Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Counting.

The littlest one and I were counting things before bed tonight. He counted his toes and fingers. Then he counted mine. And my nose holes (I have two! Surprise!) and my eyes. Then he wanted to count my hairs.

"I don't know how many, buddy. Maybe a million."

"What about me?"

"Oh, you have a million, too."

"What about my sister?"

"A million."

"My brother?"

"A million."

"Daddy?"

"Oh. I guess maybe a thousand."

Giggle. "What about the dog?"

"I think a gagillion. But mostly those are on the living room floor."

Underwear

Didn't I promise no more underwear stories? Well, this isn't much of a story, more of a big fat whine-fest. So there.

I spent nearly fifty dollars on underwear yesterday. No, not the kind that one could get really are excited about. This kind has SpongeBob on it and helicopters.

The littlest one, when he chooses to wear it, is about to explode out of his pants. They're the ones we've been wearing for two years now, on and off. And, well, they're a little tight. And the day that I helped him with his pants and marveled at how easily his underwear went on, only to realize that it was his older brother's underwear, was the day that I decided that it was time that we ditch the too-small-hand-me-down underwear for some fresh duds.

And to Target we went. He picked out some fun ones, and I picked out some less fun ones and his older brother got to pick out some new ones for sleeping in, as his were a little, let say, uncomfortable looking.

So here we now are, 15 pairs of underwear richer. But good grief! Who knew?

on again, off again

We have one more vacation planned for this summer, but it seems that we won't decide until the very day we're supposed to go whether or not we're actually going and where we're actually going.

We have a family goal of seeing all 50 states by the time the littlest one leaves the house. We're doing pretty well at 13 so far, with the littlest one being only 4-1/2. So far we've only driven to our destinations, except when we visited Great Grandma in Hawaii. We've seen the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore and the World's Biggest Ball of Twine. We've camped most of the way, except when we've stayed in cities to visit, like Oklahoma City and Omaha. We've seen some great zoos and mined for diamonds. We've slept in our car when the tent leaked and we've not slept in our tent because we were worried about the snake we saw earlier in the night. We've spent time in laundromats and driven through deserted places. We even shut down the playland at a McDonald's when *one* of the children, who won't be named at this time, peed at the top of the slide. I'm sorry Tuba City, Arizona.

So anyhow, our plan this year was to visit Iowa and Missouri and see the arch and the Union Pacific Museum and the Ice Cream Capitol of the US and Ripley's Museum in Branson. But I'm a little worn out on traveling with my kids these days. And I'm a little tired of listening to them argue and negotiating on what we're going to eat, because the whole family can NOT ever be happy with one place or menu.

And I was in a funk, and not really wanting to plan it. So our plans fluctuated wildly, from doing the whole thing to doing a portion of it and flying to St Louis to just going to Big Bend in Texas. Or to not doing anything but staying home and going to the pool. But then my funk miraculously lifted and I was ready to plan the trip. So I did. And then my better half was not so excited about the trip, because he'd gotten on board with the other five sets of plans we'd half made and was no longer on board with all the camping and driving and staying and ice cream eating. Oh, and taking our car. Because he'd rather rent something. Bigger. More macho. Less crumby - or crummy - take your pick.

So we're up in the air again. But the good news is, a little laundry and bill paying can really lift a girl's funk. Something about not having to listen to whining about not having clean underwear can really do that.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Overheard

The middle one is mad about something. I'm avoiding knowing why. But I heard the best line from upstairs. She told her father this:

"You're meaner than a red ant!"

I've have like twelve posts in my head. I'll see if I can get them out later.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Busted

One would think, that since I clearly haven't had time to write, that I've been insanely busy cleaning and unpacking after my trip. One might not know me very well.

I even had a really good post ready in my head for the MamaBlogga group writing project, but I decided to sit on the couch with my husband, since he was home for the first time since I was. And I had a bunch of work to get done, even though I'm supposed to be on a little hiatus from work. It's not worked out so far, but I'm only eight weeks into it. I should finish up the rest of this in a few weeks and then take a good week-long break until I start taking fabric again. It's seems odd to have to tell people for three months that you can't work, only to get a week off, guilt free. Odd, and a little wrong.

But just today, I decided that I should go through the mail, decide if there were any bills that actually needed paying (surprise! there are!). And there it was. The dreaded letter from the homeowner's association.

We'd been four years without one, with neighbors who grew weeds my children would get lost in and parked their jet-skis in their yards. I loved it. We never really had need to not live in one, but I'm a little bit of a rebel, and just like to know that I can park my fictitious jet skis in my front yard and not have anyone say anything about it, except, "nice jetskis!"

But here we are, in violation. It's not for weeds, or our yard - my husband is meticulous, and takes great pride in having a perfectly edged yard. Ours is one of the more nicely kept yards on the block, if I may toot my husband's horn a little. It's my fault. It's my WT clothesline in the backyard. I'm sure the builders behind me are a little miffed by my clothesline, and place the blame squarely on it for the reason why they can't sell the house behind us. Not the fact that there are 48 of that particular model on every street.

So anyhow, I've been told to move it. Out of sight of the street or alley. Which it already is. I have a decision to make. Do I leave it up, out of principle, as it's really only visible from the second story of the neighbor's house, or do I act the good girl? I'd like to rebel, because I can, but my husband, the peacemaker, says that I should take it down since I'm not using it anyway.

Stupid rules. Snobby neighborhood. I like my clothesline.

Signed,

White Trash in Texas

Thursday, July 26, 2007

That nagging feeling.

I had that feeling today that I was forgetting something.

I was pretty sure that it didn't have anything to do with all the messages that I haven't listened to since I've gotten back. I even remembered an appointment that I had made before I left. Yet, there was something.

I realized what it was after bath. When I didn't have anything to put on my littlest one's bottom. Something that would hold quarts of pee. Nothing.

I had told Sarge last night that I needed to go to the store today and get some Pull-ups, because I was going to use my last one. Last night. Not tonight.

So tonight, he wears underwear. And he promised me that he wouldn't pee in the bed. In fact, he told me that he would pee on my head. Umm, yeah, nice. I'd better get the washing machine warmed up.

Time Zones

The children went to bed tonight around ten. The oldest lamented that he hated travelling, because you went to bed late, but it still felt really early, and he really just wanted to watch SpongeBob.

Ooops. I may have forgotten to explain to him that he was going to bed a good two hours before he had been for the last two weeks.

A new game

The younger two children sat next to each other on the airplane today. They made up a new game.

They each had tins that at one time had candy in them (note to self: do not give children candy at the beginning of the flight. Unless they're travelling with their father). But because I'm brilliant, they were each given a little package of Skittles to refill the candy tins.

Their grandma has a little container, that in the morning and evening she gets out and "eats her pills." And she discusses with them what each pill is for and how they are just for her, and that they would make any one else sick.

So, enough with the backstory and onto the game. The middle child closed the window shades, turned out the lights and turned to her younger brother. "Let's play 'eating pills'!!" "This one's for my heart" and she eats one. Her brother follows suit, saying the same thing. He pipes up, "this one is for my brain!" and they eat another. This goes on for five or six Skittles. They take a break. "Okay," says the middle child, "let's pretend it's morning and it's still dark. It's time to eat our pills again!" And they repeat. And the window shades are thrown open, because now that the pills are eaten, the day can begin.

And then they moved on to some other game where they demanded some other thing from me that I must produce in the next thirty seconds or the whining would begin again. It may have been the longest three hours and 46 minutes of my life.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Middle-isms


Our middle child had a birthday last week. I'm pretty sure that it went down in her life history as one of her lamest. We had cake, forty people sang to her, and she got a present from her aunt, bead necklaces were made by her cousins and phone calls were received. As an adult, that sounds pretty good. I usually call it a good birthday of mine if no one pukes on me. But expectations are different.

But this child holds a grudge. She'll remember eventually that she didn't have a birthday party, and she'll be annoyed that I made her wait a week to open her presents from Mom and Dad (let's be honest here, they're from Dad this year, as he's spent the better part of the two weeks I've been gone at the toy store, trying to figure out what to get her - totally saved me!) and that she didn't get to pick her birthday meal. But whatever.

I thought I'd celebrate her sixth birthday by giving a little glimpse of life with her is like. Even though I''m pretty sure that I can't give an accurate picture. It's like living with D.W Reed, Junie B. Jones and Ramona Quimby, all combined.

She was mad the other day, and brought up the fact that I hushed her on her brother's third birthday, over 18 months ago. She claims she had somethings important to say. But she couldn't still remember what she had to tell me, only that I wouldn't allow her to tell it.

She suggested to her brother that they have "a contest of the not blinking"

She didn't like the way that her brother was not sharing the blocks, so she called him a "hog blocker" and then when he took them from her a "stealer"
There's a stink that surfaces on hot days near our house, which she heard us call sewage and promptly changed it to "poo-age," which was a *much* better name for it.

She told me that she wanted to live with me forever, and that she would give me a pot of her, because we were talking about how it would be impossible to get a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. I told her that I would rather a pot of her than a pot of gold any day. And that she could live with me forever, and didn't even tell her that she wouldn't want to in about ten years.

There are so many more things that she says and does that encapsulate who she is, and express her personality with her words, but I can't remember them, and it frustrates me. But she's a really cool girl. I've always said that she's going to make a really great woman one day, but that it's a really big responsibility being her mother, making sure that I do my part.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

permanent

I'm starting to think that the dirt on the bottom of my childrens' feet is permanent. When I scrub them in the bath, I remove only a small layer of the dirt, and the rest stays, no matter how much I scrub. I'm thinking that I'll try a Brillo pad tonight.

I've always maintained that if my children are filthy at the end of a summer day, then I've done my job right. That they've really lived the way that children should. But I believe that it's time that I redefine filth.

My cousin's little boy - that kid really lives. I've not seen him without his face covered with life and a huge grin behind it. My sister's daughter's legs changed colors in the bath last night. From the hem of her shorts down to the bottoms of her feet. And she says to me, "oh, I get this dirty every day in my backyard." With a proud smile on her face.

And she should be proud. Because she really could teach us all a thing or two about living life to it's fullest.

Friday, July 20, 2007

On vomit, bats and getting the **** out of here.


So, when you get 23 children together, there's bound to be sharing. And usually more of the kind of sharing that we don't want than the kind of sharing that we do want. So the vomiting made it to our house, fortunately for me, it hit one of my sister's kids, not mine. And she's an expert (I wonder if you can put that on a resume: Vomit Bug Control Coordinator and Chief Bleacher). But now, every time I look at my children, I see a time bomb, waiting to explode. I watch everything they eat, making sure that I can handle seeing it again. Thanks, but no bacon for you kids today. And, I think we'll skip the Kool-Aid.

We were innocently sitting around yesterday when a bat appeared in the house. Flew around a bit, my Dad tried to shoo it out of the house, I freaked out a little, lost sight of it and we assumed it left. But you know what happend when you assume, right?

Later, in the middle of the night, I heard a scream from downstairs. And another. And I was sure that someone else was throwing up. Before I could even react, my sister flew into my room, shut the door and got busy panicking. The bat had returned, and had woken up, seeing as it was like three in the morning, and it didn't bank on anyone being up cleaning up vomit. Her husband came to the rescue, actually shoo-ed the bat out of the house, with lots of door slamming and a little instruction for the bat, like "get out of here!" And so he was gone.

But we were all a little freaked out, to say the least. My daughter came to sleep with me and the littlest one in the bed of death. And between the bed teetering on falling over, and me sure that every gurgle in their stomach made me sure that I was going to get vomit in my hair, and the queasy feeling in my stomach, it was a great night's sleep.

So, now we're packing to go home a day early. Because I just couldn't possibly have more fun. Ever.

A heroic rescue

We're sitting around the rental house, and a call of panic comes from the upstairs. My sister and I go running, as we both have children up there. My oldest followed.

It was his new lizard, Gizmo. It was hanging precariously from the entry chandelier, two stories up. He needed rescue. Now that I think about it, neither of us bothered to ask how on earth he got up there. But there was no time to think about that. The three inch fake lizard needed rescuing, and we were the only ones who could do it.

We looked at each other. "Gum and a long stick," I said. She jumped into action, noticing the fake plant nearby with long stick-y things in it. She got one out. I ran downstairs to start chewing my gum. By the time I returned, Gizmo had fallen into further despair, instead of leaning precariously on the edge, he had fallen to the bottom of the light fixture. Things were getting desperate.

My sister made a hook at the end of the stick-plant and pulled the fixture toward us, on the landing of the stairs. I grabbed it, and she reached in the fixture and got the lizard. Cheers of joy from six children went up, like we'd rescued one of them.

My sister and I, team MacGyver.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007




Because this is the life.

Family snowed: check

We see my extended family every year or so. And you know when you don't see people very often, you'd like them to have the good impression of your children, not necessarily the *right* impression.

Fortunately, my extended family is under the mistaken impression that my children are well-behaved. It's amazing what adults will believe when they hear a ma'am or sir.

My children usually respond to adults with a yes ma'am or no ma'am. They're FAR better about it since they just spent two weeks with their personal polite trainer, Granny. And my family hasn't ever heard such words. Apparently.

However, we still have a few more days. Let's hope we can keep up the farce a little longer.

got my goose

We are staying at a part of the lake called Goose Bay. We'd wondered why it was called Goose Bay, but all the honking made it fairly apparent how it got it's name.

We've had lots of time to observe the geese, and you know the perspective of little people changes the way you look at things.

There were two geese, squawking at two others. My niece, who's five, explained that they were married (because they were squawking at each other? We'll never know.) But then, they wondered what they were doing. Again, my niece had the explanation "They're mating. That's how geese mate, you know." Hey, kids, um, lets go this other way. I think I saw the port-a-potty being emptied. Let's go check that out. Um, yeah.

Oh, and it should be called Goose Poop Bay, because there's more poop than goose.

Monday, July 16, 2007

priceless

The kids and I are at a lake with several other relatives. And by several I mean an ungodly number. The children nearly outnumber the adults -- there are 23 adults and 23 children in 5 houses. Not kidding.

It's an annual tradition that's been happening since before I was born. There used to be ten kids and six adults, but that was a *long* time ago.

I've never made pudding for 46 people before today. It's an awful lot.

bad influence

I am a terrible auntie. Well, more like a terrible sister and a fun auntie.

We took one of my nieces to McDonald's today. I introduced her to apples dipped in caramel. Her eyes were so big. She said, nearly bewildered, "I love it!" And ate the whole bag of apples. And wanted to eat the rest of the caramel.

Oops. Sorry, Sis.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

not hiring

One of my most favorite people in the whole world is faced with a thing where she's considering giving up on a life-long dream.

The kind where you think "I want to be a crab-fisherman" and you've thought it your whole life. You've worked toward it, you've made your best effort. They just won't hire you. You've done nothing wrong - you're more than qualified -- it's not like you smoke crack and you're blaming them for not hiring you. It's not that they aren't hiring - they've hired your friends and many others far less qualified than you. And there's nothing more that you can do about it.

The part that stinks the most is that you need to grieve this kind of thing. But no one will let you. The most well meaning people tell you that you can find another dream. That you can stop trying to be hired and then they'll hire you. But really, you just want to be sad, mad, scream, yell, hit things and still have people tell you that they love you. Because you want this job really badly. Really badly. And you're thinking about giving up on trying to get it. And that's grieve-worthy. But it's hard for others to understand that.

But I love you. No matter what. And I'll grieve with you and for you. I know that's not enough, but I wish it was.

Friday, July 13, 2007

coming home

So I'm home. Well, visiting my parents.

I found myself telling my oldest son this: Do NOT touch your Papa's vehicle. Whatever you do, don't touch his car. Why? You will never be filthier. Your Papa believes in using the dirt for a protective coating for his car. Think a vehicular Pig Pen.

I met my match. Well, two of them. If I'm not careful, I might lose my Blink Champion Title.

I left my husband at home. I'm not sure he *actually* misses me. He claims to, but I'm thinking he's just saying that right now. The house is peaceful.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

the patience of a saint

No, not me. Definitely not me.

The people who do security at the airport. Oh, my word, they have to say the same thing over and over and over again, with no hope of ever stopping, because it's new people with the same issues and complaints all day long. I can only imagine the stories they come home with at the end of the day.

I would go postal.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

At the risk of sounding like a fuddy-duddy...

:::oh, wow, it's really high up here on this soapbox. I'd better hurry up and get this over with before I fall on my face:::


OK, here goes. Quick.

I'm tired of reading swear words. Okay, I read a bunch on the internet, and I get that's why a lot of people write here, but honestly, I'm really kind of bored with it. It does not make you cooler or more edgy. But, whatever, I can move past. But then, I had the opportunity to read a parenting magazine recently, and was a little surprised to see them there. In black and white. I even rubbed my eyes a little to make sure that I was reading it right.

My mother always said that cursing shows a lack of imagination. And, as much as I thought that was the dumbest, old-woman-est thing I'd ever heard, here I am, admitting that she is right. I'm bored with it, and I'd prefer if people would just move on. Find more words. Find better words. Find more interesting words. There's a whole dictionary full of them - heck, they just added more! Crunk! Ginormous!

So anyhow, it's time I stepped off my soapbox, before I fall off. I really don't like heights. You should have seen me at the Grand Canyon, I kept darting toward the edge to see how far my children would fall if they got too close, wanting to vomit, then running back and begging my husband to hold the children more tightly. It was not a pretty picture.

Oh, and just in case she missed it -- MOM, YOU WERE RIGHT. There, you happy?

Hair update

The curls have been cut. He was asked by the woman who cut his hair if he wanted her to put gel in it to make it go up or if he wanted it flat. Frown, "FLAT." As if it were an insult that she asked.

And the girl, well, her bangs are still growing, and the back was cut. She's finally on board with this. I've wanted to grow out her bangs since she was two. Hopefully no one will notice how oddly large her head is -- it's never really appeared that large, but the pediatrician, every time he measured it would ask me if my husband had a giant head. He even went so far as to measure my head to see whether or not I was hiding a giant head under my mounds of stringy, mousy hair.

The oldest one is back with his modified "high & tight," which he loves so much.

I'm so not sure why this update mattered so much to me -- I guess it's because their personalities reflect so much in their hair. Oh, Lord, I hope that I don't end up with any purple and green striped mohawks.

The sleeping in the day officially begins...

Tonight we'll start nightshift again. Well, Sarge does. Which means we are back to the olden days of keeping kids quiet, and suddenly kids deciding they *must* play right outside the bedroom door, even though they'd never considered it before.

We are back to earplugs and spiderman sleep masks. I even, the fabulous seamstress that I am, rigged up blackout lining over the little aggravating arched window in our bedroom - with tacks. Yeah, I really put all my skills into that one. But, man, it's dark in there.

So he naps. And I promised that I'd clean up his boots and put his uniform together. But he'll have to shine the boots, because I shine boots like I iron -- badly.

And tomorrow he sleeps. I think I'll take the kids and go on vacation.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The perfect mother

My husband is a little annoyed with me right now. Mostly it's because I'm staying up really late working on a set of baby bedding. He hates it when I wear myself out for someone else.

And he's right, but I have a soft spot in my heart for baby bedding. I just don't like to miss a deadline on baby bedding. Especially for a first baby. Here's why.

This mother hasn't made any parenting mistakes yet. She is still doing everything right. She's reading the books, practicing breathing, has her nursery finished at 30 weeks and her bag packed at 32. She's ready, and she's ready to do everything right and to be that perfect mother. That was me eight and a half years ago.

I don't want to be the one to break it to her. I don't want to be the one to tell her that she can't have her nursery finished before the baby shower so she can show off her parenting skills. I don't want to be the one to tell her that she'll be so tired that she'll let the baby sleep with her just this once. Or that she might not bathe the baby, simply because the sink is so full of dirty dishes. And that she'll cry. More than once. Because she did something that she swore she'd never do. Like bring her baby to WalMart in it's pajamas with a crusty nose. Because if she doesn't get milk, bread and Benadryl, she WILL go insane, and she's past the point of caring about the dirty looks she's getting.

So I'll get this bedding finished, no matter what, because she'll find out sooner or later, and I hope, for her sake, that it's later. Because that's why women enjoy pregnancy so much. Because they still haven't messed their kid up. Yet.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Can't make titles. Not sure what's wrong with me. Dad always said that computers do exactly what you tell them to do. Exactly. But I really wish they could read minds. Listen up, Bill Gates.

Baby Mine

My little girl was notoriously difficult to get to sleep when she was a baby. She didn't want to miss anything, and she'd fight sleep until she was unconsolable. Every day. And night.

I discovered a magic trick, however. There was a CD that I had that was produced by Martha Stewart, of all people that was a baby CD. The first song on it is called "Baby Mine." Each time I'd turn it on in the car, I could bank on the fact that she'd be asleep before the song was over.

I took to singing it to her in the rocking chair every night, as it seemed appropriate. The words were "Baby mine, don't you cry; baby mine, dry your eyes. Rest your head close to my heart, never to part, baby of mine." It became a little like begging for me, however, "Please, please, please, stop crying!!!" And it worked.

Unfortunately, I have ruined any ear for music that child may have had. She has always loved music and singing, but my horrible warble has surely done irreparable damage to any ability she may have had. But she slept. And let's be honest, it was far more important.

We sang every night for a really long time, but somehow, like the rocking chair, she grew out of it. But when she's had a rough day, or she's sad about having to leave her Granny, Baby Mine and mommy's terrible voice always soothe her. And I love that we have that, just she and I.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

You know you're in the South...

... when the political signs have quotes.



Joe "porky" Martin

Richard "two bits" Smith

James "bubba" Black


Like people won't know you by your real name. Because they won't. I even asked about one. 'Cause I've never known the man's real name. He's just 'tater.

Friday, July 6, 2007

My angels

We were at the store a few weeks ago, all three children and myself. We were in one of those stores that I had no business being in with three children, and they were acting accordingly.

There was a random post in the middle of an aisle, and the middle child grabbed it and started wiggling the cart around. I tapped her hand and told her to let go. So she did. Then, in her "outside voice" she says, "OWWWW, MOMMY, YOU SHOULDN'T HIT ME LIKE THAT!!! OWWWW, MY HAND HURTS WHERE YOU HIT ME, MOMMY"

We're going to go get them today. I can't wait.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A far prettier picture



Because that last picture was so gross. And it hurts to type. But that doesn't have anything to do with this pretty picture!



There are going to be two annoyed children in a few days. And possibly three. We spent the day painting the girl's bedroom two shades of the best green in the whole world. And then I added some stars and a few precious gems, because, well, I could.


The problem is that the girl will either love it or hate it, depending on her mood. And I'll just have to wait and see. But I could totally live in that room. Except for the small detail that I prefer the one that I already share that's a little less six-year-old-princess.

The boys will have to wait. I have to convince the older one to let me do what I want, not what he wants. Which involves paintings of habitats and animals. And those stars really stretched my artistic ability. The four year old draws better than I do, and he draws people with legs coming out of their heads.

So the oldest one's room remains white until he comes around to my way of thinking. And I'm still in negotiations with Sarge about the little one's room. I want blue and grey, but he worries that it will look like a Dallas Cowboys room. And we just simply can't have that. I guess?

And besides, I had to promise to clean all the bathrooms in order to get Sarge to paint the girl's room. I can't do that again any time soon -- because I hate cleaning the bathrooms more than Sarge hates painting, and that's a lot.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

No matter what

Our grand plan for the day was to sleep in. In fact, several days this week, the grand plan has been to sleep in. However, my body has a different plan. My body thinks that I should wake up between 8:07 and 8:11. Each time I have looked at the clock in the morning, it has been somewhere between those times. Ungrateful? Yes. When my children are here, I can only dream of sleeping until until 8:11. And here I am, annoyed at waking up that early.


What happened to the days of being able to sleep in past noon? Does that go away when you've had children too long? When you pass thirty? Because I always thought it was so lame that my mom would be up early on every Saturday morning. And here I am, on vacation, desperate to sleep in until 8:12.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

safe haven

I have had the pleasure of enjoying other people's children this past week or so. And I already knew that other people's children are so much more fun that my own. Because they still think my jokes are funny and they listen to me and when they scream and throw a temper tantrum, I just think it's cute and adorable. Because I can just walk away.

The only thing that went right for me today while I was hanging curtains was the entertainment. There was a seven year old boy at the house who thought I was kind of fun and cool. And he read me parts of the Guinness Book of World Records and I guessed who held the record or what state the World's Biggest Ball of Twine is in (It's Kansas. I knew that because I've been there. And I totally stepped up a notch of coolness with the kid when he found that out.) Anyhow, it was fun and entertaining and he made me laugh, which kept me sane while the curtains were falling down around me (but not reaching the floor, apparently).

His mother was amazed and I think a little confused. And she kept checking with me to make sure that my own children talked back to me and were naughty and fought with their siblings and stuff. And that I hadn't cast a spell on her son.

I was reminded of the countless times I've talked to girlfriends who've lamented that their kids are perfect when in the care of others, but act horribly the moment that they return to their parents. You know, when you go to the church nursery to pick up your child, and the person there tells you about how wonderful and charming your child was and how they always said please and thank you and ma'am. And all you can do is stand there, confused, the entire time she's speaking to you. And then the lightbulb goes off in your head and you say, "Oh, you must be mistaken. Mine is the child in the red shirt. The one who won't share and smashes the crackers in the carpet and laughs maniacally."

But here's the thing. They only act perfectly because they are trying to impress. They don't know if the new caregiver will like them. So they put on the behavior that they know will get the desired result. It's a little like dating.

But with Mom, those kids are safe. So unbelieveably safe that they can act up in WalMart and be certain that their mother won't leave them there. They have a temper tantrum and Mommy will still tell them she loves them when it's all over. They can test the limits of acceptable behavior with Mom and she won't give up. She's in it for the long haul. It's a little like being married.

The problem with such behavior is that it's really hard to be the recipient. It's so hard to be the one who has to love the person who tells you they hate you in one sentence and then only a moment later come crying to you to kiss their owies. It's so hard to be the one who has to stand strong during a temper tantrum and not give in, no matter how badly you want to. I've found, however, that it's a little more palatable when you come at it with the attitude that it's only because they are so secure in your love that they'll give you their worst and best. It's a rare form of flattery that can only be bestowed upon you by your own favorite people.

So, no matter how much I love interacting and having fun with children who aren't my own, I know that the thing that I love most is that my own children are so safe with me that they don't have to put on their public face. That I get to see into their souls when they give me more than just their best behavior.

But please, please, remind me of this next week when they're back in my care and we're on an airplane together. Promise?

Because that's the kind of day I had.



It was a standing on the top "don't stand here or you WILL fall" step of the ladder and still having to reach the window kind of day.

It was a how do you miss the wall and put a hole in your fingernail kind of day.

It was a twelve inches too short curtain kind of a day.

Anybody else have a good day at work? 'Cause I did.

Monday, July 2, 2007

beyond exciting. can't contain myself.

Maybe I shouldn't have said that I think my children should know that I'm fun. Because I'm really starting to wonder.

Today, we went to the dump. As much as I LOVE standing in the bed of a pickup truck and hurling random things off into a large pit and hearing them fall with a satisfying crash, it shouldn't really be on my list of things to do while on a vacation from children.

But even better than the dump, I sent the minivan off to the spa for an oil change, tire rotation, and I know, hold your breath -- an inspection. An overdue inspection, no less.

Please, I know that everyone wishes they could be as exciting as me. I shouldn't even tell you the other things on my list - but because I'm vindictive like that, I will. I'm going to hang curtains. And then get the girl's room ready to paint. Don't punch your computer screen with insane jealousy. I promise to give lessons on excitement to the first twenty callers.

Rounding out the top five should definitely be Cleaning The Garage: Land of but-I-might-need-that and Nation of just-in-case.

Hold me back.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

coyotes. seriously.

We just got back from one of those walks that only people with no children can do - with a dog, at ten o'clock at night.

We live in an area that was someone's farm less than ten years ago. In fact, most of the place we live was someone's farm less than ten years ago. But as we walked the last little bit of our walk, through the empty lots and new construction, two of the biggest bunny rabbits you've ever seen tore past us. They were coyotes, and they were so fast -- all you could hear was the wind in their fur.

Of course, my dog just stared at them. And then kept ambling by. Yeah, she earned her kibble tonight.

It was time for us to head home, except that the coyotes had just run in the direction of our house. But we hoped for the best --that they were headed for all the yappy dogs that barked at us as we'd walked by earlier, not waiting for us at our front door.

Dog talk.

Since the children have been gone, I've taken to talking to the dog. Now, I've always talked to my dog, but this is getting a little worrisome. I'll arrive home after being out and I'll chat with my dog. Tell her what I've been out doing, ask her what she's been doing (usually I answer my own questions, "oh, you've been sleeping under daddy's pants in the closet? And waking up to lick your butt? What a good girl.") and tell her that the children are not with me this time, that she'll have to wait for them to come home.

The weather has been bad, so she's been a little more clingy than she normally is, crawling under my legs, standing between me and the cabinets while I cook (even vegetables, so it's not just for the droppings), crawling under me while I sew, sometimes sitting on the foot pedal, causing some irregular seams (oops, sorry!).

And here I am, writing about my dog. Because I'm that pitiful without my children. But the littlest one did call earlier today, asking whether we wanted some food. And what kind. See what I mean about needing to be in the same room with him when he talks? He was setting up a restaurant and wanted to take some orders. Fortunately, daddy had a hankering for a cheeseburger and fries, and mommy wanted a giant Dr Pepper and some ice cream.