Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Joy of Tongs

I came home from my business trip tonight.

Despite my evil smugness about getting to stay an extra night, I missed Team Joy.

When I got home, K had a lot he wanted to tell me about his week.

Because it is almost impossible to have an adult conversation in the presence of two toddlers without completely ignoring them...

We were completely ignoring them.

K had a hard week at work and I wanted to hear about it.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed that The Mayor was digging around in the kitchen drawer where we keep spatulas, wooden spoons and the like.

Whatever.

I kept listening to K.

I (sort of) noticed that The Mayor was taking all his clothes off and thought...

What else is new? Naked boy? No harm there.

I was really trying to focus on K.

However.

The next thing I knew I was screaming,

"DO NOT USE THE KITCHEN TONGS TO PULL ON YOUR PENIS!!!"



Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Taunting

Yesterday I flew to Savannah and drove out to St. Simon’s Island for a work related strategic planning retreat.

I am in meetings all day, but there is a wall of windows facing the marsh.

I can watch the tide rise up and recede against the marsh grass and periodically see egrets and herons flying past.

There are worse places to try to “think outside the box.”

[Oh, the corporate speak!]

Last night I made the de rigueur spousal taunting call, as in…


“Neener, neener, neener! I am away-yay. You are at hoh-ome with the short and loud people! Mwaaa haaa haaa!!”

K answered the phone and I heard him say hello, but then all I could hear were two young voices screaming in chorus,


“No mine! Get off of me! He hit me! NO!! AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!”

It sounded like a demilitarized zone complete with fighter planes and artillery fire.


“I have bad news,” I said.


“WHAT?” K shouted. “WHAT??”


“I have to stay an extra day.”

I heard K sigh and go quiet.

Then there was a giant explosion noise.

I’m pretty sure my kitchen floor has a bomb sized crater in it now.

I thought to myself,

"I have to stay another day! Hallelujah!"

[Sometimes The Joys are evil!]

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's Much Harder To Be Good

The illustrations showed sinister looking, shirtless men with great swaths of fabric wrapped around their waists and heads.

The swarthy, sword-brandishing swashbucklers were shown commiting acts of
great violence in the coffee table book about pirates that The Mayor insisted on "reading" at the Thanksgiving beach house.

I had to invent narrative to explain the pictures to him.

"You see, Mayor... uh... pirates were bad guys sailing the high seas."

"Why were they bad guys?" he asked

"Because they stole things from people."


"Oh. What did they steal, Mom?"

"Um. They stole blankies. The special blankies belonging to little boys and girls."

[The Mayor's brow knitted in outrage. The injustice!]

"Don't worry, Mayor! Good guys fought the pirates, won the blankies back and returned them to the children. "

"Why did the good guys win, Mom?"

"Because! Good ALWAYS triumphs over evil, Mayor."

"Why?"

"Because... because... good is STRONGER than evil."

"Why?"

"Because it's harder to be good, Mayor. Much harder."

Later, he was so absorbed by the activities at The Children's Museum in Charleston that we suspected The would have a gynormous tantrum when it was time to leave.

My Aunt called me from the (wait outside in the cold for 35 minutes) line at The Hominy Grill and told us to hurry if we wanted to get in on the kind shrimp and grits lunch action.

I was in the art room ignoring The Rooster's first love affair with Elmer of glue fame.

I eyed the crayons and paper.

First I drew a pirate ship flying the Jolly Roger and then, inspired, I created a pirate's treasure map.

I rolled up the pirate treasure map, tied it with a ribbon, addressed the scroll to The Mayor and went to find him.

He was dressed as a Knight of the Round Table and playing in the castle room screaming,

"I'm at the top of the bowels!"

[WTF?]

I got his attention,


"Mayor, some pirates just gave me a letter for you," I told him handing him the scroll.

"What is it?" he asked.

"It looks like a pirate treasure map," I said.

I showed him the drawing of our beach house, the path to the beach and the "X" marking the treasure spot.

The Mayor ran towards the Children's Museum lobby yelling,

"I got a pirate treasure map!!" and showed it to anyone that would listen.

When we got back to the beach house The Mayor was too excited to take a nap until I told him that the pirates had said,

"Only he that naps and seeks the treasure shall find it."

[Oh, the prophecy!]

"Mom! You SAW the pirates?" he asked wide eyed.

"Sure. They gave me the map for you."

"Where were they?"

"In the arts and crafts room. Didn't you see them? No? Oh, well. Go to sleep now."

He hurried to sleep.

He. HURRIED. to sleep.

During nap, K drove to a nearby store (that rhymes with Schmarget) and bought buried treasure supplies.

We filled two boxes with candy, coins and toys and K buried them on the beach being careful to mark each spot with a huge X.

When The Mayor woke up, he gave us all plastic shovels and, following his map, led us to the beach, found the two treasure spots and organized his and The Rooster's digging efforts.

Pirate booty was discovered!

The Mayor, out of his mind with excitement, tucked his treasure box under his arm and ran for the path back to the beach house.

At the top of the dune he turned and scanned the horizon for ships to make sure no pirates had seen him.

[He is very fond of his blankie, after all.]

With no pirate ships in sight, he ran all the way back to the beach house and played with his treasure all night.

He even slept with it.

A little boy who napped ended up with pirate's treasure AND his special blankie.

Once again, good triumphed over evil in the end.



Monday, November 26, 2007

Family Turkey


We spent Thanksgiving week
at a rented beach house just outside of Charleston, South Carolina.

The beach house turkey tradition began three years ago when it started to be too much for my grandparents to handle the whole family.

This was our first Thanksgiving without either of them and that was hard.

Overall it went well.

Uh... unless you count the night where I got into a screaming match with my sister-in-law (in front of everyone) over whether or not it was right and just to put a single, beloved jumbo Lego in time out.

[Oh, hear the joyous holiday thunder of different parenting styles colliding!]

Weeeeeeeee! The fun.

The weather was beautiful and the house was lovely, but...

The Rooster, who usually considers Grandma Seattle the most special person, was a complete stinker towards her for the entire week.

I asked her why she was being such a grumpus and The Rooster said,

"Well, there was... there was this... INSTANCE... of AHHHHHHH!!!!"

She shook her two-year old fists in frustration.

Oh, the dreaded Instance of AHHH.

We had two cars at the beach because the kids, Grandma Seattle and I left a few days ahead of K.

Driving out of Charleston we passed a paper mill.

"Mommy, you made a bad fart smell!" The Mayor accused.

"Mayor! That is a stinky paper mill! Mommy's farts don't smell that bad!!"

Just then my cell phone rang.

It was K calling from the other car.

"Was that YOU?" he laughed.

Click.

Last night as the kids were running in circles and screaming, Grandma Seattle looked at me and nearly burst into song,

"I get to go home tomorrow! I get to go home tomorrow! La la la!"

I beat her with The Rooster's baby doll.


Putting the FUN in disfunction at The House of Joy.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's Business Time

Well...

I just got home from a week away with my family.

Oh, the thankful.

I failed, while away, to stick to the nablopomofoho commitment I made.

I came in the door, saw my computer and felt all ashamed and stuff.

For like, a whole minute.

And then got distracted and wee'd myself because my friend Michele sent me this...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Dining With Joy

Gathered around the dinner table last night my extended family discussed the finer points of farting in front of your spouse.

[Only the highest brow conversations at The House of Joy!]

My Aunt, whose husband was not present said,

"Though I empathize with Jessica and her
Mighty Wind
..."


[I LOVE the use of the word "empathize" in this context. Psh.]

"Though I empathize with Jessica and her
Mighty Wind
, I have NEVER ONCE heard Jimmy fart."



My brother, without taking his eyes off of his fork said,

"He doesn't really love you."

Today I am thankful for my family.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Caption?

Monday, November 19, 2007

One Way To Be Politically Correct

When I arrived The Rooster was wearing a hand painted, paper and pipe cleaner pilgrim bonnet.

[The latest in haute pilgrim!]

While the girls wore bonnets, the boys in Rooster's class donned tall, stiff pilgrim hats made from black and white paper with exaggerated front buckles.


The Rooster led me to my seat at the daycare Thanksgiving lunch.

At my seat a brown paper turkey placeholder said "Guest of The Mayor and The Rooster."

The Mayor was already seated.

The Mayor and all his classmates wore headdresses, brown construction paper bands with three different colored paper feathers stapled to the back.


I assumed I was dining with a band of tiny pilgrims and a slightly taller group of Native Americans.

"Do you like my hat?" Rooster asked.
"I do!" I told her. "You make a great pilgrim."
Not wanting to be left out, The Mayor said,
"Do you like my hat too?"
"I do!" I said. "Are you a Native American?"
The Mayor rolled his eyes.
"No, Mom. I'm a turkey butt!"
Ah, yes.

I guess I knew that.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Office Crush

In 1993 I was married to my college sweetheart and working for a nonprofit organization when a new staff member took my breath away.

Though my first marriage didn't stick, at the time I believed myself to be happily married.

I couldn't understand why the new guy in the office (who was also married) totally paralyzed me. I mean, I didn't even know him.


Literally, I could barely breathe when he stood near me.

Why does that happen? Is it some sort of scent-related brain stimulus thing?

My friend P.J. says "there's a sex cloud hanging over your heads" when you feel that
bizarre stranger attraction.

[He also says that the size of the sex cloud matters.]


The new guy had dark skin and green eyes.

{{{shiver}}}

His name was Nigerian though he was not.

The day that I mustered up the courage to ask him about it he said it was a Yoruban name.

In an abstract act driven by the mania of my obsession, I did all this crazy research about the Yoruba Tribe of Nigeria.

I learned that when the Yoruban people were brought to the new world as slaves they preserved their faith by aligning the identities of their many Gods with the names of the Catholic saints they were forced to worship.

The new hybrid faith became known as Santería and is still practiced in the Caribbean.

I learned all about this religion and its many deities just to orchestrate a sentence I thought I could say to the new guy in my office.

When I finally delivered my well researched conversation fodder he looked at me as though I was from The Planet Non Sequitur.

"Hey, Jessica! Can you hand me some copy paper?"

"Yesandletstalkallabout-TheGodOrisha-
intheYorubanreligioustradition!"

He had no idea what I was talking about.

He told me that he had never heard of Santería and that he wasn't particularly religious.

He went on to reveal that his Nigerian name had been the name of his mentor who had died.

He told me that, as an African American, he didn't feel any particular ancestral attachment to the name he was given at birth, particularly not his last name, and so he
changed his legal name to his mentor's as a way to honor his memory.

[So much for my conversation starter research.]

I went back to being frozen stiff.

A female co-worker noticed how oddly still and awkward I would become around him and asked me about it.

Like an ASS, I told her that he made me weak in the knees.

What did she do?

She told HIM.

Oh, yes she did.

Then?

She told ME that she told HIM.

Oh, the SHAME!!!

I shifted from paralysis to total avoidance.

I stayed
completely away from him for awhile, but eventually there was this luncheon...

I knew he would be sitting at my table and my cheeks were BURNING red. They were on fire. Blazing.

I remember seeing him enter the room and our eyes meeting.

His face broke into an enormous grin and, although I thought it impossible to do so, I blushed harder.

He sat down right next to me, folded his arms on the table and leaned in close to me.

"T told me what you said," he grinned.

I didn't say a word. I concentrated on my silverware.

"I wanted you to know that I feel exactly the same way about you."

Oh. To. Die.

I'm pretty sure I beamed (like the complete dork that I am), but I can't remember if I said anything.

The most miraculous thing was that his words diffused all the awkwardness.

The consuming electrical charge he inspired simmered down and stilled itself.

I doubt he meant his words, but there was something so full of grace in the way he offered them.

He gave me the gift of equal footing.

We became real and regular friends and still are.

I found it amazing that acknowledging and affirming the looming storm somehow made it blow over.

"Looks like rain..."

"Sure does."

"Better take cover."


If I ever have an irrational office crush again maybe I'll diffuse it immediately by saying,

"Hi, welcome to the office and DAYUM... If I were available we'd be naked already!"



Thursday, November 15, 2007

Attack of the Killer Head

My friend Laura's son introduced The Mayor to a new game called:

Get Naked, Tie Silk Scarves To Your Body and Run Around The House.

[I didn't learn this game until college.]

The two boys chased each other around and around the natural loop of our house with their scarves (and stuff) flapping in the wind.

Laura's son ran faster than The Mayor and this was a problem because, The Mayor?

Is. Always. First.

[Icepick to the forehead, please!]

The (formerly known as first) Mayor sagged to the floor
sobbing, his scarves fluttering around him.

"What's wrong, Mayor?" I asked.

"He keeps running away from me!"

"You know," I offered, "when he gets ahead of you, you can turn around and run the other way. You'll run right into him head first!"

Ta-da!

Instantly the tears ended and The Game resumed.

Laura and I continued talking from our couch-based horizontal parenting stations...

until we heard a disturbingly loud thud...

followed by her son's scream...

and then a different, but still quite disturbing, second thud...

and, ultimately, the great wailing of The Mayor.

Hoisting ourselves up off our respective couches we ran, uh hurried, um - - went to identify the cause of the screaming.

"He kicked me!" The Mayor choked.

Laura and I separated our boys.

"Why did he kick you, Mayor?"

"I don't know."

"Surely he didn't kick you for no reason at all," I said and gave him my super-powered, maternal detecto-eye.




"I ran into him with my head," he admitted.

The Mayor's head is a notorious weapon.


I have been attacked by his head on many occasions and
, as a result, have seen cartoon stars (and fantastic trails, man.)



*Experience of Mayoral head attack much less delightful
than it appears
in this dramatization (staged during my college years.)


"Did you hit him with your head on purpose, Mayor?" I asked.

"Uh-huh."

"But Mayor," I started, totally exasperated, "we have talked and talked about how much that hurts and how you are NOT supposed to do that."

"But mom, YOU said to run right into him head first."


Oh. The. Literal.




Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wrestling

I have continued to stew about the tic-tac needing, close-talking, all-up-in-my-face, evangelical lady.

Many of the comments on that post helped me understand and justify my anger...

"I think we all feel angry or violated when someone else tries to impose their morality on us without first trying to understand WHO we are."
-
QT


"You're angry because it wasn't PERSONAL. She didn't know anything about you... It became about HER and what she had to do, instead of about YOU and RELATIONSHIP, which is what God calls us to be in with each other."
-
Painted Maypole

Yeah! What THEY said!

But then, there were also a few comments that challenged me.

"I think it was the Dalai Lama who said, "your enemy is your best teacher."
- the end of motherhood

[Oh, the darned Buddhists... always suggesting you take the high road.]


"Who knows, I'm not sure how your personal belief system works, but maybe it happened for a reason, just to spur your thoughts, emotions and beliefs."
-
Josey

"As annoying as she was, could there have been something that God wanted you to hear through her?"
-
SouthernBell


Though I sincerely wish I were, I am not someone blessed with the gift of absolute faith.

I question and struggle.

I wrestled with the question "
could there have been something that God wanted you to hear through her?"

Would God want me to hear about my Grandparents?

That's what I need to hear about.

[Even though I am not talking to Granny yet.]

I can't help but wonder... if there were a way to send me a message would my grandparents send one?

Would they let me know that they are happy and well? That they are together, reunited?

Just after thinking these things I looked up at my bookcase and saw a photo of my Grandparents smiling down at me.


At Our Wedding


I love this photo.

It was taken at my wedding. K and I were standing in front of them talking with them when it was taken.

In the context of wondering about messages from beyond, their smiles suddenly seemed to mock me.

I started yelling at their photo,

"IF YOU ARE TRYING TO SEND ME A MESSAGE, YOU COULD AT LEAST PICK SOMEONE WITH GOOD SMELLING BREATH AND NOT SOMEONE THAT SEEMS COMPLETELY INSANE!!"

[Uh oh... who seems completely insane now?]

I relayed the story of screaming at the photo to K because someone has to keep track of my sanity besides me.

He thought about whether or not the lunatic in the thrift store could have carried a message
from my grandparents.

He smiled and said,

"They say God works in mysterious ways..."

Gah!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Twenty Two Years

Somehow, when I was a freshman in college in 1985, I landed a job as a cocktail waitress in a bar that featured live bands seven nights a week.

I have no idea why I was given this job.

I had no cocktail waitress experience and I was such a dork.

When I was newly on the job twenty four empty Budweiser bottles slipped off of my tray and onto the lap of a very pregnant woman.

[Oh, the HORROR!]


Later I "accidentally" accepted too many customer tips in the form of drinks and ended the night by loudly (and gutturally) singing Gregory Abbott ... "Guuuuurrrrllll I want to Shake You Down"... while being spun around on a bar stool until I fell off and appeared to be stone dead for a full minute.

With the entire bar staff peering over me I suddenly sprang up, lifted the bar-top gate, walked through and released it so that the gate fell and smashed the entire inventory of the bar's glassware.

Miraculously, I was not fired for these things.

My first night on the job I was trained by a fellow waitress named Laura.

At the end of the night she explained that I needed to collect and wash the ashtrays.

She found me later standing over the sink and asked how it was going.


"I found two joints in one of the ashtrays," I said. "What should I do with them?"

Laura looked at me as if I were a total moron.

She rolled her eyes, cocked a hip at me and said,

"You should SMOKE them."

Pulling her hip back in she reconsidered,

"Or, you know, you could turn them over to your supervisor."

I'm pretty sure I "lost one somewhere" and gave the other one to my supervisor (whose name, ahem, was Laura. )

[This is the point where I would usually deny any and all illicit activity for my Granny's sake, but since she is gone I will now deny any and all illicit activity directly to our current (and former) president(s) by swearing that "I NEVER INHALED."]

Laura and I became fast friends and remained close through all of my college years.

She was witness and party to much of my coming of age experimentation.

There was much hell raising... and that's all I'm going to admit.

Twenty some odd years later Laura and I find ourselves still connected.

She came to visit us last weekend with her son who is 10 months older than The Mayor.

Trying to keep up with his older guest, the Mayor sat perched at the top of a playground meant for much bigger kids.


From his teetering perch The Mayor noticed a group of high school students walking by.

"Hey!" he yelled at them.

"Hey!" they yelled back waiving.

Clearly hoping to keep their attention, The Mayor screamed,


"I'M SO HIGH!!!"

Laura and I exchanged glances and turned into Beevis and Butthead.

[Heh heh. Heh heh.]

The high school kids took The Mayor at his word and weren't even chuckling.

Dude, what is wrong with the youth today?


Monday, November 12, 2007

Boundaries

The woman came right up to me and said,


"I just won't be able to leave this store if I don't speak to you."

My eyes widened.

It is not often that anyone speaks to me at the thrift store.

[Though I occasionally like to pull out really heinous Christmas sweaters - or the equivalent - and, while wearing a mischievous grin, tell the nearest person that I think the item would look great on them.]

I admit, I was curious.

Why did she need to talk to ME? Why couldn't she leave the store without doing so?


She took another step towards me and was so close that, I swear, I thought she might mean to kiss me.

"I need to tell you that God is waiting for you," she said and launched into a sermon.

[deep breath]

I fully support every person's right to make their own religious choices and practice their faith freely and openly.

So... out of respect for her need to speak, I tried to hear what she felt called to say.

Two things tripped me up.

First, she was standing much too close to me.

I don't have particularly heightened personal boundary issues, but whoa.

Way. too. close.


Secondly, her breath was so bad that I could not concentrate on a word she said.

I am sure she had good intentions, but I found myself becoming increasingly angry and, quite frankly, offended.

She said something about how the lord wanted me to sit down at his table and dine with him and then she stepped EVEN CLOSER and asked me if there was anything she could do for me.

Though I so badly wanted to, I chose NOT to scream,

"STEP OFF, DRAGON BREATHING, EVANGELICAL CLOSE-TALKER!!!"

[Because that would not be respecting her practice or her need or whatever.]

I said, "no thank you."

She looked imploringly at me.

"Do you feel like you've said what you needed to say to me?" I asked.

She said that she had.

"Okay then. Thanks very much," I said, walking away and carrying on with my shopping.

I found myself getting angrier and angrier about the interaction -- and more and more offended.

While I respect her right to practice her religion I wonder if she has any idea how she made me feel.

Personal boundary and halitosis issues aside, she made me feel incredibly judged.

She chose me out of all the other people in that store because she decided I needed to be saved.

How would she know whether or not I am already saved?

What is it about me that looks so desperately evil, lost or sad that she would need to single me out like that?

Why am I so angry at her?



Sunday, November 11, 2007

Give


I believe in the Margaret Mead quote,

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
I am reminded that I need to figure out a meaningful way for my family to volunteer.

Here are a few of the resources I'm using in case anyone else is as anal as me planning ahead this season:


Charity Guide offers suggestions for making a difference by volunteering for just 15 minutes, a few hours or even on vacation.

Volunteermatch can find opportunities for you if you search on your own zip code.

Another good place to search is Idealist.

Visit Hands On Network for a list of local volunteer organizations that plan and manage hundreds of volunteer opportunities every month and all year long. They have family / kid friendly volunteer opportunities and a whole host of holiday projects.

You can also look up your local volunteer center here.

If you see an unmet need in your community, you can take on-line training on how to plan and lead your own project and recruit volunteers to help you here.

Want to travel? Find out how to help rebuild in the Gulf Coast (Biloxi or New Orleans) here.

Liv is organizing holiday packages for soldiers in Iraq. To find out how to help, click here.

To read stories that will inspire you, try this book.

Have other good ideas? Leave them in the comments for me.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Is Your Work Load Nuts?


I noticed a lump on the right side of my neck last week.

Since I didn't have a matching one on the left side, I decided to make a doctor's appointment.

[I'm fine. Apparently I just have a lumpy neck.]

[You know how every time you try to see your doctor they tell you the next available appointment is in 16 months? Just say you have a lump in your neck and they'll ask if you want to come in that very afternoon!]

Anyway, as I was walking into the doctor's office, I noticed a male doctor with greying hair.

His nametag said "Larry" and I thought, "I know that guy."

In my examining room I remembered Dr. Larry.

A lifetime ago he was in my ex-husband's medical school class.

[He also happens to be the brother of a famous singer in a band that rhymes with... uh... schmindiglo burls.]

Seeing him reminded me of how awkward it was for me to socialize with my ex's medical school friends back then.

They were all so clear about their life's work and I was floundering around, unable to select a career path much less find the trail head.

There was another guy in Joseph's medical school class who I only remember as "The Monkey Man."

I did not feel weird about my careerlessness with this guy.

Before starting medical school he had a job in a primate research lab where he had to collect *seamen* samples from monkeys.

[*Ahoy, Seamen! Wayward porno Googlers be damned!]

After The Monkey Man collected the samples, he gave the monkeys their food.

Monkey Man said that after awhile any time he entered the monkey room each and every monkey would start... you know... making some samples.

[Makin' some samples! The Samplinator!]

To this day, I can't help but wonder what you would have to say to a career counselor in order for your career aptitude test to return this as a suggested line of work.

Congratulations! The results of your test are in! The perfect job for you is...

Erotic Lord of the Monkeys!!

What would that job be like twenty years later?

You'd have a mortgage, a car payment, a couple of kids and you'd wake up one day feeling the acute drudgery of daily life.

You'd drag yourself to work, open the door to your office and see fifty monkeys start pleasuring themselves.

You'd have to ask yourself,

"What does it all mean?"



Thursday, November 08, 2007

What Big Eyes You Have

I put a pillow over my head at 4:00 a.m. when The Rooster was crying and went back to sleep.

[
Because I am a super good mom.]

K, the better parent (and lighter sleeper) did not ignore his wailing daughter.

[Though he wasn't HAPPY about it.]

K got her a juice cup, checked her diaper and rubbed her back, but she kept screaming.

The Rooster shares a bedroom with The Mayor and K worried that one wailing child would soon become two if she woke her brother.

I heard K pull down the attic stairs, scramble up, retrieve the pack-n-play, set it up in my office and move The Rooster there.

[Then I pressed my pillow down more tightly on my head because, damn, he was making a lot of noise!]

In the morning The Rooster said,


"Mama, do you remember running with that Daddy Wolf?"

I struggled to determine what story book she might be talking about, but despite my probing questions she kept insisting on her memory of the two of us running with a wolf.

"Did you dream that we were running with a wolf when you were sleeping last night, Roo? Did it scare you and wake you up?"

"I did!" she said.

It was the first time either of my children were able to relay the contents of a nightmare to me.

"Who ran the fastest?" I asked.

"The wolf!" she told me.

[Too much Little Red Riding Hood maybe?!!]

"Did he gobble us up, Roo?"

"I don't know," she said.

She must have woken up right when the wolf caught up with her.

I thought about how frightening a full grown dream wolf would have been to her.

She must have known she could never out run him.

She must have felt so little.

It reminded me of the only time I have seen a wolf in the wild.

K and I were hiking in the woods in the Hudson River Valley just after a big snow.

The snow drifted
up to our calves and sat in great heaps on the ice-covered branches of the hardwood trees.

The snow's depth muffled all the sounds of the world, leaving only a deep, peaceful silence.

Sensing motion behind us, K and I turned wordlessly to see a full grown wolf running through the forest.

He was far enough away not to frighten us, but close enough that we could see him well.

His fur was silvery colored.

He loped through the trees with such speed and power that it took our breath away.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Flavor of Pure Pleasure

The Mayor finally got to chew his gum.

He carefully unwrapped it, stuck it in his mouth, chewed for 15 seconds and said,

"Gack! Ptht! Mommy, this is disgusting! I don't like it."

I told him to spit it in the garbage can.


He spit it out and begged for a drink to get rid of the taste.

Not just any drink... oh, no.

Milk is to The Mayor what National Park Ranger uniforms are to me.

He doesn't just ask for milk, he specifically asks for "
fresh, cold milk."

He actually speaks in italics.. and breathy ones at that.

"Mommy, please can I have Fresh... Cold.... Milk?"

Washing away the evil wrong
taste of Bazooka Joe, he slurped the milk down with a shiver of pleasure.

[Complete. Toddler. Moo-gasm.]

After his post-milk cigarette, he said,

"Mommy, next time can you get me gum without a flavor?"

"I don't think so, Mayor. All of the gum I know of comes in flavors."


He thought about that for a moment and then said,

"Okay, then could you get me some milk flavored gum?"


Uh,yeah.

I'll get right on that.




Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Why Is It Private?


My friend recently had her first sex talk with her eight year old son.

He stumbled (yeah, right) on the word "sex" in the dictionary and wanted to know more about it.

My friend took a deep breath and explained.

When she got to the part about THE PENETRATION, his face fell in horror.


"Mom!" he gasped. "Have YOU done THAT?"

"Well," she said, "I have you and your brother so I've done it at least twice."

"Eeeeewwww. Why would you DO that?" he asked.

"Well," she said reaching... "it feels really good."

Her son thought about that and then said,

"When I touch myself it feels really good."

"I'm sure it does," my friend confirmed.

"I mean, it feels REALLY GOOD, Mom."

"I know," she said stifling her laughter.

Still curious, he asked her how you choose who you have sex with and she told him you do it with people you love.

"So could you do it with Grandpa?" he asked.

Repressing the image of her naked father-in-law, my friend tried her best to explain about partners.

"Can I do it with my friends?" he asked.

She explained that,
at least for now, it was something that he should do by himself. It was private.

"Why is it private?" he asked.

She didn't know what to say, especially not to an eight year old.

"What should I have said?" she asked me. "What would YOU have said?"

We agreed that neither of us want anything to do with arguments related to shame or the idea of sex being dirty.


["Talk dirty to me, Mr. National Park Ranger" being a TOTAL exception.]


We laughed about the possible answer that if sex WASN'T private everything would come to a grinding halt and the streets would be filled with great masses of gyrating, nekkid people.

But then worried that her son would say something like,

"Why would that be bad?"

Well? Uh... because then our collective national work ethic would be shot?

It's a weak argument really.

If given the choice between going to work this morning or joining a great pile of pleasure in the street... I mean, how do you explain why anyone would prefer going to work?

What are we left with then?

"It just is, that's why"... or "Because I SAID so."

What should one say?

How would you explain why sex is private to a kid?




Monday, November 05, 2007

Encore!

Grandma Seattle (a.k.a. my mom) was in town over the weekend to celebrate her birthday.

On Sunday night there was a post-cupcake toddler crazy dance in her honor.

Two tiny people gyrated wildly, screamed, ran around and called it "The Show."

At the end, Grandma Seattle clapped in delight and shouted,

"Encore!"

The Mayor lifted an eyebrow and smiled deviously.


"You want an encore?" he said.


Grandma Seattle nodded enthusiastically.

Still grinning mischievously, The Mayor dropped his pants, turned his rear to face her and shook it with gusto.

Oh, The Proud!



Friday, November 02, 2007

Not Talking To You Yet

I’ve been struggling lately.

The sudden death of my grandmother, the violence of it, the bearing witness to her passing and the closeness of it all to my grandfather’s death have been hard on me.

One minute I’m fine and the next minute…not fine.

Basket case.

A friend asked me if I believed that my Granny’s spirit existed somewhere and if so, did I talk to her.

I was so surprised to hear myself blurt out,

“Not yet!”

Then I started laughing in recognition.

"No! I'm not talking to her yet!"

I sounded so much like my toddlers.


“Not talking to you! GO AWAY! NOT NICE, GRANNY!”

I feel her presence but I’m not talking to her yet.

I've been wandering back and forth through the various stages of grief and have spent my fair share of time in anger, but up until now I've been angry at the universe for taking her so abruptly and treating her so roughly.

Now, it seems I'm mad at her.

For leaving me.

I understand she did not go on purpose but I’m as angry as an irrational toddler.

Driving home, I suddenly burst into tears and started shouting over the radio volume,

“I’M SO ANGRY AT YOU FOR LEAVING ME!!! I’M NOT TALKING TO YOU!!”

I believe that wherever she exists – in heaven, in my mind, or in the wind and rain – she forgives me for this tantrum.

I feel her presence around me.

I know she is trying to comfort me.

I see her outstretched arms.

I cross my own arms in defiance. Stamp my feet. Yell.

A smile spreads across her face.

My outburst reminds her of her first grandchild, a girl who was three years old thirty seven years ago.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Might Have To Touch It A Lot


The Mayor has repeatedly asked to chew gum.


I have said no
and no and no again and he has grown weary of me.

Someone gave him a piece of bubble gum while he was trick or treating last night and he hit his own personal jack pot.

Awe struck, he wouldn't put the gum in his candy bag.
Instead, he stowed it safely in his pants pocket and, at home, he begged to chew it.

I told him he could chew it the next day so he tried to arrange to sleep with the gum.

We finally agreed to let it rest on his nightstand where he could watch over it until morning.


After our treaty was forged, he sat at the dining room table fondling the gum.

To no one in particular he said,


"I won't take it into my bed... but I might have to touch it a lot."


Cowboy


The Rooster had fun too!


ROO!


[My smokin' hot husband dressed up like a National Park Ranger
-- a Halloween jack pot of my own!!]