Here We Go Again

YoungestBoy went on a field trip with his kindergarten class today, so the house is exceptionally quiet. They are going to Northwest Trek to see animals.

My husband’s day off is today, but he’s working. Boy, I say that a lot. He will officiate at the graveside service for Christine, who died last Tuesday. I can never decide which is worse–to bury someone on a beautiful sunny day, like today, to on a stormy, rainy day, which seems more appropriate to me.

Babygirl is laying on the floor, under her blanket, watching Sesame Street. DaycareKid fell asleep with his blanket in his mouth, so I took it away and stood him up. It’s not nap-time! It’s only 10:50 a.m.–they haven’t had lunch yet.

When I finished weeding out my biggest flowerbed yesterday, I planted daylillies and dahlias and wild-flower seeds and then turned on the sprinkler. My mom arrived and sat in the backyard with me and tried to befriend Babygirl. When she left, the boys decided to run in the sprinkler. We have the kind that goes up and down, like a lifting waterfall and they would stand in front of it and pretend they were being “scanned” so they could go into an alternate universe.

I watched them shriek and run around and wondered how much longer their childhood will last. When are you too old to run in the sprinkler? When does it stop being fun to get wet on a mildly sunny spring afternoon? When are you too cool to make a fool of yourself in the backyard? I sat and watched all four of my kids playing together–Babygirl was timidly running her fingers through the water-spray–and then got out the video camera to capture the moment.

YoungestBoy is my camera hog and he was in fine form. He kept appearing in the viewfinder, waving and saying “hi!” When the twins went inside, and I focused on Babygirl, he got right in front of her and started to dance. I tried to not giggle, but I couldn’t help myself. He’s at a chubby stage right now and he’s a hysterically funny, enthusiastic and horrible dancer. He even reaches down to touch the ground occasionally and kind of hops his feet up in the air as if he’s a gravity-bound gymnast. Today when I showed my husband the video, I laughed so hard I had to wipe the tears from my eyes.

Sometimes I think that my life would have been so much simpler if we’d only had the twins, but simple is not always better. Complicated, chaotic, and messy is a whole lot more fun. I get to enjoy childhood just that much longer, even if only from the sidelines in my old lawn chair. Just don’t expect me to run through the sprinkler.

Why we use so much toilet paper.

Babygirl: The reason we went through so much toilet paper last year.  Posted by Hello

I am sitting here on a rainy Saturday, wasting time until I can put the baby to sleep for her nap and wishing my three boys would stop picking at each other and tattling to me–even though I am right here. My husband will be gone all day officiating at a funeral and then doing premarital counseling and then working on his sermon.


Okay. But I think back to last year at this time and Babygirl wasn’t even walking yet and she certainly wasn’t talking yet and furthermore, she wasn’t sleeping through the night yet. She reminds me of how quickly time passes. She demands that I be present, even when I am trying my best to curl up inside my head and think.

Thinking’s over-rated anyway. Who wants lunch?

A Comment on Iraq

I normally do not comment on political issues here.

But this paragraph from my newspaper today deserves mention: “Kasim Mehaddi Hilas told investigators that when he first arrived at Abu Ghraib last year, he was forced to strip, put on a hood and wear rose-colored panties with flowers on them. ‘Most of the days I was wearing nothing else,’ he said in his statement.”

What an outrage! Get the guy some better underpants! How about days-of-the-week panties? Thongs? Low-cut bikinis? French cut briefs? Something with little hearts? “I ‘heart’ the USA,” for example.

Seriously. Really. I can’t believe that the goons who perpetrated the abuses in the Iraqi prison were so stupid that they videotaped it and photographed it. They should be discharged immediately for complete idiocy and then spend a lot of time in prison or in a school which teaches imbeciles common sense. Then, they should be banned from using cameras, video and print, for life.

And, they should have to wear rose-colored underpants until they die. With flowers. That’ll teach them!

Baby Beauty Queen

On one of those evening entertainment shows (they all look alike to me), the Bravo (the channel) mother of a four-year old beauty pageant contestant said, “The pageants have helped her to, definitely, become a person.”

Just make up your own sarcastic comment here. I’m too tired.

He Ought To Be A Lawyer

TwinBoyB (left), TwinBoyA (front and center), YoungestBoy (right, trying to get into the picture).  Posted by Hello

Earlier this evening, I was sitting in the back yard with Babygirl while she put sand in her hair.

Then TwinBoyB flung open the sliding glass door and announced, “Mom! He called me a jackass!” He actually seemed a little pleased, happy, smug, but he is a tattler-extraordinaire.

“HEY! Come here!”

TwinBoyA came with his hand raised like an attorney approaching the bench. “Mom, I meant donkey! Technically, that means donkey, you know!”

My boy has been reading too much again. Or succumbing to peer pressure.

I practiced “Active Listening,” and then I explained that in 2004, we cannot call people “jackass” because it’s not polite. Teaching children to use polite language is almost an exercise in futility, but I will persist. At least in my house, they will not use crass language.

When I was a child, my dad used the f-word. Once. Only once in my whole life did I hear him use that word . . . and I can remember his face, I remember the sentence, I remember his fury. I had been riding with my mother in her car and we encountered his vehicle coming toward us on the road. We pulled over into a parking lot to talk and then he accused my mother of trying to, shall we say, “ruin” his Christmas by inviting my brother to her house. Now, my brother and father were estranged and we were used to having to shuffle back and forth on the holidays (since my mom and dad divorced).

But he had expected my brother and my sisters and I to be at his house at Christmas. He had not communicated well, though, and a misunderstanding resulted and he was infuriated. I was completely shocked, horrified and devastated. I hated conflict and this, this word stunned me. I can still feel his anger like a heavy stone in my belly.

He taught me that people who use vulgar language do so because they lack a strong vocabulary. I’ve always believed so and even now, even when I read curse words in mainstream magazines (Vanity Fair, for instance), my eyes still feel seared and I kind of cringe.

So, please, go wash out your mouth with soap before you leave comments here. Thank you.

Like me, only prettier.

Here I am, in college. I know. You probably had a lot of friends in college just like me, only prettier!  Posted by Hello

An Entry By Jennifer, My Guest Columnist

My friend, Jennifer, used to have a blog, but for various reasons, she deleted it. Because this story is worth a blog entry, I invited her to be my special Guest Columnist. Here is her story:

This morning, I realized that I was out of a few essentials….soymilk, juice, diaper wipes, and hand sanitizer. Yes, when you have 3 young children who touch and lick every germ infested surface, hand sanitizer is an essential.

Around 10am, I packed up my 2 youngest boys, Alex and Ben, and off we went to our local discount market. Bob’s is the kind of place where someone who doesn’t have to budget, wouldn’t be caught dead shopping in. Most of the products are bought at reduced warehouse prices by Bob himself, then shelved and priced drastically below grocery store average. The store itself is clean but fairly disorganized. The aisles are narrow and the shopping carts are rusted leftovers of bankrupt enterprises.

My system is to put Ben in the seat of the cart and have Alex in the basket. Today Alex insisted he walk. To keep him occupied and attentative, I gave him my written list of 4 items to hold. We proceed down the chip aisle to get to the dairy section. Imagine this; The aisle runs along the length of the store and 8 aisles dump out into the chip aisle. It is the only access route to the rest of the store. So in other words, it’s a traffic jam of carts and shoppers.

I am standing near the Cheetos when an elderly woman and her lady friend pull out of the dish rag aisle and stop me dead in my tracks. I am not paying much attention as I am trying to control my 3yr old son. He is weaving and running, lagging behind and dancing. I am calling out to Alex to, “come here NOW,” and waiting for this woman to move her cart. I force a smile and ask her to excuse me. She doesn’t hear. I inch forward alittle. Turn around, yell at Alex again to come here. He comes at the same time she notices me and decides to move herself. Alex dives out of her way. I shoot her a dirty look. I pick him up off the floor. She strikes up a conversation with her lady friend about the the marigolds on sale. I dust my son off and growl. I can’t move forward because her lady friend is in front of me….I cant move backwards because the woman’s cart is jammed up against me. I notice the list is missing and search the floor for it. Alex spots it and jumps behind me to grab it off the floor. Unfortunately the list is right next to the old lady’s cart wheel. She starts to move…Alex reaches down, I yell, STOP! Her reflexes are rather slow and she runs over his fingers…then stops. She turns to me with a nervous smile. A smile? “What the heck?! You ran over his fingers!” She apologizes profusely as I stand there shaking my head and repeating over and over again, “What is wrong with you?” Alex isn’t even upset….in fact, I am not sure he realized what happened. The woman appears as if she is about to cry when I realize what I am saying outloud. I start to cry because I see that she is about to cry. I cry, she cries. Again, she apologizes and her lady friend, who is tearing up also, grabs her arm to support her. I feel like a passive aggressive monster. I try to convince her I was asking myself, “what is wrong with me?” We become a mass of fleshy tears jammed in a 4 foot wide aisle. The only one not crying is Alex because Ben started to cry when I yelled, “STOP!” the first time.

The irritated patrons behind us finally insisted we move along and I avoided the elderly ladies the rest of the shopping trip. On the way to the car, I saw the marigolds for sale on the sidewalk and kicked a pot of them over. It was their fault anyways.


Premenstrual Syndrome At Its Finest

My husband has been working really long days. So have I. And yet, even though I clean my kitchen, it never looks clean. I ran out of dishwasher liquid because he is never home at night so I can get to the store. Yesterday, I rewashed all the dishes in the dishwasher and put them in to dry, then washed all the dishes from the night before. And there were still dirty dishes.

And then we had dinner. I left the mess in the kitchen, supervised the boys because they had to leave at 6:20 p.m. for church. Then I concentrated on playing with the baby and cleaning her and putting her in her pajamas. At 7:30 p.m., she was ready for bed, but I needed to wait and let the boys in and instruct them to get ready for bed because if I did not, they would just play Nintendo until their eyeballs fell out.

At 7:55, the phone rings. It’s TwinBoyA relaying some frivolous information about the movie plans for tonight. But at least I know he’s at church and will be home soon. I put the baby to bed at 8 p.m. Husband returns at 8:02 p.m. and wonders where the boys are. I tell them they will be home very soon and sure enough, they come home moments later.

I say the same things over and over again. Stop playing Nintendo. Put on your pajamas. If you want a snack, it’s now or never. If you want to watch television, it’s time. At 8:30, you are going to bed. Stop yelling. Okay. You can play Nintendo, but you have only fourteen minutes. Stop being annoying. Okay, five minutes. While I’m saying all this, I’m at the computer, biding my time, waiting until they go to bed because I have work to do.

Earlier in the afternoon, in a fit of greed and delusion, I agreed to do a transcription job that had to be finished by morning. Al estimated it would be 24 to 32 pages. That translates to about three hours.

Then while standing in the kitchen, my husband said it.

“Well, I’m glad to see that the kitchen is a mess as usual and that the house is a wreck. Someday, dear, you’ll wear make-up again and a dress and everything, right?”

I didn’t hear everything, though, because at that point I jumped up, hurdled the iron railing between the family room and kitchen and decked him. Then I sat on him until he couldn’t breathe, which, at my current weight, only took a few moments, and pummeled him with my dishwater hands.

Oh. Wait. Maybe I only imagined that part.

After he commented about the condition of my house–the house I haven’t left for 72 stinking hours–I stood up and told the boys it was bedtime. I allowed them to finish “just one more thing.” Then I picked up a few things in the family room, mouth in a tight, grim line and tried not to stomp.

My husband asked what time Shrek starts today. (He’s taking YoungestBoy. And furthermore, we’re letting YoungestBoy skip school to go to a movie. Boy, I wish I was my own kid.) I answered in an even voice, not making eye contact. I said, “Let me look,” and went into the kitchen to check out the listing in the paper.

Now, my husband, being brighter than the average bear, says, “Hey, are you mad? If I can’t joke around with you, then I just won’t say anything again.”

I said, choking back tears, “It’s fine. I just have PMS.”

Then I told him the movie times.

Then I typed.

While I was typing, I heard him in the kitchen rinsing dishes and putting them in the dishwasher. Of course, I should have told him that I have no dishwasher liquid, but I was too angry that he was doing the dishes because doing the dishes is my job and his actions commented silently to me, “YOU ARE A HORRIBLE FAILURE AS A HOUSEWIFE! WHY, OH, WHY, DIDN’T I STAY IN TEXAS WHERE WOMEN KNOW HOW TO TREAT THEIR MEN?” When he finished loading the dishwasher, he said, “Where’s the dishwasher liquid?” I said, “I’m out.” He said, “Well, I just loaded the dishwasher.” (Which, by the way, took him at least three times longer than it takes me.) I said, “Yeah, well, I guess I’ll have to rewash them by hand as I need them.” Before he went upstairs, he brought me a big, cold glass of water and pretzels for a snack.

I finally finished typing at 11:35 p.m. I would have finished earlier, but my stupid word-processor gave me an error message and warned me, ever so sweetly, that I might lose the unsaved material I had. That was five pages, gone in a poof!


Today, I am $68 richer and my house is still a wreck. I’ve just baked and eaten chocolate chip cookies, though, with the last half-bag of chocolate chips that I own. Only two hours until naptime. I’m pretty sure I can make it until then, unless, of course, someone comments on my housekeeping skills or washes dishes for me.

At Some Point, Things Will Get Better

Monday, my husband’s day off, he was gone from 9:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. J_____ had a heart attack and died around noon. The funeral will be on Saturday.

Tuesday, my husband worked from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. He spent the afternoon and evening at the home of a middle-aged woman who was dying of cancer. Five minutes after he left, she died. He figured she was waiting to die until she was alone with her family. That seemed to be the case. She leaves behind a husband and two teenagers. The funeral will be on Sunday.

Tonight, he will head back to assist the family with funeral arrangements. He’ll probably be home at 8 p.m.

This means that I have been on full-time duty for . . . well, it seems like forever. He takes the kids to school, but I’ve been doing everything else. I am so weary. And there really is no end is sight, which makes the journey seem even more grueling.

And then, I think how grateful I should be for my health and the health of my family and all that. So, I am grateful. Weary, but grateful.

Like Me, Only Prettier

When I was in college, I knew a boy named Ron. Well, I knew several boys named Ron and when I say “knew,” I do not mean in the biblical sense. Anyway, I remember first seeing Ron in the cafeteria when he was a brand new student. He was blond and attractive and he was collecting old baked potatoes from people’s trays. He found this wildly funny and I found it wildly weird. But he was cute.

As time went on, we connected somehow. I was “taken” already–having committed to a relationship with my now-husband–so I was a safe partner to just hang out with. (My boyfriend lived in another town, three hours away.) He knew I wouldn’t get any ideas about dating him since I was off the market. I was happy to just laugh at this wacky boy.

I remember mostly riding in his red car, going to the ice cream parlor. I remember how amazed he was that I was a virgin.

And I remember very clearly the conversation we had one day in the cafeteria. At one point, he said something like this:

Ron: I just wish I could find a girl who is really smart and really funny. Someone who can make me laugh and who likes to have fun.
Me: (Half-joking) Oh, you mean someone like me? Only prettier?
Ron: Yes! (Relieved that I understand.)

The thing is, those kind of back-handed compliments used to really hurt my feelings. But the older I get and the saggier my eyelids become, the more grateful I am that I always treated myself first as a really smart, funny girl. I always felt I had a secret when male eyes would flit over my unremarkable face, overlooking me in favor of my Beauty Queen friends.

The secret is this–if you could actually read, you wouldn’t judge this book by its cover, you idiot!

Parenting Blogs - Blog Top Sites