Friday, February 29, 2008

Repair Man

I talk a lot about Avee's sassiness and you guys get to see some of it when I capture it on film. Just like most kids, she's 100% her self when she's at home with us, but a little different when others are around. A lot different, actually. She gets more quiet, she sometimes acts shy, and I really mean ACTS---I know for a fact she isn't feeling shy in the least. She's also quite obedient. Another thing she never has done and never will do--is perform. "Avee, count to 3!" she all but gives me the finger. She was like this before it seemed even possible for a child to be like this. Little things she would do with me at 6 months, as soon as she knew there was someone watching or expecting, she'd turn up her nose.

She also hasn't ever really been a big talker. She says what needs to be said to get what she needs to get. In contrast to Bo, who could talk so long, you could go to Taco Bell and get a value meal #17 hold the tomatoes with a Wild Cherry Pepsi, get back, eat it, vacuum the entire house, watch an episode of America's Next Top Model, and THEN he'd say, "Right?" or "Isn't that cool?" and you could say "Mmmm-hmmmmm" and he'd be off again. He was like that even before he could talk. He'd jabber with the same inflection as though he were actually saying something, but it was all nonsensical. Well, to us it was.

Well, Avee has started monologuing. She likes to recount entire afternoons for J or entire, laboriously long, unnecessarily detailed accounts of conversations with her friend Ella. It's cute because she has a tiny little voice and because she randomly interjects the words "but" and "just" throughout her sentences. Every "story" has one of the two phrases in it, "And then I just cwyyyyyy, I was sad but I cwyyyyyed." Or "And that make me SO MAD. But I was not vaarry mad, but I was just MAD." (I'm wondering if it's me, both of my kids do this, "I like it, but not very much, I kind of hate it" thing, is that normal?)

Well, this new chatterbox way is pretty much just at home with me and J. She gets this way with her 9-year-old best friend's mom. And it always strikes me as unusual when she does this.

And this may seem totally unrelated, but it is the main point of this entire post. I'm an excellent writer.

We have had a repair man come here that is totally and completely, hawt. H-O-T, hot. I can honestly say, since I became exclusive with Jay and especially since we've gotten married, I've barely noticed other men. I'm not even the type to ogle. But, it's unavoidable with this guy. The first time he showed up at my door I think I stuttered. I'm sure I gurgled some greeting as though it was intelligible. He's probably used to it. Frumpy, unshowered, bootcamp-workout-clothes-wearing, housewives gurgling at him.

The next time he came was about a week ago. Avee walked by the bathroom where he was crouched down and her eyes lit up and she turned to me and said, "Who's hees name!?" He told her his name and she tilted her head down with her chin on her chest and batted her eyes as she smiled one of her prize-winning smiles. I could.not. believe it.

That night I mentioned to J that the hot repair man had come by. And that I wasn't the only one who had a crush on him. J thought it was hilarious.

Yesterday he came back to replace the door he was repairing. Avee sat at the kitchen table coloring. And started talking nonstop. NONSTOP. I have never seen anything like it. "I'm Avee" she tells him. That's the other thing, she NEVER tells people her name. It's one of those things that is categorized in her little mind as "performing" and "what the man wants, that I ain't gonna give". Sometimes when people ask her name, she's bark at them, "I'm TWO. You're NOT!" but that's about as good as it gets. So, she tells him her name and then starts telling him her adventures. She found a "lay-dee bug in the bafroom and it was dayyyynjoh-rus and I didn't cwy but I didn't touch it because it's just daynjoh-rus and I'm just a little gee-rl..." She pulled out every card. These are cards she came to this earth carrying. I have NEVER known how to flirt. I have NEVER understood the "role" girls play to get the guy. It totally befuddles me. But here was my 2 year old, talking about something dangerous, how brave she was, how little and helpless she was.

When he left, she was still talking. He tried to be polite and not leave while she was talking, but she wouldn't stop. He said, "I'm going to go play in the snow now" and she said, "That's nice. I'm staying here to color. It's too cold out there for me. I'm just a little gee-rl."

When J got home, I couldn't wait to tell him about our little hussy. I said, "The repair man came today..." and before I could finish J said, "So, it was a good day for you, huh?"

It was a good day for BOTH his girls. :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Genius Runs In The Family

On Sunday at church Bo's teacher read the kids a "spin-off" of Green Eggs and Ham. He LOVED. He more than loved it. He became immediately obsessed.

Bo doesn't typically come out and say things like "I LOVED THAT BOOK!" That's more my style. He's like his dad, information comes out more subtly and like little clues. At lunch he said, "Sam I Am's brotho doesn't like chohch at all, I mean, not even a little bit." I asked a few find out questions and figured out where that remark came from. J has a brother named Sam, so I wondered if Bo was being prophetic---but he wasn't.

Later that night Bo came up to me at the computer and said, "You know how we found all the 'How Does a Dinosaur Say Goodnight' books on the internet? Could you help me find all the Green Eggs and Ham books?" Finally I called his teacher and asked what in the world he'd read to Bo that had him so interested. It was just a goofy made-up book someone made for him while he was on his mission.

Last night he brought it over. I showed it to Bo this morning. I said, "This is B's book, he is just letting us look at it for a day or two so we have to take really good care of it and then give it back to him after we've read it a few times."

Bo asks, "Then will he make it into a movie so we can rent it?"

Uhhhh. No.

"Oh, we have to wait for someone else to make it into a movie?"

He's optimistic. And a tiiiiiiiiiiitch addicted to TV.

On the other, totally unrelated hand, I had an epiphany this morning. If you can call it that.

You know how there are some songs with some phrases that just stick in your head. Over decades. Even if you don't even really know that song?

I'm not the only one, right?

Well, Loverboy's "Lovin' Every Minute of It" is one of those songs for me. I know who sings it, and the actual title because of Google. I would have told you it was Aer0smith "Love In An Elevator" as though I actually know that song.

So, I'm wrestling around with the kids and I'm throwing Avee up in the air and Bo across the room and I start to randomly sing.

As I have sung it a thousand times before, "Turn that dial, all the way--shoot me like a rocket in dismay-ay! Lovin' every minute of it..."

My children don't judge me. Much. The laugh and squeal wether they are being thrown around to accurate lyrics or completely nonsensical ones just the same.

Suddenly, while Avee is mid-air and Bo is barrelling back toward me for another launch, I realize, I bet it's not "in dismay"! I bet it's "into space" because rockets tend to go into space a lot more than thay go in dismay.

I am a genius. It only took me about 20 years to figure this out.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Comedy Central We're Not

A couple of months ago I was babysitting my friend's three children. They are 9, 7, and Bo's age. We were eating dinner when all sorts of mayhem broke loose in the form of knock-knock jokes. Actually, it was every joke any of them could think of, at the top of their lungs. Everything was funny, no one really needed an audience, and it was total chaos.

Bo and Avee definitely appreciate loud, obnoxious "jokes", so they were very much enjoying this version of mealtime. Bo was actively involved in the yelling and raucous laughter.

Avee was delighted and laughing a lot, but other than the giggling, she was pretty quiet.

Until about 8 minutes into all the noise, she put down her spoon, lifted her chin up high, and yelled at the top of her lungs, "POOOOOP!"

If she hadn't been in a booster chair that strapped her in, I'm certain she would have been on the floor for the hysterical laughing that immediately followed. The other kids all started laughing at the tiny little girl with a tiny little voice, screaming something totally inappropriate (even compared to their own jokes) at the dinner table.

I admit, I couldn't even maintain my role as Mature Adult. I laughed out loud at this little peek into Avee's world of "what's funny".

Because of my lost of composure, I created a monster. Now it doesn't matter how many times I tell her that kind of stuff really isn't all that funny, she just remembers the first time.

And so I give you, Saturday afternoon at my house:

Friday, February 22, 2008

Bloggin' ADD

Without anything even noteworthy, this week has just been hectic. Or something. I feel kind of lame calling it hectic. Because, if someone were to say, "oh yeah, why has it been so hectic?" I really wouldn't be able to give a good reason.

Right now I want to bite the head off of two very loud little boys. Instead, I'm typing.

A 19 year old girl I worked with who has seizures (she worked a different shift, we only worked together once--last Saturday) died on Wednesday. The girls she worked with are really having a hard go of it. Understandably. My heart just breaks for her parents. No parent should have to suffer that pain.

My friend Jennifer came to visit me over the weekend. Jennifer is my best friend from high school. She and her daughter were my first visitors since moving here.

I am a sloth. She is full of energy. She loves me anyway. We didn't even really compromise. She just had to endure my sloth-like ways.

Which reminds me, I have been very Cheryl-esque lately. (Cheryl is my mom.)

Here's how it all started. I found some awesome shampoo. It actually makes my hair straight. I can hardly contain myself how much joy this brings me. As a result, I feel compelled to share this with everyone I know. And even some people I don't know. I don't have curly hair. I have nappy hair that frizzes and has random, unsightly, unpleasant waves and curves and funky doodle-doos. This is courtesy of my 3 children. I had lovely hair before they came along. I also had a waist.

Well. The reason this is Cheryl-esque is this:
When I was a junior in high school I met Jennifer in our American History class. We were like this strange combination of very alike while never two more different people. One of our first encounters I noticed a bruise on her arm. She said she got it from wrestling with her boyfriend (that is truly how she got it). Well, I somberly removed my headphones (I was wearing headphones and listening to a walkman in American History!? What is that about!?) and placed them on her head and cued the music (fast forward, stop, listen, fast forward, stop, listen, fast forward, fast forward, fast forward, stop, listen, rewind...oh, that'll do.) to Reba's "She Fell Down the Stairs Again". I didn't know it at the time, but she thought it was hilarious. I have no memory of the incident. Because I have the self-preservation ability to wipe from my memory all the really inane things I do.

We slowly became friends. One day I brought her home to hang out at my house. Jennifer is quirky and random and hilarious and very intelligent. She's an eclectic combination of characteristics. My mom thought she was mentally challenged. Really truly. After Jennifer left that night, my mom was uncharacteristically curious about Jennifer and how we came to be friends. Finally it came out that my mom thought she was mentally challenged and she couldn't really figure out how our paths crossed in school. There was no judgement about me having made friends with a slow girl---she was just genuinely curious how we met. You know, because I was in AP classes. Listening to Reba.

When I thought back on some of the things Jennifer said and did, I couldn't stop laughing. My mom just couldn't figure out some of her behaviors, and that was the conclusion she came to. To this day, we laugh pretty heartily about this. I haven't really lived in my hometown since I graduated from high school, and in those 14 years, my mom and Jennifer have developed their own friendship.

But, what's especially funny to me, is that even given that my mom thought Jennifer was slower than average and not able to grasp a lot, she didn't treat her any differently than anyone else.

Back to that night Jennifer was at my house, it was about 9:30 pm and Jennifer was about to walk out our front door. Suddenly, my mom came flying out of the front bathroom holding a bottle of shampoo. (I think it was Agree. Does that shampoo still exist?) She holds it up, as good as if she were doing a commercial and said somewhat urgently, "Jennifer wait! We just LOVE this shampoo." Jennifer didn't quite know what to do with the information. I didn't quite know where my mom was coming from either. She gave a couple of reasons why "we loved it so much" and when she was done, she turned around and went back into the bathroom.

Jennifer looked at me, hoping for insight, I just shrugged, we laughed, and she went home.

My mom is random. In a helpful way. And I have become the very same.

I even told a girl I work with who has the straightest (and quite thin) hair ever invented about the shampoo that straightens hair. She looked at me for a moment (as though I were slow myself) and then said politely, "I'm really more in the market for shampoo that thickens and gives body."

To summarize: Hectic for no reason week, Jennifer came to visit, found great shampoo, my mom likes to tell people about shampoo for no reason at all, plus she used to think Jennifer was mentally challenged, I tell people about shampoo, therefore, I am becoming my mother.
The end.

p.s. try not to submit this post to any "Pure Gold Writing" contests. I'm just trying to keep it real here.

p.p.s Spell check works again! I only misspelled "eclectic". Who knew it didn't have 5 C's?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

11:17 AM

That's what time Avee woke up today. With the fiercest case of bedhead I've seen in a LONG time.

Of course I took pictures.

This video is from a couple of weeks ago.

A little background; often while I am taking a shower Avee will come and busy herself in the bathroom. Even if J is home. Even if her favorite show is on tv. It's just one of those things she's gotten into her head and she won't let go. So, one of those times she was relatively unsupervised in the bathroom, she discovered a Clinique bag under the sink. It was full of lipstick (my mom gives me anywhere from 5 to 73 tubes a year---they're all "my color" and as a result, absolutley vital that I own them) and fingernail polish. Two things I think I'll wear but rarely do. Instead they are all crammed in a Clinique bag and forgotten under the sink.

Well, Avee thought she had died and gone to heaven. Truly. There was never a more perfect bag in existence and she could hardly believe she lived before she found this bag.

It was her constant companion for probably 4 days straight.

I have a weakness as a mother. If I see something like that bringing my child so much joy, it's hard for me to be really strict about it. In reality, a 2 year old should not have free reign with a bag of lipstick and polish. But most of her joy was in carrying the bag and I was indulgent. She was actually pretty moderate and puts on lipstick with a surprising amount of skill. Considering I'm her mother...

Anyway, one of the times she was lathering on the lipstick, she and I had words. You won't see much of her because she's "hiding" under the dining table---this is where she goes to make the bad and bossy parent disappear. I feel like this exchange is very classic Avee/Mama.

p.s. I usually don't drag out dialogue or drag out/forget I'm counting, for those of you worried about my despicable parenting skills. It was all for the love of the film.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pet Peeve # 6

"Hi Nobody! How are you doing?"
"Well, this is _________. I'm wondering, are you busy tonight?"

What the?
Of course I'm busy tonight! I have 3 children.
Am I too busy for a delivery of a million dollars?
Am I too busy to go into work and take my 3 kids, one of whom has been running a fever since Saturday night, and I can't leave with her daddio because he is taking a class until 9 pm?

Don't ask me if I'm busy. Don't ask me if I can do you a favor, expecting an answer before you give the details of the favor.

Don't call my house at 7:40 AM to ask me those kinds of questions either.

If there's a problem, yo---I'll solve it. But don't try to trick me into being helpful. I've learned the hard way how to say no; even when it feels mean to do it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Morning Cartoons

Land Before Time Dinosaurs who's contracts have lasted 14 times longer than the Arrested Development cast: ♪ "Oops-eeps, I made a mistake! ♬ If you do something you can't take back you say, oops-eeps,♬ I made a mistake!" ad nauseum.

Bo who perhaps listens a little too closely to his father's tv watching sarcasm and smack talk sings back: ♪ O' you could just say 'oops' ♬ and not be so annoying when you make a mistake. ♬

I'm sure J is so proud.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Michelle

I was thinking this morning as I was doing the dishes for the first time in about 10 days, about compliments. Or more specifically, the effect of our words. I read in a book a long time ago something along the lines of, "If we knew the affect our words had on other people, we would choose silence." And yesterday on Dr. Phil, or sometime in the past week when I was flipping through dozens of channels at the rate of 27 channels per second, I heard him say something like this: "When we get to the end of our life, we will see clearly the impact our decisions have had on others." I really do believe that.

Nothing has made me more aware of how I speak or what I say than my own children. Sometimes my kids will repeat back to me what they've heard me say and I'm horrified. It just sounds wrong coming out of the mouth of a sweet 3 year old with a speech impediment.  Or I will lose my cool with them and I see their devastated little faces looking up at me. Yeah, nothing makes me feel like a schmuck faster than that.

But there are times when people say things so small, almost in passing, and it can change how you view the world. Or it can be just the thing you need to hear to make a positive decision in your life. Or sadly, a negative one. I want to focus a little more on the positive though.

When I was 22 I was leaving my mission and feeling in some ways, on top of the world, and in other ways, more vulnerable than I had ever felt in my life. Although on my mission I spent 18 months talking about things quite personal, I also had the security of being a missionary. It was expected of me. I had a tag that proved it was my job to do what I did. I was with 150 other girls doing the same thing. Going home would mean leaving that security. It also meant freedom. And boys. And no more dresses. And sleeping in. I digress...

I had the same kind of strange insecurity when I graduated from college and no longer had the identity of "student" to fall back on; no more good excuses for being lazy, irresponsible, acting like 17 credits was the hardest thing any person has ever done, paying $130 rent, never owning a single piece of kitchenware... That was a hard transition for me.

Anyway, as I was leaving my mission, I was excited and happy on the outside. And terrified on the inside. I was terrified about things that just didn't make sense. I would be re-entering the dating world and with that came the very annoying practice of making myself interesting, attractive, and desirable to the opposite sex. A feat I never truly achieved. :) This was one of my many secret anxieties. A couple of days before I left my mission I found a note in my mailbox. It was a piece of notebook paper with just a quick note scrawled upon it.

It was from my friend Michelle.  Even though I hadn't expressed much to her of my fears, she had written several things I really needed to hear.  One thing in particular jumped out at me. She couldn't have known of my unspoken fears but she had written something about how the person I married would adore me so completely because I am easily capable of being adored that much. She wrote it a lot better.

I carried that piece of paper with me and knew exactly where it was at any given time until I was about 25. Which incidentally, coincides with when I met J. I read it and reread it when I was home alone on a Friday night and my friends all had dates. I read and reread it when I had to break up with a boyfriend. I read and reread and reread it when I moved to St. Louis and suddenly became the queen of all bumbling idiots in front of any guy I liked. I remember driving home from one guy's house one night and I started crying. I had been SO stupid and I was just so sad that at 25 I was just learning that I had acute adult onset stupidity.

That night I happened to IM with J (who was just a friend) and I expressed my dismay at my stupidity and he responded, "I doubt he put as much stock in it as you did". I'm sure he has no memory of the conversation, but it was exactly what I needed to hear. Interestingly enough, that very statement has been a prevalent theme in our marriage.

There's no way Michelle could have known the impact that note would have on me. I think about that note all the time when I have a desire to do something nice and then brush it off thinking it won't really make that much of a difference. Even after everything I've just written, I can't fully articulate how profound of an effect that note had on me. Sometimes it was just the comfort of knowing that someone who knew me, warts 'n all still thought that about me.

I want to be more mindful of the things I say. I want the things I say and do to have a positive effect. I think we can all really make some positive ripples if we actively work at saying and doing things that will help bring people up. And we don't even have to wait for an opportunity, we can make them. One of the things I love most about Michelle's note was, it wasn't solicited by me having a hard day or being blue, she just thought it and she wrote it. I wonder if she even remembers....

Edited to add: I still have the note. Just came across it a couple of months ago in a move. 2013.  Don't know where my birth certificate is, but this note--it's safe.

Monday, February 11, 2008

How To Effectively Take Out A Mommy Blogger

How My Life Went to the Pits in One Week or Less.

Geez Luh-weez!

Get a job. Get sick. Get baby sick. Get husband sick. Spend hours holding and nursing an inconsolable and inconursable baby. Maybe I mean insatiable. Get crappy sleep. Be lazy all day. House goes to pot. If you don't know what "goes to pot" means, ask my mom. She may have made up that phrase. Or it could mean something like "house looks like you are a busy smoking pot" and she doesn't know that and repeats it. Like the time she told my high school principal, referring to my brother, "Well, I guess he's SOL then, isn't he?" We were shocked as we stood there and watched her do it. The principal I remember, a very mono-emotive kind of guy let his eyebrows raise and a small smile cross his face. As we were driving away we asked her if she knew what "SOL" even meant. Sure she did. It means "So outta luck!" Actually, we tell her, it means....
She jumped a curb and cut off 4 cars in the half a block it took for her to drive back to the school and clear her name with our principal. So, if you want to know what "goes to pot" means, ask my mom.

I feel good, but still mildly overwhelmed by all the tasks at hand. I think that may mean I'm fully recovered.

J's still home sick.

The baby is crying again. I can't do anything for him, so I'm ignoring him. That's good parenting, right?

I'm leaving you with a coupla videos of healthier times.
A pillow fight and a sword fight.
Pardon the mess. I have...children.

Sorry about my often annoying, never funny commentary. If I could mute it, I would.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Last of the Medicated Kind

I am just today feeling even remotely like having my eyes open and not being flat on my back. And that's just because I'm a big girl. Deep down inside, I still want to be curled up in bed for hours on end. Sadly, I haven't had that luxury this whole week. Danyo is such a baby. He's all, "feed me now, hold me too, oh-oh, I think I need my diaper changed too!" Whatever man, it's your reputation, not mine.

I am more than a little shocked that a tiny three letter word could do this to someone as grand as me. Danyo's caught it. I tried really hard to avoid the kids this week. I also tried to not let them get my germs. Nursing Danyo made it almost inevitable. He's a little more like his father when he's sick. I woke up in the night thrashing and moaning from the sweats and the chills and the constant discomfort. I like the world to know of my suffering. Sometimes if J slept through any of my "vocalizing" I'd "accidentally" bump him. Hard. I do not like to suffer alone.

Danyo on the other hand, is a happy middle of the nighter. He was obviously uncomfortable, so he couldn't sleep. I pulled him into our bed and he partied for like 2 and a half hours. I would fall asleep and wake up to his tiny little closed fist rhythmically pounding on my ear. Or kidney. Accompanied by his two new favorite words, "Dyah! Dyah. Dyah..." I'd roll over and make eye contact, his face would light up and he'd change to, "Mumumuh! Muhmuhmuh!" All of this with a fever, snotty nose, and inevitably, body aches. If only we could all be so brave when we have the flu...

So, this morning I took Bo to school. He had in his school bag two framed pictures. One of him with his dad and one of baby Danyo. For show and tell he is supposed to bring "something he loves" to share. He was particularly happy to not be taking a picture of Avee. I go back and forth between being troubled by his attitude toward Avee and figuring it's "normal". Truth be told, I have no idea.

He got out of the van and greets his teacher with, "I know that my bag sho' is heavy today!"

It is that very kind of cuteness that just makes me want to grab him and cover him in kisses and never let him go. I was very mature though. I smiled, gave him a little push to get him out of my van, and drove away. I tell you, motherhood is hard.

So, when I got home, my neighbor was just loading her two kids in the car to take them to school. We've had tons of snow in the last 2 days and her car is sort of stuck and she can't get out. I was just about to step my tired, weary, sickly body inside and I glanced back. I got the pleading look. Before I can stop myself, I ask, "Do you need some help?" Not picking up on the verbal clues of slippers, pajamas, matted hair, bags under my eyes, halitosis (not verbal, but almost tangible), and knocked knees, she answers, "Yes, that would be great." I stand on my steps, completely overwhelmed at the prospect of actually trying to push her little rice grinder out of the snow. So I said, "Hey, let me just take them to school, my car's warm and cleared off---I'll just take them."

Now, these two boys have spent countless hours in my home. Countless.

She says, "Oh that would be so great, thank you so much!" I say, "No problem, just don't ask me to push that car out of the snow." In my head, of course.

Then she says to her boys, "Come on guys, get out of the car, you're going to go to school with...."

There's a long pause that ends abruptly in silence.

She doesn't know my name. At. All.

It made me laugh. Out loud. Fortunately I'm sick so my laugh evolved very quickly into a hacking cough and I could cover up my rudeness.

When I got home I told J the story (he's home sick, did I mention that?). He gave me a courtesy laugh (he's not rude like me, he doesn't get as much joy out of making fun of others as I do) and then asks me, "So, do you know her name?"

He's such a killjoy.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Armchair Heckler

I am soooooooooooo sick right now. I'm also heavily medicated,so if this doesn't make any sense, blame Pfizer. I wanted to "document" a Bo story.

The other day I saw a "life-size" Diego on the tv. Actually, it was a gigantic Diego, the small children he entertains daily, who I thought were his peers, are dwarfed next to this gigantic Diego. He's coming to town so there are commercials of this gigantic Diego all the time. As I'm looking at this Diego I'm thinking, "Geez, why'd they have to make him so big, he's supposed to be a kid, like that's even realistic." Then I remembered that I'm a grown woman and I have better things to do with my time and my thoughts than to worry about Diego being so big.

Well yesterday I was laying on the couch coming in and out of consciousness and I hear Bo say, "I'm going go see him, and then I'm going to jump on him and rip his clothes off and see who's inside. I don't think that's real." I hear my 4-year-old son say "rip his clothes off" and I'm suddenly 100% alert. I turn to see what he's talking about and see a blurry image of Amazondiego on the tv. I smiled to see a little of me in my boy.

Certain that he's right, everytime the commercial comes on Bo yells out, "He's a fake!"