the juggling of various games and practices every night of the week, the over priced junk food from the snack bar, doing our part to ensure that the oil companies make a huge profit this quarter, the huge color coded calendar… yup, all worth it.
Set of photos can be found here.
You know you want to share my pain…
Posted by Chris @ 7:23 am
In Which Everyone Will Wonder Did She Google That
May 10, 2006
1. I pray for rain every day. Not because my flowers need it, but because I want baseball practice to be cancelled. I know. I feel bad about it. I feel like a traitor. And yet I can’t help but feel giddy when it is clouding over in the late afternoon.
2. David Blaine scares me. He makes me want to hold a large crucifix out in front of me, shout Latin incantations like In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen, and throw holy water on him. I’m not even Catholic.
3. When I was younger I imagined that there would be a point in time where I would have perfect skin. You know after pimples and before wrinkles. Why didn’t anyone tell me this was not the case? Why didn’t anyone tell me that I would spend my mid 30’s looking for an anti wrinkle cream that also contained benzoyl peroxide?
4. My 11.5 yr old can be so mature and funny, and do incredibly sweet things like bake me a birthday cake completely by himself. But then turn and be so exasperating that I slam my fist down on the kitchen table and shriek, “I wouldn’t say another word, mister!” Causing me to wonder how I turned into a person who says things like that.
5. Speaking of my 11.5 yr old, he is the same size that I am and definitely physically stronger, which is nice when I want something heavy carried. Somehow though, in his mind he believes now that we are not equals, like his previously deluded self thought, but that he is in fact in charge of me. And I have found myself saying very mature things like, “you are not the boss of me” to him.
We have been having lots of conversations about how size doesn’t matter (insert my own school girl giggles here), respect, and the qualitites of a good leader. Also I have reminded him that I am in charge. This is not a democracy. It is a dictatorship, and while I try to be a benevolent dictator, and foster the illusion that I care about your opinions, I will crush any and all attempts to bring down my leadership.
With that in mind, he challenged me to race the other day. At first I balked, because I wasn’t sure what sort of message it would be sending to him. But he kept on. And on. And on. Talking about how much faster he was then me. How he could beat me in a race. My competitive side took over.
So we lined up on the driveway and got into position. The other kids were on the sideline. On your mark, get set, GO… and we were off.
I won easily. Despite having to hurdle a toddler on a tricycle that was in my path, I won.
And I was very mature. And only screamed and danced around the driveway a little. And I think I only said, “Uh-huh, who’s talking now” once. Okay maybe twice.
6. I got a new cellphone. I know that you all wanted to know that. But I am very disappointed with the ringtone selection. I liked the ring I had on my old cellphone which sounded like an old fashioned phone ring.
Posted by Chris @ 8:53 am
Perfect Mothers Against Chemicals, Other Mothers, and Humor
May 9, 2006
I. Scene One:
We are at a playground in the woods. The woods, which by their very nature are shady. The shady woods with lots of bugs and very little direct sunlight. The mosquitoes are already out and last week I found our first tick of the season. Hurray for summer.
I pull out the insect repellent.
Perfect Mother, who is slathering her offspring in sunscreen, : I can’t believe that you are putting that on your kids. Do you know what is in it?
Me: Uh… well, hopefully something that will prevent them from getting eaten alive by bugs here.
Perfect mother: It’s filled with all sorts of chemicals.
I ignore her.
Perfect Mother: Do you want to borrow some of my sunscreen? I noticed you didn’t put any on your kids?
Me: No, I’m not sure how I’d give it back when I was done.
Perfect Mother, who has no sense of humor : What?
Me: No thanks.
Perfect Mother: You aren’t going to put sunscreen on your children?
Me: No. I’m not.
Perfect mother: Wow, that is just unbelievable to me that you wouldn’t put sunscreen on your kids, but you’ll put bug spray on them.
Me: No, what’s unbelievable is that you care.
Perfect Mother: Aren’t you worried about skin cancer?
Me: First of all, it isn’t even sunny here in the woods. Secondly, my children have their fathers olive complexion, therefore they don’t burn or even tan easily, so those small patches of sunlight that are coming through the trees really aren’t a threat to them.
Perfect mother, shaking her head: Well, all those chemicals…
Me: Sunscreen has chemicals in it too. Mosquito and tick borne illnesses are a very real threat around here. And after having one child get very ill with Lyme Disease, to the point where he was beginning to have neurological issues, I am vigilant about using insect repellent.
Perfect Mother: Well, I would never…
Me: I never say never. Oh look a patch of sunshine, I had better go instruct my children to stay away from the dangerous sun.
II Scene two:
A different day, a different mother, a different reminder of how imperfect I am
Perfect Mother: I can’t believe you let your children chew gum.
Me: I don’t think a piece of gum once in awhile is going to hurt anyone.
Perfect Mother: Gum is bad for you. You really should keep it away from your children.
Me:Was there some sort of memo I missed that good mothers are against gum now?
Perfect Mother: I don’t allow it in my house. I just say no.
Me: I think I am confused, Nancy. Are we talking about guns?
Perfect Mother: No gum, with an m. My name isn’t Nancy…
me: G-U-M? as in chewing?
perfect Mother: Yes chewing gum.
Me: Wow,I am so out of the perfect mother loop. I thought we were against things like drunk driving, guns with an n, and internet pedophiles. Is there some sort of newsletter I can sign up to receive so I can be in the know. I want to be properly incensed at the choices other mothers make too!
Perfect mother: Well, it’s just common sense. All those chemicals…
Me: And that Gogurt your kid is sucking down is completely natural?
Perfect Mother: ::blink blink::
Me: It isn’t even called yo-gurt. And it is sucked out of a plastic tube … but yet somehow that has perfect mother stamp of approval?
Perfect Mother: Well, it’s better than lunchables.
Me: Ah, so there is some sort of kid snack food hierarchy of which I am unaware. Would this be in the monthly newsletter?
III. Scene Three:
Yet another motherfucking day
Perfect Mother: Your playscape at home… is it made out of cedar?
Me: Well, we have two. One is cedar and one is pressure treated wood.
Perfect Mother, gasps loudly shaking her head furiously: I can’t believe that you would allow pressure treated wood in your yard?
Me, laughing: Wow. Yet another thing. Was this in the newsletter?
Perfect Mother: I don’t know about the newsletter. Pressure treated wood is wood treated with arsenic. Arsenic! It seeps into the ground. It’s poison!
Me: Good Lord, how will I ever keep it all straight.
Perfect Mother: You should get rid of it. I would never allow my children anywhere near it.
Me: Well, for that fact alone, I think I’ll keep it.
That’s it. I am done with people. Should anyone need me, my inferior self will be outside in my own private toxic waste dump, with my gum chewing, chemically coated children, rejoicing in the apparant miracle that I have manage to keep my children alive for over eleven years.
Posted by Chris @ 7:30 am
Being Thankful For The Little Things
May 8, 2006
It is baseball season. Six days out of the week someone has to be somewhere for some game or practice. Saturday was no exception.
We had three kids playing in three different games at three different, yet overlapping, times. Luckily they were at the same location. Mostly it was lucky for me since Rob was able to go with just the players, sparing me from spending most of the day chasing rock throwing toddlers around the fields and bribing everyone else with trips to the snack bar.
Saturday was also overpriced picture day. The kids wanted to get the photos that look like baseball cards. But for $40 per kid, I’ll use my mad photo shop skills. We just bought the team picture and one individual photograph.
Last night the subject came up about posing for the pictures. My 11 yr old tells me that they had everyone pose holding their baseball bats. My 7 yr old pipes up the they all posed that way too.
Before I could ask my 10 yr old, he says,”They had everyone pose that way on my team too. Except for me.”
“Why except for you?” I asked.
“I asked the photographer if I could pose like this instead.” And then he showed us what like this looked like. He assumed a position that could only be described as a gorilla taking a dump.
We all started laughing. And laughing. I exercised stomach muscles that haven’t exerted themselves in years. I had tears streaming down my cheeks imagining these pictures. Every time our laughter would begin to wane, one of us would ask him to assume the position again, and our laughter would begin anew.
Luckily this child did not inherit my personality. If people had laughed at me when I was a kid I would have run to my room crying and not come out for days. And when I did come out it would only have been to give everyone the cold shoulder. Then again, I would have posed the way the photographer asked. But this child isn’t like me.
Once I was finally able to breathe, I said, “Did you make a nice smile at least.”
“Well, I think so.” was his answer.
And then he demonstrated his “cool smile” … one that he evidently has been perfecting in the mirror. Though I am not sure I would call it a smile so much as moving your entire mouth over to the right side of your face. It was at that point that I fell off my chair and on to the floor, giving silent thanks that I didn’t have a full bladder.
In a few weeks we will get the pictures. My other two sons will probably have photos that are cute but generic, certainly there will be nothing extraordinary about them. But the gorilla taking a dump, well, that is the sort of thing that lives on in family legend.
And so today I am thankful that we will have the photographic evidence to
tease him mock him mercilessly cherish for years to come. And when he brings home his first girlfriend, I know exactly the photo I will have on display.
And don’t worry internet, I will share it with you too.
Posted by Chris @ 6:55 am
Way Back Weekend
May 6, 2006
Posted by Chris @ 8:33 am
Revised Edition Forty Things To Do Before I Turn Forty:
May 5, 2006
1) Learn to knit, so I can one day knit a
blanket, scarf, long chain for my grandchildren
2) Start and continue an exercise regime for three months, even if it kills me [God, I'm lazy]
3) Do sit ups everyday for 3 months [Yup, still lazy]
4) Learn to accept my body and all it’s imperfections (yeah, right) [oh, I am laughing...wooo hooo.]
5)Read novels I should have already read, classics I read a long time ago and either hated them with a fiery passion or loved them with a fiery passion to see if time has changed my feelings towards them [Still hate One Hundred years Of Solitude... hate it.]
6) Go to Paris with my husband
7) Spend a summer in Italy with my children
See the Grand Canyon
9) Take my kids to a Broadway show. I used to go frequently when I was child and have such fond memories of the experience [after looking at the prices of tickets, I'm not so sure I even want to do this one anymore]
10)Bring my daughter to the American Girl Cafe
11)Find my father, before he ends up dying and I never get to meet him.
12) Renew my wedding vows and have a party to celebrate, since we never had a wedding.
13)Finish writing a book (should probably start it too.)
14) Go through all our photographs and select some to matte and frame. AND hang them on the wall in our family room. [I've done a few]
15)Gather pictures of our home renovation and compile them into a coffee table scrapbook thing
16)Spend an entire 24 hour day without once yelling [I should be able to do this one around July 28th]
17)Bring my children to one of those indoor playgrounds and let them play without making myself nauseous over the amount of germs and bacteria they are touching and NOT once force them to go and wash their hands in the middle of playing. (Not sure I can do this one as just typing it is making me sick to my stomach.) I do draw the line at coating their hands with hand sanitizer and spraying them down with lysol before they get into the van; there are just some things that I can’t give up. [I don't think I'll ever be able to do this... ever]
18) Ride on a rollercoaster, and if I feel particularly daring one that goes upside down
19) Catch up on buying all my children their annual Christmas ornament. (The idea is that I buy the children an ornament every year that represents them at that year of their life. When they grow up they will take the ornaments. Though who knows they will probably think it is totally stupid and queer and I will be stuck with all these ornaments on my tree forever or my attic)
20) Work tirelessly to rid the fashion world of low waisted pants by complaining constantly to anyone who will listen. [I work on this one every. single. day.]
21) Dig out my paints and easel and paint a painting
22) Hang the painting up somewhere in my house
23) Read the entire Narnia series aloud to my younger children [One book down.]
24) Take all my children to a baseball game at Fenway Park, wear a baseball hat, cheer and pretend I am a fan for the day
25) Find a reliable babysitter
26) Buy a huge bottle of vitamins and take them every day until the bottle is empty, without missing a day
27) Make it a habit to drink 8 glasses of water a day [though I am beginning to think if it were actually good for us to drink this much water our bladders would have evolved to be much larger. Also, God would have made water more tasty]
28) Finish renovating my house [before it sucks the very life out of my soul]
29) Get rid of all the things in my house that are just clutter and would benefit someone else [I'm trying, but convincing other people that their stuff is crap and they should get rid of it, isn't easy]
30) Make an ice skating rink in my back yard, build a bonfire, make hot chocolate, and have a skating party and enjoy it
31) Learn html [or pay someone else to do whatever it is I want done]
32) Learn how to make a really good pie crust, from scratch [thank God, I have accomplished this one, only once, but still...]
33) After I finish nursing my youngest baby, buy some new expensive bras and matching underwear. [I'm getting ready to do this, though shopping for a bra that is the size of a training bra isn't all that exciting]
34) Re-invent my mother’s ring since it is missing a few stones
35) Buy a plant and keep it alive, instead of treating plants as if they are meant to be disposable
36) Practice saying the word “forty” so that I can learn to not throw up a little while I say it [working on this one, unsuccessfully I might add]
37) Unpack all the boxes in my attic and label properly the things that will stay [or just toss them randomly into the dumpster]
38) Organize a box for each child to hold their special childhood
crap memorabilia, limit size of said box so that they can never say they don’t have room for it in their own house
39) Keep the flowers alive in my flower boxes on my front porch for an entire summer. This will be accomplished by watering them instead of ignoring them and blaming drought like weather for their demise [well, now that I have gardening clogs, there will be no stopping me]
40) Come to grips with the fact that I am closer to 40 than I want to realize and there is no way I will be able to accomplish all of these things
I have come to the realization that aside from being lazy about following through on my lists, I am also very fickle and I’m not sure I even want to do all these things anymore.
Posted by Chris @ 8:25 am