Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Will Never Be Able to Make This Post as Funny as Real Life Was

Yesterday, Sweetie Pie had to work late, so Little Man and I once again survived on a diet of Macaroni & Cheese and sliced kiwis. It's funny, I'm the chef in the family, but as soon as Sweetie Pie's away, I revert to college student Catwoman, who can't make anything but Mac and cheese.

Or maybe it's just that Little Man is as much of a carb addict as I am, and we could both live on pasta three meals a day, so that when our protein-needing Sweetie Pie is gone, we can just drown in a big tub of carbs and feel our brains throb from all of that sugar breaking down. It's like a runner's high, I guess, except with 1/4 cup of butter and fluorescent orange cheese. I say it's way better, but of course, I've never had a runner's high, unless you count that time at 21, when I smoked a little something something and thought that my pants were on fire and ran halfway down the block.

Which is about as far away from a toddler story's point as you can get. (scurries back halfway around the world back to original story).

After dinner, Little Man and I were just playing, different games that make him laugh and that I enjoy for about three minutes before getting bored and wondering when he'll be ready to start playing board games, because seriously, how many times can we make Hot wheel cars crash in a row, or sing "We just got a letter" while playing air guitar? Candy Land would be a step up from this. (Note: I expect to read this last sentence back in a year, after 3,923 games of Candy Land and laugh at past Catwoman's stupidity on this subject. I guess God made wine specifically with moms in mind).

As we were playing, a smell began to permeate the room, and it became evident that my sweet toddler, with his little face that belongs on an angel had let his butt, which belongs to the depth of hell or maybe a city dump's dirty gym sock (because we all know that city dumps, when we're not looking, like to go work out, they're especially big fans of pilates and Body Pump classes), release a turd that should really belong to a grown man.

So I stop what I'm doing and I say "Little Man, did you go caca?" (This is where my French side comes out. I have to use the French word for poop, because it somehow sounds, well, a little more sophisticated).

Little Man knows that a diaper change will mean that he'll have to stop playing, which is like, totally unfair, dude.

So he chooses to lie, something he's done before, which has only resulted in him going to time alone (with a poopy diaper, of course) for lying.

I figure, he'll learn to lie soon enough, like when he starts real school and has to pretend he's not smart, so that the kids don't beat the shit out of him.

So I ask him again "did you go caca?" and tell him that he needs to think carefully about his answer, because or else he's going to have to go to time alone for lying.

The wheels in his brain are spinning so hard, that I can actually see them. And as the lightbulb over his head lights up, he says "Mama? Did you go caca? Pewwwwwy!" He proceeds to walk over to me, pulls the back of my pants and goes "You go caca! Stinky butt! Mama has a stinky butt!"

And as I'm laughing so hard that I can't move, he proceeds to pretend to wipe my hiney clean (he actually rubbed my lower back, which I have to give the kid credit, he can give a great lower back massage), all while telling me that I really need to go caca in the potty.

I've been schooled. Not only did he not go to time alone for lying, but I think I freaking love that kid even more. Even if he used the word butt, which I'm pretty sure is considered a sin here in Texas.



Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lessons Learned

I realized that I have learned a lot during the past 29 months. Here are some of the lessons I have learned, all thanks to motherhood:

- That my singing sucks. However, if I am ordered to sing to a song that comes on the radio, I better sing along, even if I've never heard the song before and don't know any of the words.

- That as hormonal as I might get during PMS time, I can be happy knowing that I have never considered the dog looking in my direction a reason to get mad to the point of throwing myself on the ground and wailing.

- That I'm so smart, I can now usually solve Blue's Clues at the first clue. Like this morning? We were trying to figure out with Steve what Blue wanted to do in the snow, and as soon as I saw the paw print on the carrot, which was the first clue, I totally knew that Blue wanted to make a snowman.

- That I'm evil because I laugh really, really hard when Swiper the Fox actually swipes something from Dora and Boots and throws it far away. The only thing that woul make me happier, is if Swiper were to take the stolen item and break it over his foxy knee and then set the pieces on fire. This makes me worry that I don't have a soul.

- That Hannah Montana songs? Are actually really, really catchy, especially my current favorite "Start All Over."

- That the best way to not feel fat is to spend all of your disposable income on toddler clothes, so that I never have to enter a dressing room.



Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Consider My Ass Kicked

I consider myself to have a high pain threshold. After all, when I developed HELLP Syndrome at the end of Little Man's pregnancy, my liver was shutting down, which was quite painful, but I just figured the pain was a normal part of pregnancy, so it took me five days to go to the hospital (in my defense, I did have a midwife appointment in the middle of those five days, and she thought it was my gall bladder and told me to cut out all fat from my diet and then switch to an all clear liquid diet).

I said I had a pain threshold, I didn't claim to be smart. Anyway, when I finally accepted the fact that the pain was really, really bad and I should go to a hospital (something I wanted to avoid, due to our crappy insurance that didn't cover maternity and we still had a $1,000 sonogram to pay for), and the doctors there figured out what was wrong with me within an hour of me coming in (yeah, blood test!), they couldn't believed I'd been sitting at home for five days like that, with a hot compress pushed against me.

Those of you who are tracking my cycle as closely as I am (is it weird that the Internet's population knows exactly when I'm reaching for the tampon box and on what days I'm most likely putting out?), know that this month wasn't the month for baby #2.

I have to say, this isn't a suprise. Sweetie Pie had to go out of town for four days this month, and I was too exhausted to put out the two nights before he left. And of course, I ovulated on the second day he was gone, so that any chances of making a baby (with my husband, at least, and Tom Brady was too busy throwing footballs to be my back up plan) were reduced to nil.

And I accepted that my period would come, despite my trying really hard to get pregnant once he got back, just in case I'd been wrong.

On Friday, I had no spotting. Which was odd, because Aunt Flo, she's like one of those killers from the movies, who just has to call you in advance to say "hey, I'm going to kill you!", rather than just show up and completely surprise you.

Saturday, same thing, although I could feel in my gut that the witch was coming for a visit.

Sunday, I decided that hey, I'd take another pregnancy test, because hope springs eternal or whatever that stupid expression is.

I peed on a digital test, and I practically heard it scoff at me when I looked at it. You know how they take a couple of minutes normally to tell you you're not pregnant?

This one screamed at me NOT PREGNANT, MORON! within 15 seconds of my having peed on it. I think the test thought a man peed on it, because that's how unpregnant I was.

Finally, Sunday afternoon, Aunt Flo showed up two days late, nothing to be alarmed of, since she's been changing her arrival date every month.

But for some reason, she's totally kicking my ass this month, like her delay really, really angered her. I used to get bad cramps as a kids, but once I got put on the pill, it wasn't an issue anymore, even once I got off the pill. I'm one who never really takes Advil or anything, but yesterday and and today, I've had to take it every 6 hours in order to not feel like my lower intestines are about to fly out of my body.

I looked at Little Man this morning, and I actually felt glad for him that he would never have a uterus and have to go through all of this.

Next month is my month, people. In another five days, I will be putting out until the cows come home. Anything to keep future Aunt Flo's away.



Monday, January 28, 2008

A Glimpse Into My Future

On Tuesday, I wrote a really large check to Little Man's daycare, because they request first and last month's fees, plus the annual registration fee, plus the annual supply fee when you register. This was the equivalent of paying three month's daycare in one month (since I already paid for the month of January at his current daycare), I convinced the new daycare to let me pay for the first month on his first day there, so that I wouldn't have to go sell a kidney to pay for the whole amount, and they let me do so. Which was nice, because I'd like to keep my kidneys, just in case someone I love needs one.

I've been talking about how Little Man has cried every day and begged me not to leave him at school.

Well, that is, until Friday. On Friday, he happily yelled "BYE!" at me while cheerfully waving at me and proceeded to play with his friends.

This morning, with only four days left at his old day care, same thing. He was eating his breakfast, I gently told him that he would play, eat lunch, nap and then play some more and then I was going to come and get him and he just said "OK! BYE!" and waved at me like I was totally embarrassing him in front of the cool kids.

And deep down, I know that it doesn't really change anything. That Little Man is happier there because I rallied enough parents to complain about the teacher who yells, so that she's changed her attitude and is being nicer to the kids when I've snuck up on the class and watched her. But once a yeller, always a yeller, and I figure there's only so long she can fake it. Plus, the class above Little Man's, that he's supposed to transition to next month is in total disarray.

But because he's suddenly happy again, there's a little itty bitty part of me that thinks "what the hell?", because now, starting Friday, I'm going to have to deal with a miserable clingy child who has to adjust to a brand new school. Which wouldn't have been so bad, except for the fact that he's now decided he loves his old school.

Is this what it's like to have a teenager?



Friday, January 25, 2008

The Mama Mafia Hitwoman

I have been up to no good this week, my pretties. You see, just like my alias, Catwoman, I mean to be good and I purr and lick, but when the black leather comes on (since that's what a couple of readers figure I must wear), I can be very, very bad, Meow!

I mentioned at some point last week or this week (it's Friday, I'm too tired to open another window, look through my blog and figure which day this was) that I was having daycare issues. After dealing with a miserable child who didn't want to be dropped off and who I often picked up in tears for the past three weeks, I was pretty much emotionally done. I figured, however, that he was just going through a phase, another separation anxiety phase, and I figured that worst case scenario, I could call Fergie and see if she could teach me how to do meth, and at least the wailing wouldn't seem so bad.

Then another Mama from the daycare contacted me to see if I'd noticed anything weird with the daycare, because her daughter was suddenly miserable. Timing of her attitude change? Early January, just like my son.

That's when my Spidey senses went into overdrive (oh go with the stupid metaphor, will ya?) and I knew that I wasn't just being psycho over-protective mother, that there really was something wrong. Upon inquiries with a few other moms, discovered that their child was in the same boat.

On Tuesday, I took Little Man to two schools, one which was my top choice and one I hadn't visited yet, but sounded promising online. We started with the school I hadn't visited yet, and I almost ran out of there before we'd even set foot in the building. Without sounding really horribly snotty, this looked like a daycare from the ghetto. It was run down and I hated it. I couldn't have imagined leaving Little Man there. Yet, they charged the same as the brand spanking new school that was my top choice. And they didn't provide lunch at the ghetto school, which meant that Little Man would have probably shown up on most days with some cold McDonald, because I don't know if I can ever be organized enough to make lunches, considering Sweetie Pie starves on most days, because I can't find the time to make him a lunch. (and yes, he could very well make his own damn lunch) Or Little Man would be the kid who has a Lunchable meal every day.

Either way, it wouldn't work.

So we went to his new school, I spit out a huge deposit which cleared our account 8 days before payday, making it impossible for me to buy myself a lunch for the rest of the pay period. And that was that. Notice was given to his current school and as of next Friday, Little Man will be gone from there.

But the story doesn't end there. When I gave my notice, the principal came out and all of a sudden pretended to be very alarmed and concerned. So I told her the truth, for the most part about my concerns, although it was a very restrained version, because my son has to be there another week, and I didn't want them to hate him.

I then went to work and sent an email to all of the Mamas I knew from the class and told them we were leaving. It was a very sterile email, no "this place is hell!" or anything like that. Just hey, nice to meet you, hopefully our paths cross again someday.

I figured if any of them wrote me back asking why we were leaving (I sure as hell would), then I'd tell them the truth.

Only one did, out of the eight.

So I told her the truth and ends up her daughter is miserable too, but she was assured by management that it's just a phase. This woman? She's a lawyer. Her last email to me came after I'd left for the day. It said that she'd be giving them an earful.

I'm not sure if she mentioned my name in her earful to the principal, but it'd be pretty easy to figure out that I was the poop disturber that caused this confrontation.

The next morning, when I went to drop off Little Man, his morning teacher told me she heard he was leaving and asked me why. I told her the truth, since I love her and trust her and she has nothing to do with my issues. She told me she was miserable too, that management had become horrid to the teachers the last few months and that she was looking to leave. She then asked me for a reference.

The principal walked in and saw me talking to the teacher and instead of asking for the number of kids in the class, like she always does, she made a bee line for the teacher, she didn't acknowledge me, just grabbed the teacher and told her they needed to talk and took her out of the classroom. When the teacher returned, she told me that the principal asked her if she was happy, was everything ok, etc. I guess she thought I was trying to poach one of their best teachers or something.

When I wasn't, I was just being a sounding board.

But it pissed me off. And during my two-minute commute to work from the daycare, I plotted. And I remembered that I had seen a classifieds page on the Internet with ads from all of the area-schools currently looking for teachers. And I decided that I? On my last day? Will be printing out that page for the three teachers I love and giving it to each one with my business card and letting them know that if they want to look elsewhere, I want to make their life easier and that way, they'll have my contact information for references.

You don't mess with the Mama Mafia.



Thursday, January 24, 2008

Peeling Back the Veil of Mystery

So Squishy Tushy, who I'd link to except I don't know if it's ok to do so, since she's gone secretive, wondered yesterday why I call myself Catwoman.

Since she's under the impression that I don't own a cat.

Well, misconception number one. I do own a cat. She's 18 years old, last summer lost all her hair to the point that AFF suggested that I might have her put down (to which I thought, Sweetie Pie's losing his hair, but I'm keeping him around anyway, ya know? Plus the cat's hair grew back, so all is good now). I've had the cat since I was 14. She's dumb as rocks, sheds way too much and because she ruined my brand new living room by using it as her giant litter box, she lives in our garage and is only allowed in for supervised visits.

This might sound horrible to you, but when I had Little Man, I couldn't risk him crawling around on carpet that had cat urine in it. End of story.

This cat, who was sickly as a kitten, now never gets sick, and except for a little arthritis in her back, the vet says she looks healthwise like she's 8 years old.

I believe the cat has decided to beat the Guinness Book of Records for oldest living cat, simply to spite my husband who claims to not like her, because she sits on him and sticks her tail in his mouth every chance she has.

I don't talk about the cat very much on this blog, simply because she doesn't do anything. Except for pee and poop all over Sweetie Pie's garage, despite having access to the outdoors all the time. So really, I would bore you all to death if I blogged about the cat.

But I don't call myself Catwoman because I have one cat. The reason I call myself that is when I was a single girl, in my early 20's, I had at one point three cats in my little apartment. Some might say that I was getting precariously close to becoming the crazy cat lady. My grandfather in France, upon finding out that I had adopted a third cat went bonkers apparently, and proclaimed that I would never be married off now, because what man would marry a woman with three cats?

However, one of my cats died of old age a few months before I met Sweetie Pie, and my future as a crazy cat lady was taken from me and I was married off, to my grandfather's great relief, I'm sure.

When I was living with my three cats, my friends nicknamed me Catwoman. For two reasons. One, I had many cats. And two, I was really hot.

I'm just kidding about that second part. I just thought I'd spice up the story for you a little bit. Although, once, I had a gay friend of mine say that my body drove him nuts and would make him consider going straight.

So I guess once upon a time, I was a catch. This gay friend was quite drunk at the time, but surely that doesn't impact my point in anyway.

When I started my blog, it was right around the time that that flight attendant was fired for having a blog. Plus, I was miserable in my job and would bitch about it on here, so I figured I needed a secret identity. Since I'm not very creative or imaginative when it comes to things that relate to me, I just used my old nickname.

The title of the blog came from the fact that I figured that maybe talking about Texas from a Canadian's perspective might be interesting fodder. I haven't exactly done that very much, because although there are obvious things like the fact that Texans believe the right to bear arms is more important than access to oxygen, because dang it, oxygen's not mentioned in that there document the constitution, I don't know if that would offer me enough fodder to keep this blog going forever.

But the name remained, since I was kind of stuck with it.

So there, mystery solved of where my name came from.

Now on to a meme that Random Mommy tagged me for that relates to this subject.

Why do you blog?

I blog because I can. That's not true. Although, that philosophy does apply to many things I do.

I blog because this is my online diary, my place to vent, my sounding board and my baby book, all rolled into one. It's a place where (for the most part), I can let it all hang out and hear from a bunch of people things like "you go girl!" or "he sucks!" or "I'm sure you'll poop again soon!", all of which make me grateful to be a part of this community.

I haven't kept a baby book for Little Man at all, one, because I'm not good at writing things down in the little spaces they offer. I'm a babbler. I can't just write down "first tooth 3/5/06." I've got to write about how I saw the tooth for the first time and how Little Man cried for weeks on end and didn't sleep and what he wore that day and how the dog licked the inside of Little Man's mouth thinking the new tooth might be a piece of food (none of this actually happened, I'm just too lazy to go back to the post where I blogged about Little Man's first tooth).

So this is my little spot of the Net where I can talk excessively about my son and how much he rocks and how he hates it when I sing, but he loves it when I whisper to him while he nuzzles his head in my neck.

What was the first blog you ever read?

It was my friend M.A. who at the time was Martini Gal, and still has a blog, but I'm not sure she'd want to be listed here when she now uses her real name and all and I'm read by whoever wants to come here. She told me she had a blog and I was all like "what kind of bug do you have? Is it contagious? Who gave it to you? Are you going to live?" And she was all like "you're a moron, but I like to make fun of you behind your back, so I will tell you more about this blogging thing." And at first I would read her blog and then I'd call her and be like "so what is this exactly?" And then I realized another friend of hers who I knew had a blog and I was all like "what? Does everyone have a blog? Because I can't be the last person on Earth who doesn't have a blog!" So I started one. Even though I had absolutely nothing to say back then. And the level of dullness of my blog made it apparent I had nothing to say. It took me a while to get comfortable with the medium and just develop my own unique style (and a pregnancy too!). To find an eye for what is blog fodder and what is not. In my case, that's taking something kind of odd and then over-exaggerating it in my description only to provide the audience something amusing.

What was the first blog that had you hooked?

That Delta flight attendant who was fired for taking pictures of herself on a plane and posting them on her blog. Interesting enough, I don't even know if she still posts nowadays. I kind of lost interest after a while and then didn't even link to her ever (mind you, It wasn't until maybe two years ago that I learned how to link to people), but at the time, having once been a flight attendant, I found her stories to be interesting and her firing to be very sad, because I didn't think the pictures were risque myself. But I was raised in Canada, not the South, where a picture of your neck showing could potentially be found obscene, because the rest of you is naked and you're straddling a goat, pfff, like that's obscene! I mean, come on! Welcome to the 21st Century, ya'll!

The next blog I got really hooked on was Dooce while I was pregnant. I read about her somewhere and went to her site out of curiosity. When I read her monthly letter to Leta, with about 10 billion gallons of hormones rushing through my body, I sobbed like a baby, snot pouring down my face for hours on end. I was hooked. I think hers was the only blog that I caught mid-stream and read all the way back to the beginning. And of course, I completely credit her for the monthly letter I write to Little Man. When I first read hers, I thought "that is the most beautiful love letter I have ever read!" Some day I plan to print all of those letters to Little Man with other posts about him on this blog and have them bound hard copy. I figure they are the stories of his life and I want him to know that I will always love him as much as I have when I wrote those letters, no matter what happens.

Which blogger friend would you most like to meet in real person?

This one is hard, because I'd like to meet just about everyone on my blog roll and a few others who I haven't had a chance to add to my blog roll yet, because I'm really not good at doing that (I'm talking about you Burgh Baby, I will add you and all of your hilarity at some point, maybe as soon as I've started getting on the 30 pounds I need to lose), but if I had to pick one person, I'd have to pick Emma in Canada, just because she made me. No, that is not an exaggeration, she somehow stumbled onto me, linked to me, wrote about me a few times on her blog, which led some of her readers to come to me. And most of my readers are Emma's readers. If it wasn't for the fact that people care about what I put on here and tell me so through comments and email, I don't know if I would have been as good about blogging as often as I do. But because of Emma, I am here and because of the readers she sent my way, I'm still here. And for that, I would like to meet her and tell her that she is a really, really powerful being in Bloggyland, and I really don't think she realizes it.

Which blog do you admire the most, why?

Man, that's really a hard one too. The easy answer is Dooce again. Because not only does the sister write the most embarrassing stories that make me laugh so hard that I get cramps like this story, that I could never write as brilliantly as she does. She makes me strive to be a better story teller, and I know that since reading her, my writing has taken on some Dooce qualities. She's such a vivid writer. What I most admire about her, is that she has gotten to a place with her blog that she not only supports herself, but her husband is also a stay-at-home dad because of her income. Which I am just in awe of.

But then there are so many people on my blog roll who aren't A-list bloggers who I so greatly admire because of the way they've overcome situations or are currently going through situations. Like That Chick, who as a very young woman found herself to be a single woman, dumped by a moron, pregnant with twins and without an education to fall back on. She could easily be another story of a woman living on government aide who feels sorry for herself and blames the world. And she'd have every right, in my liberal opinion. But no, not only did she raise two amazing children, but she got a college degree and turned into one of the funniest bloggers in the process and is just an amazing source of strength. Or M who has fought so hard to get Liam diagnosed with autism and then has been relentless in her pursuit of therapies for him, so that he's just grown by leaps and bounds in the past few months, all due to one passionate and hilariously fantastic mom. Or Kellie who has literally been bitch slapped recently and has faced it with more cojones and grace in her little finger than I have in my entire body. Or Blue Momma who has desperately wanted a second child more than anything else in the world and yet she thinks of others on her blog and might be one of the sweetest people in the community. Or Hallie, who might be one of the strongest women I know and the mother I want to be in 17 years. Her sons love her more than anything and her relationship with them is just this beautiful waltz. As someone who has an awkward relationship with my mom, I have learned more in the past month while reading Hallie than any parenting magazine or book. Her kids love her, despite being 19 and 14. She embraces them for who they are. She is loving, supportive and just amazing. Her oldest son recently left to become an Air Man. And Hallie sits at home, heartbroken and yet the picture of grace. When she posts about the heartbreaking calls she get of her 19-year old son crying and admitting that he's scared, I cry with her and yet I am blown away by her strength as she has the right words, the ones he needs to hear, the ones that will get him through the hard times, she is who I want to become. And then of course, there's Random Mommy and Ohio Blue Eyes who can post about their love lives like no one else can and make me feel bad for Sweetie Pie.

All of these women don't get paid for their blogs and yet, they all have more of an impact on me than any professional or expert ever could. I admire them because of the women they are, the mothers they are, the wives they are and just the human beings they are. Each of them, in some way make me strive to be a better person, a better mother, a better writer. My world is better because I read all of them and all of the other women (and one man!) on my blog roll.

How many blogs do you keep up with on a daily basis? Way too many. Sometimes I ponder giving some up, because it's just so time consuming. Between my blogging, my reading and commenting, I often don't start working until well, not right away, we'll just say. But then I look through my blog roll, and picking some to drop seems impossible, because I'm so attached to everyone of them.

Link to your 123rd post. Or your 3rd, if you don't have 123.Here it is. Interesting that this is a post about Canada, but also interesting to note that this is the first post that Emma commented on. Couldn't have worked out any stranger!

I'm not going to tag anyone on this, just do it if you want to.



Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Last Ounce of Coolness Sucked Out of Me

We've been very good every since Little Man was roughly 12 months old at being careful with our vocabulary. There's obviously the obvious four-letter words, but then, because I live in the bible belt and my in-laws are very, very Baptist and I'm sure pray every night that I don't damn the souls of their son and grandchild, I'm careful not saying things like "hell" and "oh my God."

Little Man has always said "oh my gosh" or "oh my goodness", which he learned at school and I promptly adopted. To the point that I also use them at work when I don't go back into adult conversation mode quickly enough so that my coworkers think I'm some schizophrenic chick who's part sailor and part Laura Ingall from Little House on the Prairie.

In the past few days though, I've realized in the car that Little Man seems to say "Oh my God" instead of one of the G-versions mentioned before. Thinking I was just hearing things, I'd repeat back "oh my gosh!", because they do sound kind of close to each other, and in a moving Jeep Liberty with Rihanna blaring, it can be confusing to know which one was used.

The nagging feeling kept coming over me that he was saying OMG, and I asked Sweetie Pie "where the fuck do you think he got it from?"

(note: that right there, is called sarcasm, a skill I'm trying to teach Little Man as we speak.)

Sweetie Pie thought maybe one of his teachers at school was saying it, but that didn't sound right to me.

And then yesterday morning, on our way to school and work, listening to the radio, it hit me when Little Man suddenly exclaimed "Oh my God!" My morning radio show had just said "Oh my God!"

I quickly turned to Little Man and said "it's oh my gosh, silly boy!" And smiled and winked at him, like no big deal, you're still learning.

But as I paid more attention to the show, I came to realize that they used the word "hell" and "ass" and I don't listen to Howard Stern or anything, I'm listening to the most popular radio DJ in the Dallas area, who is listened by more carpooling moms and their kids than anyone else.

To which I want to say "what the hell?"

All of a sudden, I can't listen to them anymore because they're making my kid say bad stuff. Damn it!

Totally not fair.

And so this morning I got in the car and searched the radio stations until I found Radio Disney. And the 22-year old in me wept, as a DJ with a sacharine voice that made it sound like she snorts Splenda during songs said benign things at me and my son that felt like she was rubbing frosting directly into the folds of my brain.

And so this is my life. You know that expression "having one foot in your grave?"

I'm clearly picturing one foot in a minivan right now.

And it's scaring me to death.



Monday, January 21, 2008

Well, I'm Back

So I've been missing, I guess. Only a couple of days, but enough for two people to notice and worry. Thanks AFF and My Minivan is Faster Than Yours. Your love is enough to convince me not to run off to a deserted island and throw my feces at any planes that try to rescue me.

It's not that I haven't wanted to blog, I have, it's just that my life was turned completely upside down last week and I was too busy trying to fix the situation to have a time to do normal things like blog. Or work.

I've made the situation sound very titillating (one of my favorite words of all times, by the way), and for that, I apologize, because, unfortunately, my life isn't that exciting.

Do you remember what it was like to search for your soulmate? Remember how time consuming it was to get drunk in bars and flirt with a cute specimen, only to discover he laughed like a hyena and had bad breath?

This is what my last week has involved. Except for the man part. I've already got one of them, and considering he's decided that he's going to get me knocked up, no more excuses for why I'm not in the mood, well, let's just say that this every other night thing would prevent me from even having the energy to lift my eye lids long enough to realize that Tom Brady is standing in front of me naked. I'd probably just ask him to get to the store and find me some chocolate.

I'm not talking about finding a man, I'm talking about finding a new daycare for Little Man. And as hard as I thought man hunting was, I have to say, daycare shopping is way more grueling and with a much higher level of stress. I mean, pick the wrong man, and you're just stuck with him for the rest of your life (or 55 hours, if you're Britney Spears in Vegas). Pick the wrong daycare, and you have fucked up your child for the rest of his life, and he will live in your basement when he's 40 (and we don't even have basements in Texas) and ask you for weed money.

Makes the man hunting seem like you're picking out underwear, doesn't it?

So what's led me to this point? A number of things really. This is the story of my life. Little annoyances arise, I brush them aside, because who wants to be the psycho mom who complains that the art program has slid lately, and the children are given one crayon with one page of a coloring book instead of getting to release their inner Picassos with finger paints and other mediums like glitter pens and felt markers. I'd do these things at home, but you know, I've got beige carpeting and glitter wouldn't match the dog vomit stains. But more and more little annoyances accumulated and when Little Man has shown serious signs of distress the last three weeks, begging me not to leave him there, like I was abandoning him in a war zone somewhere, that's when I began to really get irked.

Things like I've caught the afternoon teacher yelling at the kids three times now. When we raise our voice to Little Man when needed, but we never scream while simultaneously spitting venom like she does. Which I know must cause distress to Little Man.

Or the fact that the school now gives kids gatorade with snacks instead of the 100 percent fruit juice they are supposed to be.

Or the fact that the child/teacher ratio in Little Man's class has risen to the state limits, when we pay more for this school because they're supposed to keep the level below.

I sent management a long letter early last week demanding an answer about the upcoming transition of all of the kids in Little Man's class, since the class above has no permanent teacher and is in utter chaos.

I cc'd on it five other parents who had the same concerns.

She? Has yet to respond to me. And so on Wednesday, I had it. And decided there and then to pull Little Man from that school. As soon as I found something better, that is.

And so I spent the rest of the week scouring the Internet for schools and looking up their safety records, parent reviews. Google is so sick of my searches, I'm pretty sure I've messed up their search numbers, making it seem like all of America is looking for "North Texas daycares that don't suck."

I've visited so many daycares at this point, that I can easily tell you how many daycares are withing a 10-mile radius of any building in the greater-Dallas area.

I've now whittled it down to three choices. Tomorrow, I'm taking a half-day and I'm going to take Little Man to my top two, maybe three if there's time.

Once I see if he seems to favor one over the others, I will make my decision, and we'll start anew.

You're really disappointed that while taking a dump I didn't have one of my butt cheeks eaten by a giant snake that someone flushed down the toilet, aren't you?



Tuesday, January 15, 2008

You Ask, I Respond

Due to the number of questions I received for yesterday's post, I felt that they needed to be addressed and what better way to not have to come up with a post when you're half asleep, than to be provided with a half-digested post by your readers.

So first, Emma asks "So did you throw them out?"

The answer is yes. There aren't many things I'm anal about (I swear that is not intended to be a pun in any way). But the idea of wearing an underwear that's been half-digested by my dog? Well, I just can't do it. This is why in the past year I have thrown out 60 dollars worth of underwear from Victoria's Secret. As much as it's heartbreaking, I'd rather go commando, you know?

Sandy asks "What kind of dog is Satan's Dog?"

To which I could say he's a stupid one. He's actually a black lab, as seen here, who's also part Rottweiler, although it seems no one told him, since besides some longer ears, he looks all lab and definitely has the lab disposition of needing to crawl into your uterus at night, because laying by you is just not close enough and he might die from loneliness if that one inch separating us from each other remains.

Satan's Dog was adopted from the nearest SPCA on the day that I had to put to sleep our yellow lab who got very sick with bone cancer very suddenly. I was too heartbroken to go back to a house that only had one dog in it, and so I stopped by the SPCA, just to be surrounded by live dogs, to help fade the memory of that big old dog's head laying lifeless in my lap as I kissed his big yellow head sobbing. Crazy that a year and a half later, just typing that brings tears to my eyes. Especially when that yellow lab was Sweetie Pie's dog, not mine and he tolerated me only out of blind love for Sweetie Pie.

When I walked in, there was a litter of black lab puppies who'd been surrendered two days before at the age of two months and were ready to go home. I took that as a sign that we were meant to have another dog. I don't even know if I wanted another lab, they're a little too loving for me, who's been raised with cats who actually make you work for their love. Which is probably why in my late teens and early 20's I always fell for men who didn't want me. Maybe if I'd been raised with a lab, I would have gone for the nice nerd who loved me with all of his being. Man, I could totally be Dr. Phil. Someone get me Britney Spears on the line, stat.

Anyway, Satan's Dog was the only one who was awake at that time and paid attention to me, and next thing you know, I drove off with a fur ball on my lap.

Which brings me to a question that has been asked before by someone, I don't remember who, and I'm not sure I've addressed, which is why do I call him Satan's Dog and is that his real name?

For the record, that is not the real dog's name. Just like Sweetie Pie's license does not read Sweetie Pie on it. He also has a real name. Why did I give my dog a nickname, I mean surely somebody wouldn't go looking for me by googling my lab's name, would they? Especially when I can easily be identified by the approximately 121,235 pictures of Little Man on the site. I'm a woman. Don't expect logic from me.

I can assure you though, that Satan's Dog has a perfectly plain dog name (which is also a human name) and is so loved that his coat is beyond shiny, it's sparkly like the insides of a unicorn.

The reason I nicknamed him Satan's dog is that a few weeks after bringing him home it occured to me that his birthday was June 6, 2006. Which written like that, seems innocent enough. But then of course, we all know that in all numeral, it is 6/6/06. Which is when I joked that I'd accidentally brought home Satan's Dog and that my life would become something of a horror movie. But really, Satan's Dog, despite his name, is actually a good dog. Except for the vomitting issues. And the stealing and chewing of Little Man's stuffed animals (although he's always instinctively known not to mess with the beloved frog. And of course, the swallowing of underwear wouldn't go under the "my favorite things about my dog" column.

AFF asks "And, why do they always seem to want to puke on carpet?"

Because the universe hates us. Because our husbands told the universe about our excessive spending and this is the universe's way of punishing us for not being thrifty and for not putting out enough.

AFF also asks "I guess this means you get to go shopping at Vicky's??"

Actually, I had already shopped the half-yearly sale (or whatever they call it there) before this incident. Luckily, neither pair of new undies were chewed yet. I expect that by Valentine's Day though, they'll be gone too. Because I'm as moronic as my dog and don't learn.

Morgan asks "Yes, dogs are inferior to cats, but I still like dogs better. What does that say about me?"

It means that you're the kind of person who decides that punching out an old man is wrong only because you're wearing a "Got Jesus?" t-shirt. It just means you're a nuts and I love you for it.

Hallie asks "Thanks for sharing...I think?"

I'm not sure how to answer that, because I have a feeling that Hailey's question might be what them crazy kids these days are calling 'rhetorical.'

But if it's not, then yes, I'm sure Hailey does think on a regular basis.

That Chick asks "He...vomits while running?"

Yes. I have the only multi-tasking dog in the whole wide world. Some would stop to vomit, but why not get a workout while you're purging. Think of the extra calories you're burning that way! This is how Satan's Dog keeps his girlish figure. Look for his book "You too can vomit while running" coming to as soon as he grows opposable thumbs.



Monday, January 14, 2008

Top Reason Dogs Will Never Rule The World

Last night, I was making dinner when I see Satan's Dog from the corner of my eye gagging by the kitchen table. I know what's going to happen. I know he's about to vomit an abnormally large amount of puke, the kind that makes me consider the fact that he might not be from this world.

I decide that I will pretend I don't see him, not because I live in denial, but because if you make a sudden move, he panicks and runs and ends up vomitting while running, causing me a two hour clean up and white vinegar stocks to go through the roof, making those Wall Street folks think that the economy might have a shot, as long as Satan's Dog is around. Since he's standing over tile, I figure I have an easy clean up, and so I decide the risk of him heading for the carpet is not proportionately lower than my chances of grabbing him and throwing him in the backyard.

As I calmly continue to make dinner, humming silently to myself in order to drown out the horrible gagging noises that are coming from my dog, noises so loud that I'm sure they created more mud slides in California, the dog finally works out of his system the offensive object.

And there it is. In a pile of slime and completely digested dog food is my bright red thong, worn the night before to make Sweetie Pie glad that he came home from his business trip. The same thong that had been sexily thrown next to the bed in our welcome home celebration.

The thong that my dog apparently decided looked mighty tasty and decided to swallow. In one freaking bite.

Which with the size of my hiney these days, a thong, no matter how little fabric might be involved is still not small enough to be swallowed without some serious masticating first.

And this is why cats will forever look down on dogs.



Friday, January 11, 2008

Spending Way More Time Crying Than I Should

I have to say, I've always loved a good cry. When I was a teenager, there was nothing I loved more than to sob and wail silently into my pillow about the sad state of my social life. When I was done, I wasn't any less unpopular, but at least I felt like some heroine in a Judy Blume book, with my tortured soul and my woe is me attitude.

In my early 20's, I cried over men. Men who I loved and would have given body parts for, many of which I don't even remember their names now. The ones that I do remember though, I google kind of obsessively, which I've written about before. If you've ever dated me and are wondering who the hell is stalking you? It's just little me, so please don't be alarmed.

But motherhood has brought on a whole new level of over-sensitivity. I used to watch shows about children or mothers and go "oh, that's sweet" or "oh, that's sad."

But now? Now? Anything that happens on TV is something that could happen to me or could happen to my son. No longer is it just a "oh, that's kind of sad."

Like last night, while Sweetie Pie was out of town, I put Little Man to bed after pausing Grey's Anatomy right as it began. After giving him his bath, reading him the same damn book that I have for the past eight days that is starting to make my retinas bleed, I tucked him in, kissed him good night, told him I love him and silently closed the door behind me.

Afterwards, I poured myself a glass of wine, plopped down on the couch with my trusty Satan's Dog with my warm super soft blanket draped over me and I watched the last new Grey's Anatomy potentially ever. (note: if any TV writers are reading my blog, will you please go back to work now? I mean, come on, seriously it's been two freaking months!)

If anyone didn't watch it last night (to which I'd reply are you insane? Why wouldn't you watch Grey's Anatomy???), one of the main characters baby had a bad accident last night. After she left for the hospital, he apparently got into her office because one of his parents had left the baby gate open. He tried to climb her bookcase, filled with heavy medical books, and it toppled over, crushing him and causing serious internal damage, including a ruptured stomach.

I spent most of this episode sobbing so hard, that I had to pause parts that didn't involve the baby story line so that I could get a grip and actually hear what else was happening.

There was this one particularly gripping scene where the mom/doctor was trying to remember if she was to blame, if she'd left the baby gate open, she'd repeat over and over again "I went into the office, I put the note for the building manager on my desk, I walked out, grabbed my briefcase... did I close the gate? Why can't I remember?"

I'm crying right now just remembering it.

As trite as it might sound? The times it hits me most that I am a mother, that I am no longer the person I was even 29 months ago, and only a semblance of the person I was 38 months ago is when I feel the pain of other mothers. Where the idea of something happening to my child tears me in half so hard, that I can't fathom the real deal taking place.

At those times, I know more than at any other time that this little blonde creature, who grins at me and tells me "don't do that, Mama," like he's the adult in this relationship, I love those 28 pounds of flesh and love more than anything else in this world.

That if anything, anything even threatened one hair on his oversized head, I would literally slice them into 1,000 pieces, just for having the thought.

I am a mother, hear me roar.

Some might say I take my TV a little too seriously.

After the episode was over, I cried some more and then had another glass of wine as I snuggled with Satan's Dog.

I got up to go to bed, and went to check on Little Man, hoping that he wouldn't be asleep and I could move him to my bed and just snuggle with him and whisper-sing to him until he fell asleep.

He was completely passed out, snoring softly. I stroked his hair, and then poked him once, just in case that would be enough to wake him up.

It didn't.

But at 1:47 a.m., Little Man had a bad dream and cried out for me. I bound up the stairs two by two, held him for a minute until his heart rate slowed down and then I whispered to him "do you want to sleep with Mama?"

He nodded that yes, he would like to trade his little toddler bed for my King-size bed.

I fell back asleep with his head tucked in the crook of my arm. And I slept better for the next four hours than I have in a long time.



Thursday, January 10, 2008


It hit me yesterday that my favorite moment during the month of December wasn't included in my monthly letter to Little Man.

And I'm very, very sad about it.

This blog is his baby book. I think I've said it before. It didn't start out that way, if you ever get so bored that you want to die of extra boredom, go read my first posts, where I was a working married woman who within a month of starting this blog got fired and then no longer had a crappy job to blog about, so I really started to blog about absolutely nothing. My posting was quite sporadic back then, simply because how often can you blog about the Young & the Restless, you know? (which speaking of which, how much longer are they going to keep Victoria in a coma? I mean seriously!)

Little Man does pretty well with sleeping in strange places, partly because we've made him sleep in alleys and barns a few times when we were on some really crazy binges that involved chocolate and that gum with the liquid center.

At my parents's house, Little Man had to sleep in my mother's office, a room that has approximately 3 inches of free space, where a small fold-out bed was placed for him. Little Man was surrounded by more antique furniture than if he'd slept in an antique store and I'm sure in his mind the words "what the hell?" flashed numerous time.

My mother doesn't have pictures anywhere in her house. It's not that she doesn't like pictures, she takes a lot of them, she just thinks that framed pictures take away from her style. So the only place you will ever find a framed photo in my mother's house is her office.

Because she's limited to that one room and she has a lot of people that she wants pictures of, her office ressembles a photo gallery, where her filing cabinet holds approximately 3,708 frames, all threatening to collapse if you breathe anywhere near them.

Luckily, Little Man is Little Man, a child who really requires no child proofing, so it didn't occur to any of us to even remove the approximately two million tons of glass covering those pictures, because I knew he wouldn't touch it and if he did, he'd be careful.

You're thinking this story has a bad ending now, don't you? You're thinking I'm about to tell you that Little Man now has shards of glass embedded in every single vital organ, don't you?

The first day we were in Ottawa and Little Man took his nap, he slept for a very long time. He's a great napper, I've bragged about this before, the way Donald Trump brags about the fact he's got a crap load of money. We can't help it, Donald and I. He's filed for bankruptcy twice, so having a crap load of money? That's a big accomplishment for him. Me? I spent four months with a child who would not sleep one wink, so the fact that this same child two years later will now nap for four hours every day and still sleep 10-12 hours a night (on most nights)? Hell yeah I'm going to brag about that!

But back to the story at hand. So Little Man finally woke up from his nap in this strange room that is my mother's office and I heard him babbling and calling for me.

I ran up the stairs to get him, as I always do, because usually by the third hour of his nap, I miss him so much and am so ready for him to wake up so we can freaking do something, like maybe watch Finding Nemo for the 10,000th time or maybe go rob a bank or something, I don't know, it depends on our mood, really.

When I walked in, my son was still laying on his stomach in the sleeping position, his prized stuffed frog clutched safely under his right arm and in his left hand, he was holding a small frame with a wedding picture of Sweetie Pie and I. Judging from the dried drool and embedded fingerprints, it was clear that he had slept with it. When I walked in, he was talking to our picture with so much love in his eyes, that I practically swallowed him right then and there, without even pausing to burp.

From that point on, every time I'd fetch him after he'd wake up, he always had that picture with him.

I think this means he's ready to start scrapbooking with me.



Wednesday, January 09, 2008

All Done While Watching The Biggest Loser

So last night was Tuesday night. I'm telling you this, kind reader, because I don't want to assume you know the days of the week, and then I make you feel all bad because you assumed it was Sunday and that I was watching the Amazing Race.

So yesterday was Tuesday. We've now established that. Tuesday is one of the two nights my husband leaves me so that he can kick the ass of 12 year-old kids. Because he's taking Tae Kwon Do. And almost everyone in his class has yet to hit puberty. This is a little reminiscent of that Seinfeld episode where Kramer took karate with a bunch of nine-year olds.

My husband finds tae kwon do to be very fun. Because Sweetie Pie enjoys kicking the shit out of young children. Have I not mentioned that before?

Anyway, so Sweetie Pie is gone to tae kwon do and when he does, Little Man and I act like we are two unsupervised teenagers. As in we eat macaroni and cheese. The boxed kind, of course.

And so last night, I tell Little Man it's Mac & Cheese time and we race each other to the pantry to get that blue box. We're very good cooks, Little Man and I, particularly as a team. I heat up the water, he dumps the macaroni in the pot when the water's boiling, he holds the measuring cup so I can pour in the milk, he drinks the milk, I pour more milk, he drinks it again, until we get tired of the cycle and he finally pours the milk into the pot. I used to also let him put the half stick of butter in, but he'd always take a bite out of it first, which kind of freaked me out. Not the cooties part. The part that my son likes to eat a stick of butter.

Anyway, so last night, as we were making the macaroni and cheese, I discovered that we were out of cow milk. Some of you might think that's redundant, but I'm lactose intolerant, so I drink soy milk to get my calcium without having to get the runs. I decided not to use the soy milk in the mac and cheese, because I thought that since soy milk is a little sweeter, that might be kind of nasty. So I looked in my fridge and realized that I had some half and half and decided to use that instead.

Now macaroni and cheese, it's pretty fattening to start with. But then you make it with half and half, and I'm sure the calories and fat content approach a fatty food like, say... lard.

But as God as my witness, that was the best freaking macaroni and cheese ever. Holy crap. Little Man and I ate that stuff so fast, pausing only to make Mmmmm noises at each other and giggle like two cats who rub their asses on their owners' pillows while they're out.

Usually, when I make macaroni and cheese, there is enough left the next day for me to have a lunch for work. But not last night. My toddler and I? We ate a whole freaking box. And we loved it.

Afterwards, he was greasy from head to toe, because despite good spooning skills, when food is this good, he likes to also shove it in his mouth with his free hand.

I'm afraid that I've ruined macaroni and cheese forever for us. How in the world will we eat it with 2 percent milk ever again?

In my defense, afterwards I cut open a mango for him and I to share for dessert. Little Man ended up eating 3/4 of the mango, exceeding his fruit requirement for the day in one sitting.

Which I then celebrated with a piece of milk chocolate for each of us, because a meal like that deserves chocolate afterwards, because it's a celebration of future cellulite.



Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Why I'll Never Be On The Iron Chef Show

I'm a pretty good cook. And by pretty good, I mean I'm able to follow recipes to a tee. It wasn't always this way. It took me four tries to get Kraft Macaroni & Cheese right. This always amazes people. After all, all you have to do is boil the pasta for five minutes, drain it, mix 1/4 cup butter, milk and the cheese powder, toss in the pasta and you're done. Couldn't a legless dog be able to make Kraft Macaroni & Cheese?

To which I say, yes, the legless dog probably could make a mean Mac & Cheese. But I couldn't. Not at first.

But once I mastered the Mac & Cheese, it was like some part of my brain woke up, the part that is supposed to follow recipes and I was pretty much unstoppable.

Ever so often though, my lack of talent will show and I can't deny that I'm in fact just a recipe follower, not a master chef. Sunday was one of those days.

We have new neighbors that moved in across the street from us. At first, I thought they might be gangster, because a police squad car showed up a couple of times. But after a while, it finally dawned on me that the husband was a cop. This excites me for a couple of reasons. First, you're less likely to be robbed when a cop car is sitting in the driveway directly across from yours. Two, when Sweetie Pie is gone hunting or for business, it's nice to know that if I call 911, a cop car will be at my house in 0.003 seconds. Third, when I see male strippers, my favorite is always the police officer, so that's a nice bonus.

Anyway, I decided that I'd be nice and neighborly and make some cookies for the new neighbors and go introduce myself. This way, they're less likely to figure out that we're using Little Man's room to grow top grade marijuana, and that's the real reason he's always got a goofy grin on and says "dude" a lot.

Because I'm such a great cook, I got a bag of Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chips and made the recipe on the back of the bag. My sister-in-law makes these all the time, and they're always great. And I'd made them once before and they were also really tasty.

I was going to half the recipe, because I really don't need five dozen cookies around. I mean seriously, I'd eat them all in one sitting is what I'd do. Halfway through measuring all the ingredients though, I realized that I forgot to half the granulated sugar and the brown sugar. So then I had to go and soften in the microwave another stick of butter and double the ingredients that I'd missed.

Then I had to add the flour and I measured out the 2 and 1/4 cups using a one cup and 1/4 cup measuring cups. Because I know you're supposed to spoon in the flour and then level it with a knife. I watch the Food Network, thank you very much.

So I heat up the oven, stick in the first batch of cookies and they all spread so far, that my pan by the 9th minute of cooking has one giant really thin cookie with chocolate chunks in it. I try to cut out cookies from the mess, but it's all gooey and caramelized.

So then I start the second batch. I decide to put fewer cookies on the pan, so that they can't join forces and take over my oven as a united front. This time, only two or three cookies manage to somehow unite, but all of them are approximately 1/10th of an inch thick and ressemble more really caramelized crepes than cookies. See?

So then Sweetie Pie says "are you making them too big?" And I say "no, of course not!" but then I read the package and notice that I'm supposed to put teaspoonfuls of dough on the cookie sheet, not tablespoonfuls. So, I make smaller balls of cookie.

Which then proceed to spread just as much as the tablespoonfuls of dough, but since there's not as much dough, they end up spreading to the point of having holes in them, like this:

Some of them are so weak, that I have to ball them up when they come out of the oven, like this:

Which to some of you Mamas might make you think I just emptied the contents of Little Man's pull up onto a cooling rack. Which, for the record, I did not do.

When I was all done, this is what my pile of cookies looked like. In the whole pile, none of them were really presentable:

This is not exactly something that says "welcome to the neighborhood! Glad to have you!"

I think they say more "I can't cook!" or "I hate cops!" None of which are messages I want to send to my new neighbors, because one, I think I can cook and two, I love cops, except for the two times they pulled me over for speeding and I was shaking so hard that they thought I had committed some really bad crime, when really it's because I'm terrified of getting in trouble for anything.

So I decided that Friday, I'm going to hit the mall, go to the Nestle cookie stand and buy a dozen cookies from them. Then, I'm going to take those cookies, put them in my homemade box (which I need to buy, mental note made now to do that) and pass them off as my own. It's a flawless plan.

One mystery remained, however. How in the hell did I mess up the simple recipe on the back of the chocolate chunks bag?

Finally, on Sunday night, approximately at 4 a.m. it hit me like a ton of bricks. The recipe called for 2 and 1/4 cups of flour. I only measured out my one-cup measuring cup once and then my 1/4 cup measuring cup once. Which adds up to 1 and 1/4 cups of flour. Not 2 and 1/4.

Who knew that being one cup of flour off could make such a difference? Well, the Nestle people, apparently, since they didn't write one cup on the recipe.



Monday, January 07, 2008

Still Got It

So, I? Apparently can have any man I want.

Well, let me rephrase that slightly. I can have any man I want, as long as the man I want works at the mall.

On Friday night, Sweetie Pie was out of town, so after work, I picked up Little Man and decided we'd head to the mall, so I could salivate against the store windows, in my ongoing efforts to not spend any money this month, take Little Man to the play area and then maybe have some dinner.

We got to the mall and because the play area was crowded, my shy Little Man refused to go in. So we sat on the side and watched the children play. After 15 minutes, when Little Man had still refused to get in, I decided we would just leave. We walked around the mall a little bit and that's when Little Man spotted my worst nightmare.

I'm talking about those little push cars that they rent at the mall. I've never looked into them before, because Little Man used to be in a stroller back then and now usually just walks or gets us to carry him. But that's before he would actually spot things and then actually ask for them. And so Little Man saw the red push cars and he had to have one. "I ride in red car? I ride in red car?" he pleaded, the way he might if his life was depending on me giving in to this all-important request.

Two issues. One, I had absolutely no money on me. Only my bank card and credit card. I never have cash on me, and the machine only took cash to free those stupid cars. Second of all, when I looked at the price, it was freaking five dollars to rent one, which are you kidding me? I can get some crack for that price, which would surely be more enjoyable than pushing my child in a ridiculous looking car for a few minutes.

And so I told Little Man through his incessant pleas that I had no money and that he could sit in the car, but I couldn't push him because the car was stuck. And that's when a young and cute security guard walked by, spotted us and asked Little Man if he wanted a car. I explained to the guard that I had no cash and that my son was just going to have to deal.

But the cute security guard said it wasn't a problem, took out a key, opened the control box and freed a car for my son. I told Little Man to thank him and Little Man silently thanked the universe for making him so cute that even perfect strangers give in to his incessant begging.

And so for the next 15 minutes, I pushed the stupid free car around in heels that had been killing me since about 10:08 that morning.

I eventually managed to convince Little Man to get out of the car and when I returned it, wouldn't you know it that the machine gives you a dollar back for putting the car back in place. Therefore, I made a dollar that night, whoo-hoo! It has since been deposited in Little Man's piggie bank, since technically he made that dollar with his mile-long eyelashes and perfect white teeth.

After dinner, Little Man and I were walking through the mall hand in hand, an activity that I figure in another year or two will go from being sweet to being hysterical, as I teach him the fine art of making fun of people who walk by us.

We passed those booths that sell all sorts of crap like painted hermit crabs and lotions made from space rocks. One booth in particular caught Little Man's eye. It had these psychedelic cut outs that had a design in the middle (like this one). Little Man stopped to oooh and aaah, reminding me that I have much still to teach him as far as good taste goes.

The booth guy pounced on us, and I told him that I was not going to buy one. And you know what he said? "That's ok, sexy mama." Excuse me?

I was wearing the coat that Sweetie Pie bought me for Christmas, which is off-white and glamorous looking and makes me look four sizes smaller, yet doesn't make my boobs look any smaller.

But I've figured out that should I be single and looking for some strange, the mall is the place for me at this point in my life. And who knows, maybe I'd get me a free wind spinner in the process.



Friday, January 04, 2008

Redefining the Word "Cute"

The other day, Sweetie Pie, Little Man and I are at that horrible place on Earth known as Walmart. The place where I always feel I'm betraying mankind by spending money there. And yet, due to their ridiculously cheap groceries, we are forced to shop there. Damn you world for not letting me be born a Hilton!

We decided to swing by the teeny tiny book department, because Walmart figures that if you have so little money that you shop in their store, surely, you must be illiterate. Sweetie Pie was looking at books for a birthday present, while I chased Little Man who was high on life, pointing everything out and saying "that's so cute!" in his best impersonation of me.

Suddenly, Little Man stopped in front of the magazine rack, picked up some biker magazine with some chick in a bikini on the cover and exclaimed as loud as he could "Look Mama! That's sooooo cute!"

So I said the only thing I could. I told him that no, it was not in fact cute, it was demeaning and that he wasn't allowed to see a woman with that little clothing until he was 42.

He nodded and then saw an Elmo book and squealed as he ran as fast as he could to snatch it off the rack.

I hope it's that easy when he's 15.



Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Anti-Climactic Recap You've All Been Waiting For

So I made it back from Canada. And surprisingly, my mother was not an issue the entire time. This might be due to a number of factors, one being that there are now two toddlers for everyone to focus on, which means less attention is on my mother which means she's not able to pick a fight as easily with less ammunition thrown her way.

I have, however, discovered that one of my sisters and I will probably someday stop speaking to each other. I see this looming on the horizon the way I can predict that I will continue to get older until the day I die.

It's kind of an odd feeling, really, knowing that someone you grew up with and were closest to as a child no longer has an interest in you or getting along.

When I was growing up, my sister, the youngest of the twins, idolized me. She worshipped the ground I walked on, I could do no wrong. And I guess I liked it enough to tolerate her, even though I really didn't like having siblings. My other sister and I didn't get along that well, but when we did, we had a blast.

Flash forward into our 20's, and the younger of the twins totally has youngest child syndrome (no offense to any of you readers who might be the youngest of the family). She is the stereotype that you read about, the one with no goals in life, who just flutters from project to project. She was a student until two years ago, well past the point where my other sister and I had retirement plans. She is still a serial dater, her latest conquest is a high school drop out who plans to be a firefighter. Which you can't do without a college degree. This guy is also 25 years old, so if he's "planning" on becoming a firefighter, at what age is he planning on doing this, because tick tock, tick tock.

My sister is very smart and has an MBA. She's got more college degrees than Sweetie Pie and I combined times two. And yet, she's gone from entry-level job to entry-level job in the past two years, making less than I did 10 years ago when I had just finished college.

She has this romantic notion that living in poverty is better. That people who have money, even middle-class people like we were growing up are bad people. She needs therapy like it's nobody's business.

My sister also does not know how to step off the soap box. There is no such thing as a normal conversation with her. Everything has to become a cause with her, to the point that it's exhausting even to people like me who are pretty active. I mean, hell, I use reusable bags at the grocery store every week. All of our lightbulbs are those expensive better for the environment bulbs. I recycle. I hate fur. I wish I could save all the children of Darfur. I think overall, as far as awareness levels go, I'm not too shabby.

But my sister abbhors the fact that I drive an SUV when I clearly could ride my bicycle with my son for 18 miles each way every day. She detests the fact that I get pissed that the only emails I get from her are once a month, when she's forwarding yet another petition to save the blue quartz of Iceland or whatever her latest pet cause is. I don't even know where my sister works. How sad is that? I could ask my mom, I guess, but the fact that she doesn't feel the need to ever call me back and tell me about her life makes me think that I don't need to bother either.

On this trip, everything was fine until the night we went to the hockey game. That night, in the car, my sister launches into a discussion about how she always intends to live downtown, even when she has children (apparently, she despises the fact that I've gone suburban and have given my child a large lawn to run and roll around on. Even if we use organic products on said lawn). I tell her that I think it's cruel for children to grow up downtown where they don't have space to run. That it's one thing to have to live downtown in an apartment because you can't afford anything else, but that if you can be where there's at least some land, than why wouldn't you choose that for your child? Her response to me? That children shouldn't change your life, that they are an addition, and that's all.

This is where my PMS exploded to previously uncharted levels and I tell her that considering she has no kids, she needs to drop it, because she doesn't know what the hell she's talking about.

She insists that she does in fact know what she's talking about and says that people who change their lives for their kids are ridiculous and she will never be that way.

Which brings us to the part that I tell her that she's obviously way too selfish to have kids, that she thinks she knows it all when in fact she knows jack shit, and that she should not talk to me about children and the sacrifices (or lack thereof) they entail until she's been there.

End scene.

And there was no talking between us for 24 hours.

The next day, at breakfast, we were all talking about my son's obsession with Finding Nemo and how everyone in the family had been forced by him to watch it at least twice with him.

My sister, rather than just being part of the conversation, goes on a rant of the plight of tropical fish. And how the creators of Finding Nemo wanted to show how cruel it is to keep fish in an aquarium.

That's when I tell her that I don't give a shit about tropical fish.

And she gets pissed.

Tells me something about how cyanide is used to capture them and they're traumatized and blah blah blah.

And I? In all of my 32 years of wisdom tell her that the discussion was about my son's love of Finding Nemo. And why can't we just have a breakfast where the conversation focuses on simple pleasures like that? And that on the scale of my priorities, the plight of tropical fish is so far on the bottom of my list, way past issues like the children orphaned by AIDS in Africa, children living below the poverty line in North America or who are abused, the 1 million animals euthanized in Dallas alone every year because people take in pets and then just dispose of them like they do of trash and won't spend the 50 dollars on getting their pet spayed or neutered. And once the war in Iraq is done and our soldiers wounds have healed. Once women around the world aren't oppressed and people don't kill innocent people in the name of their God. Once every human in the world goes to bed without the pain of thirst, hunger and preventable illnesses. Then, maybe then, will I concern myself with the plight of tropical fish.

She left the breakfast table.

I overheard her arguing with my mom a little later that this was exactly why she only speaks to me once a year.

That cut me to the bone. And made me realize that she? Intentionally doesn't call me back. She intentionally doesn't want to have a relationship with me, just because I don't choose to deal with her bullshit.

It makes me sad in some ways. But I've made it my new year's resolution to accept it.

She's 29 years old and yet still acts like she's 15. Should she ever grow up and see the light, then I will be there for her. Until then, I guess there's nothing else to say.



Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Twenty-Eight Months: My Letter to Little Man

So my biggest discovery this month? Is that you're more than likely to become an Airman. You have this love of flying that is so palpable, that I think the six rows on each side of us on the plane were as excited as you were. You might not know that your dad wanted to fly very, very badly, but couldn't due to his bad knees. Maybe his dreams have somehow merged with my love of travel and have created this little flying monster who since getting off the plane three days ago has begged me every single day to take the airplane again. If we were billionaires, my Little Man, I would take you on a plane every day, just to see that look of sheer delight on your face as we taxied down the runway, gathering speed, the scenery speeding by your wide blue eyes and as we ascended, I'd love to hear you yell "I coming clouds! Don't worry, clouds! I coming!"

And for the last two days, the first words out of your mouth when you wake up in the morning have been "I go on airplane?" I think you've been bitten bad, kid.

I guess I was meant to have you come into my life to help me rediscover the greatness of the world around me. To rediscover the amazing coldness of snow and be reminded that it tastes slightly of acid rain as it melts on your tongue. To find out once again that there's no greater pleasure than taking a walk around the neighborhood and find the reddest leaf that has fallen down and identify every bark, every chirp and every vroom that we hear. I've also discovered that nothing sounds better than the crunching of leaves squished by a squealing toddler's jump.

Living with you this month has been a little like living with Jennifer Lopez, where the list of your crazy requests change every day and you expect things to be a certain way. Like just the other day when you decided that from now on, you would only drink milk, juice and water from my mug with the cow on it. Should anyone deign offer you a drink in a sippy cup, you get mad, because damn it, that's a "baby cup!" and you, as we all know, are not a baby.

Your father gets mad at me for catering to these requests of yours, but the way I look at it is that you're a well-behaved child who gives us no trouble. So if all it takes to make you happy is give you liquids in a specific mug, then really, what's the harm? After all, I like things a certain way too and being the grown up, I get to decide every day what I want to eat. Of course, there are certain requests I've had to deny, like your request at every single meal for "hot dogs, two hot dogs, Mama." I swear I'm going to call PETA and have them send me a DVD on how hot dogs are made and replace that for your Finding Nemo DVD, just to scare you off of them and maybe move you on to something healthier, like say, fried batter coated sticks of butter.

My attempts at pushing you towards semi-healthy processed foods has backfired on me recently, as apparently, my answer to everything has been "do you want a Nutrigrain?" This led you the other day to say to me "No Mama, no Nutrigrain, I've had it with the Nutrigrain." Which I directly interpret that sentence as something you picked up from me rather than TV. It's nice to know that I have an influence on you too. Of course I usually use those words in conjunction with things like Rosie O'Donnell's rants or the writers' strike that will soon seriously interfere with my TV watching.

You continue to make me laugh daily with your views of the world. I don't think I've ever cared about what someone thinks of snow or leaves or cold weather or a million other benign things as I do with you. You continue to be extremely cautious and when exposed to snow during our stay in Canada, you promptly asked "what is that?" We explained that it's called snow, and you just shook your head and sighed that "snow make a mess." Which no truer words were ever spoken. When we took you outside and asked you if you wanted to touch the snow, you gave us one of your signature are-you-crazy looks and said "no thank you." A mere five days into our seven-day trip, you finally decided to touch snow for the first time. And you were in awe. "That's cold!" you exclaimed and then you decided to taste the snow, and with your obsession with ice (you can't have water without at least three ice cubes in it), it was no surprise that you declared the snow to be yummy. Yummy indeed.

This month has also seen one of our biggest battles, you and I. You, with your love of bare feet, me on the other side of the battlefield clutching footed pajamas for you to wear. This caused many tears for many nights, but damn it Little Man, I can't be the first mother to lose her toddler to pneumonia because she let him sleep barefoot in Canada. I'm pleased to say that I finally won the battle and despite a snotty nose, you remain, for the most part, healthy as a horse.

As we enter another year, I can't help but be excited about what lies ahead. What adventures you and I will have. What conversations we'll have. What you'll decide you like, what you'll decide you hate. To continue to watch you grow and develop, your personality forming and evolving every day has been the biggest thrill of my life.

A part of me worried when I decided to take the plunge and have children that I'd be giving so much up and whether I was really willing to give those things up. At this point, I look at you and I'm puzzled. Because I honestly don't remember giving anything up. Especially when I see how much I've gained. I can't imagine a world that wouldn't have you on it. I would imagine that it must be a dreary bleek place, one where people don't know happiness and have forgotten how to laugh.

I'm not really sure how it came to be decided that we'd get to be your parents. I still sometimes worry that someone will realize they've made a terrible mistake and that you aren't in fact meant to be for us, that we weren't supposed to get the perfect child that you are. And in your place, they'd leave a unibrow cranky child who hates me.

And then you go into what I call your water torture questioning tactic to get what you want. And I realize that you are indeed meant for me.

CRAYONS???? from Catwoman InTexas on Vimeo.

I love you my little man.