Thursday, June 24, 2010

Small Is Tremendous

I was getting e-baby ready for bed, and singing her one of my favorite songs and she was looking at me, so sweetly, so happily, with all this love in her eyes, and she touched my face in that heartachingly sweet way, and when I finished the song, she moved her little thumb to my nose and said,
(e-baby): Smell my thumb. Does it smell good?
(me): Ummmmmm, I guess so? Where’s it been?
This was apparently the funniest thing she’d ever heard anyone say, and when she recovered from her paralyzing laughter, she held up her little thumb to ask it.
(as e-baby): Where have you been, little thumb?
(as thumb): In Mexico!!
Which was the funniest thing I had ever heard anyone say.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ranting and Raving: A Mother's Perspective

Duh, I should never read the comment on cnn's website. It's always bugged me when people think that the sound of a child is de facto a horrible thing, even if the child is oh, I don't know, laughing? Singing? Talking? I want to say, "Did you ever stop to think that your ugly self is interfering with that kid's fun as much as her voice is interfering with yours?" My annoyance with these curmudgeons is multipled n-fold now that I have little talking, singing, laughing people in tow with me most of the time.

People Suck Who:
* Think that any public temper tantrum is either a) the parents' fault for not beating the child enough or b) the child's fault for being the spawn of satan, because all children are inherently evil and need to be beten. Or locked up.
* Think that children should be kept out of public places. The "kids are spawn of satan" attitudes are usually accompanied by an attitude that children should not be taken out in public until they're old enough to behave. OK, so if I keep my kids at home until they're 10, they'll learn how to behave in public around adults. Riiiiight.
* Think that children should never be seen in public and also wonder why they never see their friend anymore since she had kids-- and don't even give me that "just call a babysitter" crap. Unless you're payin'. How's about offering to help out instead of bitching? Better yet, don't call. No one needs friends like that.
* Assume that if a kid is misbehaving that the parents are just LETTING IT HAPPEN, how dare they, and not even trying to stop junior from kicking the back of your airplane seat/talking too loudly in a restaurant/unrolling the toilet paper in the public bathroom/whatever, Stop. Think. Who wants their kid to do those things? No One. Who stands idly by and thinks it's funny? No One (well, OK, I do know some dads like that, but they're almost never trusted alone with the kids anyway).

I'd love to see people (cnn's readers, I'm looking at you!) give parents a break, and the benefit of the doubt. When this behavior is at its apex, Mom is probably planning her strategy to take away a week's worth of TV and steeling up the nerve to lay down this punishment. Because when that punishment is announced, hoo-mama, it's gonna get UGLY.

You used to be a kid. So did I, so did your own parents. Maybe your parents beat the crap out of you when you misbehaved, maybe they didn't, but they did what they could, the best they could, to civilize you, a wild creature, to become who you are today. But you were a pill sometimes, I was a pill sometimes, we all embarassed our parents in public at some point, and they didn't just lock us up in the basement until we were 10 (if yours did do that, then I apologize for my insensitivity to your plight).

Someday my kids will complain to their friends that a spanking would have been SO much easier than the lecture and suspension of privileges their mom doles out. Sorry, kiddos, that's how I roll-- I could no sooner hit you than cut off my own finger. But a long lecture and no tv for a week? You bet I can be that mean. I'm doing my best to civilize some wild creatures. They don't understand their own emotions, or long-term consequences, or even that showing your mommy's boss' boss' boss the chigger bite in your butt in the breakroom isn't appropriate. But these little wild animals are still human. They're as much members of society as you or me or that grumpy guy in row 23D who thinks that airlines should book "adult-only" flights as a service to passengers like himself who can't take the heat. I agree- the airlines should book assholes-only flights as a service to the rest of us.

My friend Jen told me that her parish priest wanted to create a "crying room" at the church-- for people who can't stand to hear children crying in church. That's my kind of guy. 

If you're still reading, thanks for listening to my temper tantrum. I feel much better! :-D

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Butterfly CATCH-ING Net!

Last week was a run-through a class I'm working on, and it all went well, although 40 hours of teaching, coming on the heels of the strep throat misery was a bit stressful. I kind of like stress. No, I really like stress. But it does take its toll on my health- no exercise all week, and the diet was put on a back-burner.

Last night when I got home from work I wanted to relax. Dinner was lazy-- whatever's in the fridge and easy to heat up. And some ramen on the side. I had some leftover blueberries from lunch that Jambuca pilfered out of my bag, and he ate them all up, guffawing happily over these wonderful tidbits he'd stolen.

This morning we went to Durham so e-baby and I could participate in a Duke U research study about overworked, stressed-out mothers of two kids under 4 and how we can't exercise or eat right. It's the one-year follow up. We are in the control group, where they don't give us any tips on how to eat right and exercise when you're a stressed out mother of 2-under-4. They also want to videotape one of our dinners at home so they can see how badly stressed-out mothers of 2-under-4 manage a healthy diet and a tranquil, clean, organized home.

While we were being measured, SNG took Jambuca down the street to Whole Foods and bought a giant clamshell of blueberries, probably 3 pounds or so. He remarked at how much Jambuca liked the berries. I wasn't surprised. Then we went shopping, e-baby got a butterfly-CATCH-ING net (you have to say it like that, apparently). Jambuca had a cup of berries to keep him occupied while we perused the aisles of our favorite import shop. We went to lunch across the street at a Tex-Mex joint. Jambuca wasn't interested in Tex-Mex. He wanted blueberries. We refilled his cup. He ate them all. Later at home, he ate more blueberries. Three cups more. We are now down to less than half the clamshell of blueberries.

Then he had a poop. "Alphagal? You down there? Come up, I need some help!"



SNG got some on his arm-- I thought it was a blue ink stain. The whole Jambuca bottom, both cheeks down to his thighs, were inky blue, after a once-over with wipes.

e-baby thought it was the funniest thing ever. We've been saying blueberry-POOP! all evening. She's also been using her new butterfly CATCH-ING net to catch dozens of fireflies. Once she catches one, she releases it and says, "You are now free to go." And it flies off, oblivious to the fact that it will be recaptured in just a few minutes.

There's nothing like poop and fireflies to melt the stress away.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Customer Service Day! But first, a pity party.

First, this week...

has sucked.

I had the first of 3 major deadlines for this massive project at work on Wednesday at noon, and wouldn't you know, not 5 minutes after I turned everything over to the editors, I started feeling rotten- nauseated, feverish, mild sore throat. So, you know, the timing was good. I taught Wed afternoon and felt a little worse Wed night, but I had meeting Thursday and teaching Thursday afternoon, so I went to work (that was a mistake). By Thursday night, I felt like I'd been drinking lye. All night I tossed and turned with the pain of not being able to swallow. The glands in my neck were so swollen you could (still can) see them poking out. By this morning, it was hard to inhale through my mouth because my throat was so swollen.

I started thinking about maybe going to the doctor, but you know, they'll just tell me it's a virus and to wait it out and I'll feel like such a wuss for going to the doctor about a sore throat. But I went anyway. Good thing, because I have strep throat. Which, luckily, is treatable. But OUCH!!!!!

I think I had strep once in high school, but I'm not totally sure, but this is for sure the most painful throat thing I've ever had. Still not as bad as the ear thing in Ireland (was that streptocochlea instead of streptococcus?), but as far as throat things go, this is horrible. I've been on amoxicillin since this morning and yes, I stayed home from work today. And yes, I felt guilty about canceling a meeting with someone (whom I've already rescheduled with at least once), but I bet she'd rather cancel the meeting than CATCH STREP THROAT, right?

I can't nap because it hurts too much. There's no escape from the pain. Four ibuprofen every 4 hours, chloraseptic every hour or so, they don't do a whole lot to combat this.

Oh, yeah, I was going to tell you why this is Customer Service Day. Today, everywhere I went, I encountered super nice people working in menial customer service jobs. Must be a donut day thing. At the drug store, I got a sympathetic look from the pharmacist who said "I hope you feel better soon!" I hadn't even told her I was the sick one (although the raspy voice and hangdog look gave it away, I'm sure).

When I picked up the kids from daycare, I took them over to Walmart (yes, I know, I boycotted them for years, but now they have this sustainability index and so I'll go there no more than once a month  /rationalization). We picked out 2 presents for birthday parties e-baby's going to this weekend, and then she had to pee. In the bathroom, I discovered that Jambuca had blown out his pamper and had a smelly wet spot on the leg of his pants. *sigh* back into the store to get the cheapest diapers and wipes and a new pair of shorts from the clearance rack. The bathroom is right next to the returns dept at the rear of the store. I had the lady ring me up, and she recognized the graviy of the situation (e-baby told her ALL about it), and offered to look after e-baby while I changed Jambuca in the bathroom. The 2 ladies from photo processing showed her a bunch of pictures (heh- probably customers' orders). I was so grateful. When I came out, she had also attracted a manager who had given her a sheet of promotional Twilight tattoos. I've never seen greatness in the Walmart until today. It was refreshing. I want that nice lady to get a promotion.

After Walmart, I was dying of thirst and pain, so we stopped at ChikFilA and all 3 of us got milkshakes. It was Jambuca's first milkshake. You'd think he had just seen a glimpse of Heaven. The people at ChikFilA were also exceptionally helpful and friendly. Each of the kids went home with a new cow, and I didn't have to carry anything to the table myself. Except Jambuca, who wanted to go behind the counter and make some waffle fries.

Now I'm starting to wonder if all of this was because I looked SO pathetic and hangdog, in which case, that's kind of sad. But maybe because it's donut day, everyone was just in a better mood.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This is why I don't go to the bathroom in private

This morning, I went to my bedroom to find something. The kids were eating and playing, no sharp object, everything was fine. While I was there, I went into my bathroom to um, use the bathroom. e-baby started looking for me. I heard her yell, "MOOOOOOOMMMMEEEEEEE!" and I hollered back but from 3 rooms away, she didn't hear me.

Meanwhile, since e-baby couldn't find me, she went outside to look. Didn't find me there, came back in, started playing again.

I came out of the bathroom, and it was quiet...

too quiet...

Jambuca was missing. I saw the wide-open garage door and panicked. He had toddled out and into the front yard, and was having a nice conversation with Spud, our little scarecrow in the front garden.

SNG wonders why I think it's nuts that he wants his privacy when he goes to the bathroom and kids are around. Maybe it's because whenever I have my privacy, something terrible happens, ya think?