Wednesday, May 29, 2013

when skirts attack

Really, is there anything worse than being pants'ed by your own skirt?

Let's ask Brenna....

As I was signing Brenna out from school yesterday evening, before going into her class to get her, the teacher at the front desk asked if her classroom teacher had called me.

Called me? Today? Uh, why would she need to call me?

I quickly think back to the morning: Nope, I didn't dose Brenna up with advil to hide a low grade fever before sending her to school (not that I would ever do such a thing). I mean, yes, she did have a runny nose but these days in our house a runny nose barely warrants a tissue.

I turn a wary eye to the woman at the front desk and say, "Noooooo..."

To which she quickly responds, 'Oh, its nothing. Brenna just fell down when she was playing outside and got some scrapes. They were lining up to come inside and Brenna ran away from the line and fell on the sidewalk. She's got bandaids and is ok.'

Uh huh. Ran away. Fell down. Bandaids. Got it.

This story doesn't actually surprise me particularly. Brenna has recently decided to try her hand at obnoxious and inappropriate defiance and disrespect, which she deems as being "funny" (though to most adults, and her mother in particular, is generally the opposite of funny). Its a lovely and so endearing combination. (ha!) But now at least I am reassured that this behavior isn't reserved just for me.

I finish signing her out and head into the classroom to find her looking distinctly wan. In addition to defiance and disrespect, she has been practicing her 'most pathetic look' and now has it down to a science. Unfortunately for her these looks often come on the tail of defiance and disrespect and thus their cuteness impact is somewhat tarnished.

Nevertheless, she comes running over and immediately holds up both elbows which are impressively covered in bandaids and announces "I falled down! On the playground!"

To which I respond, "Were you running away from Ms. Jody when you fell down?"

Affirmative nod. (At least she's honest, I guess.)
Me: Why did you do that?
B: Because I did...

At this point her other teacher, Ms. Tracy, says "Did you hear why she fell down?"

Wait? There's more? I just assumed that she fell because she is 3.5 and her eyes, legs and body don't always work in sync which results in her spending a lot of time on the ground or bumping into walls or other solid objects.

Alas, not this time. This time as her teacher told all the kids to line up to go inside, Brenna decides to be 3.5 year old "funny" and bolts out of line. At this point karma kicks in and as she runs away her skirt falls to her ankles and trips her which sends her sprawling across the concrete.

Yes. I'll admit it. The image of my child being pants'ed by her own skirt made me laugh out loud, even as she stood below me with her pathetic face and bandaid'ed arms outstretched saying "uppie!"

And, to to be completely honest, it still had me giggling 5 hours later.

Now the real question is, has this bit of instant karma taught her that running away when she's supposed to be lining up is a bad idea?

Somehow I doubt it.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hey! Who do I talk to about a do-over?

I'm beginning to mildew.

It has rained, and I mean, rained every weekend since it got warm enough for me to want to actually spend time outside.

raindrops keep fallin in my car....
Not soft, lovely spring rain. But crappy downpours with flood warnings that should be posted inside my car since the seal around my windshield has decided to give up the ghost and with every storm, if the rain comes from the right direction I end up with a swamp on the passenger floorboard of the car. (I'm not entirely sure what direction is the right direction but when it's coming from whatever direction that is, tsunami warning sirens should go off.)

When it's not raining, someone in the house is either sick, broken or both. Sometimes more than one person in the house. And sometimes it's also raining.

First we had the great bicycle crash of March 28.

10 days of intensive caregiving and it looked like everyone was back on their feet.

Then I got sick.

Then I got better.

That vertical thing poking out,
yeah, that's bad
Then we notice that we can see the ends of the bone fragments that used to be a continuous collarbone through Michael's skin. It doesn't take an advanced degree and 37 years of education to figure out that this probably isn't the way a collarbone is supposed to look after 3 weeks of healing.

A trip to the ortho for the post crash follow up and the next thing we knew we were in surgery to fix the collarbone that was supposed to fix itself.  Which leads to two more weeks of intensive caregiving.

Then the cat decides to go kamikaze on us while crossing the street. 

This brings us to May....and more rain.
Photo: That is some sh*ttastic weather. Feeling vindicated for bailing on the 6 hr race at Ft Yargo.

Did I mention the rain?

Photo: Hey look! It's raining. 



Then I get sick.....again.

And Brenna gets pink eye.

And I get a sinus infection.

I can't remember the last time I worked a full week without having to take a day, or days, off to care for myself or someone else. I'm having nightmares that I return to my office to discover that all my stuff has been packed in boxes and I've been fired for missing so much work. Come to think of it, I'm not sure I remember what the inside of my office looks like.

Oh look, another rainy weekend.

I'm running out of indoor weekend activities that will entertain a 3.5 yr old because it's too wet to play outside. 
pillow fort!!!
Meanwhile, Brenna's behavior has morphed into a very unpleasant version of 3.5 year old behavior highlighted by whining, screaming, tantrums, screaming tantrums, and whining screaming tantrums. This morning's gem included a meltdown because she deemed all of her shirts to be "regular", not "fancy" and thus, unwearable. I am beginning to question whether we will all survive Brenna's preschool years with our sanity intact. 

And to round out an awesome 6 weeks, on Friday night Michael came down with the flu. Like the real honest to goodness lay you out flat and make you wish you were dead flu.

I'm beginning to wonder who we pissed off in our former lives and what sort of human sacrifice is required to put things right.

But first I need to take someone to the doctor.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Potty talk - conversations with Brenna & Melany

Between the ages of about 3 to 7 kids seem to become fixated on the potty. No trip to a resturant is complete without at least 5 trips to the bathroom and a careful inspection of each and every toilet stall. It's enough to make a parent wish that spraying your child down with Lysol in public wasn't cause for someone to call social services.
(Just for the record, I have never sprayed my child down with Lysol in public or in private.)

And don't even get me started on the facination kids have with port-a-potties. Brenna is completely enamored of them. Recently we went to watch Michael run a 1/2 marathon. The course passed right by our house making cheering for daddy easy and convenient. B and I are walking along the sidewalk cheering for the runners. We get to the water station where they also have a row of port-a-potties...
B: Mommy, I need to go potty (pointing to the port-a-potty)
Me [think quick and come up with a good reason why she can't use one of those nasty, germ infested cesspools]: Oh, you can't use those potties. Those are only for the runners. If you need to go potty we can go back to the house.
B: Oh.

A few weeks later we are driving in the neighborhood and we pass a construction site, complete with port-a-potty.

B: Look Mommy!! There's a runners potty!!

Sweet! I have succeeded in athletically brainwashing my child.


Melany, age approximately 6.

It's snowing. We have been out to play and all the snow clothes are soaked (because southerners don't know from gortex). Mel comes to me and asks if we can go back outside. She has on a slightly damp scarf and mittens.

Mel: Ima, can we go back outside to play in the snow.
Me: Yes, but you need to wear a hat.
Mel: Oh. So we don't get crap on our head?
Me: Yes...Wait! What?! Mel, what did you just say?
Mel: I said, so we don't get crap on our heads.
Me: Uhhhhh.............
[not much useful came out of my mouth after that. I mean, she used the word correctly and in context but, well, um, she was 6, and uh.....yeah, I punted and told Michael to tell her mom that she needed to be careful about her language.]

I did learn something from that encounter, however, and when Ella, at about the same age, said something about crap I asked her if she knew what it meant and explained that it meant "poop" and was not a nice thing to say. This seemed to be a much better approach than stuttering and finally babbling something about "crap" being not a nice thing to say and um, yeah, well, don't say it.

Nice to know I'll be prepared in a couple years when B pulls the "crap" card.

And as long as we're on the subject of crap. Melany's take, at approximately age 5, on the requisite number of bathrooms for a house...

Up until about 18 months ago, we lived in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house. The house was built in 1923 when apparently people only owned 2 sets of cothing and nothing else, so storage space was limited. We own 10 bikes and enough bike crap (there's that word again) to open our own shop, along with the astounding collection of random stuff that 2 people collect over time. With no garage, the unfinished attic was our friend and we spent a lot of time pulling down the ladder from the ceiling to go "upstairs" to get this, that, or the other thing.
Mel: Ima, you and daddy need more pottys.
Me: We do?
Mel: Yes, at mommy's house we have 3 pottys, but you and daddy only have 1.
Me: Well, yes, you're right. We only have one bathroom, because our house is small and we don't have any place to put another bathroom.
Mel: You could put one upstairs.
Me: Mel, we don't have an upstairs.
Mel: Yes you do. Where daddy goes to get the bikes!

hmmm, maybe a port-a-potty in the attic was the answer...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I saw the future, and it was bright...blindingly bright

Let it be said now, that I appreciate my mother more than ever for having survived shopping with me during my pre-teen and teenage years.
On Saturday I looked into, actually walked into, my crystal ball and saw what happens when Farkles the Unicorn vomits neon rainbows.

farkles the unicorn
Check out her blog! Buy her book! She is hysterical!
Seriously, I have seen my future, and it is bright. And I mean BRIGHT. Like neon-and-glitter-sequin-I-gotta-wear-shades bright.
Last week my eldest step-daughter, Melany, turned 10. A whole decade of life. Wow! To think I have known her for 7 years. Amazing. 

Along with turning 10, in the last 6-8 months she has also developed an extreme case of tween-ness. Case in point: recently she refused to get dressed and wanted to sit in front of the washing machine/dryer (for 3 hrs) because the only pair of jeans she was willing to wear was dirty. When I made the mistake of suggesting that she put on something else and change when the jeans were clean I was the recipient of THE LOOK and a loud sigh of despair. Translation: OMG! Like, what are you thinking?! Get dressed in something other than that one particular, perfect pair of jeans? How did you make it to adulthood being such a complete idiot?!

Logic be damned!

So, yes, an extreme and possibly terminal case of tween-ness.

But getting back to the birthday. What to buy a 10 year old who claims that "I will like anything you get me" (Which, in case you were wondering, is a euphemism for, 'I can't clearly articulate what I really want, but if you guess correctly and buy it for me I will be thrilled. If you buy me anything else I will hide my extreme disappointment poorly, not to mention accidentally lose the gift within 48 hrs.')

As clothes are always, um... worn, Michael suggested that we buy her an outfit. Good idea?

Not so much.

Let's recap what happened back in December when I bought shirts for each of the girls as a holiday gift. I thought she'd love the shirt I picked since it had glitter, rhinestones, a graphic of a flower or bow or someting, and to my un-tween eye it looked exactly like everything else she wears. Mel said thank you, removed all the tags, secretly tried on the shirt (I never saw this happen but a later description of all the shortcomings of the shirt make me sure that it got onto her body), and put it in the dirty clothes. I washed it and put it on her bed from which it disappeared into the abyss never to be seen again. When it finally came out that she hated the shirt, among other ills the shirt had "weird" sleeves, we had a long talk about 'If you don't like something I buy please tell me. I won't be insulted and we can return it for something you do like.'

Given this experience with tween-hood, I wasn't exactly jumping at the bit for a repeat performance. In the end we decided that a step-mom/daughter birthday shopping outing would be a good thing to do.

The conversation went like this:
Daddy: Mel, for your birthday Ima (me) is going to take you shopping at Old Navy to buy a new outfit. You have a $30 gift card.
Mel: Ok. (note the lack of enthusiasm)

In a moment of inspiration and realizing that tween behavior does not differ substantially from 3.5-yr old behavior, I decided giving choices might be a better approach.
Me: Hey Mel! We don't have to go to Old Navy. We can go to any store you like: Old Navy or The Children's Place, or Justice... (I was running out of potentially acceptable options)
Mel: JUSTICE!!!! (note the extreme enthusiasm)

And so it was decided. 

We arrived at the mall, parked the car, and went in search of Justice. 

As it turned out, finding Justice isn't all that hard. All you have to do is look for the blinding neon, glitter glow that spills out into the center of the mall.
It's hard to describe the visual chaos that greets you as you stand outside Justice. It's like this... 
 ...only brighter and more visually jarring in real life.

It's a bit like staring into the sun if the sun were neon rainbow colored and covered in a layer of multicolored glitter. 
mine eyes have been assaulted by the neon glittered light...

Amazingly, tweens have some cognitive glitch that protects them from getting dizzy and nauseated by the ocular impact and Mel danced right in.

I took a deep breath and followed. Within seconds I was dizzy and bordering on hyperventilation. I took deep, steady breaths and the world righted itself. I honestly could not tell you if they actually had music playing in the store since my elderly synapses could only process the assault on one sense at a time. 

Mel bee-lined for a table of highlighters in cloth form. Her first selection had a combination of neon yellow and pink, glitter, and a Jackson-Pollock splash pattern (ooh, the '80's are back!). Even with a storewide sale of 40% off a t-shirt and pair of running shorts was pushing her $30 budget. 

To counterbalance the ocular-overload I grabbed at the opportunity for a teachable moment on budgeting and basic math (which should tell you something since my predisposition is to move away from anything math related unless armed with a calculator, pencil and paper). 

I convinced Mel to check out the sale rack but discovered that the "sales" on the sale rack were no better than the 40% off on the rest of the store. So we headed back toward the front of the store. Mel then discovered a hot pink and purple combo with black and neon pink Jackson-Pollocked running shorts and fell in love. We found her size and she took the ensemble to the dressing room. 

I knew better than to even suggest that I sit in the dressing room with her (even I'm not that clueless and old...ok, maybe I AM that old, but I'm not that clueless). I sat myself down on the large, round pouffe with several other mothers. 

What I found truly frightening, was that many of the mothers seemed to have dressed out of the same closet as their tween. Seriously, a yoga skirt with a heather gray and neon pink chevron stripe, a green tube top and a white semi-sheer top over said tubetop is grounds for a ticket to What Not To Wear and a $5000 gift card to shop by Stacey and Clinton's rules.

I felt positively drab in what I thought was fashionable mom garb: skinny jeans and a grey-blue knit t-shirt with a cowelneck. Maybe I need that trip to NYC for What Not To Wear?

While Mel tried on her selections I wandered around the store...

Press-on nails? For 9-12 year olds?
Really? How do these kids go outside to play???

And swore that I will shield Brenna from these wonders for as long as humanly possible...

10,000 reasons not to have your child's ears pierced until she is old enough to sign the waiver herself
Finally Mel emerged from the dressing room resplendent in her birthday outfit (not to be confused with her birthday suit which would have been wholly inappropriate and cause for a very different blog post).

the proud, beautiful and very bright birthday girl

Happy birthday Melany!! May your tween years be filled with rainbows, and sparkles, neon!!

And I can rest easy knowing that 20 years from now she will look back at this picture and wonder, "What the h3ll was I thinking?!" Not that I've had that experience or anything....

Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy Mother's Day?!

Received via my work email from someone I've never met...

I'm not sure what to make of a Mother's Day wish that tells me I should fear the Lord.