Mathematics

Posted on 5/31/2008 04:16:00 AM
Add one garden hose + one sunny day + one lawn in need of water + several spots in the lawn where grass won't grow.

Multiply that by one spastic four year old + one bathing suit.

Equals:


and some holes in the lawn.

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B Movies

Posted on 5/30/2008 04:46:00 AM
For some reason, this photo reminds me of
Frankenstein's monster attacking the villagers.



Of course in the end, we all know the villagers won out
and the monster crawled away crying.



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Contemplation

Posted on 5/29/2008 06:37:00 AM

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Evolution Leaps Forward

Posted on 5/28/2008 08:40:00 PM
The first few months of The Caterpillar's life, she was basically just a blob.

Then she graduated into an impatient, screaming blob.


Lately, however, she's become almost a little person.

The last two weeks, she has ramrodded through developmental milestones like
Muck the Bulldozer. It never ceases to amaze me how children learn and develop... sometimes they'll just go along being their same old selves and then all of the sudden, it's like a wall was knocked down and they casually stroll through it, all the while looking at you like, "What?" For example, just two weeks ago, self-feeding with The Caterpillar was like watching a monkey with his hand caught in a trap.



And this is her today:


(Impatient too.)

Here's a list of other things The Caterpillar is doing today that she didn't do two weeks ago:
  • Sitting independently for extended periods of time without falling on her face
  • Getting from her belly or back to a sitting position
  • Getting from sitting position to crawling position
  • Crawling to get a toy (or some other unsafe item that has been forgotten on the floor)
  • Crawling into another room to find me
  • Pulling herself up to a standing position
  • Cruising the furniture
  • Pulling down chairs onto herself
  • Splashing water in the bathtub
  • Laughing at The Dormouse's antics

She's gotten a lot more adept in all the other stuff she'd been doing all along and I've had up the monitoring a notch as well. No longer can you leave the baby on the floor for a minute or two and come back to find it in the same place. The other day, The KingofHearts was home alone with her and went to the bathroom only to come back to find no baby. He looked in the kitchen. No baby. He looked down the stairwell. No baby (whew! - and yes, there's now a baby gate there). Just before assuming she had learned how to unlock the door and hail a cab, he heard a noise. She had crawled behind the rocking chair and was lying on her back, grinning up at him - amused that she had just Punk'd Daddy.

She's faster than me too. The other day at the office she ate most of a Post-it note before I could even get it out of her hands. And I saw her pick it up. And I was holding her at the time.

I fear for my future.

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Biter Biscuits #2

Posted on 5/26/2008 07:44:00 AM
It gets much worse.


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Introducing...

Posted on 5/25/2008 07:38:00 AM
Miss Sad Face:


She apparently doesn't like the peek-a-boo game.

Is it wrong that we kept playing playing the game until we got a good picture? No? Greatkthanxbye.

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Well, At Least She's Reading

Posted on 5/23/2008 03:13:00 PM
I have this habit of making up games to engage The Dormouse and keep her awake in the car when we're driving back from somewhere late enough that it would ruin her bedtime if she fell asleep. It's one way my selfishness has worked to my advantage in child rearing. I don't want her to get good and rested in the car and then not want to go to sleep when we get home or wake up earlier than I do in the morning. So I keep her awake, but not throwing a fit, by saying, "Can you find the color green? Can you find an X? What's this instrument playing on the radio? Can you find a rhombus? Can you tell me what pi is to the fifteenth decimal point?" OK - maybe not those last couple, but she's getting older so don't think I'm not leaving those in my bag of tricks for later.

I'm convinced that these silly little games we play to make the car rides seem less boring have at least in part contributed to her continued interest in reading and the skills she now exhibits in that area. So let that be a lesson to all the other slacker moms out there: sometimes your shortcomings can end up being the best things about your parenting style.

It's become such a tradition that now when we get in the car, she initiates the game.

This was what we played on the way to preschool the other day:

"Momma, do you want to play a game while we're driving in the car?"

"Sure, baby. What game do you want to play?"

"Let's play Transportation Letter Think Of Game."

Another piece of advice to slacker moms: make sure some of these games involve grammar.

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Life: In Six Words or Less

Posted on 5/22/2008 01:44:00 AM
A few weeks ago... ok a few months ago, The Tewkesbury Chronicles suggested I participate in this Life in six words prompt. I didn't ignore it, per se. I just couldn't come up with anything that pleased me. Back in March, I wrote the following six words down and saved them in my drafts, hoping to come up with something better and finish the post:

No sleep much screaming kill me now

It's not six words... and it's not even a sentence. But, I think The KingofHearts could tell you, that was the closest thing to a sentence that came out of my mouth at the time I wrote it down.

I've been trying to complete this post ever since, but I'm afraid my ability to complete a sentence hasn't gotten any better. Three months later, things are different. But they're the same. There's still very little sleep. There's still lots of screaming. There's a little more independent ambulation than there was back then, but it really only involves The Caterpillar crawling over to my feet, biting my toe and screaming to be picked up.

Today was a particularly bad day. She had been doing much better with the sleeping at night, only waking up once and then going back down. This was a piece of cake for a lifetime insomniac such as myself. Until last night when she said, "Psych" and woke up screaming every two hours. Today was a take her to work day and she wasn't much better behaved there. There are days when I love having her there with me. It's great for morale - mine and others'. But the downside is that I'm always on edge. Always worried that she's disturbing someone or detracting from the professionalism of the office. Always trying to shush her and worried that my door is constantly closed and colleagues will feel like I'm not accessible. Tired of trying to type emails with one hand while a squirmy child attempts to wriggle out of my grasp and then scream loudly when she succeeds. She's normally a terrific baby. But on the days when she's not, it's just hard. I want to pull my hair out. I feel like everyone around me is grabbing at me and wants something from me. And sometimes, as much as I love holding her and cuddling her and having her near, I'm just touched out need a break from twenty four hours constant tactile stimulation. I want to turn in my mother card.

That was today.

But even then, I think about how terrific these two little beings are that have been entrusted to our care. How even at her most annoying, all The Dormouse has to do is give me one spontaneous, "Momma? I really love my family." and that makes up for all the shoes not put away and the messes made twenty seconds after I just cleaned up that area. And even on the worst days at the height of all the screaming and sleeplessness, The Caterpillar still can flash me one of those impish smiles for a split second and my heart melts all over again. I think about our first little girl and how much I would give to have had even one bad day with her.

So here are my six words:


Life is pretty damn cool sometimes.

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Youth Hostile's

Posted on 5/21/2008 06:19:00 PM
We have a long and complicated history with Friendly's. I'm not making any broad sweeping statements about the state of Friendly's restaurants throughout the US, but in general, we've found that the employees of Friendly's in our area are not, in fact, friendly.

One time The KingofHearts and I stopped in to the one near where we were living at the time for a quick bite and we were told they could not seat us because they had no food. Not: they were out of hamburgers, or bread, or milk necessary for the making of ice cream, but "no food." I asked why they didn't just close the restaurant and we were shooed out the door without so much as an "I'm sorry, come again sometime when we do have food." I wouldn't hold that one experience against the whole chain, but it seemed every time we walked into a Friendly's no matter where it was, we had a near Denny's experience. That's when we began referring to the restaurant as "Hostile's."

A couple of years ago, a Friendly's opened near where we now live. We stop in there every so often and find that we can always count on three things, slow service, lots of tables that need to be bussed, and that patented East coast Friendly's hostile attitude. So, needless to say, we don't go there a lot.


This weekend The Dormouse was invited to a birthday party for one of her friends which was held... you guess it... at Friendly's.
I would never have thought in a million years of holding kids' birthday parties there but apparently, it's not all that uncommon, because there was a whole brochure on the experience handed out to all the parents there. It promised:

The "Funnest" Parties
A party at Friendly's is a "no stress" birthday party because we handle everything, from invitation to clean up. Kids have a blast and parents rest easy.


Ignoring the inappropriate use of the quotation marks, let's evaluate. The brochure boasts:

WE PROVIDE
  • Invitations addressed, stamped and mailed for you!
    (ours was handed out by a four year old at preschool)
  • Awesome Kids' Meals
    (as long as your kid enjoys chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese)
  • Kid Friendly Cup with color changing straw
    (That will be served to your child a full twenty-five minutes before the meals come -- at which time all the kids will have consumed all the drinks. You parents will need to ask three times for some water to go with the meals. That, of course will be brought out ten minutes after the last child finished eating.)
  • Friendly's birthday song
    (As long as you don't expect any Friendly employees to sing it because they don't know what you're talking about. Is there really even a Friendly's birthday song? You will sing Happy Birthday yourself.)
  • Activity Book or placemat & crayons
    (Or crayons at least. The activity book is really the birthday tablecloth that the birthday girl's mother brought. The kids will enjoy drawing on it however. Also putting holes in it with their crayons.)
  • Fun Friendly's apron
    (...that your child will refuse to wear, because... what the hell... a paper apron? Even a child knows it's only marginally classier than a lobster bib.)
  • A designated party area for up to an hour and a half and a party attendant
    (And you'll need that hour and a half because there will be thirty minutes between the end of one course and the beginning of the next. And because drinks are considered a course. Also, you'll need to continually stop the party and shoo the kids to the sidelines because the "party attendant" keeps bringing elderly couples right through the middle of your party to seat them -- even though there is another route through the non-party area.)
  • A helium balloon for every child
    (And every child will let go of it between the front door and the car.)
  • All the set-up and clean up
    (If by set up, you mean the table and chairs are already there. If you want decorations or a table cloth, you gots to do that yourself.)
  • Your choice of an ice cream cake or a "create your own sundae" event.
    (Ours was the create a sundae. Twenty minutes after the last child knocks his empty plate on the floor, the "party attendant" will bring out three bowls of gummy bears and sprinkles and set them in front of the kids. She will expect them not to eat the candy for fifteen more minutes when she brings two bowls of ice cream on which to put said candy. She will not dish up the ice cream. She will simply put the bowls down on the table and leave, expecting four year olds to do it themselves without coating the walls with ice cream. You parents will freak and all jump up to make the sundaes for the kids. There will be no whipped cream, there will be no chocolate sauce, no maraschino cherries, no nuts... just the scoop of ice cream with some crappy sprinkles on it.)
  • A Friendly's Awesome Birthday Bash T-shirt for the birthday child
    (They have to provide this to convince the child she did, in fact have an awesome birthday bash.)
  • A nametag for each child.
    (This, I can aver, is accurate.)

So... if you're looking for a great birthday idea for your kid and you're tired of all those fun moon bounce, clown and magic show type parties, may I suggest Friendly's? Because at least when the party attendant brings the bill and you ask "Is the tip included?" the party attendant will say testily, "I don't know." ...and you will feel justified when you don't tip her.

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Shake Shake Shake

Posted on 5/17/2008 02:18:00 AM
I bought this shakere at a conference several years ago and when I got home I hung it on the rear view mirror or my car. I'm not saying it has magical powers or anything, but it's outlasted four cars. Or maybe I just need to work on improving my driving record.


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Hee-Yaw!

Posted on 5/16/2008 09:58:00 AM
For The Caterpillar's baby shower, my boss very kindly gave us a gift certificate to Dream Dinners. It's one of those places that are cropping up where you go and put together dinners in a controlled environment and then store them in freezer bags and take them home and keep them in the deep freeze until you're ready to take them out, pop them in a pan and cook them up. Genius. But even with a new baby and the convenience it might have provided, it was still a matter of finding some time to go there and put the dinners together. So several months went by and I still had not used the gift certificate. Which never looks good when the person who gave it to you is someone you see every day and asks, "Hey, how did you like the gift I gave you?" and you have to say, "Um, yeah... I didn't bother to use it yet."

I finally decided that I'd better get to it around February and called them up to see when I could get out there and use it. The lovely woman at the franchise closest to me said on the phone, "You know if you don't really have time to come out and put the meals together yourself, we can package them for you for a small packaging fee -- which we will even waive if you order enough servings."

To which, I replied, "Well hell, then SIGN ME UP!"

I was just going to do it to use up the gift certificate so I could report to the giver how much I had liked it but guess what? They turned out to be AWESOME! Since then, I've gone back to order a supply of dinners each month.

They're not nearly as expensive as I would have thought. That being said, I don't think I spend any less money on groceries. Basically I replace one grocery trip per month with this place. But I come home with real, put together meals instead of cookies, chips and bags and bags of cheese. I also can't say that I've spent any less time than I normally would in the kitchen -- you still have to cook whatever it is. But instead of the fifteen minutes it would have taken me to make macaroni and cheese or some other thing that comes from a box, I'm cooking things like Thai Fusion Shrimp, Beef Skewers & Sweet Garlic Mustard Glaze, or Mango Glazed Indian Salmon. These are things I would never make in a million years on my own - even if I did have the time. Since some people won't come to my house and be my personal chef, this is a pretty darn good substitute. We even eat meals now at the new table - something I'm trying to be very adult about so that my child will be raised knowing how to sit at a table and exhibit etiquette rather than enjoying every meal on the living room floor in front of the television making sarcastic comments about the stupidity of the evening news.

A couple of weeks ago, the community where my Dream Dinners is located had a spring community day and Dream Dinners set up a table. They lured me in with their taunts of "There will be a moon bounce" and I stuck around for the demonstration from the martial arts studio across the street. I hesitate to even post these because once The KingofHearts sees them and realizes how close this is, we will have yet another discussion about how it's time to get The Dormouse involved in martial arts and maybe we could sign her up there... oh and while we're at it, let's sign up The Caterpillar too because after all, she's not getting any younger.




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Yikes

Posted on 5/15/2008 03:34:00 PM
You can take away my mother of the year award for what I'm about to admit, but every time I see something like this:


I have to resist the urge


To lift up my foot


And knock her over.


Seriously people. Crawling and pulling up at seven months is just a bit too soon for my tastes. The Dormouse just got up and started walking at seven months - skipped crawling completely - and I was hoping for a bit of a reprieve. What's the big hurry already?

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Water Droplet

Posted on 5/13/2008 03:55:00 AM

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As Seen at Target

Posted on 5/12/2008 09:55:00 AM
Do you think Target employees are illiterate or just smart asses?


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Bleeding Heart Twins

Posted on 5/11/2008 01:53:00 AM

I just got a new macro lens for my camera. Can you tell?

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Apple Marketing to Infants

Posted on 5/10/2008 03:27:00 AM
The Caterpillar isn't usually interested in television. Truth be told, it's on so often in my house, she probably just thinks it's like so much furniture. But there is one thing that can quell any bad mood, stall any crying fit, and make her smile without fail. Want to know what it is?




I'm not kidding. Every time this commercial comes on, her attention goes straight to the television and she gets a giant smile on her face.



Apparently, The Caterpillar has taken sides in the Mac vs. PC wars.

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Well Intended

Posted on 5/09/2008 03:48:00 AM
Me to the Dormouse: "Hey honey, would you mind getting me a drink of water from the fridge?"

DM: "Of course I would mind of getting you a drink. I would mind of doing anything for you Momma."

She actually means she'll do it. The phrase wouldn't mind apparently still eludes her.

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What I Want for Mothers' Day

Posted on 5/08/2008 06:40:00 PM
Parent Bloggers' Network and Johnson's are sponsoring a blog blast for this one hundredth anniversary of Mothers' Day.

I'm not a big pay attention to me on Mother's Day type person. My potted plant from last year's mandatory church event died about three minutes after I got it home - and I even remembered to plant it this year. I don't really have an idea of how I'd like to be recognized for Mothers' Day so my submission for this is probably going to be a little sparse. Here goes:

The other day I got an email from my mother that said simply this:


I want a card for Mothers Day.

I answered this way:


I want eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

She responded:


Laugh clown, laugh.


She's not getting a card, by the way. But only because I am contrary and don't respond well to being told what to do. It's genetic. Ha! This'll have to do.


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Needing a Little Validation

Posted on 5/08/2008 02:44:00 PM

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Smart Assery While Driving

Posted on 5/07/2008 06:31:00 AM
Here's a brief glimpse into why our relationship works. Yesterday we were in the car, stopped at a light next to a Metrobus. I looked over and saw a sticker on its side window with a picture of the Metrobus and the words:

Why Travel Any Other Way?


I read it aloud and this exchange (meant for no one, really) followed:

Me: Ummm... because I want to get there on time?

KingofHearts: Because I want someone to actually show up when I need to be picked up?


Me: And I'd like to not be accosted on the way.


KoH: Oh... and the stink.


Clearly, we were meant for each other.

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The Many Faces of Caterpillar

Posted on 5/06/2008 04:57:00 PM
How many emotions can a baby show in less than thirty seconds?













Answer: Many


This is why we call her Labile Affect Girl.

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Happy 5th of May

Posted on 5/05/2008 01:06:00 PM
I know Someecards wrote this as a joke, but this happened to a friend and the person to whom she wished a Happy Cinco de Mayo was very offended.


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Conversations Among Siblings

Posted on 5/02/2008 02:18:00 AM
In the car, while we're driving:

Caterpillar: Aaaaaeeeeeeeeeeeee!


Dormouse: Aaaaaeeeeeeeeeeeee!


Dormouse: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!


Caterpillar: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!


Caterpillar: Oooooooooaaaeeeeeeee!


Dormouse: Oooooooooaaaeeeeeeee!


Dormouse: Arrrrrrrgh!

Caterpillar: Arrrrrrrgh!

KingofHearts: I think they just had their very first sister to sister heart to heart.

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Camping Bugs

Posted on 5/01/2008 06:22:00 AM
Around here, we have the Eastern Tent Caterpillar which spins these lovely webs all over -- sometimes hundreds in one tree. Last year, The Dormouse had great fun pointing them out where ever she saw them when we were driving in the car, but I don't think she ever got to actually see one up close as they are generally very high up.


This one is in a small tree outside her preschool and low enough for her to get a good look at. Every day when I drop her off, we must complete the ritual of stopping and checking on the "silkworms."


If there's one thing that having a child does for you, it's make you appreciate little things like annoying bugs and caterpillars that eat all your plants and see them in a whole different light.

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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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