Friday, January 30, 2004

Why Am I Still Awake?!

Every once in a blue moon, I get a typing job. Two dollars a page, easy work to do. Except, of course, that it cannot be done while a nosy baby who hates the computer and wants to stand on the keyboard is awake. So, I had to type after she went to bed tonight. And last night, too.

I just finished the job. Fifty-nine pages in two nights. That represents about six hours of work since I can type ten pages in an hour. I was ready to toss my keyboard out the window tonight, though. I hurriedly typed, trying to get enough done so I could justify taking a break. I wanted to ride my exercise bike and watch "The Apprentice" at 9 p.m. Twelve pages of work done and WHAT? A strange error message with the insincere apology accompanying the warning that I may lose unsaved work.

Kiss those twelve pages good-bye. My old word processor on the old computer used to save automatically every ten minutes or so. Not this new word processor. No. And it hadn't even occurred to me to save it since I was sitting right here diligently typing.


Last night, I went to bed at midnight. Babygirl woke up at 3:20 a.m. I nursed her, went back to bed at 4 a.m. YoungestBoy woke up at 4:18 a.m. His throat is still sore and he's outraged! I gave him medicine and snuggled next to him in his bed until he went to sleep. At 5 a.m. Yawn.

So, today was long. Tomorrow is my husband's day off, but he's working. Saturday he has a day-long retreat to coordinate. He'll obviously be gone then, too. I've been so whiny here in the past days, so I won't even get started.

(But boy, I need a vacation from my life!)

In the meantime, I'm heading to bed. It's 12:42 a.m.!

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Is There A Doctor in the House?

Babygirl is better. She even took a rare nap in her actual crib today! She has not done that since October. (The naps on Sunday were all in my arms, which hardly counts as a real nap in my book.) And the reason I even attempted to put her in her crib? Well, I was upstairs, half-dozing, half-watching television at 1:30 p.m. while Babygirl slept in my arms. She looked so sweet, mussed hair and one arm flung over her head. Then I hear, "MOM!" I think, what? was that the television?. Then again, but louder, "MEL! MEL!! MOM!!"

The sound of my five year old, calling from downstairs. I couldn't figure out what would cause him to just holler from downstairs when he normally just opens the door and speaks to me in an unintelligible, hushed whisper. He didn't sound panicked, just persistent. After five minutes, I figured I'd take my chances and put the baby in the crib. To my utter amazement, she snuggled down and kept sleeping.

And what was Youngestboy's emergency? Well, there was a spider in the living room and he was afraid to walk past it because he thought it might "get" him. This is my kid who used to smack spiders with shoes to kill them when he was two. (We have spiders approximately the size of a small mouse here in Washington State.)

Why is YoungestBoy even home today? Well, he has the sore throat that Babygirl had yesterday. Poor baby only nursed twice--once in the morning, once at night. Today she's much better, but poor Youngestboy has the virus. Yesterday morning he complained about being cold. I sent him to school, but told him to call if he felt bad. When he came home after school, he burst into tears saying his head hurt. I gave him ibuprofen and he napped for an hour or so. Last night, he threw up once and then this morning he woke up with a very sore throat.

This is exactly what DaycareKid had. Sigh.

Babygirl just brought her sneakers to me. You know what that means, right? Time to go outside for more chilly fun!

Sunday, January 25, 2004


When I lifted Babygirl from her crib this morning, she seemed warm. Her hands seemed strangely warm to me. I haven't used a baby thermometer for years and years, but I can tell from my baby's hands if she is feverish. I toted her to my husband and asked him if he thought she was warm. "No," he said, and finished putting on his shiny shoes.

So we went to church, where I ended up manning the nursery since I coordinate the volunteers and the scheduled volunteer was a no-show. Half-way through, Babygirl began to fuss. The fuss accelerated into a full-blown cry. I realized that she, indeed, was feverish.

When we returned home, I gave Babygirl some ibuprofen. She promptly gagged it onto my skirt in a mucusy wad of vomit. Then she napped a bit. She woke when my mother brought YoungestBoy home. She'd taken him after church to McDonald's. (My twins went from church to a friend's home to play.) I visited with my mother for a while. Babygirl played happily, fueled by her twenty minute nap.

My husband was home from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., then returned to church for more meetings. Babygirl grew crabbier as the day went on. She did keep some ibuprofen down when I tried again at 2:30 p.m. She took another nap. She nursed on and off all afternoon, and ate snacks here and there.

At 7 p.m., after an hour-long attempt to nurse her to sleep, she slumped over on my shoulder and fell into an immediate sleep without nursing at all. That was the first time that she ever went to sleep at night without nursing. I am hopeful that she'll wake up cheerful in the morning with no sign of the fever. This is the illness that DaycareKid brought to us last Thursday.

I've watched the Golden Globes while reading a few chapters of "I Sleep at Red Lights" and now I will drop into bed so I can begin another exciting week of getting by. Oh joy.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

So, Are You Ready for Dessert?

I trudged my way through this day. Babygirl wanted to go outside first thing this morning, so I sat in my slippers and bathrobe and fleece jacket with an afghan wrapped around my legs and shivered. When I finally convinced her to come inside, my husband was awake and ready to take her for a ride in the car--this would give me time to shower and get dressed in peace.

He eventually brought home a sleepy looking baby. She'd taken a nap in the car. He then announced that tonight he was taking me to the fancy-schmancy local restaurant that overlooks the Puget Sound to celebrate my birthday. (Which is not until next Wednesday.) He telephoned the babysitter and made reservations. He said that Beth would call back and let us know if she could babysit. Then he left to run some errands.

While he was gone, I went outside with the baby (again). When she consented to coming back inside, I went from task to task--laundry, dishes, sweeping, picking up toys, putting away clothes, washing the bedding--until finally I decided to clean YoungestBoy's room thoroughly. Grace "helped" me.

Two hours after he left, my husband returned and shocked my socks off by telling me he was taking all four kids to the park. Wow! Fifteen minutes after he left, he called to say that it was colder than he thought, probably too cold for Babygirl. He'd have to bring her back. They were gone almost an hour, though, start to finish. In that stretch of time, I'd cleaned up the twins' room.

I feel like a cleaning woman today. A cleaning woman with a birthday.

During the course of the day, the phone rang and it was the babysitter telling me she had to check with her mother, but she was pretty sure she could babysit. I said, fine, let me know when you are one hundred percent. A while later, Beth's mother called to confirm and offered to drive her over. Not long after that, the babysitter called again and said she definitely could babysit. "Great," I said. "Ten minutes to eight?" she said. "Yes!" Then later on, another call from the babysitter asking if her 7th grade niece could come, too. "Sure," I said.

At 7:00 p.m., Babygirl went to sleep for the night.

At 7:50, the doorbell rings. Standing at the door is Stephanie. But we had called Beth. I said, "Hello!" and she came inside and took off her shoes. I went directly into the kitchen and whispered to my husband, "Um, I think you hired two babysitters! Stephanie is here!"

He looked stunned. He said to Stephanie, "Did I call you?"

With a puzzled look, she said, "Well, your number was on my caller I.D., so I called Mel and she said you needed me tonight."

They both turned to look at me. I said, "Oh! When you called, I thought you said--Hi, this is Bethany--not Stephanie!"

Both Beth and Stephanie were at the school science fair. Stephanie mentioned being at the Science Fair, which is where my husband told me Beth was . . . well, it all just led to a big comedy of errors. Okay, well, in other words, I screwed up. My husband took Stephanie home--I tried to pay her $5 for her trouble, but she refused--and Beth arrived. I told her what happened and she laughed and I said, "Is your name actually Bethany, by the way?" She said, "No, it's Elizabeth."

We drove to the little restaurant. We eat there infrequently because, although the food is good, it's scarily expensive. We ordered and then chatted and watched the ferry boat approach the landing. We ate our salad (me) and chowder (him) and ate all the bread and chatted some more. And then more. I yawned and said how hungry I was. I said, "Hey, what time is it?" And he pulled out his cell phone and said it was 8:55 p.m. I watched a middle-aged couple across the room literally staring into each other's eyes until drawn together by magnetic force into a kiss. I said, "That couple is definitely not married."

Then we waited longer. Finally, the waitress approached with a big friendly smile and said, "So, are you ready for dessert?"

I said, "We haven't had dinner yet. So, no. But we are ready for some dinner!" All with a smile and a laugh.

She was mortified but we thought it was hilarious. At long last, dinner arrived. Halibut with crab and hollandaise sauce for me, prime rib for him. The food was good, but not as good as I remembered.

Then the bill came: $82.02 with tip and tax! ACK! I just had no idea it would be quite that expensive. I examined the receipt to see what each item had cost until my husband said, "You are embarrassing me." He said, "You only turn 39 once," and I think that's probably because it's too expensive to turn 39 twice!

At any rate, now I'll have to sell my kidney for grocery money. Happy Birthday to Me!

Thursday, January 22, 2004

I've Fallen Off the Wagon Already

Yeah. So much for grand proclamations about riding the exercise bike everyday. I am not exercising today. But the time I remembered, it was 9 p.m. and I whined to my husband, "I am just too tired!"

I started my day off at 3:12 a.m. when Babygirl woke up crying. I have no idea why she woke up, but I spent 10 minutes in her room before trudging back to bed. Then, DaycareKid showed up early at 7:10 a.m. and I was barely dressed. My hair was still wet.

At only 7:15 a.m. with Babygirl still sleeping, I checked my email while DaycareKid played here in the family room. At 7:55 a.m., while watching television with YoungestBoy and nursing Babygirl, I looked at the clock and thought "Uh-oh! I didn't wake up the twins!" I normally wake them up at 7:30 a.m. so they can be ready to leave by 8 a.m. School starts at 8:25 a.m., but they like to be early.

They were so mad that I woke them up late. Oh dear. I just completely forgot to wake them up!

Then they were gone.

We went outside right away. Before 9 a.m. Babygirl, DaycareKid and I were outside freezing our bippies off. YoungestBoy came out in his pajamas and rubber boots and discovered that the water he'd put in the old dog bowl had a coat of ice on it. Did I mention that it was freezing? DaycareKid seems very unhappy and I figure he's cold, so after twenty minutes or so I lure them inside with a promise of watching "The Wiggles."

DaycareKid spent the entire morning being unusually unhappy. He stood and cried. He sat and cried. He stumbled around and cried. Poor kid. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. He whined for a drink and then wouldn't drink it. He carried around his snack, but wouldn't eat it. Finally, at 10:45 a.m., I thought, maybe he is just really hungry. I fed him lunch. He ate, then cried. I began to wonder if he was coming down with something. I felt a swollen gland in his neck and I thought he seemed warm. At 11:30 a.m. (an hour earlier than usual), I put him to bed. He fell right asleep.

His mother picked him up early at 3 p.m. He had a pre-existing doctor's appointment for a well-baby check-up. I told his mother that he seemed very unhappy and I wondered if he was overly tired? Or sick? She called me later in the day and told me that the doctor found DaycareKid had a throat infection and a fever, but that it wasn't strep and that he wasn't contagious. I can only hope!

A sick daycare baby is the major drawback to having a daycare baby. I hate it when he brings germs to my baby! Sigh.

At noon, I suddenly realize that YoungestBoy didn't do his homework yet and by then it was too late. What is wrong with my brain? I just can't remember anything today!

Must be old age approaching. Next Wednesday I turn 39.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

No More Doom and Gloom For Now

Okay. Well, after yesterday's extremely grim entry, I figure I won't recite the sad tale of how my dad told me he was divorcing my mother when I was 11.

Instead, a few random tidbits from life here in the Pacific Northwest.

Yesterday, YoungestBoy arrives home from school and blurts out, "Mom, I got my symbol moved!"

At kindergarten, their behavior is recorded as a happy face, a sad face or a not-so-happy face. If they do something they shouldn't, they get their symbol moved from happy to sad or not-so-happy. He's been so proud that he's never had to move his symbol. Until yesterday. The "not-so-happy" face was circled.

"Oh no! What happened?"

And he told me excitedly that Dominick accidentally knocked over his dominoes and so YoungestBoy yelled, "DOMINICK!" Dominick got in trouble, too. So did David.

Now, a quick word about David. David is YoungestBoy's new best friend. My neighbor who volunteers in the classroom says David is "exuberant." David's mother described him to me as "active." I asked YoungestBoy once, "What kind of boy is David?" And YoungestBoy said, "He loves action!

The sheet in YoungestBoy's folder said, "He was loud and talkative all day!" So, I had a little talk with him and he promised to be on his best behavior again.

On an unrelated note, today I overhead YoungestBoy mention to himself something about a picture of him "when I used to be cute." I said, "Hey, what are you talking about? When you used to be cute?"

And he said, "Mom, that picture was when I was three and I used to be cute. Now, I'm not cute. I'm cool!"

Meanwhile, Babygirl has decided that she'd like to be outside in the backyard most of the day. We went out two separate times today and brrrrr, it was chilly! When she asked to go outside and I said no, she cried and screamed and flung herself toward me. And no nap today at all. Not even ten minutes during our noon nursing. This is her new pattern. No nap at all, but then she'll sleep for 12-14 hours at night.

I started exercising yesterday on my new Schwinn exercise bike. Today is my second day. I'm going to ride it every day, unless I'm sick. Once I managed to do that for a solid year. I rode an exercise bike every single day, no matter what. I only quit when I got pneumonia.

So, no more doom and gloom for today. But there's always tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

The Human Condition

It seems that the human condition is essentially to be alone. You think you have friends and companions, but when it comes down to it, you are alone in the world. Well, maybe you are not alone, but I am. You see, I am a pastor's wife.

This dismal thought brought to you courtesy of church politics.

More dismal thoughts from the pastor's wife to come later.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

And one more thing

Tonight, my husband mentions that next year, if TwinboyB goes to sixth grade in public school (rather than homeschooling) that he will not be able to play the flute. Apparently, that would be just asking for him to be taunted because middle-school boys don't play the flute without other middle-school boys taunting them and calling them "gay."

I remember one of my husband's friends joking years ago, way before we even had kids, about "flute-playing boys." My husband and all his college friends are jocks. My husband played every sport in high school and then intramural college sports. He loves to watch football and baseball. He's just a jock with two sons who are completely the opposite. Our twin boys have little coordination, no drive and complete disinterest in sports. They played baseball for a while, but it was boring and torturous. They took judo at the YMCA, but that eventually became drudgery. So, my husband, The Jock, counts on YoungestSon and Babygirl to inherit some of his athletic skills and interests.

When I was in school, I was the girl in the library who thought jocks were stupid. I hated them for their bullying, for their cockiness, for their attitudes, for their stupidity. I did not have time for idiots like that. I went to one football game in all four years of high school. I thought that partying and drinking and being wild and crazy was just pointless. I thought the adulation of boys who were coordinated was sickening, especially when their IQs were lower than their jersey numbers.

And yet, here I am, married to a former jock who is warning me that my flute-playing son will be a target of other boys--the very kind of jocks I hated when I was in school--next year. Apparently, he was already called "gay" this year because of his flute.

So, I said, "Well, that is just stupid!" And then while my husband answered the phone, I moped on the couch and started to cry.

I either need therapy or a vacation! Or I need to slap the stupid boys in sixth grade who would make a flute-playing boy feel like a freak.

My husband says with incredulity, "Are you crying? Why are you crying?"

And I wipe my eyes and say, "Because I am a woman and I have hormones!" Sniffle, sniffle.

We discussed it more and I agreed that TwinboyB should have other musical lessons and continue playing the flute at home. He'd like to play guitar and I'd like him to play the piano. He shows musical aptitude and I'd like to help him develop it.

As for me? I should be locked in a closet until this mood passes.

Sunday Laughs

Sunday means church in our family. By a miracle, I had my family seated in the front row at 9:30 a.m. Even my husband (the pastor) came up and said, "Why are you here so early?" I said, "Hey, if they are all ready, I leave!" So, there we were, fifteen minutes early.

My plan backfired, though. Babygirl had enough of it all before they even got to the congregational prayer. I took her and YoungestBoy downstairs to the nursery. YoungestBoy wanted to go back upstairs, so I allowed him, knowing the the adult I left in charge of my twins would also watch out for him.

That is how it happened that I missed one of our church's funniest moments!

Every Sunday, there is time allotted for individuals in the congregation to stand and give thanks. YoungestBoy noticed something happening, people raising their hands, so he, my new Kindergarten Boy, raised his hand. The woman at the pulpit saw his hand and acknowledged him.

He stood up and then said, "I'm not sure what the question is. What's the question?"

The woman told him, "This is the time we tell about what we're thankful for. Do you have something you are thankful for?"

I'm told that he said, "Oh. I'm thankful for electricity!" The congregation burst into laughter. This kid is probably going to be a stand-up comedian. He loved it!

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

I wonder if Cyndi Lauper is having fun? I'm not having any fun. I just realized that about two days ago. Since this baby was born over 16 months ago, I've been in Survival Mode. I'm the last one in line, the last person to eat dinner, the last person to go to bed, the last person to have any fun. And I'm sick of it.

Well, I also have PMS. Even my husband noticed it.



My kids have fun, but their fun drives me crazy. They had fun last week scattering all the branches I had pruned from the trees and left in a tidy pile. They kicked them, they used them for swords, they just threw them around the yard. Then they left empty Capri Sun pouches on the ground and tracked mud into the house.

Today's the children's main fun consisted of running, chasing, screaming, wrestling and throwing each other to the ground. Did I mention "screaming"? I finally quit saying, "STOP SCREAMING! I CAN'T STAND ANYMORE!!" because they just couldn't remember. They were having fun. Laughing hysterically. Until, of course, someone started to cry.

The baby even joined in, using her new-found screaming ability.

My husband took her for a ride, so I could accomplish something. I spent an hour sorting and organizing and throwing stuff away in the storage room. Stuff multiplies like some deadly virus in that room. The stuff mutates and oozes and then one day I can't find the packing tape. So, I have bags for charity and a bag for garbage and I can walk to the workbench. But still no packing tape.

Then, the baby was home. What to do? I know! The backyard.

The baby had fun in the backyard. She toddled from the Little Tikes car to the sodden lawn (can you call it a lawn if it's mostly muddy spots?) and back. She carried around a ball. She babbled to me. She climbed the deck, she climbed off the deck. (While I was outside, my husband was inside winning Dad of the Year by playing the board game Clue with the kids.)

I gathered all the loose twigs from the yard and pruned more and raked all the leaves that stuck to the wet grass. We have this one tree that loses its leaves after the weather has turned rainy. They blow around the yard for weeks and months until I find a day to rake. Today was that day. I even pulled weeds and discovered the bulbs beginning to break through the ground. This is our first spring since Greta, our Newfoundland dog, has been gone and I am looking forward to reclaiming the yard and getting the flowerbeds into shape. Seeing the bulbs poking up through the mud was such a happy surprise. I felt a little pebble of hope.

Then my husband went off to work again. Meetings, meetings, more meetings from 3 p.m. to . . . .well, he's not home yet and it's nearly 8:30 p.m. He called to say it'd probably be after nine. The baby went to sleep at 7:30 p.m., and the boys will go down soon and then I'll have blessed solitude. Sort of.

But fun! I want to have some fun! Fun alone, fun with my husband, fun with the kids! Mostly fun alone, though. The kids are having fun--even though I tend to ruin it for them when I am tortured by their noise. The baby is having fun--everything is new and I'm the kind of mom who lets her sprinkle water from her cup onto the floor under the theory that "it's only water, it will dry". I let her get dirty because babies are washable. I buy myself time by letting her pull all the tissues from the box. What's not fun about that?

My time will come. I won't always be sitting at the kids table with sauce on my pants. The day will come that I will have something witty to say to grown-ups. I'll have insightful comments about the Presidential caucuses. I'll be able to read a whole novel in one sitting and then discuss it with another adult. I might even have a tan from a tropical vacation. I will soon, I hope, laugh again until my face hurts.

But for now, I just want to whine. I'm not having fun today.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

My Restful World

7 a.m.: Shower and prepare for day. Throw laundry from washer to dryer. Start another load. Wash up a few dishes.

7:30 a.m.: Daycare baby arrives.

8 a.m.: Babygirl wakes up. Nurse her, change her, feed her whole-wheat waffles. Twins leave for fifth grade.

9 a.m. to 11 a.m.: Play with babies. Fold one load of laundry. Feed babies snacks. Play with 5 year old. Dance to Wiggles on t.v. Pick up toys. Read baby books.

11 a.m.: Feed babies lunch. Feed YoungestBoy lunch.

12:30 p.m.: Put daycare baby to bed. Send YoungestBoy off to kindergarten. Nurse Babygirl and hope she sleeps. She does not.

1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Play with Babygirl and try to read email.

2:30 p.m.: Daycare baby wakes up. Play with him, too.

3 p.m.: Twins arrive home from fifth grade.

3:30 p.m. : YoungestBoy arrives home from kindergarten.

4 p.m.: Feed daycare baby snack in high chair. While he eats and Babygirl pulls at my knees, peel potatoes, mix up cake batter.

4:30 p.m.: Mark arrives to finish fixing hole in drywall. Mash potatoes, put cake in oven. Mix up frosting. Clean up babies. Change diapers again.

4:45 p.m.: Daycare baby leaves. Finish making dinner.

5 p.m.: Call husband to see when/if he's coming home.

5:15 p.m.: Husband arrives home. Mark sprays texture stuff on wall with air compressor. Children eat dinner. Babygirl throws dinner. Frost cake. Clean up baby. Thank Mark for fixing wall.

5:45 p.m.: Take baby upstairs. Put her in pajamas. Nurse her.

6:30 p.m.: Baby asleep. Clean up kitchen. Sweep floor. Wash dishes. Load dishwasher.

7 p.m.: Help 10 year old son design brochure cover for school project.

7:30 p.m. Free time!

* * * * * * * *

Last night, I heard my husband talk to a friend on the phone. He was telling her that he wouldn't mind being a stay-at-home dad. He said, "And then after about six months when I am rested . . . "

That's all I heard. I said, "REST?!"

Poor husband with complete inability to understand how not restful it is to stay at home with children. I only wish I could earn enough to trade places with him. He keeps hoping I will write a best-selling novel, but guess what? I DON'T HAVE TIME! Rest! Ha!

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

That's ONE Mistake, Mom! One!

Tonight while I was making sure the twins were actually in bed (at almost 9 p.m.), I found a soggy pile of socks and pants in the middle of the floor. I didn't mean to, but I went into a little rant that went something like this: "Why can't you put your clothes in the laundry room? I'm so sick of picking up wet clothes from the floor. I'll bet Nick never leaves his wet clothes on the floor."

Nick is the kid we know who is a year older than my twins. He is every parent's dream--smart, kind and dependable. He's well-liked by his classmates and easy-going.

Now, of course I know better than to compare my kids out loud to other kids. I try hard not to even compare them to each other out loud. But sometimes, I fail.

So, after I threw the yucky clothes into the laundry room, TwinboyA looks up from his book and says, "Mom, that's one ! One mistake!"

"What?" I said.

"Mom, that's one mistake! Comparing us to other kids is one mistake! And just one of many!"

I laughed. Then I went over and peered into his blue eyes and tried to figure out what to do about those two blackheads on his nose and said, "Look, son, all I'm saying is that I want you guys not to leave your wet clothes on the floor."

"Mom, we don't have time in the morning. . . ."

"Son, those clothes were from this afternoon when your brother changed after school."

"Oh." He looked a little sheepish then.

This boy is keeping a mental tally, though. He is watching me, grading me, cataloging my failures. He's kind of like me and I'm kind of like him--and somedays I do not appreciate the mirror.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004


I adore my youngest boy.

Today, he was sad when he came home from school. He'd taken a Yu-gi-oh card to school to show a friend and I'd put it in his backpack for him. He watched me do it. But he couldn't locate it at school. He was so upset that he hadn't been able to show it to his friend, David.

"That's okay," I said, "You can try again tomorrow."

"No, I can't!" he said.

"Why not?" I said. "You have school tomorrow."

"Mom! I don't. Look in my folder."

Then he got out his red folder that the teacher sends home every day with the day's homework and other papers. I opened it and saw the new homework for the day. The completed homework from yesterday. Nothing else. He pointed and said, "See?!"

I said, "Honey, I don't see anything."

"Mom, right there! It says Stay Home."

Sure enough, it did say "Stay Home" on one pocket of the folder. On the other pocket of the folder, it says, "Bring Back." This is so we know which papers should stay home and which ones he needs to bring back. I laughed.

"Sweetie, that just means those papers are supposed to stay home!"

He looked so relieved and wiped his eyes. Tragedy averted. (The perils of learning to read!)

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Stinky Potion

My sons are big fans of the self-created potion. That explains why we go through an enormous amount of shampoo and bar soap. They spent long bathtimes in the tub, mixing and stirring and gouging out lumps of soap. Voila! A potion! And tub potions inevitably equal clean kids, so I never complain. Well, hardly ever.

Today, twin boys came over to play with my twin boys and YoungestBoy. These twins are 8 years old, YoungestBoy is almost 6 and my twins are 10. Per their usual routine, they all went outside in the backyard to play. Our snow has melted in our new 45 degree weather. The kids went coatless.

They played wild games, running past the patio door, kicking balls, swinging sticks, yelling. I'd peer outside and see them all red-cheeked with soggy pant legs and muddy shoes. Babygirl stood at the patio door and begged to go outside, but I vetoed her plans. She'd just get run over by a big boy. I took her for a walk in her stroller instead, but it was too chilly to go far. She resumed her post at the sliding glass door, whining.

Eventually, the afternoon light faded and it was time for the twins to go home. Everyone was wet and muddy, so my husband ran bathwater and called YoungestBoy inside for the first bath. When YoungestBoy was immersed in the tub, my husband came downstairs and said, "Kids are so funny. YoungestBoy just said to me, 'We were making a stinky potion outside. (Pause.) Would you care if we peed into a bucket?'"

We just laughed because really, what can you do?

When TwinboyA and TwinboyB came inside a short time later, I caught them off-guard and said, "So, who peed in the bucket?" TwinboyA said, "We all did."

"Why?" I said.

"Because we wanted to make a really stinky potion."

Well, that explains that. They claim that it was their friends' idea. Yeah, sure it was. Nothing cures the winter blues like peeing in a backyard bucket to make a smelly potion. Funny, though. I've never seen this idea in Family Fun.

Friday, January 09, 2004

My Impressive Feat

Our downstairs toilet has been malfunctioning for a long time. Maybe a year. My husband is not handy, but he likes to be helpful, so he bought a $7 item last year that he thought would help. It was a small box containing the "guts" of the inside of the toilet. Only problem: said parts were not the problem.

I knew what the problem was because I drained the tank and stuck my hand into the murky depths and felt around. The flapper had deteriorated badly and so the water ran all the time. I couldn't tell why the handle didn't work, but the flapper was definitely a problem. It was not sealing at all.

However, I have a bit of a time issue. I have so very little time to myself outside of this house that I am loathe to spend it at Home Depot. If I get out of the house, I grocery shop alone so I can think straight. Is this package a better deal than this package? What else do we need? Is that man coming into the store wearing a skirt? That sort of thing.

Or I go to the YMCA. Or a movie. I don't want to spend precious time trolling the aisles of Home Depot.

So, our toilet has made noise sometimes, leaking water. If it doesn't stop after a bunch of flushing, then I'd turn off the water at the source. It's the least-used bathroom in the house, so I just ignored it. Sometimes, the boys used it and I didn't know it and it smelled like an outhouse. Blech.

But my Helpful Husband decided today was the day. He wanted to fix it. I drained the tank, removed the faulty flapper, removed the handle and put it all in a zip-loc bag for him. I told him to tell the guys at the store that this was what we needed. Sure enough, five bucks later, we had the parts.

So, I installed the handle. Installed the flapper. The handle still didn't work. I peered into the other toilet that worked and figured out that the reason the handle didn't work was because the chain was too long. So, I shortened the chain. Twice. And voila! I have fixed the toilet! Half the time, I was holding Babygirl in one arm and she supervised.

Now, if the repairman-handyman guy we have used before had done that, it would have cost $50--at least. It cost us $5.

What is really pathetic is how good I felt after I fixed this toilet. My life has become a little tiny snippet in which a repaired toilet is cause for celebration and good vibes for the remainder of the day. I felt like I didn't have to accomplish another thing all day because I had reached my quota.

But I cooked dinner anyway.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

The Idiots on the "Maury" Show

I know. Can you believe that I--a bright, middle-aged mother of four children--actually watch daytime television? How can that be? Well, the middle of the day used to be the time when I put my baby down for a long nap. I would watch half of "People's Court" and then she'd be sound asleep. Those days are gone.

Now, she snoozes for a short time or no time at all (like today) and then she's ready for play! I nurse her and then if she falls asleep in my arms, I hold her and continue to watch whatever's on. (If I lay her down, she wakes up. I've tried that, believe me.) Lately, "People's Court" has been reruns, so I've been watching Maury, which has been horrifying. Almost every single day there is a mother who is trying to figure out which man is the father of her baby (or babies). Yesterday, a mother failed to locate her "baby daddy" after eight attempts. Eight attempts. This woman slept with over 8 men in a two week period? What is this world coming to?

Even the women who aren't sure which of only two men are their baby's father . . . uh, excuse me? When did it become acceptable to have sex with more than one partner? This is a perfect example of why it's just wrong and foolish and plainly stupid to have sex outside of marriage. These women are making so many mistakes that they clearly need a good shaking. Of course, they were probably raised in similar homes, so can you really blame them?

All the same, it's disturbing to see such a concentration of stupid people in one place and to see men represented solely by losers who are ruled by their reproductive organs. Idiots. (And I say that in the nicest way possible.) I feel like I need to wash my hands after watching a show like that.

And that, my friends, is my judgmental rant for the day.

A News Flash

I have officially run out of tissues. Babygirl has been sick for a week now. I hate colds.

On a positive note, the kids went to school today!

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Cabin Fever

I still have a cold. So does my baby. The snow hasn't melted. Rain is falling on the slushy snow. I hear that the main roads are clear, but the mother of my daycare baby got stuck in my driveway when she picked up the baby at 4 p.m. I couldn't walk to the mailbox for fear of falling.

School was canceled again today--that's two days in a row. And tomorrow it will start two hours late. I feel like I haven't been out of the house for months. I did go grocery shopping Sunday night, though, so what am I complaining about?

I have nothing to report about the day's events. I can't remember anything I read in the newspaper. I didn't have a grown-up conversation all day. Some days are just like that, I guess.

Less than five months until the pool opens!

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Final Thoughts While Freezing Rain Falls

So, my husband decides to walk to work in the Winter Wonderland and I think, Geez, I wish I could be walking to work in nice, soft, quiet snow and then sit in a nice, quiet, neat office and do nice, quiet paperwork. But no! Here I am with this runny-nosed baby and my wild hooligan children. Woe is me.

Then, after dinner, my friend calls to report that she's making gumbo and do I already have dinner plans? I say, "Yes," while glancing over at my Chicken Helper "chicken and dumplings" and pan of corn. She tells me she'll bring some over tomorrow night for my husband and me. Then she reports that she and her sons built three giant snowmen today.

I immediately think, I am such a loser. Not only did I not build a snowman--my baby hates snow, plus she has a cold and my husband went to work on a day when the entire world stayed home--I actually yelled at my kids when they tracked snow all the way from the patio door to the laundry room. When, oh when exactly will I become the mother I thought I'd be (before I had kids)? The one who sings through the days and cooks hearty meals and plays with her rosy-cheeked cherubs? I never even saw "The Sound of Music", yet I thought I'd be that singing governess, twirling my skirts in the Swiss mountains!

Of course, I also thought my kids would eat casseroles with food mixed together (gasp!) and that they'd want to do craft projects at the kitchen table while listening to gentle music. Never did I dream that I'd rule over a household full of kids who don't care if they stink and who would rather step on a pillow repeatedly than pick it up. Still.

Old dreams die hard, I guess. Now, hand me a tissue box and leave me alone!

The Big Storm And Small Colds

The snow came. My husband decided to walk the two miles to work, down-hill, towards the Puget Sound. He forgot that he has a cold, so after the hour-long walk, it took him an hour to recover from the effort. Luckily, a friend offered to take him to lunch and bring him home.

Meanwhile, I'm at home with the kids. We all have a cold and are in various stages. Some of them are coughing, Babygirl's nose is crusty and I have a headache and other unpleasant symptoms. How did I ever live in Michigan with its six-month winters? I already have cabin-fever and we've only had snow here and there for a week!

And now, back to my regularly-scheduled life. I have to cook dinner, which will be another gourmet delight. Or Chicken Helper (like Hamburger Helper). You guess.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Multi-tasking and the Crocodile Hunter

We are waiting for snow. School has been canceled in anticipation of this big event. I live near Seattle, after all, where snow does not routinely fall. I had to laugh at the news--they were showing people at the grocery stores stocking up for the Big Storm. Uh, hello? Newsflash! The snow will be melting within twenty-four hours.

Anyway. Any excuse to prolong Christmas vacation, I guess. School started two hours late today and I still can't figure out why. The icy streets were only about twenty degrees, but so? The kids lounged about, watching television and playing Nintendo before school, a very unusual event, indeed.

And now, a few words about Steve Irwin, the "Crocodile Hunter." Here's a link to the news story.

First of all, the man was merely multi-tasking. He was holding his baby in one arm while feeding a crocodile with the other. I'm guessing Katie Couric never had to multi-task when her babies were young or she wouldn't have shaken her head with such disdain at the video clip of the Croc Hunter's "bad judgment."

I'd like to confess right now that I have endangered my babies lives.

While holding them, I have:

1) Ironed clothes with a steaming iron, "cotton" setting;
2) Peeled and sliced potatoes;
3) Stirred a boiling pot of food;
4) Fried bacon;
5) Put on eyeliner (good gosh, you could put out an eye!).

Could there be more? Does it matter? At any time, I could have slipped and dropped my baby into the hot steaming water or perhaps I could have sliced off a baby toe with my chef's knife. In response to Matt Lauer's suggestion that the Croc Hunter could have slipped and fallen, thus turning Baby Bob into crocodile dessert, the Croc Hunter pointed out that a meteor would have to hit Australia before he'd accidentally slip and endanger his baby. I agree.

I bet Michael Jackson's Public Relations Team cheered when they heard about the Crocodile Hunter's foolishness. They couldn't have planned a better stunt to take the focus off the self-proclaimed "King of Pop" (the freak).

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Moving Day!

Click here to read pasts posts on my "other" journal site.

I'm considering picking up and moving here from my previous site. I hope I can paint the walls purple, plant some daffodils and hang some curtains and call this place home.

Breaking News! A Big Storm Coming!

Snow isn't supposed to fall in Seattle. We're famous for our rain. Yet, it snowed Wednesday, Friday and now again today! The first day it snowed, we happened to be talking about prayer at the dinner table. How do you explain prayer to kids who recently prayed that Santa would bring presents? (Funnily enough, they didn't notice on Christmas Day that there was nothing from Santa, nor was he mentioned.)

Finally, my husband stepped in and said, "Guys, God is like a good parent. He will give you what is good for you, what you should have." I piped in. "Yes, sometimes God says no." Shane added that sometimes God answers "wait."

So, we settled the issue of prayer. Until bedtime. Youngestboy got a gleam in his eye and suddenly bowed his head and prayed while I was getting his pajamas on. I knew that he was praying for more snow. I didn't have the heart to tell him that God doesn't alter the weather just for five-year-old boys.

Ever since, snow has fallen. Great big, midwestern-sized flakes. The nights have been cold and the snow lingers. The high temperature is supposed to stay below freezing for the next few days. Not unusual for many places, but very strange for Seattle. This is the type of weather that causes "Breaking News" reports to interrupt regular programming. "The Big Storm" and such, which is really hilarious for a few inches of snow.

Meanwhile, Babygirl has a cold, complete with disgustingly sloppy nose and occasional cough. She seems a little annoyed, but otherwise unbothered by her symptoms, though she is more demanding than usual. The boys have had a terrific time throwing snowballs and making snow angels. I'm kind of sad to see Christmas vacation end. But did I mention that I'm reading for Spring?
Parents Blog Top Sites

Powered by Blogger

Listed on BlogShares