Monday, April 06, 2009

Lucy's Latest Impersonation

A classic.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Calling It

Conor and Lucy have recently been playing a game where they vie to be the last one to brush their teeth. As we head upstairs to start the bedtime ritual, Conor will typically yell, "Lucy brushes first!". (No one wants to say, "I'm last!")

The other night Lucy beat him to it as she went upstairs first, and Conor confronted her and she reiterated, "I called it. You're first." He couldn't argue with that logic, so Plan B was apparently to play on my sympathies so he burst into tears. "She ah-ah-ah-always b-b-b-b-bosses me around". Telling him that he lost, fair and square, at his own game was cold comfort, so I didn't say anything and gave him a hug. He took that as encouragement, that his tactic was working, so he escalated his complaints--Lucy always wins, Lucy always gets her way, etc.

And this is where I win the bad parenting award for the night. I told him to brush his teeth with his tears.


Friday, August 29, 2008


Like a anti-smoking crusading ex-smoker, I'm a reformed curser. I used to be able to freely string together a variety of curse words to create magical chains of obscenities. I was proud of the fact that I was once reprimanded by my manager at work for saying (in a fit of technical frustration) "motherfucking cocksucker" to my computer. Or maybe it was "cocksucking motherfucker", I can't remember. But it wasn't the "motherfucker" that was the problem; the offensive word was "cocksucker", according to the official complaint. (And I believe the complaintant was the same woman who ran over a rabbit on her way to work, and stored her roadkill in the freezer where it looked remarkably like a human head. Sometimes I miss working in Texas.)

But I stopped swearing the day I came home from the grocery store without the one item I went for and celebrated that by saying, "Fuckity fuck fuck fuck". Conor, who was about 18 months old, picked it up and it was hard to break him of that habit because everyone who heard it from his lips found it so funny.

But I stopped swearing on a regular basis, and saved my cursing for adult evenings. Nothing like a nice glass of wine and a well-deserved, "fuck, this is good." I stared using replacements such as 'criminy jim jims' and other phrases from Sponge Bob. And I did a good job, because Conor thought the 's' word was "stupid" and didn't know there was an 'f' word. Until he started school, where such words are playground gold. So we've had the talk about language you use with friends, language you use with family, and language you use with your grandparents.

We have a proud family tradition of explaining that you NEVER use certain words around grandma. For me, it was my mom catching me calling my brother a 'jackoff', which I screamed at him from the front yard. She told me that I may or may not know what a 'jackoff' was, but my grandmother certainly did and I needed to STOP SCREAMING IT FROM THE FRONT YARD. Of course, if I had known what a jackoff was, I probably would have called him a "dicklicker".

But even though I don't swear in front of the kids, I do reserve one word to let them know that things are NOT going well at all. "Goddammit" is a word I use when someone spills the milk all over the table after I've said several times to move the glass farther away from an elbow. "Goddammit" is the word that I use when I discover a gallon of water on the bathroom floor after bathtime. When they hear "Goddammit", they know that all is not right in the world and they'd better straighten up. A wee bit better than "motherfucking cocksucker", for sure, but it'll still come up in therapy, I'm sure.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Even Better Than The Real Thing

Sorry Tom Petty, but Lucy's sporting a brand new look.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Divided Sleep

Anyone who has kids may also experience divided sleep where you sleep, get up, and then sleep some more. According to Wikipedia, it wasn't unusual before the industrialization of society--a night's sleep would be divided by one or more periods of wakefulness, particularly in winter. I know that while breastfeeding infants, I'd have to stay in bed for 12 hours in order to get 8 hours of sleep.

And now one of my favorite things to do when I'm home alone with the kids in the evenings is to go to sleep when they do, wake up a couple of hours later, and then watch TV or surf the Internet. This way I can avoid the dreaded bedtime (oh, how I hate putting those little buggers to bed--if only yelling made them sleepy!) *and* get to watch trash TV.

Why trash TV? Why not be productive or creative? Well, this period of wakefulness is often only semi-conscious (again, according to Wikipedia--oh, Wikipedia, what did we do before you?), I have no problem spending a few hours mindlessly entertaining myself.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Look How Clever I Was!

I was a budding ironist from the get-go. You'll have to take my word for it--I took some of my dad's old office stationery and my mom's manual typewriter and penned this memo regarding the addition to our household of a new cat. And I do believe I made both cats sit in the room with me while I typed this up.

Can I attest that the mis-spelling of "ingenious" was intentional? Isn't the overuse of exclamation points merely a precursor to the same overuse in emails?

What else from my youth will my mother dig out and digitize for me? A certain series of love letters where the sender used "lick" instead of "like"? Oh, MySpace users ten years in the future, I feel your pain.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Anal-Retentive IS Hyphenated

This is a bad sign. This is something that's going to make me crazy. See, I'm the kind of mom who thinks that a toy needs ALL of its pieces in order to be a toy, and a toy that sits on a shelf with all of its pieces is a better toy than one that's been played with and has been spread hither and yon. The missing die from the Boggle game will haunt me and keep me awake. Where could it be?

When Conor was a toddler, one of his favorite games was trash man. He'd take his toys, dump them into the wastebasket, and dump the wastebasket onto the sofa. And I'd dutifully SEPARATE THE TOYS BACK INTO THEIR RESPECTIVE BINS before he did it again. He didn't care--in fact, all my sorting slowed his game down. (The game did not include scooping the toys back into the wastebasket; one of us had to put the toys back into their bins for him to dump into the wastebasket and subsequently dump onto the sofa. Why, oh why, did I spend the time making sure the wooden blocks went into their bin, the Duplos went into their bin, the balls went into their bin?

Because I know anal-retentive has a hyphen and I know how to use it.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Mother Teresa, I am

Conor's school has a new mural, and today on the way into school Conor asked why Yoda was in the mural. Oh, how I laughed! Foolish child, I said, that's Mother Teresa. Oh, he says. Who's the guy on the end? Uh, Chewbacca. Now aren't you late? Get to class!

Update: According to the school newsletter, it is "The Visionaries Mural" and has renditions of Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ghandi, and Homer. D'oh!

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Don't Come Around Here No More




Anyone else remember videos from 1985? I was embarassed at how many I knew.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

An arty looking photo of a mundane event. Isn't that what blogs are all about?

This is Lucy enjoying her first bouncy house.


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Lesson Learned

Conor's school had a Math, Science, and Health night with hands-on educational activities. One was about how much sugar is in a soft drink--the kids measured out the 41 grams (or nine thousand teaspoons or whatever it is) of sugar, which was then placed in a ziptop bag THAT WAS GIVEN TO THEM. TO TAKE HOME. Needless to say, Conor was one of the kids caught off in a corner trying to eat the sugar.

What is wrong with these people? What did they *think* seven year olds would do with a bag of sugar? I don't care that he was off in the corner eating it, really, because I think it's funny. It's not like kids see sugar as deadly--it's too tasty!

I hope they're not doing similar programs at the high school level--see, kids, all it takes is this six pack to be too drunk to drive!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

That Went Well

Today I brought a snack of gingerbread and apples into Conor's classroom. (Gotta be healthy--no more cupcakes!) One little boy, an African-American student, asked me if it was hard to make. I replied, "Oh, I slaved away at it!"

I'll be winning the Room Parent award any day now.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Part of the Job?

Our childcare choice this time around is a nanny, and she's great. Amazing, really. I told her that her job is just childcare--no housework. But she said she'd be happy to do the kids' laundry, so Lucy and Conor have folded pajamas for the first time. Ever. My theory on pajamas is that if the pieces are reasonably co-located (e.g., clumped together) and the drawer is big enough, why bother? But now they're all nicely folded! They look so nice I hate to use them.

The other day she had time and folded our sheets and towels. I fold our towels, but the sheets are on a JIT schedule--they stay in the hamper until it's time to change them, then they're put on the bed fresh from the dryer. (Or a couple of days later, whatever.) Sometimes I believe we could subsist on a single set--and we do, until I get tire enough of one set to fold them and put them away.

But it's weird to have someone else fold my sheets. Occasionally, very occasionally, someone has. During chemo I'm sure the only thing I folded was me into the fetal position, and since I spent so much time in bed (and I like clean sheets!), I'm sure my mom or Kevin did. But for some reason I feel folding my sheets is a very personal thing. Maybe because it's a very grown-up thing to do, to take care of your bedding. I remember guys in college who didn't even use sheets--just slept on bare mattresses. Ugh.

I remember the first time I bought my own sheets. My mom was surprised--maybe it triggered a realization that I was growing up, or maybe it was that I'd charged them to the 'emergency' credit card. Sheets--an emergency? Well, when you're spending almost every night at your boyfriend's apartment, and your bed is frequently used by an out-of-town friend and her late night booty call, new sheets *can* be an emergency.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Schroedinger's Cat

A friend told me that her child was undergoing a test that I've had done, but she was staying in complete denial. Denial is a great place--it's where the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. I (as I've said before) want to be surprised, utterly and completely. I want to be able to never see it coming before it hits me over the head.

My longest and most deliberate visit to Denial-ville was right before I was officially re-diagnosed, after the PET scan and manual exam showed something 'suspicious'. I latched on to the excuses offered up by the doctor as to why the scans and exams were showing something. Maybe I had the flu--the totally asymptomatic kind. Maybe it was the yoga I was doing! Nothing could dissuade me; in my mind it was all going to work out fine. I even thought that maybe the test results had been switched! The alternative was too terrifying, that if it had come back I would have to have a bone marrow transplant. And it ended up that it did come back, but I didn't have to have the transplant, so I saved myself some worrying.

My friend's trip to Denial-ville was even more productive--her daughter ended up not having the test because whatever it was resolved itself. Here's to Denial-ville!

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Taking the 5th

We were in the car, listening to the radio as they played songs from my college days. I was lost in my reverie after hearing Psychedelic Furs "Heartbreak Beat", and the DJ's started talking about clubs. One mentioned that someone talked him into putting a little tablet under his tongue, and the rest of the night was a multi-colored blur.

Conor asked, "What's a tablet"

I explained it's a kind of a pill.

"Why would you put one under your tongue?", he asked.

Well, it's a good way to dissolve it and get to the medicine inside.

"Have you ever done that in a nightclub?"

Uh, Conor, let me explain the 5th Amendment to you.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Paper, plastic, or bad advice?

Today at the grocery store, the checkout guy was full of it. He asked how old Lucy was (2) and then pointed out that his 10 month old was larger than her. He then proceeded to recommend going to Chinatown to get a special laxative for babies that makes their poop black (I refrained from pointing out that this may be counterproductive for my puny 2 year old). And then he gave me some toilet-training advice--he let his 3 year old son stew in his diaper for an entire day. Of course, he allowed, his wife and mother didn't agree with his method and are currently using diapers on the child, which means he's just going to have to wait until he's taking care of the boy to do it again.

Good luck with that, I said. Even Conor thought he was nuts. But what could be nuttier than this?

We found this great new food product: Kellogg's™ Froot Loops™ Cereal Straws. How could we resist "milk-sippin' fun"? They have cereal on the outside, and some kind of waxy white center made from 'sheanut butter'. In Greece. Because apparently American technology falls far behind the cradle of democracy when it comes to alternative cereal products.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sleep Option

Lucy is a good sleeper, even a good go-to-sleep-er. But last night she decided that bedtime was optional. She'd had a fever a couple of days ago, so maybe she'd had enough sack time to last her a while. I tried the usual: books, cuddling, pinning her down and going to sleep myself, but nothing was working. Conor fell asleep right away, and I decided I didn't want to go to bed at 8pm (again).

So I got up, and put her back in her bed with a stern warning. And since we all know how well those work, the next question was, yeah, well, I don't know what you want to do, but I haven't seen the season finale of Grey's Anatomy yet--have you? She hadn't, but wasn't impressed by it. By the time the interns' grades were posted, she had moved on to other endeavors.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

School Days

I've been helping out more in Conor's classroom recently, taking advantage of my parent's proximity to press them into babysitting duty. Today was a field trip to the Randall Museum, and the first I knew of my 'volunteering' to help out was when I got the permission slip from Conor to sign and it listed me as a chaperone.

I admit I didn't really read the slip before signing it and handing it back in, but I showed up ready to go. We didn't leave right away, which gave me a chance to go to the grocery store and get lunches for the kids who didn't bring theirs. Luckily Conor wasn't impressed by the school lunch menu for today, so I had already packed his lunch--otherwise I'd have been getting a lunch for him, too. When I got back to the classroom I was just about to ask when we were coming back, but a kid beat me to the punch. He was told that he should know when we were coming back because she had just gone over the schedule with them and wasn't about to do it again and why didn't he put his listening ears on?

So I didn't ask. Which turns out to be for the best, because we were gone ALL DAY. I got back in time to see that the parking people had chalked my tires, but not ticketed me, and sit in the car for 10 minutes before walking back into school and picking Conor up.

Why didn't I just take Conor with me and go home when we got back? Because I NEEDED those ten minutes by myself. Ten minutes of deep breathing. Ten minutes of NO CHILDREN. I am so not cut out to be a teacher.

That night I watched John Stewart interview US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. They talk about No Child Left Behind, and at the end of the interview agree that no parent wants to leave their child behind, and everybody wants the best for their child.

But this isn't the whole story. If you asked people, point-blank, "DO YOU WANT YOUR CHILD LEFT BEHIND?", of course they'll say NO! But if you ask people if, every day, they are doing what needs to be done to get their child the best education, then you'll get a different answer. And it may be because they don't care, or it may be because they're just too overwhelmed with the daily life they've been handed that they can't. In public schools you find a lot who don't/can't/won't do what it takes to help their child get an education.

I had picked up lunch for two kids, but it turns out a third didn't have one, either, but didn't want to say anything. He knew his mom hadn't packed one, but he didn't want to tell anyone because she 'forgets' a lot of things. Like getting him to school every day. This is the kind of parent John Stewart and Margaret Spelling failed to take into account.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Say What?

Conor had a playdate with a friend recently, and they were outside with Lucy. All of a sudden they start yelling for me, and when I get outside Conor's friend informs me that Lucy said fuck.

Uh, what?

Lucy said fuck, he repeats. Conor is smirking. I look at Lucy, and she's struggling to pull her shoes off, so it's possible that's what she said. I've been trying to be good (for six years now), but I may occasionally be indulging in profanity while Conor's at school and I'm home alone with her. But I seriously doubt that's what she said--but still, what am I supposed to say to this kid? I'm gobstopped!

So I pull it together, stop gaping at this kid, and tell him I'll take care of it and take Lucy inside. I can hear this kid repeating to Conor, "Your sister said 'fuck'!"


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