But a Well Placed Pull Sign is Still Needed

Posted on 10/31/2006 09:20:00 AM
Observations from the 10th Floor

By way of explanation:

The business in the office across the hall from mine recently moved to another location in the area that wasn't quite as expensive. They were replaced by Unnamed Government Agency Office. It's been interesting watching them move in, make the office their own and provide much entertainment those of us who like to watch Paranoia at its best.

The first thing they did - before they even moved in - was get rid of cheap-o partial glass double front doors and replace them with expensive full glass front doors. Then a couple of days later they removed the regular doors to what we could now see was their conference room directly behind the reception area and replaced them with double full glass front doors. We could now see directly into their conference room. A couple of weeks after that, I guess they realized that everyone in the hallway could see directly into their conference room, or perhaps they simply heard me planning the capture and theft of several of the $700 office chairs in their conference room that I covet, so they frosted the glass on the conference room doors.

We also are in a "secure" office building... there is a security guard in the downstairs lobby and he is theoretically supposed to have all visitors sign in, but that doesn't always happen or maybe there have just been a whole lot of threats on all Non-Essential and Largely Unknown Government Offices recently, so they hired their own security guard who sits inside the glass doors in their reception area. Or perhaps... they decided they needed to secure up the office from the Crazy Person who yelled to our receptionist everytime I went outside, "OK - now, you go to the front door and create a diversion. Pull up your shirt all 'Girls Gone Wild' style and I'll run in and get a chair for each of us."

But apparently they don't have much confidence in this person's ability to keep the rif-raf out (or maybe her important magazine-reading responsibilities just take up too much of her time) because a couple of weeks later, they installed a security lock on the front doors. Now, instead of just opening the doors once in the morning, they automatically locked after each use and each employee had to swipe a card whenever going in through the doors after coming back from the bathroom.

And, I guess even that didn't keep key people from fleeing the office adequately, so a couple of weeks later, they installed a button on the inside of the door. Now instead of simply pulling the door open to leave, all employees must push the button and while the button is depressed, pull the door ajar to unlatch it, then let go of the button so they can continue on opening the door all the way to escape. At the same time, they apparently put the same contraption on the conference room door.

This is what I observed yesterday from the hallway while waiting for the elevator:

Shadow of Man appears behind conference room door.
Attempts to open conference room door; door is latched.
Door jiggles many times.
Security guard yells something to shadow of man behind glass.
Shadow man's arm reaches out, depresses unseen button on wall next to door.
Man pulls open door, comes through; attempts to leave through front door.
Door does not open and man does full body smashes into glass door.
Man stops, pushes door three more times; door does not open.
Security guard says something to man.
Man reaches over, depresses button and attempts to push open door.
Man does body smash into glass door again.
Man holds button and pushes door three times; door does not unlatch
Man regards security guard, security guard regards man; no words exchanged.
Man depresses button again and PULLS door; door opens.
Man walks out of office smacking his forehead with the palm of his hand.

I didn't have the heart to tell him that the door on the side entrance to the office is left ajar about half the time.

My thoughts: 

Free Willy - Die Harder

Posted on 10/30/2006 09:27:00 PM
"Turn the radio off, Mama, I will tell you a story."

"OK babe."

*radio off*

"It's called A-Bout A Shark"

"Sounds interesting... Tell me your story."

"Called A-Bout A Shark.

Once A-pon A-time, there was a little girl named Dormouse and she went to the Toy Pool, where she saw One Shark and One Shark splashed in the water and the shark swam up to the girl and said, 'Helloooo Dormouse' and I said 'Hello Shark' and I put on my swimmer suit and jumped into the water with the shark and we swam in the Toy Pool and we had a Pretty Good Time.

Then I picked up the shark and turned it loose in the Ocean.

The End."

My thoughts: 

Can I Get An 'Awwww'?

Posted on 10/29/2006 08:08:00 AM
Two sentences that make all the headaches, lost sleep, and need for six more hours in every day totally worth it:

"I sure love you mom... You're my best friend."

My thoughts: 

At Least She Feels My Pain

Posted on 10/28/2006 07:32:00 AM
"Hi Sweetie, did you have a good day?"

"Yes. Did you have a good day, mama?"

"I guess so."

"What did you do today, mama?"

"You mean how did I use my college degree, board credential and over 10 years of training? I made 16,000 copies."

*scoffs* [smacks palm against forhead] "Gads!"

My thoughts: 

Free Association from the Back Seat

Posted on 10/27/2006 09:15:00 AM
The whole gibberish and made up words thing is really big in my house right now. Personally, it drives me crazy and I can't even explain why. When she was just learning language, it didn't bother me a bit to hear her go around the house saying "Gee-go, gee-go" 16 hours a day... but now that she's got a certain facility with English, it just pushes my buttons.

It's irrational, I know. I know she's not doing anything wrong... she's just playing with sounds and being silly and there's still language development happening and all of my intellectual brain says, "Do not get on her about this" - and for the record, I do not - but the irrational part of my brain feels like ants are crawling up my spine everytime I ask her what she'd like for dinner and the response is "Poo-pah!"

So I've come to understand that it's my thing and I've kept quiet about it. There, I've admitted it; confession is good for the soul.

This is a game she and KingofHearts developed in the car the other day:

The Dormouse makes up a word and KingofHearts tries to add to it make it into a real word.

She says: ---------- KoH responds with:
"Co-bee" ---------- "Bryant"
"Co-pah" ---------- "Cobana"
"Co-kee" ---------- "Roberts"
"Po-boi" ---------- "Sandwich"
"Keen-ko" ---------- "Mon Soy Sauce" (he was reaching for that one)
"Teen-ker" ---------- "Bell"
"Tah-ko" ---------- "Bell... you're making this too easy, kid."
"Kee-go" ---------- "In the Door"
"Po-lah" ---------- "...... K" (OK, maybe things have devloved a little too much by this time)


My thoughts: 

Praise the Lord and Pass the Disinfectant

Posted on 10/26/2006 09:44:00 AM
The Dormouse has been sick a lot lately. And when she gets sick, she doesn't mess around. Like her father, when he was her age, she gets very high fevers that scare the bageezus out of her parents and then just as suddenly go away. I guess maybe God's trying to drop me a subtle hint not to get to cocky about being able to keep her alive this long.

This season, she's been sick more than her usual self. It has been driving me nuts as to why... she's been in preschool at least two days a week since she was two, so it can't just be exposure to nasty little kid germs - that's nothing new... and then it occurred to my why. Several weeks ago, she started a new little annoying habit to drive me nuts: putting her fingers in her mouth.

This is only the, oh, 12th fidget-y habit we've seen on this child in her short lifespan. Based on this and her family history, I've already got her signed up for an addictive personalities group when she turns 16. She went through the 'scratching at the mole on the back of my arm' habit while she was breastfeeding. Drove me nuts. You'd think I could keep from getting upset with an infant who has no idea that she's causing me to bleed every four hours, but you'd be wrong. I'd cover it with a bandage, she took the bandage off. I'd wear long sleeves, she put her hand up my sleeve. I'd sit way back in the chair so she couldn't get her hand behind my arm, she'd fuss and whine until she could. And that was only slightly less annoying than when she'd do the same thing to my bosom.

Then after she stopped breastfeeding there was the 'putting her hands up my sleeves' habit while I would rock her to sleep... at first it was sweet. It seemed to just comfort her when she could touch my bare skin and I wouldn't have minded except that it quickly turned back into the 'picking the mole on the back of my arm' habit once she got her hands up there and realized there was something to do.

This eventually became the 'putting her hands up her own sleeves' when she was going to sleep, which I was perfectly happy with until it devolved into the 'picking at her own arms' habit. That one actually caused someone at church to accuse me of bringing her to the church nursery with a contagious disease one day - she had picked dozens of little sores into her skin that would never heal, no matter how many bandages, hydrogen peroxide, and Neosporin we slathered all over her. Another mother thought I was ignoring that fact that she had chicken pox and was deliberately exposing her own Preshus Baybee. I suppressed the urge to yell "take a pill" at her and explained the situation, which I'm convinced she either a) still did not believe or b) was horrified at my child's blatant obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms this early in life. Whichever it was, she recoiled in disgust and her child hasn't played with my child since. Good riddance.

The thing is, if we can get her to stop whatever habit-du-jour she's picked up for just a few days, it usually goes away almost immediately after that. We eventually solved the Arm Picking One by taping her sleeves at night before she would go to bed. Now I know that sounds like a Child Protective Case waiting to happen so before you go calling authorities, we used medical tape around the outside of her pajama sleeves, not tight around her wrists, but once it was there, the fabric of her sleepers wouldn't stretch, so she couldn't get her entire arm up her sleeve to do the damage. Once the little sores had an opportunity to clear up, she stopped doing it altogether. It did however, cause more than a few lifted eyebrows in the grocery store when she'd announce out of the blue in the most plaintive voice possible, "Maaaaaammmma! Pleeeease DON'T tape my sleeves tonight. Pleeeeeeze!"

So the latest one is the hands/fingers in the nose/mouth. Which means she's always touching something and/or you with wet hands. And.... raise your hand if, 'Eeew'? I know a lot of kids suck thumbs and for some reason, I could probably live with that a whole lot easier than the fact that since her hands are always in her face, her balance is off and she doesn't always see what's in front of her and she's always tripping over stuff and then we have to spend about 20 minutes consoling her and then she calms down, and we put her down, and she sticks her hands back in her mouth (because she also does it as a stress reliever) and she immediately falls flat on her face again. Begin process all over again. It's not that I don't want to soothe and pacify my daughter, frankly, I just don't have that kind of time in a day.

And so I present:
My List of Ideas Regarding How to Break This Ridiculous Bad Habit Without Losing Face in Front of Nazi Judgmental Mothers I Come Across Which is Impossible, I Know, but I Think I at Least Get a Couple Soccer Mom Points for Trying:

1. buy her one of those old-fashioned muffs; tape her wrists together inside it
2. put her in a black and white striped prisoner costume, handcuff her hands behind her back; explain that she loves Halloween so much, she refuses to take it off
3. buy her two fake arm casts; claim we were in a car accident

4. sew really large infant onesie with the snap over the hand mittens; put her in it and allow people to believe I just can't let her infancy go
5. teach her to never take her hands out of her pockets; have people think that something entirely different is going on...

(Dr. House talks to Concerned Mom who thinks that her daughter has epilepsy)
House: In actuality all your little girl is doing is... saying yoo hoo to the hoo hoo.
Mom: She's what?
House: Marching the penguin... ya ya-ing the sisterhood... finding Nemo?
Mom: (covering little girl's ears) Are you saying she's (whispers) masturbating?
House: (sing-song-y - talking out of the corner of his mouth) I was trying to be discreet... there's a child in the room.

6. do not comb or wash her hair for three days; let her get her fingers inextricably stuck in it (trust me, it would happen)
7. teach her to constantly hold both arms above her head and repeat over and over, "Can I get a witness for the Lord?"
8. have her pretend she's a cat, constantly crawling on all fours and meow-ing at all she meets; as hand must serve as paw, there would be no chance to put it in mouth (this would only be mildly difficult as she's doing this about 30% of the time now)
9. glue her hands to her cheeks, tell people she really loves that Home Alone kid
10. put boxing gloves on her hands, tell her she's training for the next Tyson fight

I'm open to suggestions.


My thoughts: 

Is That a Tango or a Bossa Nova?

Posted on 10/25/2006 10:50:00 AM
This heard from the backseat of the car on a very windy day:

"Look mom, that tree is dancing!"

My thoughts: 

Anyone See a Cockatoo on His Shoulder?

Posted on 10/24/2006 10:43:00 AM
With the new car, NotAnSUV, we now have an extravagence that I'd never quite dared to hope for in all the crappy cars we've owned in the past:

Electric windows.

I know! I feel like Robin Leach should be doing a story on me any minute.

(And by the way, how sad is it that I buy a seven year old used car, yet I feel like I'm driving around in a Jag? That whole support me in a manner I'm accustomed to thing will never be very difficult for KingofHearts.)

Not only did KoH's truck and the last car I drove both NOT have electric windows and locks, but the genius who designed the window cranks in the car placed them approximately three inches off the ground. So when I wanted to open the window (which I have to do to get into my garage at work), this was the process: Stop car, remember to place foot on brake or car will roll backwards (or alternatively, put on emergency break which requires all the strength of an Olympic Weightlifer), let go of steering wheel because can't hold onto steering wheel AND window crank without dislocating shoulder, put head between legs and assume position of an airsick plane passenger to reach window crank, roll down window only enough to reach key through because if I stay in this position any longer I think I may throw up, reach out to swipe garage key, pull through gate, stop car and perform all actions in reverse to roll it up again. KingofHearts is driving that car now, insert evil laughter here.

So the first day of driving to work and clicking the little button at my left once, then watching the window go down, down, down, All... By... Its... Lonesome, was nothing less than decadent.

But every front has a back and there is also a downside to having this miraculous invention at our fingertips: It is also at Dormouse's fingertips.

It took her not quite three seconds to figure out that she, too, could open and close windows and she chooses to exercise that ability... again and again and again. (She's also figured out how to open the door latch from the inside - thank the great gods of GM and Police Crusiers for coming up with that door lock switch that doesn't allow doors to be opened from the inside. I honestly don't know how our parents kept us inside any vehicle without child safe door locks, electric window locks and five point restraint child seats. It's a wonder we didn't routinely see toddlers lying by the side of the freeways back in the 70s.) It's nice that the engineers who designed the feature thought ahead enough to give the driver a lock-out key, so when I press it I can keep Dormouse from opening and closing her window, but no one else in the car can use their windows either. It maybe would have been smarter to install a lock button specific to each window. But even then, if Dormouse doesn't have control of her button, then instead of the really loud windblown sound coming from the backseat, we hear a loud, high-pitched whine, "I want my wiiiiiind... mommy can I have my wiiiiiiiind? Pleeeeeeeaaaasse! Waaaaaaah!" It's really a lose-lose situation.

So instead of teaching her not to open the window, we are instead focusing on the more important requirement of not throwing things out of the window. She's actually a little better about this. She's learned that if she throws a toy out of the window when the car's moving she will not get it back and she chooses to hold on to her stuff. But when it's something in her hand that has less sentimental significance, she doesn't care so much. I wouldn't mind so much if she threw out a leaf or something, but it's just a short jump from that to fast food wrappers and making an Indian cry, so we have taken the tack that you don't throw anything out, ever. It's just easier than trying to explain what's appropriate and what's not.

Yesterday, she picked up a crab apple off the ground outside of preschool to look at it. I told her she could hold it in the car as long as she didn't put it in her mouth, but like an idiot I forgot to include the don't-throw-it-out-the-window-portion of the instructions so as soon as the car started moving, that's what she did.

KingofHearts decided to help explain:

"If you throw that out the back window, the police will fine us and we'll have to pay $50. Do you have $50?"


"Well, then... don't do the crime if you can't pay the fine."


My thoughts: 

Faustian Thoughts on The Little Mermaid

Posted on 10/23/2006 11:10:00 AM
Triton : Sea gull? You went up to the surface again, didn't you? Didn't you?

Ariel : Nothing happened.

Triton : Ariel, how many times must we go through this? You could have been seen by one of those barbarians, by one of those humans!

Ariel : They're not barbarians!

Triton : Do you think I want to see... my daughter snared by some fish-eater's hook?

Ariel : I'm 16 years old, Daddy. I'm not a child!

Triton : Don't take that tone of voice with me! As long as you live under my ocean, you'll obey me.

Ah, the age-old and oft-repeated conversations between a parent and a child.

For her birthday, Grandma sent a Disney movie, The Little Mermaid. In Dormouse's mind, this ranks among the Greatest Gifts of All Time. (For the record, this is the same Grandma who sent it in a padded envelope along with three cups of confetti, so any kudos for the perfect present should be reserved until after my living room floor has been vacuumed five or six more times.) Dormouse desperately bought into the pre-marketing that smacked you in face everywhere you turned months before the DVD was available and asked for it for her birthday at least six weeks before we even started to think about her birthday. Now at the top of my to-do list: have a long talk with Disney executives when I meet them in Hell.

I know it's probably nonsense to think that we could wear a hole in a DVD by simply watching it over and over, but if there's a remote possibility, we will find a way. We have already watched it dozens of times and, unfortunately, Dormouse seems to have inherited that gene from KingofHearts that makes him repeat every line in a movie he's seen over and over again in the weeks following viewing said movie. Which means we've been treated to a drove of Disney dialog this week. The funny thing is, it's a movie I had never seen before. I'm not sure how I missed it. I know I was a teenager when it came out so I was probably too cool for school to go and see it in the theaters, but by the time Beauty and the Beast came around, I was already into my lost childhood phase, so I had seen every Disney movie that was released for home viewing by that time. The Little Mermaid simply slipped through the cracks... as did Hercules and Mulan years later. I still have not seen those. But those were during the Dark Years of Disney and I believe that by now the Empire has found a way to buy back every copy that was sold, put Warner Brothers' name on them, and erase the memories of those who did see them, so those two probably don't count.

Anyway, The Little Mermaid is that ageless story of conflict between the generations and how parents just don't understand their children and their new-fangled ways and their crazy music, and the moral I take away from it is hey... go ahead, abandon your family and sell your soul to the devil because as long as the boy loves you, it'll all be worth it in the end. Somehow, I think this wasn't what Hans Christian Andersen had in mind, although according to some, his version wasn't any better.

Perhaps I'm expecting too much from an animated fish story.

Here's what Dormouse came away with:
I was feeding her lunch yesterday and I politely asked her to finished eating her meal. Or more accurately, "I'm sick of you pouring milk out on the tray and swimming peas around in it, now eat, eat, eat, like a big girl!"

She said more to her pea pool party than anyone else:
"I'm three years old, mommy. I'm not a child."

OK Disney exces... you and I have got a whole list of things to talk about during that meeting in Hell.


My thoughts: 

Pink Stuffed Bunny Suicide

Posted on 10/21/2006 09:20:00 AM
The lousy photograph from the camera phone with no flash doesn't quite do it justice, but this both tickled and frightened me.

I came around the corner the other day to find all of her stuffed animals lined up on the bench like this.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Watch," she said as she slowly pushed the stuffed animal in the back forward, causing a chain reaction of stuffed animals, causing each to move forward, and ultimately causing the animal in front to careen off the bench and onto the floor. Then she laughed maniacally, jumped up and and down, and clapped her hands before starting the whole process over again.

Put another dollar in the Therapy Fund.

My thoughts: 

To Gillian on her 6th Birthday

Posted on 10/20/2006 11:00:00 AM
Ordinarily, I don't talk about her that much in public. Not because it's too painful or too uncomfortable, but because it makes others uncomfortable. It's not that they don't sympathize; they just don't know what to say and I get that. Most days, it's just easier to let people off the hook. But there's another reason too. She's mine. Stupid as it sounds, I feel I don't want to sully her memory by letting too many people put their grubby hands on it, if that makes any sense. Only people closest to me and those who've been through it with us really know any of the details and even then most of them probably don't know everything we went through. Not because it's secret, but because it's sacred... to me at least.

But this anniversary has been harder than the last few and I know that
much of my bitchiness over the past month or so is because this time of year is especially full of contradictions. Extreme sadness around not getting to spend the time we wanted with her and extreme happiness when the Dormouse was born about the same time three years later. (In fact, if we hadn't had to schedule Dormouse early for my own medical reasons, it's possible they could have shared a birthday. My technical due date with Dormouse was around the 23rd of October.) It's hard to really be happy or really be sad about either event. The past few weeks, I've just wanted to express... to talk it all out, write it all down, just to get it out, but the words haven't come to me. So I feel like for whatever reason, the relative anonymity of the internet seems safe.

She would be six years old today. She would be starting school. I see the children waiting for the bus each morning and I can't help but think that she could be there with them, playing tag around the street signs and talking about the latest fad toy everyone has to have. I would have started her in some sort of music lesson by now and be arguing with her Dad about when it was appropriate to study martial arts. She'd have friends of her own, opinions of her own and would be learning so much. I think about the person she could have become... and the person that she probably is now.

I want her to know that I remember her, that I think about her all the time and while the pain of losing her has gotten easier to live with, especially since her sister came around, it has never lessened or gone away like people promised me back then. And I'm glad, really. It means I haven't forgotten her. She did so much for us in the short time she was with us; I can't help but think sometimes that that was really her purpose here. I'm so grateful that I got to be her mother if only for a little while. And despite all the Families Can Be Together Forever mush that's spewed around all the time... I really believe it. I believe that we'll be together again one day and I'll get to hold her and love her in the way that I always wanted.

I can't wait for that.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day - October 15th.

Each year, approximately a million pregnancies in the United States end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of the newborn child. National observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 1988, offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn and newborn babies. It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members and work to prevent causes of these problems.

~Ronald Reagan 1988

My thoughts: 

Mobile Madness

Posted on 10/19/2006 12:27:00 PM
A few months ago, I got a voice mail on my phone from someone I do not know who slurred something like this into the receiver: "Hey Jim, it's Ron... dude, sorry we missed you last night, we tried to call you but you must have already left. We got totally wasted, dude! You gotta come next time. Oh and very funny putting your mom on the voice mail, hahahaha."


OK, not to get all crazy and stuff but... I sound like someone's MOM?

Just to prove that I'm not an old woman with no sense of humor, I changed my outgoing voice mail message. "Hi, it's NG's phone. Yep NG's, not Jim's mother. Really dude."

A couple of days later this message shows up: "Jim. Hahaha, still with the mom on your voice mail. You're too funny. So's your mom. Meet us at blah blah bar tonight at 9:00. We'll score us some hot chicks."

Seriously, he said "some hot chicks". I know I've been married a long time, but does anyone say that anymore?

I leave another outgoing message saying "You're probably wondering why Jim didn't meet you the other night. It's because you HAVE THE WRONG NUMBER and THIS IS NOT HIS PHONE. Leave a message for NG after the tone..."

He ignores me on this one too and leaves at least a half a dozen subsequent voice mails, each making mention of how funny Jim's mom is. Ron does not get the hint when Jim never calls him back nor meets him at any of the appointed places.

I finally change my outgoing message to say this: "This is NG's phone. If you're trying to reach Jim, you've got the wrong number. You should try the phone book."

Suddenly, the voice mails stop. I feel I've done my job and Jim has gotten the point.

Until about six weeks later when I get this voice mail message:
"Jiiiiiim... duuuuude it's been so long. I'm sorry I haven't called in awhile. Heh, heh, heh, I kind of... got really wasted and walked through a plate glass window and cut up my arm really bad so I've been on pretty heavy pain killers ever since. Just wanted to tell you I'm still alive and we should totally go out sometime... call me."

Finally, my patience has worn thin. I record this outgoing message: "Hi... this is NG's phone. I say that because...
it's NG's phone. If you want to leave a message for NG, please do so after the tone. If you're trying to leave a message for Jim, you have the wrong number. If you're the idiot who put his arm through a plate glass window, you really need to learn to listen and lay off the booze."

That was the last time I heard from Ron.


My thoughts: 

Farewell Sapito, You Sucked Less Than Some of Our Other Cars

Posted on 10/18/2006 01:59:00 PM
Well, it's official.

We are saying goodbye to the green truck known as El Sapito. After a month of hemming and hawing and breeing and braying (I don't know what that means), we have decided that it's not prudent to keep it given:

a) the city planners' allowance of precisely half a car to each house in this neighborhood,
b) the lack of free time KingofHearts will have to get it running again, and
c) the fact that I patently refuse to have a sad looking eyesore that doesn't run sit outside my house on my street for 10 years and have to push it back and forth a foot every two weeks to prove to the local police that it isn't a "disabled vehicle." Anyone reading this know my next door neighbor?

We tried parking it under the other neighbor's dying tree that drops a giant piece of itself in my driveway once a month and hoped and prayed that with all the rain lately, the whole thing would just give up the ghost and fall over onto the truck under its own weight. But as we all know, God is not on my side these days and the truck remains unscathed... so... no more insurance money to bleed out of that turnip.

We have decided to donate it to a worthy cause called: "Let's Get a Big Fat Tax Deduction". Perhaps you have heard of it? Unfortunately, "Let's Get a Big Fat Tax Deduction" has been severely limited in recent years by the IRS, who apparently wait three years to tell you you owe $500 on taxes you filed in 2004 and think they're being efficient. More on that another day.

But shhh... not a word to KingofHearts. I've convinced him that we're sending it off to a farm, where it will have lots of room to run and play with the other trucks and roam in green pastures.

Do you think it knows?

And not a word to my new love, named NotAnSUV. If it knew what I did to El Sapito, it might not like me much.

My thoughts: 

You Know It's Time for Groceries When...

Posted on 10/17/2006 12:45:00 PM
I just made my daughter a tomato and cream cheese sandwich.


Because that really makes the difference between a good sandwich with nothing in it and a great sandwich with nothing in it. Mmmmm, gourmet.

I think the saddest part is that I made it for breakfast.

My thoughts: 

TV is My New Nanny

Posted on 10/16/2006 11:42:00 AM
A few weeks ago, we headed up to Pennsylvania to be there when our friends blessed their new baby. They have quite the extended family who are all very close, two things KingofHearts and I are somewhat unfamiliar with. So whenever we visit them at a significant family occasion, we always feel a combination of man-I-wish-our-family-was-like-that and wow-I'm-glad-our-family-isn't-like-that.

This weekend, only one of Kristen's four siblings was able to make it so it was a small affair. Even given that, the final count was 9 children and 10 adults in attendance and it's a good thing We outnumbered Them by one, because I think if there was another one on their side that could walk, They just might have mutinied and locked Us all out of the house. There wasn't a moment in 48 hours where there wasn't a flurry of activity, noise from toys, talking, crying, whining, fighting, laughing, singing... sometimes all at the same time.

Except for this one:

At some point, one of the Tall Ones got the genius idea that the kids could use little quiet time and put a video on the television. Suddenly, and with very little adult encouragement, there were seven (two not pictured were too small to care about
The Magic Schoolbus) well-behaved, calm children sitting quietly on the couch. No hair pulling, no toy throwing, no crying, no spitting. Just seven lovely kids, peacefully enjoying the Asimov-like voyage of a yellow schoolbus filled with nerdy kids and their teacher-with-no-social-life through the central nervous system.

I looked at Kristen and blinked in amazement as Kristen blinked back and said: "It kinda makes you believe in television, doesn't it?"

Yes... yes it does.


My thoughts: 

Makes You Wonder What She Sees When She Looks At Us

Posted on 10/15/2006 10:42:00 AM
Not to be outdone... Daddy gets a portrait too:

At first glance, Daddy kinda looks a little like Adolf Hitler, but upon comparison you'll see it's a perfect likeness.

My thoughts: 

Please Don't Call CPS On Us

Posted on 10/14/2006 03:06:00 AM
How to tell when it's time for your toddler to stop seeing you naked:

I drew the face, the Dormouse added the, ahem, "other body parts" and declared: "This is Mommy. These are her breasts." This, of course, was out loud... in a crowded restaurant.

My thoughts: 

Friday the 13th

Posted on 10/13/2006 01:18:00 PM In:
13 things I'm embarrassed by...

  1. The top of my refrigerator looks like this:
  2. I have assigned a DSM-IV diagnosis to every character in the Koala Brothers.
  3. My daughter knows all the words to Cowboy in the Continental Suit and asks to have it sung at bedtime.
  4. I do not know the words to Cowboy in the Continental Suit and must pass the job of singing it off to my husband. (Or perhaps I'm proud of that one - no offense, Marty Robbins.)
  5. I have a robot vacuum cleaner and yet my floor still looks like a group of merchant marines just marched through my living room.
  6. I have a bachelors degree and have spent the last 15 years of my life studying human behavior and physiology, yet what I did at work today amounts to filing, putting stamps on envelopes and teaching someone how to copy a file by dragging it from one folder to another in Windows.
  7. I own a Barry Manilow CD... I tell people that I had to purchase it for working with client, but I'm lying.
  8. Despite having recorded and watched every episode of Project Runway for the first three seasons, I still feel it necessary to stop and sit through those Project Runway four- six- eight- hour marathons each time I flip across the Bravo channel and see one.
  9. When I was in college I worked as a waitress; not just a waitress, but a singing waitress.
  10. I just purchased a 7-year-old Subaru Forrester. I hate SUVs and claim it's a station wagon, but Subaru calls it an SUV. I just hope people will not go to the Subaru website to check up on me.
  11. My husband keeps trying to out me as a blogger to friends and people at church. I do not want friends and people at church to know where my weblog is so I can talk about them in my blog without feeling guilty.
  12. I have a 4,000 pound paperweight in the form of an S-10 pickup sitting outside my house, mocking me every time I walk by. This is the first in four vehicles that hasn't been put out of commission by a wreck and therefore was not taken away by an insurance company leaving us with a settlement check in it's place. Therefore, we cannot decide how to get rid of it.
  13. Somehow, I set my VCR to record and playback narration for the visually impaired. I cannot figure out how to turn it off, so I've simply started watching movies without looking at the screen.


My thoughts: 

Twins are Twice as Dead

Posted on 10/12/2006 03:52:00 AM
In my ebbing and flowing attempts to join the human race and bond with other women, I attended a baby shower I was invited to the other day. Heavens, is there anything worse in the world than a baby shower? We had one pre-Dormouse, but I stipulated to Monica, who hosted it, my rules ahead of time:

  • KingofHearts is somewhat involved in this process too so he must be included in party plans.
  • Absolutely no all-women invite lists.
  • In order to cut down on the constant barrage of pregnancy horror stories women feel the need to tell at every shower, children and families must be invited too - that way women in attendance who would be likely to tell such stories will instead be busy chasing their children around and have no time to describe their 136-stitch episiotomy.
  • There will be no setting chairs in a big circle and staring at each other blankly.
  • I do not want to make people feel like they need to bring presents.
  • No baby games... None. No "Identifying the Stage of Labor Concentration", no "How Many Baby Animals Can You Name Speed Round". End of story.
  • I absolutely, categorically, refuse to wear a hat made of wrapping paper and bows.
  • I also requested "no pink"... which as you can see from the pictures, Monica interpreted as "let's drive NG crazy and make everything pink instead, that'll be funny".

We settled on a big barbecue at a local park. Monica rented the parks and rec. building and did an amazing job of decorating, cooking, hosting, organizing, and any other ing you can think of. No wonder she's a meeting planner. There was plenty of room for kids (both big and small) to play and KingofHearts got to stand near fire and cook hamburgers outside, thereby making all the males in attendance who were concerned about losing points on the Man Scale by simply being AT a baby shower feel more comfortable. There was something for everyone. People we invited from church who are still around talk about how it was the best shower they'd ever been to.

The shower I went to last weekend was all the things I hate. It was for a first time mom who was expecting twins and as I walked in, the first thing I noticed was a ring of empty chairs in the living room, just waiting to be filled by blank stares. Fully half of those in attendance were also pregnant themselves. As the preggos congregated around the snack table, I leaned over to one of the only other non-pregnant women and said, "Aren't you concerned about how many hormones are flowing in this room right now? I am."

"Heh, heh, heh." *polite, unenthusiastic laughter*

So I should have known right away things weren't going to get any better.

I know that having had my own medical horror stories with both of my pregnancies, I'm a little more sensitive to the things that could go wrong in pregnancy and therefore a little more concerned about making comments that might scare especially someone who's a first time mom. I still have a visceral reaction every time I think of the time a doctor told us, after looking at the Dormouse via sonogram, that she appeared to have "voids in her brain" and was not developing normally. After our first experience with our daughter Gillian, who died from a chromosome abnormality, this was not just a passing observation and I was a basket case for a week until a different doctor assured me, "The equipment we're using now is so much more sensitive than it was even three years ago. We are seeing things that look like abnormalities now, but that turn out to be normal development - we just never had equipment good enough to notice it before." Which, frankly, only made me feel a little bit better until Dormouse was born with no neurological disorders.

I've also endured scores of women's judgments about my need to have a c-section in all my future pregnancies after the complications we had with Gillian. A member of my own family berated me one day when I was pregnant with Dormouse for "taking the easy way out" and not making every effort to do a VBAC ('vaginal birth after caesarian' for those of you who don't care to be immersed in the acronym-talk of the Pregnant). As if my Doctor's statement that my "uterus could tear" and I "could bleed to death in regular childbirth" was really more of a suggestion than an order.

I've noticed that most women think they are simply owed a perfect pregnancy and a perfect child and fail to treat birth as the miracle it is. There's so much that CAN go wrong that to me, every normal birth is more of an anomaly than an abnormal one.

So you can understand why, when Twin Lady announced that her doctor had told her she had to schedule a c-section because the babies are both so big and the crowd all tsk-tsked their disappointment and sympathy longer than necessary, I felt the need to stand up for her. Having a c-section is NOT the worst thing that could ever happen in a pregnancy. The most important thing is that it's the best thing for the mother and the baby and call me stupid but if that improves the chance that the baby will be okay, who are we to judge? So I say out loud, "Yeah... but that's good too... I mean, kudos, to all you who did the natural childbirth thing, but I really liked the idea of knowing when to expect it. I wrote the date down on my calendar and scheduled a staff meeting the day before. It was awesome."

That's funny, right?

*crickets, chirp chirp*
*nervous laughter*

I really need to learn to keep my mouth shut.

Things really came to a head when the co-organizer brought out her 'baby games'. The first one was Stages of Labor Concentration (ugh). The second one started out well enough... she had printed pictures of famous celebrities off the internet and posted their pictures on a board. We were to write down for each whether we thought that person was a twin or not. When I saw Liberace and Elvis Presley up there, I raised an eyebrow but assumed it was an oversight. No, no... no... as it turned out, of the 20 celebrities on the board, about three quarters of them were twins. And of those three quarters, more than half of the twin siblings had died in childbirth. So one by one, we go through the list and Party Game Lady announces one after another, "Yes, Ed Sullivan was a twin... his twin was stillborn." "Liberace's brother George died in infancy after being born very small." etc. etc.

Normally I'd be willing to try and let this go because of my belief that aside from Hydrogen, Stupidity is the universe's most common element... But c'mon! Who really thinks THAT is appropriate at a party for a woman who was expecting twins? And the saddest part? Other than Twin Lady, whose eyes got another size bigger each time Party Game Lady announced another dead sibling with a giant smile on her face, I seemed to be the only one who noticed. I hope that Twin Lady was made more comfortable by all the others' confidence, but I'm not even pregnant and I was not.

I suffered through the game, but could not stand it anymore after that and left early, muttering something about another commitment as I made a mad dash for the door, leaving poor Twin Lady there to fend for herself among all the others... sucker! I think next time I'm invited to a shower, I'll just send a gift.


My thoughts: 

Update on People I Stalk

Posted on 10/12/2006 03:11:00 AM
Congratulations to Hambone, who was not only sprung from a couple more weeks of really boring bedrest, but also got this kinda cool result for her trouble.

My thoughts: 

Inappropriate Songs (volume 5)

Posted on 10/11/2006 12:44:00 PM In:
This one, she learned at preschool:

If I Had a Box

If I had a box,

A big, blue box,
I'd put [insert name of your choice here] in it.
Take him out,
Smooch, smooch, smooch [i.e., make kissing noises]
And put him back again.

Repeat over and over again until you've applied a verse to everyone in the room (or everyone you ever knew or met, if you're my daughter).

Great... because let's teach our children the concept of kidnapping and bondage for sexual gratification before they're jaded by first grade, shall we?

By the way, did you imagine the box to look like this:

this: this:

or this?
Cause I'm seeing the last one in my minds eye.


My thoughts: 

A Score of Hindsight

Posted on 10/10/2006 08:21:00 AM
My 20 year high school reunion was this past weekend.

For the previous several that came up, I dismissed the idea of going out of hand. I'm not really the relive-my-glory-days-from-high-school type. And really... there were no 'glory days' so you can pretty much see why. I keep in touch with all the people that I want to keep in touch with; which amounts to one, count them, one person.

Don't get me wrong, I had fun in high school. I had friends in high school. I have no egregious memories of high school that mar my overall outlook on the past like some. But I also couldn't wait until high school was over. It was just so... high school. Other than a few fleeting moments over the past 20 years, I haven't had the desire to go back. I remember my mother telling me about how when she went to hers, the same people were doing the same things: the jocks hung with the jocks, the smokers hung with the smokers, the popular kids hung with the popular kids. I feel like in so many ways I'm not that same person anymore; I have no desire to go back and try to be that person again.
Most of my life has happened since high school ended, not before.

This one was a little different. I kinda wanted to go. Why? I have no clue. I guess because it's 20 years and people are supposed to want to go to their 20 year reunion. I guess I also had some small morbid curiosity about how people turned out. Mostly, I wanted to see the one friend I am in touch with... I always love the chance to hang out with him because we are too far away to do that much now. Whenever we do talk or get together it's like old times. I love who he is, I love his sense of humor and I miss that I don't have friends that last like this anymore.

So I made plans to go... until I realized that they had scheduled the reunion on my daughter's third birthday. Then I had a decision to make: relive my lost youth or be the responsible mother who puts a birthday her child will barely remember over her own travel plans. Ultimately, my decision became easier when events happened to severely limit my travel funds over the past couple of months. Boo motherhood! Boo responsibility! Boo Sucktember!

So I did not go. And I don't really feel my life is more the worse for it. I did give my friend strict instructions to come back with as much good dirt on people as he could. He sent a nice couple of emails updating me on where some people are now... most of those people I had to look up in my yearbook to even remember who they were. Some of them, I'm still not who they were. (KingofHearts always claims that the portion of space in my brain that was by design, supposed to be responsible for long term memory has been reappropriated by song lyrics.)

My friend generally had good things to say about people, which in truth, disappointed me. I gave him one assignment - come back with DIRT - and he failed miserably! There appeared to be no drunken outbursts, no losers, no one's been to prison. I can't even avoid applying all those monikers to my own family. It seemed like most people are just like me... trying to live their lives day by day, dealing with their own stuff, getting through.

KingofHearts sat next to me as I was looking through my yearbook and it's funny the perspective that can be placed on it by someone who wasn't there. As I flipped through the pages of portraits, he'd point to someone and say, "She's really pretty", or "I'll bet he had girls hanging all over him", or "That one was probably popular, right?" Invariably they were not the popular or rich or pretty people he was pointing out. Who he pointed out generally ended up being the people who were my friends, who were decidedly NOT thought to be popular or rich or pretty by the entire student body.

"How about this one?", I started pointing. "Do you think she's pretty?"

"Absolutely not", he'd quickly reply.

"She was homecoming queen or something and her mother was like some beauty contest winner and she always, always had a boyfriend."

"Hmmmm... I just don't see it. Was this one popular? She's gorgeous."

"No," I'd say "But she was one of my close friends and one of the best people you'd ever want to meet. Last I talked to her, she'd just gone through a really bad divorce after her husband treated her like crap and she still had the best, most positive outlook on life."

It's amazing how the inner beauty really shines through when not marred by the overtones of high school. Even in a picture.


My thoughts: 

Other Than That, Mrs. Lincoln, How Was the Party?

Posted on 10/09/2006 09:41:00 PM
Random collection of events and thoughts during what's now known as "My Halloween Birthday":
  1. Oh crap... people. People coming. Coming to my house. I hate people. Hate people in my house even more. Why on earth did I ever think this was a good idea?
  2. Awesome... the first day it's rained in weeks, we've planned an outdoor barbecue.
  3. How are 15 adults and 12 kids - all in costume - going to fit into my 18' x 14' living room? Ack!
  4. Must. Clean. House. Now.
  5. Stupid people. Stupid birthday. Stupid needing to have a party. Motherhood sucks.
  6. Run roomba, carpet now clean, KingofHearts immediately tracks mud through the house.
  7. Great. On one day I really need to leave work early, boss is concerned about whether new brochure has blue dots or purple dots next to picture on second page. Needs to see copy A with blue dots, copy B with purple dots, copy C with slightly lighter purple dots.
  9. Leave work late, don't have time to decorate house and pick up the Dormouse from class. Consider leaving Dormouse at school and telling guests we sold her to pay for party.
  10. Cake! How is it possible that I forget cake? It's a birthday party for Pete's sake!
  11. Store I pick to purchase cake from is one grocery store in entire metro area that does not have a bakery. Must purchase icing kit to write name on pre-made cake myself.
  12. Oh crap... a dozen kids will be in my living room with nothing to do. Alternative measures: put on a Disney video and watch them all go comatose or get some crafty thing for them to do. Stupidly, I chose crafty thing.
  13. Get home, husband has already decorated house with every Halloween decoration we own.
  14. Consider locking door and jumping husband, but then remember #6 and thank him profusely instead.
  15. Dormouse sees decorations; goes nuts. "It's my Halloween Birthday! My Halloween Birthday! Woo hoo!" Gives thumbs-up sign to cat. Cat seems unimpressed.
  16. Write "Happy B-Day" on cake with icing kit (no room to spell it out)... husband stares at it and says, "Why does it say 'Happy 8-Day'?" rescind profuse thank-you given in #14.
  17. Decide that since we've asked people not to bring gifts, we will put gifts from those who do aside and open them later so those who did not bring them as instructed will not feel badly.
  18. Realize at once that keeping an excited three year old from a gift is like trying to hold back Teton Dam after it breaks.
  19. Break down and allow opening of gifts, but request that excited three year old wait until people actually cross threshold before doing so. Limited success.
  20. Realize glitter glue, one inch pipe cleaner pieces, and small cuttings of crepe paper do not a good group craft activity make.
  21. Vow when inviting guests to costume party in future, stress adult costumes are appreciated as well in order to help me not feel like an idiot in a cowboy hat with a toy gun around my waist.
  22. Thanks, grandma, for the giant envelope full of confetti.
  23. Did I mention thanks?
  24. Really.... THANKS
  25. Why did I even bother to clean house? There are so many people in my living room, cannot see floor.
  26. Rule 3864 re: birthday parties. Super-excited girls who do not go to bed until after 9:00 throw fits.
  27. And they do not take a nap the next day either.
  28. Or the next day.
  29. After cleaning grease off stove, ceiling, counter top, door and needing to go to store twice for drain-o to unclog clogged dishwasher, vow never again to make burgers and hot dogs for 30 people.
  30. Next year, I'll just pay $150 for the moon bounce and be done with it.

And a wild time was had by all.

My thoughts: 

Extreme Parenting at Three

Posted on 10/06/2006 05:26:00 PM
Driving in the car on the way to work the other morning, Dormouse was drinking a juice box in the back seat. She pushed the straw down inside the box - she does this a lot and I usually have to fish it out for her or open the box and pour the juice into a cup when it gets down too far. I said, "Hold on baby, I'll get it for you when we stop."

A few minutes later came a triumphant yell, "I did it! I got the straw out all by myself and I didn't need any help." More rejoicing was not heard at the last Red Sox World Series win.

"Yay," I encourage. "That's great - you're so capable!"

"Uh, huh... Because I'm a big girl... and big girls always, always do it by themselves."

It's hard to believe how much she's grown up this year. When she turned two, she was still in diapers, just putting sentences together. Still dependent on us for almost everything she needed. Now she's sleeping through the night in "big girl underwear" and pulling a chair up to the counter so she can help cook by cracking eggs and throwing the shells over my head into the sink like she's seen Daddy do so often. Who took my baby and left this little girl in her place?

Today, she is three. I need to stop using the word "toddler" to describe her.

Truth be told, it's been well over a year since she "toddled", but I've felt comfortable in the delusion that as long as I can put her in the toddler classification that I don't have to face the realities of life... where will she go to school? will we still be living in this county-so-crappy-for-education when that happens? will she have more siblings or not? can we face another pregnancy and all the things that could go wrong? is it fair to her? is it fair to her not to? what would we even do if we did have another? She's starting to mimic everything she hears from us and on the radio or TV. Am I being a good example for her? Am I teaching her what she needs to know about God? To love and accept people and treat them right? Do I show her that there's joy in life? Am I teaching her the things that will make her a happy healthy adult? what will she want to be for Halloween next year? how can I keep her from smoking, drinking and having sex until she's well over 30 and married? Who will she date? Will he be nice to her? Will KingofHearts and I have to drive to the woods some moonless night with a shovel and bury his cold, lifeless body after he's dumped her?

Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself.

When a child is small, they're a blank slate of unlimited promise. They could be anything, do anything. They could be the next Nobel Prize winner or the next crazy dictator that the Bush administration refuses to talk to. So the scary thing for a parent is: What if I do it wrong? What if I'm not encouraging her in the right way or allowing her the right opportunities and she misses her chance to be the next Mozart, the next Marie Curie, Winston Churchill. And how do I do that without making her crazy or losing her childhood now? How do I do that without becoming crazy myself?

I guess I have no idea.

What I do know is that I sure love her.

I know it sounds cliche, and everyone who knows me and is reading this is already rolling their eyes and making gagging noises, but I wasn't aware that I would be capable of such love. I have a stepson who I adore and another daughter who wasn't able to stick around with us very long... so I get love... and loss. But this is somehow different. I never really got to experience the highs and the lows with those two. Someone else takes care of them most of the time now so I don't deal with the day to day grind. And because of that I've missed out on those little fleeting moments, the excitement at seeing things for the first time, the unsolicited "I sure love you, mom"s. Despite how tedious, painful, scary and difficult it is to be a mother - anyone's mother - I haven't laughed as much or cried as much in my whole life as I have in these three years. I haven't had more fear or more hope. As much joy or as much heartache. Exasperation as satisfaction. It seems that my life is somehow... bigger than it was before she came along. Not happier, definitely not easier, just more full. It's the extremes in my life now that are the most difficult to handle... and that make me realize how really important this work is that we're doing - raising a person.

And I wouldn't trade it for anything.


My thoughts: 

Impersonation of a Firefly

Posted on 10/05/2006 10:00:00 PM
Lights on....

And lights off...

"Blink-y blink-y blink-y"

(That's a glow stick inside her shirt.)

My thoughts: 

Whatever Lola Wants

Posted on 10/04/2006 07:25:00 AM
"Fred says it's a worthless talent... that I should've learned French instead. But I say you don't need to know what 'Voulez-vous coucher avec moi' means to love that song."

"I think being good at crane machine is way cooler than French."

One of the best things about being a child is all the stuff you get away with that a taller person couldn't.

We were at the mall a few days ago and in the food court is one of those crane machine games. This particular one is beloved because it has four sides and four different players can each be playing at once. This is one of Dormouse's favorite things in the world. Not because we ever let her actually put money in the game and play - what a waste of precious quarters that would be - but because she loves to push buttons and mess with the joy stick.

Hey... it's cheap entertainment. Don't knock it.

So the other day, we were waiting for KingofHearts to get some food and I chose a table near the Crane Machine of Awesomeness so I could let her push, push, push buttons to her little heart's delight until Daddy Delivery came back with lunch. She had just exhausted her interest in one side and started around the corner to push new delectable buttons when I heard "No, no that's not yours!"

I could see the Dormouse, but not everything around the corner, and what I did not realize was that a young man was there actively playing the game. He had this process of starting the game, moving back to inspect, and then moving back in to adjust the crane, move back, inspect, lather, rinse, repeat. Dormouse didn't realize he was playing and in a moment, she grabbed the joy stick, pushed the button, and the bells and whistles began as the crane hook lowered, completely uncontrolled by the person who had actually paid for the game.

To the both of our surprise, she nabbed a stuffed raccoon and the crane picked it back up and dropped it into the chute. The game congratulated her, more lights and bells lit up like Christmas and the smiling raccoon slid happily down to be adopted by a waiting patron.

Dormouse went wild. Congratulated herself, jumped up and down and clapped her hands as the stunned 20ish guy looked on at the child who'd just bogarted his stuffed animal. It was clear from the stack of quarters neatly laid across the top of the game, that he'd spent quite a bit of money trying to win something already.

I was mortified.

Through her whoops and hollers, I tried to explain that the raccoon was his, that he was playing the game, he was the one who put the money in, and she had to give it back to him (harsh, maybe, but she has to learn this lesson sometime). Amazingly, she understood, did NOT throw a Big Stupid Fit and walked over to him and pushed the raccoon out toward him through the air.

He looked down at her face and I could see a wave of "awww" cross his countenance as his expression changed from righteous indignation to kindness. He said, "You know what? You are the one who caught it, you deserve to have it." How awesome was that dude?

And how awesome is it that she could just look up at him with her crooked little smile and totally diffuse the situation? Not only diffuse it, but walk away with the toy she stole and convince everyone she had every right to do so.

I've got to learn how to bottle this stuff. I'll be a millionaire.


My thoughts: 

6th Deadly Sin

Posted on 10/03/2006 11:00:00 AM

My thoughts: 

The World May Never Know

Posted on 10/02/2006 11:49:00 AM
How many pictures must one take to get three girls to look at you?






But personally, I think 4 might have been a fluke.

My thoughts: 

To Playgroup of Not To Playgroup

Posted on 10/01/2006 10:19:00 AM
Recently, in the blog-o-sphere, I've been reading quite a lot on the issue of playgroups and man-o-man are there some strong opinions out there. Beth even went as far as naming her weblog based on her feelings about playgroups.

Personally, I don't care for them. I'm invited to one every so often and nearly always decline. I'm sure the women who put it together are well-meaning but I just can't make quite feel like it's worth it to have to put on a bra to be a part of them. Here's the thing: I'll stipulate that in theory, they're meant to benefit all involved - a great socialization opportunity for the kids and a wonderful bonding opportunity for the moms. And I know that I've been described once or twice as antisocial. OK - maybe three or four times. OK - maybe that's the first thing friends and family say about me. I fully admit this is more a me thing than a they thing. If I wanted to see comraderie, fellowshipping and love, I probably would. If I was less of a hermit I might actually enjoy bonding with other moms occasionally.

I remember a good friend of mine after having her first, mentioning that she often learned more from the moms at playgroup and in the nursing lounge at church than from all the parenting books and magazines she'd read. After Dormouse was born, for some crazy reason, I decided I needed to experience that kind of community and support from other mothers even though I didn't really feel a desire. I just thought it would be best for my daughter - I guess since my own mother is geographically far away. So I attended a few playgroups I was invited to. I'm not sure what I was thinking... she was a baby and way too young to interact with the other children there. Mostly what I ended up feeling was like the wallflower at the dance who no one even notices was there. And even though this wasn't my first rodeo - my first pregnancy and my nearly teenage stepson could attest to that - the other mothers in the group were so sure that they had all the answers to all the world's parenting questions that any comment I happened to make was met with sideways glances and knowing nods that seemed to say "Oh... she's only been a mother for a few weeks... she'll learn."

Basically playgroup discussion I've experienced tends to center around three things:

Pregnancy. Some of the kids are 5 and 6 years old and their moms are still fixated on this. I totally get that it's a life altering experience and all. But come on already - I could talk about the most interesting thing in the world, but if that was all I ever talked about, it would become less interesting right quick. Most of the discussion centered around how each and every mother there had had a worse labor than the other. It seems to be a badge of honor among moms... if you can boast 32 hours of labor without any drugs, you are somehow a better mother than the one who only labored 31 hours and took a Tylenol by mistake thinking it was a Tic-Tac. My pre-planned c-section simply didn't fly with these women. It didn't seem to matter that I had several doctors' orders and a medically necessary reason... "uh... my uterus will rupture and I could bleed to death if I try to do a VBAC and we figure that's probably not the best thing for my child" meant nothing to them. What I generally heard in response, was something to the effect of "oh my doctor said that too, but I just wanted to experience childbirth the way God intended it." Somehow I don't think it was the exact same situation. And if it was, how irresponsible can you get? Risking your child's life because you wanted to experience something? Puleeze.

Parenting. Translation: The Best and Only Way to Raise Children Across the Country and Around the World. Of course the "best" is always the way that particular person is handling the situation and anyone who finds themselves doing anything different will be dooming their child to a live of hopelessness and helplessness where no one will ever love them.

Child development milestones. I will never understand why, but where two moms gather, there begin the comparisons.. my kid is walking before yours... mine is talking... well mine knows his ABCs... well MINE is reading Tolstoy.... We attended a Barbeque recently and one of the women there once again invited me to their playgroup the next day. They were going to meet at a park where the kids could play outside. I tried to be nice and mumbled something about how maybe I'd come if I could, but we'd have to see what my working-at-home-load was for the next day. After dinner, KingofHearts spent an inordinate amount of time trying to convince me to go. He thinks I need "friends". I'd also like to point out here that he wasn't encouraging me to go for Dormouse 's sake... she has plenty of friends through church and preschool, so she's not really needing a playgroup to provide important socialization opportunities. Basically, he thinks I need important socialization opportunities. He finally guilted me into reluctantly saying I would go because the other moms had been nice enough to ask me and I just sound ungrateful every time I say 'thanks but no thanks'. I hated the idea, but agreed to go because it was somehow the right thing to do.

The next day I woke up, looked out the window and saw rain, rain and more rain pouring down from the sky.

Proof that God loves me and wants me to be happy.

My thoughts: 

Me in 3 Seconds

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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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