Thursday, September 30, 2010

That's how I roll

Ladies, what do you do if you're out with your friends and some sleazy guy starts taking video of your group on his cell phone?  How do you handle it when he sits right across from you and aims his camera right up the skirt of the girl you're sitting next to?  I don't know what you do but here's what I do:

He didn't much care for me firing off about 20 pictures of him (in fact, there may have been a "bitch" muttered in my general direction) but he stopped taking pictures and videos.

This is not the first time I've done this.  It is the first time I've done it to a guy with prison tattoos of his children on his stomach (someone in my group told me he had shown them to her).  

I may be a bitch but at least I don't take crap from some badly-tattooed, pubic-hair-beard-having, stained-pants-wearing, scrawny little scuzzballs. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This is what you get when I have nothing interesting to talk about

What's that?
My fridge be bad, yo.

This amuses me much more that it really should.  No one else is even going to think this is funny.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A breath of fresh air

"You have to brush your teeth in the morning after you eat because friends don't like it when you blow your breakfast air on them."

So sayeth Elle.

Four years ago today Elle discovered pay-per-view

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You just can't cut the wisdom out of me

I have a story for you.  It's a story of magic and miracles and wonder and the freaky ass thing that's going on inside my mouth right now.

Eight years ago I had my wisdom teeth removed.  It took a long time for the right lower side of my mouth to heal and at a follow up appointment an x-ray showed that I still had a small tooth chip left in my gums.  The oral surgeon promised me that the chip would work it's way out or it would be reabsorbed by the surrounding gum tissue.

Eight years come and go.  The chip never came out so I always assumed it was reabsorbed.  It's never brought up by any dentist that I see.  (I change dentists a lot.  I have a massive dentist phobia and I'm always looking for one that I can make an appointment with without feeling like I could vomit from terror.)

Yesterday I went to a brand new dentist.  I mentioned that I was having some pain on the right side of my lower jaw.  She looked at my new x-rays and said "That's because you've got a wisdom tooth crowding your molar on that side.  It's going to need to come out."

I explain that I already had that wisdom tooth out.  She pulls up an old set of my x-rays.

"Huh .... I've never ... How is that ... Are we sure these are yours?  We are?  Then how... That doesn't seem right."

All good things to hear your dentist saying.

It turns out that my tiny little leftover wisdom tooth chip has regrown into a tooth.  It's a small tooth but it's a tooth.  It's got a nerve running though it and everything.

My dentist says she's never seen that happen before.  In fact, when I got home I had a consult with Dr Google and I learned that wisdom teeth do not regrow.  It just doesn't happen.  Unless, you know, it does.  In my mouth.  It happens in my mouth.

Now I don't have the x-rays so I can't give you photographic proof but why would I lie about this?  Because I want to achieve world-wide fame as The Freak With The Tooth Thing?  It's not exactly a title that comes with great power and financial rewards.  Believe me, if I was going to lie to you it would be about something much more exciting that my wisdom tooth.

The dentist also expressed amazement over the length of the roots of the teeth in my lower jaw.  She just went on and on about it.  At first I was oddly proud like it was something I had any control over.  Then she just kept talking about it.  She even said it looked like the roots are longer now than they were in my last set of x-rays.  If I had not been sucking down nitrous oxide like it was chocolate cake I probably would have thought to ask her if that meant that sooner or later the roots of my teeth are going to pop right out of the bottom of my face.

I'll ask her tomorrow.  I have to go back to have a cavity filled.  At least that's the excuse the dentist gave for wanting me to come back.  She probably just wants me to sit in the waiting room so she can charge people 25 cents each to get a look at the Amazing Walrus Girl.

Two years ago today we came back from Disney World.
Three years ago today I laughed at Jesse and the kids were freaking adorable.

Friday, September 17, 2010

His last name is Remover

There is a kid in Elle's preschool class named Stian.  Pronounced Stain.

Stian is Norwegian for "wanderer".

It is also Hipster for "my parents were too busy patting themselves on the back for coming up with my unusual name to ever take the time to consider how naming me Stian is pretty much like pinning a PLEASE TEASE ME note to the back of my shirt every day for the rest of my life".  Alternative meaning: "Thanks a lot assholes"

Edited to add: It's been pointed out to me that perhaps Stian is an old family name.  A tradition.  I respectfully agree that this may be the case but I maintain that some family traditions are better ... not continued.  Family name or not I still think it's a mean thing to do to a kid.

Edited to further add: It's been pointed out to me in an email that perhaps I am a huge bitch for making fun of the name Stian.  I respectfully agree that I may be a huge bitch but maintain that not liking the name Stian is not what makes me a bitch.  Still not a good name.  Sorry, random emailer.  If it makes you feel any better you can go ahead and make fun of my kid's names but then the joke will be on you because I didn't even name one of them, he came with that name so hahahahahahaha!

Edited to even further add:  Holy macaroni!  Does everyone who has a kid named Stian belong to some kind of message board or something?  I have now gotten three emails from people who are mad at me because I made fun of their kid's name.  All right, fine.  You win!  Stian is a wonderful name and I hope that when Elle grows up she and Stian get married and that they have 100 little Stians of their very own but if they don't I will adopt several cats (and some house plants) and name them all Stian because Stian is THE BEST NAME EVER!!!  Also, my best friend is pregnant and I will be encouraging her to name her baby Stian unless it is a girl then I will suggest Stianette.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

And now I'm dead. Because of germs.

Yesterday I was feeling pretty good about Joseph's no homework situation.  Remember that?  I was all "Yeah bitchez, no homework for us!"  Yesterday I mentally composed some swear word free love thank you notes to his teacher in my head and then I went to pick Joseph up from school.

"Hi Mommy!" he said as he got in the car.  "I have homework today!"

What?  Homework?  As in work you do at home?  What the hell?  I was told there would be no homework!  No homework!  That was the deal!  It's my fault isn't it?  I gloated too soon about the homework situation.  I should have just kept it to myself.  The universe is punishing me for something isn't it? I'm sorry! Please, powerful homework god!  Forgive me!  I don't want to do homework!  OH NOOOOOEEEESSS!

"What kind of homework is it babe?" I cautiously ask.

"During dinner time or some other family time we have to have a discussion about germs.  I have a paper to use to help me moderate it."

Oh my god.  For homework he has to moderate a family discussion about germs.

*dies from wonderfulness overdose*

(Every single time I type try to "homework" I type "homeworkd".  Every single freaking time.  I only bring this up because I'm worried that at some point my poor over worked spell check will be all "We keep telling her that's spelled wrong but she just keeps typing it that way so maybe homeworkd is a word and we just don't know it?" and stop correcting me and if that does happen I just want you to know that I'm not stupid but my one finger is and also my spell check is kind of lazy.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I won the 4th grade jackpot

Let me go on record as stating that I HATE homework.  Sitting down and forcing my kid to do worksheets ranks right up there among my least favorite parenting tasks.  It's torture for both of us.  Joseph has had more homework related meltdowns than I care to try to count.

For the past two years Joseph's school has had an hour long after school Homework Club three days a week and that has helped some. He's been able to get most of his homework done there and when he's doing it in a group he thinks of it more as extra time he gets to spend with his friends and less as stupid, pointless busy work that was assigned to him because everyone hates him and no one ever wants him to play video games ever again and OMG HOMEWORK IS EVIL!

So Homework Club really helps but this year we might not even need it because, brace yourself for this, Joseph got a teacher that does not assign homework.

I almost passed out with joy when I heard the news.  She says that her philosophy is that there is always more learning and working for kids to do but that she doesn't think worksheets are productive or helpful.  She expects the kids to do things like reading or flashcards at home and they still need to study spelling words and sometimes they might need to work on a big project at home but there won't be any worksheets.  No.  Worksheets.

Woo freaking hoo.

Oh, and on top of all that awesomeness?  Joseph's new IEP case manager specializes in autism and she's arranged it so that if Joseph is ever feeling stressed out or overwhelmed or upset (or any of the other seven billion things he can be going through) he can ask for her and either she or her assistant will come and take him out of the class room.  He can go to get a drink or take a walk in the hallway or take a short break in the library or the motor room or whatever he feels like he needs.

Woo freaking fracking hoo.

Can I tell you how happy and grateful I am that Joseph has such an amazing team to work with?  I'm so thankful that the people at his school seem to recognize his needs are are working proactively to meet them.  I lurve them.  And not just because of this stuff.  Also because when Joseph sits in his desk his little legs dangle down and don't touch the floor because he's so short so they had him measured and got him a little footstool to rest his feet on and he said it helps him sit up straighter and write better and he doesn't get so tired!  Squee!

Is happy his little legs no longer dangle and that he now has more time after school to memorize video game guides.
Three years ago today I should not have been allowed in a grocery store.
Five years ago today I talked about my cervix.  Of course.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I think I'll keep her

Today when I picked Elle up from school she was sad because she wanted to stay and eat lunch with her "all day school friends".  To make her happy I took her to lunch at her new favorite place, a fancy burger restaurant right here in town.

When we were seated Elle was thrilled when she realized she would have one entire side of the booth all to herself.  I only had to remind her about fifty times to stop bouncing on the seat.

She requested that we split an appetizer of meatballs on a stick.  As I was ordering it a straw wrapper flew across the table and hit me in the face.  When I looked up Elle was sitting with her straw in her mouth and shocked look on her face.  I think she surprised herself with her good aim.  I didn't get mad because I'm the one that taught her to do that in the first place.

When our meatballs arrived Elle threw up her hands and cheered "Woohoo!  Neatballs!"

I cut the meatballs into pieces for Elle.  She decided that the bison was her favorite and that she also liked the lamb but that it made her a little sad to eat a baby sheep.  That didn't stop her from nearly licking the plate clean when she was done.

As we waited for our sandwiches to come we played a word game.  We went through the alphabet and Elle tried to name a food that started with each letter.  She was pleased with how she could use our appetizers in the game.  Lamb for L, bison for B, Kobe beef for K and neatballs for N.  H was the only letter she had trouble with but later she went back said "himachi".  I'm pretty sure she meant "jicama".

As we ate our sandwiches Elle paused to announce "I am just so cute today!"  Then, after a brief pause to nibble on a pickle (dipped in my chili of course) she said "You're so cute today too Mama."

In case anyone is wondering what we're going to do about the all day preschool program we're going to skip it for now.  We may revisit it during the last month or two of school as a "getting ready for kindergarten" option but that's a long way off.

For right now though I really like having her around.  She likes being with me.  I think she still gets a lot out of being with me.  She's my sidekick, my shadow, my little buddy.  I'm not ready to give that up yet.  Soon enough she'll grow tired of being around me all the time.  I have to soak up all the togetherness I can while she'll still let me.

And clearly I'm going to have to make neatballs for dinner more often.

Friday, September 10, 2010

We'll call them princess crowns

Every time one of my kids lulls me into thinking I'm a good parent the other one comes along and sucker punches me with a nice big reminder that hahaha, I really don't have this all perfected yet.

Joseph is 10 years old and has never had a cavity.  I won't lie - taking him to the dentist office has always been a little bit of a morale boost for me.  I would hear other parents talking about how Little Johnny needed three fillings or how little Suzy had two cavities and I would think "Hey, my kid may not eat anything other than peanut butter sandwiches and he may require hours of therapy a week and he might not be able to write legibly and he might scream at me if he can feel the tag on his shirt but by golly I've got this dental hygiene thing figured out!"

I live for the little victories.

For a long time it seemed like Elle was going to continue the proud Perfect Teeth tradition.  She loves going to the dentist.  She loves brushing and flossing her teeth and she'll sometimes do it three or four times a day.  She never drinks pop and only very rarely drinks juice.  She seems like the perfect candidate for being crowned Child Who's Teeth I Could Brag About.

Then a few weeks ago I took her to the dentist.  She went back for the cleaning herself and I sat in the waiting room feeling superior to everyone around me.  Next to me was a couple arguing because the dad had let their son have candy right before coming in for a cleaning and his mouth was still green.  Across the waiting room a woman was telling her son "You're in 5th grade now.  You're going to have to start brushing your teeth every day."  Yeah, I was feeling pretty good.

Then Elle came out. 

I'm sure you can guess where this is going.

Two cavities.  They were forming in between teeth on both sides of her mouth so she would need four crowns put on.  I almost passed out when they told me the bad news.  I made the appointment to get the fillings done and I tried to act very casual about the whole thing but in reality I was clutching on to the edge of the appointment desk for dear life and reminding myself to breathe.  There was a combination of two things going on here.  First, I was mortified that I had become one of those parents.  I just knew that somewhere in the waiting room someone was looking at me and going "I'm glad that's not my kid!"  Maybe it was even the mother of the green mouthed boy.

The second thing is that I have a huge, massive, gigantic, extreme, intense fear of the dentist. So much so that when I was recently on the phone making my own dentist appointment and they asked me if I wanted gas during the x-rays I used my most grown up and mature voice to say "That's an option? Yes, I do believe I would like that.  And who will I be needing to kiss in order to thank them for this wonderful, magical development?  And also, can you please send me some gas over the phone right now because even talking about this makes me anxious and queasy."

So I was a little upset about about the whole crown issue.  Not Elle though!  She told me every day that she was "exciting" to go back to the dentist.  She read her Dora Goes To The Dentist a thousand times.  She happily announced to everyone that she met that she was going to the dentist to have her teeth fixed.

Today was the big day.  She wanted me to come with her to hold her hand.  Watch my baby get her teeth drilled into?  That sounds super fun!  But I did it because I am the mom and surely those cavities were somehow my fault and the least I could do was hold her hand while they got fixed.

She was a rock star.  At least as far as I could see.  I tried not to watch too much and whenever I did accidentally look over the room would start to get dark and wavy.  But the people working on her kept saying what a great job she was doing.  In fact at one point they joked that she probably could have done it without the nitrous.  I "joked" that if she really didn't need it maybe I could take a few hits of it please and oh my god, why is it so dark in here and why is the room spinning?

The only real incident came when Elle whined because I was holding her hand too tight.  (What?  I needed the emotional support!)  Well, that and the moment she was all done and she gave me a great big smile and I could see the crowns and I felt like the scuzziest, most low life parent on the face of the planet and clearly I have ruined her for life and I'm not fit to parent her everyone should just go ahead and use me an example of what not to do with their kids.

Then we walked out of the office and and I was paying I overheard a dentist scolding a woman for the state of her son's teeth.  "We had to remove three teeth today because they were so rotten.  One of them only had a little tip of root left.  There are a lot more cavities left on his teeth that will need to be taken care of.  In fact, almost every tooth he has some some decay on it."

Ok, so maybe I'm not the worst parent ever.  I'm still getting Elle a t-shirt that says "Please notice my gorgeous red hair and my brilliant blue eyes and not my four crowns and did I mention that my brother has never had a cavity?"

One year ago today Elle started preschool.
Two years ago today I loved Sarah.
Three years ago today I struggled with medication.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Wiggle room

(I'm going to break one of my own blog rules here and talk about my family's finances.  I'm torn on what to do and I hope this will provide me some clarity.)

As I type this I've got apple butter simmering in the crock pot and bread baking.  My house pretty much smells like magic.  Later I'm going to bake brownies and then the house will become the best smelling house in all the world.

As a full time stay-at-home-mom (I don't work in or out of the home at all) I have a lot of time for things like baking bread and canning apple butter and playing Farmville cleaning the house and whatnot.  It's a luxury that I know a lot of people would like but simply can't afford. The only reason we can afford it is because Jesse and I decided a long time ago that it was important to us that our children have a parent home with them full time and that we were willing to go without a lot of extras to make that happen.  We're not able to afford it because we're rich because, ahahahahahaha, no.  We're able to afford it because we're willing to be left with a very small amount of wiggle room after the bills are paid. 

The kids started school today.  Joseph is in 4th grade and Elle is starting her second year of preschool.  It's not cheap sending Elle to school.  For 2 hours a day, 4 days a week we pay $228 a month.  That might not seem like much to some people but remember us over here with the tight budgets?  Yeah, it's a lot for us. We can make it work though.  We just cut corners a little tighter in other places.  No biggie right?

Now we're in a quandary.  We just found out we could send Elle to an all-day preschool program this year.  She would go to her regular class in the morning then have another four hours of school after that let out.  Each day her class would do math and reading projects and then (depending on the day of the week) would go to the library or the computer lab or art class or music class.

The class sounds perfect for Elle.  I feel like she's ready for an all-day program.  She's smart as a whip and very social and I think she could really benefit a lot from the class.  She's an old four and we had even debated trying to push her ahead to kindergarten this year but I think this would be even better for her.  She's sensitive and easily frustrated when she can't do something right so I think she might really flourish in the gentle, nurturing environment of preschool. 

All that said, we probably wont' be signing her up for the program.  I'm sure you can guess why.  The cost is $456 and I just don't think we can make that work.  In fact, I KNOW we can't.  We're out of wiggle room.

Now In case you're thinking "GET A JOB!" I want you to know I am giving that some thought.  If I could get a job, even for only a few hours a week while the kids are both in school, I could probably get us the wiggle room we need to afford the all day program. The problems with that idea are:  a) I am terrified to go back to work. I've been doing this at-home thing for so long that the idea of punching a clock and talking to adults makes me sort of woozy. b) I'm pretty much unskilled.  Sure, I used to be a cashier and I knew how to run a til but it's been ages since I did that.  My homemaking skills don't really translate into real world job skills.  Unless people want to pay me for my highly skilled uterus I might have a hard time finding something. c) I don't really want to work.  I love my children but the few hours I get when they're in school are important to me.  I like running errands without having to bring them with.  I like jumping into the shower without them pounding on the bathroom door.  I like taking the time to bake cookies for an after school treat.  That stuff matters to me.  (Maybe more that it should?)  I've been a stay-at-home-mom for 10 years.  I feel like I've earned these few hours a day.

So now I have to decide.  Do I take one for the team and try to find some crappy, low paying job that I hopefully don't hate so that Elle can go to the all day program?  Or do we continue to send her to the half day program and look forward to next year's all day kindergarten class?  Or do I try to figure out some other creative way to earn us some extra wiggle room?  Or do I make Jesse get a second job?  Or do I keep pursuing another surrogacy and move Elle into the all day program when (if) I get pregnant and start getting paid?  Or do I buy a lottery ticket and hope that today is my lucky day?

You know what?  This hasn't clarified anything at all for me.  If anything I'm more torn that ever.  What to do, what to do, what to do?*

*I'm not really asking YOU what I should do but if anyone's got the perfect solution I'm more than willing to listen to it.

Two years ago today I found a practical use for blogging.
Five years ago today I was the most boring person in the world.

Friday, September 03, 2010

For the record, he does not care for it

I'm finding it harder and harder to write about Joseph these days.  He's an amazing, talented, smart, funny, creative, energetic, enthusiastic, occasionally difficult child and I want to tell the whole world how weird, wild and wonderful he is but I'm holding back.  The older he gets the more it feels like I'm revealing too much when I write about him.

It was easy when he was little.  I could say whatever I wanted about him and it was just me, telling cute, funny stories about my cute, funny kid.  Now when I want to talk about him I start to wonder if I'm invading his privacy.  He's ten years old now.  Those cute, funny stories that used to be mine to tell as I pleased are now becoming his stories.  More and more often when I want to talk about him I ask myself "Would he want you to share this?" and more and more often the answer is no.

There's other stuff too.  Sometimes I want to vent or work through a particularly difficult episode but I worry about what people might think.  For example, last night Joseph had a really big, bad melt-down and I would like to talk about it and get ideas and support but something is holding me back.  I worry that people will read it and think that I'm a bad parent.  That I did something that caused that behavior or that I didn't do something that could have prevented it.

Even worse, I'm worried that people will read it and think something bad about Joseph.  Maybe people will read it and think he's a bad kid or that he's a spoiled brat or that he's somehow less awesome that he actually is.  I can't let that happen.  Joseph is a great kid.  The people who know him know that.  I can't let people who don't know him think badly of him.

I've had this blog for five years and before that I had another that I started when Joseph was just a tiny baby.  I've spent most of his life documenting every milestone, achievement, setback and one-liner.  It's hard to accept that I have to stop that now.  The best parenting tool I have at my disposal is my intuition and right now it's telling me to ease up, to let Joseph struggle and thrive and grow and succeed without me blogging every little thing.

That doesn't mean I'll never talk about him again!  He's a hilarious little boy and his quips and quirks alone could fill a blog. For example: The other night I made soup.  (For all the progress Joseph has made with food issues soup remains one of his, oh, let's just say less than favorite foods.)   My parents dropped Joseph off after taking him to his horse back riding lesson and he was in a great mood when he walked in the door.  He chattered happily as he took off his shoes (and shirt), washed his hands and sat down at the table.  He picked up a spoon and was just about to dig into his dinner when he realized what I had set in front of him.  The dreaded soup. He stared down at the bowl for a moment and then put his head up and looked me dead in the eye. 

"Mommy" he said, his voice a mixture of anger and disappointment. "I believe I've already made my feelings on soup very clear to you."

And then Jesse and I laughed and laughed and laughed because it might have been a teeny bit rude and sassy but it was also mostly funny.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Yes, I know they sell yogurt in stores

I feel like I'm so busy these days.  This is the last week of summer and it's filled up with doctor appointments, dentist appointments, horseback riding, swimming, babysitting and open houses.  For whatever reason, whenever I'm really busy I feel the need to be even busier.  I have a million things going on this week and somewhere along the way I decided I just wasn't doing enough and I needed to add in cheese making.

Oh, I'm joking.  I'm not making cheese.  Today.

I'm saving that for tomorrow.  Today's project is yogurt.  Yes, homemade yogurt.  It turns out that's a thing you can do.  Yesterday's project was sauerkraut and that's sitting on my kitchen cupboard right now and it's stinking up the whole joint.  Urban homesteading is pretty cool but it does lead to some interesting smells.

That's about all that's new with me other than today at the dentist's office I nearly blinded a woman while trying out the flashlight feature on my new phone.  I would have felt bad but not two minutes before that this same woman was telling me how she didn't buy her kids any school supplies because she figured she already did her part to help out the school by purchasing lottery tickets and everyone knows that the money from lottery tickets goes to schools and those school supply lists are just a big scam by teachers.  You know me.  You know that it was inevitable that sooner or later I was going to seriously injure myself or someone else with that phone.  Aren't you glad that (this time at least) my clumsiness powers were directed towards a deserving target? 

One year ago today my family went on a trip.
Two years ago today Joseph was in the hospital and I got something gross in my mouth.
Five years ago today I had stretch marks.