Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Note To Self: Do the Delicates

I'm wearing them. That last pair of underwear in the drawer. And they're making me angry. The ones we keep even though we know they are uncomfortable or stained or ripped or have no elastic in one leg. I know you have that last pair too. Well, I'm wearing mine today and it's affecting my mood. I have a lovely collection of lingerie, none of it was available this morning. I'm not sure why I'm writing publicly about my undergarments. I was going to post about something else today but after I had to get out of my chair 3 times to readjust my intimates I became fixated on panties. There you have it folks! My unmentionables are no longer a secret.

And while I'm on the subject, what the hell is Victoria's secret anyway? I'll tell you what I think it is...I think she too is a 30-something mother whose underwear needs to be a high leg brief to cover up the sagging skin and stretch marks, whose panties had to be engineered to show no lines because her backside is regularly hanging out the car door while she endlessly buckles and unbuckles car seats and whose bra required bio-technology to form her empty, shapeless post-breast feeding boobs into something that from the exterior resembled femininity! That's OK Sweetie! Your secret is safe with me.

I could just stop what I'm doing and go change them right now. It might improve my mood and allow me to focus, but it might also go something like this...

I step away from the computer and run upstairs to my dresser. Drop my pants and with much relief remove the offending skivvies and open the drawer only to be reminded of the reason I put these offending unders on in the first place...no other clean ones in the drawer. So I grab my pants and make a dash back downstairs to the laundry room only to be greeted by the UPS guy at the the window next to the front door who shields his eyes and leaves the package on the step. I continue towards the basket of clean laundry that I know is awaiting me and dash past the computer to see the baby has pressed the space bar for so long my post has become 9 pages of empty space. I pluck her mini screeching self off the chair as the 5 year old comes around the corner and informs me that it is "not appropriate for a grown-up lady to have no pants on in the living room." The 3 year old sees that I have begun to undress and takes that as permission to disrobe (she'd rather be naked than dressed, always) and promptly strips to her undies. Throwing my hands up in disgust that a simple attempt to relieve myself of discomfort has resulted in a crying baby, a naked toddler, a holier-than-thou 5 year old, and an embarrassed UPS man, I realize that I should just put my painful panties back on, so I run upstairs, past the front door and wave to the neighbor boy who is now pressing his face against the window looking for a playmate (and now at my naked cheeks), grab the instrument of torture from the floor, put them back on, pull my pants on and begin to dig out the wedgie that has been formed almost immediately.

But I didn't do that because I've been down that road before. Better just to suffer in silence and humiliate myself by posting about underwear on what was (previous to this moment) a perfectly respectable blog.

The moral of this story:

If painful undies you possess,
then take your time before you dress.
Throw out the ones that dig and ride,
The ones with holes be cast aside.
Be it boy short, thong or brief,
Buy some that will give relief.
And noticing that last pair, say,
"Tomorrow will be laundry day!"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"You Can Still See the Crumbles"

What did you learn in school today?

It's a simple question asked by thousands of mothers everyday. Sometimes we ask because its part of the coming home ritual. Other times we force ourselves to ask even though we are anticipating rolled eyes and sighs of disgust. We know when they respond with "Oh, nothing," that it wasn't that they learned nothing, its just that we're not going to hear about it, but we ask anyway. I have asked it hundreds of times myself. My friend asked it to her little boy last week when he got off the bus from kindergarten and luckily she was really listening because she got more of an answer than she expected.

What did you learn in school today? "Mommy, we learned that if you say bad things to someone it crumbles their heart and the teacher crumbled up a paper heart and even if you say you are sorry it's like when you try to flatten out the paper again...the crumbles are still there."


Take a minute to let that one sink in.


Even after everyone calms down and is given a hug. Even after the punishment is over and you're snuggling on the couch. Even the next day when the PMS has subsided and you've got a whole lot more patience. Even when you're able to be clear about your error and apologize for raising your voice. The crumbles are still there.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

We Don't Have Time to Miss It

Last week I had the rare treat of taking just one of my three girls out to lunch by herself. As we sat there in the large, blue, Swedish furniture store enjoying our hot dogs and lingonberry juice some upbeat music began to play through the bistro speakers and my tiny lunch companion started to wiggle her shoulders a bit. She munched and shimmied her little self along to the music while I sat there mesmerized by this precious creature and her need to boogie. After a few seconds she paused and looked up to see me watching her and her face exploded into a huge grin. She said, with a furrowed brow and a great deal of urgency, "Mom! We should dance while we eat! We don't have time to miss it!"

In hindsight, what she probably meant was that the song would soon be over and I was going to miss my chance, but the wisdom of the mixed up words she did choose will never be forgotten by this mother.

"We should dance while we eat! We don't have time to miss it!"

Spoken like a true multi-tasker! Time is a funny thing for me these days. I'm never doing just one thing. Most days I've hardly begun a task before I'm thinking about how I can quickly move on to the next thing. That's Motherhood, but you knew that. That's the ridiculous thing about Motherhood. You are expected to do more than any one person could possibly do. There's always one more thing, one more task, one more tear, one more errand, one more load, one more need. But...

You can dance while you eat. You can sing while you drive. You can hug while you're on the phone. You can smell their precious heads while you put on their shoes. That's the amazing thing about Motherhood. You are granted the privilege of doing more than any one person ever gets to do. I just forget about that sometimes, while I'm in the middle of everything else. Thank you Mona. For reminding me with your tiny, wonderful, quiet, spontaneous dance.

The price of hot dogs and frozen yogurt. $5.00
The cost of music over a loudspeaker. $0.00
The value of a 3 year old's wisdom. PRICELESS

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Princess and the Peas

The following will definitely fall into the category of RANT!

I cannot tolerate anymore complaining from people about what their kids will and will not eat! Don't tell me your children will only eat macaroni and cheese or hot dogs! Do you ever give them anything else? I was in the grocery store this morning and I saw an infant with some kind of soda in his baby bottle! I had to stop myself from crying out in pain and I watched THIS INFANT SUCK SODA WHILE HIS PARENT SHOVELED PROCESSED GARBAGE INTO HER CART!!! She looked over at me, rolled her eyes and actually defended her beverage selection by saying, "Giving him Coke is the only way I can get through the grocery store." I bit my tongue and did NOT say YOU'RE ABUSING YOUR CHILD AND IF YOU CAN AFFORD A BOTTLE OF SODA YOU CAN AFFORD TO PAY A TEENAGER $4 TO WATCH YOUR LITTLE BEAST WHILE YOU GO TO THE GROCERY STORE!!!!!!!! And yes!!! Using extra exclamation points makes me feel better!!!!!

Whew. Ok. Rant over. Now I get to the part where I compliment myself and the Father for doing a good job exposing our girls to lots of wonderful things. (Hey, it's my blog, I can write whatever I want!) Is dinnertime at our house an idyllic journey from plates full of tofu and soba noodles to full bellies and children calling out for more rice milk? No!!! We have three children under the age of 6, dinnertime at our house is a three ring circus. But sometimes we feed the monkeys peas. Frozen. Right out of the bag. The game at our house is to see if you can eat them all before they thaw. And I thought, in the middle of your day, you might get a kick out of seeing my Middle Bit in action.

What is critical to note about the following video is although it may seem that the speed of this video has been enhanced as you watch Mona's hand flick back and forth to the plate of frozen peas with lightening speed, NO SPECIAL EFFECTS WERE HARNESSED IN THE MAKING OF THIS FILM!
video

No Wings but Plenty of Magic

I became the Tooth Fairy yesterday. It was quite simply, amazing. My oldest lost her first tooth and thus a new Tooth Fairy was made. It didn't come with wings or pixie dust, but it was quite magical.

It came out last night just before bedtime and in her most "Marge in Charge" tone of voice my daughter explained to us that the first time you lose a tooth, the Tooth Fairy brings you a whistle. The Father and I looked at each other and without speaking a word aloud I knew we were thinking exactly the same thing. I REALLY HOPE TARGET SELLS WHISTLES AND I HOPE I CAN GET THERE BEFORE IT CLOSES!!! We asked her where she heard this deal about the whistle and she just looked at us like we were complete idiots, rolled her eyes, and replied "Mom. Everyone knows that's just what happens. You can't whistle with missing teeth so you have to wear one around your neck." Duh! How could I have been so unenlightened?

She arrived during the most secret part of the night, or in my case around 9:30pm because I had to get up early today, and took away the tiny pearl. In its place our rookie Tooth Fairy left a whistle. (Yes, you can buy whistles at Target. They're in the sporting goods section!) With careful steps I snuck out of the room, gripping that tiny tooth. I closed the door silently behind me and breathed a sigh of relief. I had done it! Completed my job as the Tooth Fairy and not been discovered. I couldn't believe how fast my heart was beating. It was a simple thrill to participate in this kind of magic, but as I stood there in the quiet hallway and opened my hand to see what I grasped I thought to myself WHAT THE HECK DO I DO WITH THIS GROSS TOOTH? It used to be part of my kid. Do I just throw it away? I looked at the Father, who just shrugged his shoulders as if to imply that I was the mother and I was supposed to know what to do in these situations.

So that's how I began my adventures as the Tooth Fairy. There will be many more visits but there will never be another first time.

And yes, I threw it away.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Season of Change

Fall brings the changes we need at the end of a bountiful Summer.

The sturdy petals of August become the trembling foliage of September. The bounty of produce gives way to hearty soups and homemade bread. The frosty blades of grass invite warm sweaters and hot tea. The crisp wind closes the windows of my house so the neighbors won't hear me when I scream at my children.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Home Grown and All Natural

The five year old took a whole Roma tomato to school as her snack today. My kid has always been a unique snacker but this tomato, picked from the neighbor's garden, represents a highpoint in her culinary requests. Last week, when she took an apple (having only recently been deemed worthy of selecting a Honeycrisp) she wanted it sliced into perfect wedges and placed in her snack box. "The slices will get a little brown" I explained in an attempt to avoid potential rejection of this snack while she was at school and there was nothing I could do to fix the problem. "That's OK Mom, the brown parts just make it taste sweeter." Profound wisdom coming from the lips of my 5 year old.

The brown parts make it sweeter. Yes. In fruit. In motherhood. In life. The brown parts are there because you have exposed yourself. Opened yourself up. Cut away part of what protects you to get ready to become something new. Nearly 6 years ago when I became this child's mother part of me was exposed and dealing with the personality of this little princess has turned some of those edges a little brown. But the brown parts make it sweeter, right? Right. "She's just like you." the father says to me. Regularly. Sometimes that comment is thrown at me in disgust. Part blame, part excuse, part "You realize you did this to yourself don't you?" Sometimes he honors me with that comment as we beam at each other in awe of what a little lady she's becoming. The fact that she is just like me is my achievement and my burden. She is pink with sparkles and grasshoppers in mud. She is intelligent and passionate but she is quick-tempered and furious. She is curious and verbal but she is flip and calculating. She is amazing. Grown at home, like that whole tomato, from a tiny seed. Made into what she is by her mother, or her parents, or her sisters, or God, or her own spirit or all of the above. All of us taking turns owning the larger share of that growth.

She took a tomato as her snack today. Unsliced. The middle bit, filled with juice and seeds, will probably run down her arm and most likely will make a small mess. She's a planner though, like her mother. She packed a paper towel.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

They're Broccoli Burritos Baby!

I'm not an overly innovative cook. I am in awe of people who can open up the fridge, see leftover chicken, some hoisin sauce and half a head of lettuce and through the magic of culinary wizardry create something that not just edible, but fabulous. I'm a recipe girl. It is not like me to add things, substitute ingredients, or stray from the letter of the recipe even one tiny bit. I don't trust myself to make good decisions.

That said. On rare occasions. With a recipe I've made many times in the past. When I'm feeling wild and crazy. I make small changes. And last week my broccoli burritos were a major hit. Major. Originally adapted from a Cooking Light recipe entitled Baked Burritos, here's my lightened up, fiber-riffic version that pleased even the littlest food critics in my house.

Broccoli Burritos (I do not recommend calling them this if you picky eaters in your house)

1 Cup packaged broccoli slaw
1 Cup pre-shredded fat free cheddar cheese
1 Cup bottled salsa
1/2 Cup chopped red onion
1 Cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 Cup minced fresh cilantro
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 (16 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (2.25 oz.) can sliced black olives
8 (8 inch) fat-free flour tortillas
Cooking Spray

1. Preheat oven to 425*
2. Combine broccoli slaw and next 8 ingredients (through olives) in a large bowl; stir until well blended. Spread 2/3 cup of mixture down the center of each tortilla; roll up. Place the burritos on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 10-12 minutes until heated through.
Note* I have made the mixture ahead of time so all I had to do was fill the burritos and bake on a busy week night. The filling is also great over a bed of romaine with a few chips as a taco salad.

In case you were wondering. Made exactly like this, the filling has less than 3 Points for 2/3 Cup. Your choice of tortilla will determine the final Points total for each serving.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Apple Made Me Do It


Apples have been making people do shameful things for thousands of years and yesterday was no exception. Its Fall in the Midwest and the Honey Crisp apples are back in the stores again. Oh sweet fruit of the tree that makes my knees weak and edges out every other treat I crave for most of the Fall. Oh crispy orb of perfect goodness that has never failed me once. Oh ready sphere that commands my attention in the aisle and causes me to forget about price. Have I gone on too long? If you think so, then you have clearly never had a Honey Crisp apple. There are lots of good apples out there but this variety is as close to perfection as engineered produce can be.

The backstory is, my littlest one is not a huge fan of apples. Yes, I cut them into appropriately sized nibbles. Yes, I offer different varieties. And yes, I've done baked, dried, nuked and sauced. She is not a fan. She licks them, touches them all over, drops them on the dog-haired kitchen floor and ultimately ends up wasting them. WASTING THEM.

So here's how the fruit iniquity was committed by the mother. In the middle of the afternoon yesterday, I sat down with my Honey Crisp. Sliced and cored with precision so as not to waste one tiny portion, I bit into my first section. Over toddles the little one, mouth popping open and closed like a malnourished trout voicing her "ngh, ngh" which means "Give me some of whatever you have or I will screech." Ordinarily I would accommodate a request for a bite of my snack. But not today. Not this snack. Not my Honey Crisp. The unholy sounds that came out of this child were almost enough to make me forget what I knew about her licking apples and tossing them to the dogs or taking tiny bites and spitting the chunky mess into the palm of my hand. I offered her another snack: a peach, grapes, Goldfish, dried bananas? This didn't help the screeching and pushed her to the next level of distress which included great , big, rolling crocodile tears. Pathetic. The whole thing was pathetic. But I was not swayed.

Give her the apple because she is my baby, and I love her, and she's screaming? That's just ridiculous! Would you a kid Godiva chocolate for dessert when they are thrilled to get one M&M? You wouldn't! Or, at least, I wouldn't, and there you have it. I deny my children some of the good stuff because I know they won't appreciate it. It's not that I think they're not worthy, of course they are, they are my flesh and blood. I just think if you make a kids wait for some things until they can appreciate how great they are, or how funny they are, or how delicious they are, you are teaching a big lesson.

So back to the crocodile tears. I'm not proud of my behavior, but I'm also not ashamed. This time it was an apple, but next time it might be an amusement park ride or a PG movie. Its ok to make them wait for things. They'll get there and I'll be there riding the rides, enjoying the movies and yes, serving the Honey Crisp apples.

Friday, September 11, 2009

We Shared a Moment

I'm pretty sure the neighbor kid saw me sitting on the toilet today. Our eyes met for just an instant, but it was long enough for us both to realize that we knew what was happening. It's mostly my fault because I did leave the door open and the window is right across the hall from the bathroom, but what the heck was he doing lurking around looking in windows anyway? I don't get to pee with the door closed anymore, I'm a mother! I have to break up fights, dress Barbie dolls, read stories, buckle shoes, comb hair, undress Barbie dolls, answer questions and do a hundred other things all while trying to answer the call of nature.

This event is just one more in a long list related to how Motherhood robs you of your modesty. I simply do not have time to care who sees what anymore. The UPS man has seen as much of my bosoms as a nursing baby would due to the fact that he visited often during those early, sleep deprived, live in your nursing bra and a pair of jammy pants days of postpartum delirium. I don't even know how many times I answered the door with my shirt half open or a newborn hanging off my boob. Last Spring, the Culligan man approached the front door just as I was dashing through the foyer mostly naked on my way to the laundry room to fetch a clean bra. The husband helped me install privacy film over the sidelight window after that incident. I have a long history of indecent exposure.

Even in the early days before my children crushed my abiilty to be discreet and I had only myself to worry about, I still managed to reveal my assets. One of the most mortifying revelations involved a very short, elastic waistband cowgirl skirt and a pair of white cowboy boots. When I was in High School I worked at a western restaurant as a hostess. Our uniform was this ridiculous ruffled, multi-tiered, very short skirt, a fringed shirt and white cowboy boots. The elastic waistband of the skirt made it difficult to keep the shirt tucked in so we all learned to tuck our shirt into our undies. One evening I was crouched down in front of the hostess stand fixing the letters on the sign that indicated the approximate wait time for a table with my back to a crowd of people waiting to be seated. As I stood up, my skirt got stuck under the heel of my boot and remained on the floor. So there I stood with my shirt tucked into my panties wearing nothing but white leather boots. Nobody made a sound, the horrible moment was over in an instant and it took me quite a while to work up the courage to come out of the ladies room and return to work. The next group I seated tried to downplay the embarrassing scene and this charming gentleman did tell me I had a nice hat. It was a noisy crowded restaurant and I didn't hear him clearly, but I thanked him because I'm sure he said "hat". I have gone over that mortifying moment a thousand times over the years, and I'm pretty sure he said "hat".

So back to the neighbor kid. Only time will tell if this episode affects our relationship.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It came. She went.

"When will it be here? When will it be here?" It seemed to take forever but all of a sudden it was way to fast. It roared up the street. You could hear it long before they saw it turn the corner. I remember the excitement I felt every single time. The thrill of the yellow and black chariot that would carry me to the big party every September. They clapped and squealed with delight, all I heard was the growl and the screech. Can something be too big to hold a tiny girl?

She was ready. She stepped right into line and marched up the steps without even a backwards glance. That's what you want though...as a parent. To prepare them for their first day of anything. So they can enjoy every minute of it without fear. Without anxiety. Without you. Not even one single part of me wished she had hesitated, looked back for her Mama because she needed me or wasn't ready to go. Not one single part.

It might get easier. This was just the first day of many first days.

video

Monday, September 7, 2009

Rocks

The simple act of balancing rocks in the garden takes the chaos crazed mother away from her busy life even for just a moment.
The overwhelming temptation to preserve some of the best piles may take the perfectionist prone mother to the hardware store for some industrial strength epoxy.

Sigh...
cheating kind of takes the Zen out of it....

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Call the Authorities

I cannot be the only mother who is concerned about Max and Ruby. If you've never read a book about them or seen their show my ranting will be meaningless to you. She is a 7 year old bunny. He is a 3 year old bunny. She hosts play-dates, bakes cookies and takes the bus into town to run errands. He speaks in one word sentences, puts popsicles in his pocket and keeps a 6 month old Easter egg in his sock drawer.

WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS???

Every single episode of this charmingly disturbing animated series features these bunnies hopping around their house abandoned by their parents, free to roam doing as they please from morning until night. This ain't no rabbit hole folks. Its a 1,500 square foot, 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home with a well equipped kitchen, spacious living area and large backyard. The only thing that's missing from this tragedy is a swimming pool with no fence!

I question whether or not they even have parents. Max and Ruby never mention Mom or Dad in any way. They could be runaways. Ruby is a clever kid, she's gotten almost every single Bunny Scout badge, including the one for making brownies that elicited comments from consumers that bordered on inappropriate. Ruby herself admits that the brownies have a 'special ingredient'. Maybe she's running a side business out of the the seldom seen garage. And then there's Grandma bunny. She seems to care about Ruby and Max but not enough to be concerned about about their total lack of supervision.

I am disturbed by how much my children love this show. I am bothered by the lessons it teaches about being independent in the face of parental neglect. It is never ok to send a 3 year old to the store by himself to buy more eggs. Period. Dirt cakes made with live worms are not to be eaten even if they have marshmallows on top. Gross. Inviting your friend over to play doctor with your 3 year old brother is not appropriate. Ever.

Someone call Child and Family Services. Now!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Health Care Reform

I have alot of guilt these days regarding how woefully uninformed I am on the hot political issues. This health care thing alarms me. It concerns me. It certainly affects me.

My day started with a few health care issues of its own.

Its 7:15am and the father rolls out of bed to answer the calls from our littlest one. Its his turn to get up with the kids. Now mind you, 7:15am is no big sacrifice and we both know it. We have always had good sleepers at our house. It's possible that many of the health care issues facing parents of small children these days might be aided by some lessons on how to get your children to sleep... but nevertheless, its his turn. So I pull the covers up one more time and close my eyes for what will undoubtedly be the last 3 minutes of rest I get today and the 3 year old tiptoes to the side of the bed and whispers "Mom. Can I snuggle you?" Of course! Cute thing that she is, still crusty from sleep and wrinkled on the face. In she climbs and puts her face next to mine with the cutest little grin. Then the nose wrinkles up and she says...

"Mama. Your breath smells like the end of the world." promptly rolls off the side of the bed and walks out. Seriously. Where does a 3 year old learn that kind of thing. Television? Probably from the 5 year old. That was the first health care issue of my day.

Our own hot debate about health care began over breakfast when the 5 year old started trying to negotiate a bandaid for the tiniest little red pin prick of a wound...not going to happen. "But Mom, I neeeeeeed a Band-aid. I might gush blood all over your couch." Although I do appreciate her lobbying on behalf of our furniture, my position was not swayed and there was no concession on the Band-aid debate.

An attempt at health care reform came in the way of a small crisis this afternoon, when the littlest one was running a low grade fever and I had the notion to give her a little Motrin before her nap. Not one single medicine dropper could be found anywhere in the house so instead of the calling the neighbor who is an RN and would certainly have brought me a medicine dropper or carefully administered the correct dosage of fever reducing elixir, I carefully read the label, located an adult sized medicine cup and handed over the tiny vessel of sticky potion to a tired crabby infant. She took the cup, put it near her mouth and proceeded to dump most of it on herself and the oriental rug. The snaggle dog ran over, got her own portion of Motrin, I yelled, ran for wet towels and resolved that it was going to take more than one illness to convert our current system of medicine delivery.

Wise words for those folks in Washington.

Truly I do try and make a daily visit to one of several websites that will give me the headlines in bullet points so I can try and get as much information as possible in the shortest amount of time but then some little girl comes over and pushes the esc key, or spills something, or hits someone, or the phone rings, or the dog goes crazy because the neighbor kid is at the door and wants to play, or someone needs a diaper change, or the buzzer for the dryer goes off, or any one of 800 other things that steals me away.

I voted for him because I believed he could direct us towards change and I feel guilty that I'm not as well informed as I used to be. But my most pressing health care issue is a daily debate about exactly how serious a wound is and whether it needs a banadge or it will heal on its own. The biggest reform issue facing my small circle involves the manner in which the cure is delivered.

Hmm...maybe I'm not as out of the loop as I feel...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's one more thing

It's one more thing on my 'to do' list. But it's one of the very few things on my list that is just for me. Because for now, I'm writing just to me. There's nobody else here. It's safe. But lonely. I'm not one of those people who speaks to an empty room very often. Partly because I'd feel silly speaking to nobody and partly because I don't often find myself in an empty room.

A blog. Who do I think I am? I've been reading them. Agreeing with them. Commenting on them. Laughing out loud at them. And all the while thinking what could I possibly write about that people would want to read? But there are no people here yet. Its just me.

So here I go...I've created a space that wasn't here before and now I've got to fill it with something.