Monday, March 31, 2008

It's All Relative

First: The winners mom, my 14 year old niece, and MommyJ. YAY!

"But when you say a backrub means only a backrub
Then you swat my hand when I try..."

Muy comica.

A month or so ago I was at a luncheon with a bunch of women. It was a casual get together at someone's home. The daughter of one of the women there, recently babysat my children. Her daughter came home and told her mom how smart she thought Bo was because he could type web addresses and navigate himself around the world wide webernets without any help.

Previously, I had told my friend about how my sister-in-law found Bo frustrated that writing "cartoonnetworkdotcom" into the address line of a webpage didn't produce the results for which he had hoped.

Over a period of about two weeks, he had asked me enough times how to spell "cartoon negwohk" as he typed it into Google's search engine that he'd memorized how to spell it. So, once I saw he wasn't asking me how to spell it anymore, I told him "all you have to do is type it up here and add 'dot com' and it will go right to the page you want." Kind of dumb of me to use the phrase "dot com", as if that meant anything to him. But I'm not the only dumb one, it took him another two weeks to realize, "Hey! Everytime you've told me how to spell cahtoon negwohk, you never tell me to type a "g" and there's totally a G in it. See, Cahhh-tooon neeeeg-g-g-g-guh-wohk!"

Well, right after my friend said, "she just thought he was so smart" I replied very seriously, but completely making fun of people who say stuff like this, "Oh, he's a genius!" A couple of people in the room who know me, laughed. I immediately wished I hadn't done it. I mean, I'm constantly thinking I'm funny when I'm not, so that part wasn't too hard for me; but I hated the moment where people who didn't know I was joking, thought I was one of those moms who thinks intelligence wasn't invented until her child was born.

Don't get me wrong, I think my kid is smart. He could count to 100, write his name, recognize letters, memorize lengthy verses, and do some pretty bright things as early as 3 years old. He can read at 4 and do simple addition. I say those things with some pride. I'm happy that the boy loves to learn and has shown a propensity toward grasping things quickly. The next 16-20 years of his life when he's in school won't be a constant struggle for him. I am grateful for that. Do I think he's smarter than your kid? Do I think he's the smartest 4 year old west of the Mississipi? No.

Because ya see...

He also tells me that he will not be learning to wipe his own butt until he is at least 10 or 11. And he's really tired of having to remind me of this every time I tell him to try wiping himself. His words, not mine.

He also can stand in the middle of a room, turn around once tripping over his own shoes laying on the floor as he turns and then wail, "I caaaaaaan't fiiiiiiiiiiind my shoes!"

We can't convince him that boogers are not an Iowa delicacy and he should mess less.

He forgets he's on his way to the bathroom. Many of our conversations end with him saying, "oh yeah, I forgot!"

Closing the door after him in subzero weather is sometimes beyond is comprehension.

Now, I'm not calling the boy out or anything. I adore him. He makes me laugh. I love being his mom and feel pride for him very regularly. But I'm not delusional in that he is loved, adored, and as pride-inducing as just about every other 4 year old in the world.

That being said.

Yesterday at the Y a little 4 year old girl who whines when she talks (I'm sorry, but if we are talking intelligence, your kid automatically loses about 12 IQ points for always talking in a whine) and who is her parent's pride and joy, introduce her parents to two little 5 year-old identical twin girls. She got their names right.

I jokingly said to her mom, "Wow, that's pretty good, even I can't keep them straight!"

Her mom straightens up, looks me square in the eye with all the conviction her little body can muster and says, "Oh, she's very smart." It was the opening line of what I'm sure was paragraphs and paragraphs of all the things that make her the smartest, whining, 4-year-old ever known to mankind. Excluding that dumbhead Einstein who couldn't even talk until he was 4.

I couldn't do it folks.

My kindness faltered (I'm sorry Mom, you did raise me better, but I am an absolute flunky of the School of Tolerating Unecessary Braggers and the School of Tolerating One-Uppers).

I couldn't indulge her. Getting lucky on identifying twins accurately isn't going to win you Nobel Prizes.

I looked away.

Suddenly I was very interested in the sleeve my genius baby Danyo was chewing on.

He's so smart.

He knows to stop chewing before he gets to his hand. He almost never chews into his hand.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Country Still Does It For Me

I heard the tail end of a song the other day and I was completely intrigued. I knew from what little I heard, I wanted to hear all of it.

Well, it came on last night as J and I were driving and I turned it up so we both could listen.

It's hilarious.

The whole song is pretty funny, in my humble opinion. It's sung by Brad Paisley. I think if I were inclined to be a fan of any type, I'd be a fan of his. I pretty much like anything he's done.

On particular line has had us laughing since we heard it. See if you can guess which.

I'm Still A Guy
When you see a deer you see Bambi

And I see antlers up on the wall
When you see a lake you think picnics
And I see a large mouth up under that log

You're probably thinking that you're going to change me
In some ways well maybe you might
Scrub me down, dress me up oh but no matter what
remember I'm still a guy

When you see a priceless French painting
I see a drunk, naked girl
You think that riding a wild bull sounds crazy
And I'd like to give it a whirl
Well love makes a man do some things he ain't proud of
And in a weak moment I might walk your sissy dog,
hold your purse at the mall
But remember, I'm still a guy

I'll pour out my heart
Hold your hand in the car
Write a love song that makes you cry
Then turn right around knock some jerk to the ground
'Cause he copped a feel as you walked by

I can hear you now talking to your friends
Saying, "Yeah girls he's come a long way
"From dragging his knuckles and carrying a club
And building a fire in a cave
But when you say a backrub means only a backrub
Then you swat my hand when I try
Well, now what can I say at the end of the day
Honey, I'm still a guy

These days there's dudes getting facials
Manicured, waxed and botoxed
With deep spray-on tans and creamy lotiony hands
You can't grip a tacklebox

Yeah with all of these men lining up to get neutered
It's hip now to be feminized
I don't highlight my hair
I've still got a pair
Yeah honey, I'm still a guy

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Avee's Third

Dear Avee,

To say I wasn't immediately enchanted by you, would be a lie.
You entered the world fiesty and with purpose. When the doctor held you up for me to look at you, you were waving your head around, your little mouth suckling at the air, frantically looking for food. I couldn't believe you were mere seconds old, already with an agenda.
You slept through the night your first two nights of life. You led me into a false security that you would be easy. You have made me earn with blood, sweat, and many, many tears every single smile, giggle, hug, and "I love you" that you have given me.
The truth is Avee, it is completley worth 543 of your fits for just one of your completely beautiful smiles.

You have accomplished in under 3 short years with your father what I have yet to come close to achieving in the 8 years I've known him. He is totally and completely wrapped around your finger.

I have to be honest. A little part of my heart is broken that you have turned 3. It's hard to believe and even harder to accept that you are growing up. You came into the world with opinions and a definite personality. Over the last 3 years we've gotten to watch you learn and grow, and finally be able to express all those opinions you were born with.

You brighten my days Avee. When you wake up from your naps and call out as you are coming down the stairs, "Maaaaaa-muuuuuuuuh, Avee's awaaaaaake!" and warn me that your sweet smile and mussed hair are about to come down to me, it makes my day.
As confusing as you are for me sometimes, I wouldn't have it any other way. The other day I was recounting a very odd conversation I had with you, for your dad. He told me I should write it down. As a sort of warning for your future husband.

I was combing your hair and putting it into pigtails. You don't mind having your hair done. So I was completely baffled when out of nowhere you said very sternly, "Mom, I don't like you AT ALL. I just hayte you. Don't talk to me anymore, I don't like you." I started to fake cry and tell you how said that made me feel. You've never seen my cry before, so you were intrigued, but not in the least bit dissuaded from your rejection of me. I have no idea where you hear those kinds of things.

I told you that you didn't mean those things, that they aren't nice to say.

You told me to stop talking, and that yes, you did mean it.

So I tried a different approach. I said, "You don't hate mama, you love mama. Who makes you eggs to eat, who gets you cute shoes to wear, who takes you to Ella's house?"

Listening, but not convinced.
"Who reads you stories? Who gives you hugs and kisses? Who loves you bigger than Texas?"
"Mama does, but I just don't like you," you answered.

"Who takes you to McDonalds?"

Your eyes widened. A bright smile spread across your face. "YOU take me to Oak-Don-odes Mama! You do!"


"Ohh, I love you mom. I just love you."

Then 2 minutes later you came and found me in another room to reassure me that you love me. And to find out when we could next go to McDonalds.

You're trying out new behaviors, new phrases, even new emotions--so I'm not too worried. Someday you will understand better what you are saying and the effect your words can have. But for now you are learning, and I am learning lots about you. And I'm documenting because I PROMISE you were like this when I picked you up.

I absolutely adore you Avee. In every way that you are, in every thing that you do. You more than anyone have taught me the beauty and magic of unconditional love.

You are my sunshine. Even if you won't let me sing it to you.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Aftermath of the Easter Bunny

This is the part where I wonder what the heck I'm thinking trying to photograph three kids 4 and under after the Easter baskets have been fully raided.

I was in love with Avee's dress. In. Love. I thought I had cornered the market on most adorable Easter dress ever. J dressed her in it, I primped her, I encouraged her peacock strut and dancing twirls. I beamed with pride at every compliment over it.

I came home and my brother looks at Avee sitting on the couch and notes, "She looks like a Dunkin' Donuts commercial."

Um yeah. I tried to rework my view the rest of the day. All I could see was a coffee cup and a donut box when I looked at her.

I think he needs to reimburse me for that dress, he totally ruined it for me.

Monday morning and I'm seriously rethinking the stupidity generousity of the Easter Bunny. It's like he doesn't know what entire chocolate bunnies and Reese's peanut butter eggs by the pound do to a child.

Avee is flopping around the floor from one dramatic fit to another. She's so busy fitting, she scarcely has time to finish one before she begins another. In her defense, they are fits over things like torn yogurt lids, unpeeled eggs, and the audacity of the mother to try and dress her.

Bo is just consistently citing his likes and dislikes. Mostly dislikes. Of all the shirts in his closet, I always manage to pull out the ones he hates the most. He doesn't even evoh like the shirts I choose. And later, it was the vowels. He doesn't like any vowels. In fact, he hates them all. Except maybe "O". Kind of. Yeah, he likes "O".

O is for oscillate.

The only one who hasn't suffered an overdose of sugar is making up for it with an overdose on asparagus. Uhhh, are babies supposed to have asparagus? Methinks it has caused a raucous upon his digestive tract.

In other news, we've had lots of fun visitors in the last week and a half. It started Thursday last with a visit from Aunt S and Grandma. That was totally awesome, to quote my boy quoting "The Incredibles". It was too short of a visit and Grandma instilled in Bo a very hearty passion (note, I did not say "healthy) for collecting aluminum cans. Part of my mom's eternal quest to beautify this grossly littered planet. Now her sweet grandson has enlisted in the cause. Much to her delight, and our amusement.

Nextly my friend "Breitmama" from St. Louis came. She brought her SIL, her 7 year and twin 5 year old girls. We finally were in the majority around here. J spent a good part of their visit just trying not to get swept away by all the estrogen. Just kidding. We were a pretty mellow crowd. And when I say mellow, I mean, the cravings for chocolate and the talk of childbirth experiences were kept to a minimum.

My friend spent the entire 2 and a half days here doing my laundry. I really don't even know what to say about that. Except that a) I have no shame and b) I bet YOU don't have a friend like that. She's amazing. And that was even before all the laundry-doing.

They left Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon two of my brothers came to visit.

Now, what's so exciting about Freaking Middle of Nowhere, Iowa you ask?

I'll tell you.

It's me.

I bring it all. And if and when I leave, I'll be taking it with me.

My brothers are great company. We had Pho. We listened to bad jokes. We gorged on Easter candy and Avee spent the entire time chasing, enticing, screaming, laughing, getting knocked down, and laughing some more at my brother's 9 month old "puppy". Some Siberian, Alaskan, Samoan, Samuri type dog. He told me his breed more than once. I can't remember. I do know however, he is NOT the same size as my 9 month old. But about as michevious. Bo commented at dinner last night that he would like for the dog to leave because he "chews on evwy-sing we have". My brother Jonathan said, "Shhhh!" as if I hadn't noticed.

My oldest brother stole my husband. Something that required steel-toe boots and a hard hat and J was in. It could have been anachonda hunting, but if you have to wear a hard-hat---say no more.

And finally, I would like to leave you with this gem of a conversation with a coworker, as yet unmentioned in this blog, that I had last week.

Me: My friend's husband works for the CIA and the..."
Him: You're not supposed to tell me that!"
Me: (feeling a little shocked and confused) Tell you what?
Him: That he works for the CIA!
Me: Uhhh, do you know my friend? Do you know where they live? Do you know what he does for the CIA?
Him: You aren't supposed to talk about people who work for the CIA.
Me: So, why do you think I know?
Him: Your friend has a big mouth.
Me: Hmmm, I'm thinking you're kind of ignorant, why on earth would you think it's okay to say something like that to me?
Him: You shouldn't know he works for the CIA!
Me: Dude, lay off of the spy movies.
Him: You shouldn't say your friend's husband works for the CIA anymore.
Me: You're being ridiculous
Him: No I'm not, I'm 100% serious.
Me: I know. That's why I said you are being ridiculous. Besides, didn't you even see True Lies? Arnold's own wife didn't know he worked for the CIA. If it was a secret, like you are assuming it is, then even my friend wouldn't know what her husband does!
Him: Oh yeah, that's right.

Yes folks, it took me citing TRUE LIES for me to have any credibility.
The funny thing I was even going to waste my time telling this dude was, that the people who work at the foodcourt for the CIA, like McDonald's employees, can tell people they work for the CIA. Isn't that funny?

I thought so.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Post Office Man

Dear Man Who Came Or Left The Post Office Moments After I Arrived,

I am a scatter brain of sorts. I can keep it together where it matters. So says my husband. Sometimes I falter just a teensy bit with the things that matter, and sometimes I make huge blunders. Like dropping my debit card in the parking lot. I'm 32 years old. I should know that my debit card belongs in a wallet and not freely floating around my entirely unreliable jacket pocket. Next to my driver's license.

I am who I am though, and some things I kind of have to learn the hard way.

Only you kind sir, saved me from having to learn this lesson in a miserably hard way.

Thank you.

When I got to the counter to pay for my postage, I wasn't even remotely concerned when I reached in my pocket and there was no debit card. I've been treating it so carelessly for the last couple of months, I'm used to it's absence when I need it. But I always find it. I said to the postal worker, "Oh, I think I left my debit card in my car, I'm just going to go run and get it."

I glanced at her face to see if there was an approval or if she was going to cancel my order and have me start over when I got back. instead she said, "What's your name?"

"Uhhhhh, Nobody."

"Your card is right here, a man just brought it in, he found it in the parking lot."

I immediately got a lump in my throat and 57 different scenarios of 57 different ways dropping my debit card could have gone. Tears sprang into my eyes with gratitude for your kindness, your honesty. Both sometimes feel so rare these days. When I am the recipient of such anonymous goodness, I always feel so overwhelmed.

We just got paid today. You could have gone to see Horton Hears a Who like, over a hundred times. You could have gotten popcorn too. I doubt it would have been enough for Milk Duds though. Those things are pricey!

I have no idea who you are. I wouldn't know you on the street. I can't call you and tell you how grateful I am that you found my debit card and not someone else. I can't tell you how grateful I am that I don't have to tell my husband I've been careless with the money he works so hard to earn. I'm so grateful. Thank you.

Now Using My Wallet Again,
Nobody in Iowa

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Tooth

When Bo was just a little over 3 years old, he had to get a silver cap. The discovery of a cavity before he turned 3, the procedure to get a cap on, was all very very troubling for me. I was heartsick. Which is weird, and even now as I type that, my rational brain says, "Nobody, don't admit that--you're a nutjob. Keep some things to yourself, wouldja?" But it's the truth, and I feel compelled to tell it.

You can read about his day at the dentist HERE. It was an interesting experience. Because he was so young he had to be put "under". That was the most troubling for me. As you can see, we all survived.

Every time I looked at his big silver tooth (you can see it in the banner picture) I felt sad, like I had failed my little boy. I expected every day for him to come to me and tell me how bad a mom I am and how awful his life is now, with this big silver tooth.

Instead, the neighbor kids started asking their mom's if they could get one. Bo asked us how we got it so he could give the neighbor kids this important information. We told him it just cost $500 and a couple of hours with a dentist. (It was so expensive because insurance didn't cover the cost of anesthesia since it could be considered "unnecessary" but I don't know any dentists willing to drill on a 2 or 3 year old without it.)

So, this little "blemish" I felt guilt about my 3 year old having, made him the envy of the neighborhood. We went with him. To this day, I feel a little guilt every time I see it, and he feels pride every time he sees it.

So, fast forward a couple of years, and Bo is in preschool. He has been learning about teeth and dental hygiene for the last week or so. Everyday he's come home with great elaborate pieces of artwork that show good clean teeth and how we keep them that way. One had a happy tooth with pictures pasted on it of good healthy things that keep teeth happy. On the flip side was a sad tooth with pictures pasted of all the foods we eat around here bad food that make teeth sad.

At night when I'm helping him brush his teeth, the boy who used to gripe at all the brushing now says, "Ah you going in smaw circohs?" Yes Your Highness.

So last week, he jumped in the van with a great big outline of a tooth. He showed it to me excitedly and explained that he was to go home and color a "good" " happy" tooth.

He exclaims, "I can't wait to get home and color the whole thing silver!"

p.s. If you have a link to me on your blog please see the post below. Gracias

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Just a small favor....

If you have a link to me on your blog with mine and my husband's name, would you be willing to change it to either my name alone, his name alone, or "Nobody Called Today"? I don't mind my real name being out there, but the combination of our names makes us easy to find in search engines and I'd rather not have that. Also, definitely change it if my last name is on your blog.

On the other hand, if you are Down Under searching for "My sissy husband needs a nappy because he wets his bed" apparently this is the place to look. Someone came to my blog with those search words. I'm thrilled to be reaching all kinds.
Same goes for, "give me texas or give me death" and "im only 13 and i have hair on my stomach". I hear ya, and I hear ya.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Perfection, With a Side of Chaos

Once upon a time there was a cute little girl who lived in middle America. She had red hair and a fat lip. And she loved children. She had her first babysitting job when she was six years old. She couldn't wait to grow up and have 17 children of her own and be a perfect mom. Everyone knew she would too.

When she played football in the streets with the neighbor kids, she was always one of the first people picked for a team because she was good. But the neighbor kids also hated picking her because if a small child appeared on the scene, she was as good as gone. She loved children and she couldn't wait until she could have some of her own, so she could be the best mom evoh.

Then she grew up and had kids of her own. She had one little boy. And he was adored. Then she had a little girl. She too was adored. Then one day she woke up and suddenly she had three kids, a weight problem, and a messy house.

She wanted very much to be a good mom. In the beginning, it was easy. It required lots of time and care and hugs and kisses. She was good at giving all of these things.

Then the children started to grow. And talk back. Then they became thinkers and question- askers and within 3 years into this venture of motherhood, she was way in over her head. But she kept plodding along. Because she used to have a fat lip. And that's what recovered Fatlips do, they plod along.

One of the biggest surprises to this sweet little redhaired girl when she grew up, was how difficult it actually is to maintain a household, be a good mom, and have energy and a smile for all the many other things she had to do in a day.

But she plodded along.

One day she decided her kids watched too much television. She didn't even have a tv when she was growing up. She tries and tries to recall what her mom did with her all day if they didn't have a tv. She remembers gigantic trash bags full of popcorn, hammering nails into her front lawn, a couple of pyro incidents, and a prematurely lost tooth---but not much else.

Since she knows that it can be done, she resolves every night as she lays in bed, "Tomorrow I will only let the kids watch one show each and my sweet little firstborn son will only spend an hour on the computer." Each day the resolve fail. She sets a place at the dinner table for Uncle Nick Jr. Her daughter's imaginary friends are named, Max, Dora, and Wubbzy. It is a sad, sad state of affairs.

Finally, empowered by having gone to boot camp, gotten 52 loads of laundry done, a basement organized, and a healthy diet maintained for 33 straight hours, she makes the change. The tv is turned off.

There is weeping. There is pleading. There is screeching. There is bargaining. There is ignoring. But she stands her ground and the tv stays off.

She decides to "entertain" the children with enlisting their help in making a pot of soup.

She entices the kids with using a familiar line from a well-loved fable, "Who will help me plant some soup in the soup pot?"

The darling children, who were only moments before screeching and threatening to blind someone, if not themselves, come running gleefully into the kitchen. They stand together on a chair and fight over who gets to dump the onions in the pot.

She is happy. This is better than tv.

Then a brawl over a dropped piece of carrot ensues. She lets her mind drift away to a happier time when Unsupervised Max & Ruby were tending them. There were no carrots. There were no cutting boards in danger of being knocked from the counter. There were no kitchen brawls.

Soon it is time to chop the cabbage.

Helpful child #2 complains that the stove is hot and she doesn't want to burn her arm off ever again. Because she's done it 3 times before? No, because she's dramatic and also doesn't know the meaning of the phrase "ever again".

Sweet Joy of His Mother's heart #1 swipes half the veggies and is tries to fit them in the small, should-be-nonexistent space between the counter and the stove, before she realized where her veggies were going. He exuberantly notes that cabbage is an easier fit than carrots.

And the incessant chatter.
And the whining.
And the endless questions about what things are and where they go and why.

For the love of soup!

Helper #2 climbs down. For the preservation of her arms. She announces, "I'm gonna play with Chowlie and LOW-la."

Helper #1 cries out, "No fay-oh! I'm not gonna get any of this soup if I don't help you make it and she gets to watch tv!" With his bottom lip trembling, he pleads, "Can I please go watch Chahlie and Lola?" Suddenly, he realizes something just as he finishes his sentence. The girl who once loved kids but grew up and had kids of her own, sees the light go off in his eyes, and she wonders what he's figured out.

He jumps off of the chair and yells joyfully, "I CAN watch Chahlie and Lola! I don't have to help you make the soup so I can eat some. I don't even LIKE vegetable soup!"

Innocent little girl who always wanted to be a mom and grew up and now realizes, including the culottes in 2nd grade, the blue eye shadow in eighth grade, and the Aqua-chastity-Net hairdo of 10th grade, she was a pretty stupid child.

There is no such thing as a perfect mom.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Millie, We Try. We Try.

On the way to school, Bo began his routine of asking me questions to which I don't know the answer.

I began my usual method of putting it all on J. "Let's ask daddy tonight, he'll know the answer, he loves history."

"What's history?"

"It's the things that have happened in the past---all the stuff that has happened before you and I were even alive, that's history."

"Well, I know what it's called when your parents are both dead."

Concerned silence.

"It's technology!"


Then I do what I have become a master at doing in just the last 2-3 short years. Figuring out what the heck my kid is talking about.

Technology, technology, technology, technolo....OHHHH!

"You mean geneology?"

"Yeah! That's it! What the heck is technology?"

Just go ask Kip.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Judge Not, Lest You Look Like a Schmuck

I have been learning this lesson in some obvious ways recently.

Before I begin telling you how, you should know--I pride myself on not being a judgmental person. I don't pride myself on my modesty or humility, but I do on being pretty non-judgmental. I really feel like there's a lot that goes into a person that we (I) don't know and it's pretty rude and ignorant to make judgments on that person based on the very little that we see.

But that doesn't make me immune to being a schmuck. Fo' sho.

I have a coworker that I really like. She's really poor and they don't have a car. She lives about 7 minutes from me and has asked me for a ride to or from work a couple of times. I have always been willing because it really hasn't ever been an inconvenience. Then, last week, she called me on my day off and asked for a ride. I told her I wasn't working that day. She responded, "Well, I knew that." Well, the old Nobody would have said, "Oh, let me wake my sleeping child, put shoes and coats on 3 kids, load them into my cold van, and come pick you up." Stupid. I said, "I'm sorry, I won't be able to give you a ride today." And it was done. I know she was probably in a tight spot, but I really have too much on my plate right now to be worrying about that. And I have to remind myself of that, because it's in my blood to make other people's problems mine. Stupid.

Well, she called again the other day. I was scheduled to work that night, I was perfectly able to take her to work. But for some reason, the request got under my skin. Whatever on earth did she do before I started working there? I am not interested in being taken advantage of just because I'm nice. I called my sister and griped. She has lots of experience with people who take advantage. She can spot them a mile away. Funny thing is, she still helps most of them. After I finished griping at her, I called my mom and griped. Both of them stroked my ego and my superiority of being the one who owned a car, the poor poor victim. They love me---they say what I want to hear.

However, my mom had said during my gripe fest to her "Kindness done with an unkind heart is no kindness at all". She speaks solely in proverbs. So, I made an effort to get rid of my bad attitude and told myself it wasn't that big of a deal (which it wasn't) and that I could be gracious (which I could).

That afternoon when I picked my coworker up, she jumped in the car (she's always ready and waiting for me) buckled up, reached into her purse and handed me a folded up wad of cash. "Here's for gas money. I really appreciate you picking me up while we are in this situation. We should have a car by Friday."

I kind of choked on my pride and my crappy, stupid, attitude right then. I told her thank you for the offer but I was okay and that I really appreciated her thinking to give me gas money.

My entire perception changed. She wasn't taking advantage. She wasn't trying to suck every little bit of free gas out of my tank that she could. She was doing the best she could. Just like we all are. And I made a resolve to stop being such a jerk. For the rest of the day.

Last night, the kids had gymnastics. This could be an entire post in and of itself, but suffice it to say, Avee, a head shorter than everyone in her class could do everything perfectly (and looking like a million bucks) and Bo, true to form, rolled and flapped and squawked on the map anytime the instructor wasn't looking. Oh yeah, and laid down and took a nap in the middle of warm-ups.

Anyway, during Bo's session, a mom brought in 2 boys like 10 minutes late. They were wild and unruly and loud. The instructor could hardly talk for all the talking they were doing. It was annoying me. I paid a good $2 for this class for Bo--I wanted every penny's worth. Really I was worried that Bo would follow suit. And I just can't have my boy being the obnoxious one. At least not when I'm in the room...

I silently hoped the kids wouldn't be back next week. I rudely noted that the instructor, while firm, was a lot kinder to the kids than I probably would have been. She could probably also do flips on a balance beam and herkies, so really it was dumb of me to compare.

Afterwards, as I was corralling my own children into the van, I heard this mom leaving with her two boys. I heard her saying loudly, "I am SO MAD. SO MAD." I figured the instructor had told her they had been unruly. I have said such things loudly to my own children. Only, it's been in my own home where no one can hear me. Or judge. (So I post about it on the internets) She continued on pretty loudly and then I heard her say, "Billy, STOP!" He apparently didn't stop, and I turned just in time to see her yank his head back by the hair on the top of his head. He screamed. She yelled more.

My heart broke a little. I felt sad for these boys. No wonder they act crazy when their mom isn't around, if that's how they are being raised. And I thought about the times I've been angry enough to yank the hair on the top of my kids' head. But I've had a husband come rescue me when I'm at the end of my rope. I have an education and a proper upbringing that has taught me coping skills that help me calm down. I have a support system in my family, in my friends. I have a blog. I don't work full time. It's not up to me to keep a house, pay the bills, go work, raise the children, have a life. I don't have to do it all. I felt sad for the boys and sad that I had judged so harshly. And I felt sad for the mom.

As I climbed in my own van, with my own perfectly behaved children, the thought came into my mind. "Judge not Nobody---see how very little you know about anything."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Mama's Little Preshy

The other day a kid a year older than Bo came up to him happily sitting on a swing and told him he couldn't sit there. Bo obediently got up and left. Later when I found him loitering by our car, I scolded him for not being where I could see him. The poor boy can't win. When we got in the car, he told me that the boy had told him to get up and so he had. He was really quite sad about being treated that way.

My immediate reaction, "Next time, you come get me!" or "You tell him your mom said you can sit there if you want." Or some other really stupid, "I'm gonna get my mommy and make you want to kick my sissy butt" response. Without saying out loud to me what I was doing, J started offering suggestions of his own. "Or you could say, 'mind your own business, I'm Bo B, I sit wherever I want to sit!' " and other equally ridiculous responses. Okay, they weren't ridiculous, they were more appropriate than my solution. But J tends to err on the side of, kick butts, ask questions later, and I tend to try and create precious little mama's boys.

Soon enough J and I sort of met in the middle and gave Bo some more appropriate responses, and made it clear to him that what the boy had done was bullying and it wasn't okay. I could tell that Bo felt a little better in the end. But I felt sad because these kinds of things always spiral my mind into thinking about all the crap my kids are going to have to face in life. Even if they never get bullied, which is next to impossible, they still have to deal with stupid people. You may or may not know, stupid people make me feel homicida1. I personally think bullies and stupid people are often one and the same. But then, that might not be fair to some bullies.

Today when I picked up Bo from school he ran to the car before I had pulled up, a dangerous no-no that he is well aware of in his 7 month of preschool. He kind of got scolded by his very very sweet teacher and Bo got his vacant, "I'm actually raising Bowser and Yoshi right now, I can hear nothing you are saying to me" look that has been frustrating the tar out of me lately.

Then he sat in his seat and said, "I have two things to tell you after I finish buckling my seat belt."

This is huge. I have a hard time getting any info out of Bo after school. If I hear anything about his day, it's because they've had a party and he's high on sugar. Or. It's 3 days after the fact. He will start to monologue about school and I'll say, "Did that happen today?" and he gets all annoyed with me and says, "Nooooo! It happened like a year ago last week!"

So, he tells me. "Sasha" said to him, "Your jokes aren't funny and you can't tell jokes anymore."

I tell you what, right then and there I was finna slam on my brakes and go hunt that little twit down. Don't nobody tell my baby he ain't funny. Except me. And that's only after the 532nd banana knock-knock joke. That and giving birth to him gives me the right to say, "It's not funny, stop telling that joke."

Immediately I wanted to say, "Well, you tell her your mom thinks you are hilarious." But I thought twice. And then I wanted to say, "I'm going to talk to your teacher on Friday and tell her Sasha's being a twit" but I thought again and got a mental picture of J grimacing at my overt efforts to sissify his boy.

So I channeled J, added a little me, and said, "Bo, you are one of the funniest kids I have ever met. Remember how hard that one man laughed at the joke you made up? He thought you were so funny he got out a notebook and WROTE YOUR JOKE DOWN. I don't know very many 4-year-olds who can make a grown-up laugh like that." A little smile crept across Bo's face as I said these things. He looked out the window and said, "I just didn't know he wrote it down."

Then I told him, "Next time Sasha says you aren't funny say, 'Well, smart people think I'm funny.' " I figured if she was smart, she'd nark on Bo for calling her stupid and thus bring the situation to light, and if she wasn't smart, then no harm, no foul.

I'm smart. That's how I thought of that.

I wish there wasn't unkindness in this world. I really really wish that. I could even be more tolerant of stupidity if there was no unkindness. Of course, if I were completely kind, stupidity wouldn't bother me so much.

And I wish I didn't have to send my babies out into a world where there are people who actively work to bring other people down. I know they are just 4 and 5---but I tell you what, my 4 year old is just learning that not everybody says, "Wow you are so awesome, that's amazing!" to every.little.thing you do in life. And that's how it should be. He'll learn soon enough that buttoning your own pants isn't really worthy of a festival and a parade, but until he figures it out on his own, we'll act like it is in our home. Maybe we need to go to Sasha's house and have a sweater-buttoning parade or something.

I think I'll give her mom a call....

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Brady Maybe (For Sarah)

When I was pregnant with Danyo, we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl. I knew, but "technically" I didn't know. But we had picked out the name Jonathan if he was a boy. Almost immediately after he was born, both J and I commented, "Wow, he's just not a Jonathan". We were kind of bummed, because we really like that name.

We named him about 573 names and 46 other variations of those names before we left the hospital. He came home unnamed (those birth certificate people take their jobs VERY seriously and that woman all but got out her shotgun and hunted me down at home when we had the nerve to leave without naming OUR baby). We finally agreed on Danyo. Yeah, it's a little weird, but we like it. :)

For the next 5 months of his life I wanted to change his name no less than 4 times a day. And I always had a different name picked. I don't know what my problem is, but I just couldn't settle.

Needless to say, my kids picked up on it. Avee called Danyo "Tucko" the first week of his life.

When Danyo was about 4 months old I heard the name Brady and that was the flavor of the day for a couple of days. Every time I went to J in all earnestness to change Danyo's name, he'd roll his eyes and end the conversation. He never took me seriously.

Well Bo did. And he also really liked the name Brady. And so it stuck. He pretty much calls him Brady all the time. Sometimes he gets caught up in all the Danyo-calling we do, and forgets. It doesn't really come up much though, it's not like Bo walks around talking to or about Danyo all the time. So I forget about his tendency to call him Brady.

However. Last month for Show-n-Tell, Bo took a picture of Danyo with him to share. When I picked him up I started asking him about school. I asked, "Did you show them your picture of Danyo?" He said quietly, "Yeah, but I didn't say Danyo, I told them his name is Brady."

I laughed quite heartily.

The next week I had his parent/teacher conference and his teacher, a very sweet woman who remembers EVERYONE'S names says, "Well hello there little Brady, aren't you sweet...."
I blushed fiercely. I haven't blushed in ages. But suddenly I felt very stupid having to tell my son's teacher that this little boy who is so bright, didn't quite get his little brother's name right.

She thought it was pretty funny, bless her heart.

Then, on Sunday as I was leaving church a girl grabbed my arm and said, "Now what is your baby's name? I'm just sure it isn't Brady, but that's what Bo kept telling me." Since we were both heading out, there wasn't time to explain why Bo is being weird and random so I said, "Hmm, Brady? Really? That's interesting---it's Danyo."

What I'm thinking now is to join Bo in calling him Brady and see if we can't effectively change his name, without really changing his name. He'll be one of those people, "Danyo ________, but I go by Brady" because that makes so much sense! We've all met someone like that, right?

And now, for my only mildly related segway:
Pictures of Brady Danyo!


This one cracks me up because it's a king-size bed.
Danyo has discovered the joys of the bathroom. Particularly toilet flushing. Interestingly enough, he's my only child who bothers to do it. Every once in a while the bathroom door is left open and he bolts for it. When I come to get him he starts squealing and scrambles to get away. Now, Avee has spent her ENTIRE life laughing at me and evading me. But this one, he loves nothing more than when I enter a room or when I come to pick him up. So this is new. I tried to capture it, but he seemed to know what was up so he didn't do exactly what he usually does, but I thought this was pretty dang funny.

Monday, March 3, 2008

My Only Shortfall

Tonight I was talking to Avee about her upcoming birthday. While Bo is obsessed with ages and birthdays, she seems like it couldn't be humanly possible to care any less.

I tell her she's going to be 3. She yells at me that she's just 2.
I give up.

Ironically, I broached the topic again tonight while changing her diaper.

I thought I'd introduce the idea of a cake and maybe having some friends come over to help celebrate. Maybe then she'd allow a birthday, maybe then.

She was open to the idea. I asked her what kind of cake she wanted. Since she's been pretend playing with Dora most of the evening, I suggested Dora. She nodded, that might be acceptable. She said, "How about Boots, how about a Boots cake!?" I immediately love the idea of a monkey cake. She's always been our little monkey, it seems fitting. So I say enthusiastically, "Do you want me to make you a monkey cake!?"

She chuckled.

She's not even 3 and she chuckled.

As she's chuckling and chortling she says, "You can't make my cake mo-o-o-om!"

It's almost as though she remembers....