Friday, April 28, 2006

Of all the teachers to get, he gets her.

I wasn't going to post again... I really planned on taking the kids outside and letting them run out some energy. But the kids, well, they will have to wait.

I just had to share with you the information that came home with my son today. Written on a booklet he did in his Kindergarten class was a note from his teacher. It said:

"He needs to write *scribbled out letter* neater and erase less. I can not read his writing."

If I could scan it in for you, I would. The note about him erasing less was written with a scribbled out letter! The note asking him to write neater was in this horrible scrawl! And how, exactly, can a child - a Kindergartener, mind you - get his letters to be neater without erasing and trying again?

People, this teacher is the teacher I would never wish on any child. Instead of showing him how to do the work correctly, she criticizes. He comes home feeling bad about his work; feeling like he cannot do it right. It makes me sick.

Ok, now I will take these children outside. And I will rescue my child's ego by letting him do something he is good at, and praising him profusely. Because he really is special, and smart, and capable. Even if his handwriting is not the best. (You should see his parents' - The deck is stacked against him with this one!)

Useless and bored. That about says it all.

I'm bored. So bored, and yet, really, I have so much I should be doing. I just cannot get my mind working. My powers of concentration have left me altogether. While trying to read the news headlines this morning, I completely spaced out and read everything twice before I had even realized I had read it twice. As in, hmmm, didn't they just say something about that yesterday? Oh wait, no, it wasn't yesterday, it was just this morning. I'm reading this for the second time!

I really should be working on the stuff for the accountant, and I will, but just not right now. And the level of dust in my house has reached dangerous proportions. So I guess I will have to dust soon. But right now? Right now I am useless, and bored.

The kids are watching TV (oh the glory of TV.) The baby is napping. And I am on the computer. Because if I have to watch any more children's programming, I think I'll completely lose it and go ape shit. Yeah, that bad. But the computer is running out of interesting things to tell me. This week, I have read all the gossip sites, the news, done a little online clothes browsing, and even looked up certain medical conditions on WebMD (because you never know and it pays to be informed.) I've even read the archives of other's blogs to catch up on all the things I didn't know about them. Mmm-Hmm, exciting!

Which leaves me with nothing much to do at the moment, and nothing much to write about here. Because I haven't done anything interesting lately. We went to Wal-Mart last night. And ate McDonald's food. See? You didn't even need to hear about that. Ergo, I have nothing to write about. Except how bored I am.

Got anything interesting to tell me? Bring it on!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Purging the evil...Part 2

Ok, ok, ok... So I didn't make it all day (as my husband was so quick to tell you!) What he didn't say was, when I mentioned that I wanted to make brownies, he said, "Go ahead."

At the time I was just venting my want for brownies, but he totally pushed me over the edge. Him and his "go ahead". Isn't that just another way of saying, "Please make the brownies, please. I would like nothing more on earth than brownies for dessert. I know that you are trying to give up sugar, but the brownies, I need them."

So I did it all for him. Um, yeah, it was all for him. It had nothing to do with my want for brownies, absolutely nothing. All for him. Uh-huh, him. Nothing to do with me. Nothing. Not really. Well, maybe kinda...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sugar Junkie

This is the hubby Ellie often refers to in her blog articles.

Just to let you know that...

She completely didn't make it with the no sugar deal. By 6 o'clock she was making brownies with marshmallows and peanut butter chips. Do not let her fool you with her witty banter, she is weak.

Purging the evil from my body. (Or, giving up sugar... same diff)

The bad mood has passed (mostly.) The pity party has come to an end (mostly.) The weather is cooler (oh thank God!) and the sun is shining. And we went out for Mexican food last night. All of that equals one happy lady (mostly.)

Let me tell you about the little part that is keeping me from being in one of the best moods ever. It is called: no sugar. And Ha! it is the devil.

Um, seriously, yeah, the devil.

You see, last night after joyously eating a full plate of enchiladas, refried beans, and some of the best rice ever, I unknowingly made a deal that is eeevviill. (Cue ominous music.) I was speaking with my husband about how much sugar I have been consuming lately, and when he suggested I tried to go without, I said, yeah, maybe that's a good idea. Obviously, I was not in my right mind. Obviously he was taking advantage of a Mexican-food-high.

Now I'll give you a little background about my relationship with sugar. In 1998, (or maybe 1997, but heck, who can remember that far back) I was diagnosed as hypoglycemic. Basically, that's the opposite of Diabetic in that your pancreas makes too much insulin whereas the diabetic pancreas doesn't make enough. And in hypoglycemia this insulin production is directly related to how much sugar you consume. So the best way to control it is to not consume simple sugars (or things that convert easily to simple sugars, like my beloved white bread.)

Back when I was diagnosed, I went on a no-added-sugar diet. I started to eat more protein and fiber, and shunned anything with sugar added to it. Needless to say, I also lost a ton of weight. Not that I needed to lose any weight back then, but you know, it never goes when you want it to. But I digress. My diet was very wholesome, and I didn't mind much. I felt very good, in fact.

Then I became pregnant with my son. I found out something miraculous about my pregnancy. Yeah, I know, a pregnancy in itself is miraculous, blah, blah, blah. But what I found truly wonderful was that sugar didn't affect me the way it used to! I could eat things I couldn't eat before, and that was like a manna from heaven to my pregnant self.

So I ate. And ate. And ate. And, um, put on a little weight. The weight? Well, it really hasn't come off. And the eating habits? They haven't gone back to wholesome. In fact, they have proceeded to get worse. Hence, grumpy, tired me. Very grumpy, very tired me.

And so, I am not eating sugar today. I'm going cold turkey off of the white powder that has me so addicted. But I'm not going off of white bread just yet. With that, I am taking baby steps. (I am only so strong, people. I cannot conquer the world of refined foods all at once.) But the sugar addiction? Well, it is stronger than a caffeine addiction to my hypoglycemic body. I am going to have headaches, cravings and mood swings. (Full blown DT's by tonight.) But when I come out on the other side, I will feel good. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

Consider yourself warned - this woman may be grumpy. But the end justifies the means. (Hopefully.)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Oh heck, as long as I'm complaining...

Let me just say that I think accounting firms suck. Yeah, I said it... They suck.

I'm having an awful time with one right now, particularly one woman who does not know the concept of calling or emailing specifics in a language us normal people can understand, and I just had to publicly say how much they (meaning her, really) suck!

(Except I'm a wimp, and I won't mention their name, or why exactly I think they suck because, well, defamation of character and all that. I'm sure lawyers suck even more that accountants.)

And one more thing I'm going to complain about since I've officially deemed this The Day That I Will Complain - the heat is here. The awful heat that I have dreaded since we moved back here has finally come to stay. And it is really, truly awful. Why do we need it to be so hot? Why can't we do something about this awful heat? Yeah, yeah, I know, they did invent air conditioning. For that I am very grateful. But sometimes this girl likes to go outside. And it is now too miserable to be out there. Waahhhh!

Ok, complaining done. Pity party will continue through a full 24 hours. Then I will get over my damn self and get on with things! Hope you're having a good day! (Someone ought to!)

Partying like it's... well, not really...just me complaining, skip it if you don't want to hear me whine.

I'm happy to report that the little boy who, last week, dreaded coming over to my house is now happily here. He has come running in, happy as can be, the last two mornings.

But the fates, they do not make these things simple, ever. Because, you see, now I am the one who doesn't want him to come over. And not just him, but his brother either. Not that I don't like them, because I do. They are good kids, and they keep my daughter busy. I like that very much. What I don't like is not having my freedom.

I didn't realize how much I missed it until yesterday. There have been times when I wished I could just go cruise a mall, or the local Target, or maybe even take the kids downtown to a park. But it really hit home yesterday, when the little kids were being dropped off late. I had the chance to iron some clothes, have 2 cups of coffee, and walk my son to school. Then my daughter and I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things, and I got a chance to vacuum a little. All in the 3 extra hours I had until the kids were dropped off here. And I really enjoyed it.

I realized how much I missed spending time with just my kids. I miss being able to do special things for them - like take them to the toy store to ohh and ahh over the newest toys. I miss being able to just pick up and go wherever we want. And it's starting to get me down. So down, in fact, that I spent half the night last night trying to figure out a way that we could pay all our bills without me working. And, um, unless we can get a house for $400 a month, I don't think it's going to happen.

What about my other options, you ask? Well, I could find a job outside the home, but, um, that would mean spending even less time with my kids, and even less freedom. I suppose I could get an evening job, but that would mean less time with my husband. And I rarely get to spend any time with him as it is. Next time, I think I'll go for a part-time kid watching gig. Maybe something that gives me a day or two off during the week. Because, I think, this summer is going to really be a bummer for me and my kids. I know my son will be bored - we won't be able to do any of the things he likes to do. And I know he's sick of hearing, "We can't do that with the little kids here."

(I do know that I am very lucky to have the option to take my son to school, pick him up, and just be able to stay at home with my daughter. But still, I'm allowed to complain a little. It may be petty, but it's how I'm feeling. But really? I know I'm blessed. Just bear with me until I'm done with my little pity party. 'Cause right now, that party is in full swing.)

Monday, April 24, 2006

So THAT'S what they said!

Ya'll, I have discovered the best thing. It has totally changed television watching for me. I never used to watch much, but I now find myself surfing the channels, eagerly seeking mumbling people. Mumbling, you ask? Yes, mumbling. Because I have discovered CLOSED CAPTIONING. Yeah, yeah, I know it's been around for a while. I'm a little late in the game. But I never realized I could access it so easily on my television (if you're calling me retarded, shut up now!)

When my husband and I rent movies to watch after the kids go to bed, we watch them with subtitles. Most of the movies we watch have quiet moments of dialogue, and then go to ear-piercingly loud action scenes in a heartbeat. And since we're watching them while the kids are asleep, we have to keep it turned down low. (Those kids, they suck all the fun out of things sometimes.) The subtitles allow us to know what they are saying. And my husband mostly allows it because he's sick of me saying, "What did they say?" (Some of those actors just do not enunciate very well.)

And now, now, I can watch television with the same benefits. Who knew? (The hard of hearing, of course, but who else?) Another wonderful benefit: music videos with the words! The words to songs, people! The words to songs on MTV, VH1, MTV2, VH1 Classics, Fuse... Etc. My husband and I spent a great deal of time yesterday watching videos we don't normally watch, just to read what they are saying. That is so cool! (Ha, well, cool to me. I lead a boring life.)

I now know what the heck Chris Cornell is saying. And how many people can say that? Yeah, thought so, suckers! Closed captioning, all of you should turn it on! (Apparently, it's just as simple as pushing the arrow to yes on your TV. Huh.)

Friday, April 21, 2006

I'm a survivor. He's not doing so well.

Well, we officially have survived spring break. Now that the weekend is here, we can get back to our old weekend ways. Which basically means chores for me, and watching copious amounts of TV for the kids. And the kids, they have already begun.

My husband has a cold. But sick? No, not sick. "Just a little stuffy... *cough, cough* ... Must take shower to relax... *sniff sniff* ... But I'm not sick ... *cough, hack, cough* ... Do we have any Nyquil?" Never sick.

The kids are watching Boomerang. Do you know that channel? It's from Cartoon Network, and they show lots of old cartoons. Like Ritchie Rich and Grape Ape. Things I haven't thought of since I was their age. It's fun to see the old cartoons again. What's really come as a surprise to me is that my husband knows almost all of the character's names, and even the plots of many episodes. He's a wealth of 80's cartoon knowledge. This is a man who claims to have not been allowed to watch much TV when he was a child. Amazing what the mind deems important enough to retain!


I just had to put my son to bed. He was throwing up, again. He does this throwing up thing a lot. He has a weak stomach, or something like that. The sight (sometimes even the thought) of certain foods can set him off. Bananas? Yup. Yogurt? Yup. Chili with crackers mixed in? Oh hell yeah!

But tonight his throwing up is not food related, although my daughter's bowl of ravioli did make him gag. Nope, tonight his throwing up is due to exhaustion. Yeah, him being tired makes him physically ill. You see, it's been spring break. So I let him stay up. The party animal has been staying up until 8:30 most nights this week. Yeah, 8:30. But he wakes up before anybody; before the sun even thinks of shining. So he's not been getting enough sleep. And this, my friends, makes him sick. Throwing up, headache, sick.

I get that way too. I used to get so sick in high school. I lived in a dormitory, and the night-watch lady, or whatever she was called, would come check on me. She would take my temperature, and I never had one. But I would throw up over and over again. It wasn't until way into my adulthood that I realized that I would get headaches as a first symptom, then I would start throwing up. Maybe it's migraines, I'm not sure. But I do know that it happens when I get exhausted, and sleep cures all. My son and I both wake up from a night of dead sleep feeling fine. So don't worry, he'll be okay.

I'm going to reinstate the 7:30 bed time. He can't handle all the late nights. Like I said before, he's fun at parties (Ha!)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

He feels meh, I feel meh.

Today I am dealing with a 3 year old who, for the first time, has decided he doesn't want to come to my house. He comes over for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. That's a lot, and I seriously expected him to not want to come some days. But now that it's happened? I'm upset.

I'm upset, firstly, because I want him to enjoy coming over. And secondly, because I don't want his parents to think he's mistreated in any way. Honestly, I think that's my biggest fear - That the parents will think I'm not doing a good job with their children. Because I treat the kids the same way I treat my own (and sometimes better,) I feel like it would be a direct reflection on how I am as a parent. And that's also a big part of who I am. A parent. I don't want to feel like I'm bad at it.

I'm worried they will think their son is mistreated because he suffered his first major fall this week. He's had some minor head bumps and some bruises on his shins (he's a kid, they do that), but this week he hit his ear. And that ear is now sporting a gruesome looking purple bruise. It really looks like he took a major fall. And he did - he fell off of the kitchen chair and managed to hit his ear on another chair just so. It was swollen and purple. Ouch!

Of course, I didn't witness the fall. I had my back turned and was heading in the opposite direction to fetch a crying baby. So there you go - he was not properly supervised and dangerously playing at the kitchen table. Oh the gross mistreatment(!) and negligence on my part! But all kidding aside, I feel awful.

I really think the "not wanting to come over" is based more on the fact that my son has been home from school this week. It has messed with the routine, and this boy loves a routine. I think he's sensitive to change, and he's just feeling off. But what do I do about that? My son, he lives here, and will be here every day when school is out for the summer. That's going to be a big adjustment for this little boy. And also, it's hard on me and the remaining kids. I had to tell my kids to take it easy with the little boy today, and pretty much give him his way. Because he's littler, I said, and also, he's in a bad mood today. But we can't do that every day. It was really hard to pull off. It's also unfair to me and my kids (and the little boy.)

I hope this is just a passing stage for him, and that we can get back into a groove. I would hate for him to have to come over to a house he doesn't want to come to. And I don't want to put myself (and the kids) through the work of keeping a child who doesn't want to be here. It's kind of a killjoy, really.

So, meh. Just feeling a little quiet tonight. Introspective maybe? But I think it's best described as meh.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What would Freud say?

I've just noticed that I've used the word elephant in my titles twice now. What does that say about me? I'm not sure if I want to know.

Elephants who don't watch TV, darn it.

Wednesday, oh Wednesday, you are so cruel yet kind. You let me know that I am halfway through the week, and yet, at the same time, still make me aware that I have 3 more days to get through. That half way thing is not really true until approximately noon. So close.

This week has been different from the others in that my son is home from school. It's amazing how different the dynamics of a household can be when you just add something as little as a 6 year old. You see, I am a routine creature. All of my days with the kids are built on routine. We take my son to school in the morning, come home and eat breakfast, feed the baby, the baby takes a nap while the other two play, we go outside (weather permitting), eat lunch, have "quiet time", pick up my son from school, feed the baby, play outside (weather thing again), clean up, and watch a little TV before the two little ones go home. The routine stays pretty much the same. What's different about our days are the activities we do, and the kids function really well with a routine.

But now it's all gone to hell. The baby, he's trying to keep his routine. The rest? Well, they're running upstairs slamming doors (I've told them not to, they stopped for a few minutes) and playing wildly. They were so wild, I sent them upstairs while the baby naps. My son is used to the fast-paced lifestyle of Kindergarten. They must be a mile a minute, because he's that way now. On the weekends, he's calm and lies around wanting to watch TV all day long. The weekdays, well, the weekdays are for running, evidently. And yelling, don't forget the yelling.

I'm hoping that by the time school is out for the summer, we can find a new routine that fits all four kids. One that doesn't involve so much running in the house and yelling words like poop, and can't catch me. And I'm not playing! (The girl likes to yell that one when the boys don't play exactly the way she wants to play. Such a little girl.)

Me, I'm busy with the cleaning up. And carrying the baby. Because, you see, I babysit a baby who is of the you-will-not-put-me-down variety. In fact, I have taken to referring to him as The Baby Who Will Not Be Put Down. Exersaucer? Nope. Blanket on the floor full of toys? Nope. Pack-N-Play? Are you crazy? That's too much like a crib, and a crib is for SLEEPING only. And the sleeping? Only done when rocked sufficiently for at least 15 minutes. He's a baby with requirements. And the requirements are making me ache. Because also, he's a baby who is heavy. But he's the baby, and what can you do. If you deny him, he will cry. And the crying, pitiful. The most pitiful crying you have ever heard.

Well, I better get back to the herd of elephants who are slamming doors upstairs. I'm hoping that maybe the elephants will want to watch TV. Don't children like to watch TV anymore? What happened to the generations of kids who were going to be so obese because they vegged out in front of the TV? I want those kids.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

One day down, 4 more to go.

I was going to post... but as soon as the page loaded up, the baby (the one I babysit) woke up. And my son came downstairs, because evidently, "quiet time" is for everyone but him. SO let me get the now awake baby, and hand the computer over to my son for various online games.

They totally are not driving me to eating chocolate. Totally not. I swear. (Okay, so maybe I had a little bit - a few hershey's kisses dipped in vanilla frosting. Or maybe not!)

Hope you're doing well. Me? I'm outnumbered, but surviving.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Bound and gagged, but at least it's dark in here.

My oldest is home for spring break. That means I have 4 children here... and it's supposed to rain today. I may need help. They may decide to take over - if I do not answer my phone, it means I am locked in a closet. Send help immediately. Hmmm, maybe you should wait until I've at least had a nap. Let me revise that - Send help in an hour or so.
I won't be posting much the next couple of days. I'm trying to save my energy for the inevitable emergency that will arise. I fully expect it to be bad, very bad.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I'd even run if it meant more dip.

My friend S is running a marathon soon. She's actually ran more than one now, but she's doing a big one in Oklahoma at the end of the month (at least that's when I think it is...correct me if I'm wrong.) I have to just say publicly how awesome I think she is. I am in awe of her ability to want to do something, then just go out and do it. You're awesome, S, very awesome! And good luck!

I've never been very athletic. (And by very athletic, I mean lucky I'm actually able to manage walking.) For some reason I'm one of those lucky people who doesn't even know what their arms and legs are capable of. (By lucky, I mean so freakin' unlucky.) I don't even have those save-yourself reflexes that keep something from hitting you square in the face - like catching or batting something away. It's just not intuitive for me.

As an adult, I tried something as simple as aerobic videos, and used to get all tangled up. It took awhile, but I did finally manage to make my legs move while simultaneously moving my arms. It was like I learned how to be a little more coordinated. I am finally learning how to catch and throw - no joke. My husband is teaching me and the kids at the same time.

So I admire S and her quest to be fitter and achieve big goals.
Let me tell you what my quest is: To consume as much cream cheese toffee apple dip as possible. I'm addicted. Seriously. I was in the middle of full blown DT's when my husband went to the store to buy me more apples for my dip. Oh. My. God. I cannot even express my love for this stuff. Really, I can't. For he is home with my apples, and I have a bowl of dip ready and waiting. Gotta go.

Not like an elephant at all.

Somewhere along the line I lost my memory. And since it's my memory I lost, I can't remember when I lost it. I think it was just about the time I started having kids. (Some people may say I had already lost my mind before then, but we're not going to listen to them, are we!)

Before, I could rely on my memory. I never forgot anything. And I really mean that. I was one of those freaky people who remembered even useless things. Birthdays? Knew them. Telephone numbers? Knew them. Old license plate numbers? Knew them too. I used to read things and be able to commit it to memory with ease. I was like an elephant (only not big and gray. And do they really never forget? How do we know?)

But now? Not so much. I read things, then have to re-read them not long after.

My son has a different schedule of classes for an hour each day (like library, art, PE, etc.) And the people at the school must be against me. They have changed it twice since he started going to this school, which means that I have to consult the paper that has the schedule on it every freakin' day! And I don't even know my own cell phone number. I had to program it into the phonebook-thingy so I can look it up when I need to give it to people. My home phone... well, I have most of it memorized. Honestly, I'm lucky I know my address.

My brother is getting married in a few weeks. I'm getting all the dates in writing. Because if I didn't? I'd forget. And I don't want to miss a chance to see the kids all spiffy-ed up. My sons going to be in a little tux (HEEEE!) and my daughter in a flower girl dress. And I believe this will be the first time all of my family will be in one place. Since, like, I was five or something. Yeah. Don't want to miss that!

Now, what were we talking about? All I'm thinking about is the wedding now... were we talking about the wedding? I can't remember...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My daughter, the animal lover.

Remember the cartoon Tiny Toons? Okay, so maybe you don't. But my husband and I do. And if you do, do you also remember Elmyra? The little girl who loved animals sooo much that they were smothered by her, and fled in terror? And she would skip along, happily oblivious, singing la la la la la la.

Well I gave birth to Elmyra. Only we named her something else. But it's still the same girl. I swear. My daughter - who is a loving child, very merry, and very smart - tortures animals. No, not like in a future-serial-killer way. More like tortures them with the depths of her love. She loves them, hugs them, and sings to them. But the animal feels only smothering, and hears only shrieking. It's scary for the animal, funny for us.

Wait, before anyone alerts PETA, know that we do not let her torture animals... much. We once had a dog who fell victim to her. She loved that dog so much. My daughter would want to brush her (i.e. smack her repeatedly with a brush,) feed her (i.e. shove food at her and demand EAT,) and hug her (i.e. squeeze so hard that her eyes nearly popped out.) And the dog, bless her, patiently sat through the torture until one of us could rescue her. Now that dog is gone. (And by gone, I mean went to live with Grampa, where she express the kind of love learned at the hands of my daughter. Sorry Grampa.)

Last night, my daughter was happily playing in the backyard when she came upon a caterpillar. She was fascinated by the caterpillar, and watched it for the longest time while happily singing a song to it. Then she thought she would dazzle it with her scooter riding skills. (Because caterpillars LOVE to watch children on scooters, didn't you know?) All was fine until, oops, she ran over it. And severed the tail end. Then she came to tell us that - wow - he was still moving! Don't worry, she said, he's okay.

Then later, when she came back inside, she said he was dead. I said that maybe he was just resting, or playing dead because he was scared. No, she said, he was dead. How do you know, I asked. Well, she said, she knew because she stomped on him.

Elmyra strikes again.

Monday, April 10, 2006

He's self-sufficient, kinda. And I'm clean.

After the fateful night when my son showed up at my bedside to randomly ask me a question, which was not actually a question, he's shown up every night since. He comes just to wake me and tell me he loves me. Then he goes and gets back into his own bed, all by himself. My son, the boy who could not get to sleep without having his covers just so, is now running back to his own room and managing to get back to sleep. Yay! But I'm not sure about the waking-me-up-to-tell-me-he-loves-me thing. I'm guessing it's a stage between having me come to his bedside and tuck him in, and actually just staying in bed and going back to sleep himself. I'm pretty thankful because not having to get out of my warm bed is a big step up for me. (But did I mention this is a 6 year old we're talking about? Yeah. You with the babies who wake you up at night... Sometimes it doesn't end. Those people who tell you it will end soon, they are just saying it to make you feel better. Just wait until they can get around all by themselves, and actually get out of bed, open doors, and get into stuff. Just wait.)


Friday I had someone's say to me, "Your house is always so clean!" And then they were embarrassed that theirs wasn't. But to me, no, my house isn't always so clean. I haven't vacuumed in two weeks, the floors need mopping, and the dust, oh my god, the dust.

The one thing I do keep up with is the clutter. The kids pick their toys up at the end of the day, and I make several passes at the piles of stuff throughout the day. But don't think I have a clutter-free home. I have stacks of school papers, and piles of things here and there. I have my fair share. I also have an absence of knick-knacks and other things that people may collect. Not that I am anti-knick-knack either, I just don't want to bother with them. You see, I am lazy, and I know it. So I try not to let anything I can neglect keeping up with into my home. And I have kids, and other people's kids, so I also have toys in every room.

If I had my way, I'd have one of those modern style homes. All shiny and sleek. And sparse. Oh yeah... sparse...*sigh*. Or I've always loved shaker style homes with their place for everything and, oh, sparseness. Simplicity. That's what I like.

My house may look clean to other people, but that's not my goal. I am not one of those people who cleans just so I can say, "Look how clean my house is! Be impressed!" I keep my house picked-up because I cannot function amidst clutter. I can't relax if I have to step over things and go around this or that. I like wide open expanses of floor and for things to have a place to belong.

But also? I don't care if your house is clean or not. I've had people apologize to me for their mess - especially after hearing about my need for clean. I may need order to survive, but others can only relax when their house is lived-in and kinda messy. I realize that. So don't think I'm entering your house thinking, it would be nice if only it was cleaned up. I'm not. I say we all should be proud of our homes, and our way of living in them. And know that you are who you are - messy or not. I promise to quit feeling bad about having a house that may make people uncomfortable about making a mess in, if you promise to quit feeling bad about a having a house that isn't the cleanest. Because really, who needs more guilt?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Things that go bump in the night.

Last night, my son comes barreling into my room, and says:

Son: Can you keep the racket down? I'm trying to sleep.

Me: (confused) What? I was asleep too... What's going on?

Son: Keep the racket down, I'm sleeping!

Me: What racket? (blinking furiously while trying to figure out what the hell he's talking about)

Son: (sounding very frustrated) The racket!

Me: What racket?!?

Son: It's (daughter's name), her racket.

Me: What's wrong with her? What's she doing?

Son: Crying! Can you stop her crying, I'm trying to sleep! (goes into his room in a huff and gets back into bed)

Me: You could have just told me she was crying, it would have saved us a lot of yelling and confusion!

Son: Well, she's crying.

So I check on my daughter and found out that she was crying because her dad wasn't here when she went to bed, and she didn't get her nightly singing of the Itsy Bitsy Spider. So I go wake my husband up because, heck, why not make sure the whole family is awake at 2:30 am! I tuck my son back into bed, my daughter gets her song, and then I can't get back to sleep.

After finally getting back into a peaceful sleep, my son appears at my bedside sometime between 2:30 am and any real waking time. He says:

Son: Mom, I have a question to ask you.

Me: What is it?

Son: (pause) I love you very much.

Me: I love you too

He then gives me a kiss, and walks himself back into his room, and goes back to bed all by himself. (I didn't have to tuck him in or anything!) And I totally forgave him for waking me up again. He's a sweet boy, that son of mine.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Grumpy? Me? I don't know what you're talking about.

Allegedly, I am a grumpy sleeper. As in, I am terrible to anybody who wakes me/moves me/makes too much noise during my sleeping hours. I say allegedly, because there is no hard proof. I'm just going on what my husband says. (My terribly honest, couldn't lie to save his life husband.) But without the concrete proof, I'm sticking with allegedly.

Before I go any further, let me explain exactly why sleep is so important to me. I'm one of those people who needs sleep. As in, I will get extremely grumpy and even sick if I don't get any sleep. I was never the type to pull an all-nighter. Nope, never. I was the one who went to sleep in the middle of all the fun. (I'm fun at parties.) When I get tired my body starts to shut down. Literally, I can't function. Add a son who wakes me up several times a night, and you've got a woman who values her sleep more than all the riches, and chocolate, in the world. Yeah. That much.

Now let me tell you about my son. He, unfortunately, got my "need for sleep" genes. He gets sick at the merest hint of sleepiness (hence all the throwing up he does, like last night, in the middle of the restaurant. He's fun at parties too.) He also got my "light sleeper" genes, and the combination is not a good one. So when he wakes up at the slightest noise, like, for instance, the air conditioner turning on, he is very grumpy. And he needs to be tucked back into bed. (He cannot sleep unless the covers are tucked neatly between the bed and the wall, and pulled tightly to exactly under his chin. All of which he cannot accomplish on his own.) Which brings him to the side of my bed to wake me up and tell me he needs to be tucked in. Needless to say, this has seriously interfered with my precious sleep. (Hee hee, I said my precious. Now I'm imagining myself as Gollum.)

So last night, after the second trip to tuck him back in, I said, "This is the last time I'm going to do this. You'll have to get yourself back to bed." At which point he said (very pitifully, I might add,) "Don't make me cry, Mommy." As if I was a horrible mommy-monster who lived for nothing other than to make children feel bad. As if I wanted to make him cry, and do it often.

This makes me think that maybe, just maybe, I am grumpy at night.

Now what about my daughter, you ask? She got her dad's "I can sleep through anything" genes. She's slept through the night since she was a baby, and still does. And she can pull her covers up herself, because she really doesn't care how they are arranged, just that they keep her warm. She's also always the last to wake up. And she likes to stay up late, really late. (I fear that she might actually be fun at parties.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I don't need your award anyway.

I started a post last night that I thought I would finish this morning and put on here for your entertainment. But when I re-read it, I realized that I must have been in a very cranky mood. And then I thought, holy crap, I can't post that. The internet will think I'm awful! So I'm deleting it. I'm saving you from a post titled, Why They Are Taking My Name Off Of The Mother of the Year Award. Let's just say that it included things I have said to my children lately that may not have been very nurturing, and leave it at that. Trust me, it's better this way.

So now I'm left with nothing much to say. Because yesterday I did nothing exciting. I took the kids to the playground (TWICE!) and pushed swings. I played in the backyard, and I did homework with my son. See, nothing exciting.

I also took the kids to the market just up the street and let them pick out junk food that pretty much ended up being their dinner. Yeah. (That means they are not going to give me Mother of the Year next year either - because they have already taken me out of the running for this year, now they've got to reach into future years.) My daughter had a Tootsieroll Pop and Apple Jacks, my son had Cheetos and Coke (and he also had a piece of cold pizza.) My husband was out of town (again) and I was too tired to make sure my children ate well. That's my rationalization for giving them preservatives and junk. Works for me.

Lets talk about this "out of town" thing my husband does. He goes to Charlotte. He goes about once a week, sometimes every two weeks. I'm beginning to wonder if this Charlotte is not a place, but maybe his other wife. But I've seen his paystubs, and the kids and I suck all the money out of him at an alarmingly fast rate. So I know he can't possibly be supporting two families. That has made me think that maybe this Charlotte is his independently wealthy other wife. And if that's the case, I say bring her home! I will welcome her and take her shopping to celebrate! I will let her lavish me with expensive gifts and share the housework with me! But then again, this Charlotte may actually be a place. And that's just not fair.

Oh, and read this. She makes me feel like I am not alone.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

How much is that child in WalMart?

Last night the kids and I went to the grocery store. (I know, the horror.) And it wasn't just any grocery store, it was (gasp) WalMart. For those of you who have kids, you know the pain that can be grocery shopping with your kids there to help. For those of you without kids, well, you've seen us in the store, and you know how it is. It's just hard to witness. And because I'm just plain crazy for the pain, I also left my list at home. Which meant we had to go down every isle lest I forget something and have to go back to the store the next day. (There have been weeks where I've been every single day, I swear.)

So there we were, the three of us taking up a whole aisle. The kids were yelling, "he/she touched me!" and I was just trying to really concentrate on whether or not we needed more toilet paper/aluminum foil/sugar-filled, hyper-inducing snacks (you know, the necessities.) I was concentrating so hard I didn't realize that we had taken on another child. I'm so used to those children, you see, that it doesn't phase me to hear extra little voices. My son was talking, I was walking, and I figured he was chatting with his sister or someone else nearby. As long as I could hear him, I knew he was still walking along behind me, and that's good. But what I didn't realize was that he was chatting with a child who had NO ONE there to supervise him. NO ONE. I mean, who would lose track of their child in WalMart? (Certainly not me! Um, not often, anyway. Just kidding, grandparents. My kids are too busy trying to get junk food that they don't dare lose track of me - the woman who has the power to pay for said junk.) There are whole movies of the week devoted to losing your child in that store! So once I realized that I gained a child, I stopped dead in my tracks. I nearly caused a four cart pile-up in the cereal aisle. But I had to find his parent, because I seriously didn't want to have to buy him junk too.

I began to backtrack. This is not a child's favorite part of the shopping experience, because they've already begged for everything in the previous aisles. This, they figure, is a waste of time and energy. So they whine. Loudly. But two aisles (TWO AISLES people) back we find the extra little guy's mom. And she's standing in front of carpet cleaners with a little toddler who is very unhappy about being there. In fact, the toddler was causing such a ruckus, I don't think she even knew the other one was gone. The little boy just happily went back to his mom (who I really hope can get whatever it is out of her carpet that had her so intently looking at carpet cleaners.) And my kids yelled BYE very loudly. (My kids - they don't speak, they yell. I think they've found that it's far more effective.)

We did make it to the check out aisle without another major incident. Thank goodness. But I'm always shocked at how I can spend so much money without getting any actual ingredients for a meal. I should write a book. I'll call it, How To Spend $200 On Fruit Snacks And Doughnuts In One Shopping Trip. Because I swear, that seems to be all we got. Oh, and Yoo-Hoo drink boxes, because my son doesn't drink milk and I am fanatical about him getting calcium from somewhere. (But that's a whole other story in itself.)

This morning, I'm hungry and looking for something semi-nutritious to eat. And I realize I have failed. Failed to get good-for-you food at the grocery store, and failed to buy anything I really needed off of my list. (But I did come home with both kids, and they're the ones I left home with too. I totally get bonus points for that.) So guess where I have to go again. Yeah. That's right. Again. Sheesh.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Kids, kids, kids. Also, jeans.

Exhibit A, the jeans. Read on for the description.
As those of you who have been following along already know, I babysit for two children during the week. Their parents call me a nanny, others refer to my situation as a home daycare, but to me, I'm a babysitter. Regardless of what you call it, I have two other children in my house for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. Yeah, that's a long time. As a stay-at-home mom, my hours have always been long, so I'm (kinda, sorta) used to it.

Those two kids are aged 7 months and (almost) 3. Hard work. Hard ages. Pair that with my own kids, aged 5 and 6, and it's really hard work. They aren't old enough to NOT need constant supervision, so I always have to know who is where, and what they're doing. And most of the time, I've got the baby on my hip. (But it's a big hip, so he fits there just fine!) Right now my oldest is at school, the baby is napping, and the other two are blasting Laurie Berkner in my daughters room while systematically trashing said room. I may be able to get on the computer now, but the hard work will come when the baby wakes up, and I have to supervise the other two (drill sergeant style) while they clean up. I'll pay for my leisure time, oh yes, I will.

(I know I had a point to writing all this, but I can't remember what it was. I've really got no where to go with all this... but rambling seems to be where I'm at today anyway. So I'm just going to ramble on for your pleasure - as in, watch the crazy lady ramble on and on. You can't seem to look away, and it's oddly entertaining in a weird glad-it's-not-me kind of way.)

Oh wait, I know what I was going to say when I started all this.... Since I've started babysitting the kids I've had people say to me, "Doesn't having a baby around make you want another one?" And I can say with all honesty, no it doesn't. Nope. Not at all. The one person who got it right was my friend S, who said, "doesn't it make you glad you decided to not to have any more" or something to that effect. And yes, it does make me appreciate my two being the ages they are at right now. I've made it through all the bottle feedings, teething, spitting up, temper tantrums, middle of the night wakings, potty training, changing diapers, time-outs, etc...etc... I can appreciate these two little ones, and watch them grow, yet I am not ultimately responsible for raising them. And I like that. I am potty training, and bottle feeding, but there is also a daily end to it all for me. And the weekends are baby-free. That's nice. Really nice.

I enjoy working with children. As much as you may hear me complain, understand that the majority of the time I really love being around kids. It's just more fun to write about that train wreck - who wants to read "I'm content right now...nothing much to say" ?

(But that wasn't really much of a point... so the rambling continues....)

I got the QVC jeans in the mail. I was excited when I pulled them from the package and saw that the blue was a good blue. I was afraid they would be that weird shade of blue that some jeans are - know what I mean? So good blue, good. Then I had to try them on immediately. I pulled them on, and here's another good thing, they buttoned and zipped easily. No tight waist. Very good. And the length was perfect. Very, very good. They were a little tight in the butt, but most things are for me. So I was thinking, I can't believe I bought a pair of jeans off of QVC and they fit! Then I turned around. I wanted to check out how the jeans make my butt look. And... Oh. My. God. What I saw in the mirror was so hideous, I can't even describe it to you in enough detail to give you an accurate picture. The words just don't exist. (So I included a picture!) But let's just say that the pockets were not flattering. Not at all. Not even when I took the jeans off and turned them around to unbelievably stare at the pockets did they look any better. I thought for sure it was just my butt - nobody made jeans with pockets like these anymore, right? Apparently I was wrong. Somebody does make jeans with small pointy pockets spaced wide apart. Pointy and small enough to make the expanse of your butt look like a giant, well, butt. And I do mean giant. It was a horrifying experience. The jeans are going back, and I will never speak of this again.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Weekend wrap-up. Also, my son, the pansy*.

Did you enjoy your weekend? I think I did. It wasn't very restful or relaxed, but it sure was busy. The kids had a wonderful time, and all in all, that's makes me a happy woman. Because, really, ever hear two children whine for 48 hours straight? It's enough to drive you insane, literally.

We went to the spring festival at my son's school on Saturday. As predicted, it was chock full of people. You couldn't even breathe without breathing someone else's air. It makes me all lightheaded to be in such close proximity to strangers. Oh so many strangers. But I survived... as did my husband, who served hot dogs (and was mighty proud of his food service skills.) The kids played lots of games and won prizes. (You know, those cheap plastic things that clutter up your house but you can't throw them away because they are Prizes!) We stayed just long enough to see everything, and left in time for me to avoid complete meltdown.

On Sunday, we went outside. And we, um, well, went outside. I think it was busy... it seemed to me we didn't spend a lot of time in the house doing nothing... but I really can't remember what we did. The evening was spent playing volleyball and badmitten with a neighbor and some neighborhood kids. But really, nothing much to report about that. It was fun, but I'm going to spare you a play-by-play. Mostly, because I can't remember, but also, to spare you. That's right, I'm just thinking of you.

But here's what I really wanted to talk about - my son. He's a sweet boy. And I don't mean that in the way that means he's sweet, but not to everyone else. As in, he's really a sweet boy when he's not beating the crap out of your kids. No, my son is sweet. He's the child who is just as happy for someone else when they win as he is for himself. He's not competitive in the least, and he always wants to cheer everyone else on. His inherent sweetness in the problem. Other boys his age are competitive, learning how to be cut-throat little sports players, and sometimes downright scary. He tries to play with them, and they get frustrated with him. Because he really does think that winning isn't everything. Just imagine... you are playing a game of volleyball and you want to win more than anything. And on your team is someone who doesn't really try, because they are just having fun playing. You'll want to beat the crap out of him when you lose, won't you. Yeah. Problem.

I don't want him to lose that sweetness, because he's so good. And really, he's got a healthy attitude, and has tons of fun in everything. But I also want to avoid him getting a volleyball spiked at his head by an enraged team member. So what do I do?? Yes, I'm asking you, oh wise and powerful internet, for advice. Because everyone knows the answer to everything is right here on the internet. The power must be dizzying.

I also want to complain about losing an hour. I really could use that extra hour back, please. See, I said please. It's the magic word, and I should get what I'm asking for because I said Please. Please, Please, Please. (Hmmm... works for my kids, but seems to be adult-proof. Dammit)

*I'm not putting him down. Really, I'm not. He's the most special boy in the whole wide world. But he's a pansy. It's the truth and I embrace it.