Saturday, November 28, 2009

No Clippers

I could write a book on all the things I make Mason do against his will. He's a bit bullheaded and especially chickenhearted -- a strange combination. He's that kid who I just know will grow up and refuse to do things like dress in front of other kids in the locker room and then give excuses like, "I don't want to see others and they shouldn't see me. It's a matter of principle." How do I know this? He's a little bit like me. Just a little.

Currently, he does not like to get in the pool, go to bed in his own room, walk down the stairs without holding onto the rail (even if it's holding up traffic), enter a dark room, watch Monster House in its entirety, eat anything other than scrambled eggs, nor get his hair cut.

Big drama at the salon. In the warmer months I don't really mind being the one to shear them. But in the cooler months, well, let's say it, I just don't like the mess in the house. And yes, that means that when I do cut hair, it's out on the porch in all my white trash glory.

We've tried Sports Clips, a few actual stylists at a few actual fancy salons, and Fantastic Sam's. Fantastic Sam's is the current favorite because they have actually convinced Mason to sit down, only cry a little bit, and sit still. He gets so terrified that he crunches up his fists and does this weird pinching thing with his fingers. And most of the other patrons in the salon sit and laugh at him -- he's that funny about his fear.

The entire 15 minutes he is dictating how things should be done. No clippers! Just scissors! Don't cut my ear! Give me a sucker! Don't look at me!

But when it's done, he does look pretty good. It's getting relaxing enough, I might not go back to cutting it ever again.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Go Stuff Yourself

Have a pleasant meal filled with guilty pleasures and grateful thoughts.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Changing of the Garb

In a few days time we'll be wrestling with the Christmas tree and hanging lights on our front porch. All this craziness is an attempt to show our holiday spirit on the outside of our homes, the inside, and anywhere else we can find a niche, crevice or shelf with room for a garland. We're saying, it's winter. We're ready to lay down Lady Fall and open the door to Old Man Winter.

Which is wild, really, considering my boys are still marching around in Halloween costumes. When I see a fellow mother of the festooned costume-wearer in public I always look over with empathetic eyes and say, "I love you." Which is to say:

I appreciate that you are fostering creativity in your home.
You are so right to let your child express his individuality through his clothes.
It's not as embarrassing after the first 23 times, is it?
How many days in a row?
Have you found a good detergent for those flimsy polyester numbers?
Did you know you can get those at Target the week after Halloween for a quarter of the cost!?!?!?
Has he/she worn a costume to school, yet?
Mine has, should I be worried?
How many "personalities" does your child don?
You are such a good mom.

In other words, sometimes when it is said, "Oh! How I love thee, let me count the ways." It should actually be said, "I understand you, I don't know how to say it other than I love you."

PHOTO NOTE: Notice yesterday's costume on the floor.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dear Mr. Incredible

Dear Mr. Incredible,
I just wanted to write and let you know I've enjoyed borrowing your super suit. The thing is, it doesn't fit anymore. I was wondering if you're at liberty to share the number of your famed tailor -- Edna Mode. I know she's retired, but surely when she sees how this is fitting me, she'll make a comeback.

Honestly, it's only a little tight around the waist, but the shirt shows a bit more than my bellybutton these days. And I've grown a few inches taller, so, it's not tucking into my super boots like it should. Any suggestions? My mother claims she hasn't washed it in warm water, but that woman is not much of a laundress. And I swear I saw her taking it out of a very hot dryer just the other day. Isn't it supposed to be line-dried, exclusively?!??!

Other than that, my hero work has been on hold. I've been working on my numbers and letters and haven't had much time for cats up trees. You?

Mr. Mason

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pour Some Sugar on Me

It’s a rare occasion when I get to grocery shop alone. I of course prefer to shop alone. I can actually look for the items on my list without the constant barrage of begging for Fruit Loops and Oreo Cookies.

Following the much-anticipated parent-teacher conference I rounded out the evening with a solo-shopping trip. I was already in a funk thanks to the conference (more on that later) and doubly funkified to be shopping to the sounds of what I can only describe as the Top 10 Van Halen Songs of the 80s. When I pulled a gallon of rocky road ice cream out of the freezer the lyrics of Jump almost forced me to pick up two more gallons.

Anyway, I get to the checkout and am greeted by a sweet, if perhaps over-energetic checker. She appears to be about 20, but could be as young as 18.

And then I hear it, the familiar opening bars to "Pour Some Sugar on Me", a song by Def Leppard. As the song starts blaring from the overhead speakers the girl pauses, cocks her head as if to listen just a bit more intently and squeals, “Oh my God! This is my mom’s favorite song.”

This is where I cringe. Not because I hate the song, but because I once loved it. As does her MOTHER, not her sister, not her aunt, her MOTHER. Am I that old? If I had kept up with some of my high school peers I could have a child who is a checker at the local Kroger. Instead I’m actually buying another box of pull-ups for my baby.

To be clear, Pour Some Sugar on Me is from Def Leppard’s Hysteria album, released in 1987. I was only in seventh grade back then, so no I could not have a child who is 20. BUT, my husband graduated in 1986, so HE could have a child who is a checker at the local Kroger. And that freaked me out. Is this how it begins? Next I’ll be wearing Pull On Polyester Pants from Sears.

PS -- This girl had to ask me what each of the vegetables I bought was. She couldn't tell a zucchini from a butternut squash and had no idea what ginger root was.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Everything I Wanted

I get headaches. Bad ones. I can still describe to you the occasion of the first one I remember, which felt like it split my head wide open in about the 3rd grade.

I was just searching the medicine cabinet for something strong to battle one, when Cooper came looking for me. Of course he had like 30 questions. I was none too eager to speak aloud let alone answer his bazillion questions. So when we got to the part where he wanted to know why I had a headache I told him I thought it was because I grind my teeth.

He then proceeded to repeat to me -- word for word -- a commercial for a night mouth guard that he had seen on T.V. He even said, "clenching can cause damage to your teeth, mom." Of course I said, "Cooper you are quite possibly the smartest boy I have ever met, ever." This people is when it got interesting.

"Is that why you bought me?"

"I didn't buy you, I grew you."

"Oh, is that what you wanted to grow, a smart boy?"

"Well, not exactly. But I like what I got."

Blank stare. Some unabashed blinking of the minkiest eyelashes I've ever seen.

"I only wished you would be well and wonderful, and you are. Plus you're smart."

"Did you eat me?"

Aside from being hysterical, I can't put the conversation out of my mind. How do you explain to your child that you didn't wish for him exactly, but you love exactly what you got? They earnestly want to know this. I know I did, or rather I still do. Every child wants to know if you love him. And to know if you wished for him. For his individual awesomeness. Of course we do not wish for it. And yet, once you have them they are everything you wish for, and more. This might not actually be true for all parents, but it is to me.

So while I contemplate this mystery of the ages, I am also panicking because it's only a matter of time before he presses me on the, "Did you eat me?" in order to grow me question. And we all know how I handle pressure situations.

PHOTO NOTE: I don't have very many pictures of my kids right now. I've been listening to them, instead of sticking a lens up their nose. They just show off anyway.

Monday, November 16, 2009

For Every Action

It turns out that I don't really think through things sometimes. Like when on Sunday I decided to go ahead and buy that cabinet I wanted for the bathroom. It takes 21 days to ship. So, you know what that means?

In the next 21 days I must....

1. Strip all the wallpaper off my bathroom walls and ceiling. Yes, the ceiling. Who puts wallpaper on a ceiling anyway? I have a feeling I'll be returning to my physical therapist before long.

2. Pull out two vanity cabinets and sinks and counter tops. Do you think I can sell these on Craig's List? How much should I charge?

3. Remove all the towel rods, in-wall medicine cabinets, and strange toilet paper holder that is sunken into the wall. None of these will return... so you know what that means...

4. Cap off the plumbing to one of the existing vanity sinks. Patch all the holes in the walls and mud the walls.

5. Tear our carpet. Yes, carpet. Shouldn't carpet in a bathroom be against code? Seriously it as dangerous as an electrical outlet above the shower head. Black mold and pee. That's all I'm saying.

6. Pull out the toilet and baseboards.

7. Lay tile and seat new toilet.

After all that is done... the new cabinet should arrive. Then I must...

8. Order a counter top and sink and have them installed. I'm not even sure if the installer includes the faucet in that project, but we'll see.

9. Last but not least, paint and replace the baseboards.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Performance Anxiety

It's that time of year when teachers ask parents to come and visit with them, otherwise known as the parent-teacher conference. I don't know about the rest of you all, but conferences have never boded well for me.

There was the all-too-often-called Family Conference in which I would find out I was getting ANOTHER brother.

Of course the parent-teacher conferences my own parents participated in. Followed by the parent-child conference in which your parents translated their version of what your teachers said about you, to you. Fun evening filled with phrases like, " you talk to much," and, "you have so much potential that you are -- fill in the blank depending on the year."

And the corporate-type conference, which always resulted in someone getting fired or put on a "plan" for a few months before actually getting fired. Thankfully, I was never on the getting fired end, but I HATE breaking up with people. So delivering the fired news gave me ulcers and diarrhea. True story.

I'm a bit worried, to say the least.

Not because I have a child with academic issues. But because I have performance anxiety. Luckily the teachers have issued a worksheet. I suspect this will be the script around which the conference will revolve. It has only four simple questions. Four loaded questions. Four questions into which I must pack all my fears, thoughts, hopes, expectations, and covert suggestions or hints into the answers.

Perhaps you will be interested in some of my rough draft. (Yes, I have written a few rough drafts -- which speaks volumes about my personality.) Also, the questions are not questions. They are statements that you are meant to finish. Brilliant.

"I have seen my child grow in the following areas..."

He is interested or aware of differences in his classmates and is concerned for some students who appear -- in his words, not mine -- "hurt" or "broken".

I wanted to write something about the night he asked me why his teachers write on themselves (tattoos). But can't figure out a way to tactfully do that. Suggestions?

"What my child enjoys about preschool..."

Glitter glue

"Questions I have about my child's learning..."

Does he ever complain or appear to be bored? (Because heaven knows he is complaining to me!)

"My goals/hopes for my child for the remainder of the school year..."

Have at least one friend.

So, dear friends, what have you inferred from these incomplete answers? Also, where do you keep your vacuum. I don't know where to store mine. It is the no. 2 issue keeping me up at night, right after this freaking parent-teacher conference script draft.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I am one of those fine people who place undue pressure and guilt on myself. Insert smart-ass looking over my shoulder that is simultaneously gagging himself with his index finger and rolling his eyes. And yes, the universal pronoun for smart-ass is masculine.

Whenever I take a blogging break, or a writing break, or a sewing break, or a break from cleaning the house, I have a hard time getting back into it. The interlude was so nice. You know? You get a whiff of being lazy and it feels good. Damn good.

Then it starts to eat at ya. The whole, I’m not very productive. I’m going to loose all creative thought I’ve ever had. Also, there’s the pressure of creating a colossal anti-climax. If only for myself. And as we all know, the very worst thing any person can ever do is disappoint themselves.

So it is with trepidation and no real good ideas that I dip my toes back in the water before the break becomes so long that I can’t come back at all without earth shattering news. Since we all know I’m never getting pregnant again, I better start writing.

And, I have a dilemma.

My little Mason hates swimming lessons. I don’t know what has spooked him. He was getting along swimmingly and had caught up with Cooper on ribbons. But in the past month has actually regressed – in part because he got silly putty stuck in his goggles. But that’s another post for another day. Does anyone know how to effectively motivate apprehensive swimmers back in the water? (And NO, not those kinds of swimmers.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Zoo, A Photo Essay By Cooper

Ah-hem. I am going away. I'll be back, perhaps by Monday. But for now I leave you with a photo essay by Cooper.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

La Morte-Saison

It’s the dead season around here. The season I dread. People talk about seasonal depression, missing the sun and all that. Not my problem. We have plenty of sunshine in this state. It’s not even the cold. It's the mid-winter warm swings that make me nervous. Go ahead say it, “Weather makes you nervous?” Yes, it does and I’m not ashamed.

I am a pretend gardener. I like my yard. I talk to my plants and I take pictures of my flowers. I just do. Judge me if you must. But at this time of year and in these parts it can snow for four days – closing schools, canceling trick-or-treating, and trapping us inside (the worst punishment known to man).

Then it will melt. I kid you not, the forcast for tomorrow is 73 degrees. Seventy. Three. I might actually have to shave my legs! Don’t get me wrong; I love the warm weather. But it leaves my poor little plants exposed when they do not look their best. Would you want to stand outside with your shirt off? No, I didn’t think so. And neither do my Mr. Fokkers.

So here we are, in the midst of dead season. Dead stuff all around. Nothing to look at but naked twigs and once-crunchy leaves that are now matted, grey and rotting in the grass. This is when I start to panic. Looking at all that dead I wonder if it will ever bloom again. It seriously stresses me out. For seven months. So, don't expect me to be nice. For a while.

Last week:

This week:

The melt:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

100 Times, No

Grrrrrrrrr. I know that as the parent, I'm supposed to get over it. I'm the mature one who should find an amiable route to compromise. But as of yet, the road to a happy dinner experience is closed. The road block, is Cooper.

Me: Cooper, what would you like for dinner?

Him: What are my options? (the reply is pretty salty)

Me: Quesadillas?

Him: Oh really, no.

Me: How about nachos?

Him: Naaaawwww.

Me: Pepperoni Pizza?

Him: I don't want anything cooked.

Me: OK. How about a sandwich?

Him: What kind?

Me: Peanut butter and jelly?

Him: No way.

Me: Ham and cheese?

Him: Gro-osss. Never.

Me: Turkey?

Him: Not even.

Me: Poop? How about a poop sandwhich?

Him: Mom! Gross, totally no.

Me: Well, I could make macaroni and cheese...

Him: Exasperated sigh followed by No.

Me: Apple?

Him: Nuh uh.

Me: Banana?

Him: Nope.

Me: Scrambled eggs?

Him: Don't even.

Me: I give up. What's your idea?

Him: I was thinking about something with chocolate.

Both: Grrrrrrrrr.

PHOTO NOTE: I know this photo sucks. But it is exactly the contemptuous face Cooper makes while we are having this conversation. Every. night. I'm not even kidding.

PS -- If you have a slightly contrary child, as I have indicated above, you should never, ever check out the book: 1000 Times No, by Tom Warburton. It only encourages them and broadens their ability to turn you down.

Sunday, November 1, 2009