Last night K and I were practicing our horizontal parenting discipline by lying on The Mayor's carpet.
I don't mean to brag or anything, but we are pretty marscapoining fantastic at horizontal parenting.
We can lie there on the floor like nobody's business.
We periodically yell things like "Hey Mayor, stop messing with the fuse box!" and "Rooster, stop biting The Mayor soon, o.k.?"
Last night, The Mayor and Rooster Girl were climbing all over us and bouncing up and down on our over-full, just-ate-dinner stomachs.
The Mayor decided to play doctor using a toy drum stick as a stethoscope.
He pulled up my shirt exposing my stomach and began pressing the end of the stick in various places.
[Gastro-intestinal grumpiness and general harrumph-itude.]
Without any warning, The Mayor shoved the drum stick up inside my bra and ground the end of it around and around on my poor, deflated, post-2-babies breast.
"GAH! What are you doing, Mayor?"
"Boobies, boobies, boobies! I'm checking your boobies, Mommy. Guess what? Milk is coming! They're working!"
The Girls are officially retired.
Their saggy, stretch-marked, tube-sock-ish selves are in Florida sitting on cheap, plastic lawn chairs, drinking PBR and smoking cigarettes poolside for the duration.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Last night K and I were practicing our horizontal parenting discipline by lying on The Mayor's carpet.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I am usually at a loss about how to entertain the 1-2 year old set, but K always comes up with unusual things they love.
He's taken them to the train switching yard where they watch the big engines fuel up.
He discovered that the little airport for charter flights has a viewing stand with a playground.
Last night, he took us to a nearby women's college basketball team home game.
The Mayor and Rooster Girl were fascinated with the mascot, the game buzzer, the whizzing of the ball and the $1.00 boxes of popcorn.
Rooster was so into the $1.00 popcorn, in fact, that she kept one hand in the box throughout the game.
If you tried to get a handful for yourself she gave you a STERN look, used her free hand to pull yours out and yelled, "NO!"
Overall, the game was a huge hit and a great change of pace from our dull routine here at the House of Joy where every day is the same.
Once again, K shoots and SCORES!
Before the game we went out for Sushi because The Mayor and his mom are giant, sushi pigs.
When we eat sushi, The Mayor asks me to scrape all the "teeny, tiny eggs" off my sushi and feed it to him with chopsticks.
And I do it.
That is love.
At the restaurant, The Mayor yelled, "POOPY COMING!" so I whisked him away to the potty.
Though he was straining, grunting and red in the face, he managed to look up at me with a conspiratorial smile and in a throaty whisper say,
Oh, the honor, the privilege, the joy.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Yesterday I was, you know, thinking about it.
So when K came home from work I told him that I had been thinking about it.
"You feel like chicken tonight?" he asked.
[Girl in her Underwear would use the code word "meatloaf" instead of chicken, but The Lady Flabina is keeping it light.]
Here at House of Joy, it is always helpful if K or I let each other know that tonight's the lucky night.
The advanced notice allows the other person to anticipate the...er...pillowtalk.
After The Mayor and Rooster Girl finally passed out from their respective howling about bedtime, K began fiddling with the iPod to find some musical accompaniment.
It is no secret that, in my opinion, K is the world's slowest operator of any and all electronic devices except for power tools.
I must have been in a hurry to get to the naked part because, to move things along, I suggested that he put the iPod on shuffle on one of our more mellow singer-songwriter playlists.
Clearly I need to make a "Chicken Tonight" playlist because random iPod shuffling is not always what you need...
In the passionate throws of Making Chicken, the iPod started to play a classic country gospel tune by Jimmy Rodgers called "Just a Closer Walk with Thee."
This turned the Making of Chicken into a true Festival of Blasphemy.
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
"Oh, oh, oooooooooooooooooo!"
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Seventy two mile an hour winds and the mad dog sea frothing at the mouth and flinging itself furiously at the flimsy sliding glass door on the front of the swaying-in-the-wind beach house...
The walls vibrating, the television itself quaking in fear.
K and I accept our Darwin Award.
We'd like to thank the Academy.
We spent the week in Nags Head, North Carolina on the Outer Banks.
A place that tried to blow away last week.
I had never even heard of a Nor'easter, but this is evidently what it is called when the winds from the North East use the fury of a tropical storm to try to blow your rental beach house to the ground.
...and I thought I was the Queen of the Mighty Wind.
While the ocean, wearing salt angry pajamas, hurled itself straight up out of it's bed and attacked, I just sat there wondering....
What am I doing here?
What kind of cotton-pickin' moron am I?
Are my children going to be swept away with a heap of coral colored, shell motifed beach house decorations and Jimmy Buffett paraphernalia?
[There was a great wringing of hands.]
[Okay, okay. There was a great FIGURATIVE wringing of hands. I was just lying on the couch thinking about how much I dislike Jimmy Buffett's music.]
Always quick on her feet and clear about just what to do, Rooster Girl, taking after Grandma Seattle, suited up in the perfect all weather outfit.
"Yoo-hoo, Sailor Man..."
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Last night in the tub The Mayor flipped a bucket up on its end, sat on it, announced that he was "Farmer Tim" and that he was going to take me on a hay ride.
"Climb on!" he yelled, then started the tractor engine and showed me around his farm.
We passed the cows, the pigs and the the chickens.
When we got to the horses Farmer Tim asked me if I wanted to ride them.
"Of course," I told him.
"Alright," he said. "Put a horse up under your butt, Mommy."
I did as I was told and got a horse, you know, up under there.
"What are the horse's names?" I asked.
"Well," Farmer Tim said, "my horse is named is Cowboy Horse Ass."
Oh. My. Gosh.
[The Hallmark Moments.]
I guess "Giddy up Cowboy Horse Ass!!!" does have a kind of ring to it...
"What is my horse's name?" I asked.
"Your horse is named Cow Zit."
High Ho and Away Cow Zit!
"And what is Daddy's horse called?"
"Daddy's horse is named Nauseous."
The Family of Joy will be riding Cowboy Horse Ass, Cow Zit and Nauseous off into the sunset to conduct a series of important scientific experiments that will unfortunately keep us away from the blogosphere for the duration of the Thanksgiving holiday week.
(of large doses of Tryptophan delivered through turkey meat.)
How many hours can be spent using
"The Horizontal Parenting Method" also known as
"The Parenting from the Couch while Eating Pecan Pie Technique."
(and will said pecan pie lead to a return of The Lady Flabina?)
What is the maximum number of hours per day that The Mayor and Rooster Girl can be
Count on The House of Joy to regale you with more tales of the mundane when posting resumes next week.
Giddy up Cowboy Horse Ass!
Go Cow Zit!
Let's ride, Nauseous!
Friday, November 17, 2006
My oldest friend in the world hasn't spoken to me in over two years.
At first, it was because she learned that she might not ever be able to have children and this was at the exact same time I was pregnant. Last July she got pregnant and lost the child. I totally understood why she would not want to be around me at this time in her life.
Today her reason for not talking to me has evolved.
She told me in an e-mail that she's been working with a therapist and thinking about her past. She said that when she recalls her childhood, she remembers the cruelty of the children around her and me participating in that cruelty.
I remember that too.
I moved into the house across the street from her when I was entering first grade. She was my age and her younger brother was the same age as my brother.
We were fast friends.
She was my best friend throughout elementary school. We were Campfire Girls together, we rode big wheels together (pretending to be Electra Woman and Dinah Girl), we went to summer "sleep-away" camp together and we took joint family vacations.
When we had sleep overs we would spell out words and sentences on each other's back. Letter by letter we would spell things like "I love you."
We were so close for so many years that I feel related to her and her family is family to me.
She was always a bit of an outsider though.
She was diagnosed as "hyper-active" and prescribed Ridilin. My recollection is that she was like a human energizer bunny and would out last every other kid. She just kept going and going...
Sometimes she simply took things too far and didn't recognize the social cues (that the rest of the 6-10 year olds did) that indicated she was getting on the other kids nerves.
My strategy with her when she exhausted me was to change the game. I can't tell you how many times we played "Restaurant" where I was the customer and she busily prepared me cinnamon sugared toast or "Sick" where I was the sick daughter watching television while she brought me cold compresses.
Other kids just got fed up.
I admit, sometimes she would be too much for me too.
She was teased, she was hit, things were thrown at her, she was called names and I know she was deeply hurt by all of it.
I am also certain that at times I participated.
I have no excuse other than being aged six to ten and learning about social interaction myself.
I am not bitter that she doesn't speak to me right now. As an adult, I think it's important for her to do the work she's doing and I believe that real love and friendship mean that I will be right here waiting for her when (and if) she decides to return to our friendship.
I hope she does because there isn't another person on the planet so close to being my sister. I have known and loved her for 33 of my 39 years.
I expect times of trouble in life-long relationships.
I just hope the hurt she feels about her childhood can be healed and wish there was some way I could participate in that healing. At one point she asked me to go to the therapist with her. I was more than willing to go, but that was months and months ago and I haven't heard anything from her about it since.
I hope she does return to our friendship someday because I have a million memories of her that are good ones, happy, silly, joyous ones.
Tomorrow is her 39th birthday and I am reminded of her and of the best times. Like the time she picked me up to go to the mall in her little brother's beater car... so this is a tribute to the good parts of our relationship and a special message for her.
Happy Birthday T.L.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Yesterday morning was grey and rainy and The Mayor was a little needy.
Though he greeted K with a chirpy "Good Morning, Daddy," when he saw me he scowled and said something like, "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhh!"
I managed to bust him out of his supa-funk by teasing him about being a grumpy, old troll with a warty, warty nose.
Later, I stopped rushing around getting ready, sat him on my lap and sang him a made up I love you song involving the tickling of various body parts.
I... nose, nose, nose, nose LOVE YOU!
Lately I've been trying to remind myself that sometimes The Mayor and Rooster Girl are grumpy simply because I'm moving too fast and not spending enough time focused on them.
It seems to make a big difference when I slow down for a minute (or five or ten or eleven million) and give them all of my attention.
This seems to be especially true on work days. They spend most of the work day at daycare and I know they miss us.
The Mayor often complains, "I don't want to go to school. I want to stay with you."
[Can you hear my heart break?]
The Mayor and I have a daycare drop off routine involving ritualized kissing, hugging and waving that has been working well for us since July.
This morning, as I was getting ready to walk out of the glass door for the waving part of the routine, The Mayor yelled,
Without warning the old, hit song "Turn the Beat Around" was playing full volume and the classroom walls were vibrating.
The Mayor and I joined hands and performed a spontaneous, Broadway worthy show stopper complete with booty shaking, turning in dizzy circles, waving-your-hands-in-the-air (waving-'em-like-you-just-don't-care), jumping up and down and singing along.
We broke a sweat with our 7:30 a.m. Gloria Estefan bust-a-move.
Spent at the song's end, I walked away waving wildly to The Mayor...
...and I haven't been able to stop smiling since.
If only life were like a Broadway musical.
If only we could break into song and everyone nearby knew all the lyrics and coordinated dance moves.
Life would just be better all the time.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Here in the Land of Joy our downtown area thrives during business hours but becomes a ghost town at night and on weekends.
The Church of 17-Minute Episcoplaianism is downtown so in we went Sunday morning .
When we stopped at a red light a man limped by in broken down shoes. He was wrapped in a sheet stamped all over with the name of a local hospital.
He stopped at the garbage can on the corner, reached in, pushed things around, found something, scooped it up in his palm and eagerly ate.
In all honesty, I didn't even realize I was watching the man until The Mayor said,
"Mommy and Daddy, why is the man eating out of the garbage?"
There was a heavy silence in the car.
Both K and I scrambled around our minds looking for the meaningful response. Where was it? What was it?
I finally said, "I'm not sure Mayor. Maybe he's hungry and he doesn't have anywhere to go."
"Where can he go, Mommy?" he asked.
"Well, I guess he can go to a shelter."
"Where is a shelfter, Mommy?"
"I'm not sure where the nearest one is, Mayor."
Spotting several construction cranes, The Mayor moved on to a new conversation topic but I haven't been able to stop thinking about the homeless man.
What did The Mayor learn from what he saw?
Did he learn that there are people forced to eat garbage because they are hungry and have no place to go?
Did he learn that his parents can witness a man eating garbage and casually drive on?
I live in a wealthy country where people eat out of garbage cans.
I've learned to live with it.
My son's question made me feel implicated.
I have become inured to what I see on the streets of my town.
Jarred by The Mayor, I am reminded (again) of the starfish story.
The man on the corner was just one person.
One person that I could have helped, but didn't.
I regret that I didn't roll down the window and offer to get the man breakfast.
I imagine The Mayor would have learned something far more valuable from that experience than he did from our 17 minutes at church.
It's ironic really, on a morning when we were driving around trying to find faith we passed a real opportunity to serve God... and missed it completely.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
I think we might be banned from ever being Episcopalian now. (Which is o.k. because I find the religion extremely difficult to spell.)
Last week the tectonic plates shifted and we agreed to try going to church.
It took an hour an a half to get everyone clean, dressed nicely, in the car and to the church.
We stayed for exactly seventeen minutes.
In the time it took the procession to reach the front of the church, Rooster Girl found a pen and was drawing on the back of the pews and the hymnals and The Mayor was running loops around the pew itself and yelling, "I want to eat schausages!"
I was not transformed by this experience.
I'm not sure the church we picked was right anyway.
It seemed kind of formal and stiff.
I might need a higher energy church.
Next week I'm going to look for a place with guitars, snakes and speaking in tongues...
...And since The Mayor had sausage, here are some links:
Eat, dive and evolve: Flow
Friday, November 10, 2006
I can't really understand the Christmas phenomenon.
The Mayor, who is only two and a half, is already obsessed with Christmas.
How can this be?
He routinely begs us to play the song "Jingle Bells" over and over again so he can march in circles around the dining room table waving a set of bells in the air while singing along at the top of his lungs.
He can't shut up about getting a tree for the house though he's mostly interested in getting it on top of the car.
On the day after Halloween, he saw a display of fake Christmas trees, lights and ornaments at the grocery store.
How did this happen? This is SO not my fault.
"LOOK IT'S CHRISTMAS! CAN I GET A BIKE?"
Last night he was marching around the house with one of those heinous, awful, make-me-want-to-claw-my-ears-off, duck noise makers from a "RIDE THE DUCKS" tourist attraction.
QUACK! QUACK! QUACK! QUACK! QUACK!
Incessant non-stop quacking....
QUACK! QUACK! QUACK! QUACK! QUACK!
I wished for immediate death or spontaneous contraction of narcolepsy.
I stopped him and begged him to PLEASE -- STOP -- QUACKING!!!!!!!!!
QUACK! QUACK! QUACK! QUACK! QUACK!
Finally The Mayor paused from quacking to say,
I told him that Santa only brings toys to good boys and girls and asked him if he thought he could be a good boy, who LISTENS to his Mommy and doesn't make her count to three, from now until Christmas.
He said, "sure"and then,
QUACK! QUACK! QUACK! QUACK! QUACK!
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Here at House of Joy, tampons are known as Special Band-Aids.
The Mayor has adorned himself and flossed with them.
He has requested the use of their restorative healing power and he has dipped them in the tub.
These activities are now passe for The Mayor.
He has reached an age where it is important to be allowed to do "grown up" things all by himself like putting on his own shirt or socks.
Yesterday he followed me into the bathroom (as usual).
The Mayor: Is that your special band-aid, Mommy?
The Mayor: Can I stick it in your butt?
[LOUD argument and many tears.]
The Mayor did not find my laughter at all helpful.
Life. is. so. un. fair. when. you. are. two.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
This particular market is better than amazing.
It is huge and filled with giant piles of fresh food of every imaginable variety.
If you need a random ingredient for the national dish of [insert name of any country here] you will find it at this market.
Because I have shopped there for so many years, when in a regular grocery store with aisles and aisles of cardboard boxes and plastic packages, I can't help thinking, "Where is the actual FOOD in this place?"
At the market, flags of all nations hang from the ceiling and the employees hail from Ethiopia, India, Vietnam and other far off places.
As the multitude of languages fill my children's ears, I hope they learn to value and celebrate people who look, act and think differently from them...
But Oh, The Mayor...
While there yesterday The Mayor saw a woman in a Burka and greeted her with this:
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
People talk about two year olds and the way they over use the question "Why?" but I never really understood how tough it would get.
"Mommy, why is that the sky?"
[What are my choices here? Because it's blue? Because it's above us? What? Gah!]
"Why is this a car?"
[Um. It has an engine? Because it's not a pizza? What is the right answer? Gah!]
"Why is that a dog?"
[Because he wasn't kind to others in a past life? Because...Gah!]
I spend hours stumped by The Mayor.
I've consulted the
blowhards experts that pretend to know about cognitive development or whatever.
They suggest that The Mayor doesn't really care about the answers, but that the endless WHY questions are simply about him practicing his conversational skills.
That could be right.
I'm here to testify that he needs some serious practice.
Case in point:
The Mayor: "Daddy, what did you say to me?
K: "I didn't say anything, Mayor."
The Mayor: "Oh. Why?"
p.s. The Mayor has pneumonia. PNEUMONIA!!
Monday, November 06, 2006
Drinking the last of his sippy cup, The Mayor looked up at me and said,
"Mommy, where is hell?"
As I've talked about before here, K and I don't attend church on Sunday mornings because of the similarities between the shifting of the tectonic plates and K's decision making process about his issues with the Catholic Church.
I couldn't imagine where The Mayor heard the word "hell" nor could I think of how to answer.
The Mayor and I had just come from a party... a dear friend was ordained and we attended both the service and the reception that followed. Perhaps The Mayor overheard grown ups at the reception saying that someone was "going to hell."
Nah... that would be too ironic.
I have no idea where he heard about hell or going there.
But what was I supposed to say? How should I have answered him?
Having not yet introduced him to religion, I knew that a real explanation would send him (and subsequently me) deep, deep into The Land of Why.
The Mayor is two and a half. I don't want to go to The Land of Why.
[I shudder at the mere mention of the word "why."]
Eventually K helped out and we told The Mayor that hell was
Daytona Beach a place that was really, really hot with a lot of fire and that one of God's fallen angels lived there.
The Mayor simply said, "Oh" and popped the sippy cup back in his mouth.
Praise be to EVERY God of EVERY religion.
[A visit to The Land of Why miraculously postponed! Sweet!]
But K and I talked (again) about the role church could play in our lives. It could: provide a greater sense of community; (provide an hour of adult conversation while the children are in the church playroom); offer a place where we could explore our own questions and challenges related to faith; (entertain our children for an hour); etc.
... and hark, what's that sound?
No, not the herald angels singing, but a huge land mass shifting in the magma...
We agreed to try going to church next weekend.
HEATHENS NO MORE!
At least not next week.
We definitely WON'T be heathens next week.
But maybe the week after...
I should add that when K and I made the agreement to go to church, The Mayor again pulled the sippy cup from his lips and, with great incredulousness, said,
"Is DADDY going to try to go to church?!"
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Is this for real? Where can I score some?
Do you get headaches?
Does your stomach sometimes hurt?
Do you ever feel sad?
Do you suffer from a general lack of faith in humanity?
Ask your doctor about:
flow-naze and loonestra.
Possible side effects may include: absolute faith; judgement; manna; stigmata; water walking, parting or turning into wine; coming of wise men; speaking in tongues; far-right political leanings; re-birth; cravings for thin wafers; television evangelism; and eternal salvation.
Friday, November 03, 2006
I was folding the never ending laundry and listening to my children chatter to one another in the tub.
K was supervising.
They were filling bath toys and then squeezing the water out, covering each other in jet sprays.
It was all completely innocent.
Then I heard The Mayor yell,
Tease Me! Squeeze Me! Get Me Wet!I'm expecting a case worker from The Department of Family and Children's Services to knock on my door at any moment.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
The Mayor and Rooster Girl are still very young so K and I don't worry much about changing clothes or getting dressed in front of them.
With House of Joy's Mayoral No Privacy Ordinance of 2006 in full effect it wouldn't even be worth trying to keep
the horror of my nudity from their view.
This morning I was putting on a bra when The Mayor asked, "Mommy, why do you wear a bra?"
"To hold up my boobies," I said.
(Heh. I said boobies.)
He thought about it for a minute and then said, "I want to touch it."
I wondered how to respond.
Thinking it over, I decided that he must want to simply feel the bra fabric which was kind of shiny. I figured that could be accomplished innocently enough so I said okay.
[foreshadowing of doom]
I knelt down beside him and he immediately hurled both of his arms backwards preparing to SLAP the holy living crap out of my two girlfriends.
"Mayor! No! You can't hit my boobies. You have to be gentle with boobies. You gently pat boobies."
Clearly I am the type of person who believes it is best to lead by example because there I was kneeling beside my son gently patting my own breasts.
Pat, pat, pat. Pat the boobies.
Oh, the joys. Yesiree.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
The Mayor was going to be a cat for Halloween.
I had a hand-me-down cat costume and I was ready.
Friday I really looked at the cat costume only to realize it was about 2 sizes too small for The Mayor.
Oh, yes. I am Rocking Good Mommy. So on top of my mommy game!
What is easy? What is in his room?
Fire Fighter Hat.
I stopped at Salvation Army on my way home from a meeting and scored a pair of very nice boots that The Mayor can wear all winter, a Children's Place anorak (complete with FLAMES up one sleeve) and a red, long-sleeve t-shirt.
All for $4.80.
I am Universal, Undisputed Queen of the Thrift Store!!
I give you, THE FIREMAN!
The Mayor has been slavishly married to this horrid, nearly falling apart pair of tennis shoes for months. They are so trashed that they are peeling. They stink. He WILL NOT wear any other shoes. But lo, behold the Fire Boots.
I said, "Mayor. I bought you some FIRE BOOTS today."
Apparently it's all about CONTEXT.
I am Universal, Undisputed World's Smartest Mommy!
But wait, what's this?
Fireman, do you need to go potty?
Fireman! Please do not make a poopy in your FIRE BOOTS!
The Mayor was a bit nervous at first. The whole idea of walking outside in the dark and knocking on strangers doors freaked his little self out.
However, an hour and a bag full of booty later, The Mayor was feeling smug.
Check out some of his haul and his skittle filled, soon-to-be dentures!
She rode around the hood in a backpack and kicked back with an 8-ounce relying on the family SHARING policy to meet her Halloween candy needs.
She's resourceful. I'll give her that.
And here's a random Halloween self-portrait. Sorta.
Pass me a Darwin Award will ya?
Feliz Dia de los Muertos!