Monday, June 27, 2005

I guess we'll just have to wait and see


Maren still won't let me go to the bathroom by myself. Sometimes I can sneak in there unnoticed and she won't realize for a minute or two where I am, but she always figures me out and finds me. Then she comes crashing through the door.

"Are you going pee-pee or poo-poo?"

I never realized how important that question would become in my daily life, but I would guess that a full third of our conversations are based on that question. Because if it's not me it's her or Grant or George. It's always someone going pee-pee or poo-poo. I also never actually pictured myself using the words "pee-pee" and "poo-poo".

So today's conversation went something like this:

Mommy: Could I please go potty by myself?
Maren: Why, do you have to go pee-pee or poo-poo?
Mommy: It's not polite to ask that.
Maren: Why?
Mommy: It just isn't.
Maren: So what do you do?
Mommy: (Utter silence trying to figure out what the hell to say in response.)
Maren: You just wait and see what it is?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

And I smell like one, too!


Happy birthday to me. Thirty-three.

I don't feel 33. Well, I really don't know what age I feel. In some ways I feel 43 and in other ways I feel 12. Apparently I'm quite confused.

The day started with a rousing rendition of the "Happy Birthday" song that has me living in a zoo and looking like a monkey. It was lively and heartfelt and all that that particular song should be when sung by a smartass and a three-year old. Is there a better way to wake up on your birthday?

I already got my iPod, so the gifts were taken care of. But I did spend a big chunk of my afternoon in the iTunes music store discovering all sorts of new bands and ferreting them away. I found two that I really like: Dressy Bessy and the Engineers. They are completely different from each other, so don't be confused by my mentioning them in the same sentence.

All in all it was a nice day. I do have one question, though: how the hell did my parents forget it was my birthday? It was 10:17 when they finally remembered to call me (and I didn't answer the phone, I was busy blogging at the time thank you very much). My sisters remembered. My in-laws remembered. Even my husband's grandmother remembered. But my parents can't be bothered until after ten o'clock? Nice. I'm sure the message they left for me (that's still waiting on my phone) has some excuse about how busy they were, but really, how hard is it to make a five-minute phone call at a reasonable hour on your child's birthday. Thanks mom and dad.

Oh well, at least they didn't forget completely, right? So it's not quite Sixteen Candles.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Like a Father


I love Father's Day. I know it's probably just made up by the greeting card industry to sell cards (actually I don't know that at all), but it's a chance to show George just how much we love him and appreciate him.

I hope we show him at least a little everyday how much we love him. But on this day in particular we want him to know that he is amazing. And he is, don'tcha think?

How many men that you know work out of their homes so they can raise their children? How many men that you know do the lion's share of the cleaning? And all of the cooking? And without complaining. God, I'd be bitching constantly, but George is a much better person than I am and just accepts that this stuff has to get done and does it.

So today we've shown George just how much we love him, by giving him gifts and cards and doing some of the housework. I hope that he feels some of the love. Even if the card that I picked (for the kids to give to him) did accidentally read: "You are like a father to me."

At this very minute Grant is showing the love by screaming at the top of his lungs. Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 17, 2005



You may have noticed I was gone for a while. Well, as inconsistent as I've become, you actually may not have noticed. Heh.

I've been off to the nether regions scoring tests for the state. It was an interesting experience. Eye-opening. I can't believe I'm saying this, but we actually have a pretty good test and a pretty good scoring system. (Wow! I can't believe they actually sold me on the damned thing.)

While I was doing that whole scoring thing, I had to drive two hours each way everyday. Every day. The scoring was done in a small town so I was going on an insignificant highway... that means no radio stations. And you know how after a while you just kind of get sick of cds because you want to listen to something else?

George was nice enough to lend me his iPod so I didn't have to worry about that problem. I just put it on his "songs" playlist and set it on "shuffle" and let it go. He has about seven days of songs on it right now.

After the first week, though, George did something even nicer. Since I have a birthday coming up he got me my own iPod Shuffle. It's just a baby iPod, but it's all I need. It holds about 120 songs and plays them in order or shuffles them. The thing is smaller than a pack of gum. Really.

I love this doo-dad. I mean, sure, it was nice using George's. And his has some cool features that mine doesn't have. But my little iPod Shuffle has the best feature of all--it's MINE. I don't have to ask him to use it when I run on the treadmill or give it back to him when I'm done. And it has MY music on it. Okay, so it really has a lot of the same songs on it, but his iPod would never have They Might Be Giants on it... mine does.

It's like Apple made it just for me. Because it does exactly what I need it to and nothing more. I don't need it to hold data files because I'm never going to put data files on it. I don't need a screen that shows me what song is playing because I don't care (and if I really need to know I can just plug it into my computer and find it quickly enough). And I love the shuffle feature, it's like my own personal radio station only without the songs that suck.

Oh, iPod Shuffle, I can tell that we're gonna be friends for a long time. (Say, that reminds me of a White Stripes song that I've been meaning to download... off to iTunes.)

Monday, June 06, 2005

Time in a bottle


I don't like knowing what time it is. Anyone who knows me well knows this about me (and is probably annoyed by it). I haven't worn a watch in years, in fact I can't even find my watch. It was a nice one, too. From a jeweler.

It's not just the watch. The clocks in our house are also awry. There's the clock on the bookshelf with the dead battery, the microwave clock that has just simply never been set, the stove clock with the wrong time, and the alarm clock that only has the right time when we need to set the alarm (Grant likes to play with the radio and messes up the time when he does). Other than those there are the computer clocks and our cell phones, which are always right.

But George and I are okay with not knowing what time it is. Me, especially. Oh sure, at school you'd think my life was run by the clock. But it isn't. I happen to change the group I see every 48 minutes, but I never quite know for certain when that time is up. I find it's good to let that bell take a class by surprise.

I like taking things in chunks of time that are ruled by feelings of time rather than by the clock. In class, I'll set it up so that we'll do A for so long and then B. The kids always want to know how long A will take. Always. It takes until at least October for them to get used to hearing, "As long as it takes." They are so used to the clock as their measure of accomplishment for so many tasks.

My classroom generally doesn't even have the clock set correctly. I think it drives my teammates crazy (I know it drives one of them crazy because he's Mr. Times-Everything-With-Stopwatches). But they seem to have gotten used to me and used to the way I work.

The kids do eventually stop looking at the clock to see what time it is. Stop looking at it to see how much time is left in class (although the crafty ones figure out, even with the wrong time, where the minute hand is when the bell rings and learn how much time is left in class after a while). After so long they stop asking me, "What time is it really?" Because they know it's like asking a dog to hula hoop.

I am convinced this is a good thing. I know it is. The bell catches us in the middle of great conversations almost every day. If I were working to beat the clock, I'm sure I would. Instead I'm working to fill the time. And I do.

I should probably head to bed. The stove says it's 10:47 and the alarm clock says it's after midnight. No wonder I'm so tired.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Yard Sale, pt. 2


It's done. Sort of.

We had the sale. And, of course, it rained on us. Whenever we plan something it rains (we should move to a drought-stricken part of the country, they could use us).

Most of what we had to sell now resides in our basement awaiting another turn at George's aunt's more successful garage sale (she is amazing and could sell a toilet plunger at a garage sale!) or, perhaps, at Craigslist. I don't know.

I only cried one time. A lady tried to haggle down the price on the pack-n-play but I tearfully insisted on my higher price. And got it. I don't think she was going to push it with someone who was seriously about to cry real tears. I managed to let her buy the pack-n-play and might have accidentally found a playgroup for Maren and Grant in the process.

Most people were quite gracious about the fact that these were cherished belongings that simply had to go because of practicalities of space. Most people. The only people who really crossed the line were two ladies who tore through the pile of clothes declaring things they didn't like and checking the snaps to make sure they all worked and making rudish comments about some of the clothes being from Target.

In the end they bought a boat load of clothes, and I was really sorry that I sold any of them to these women. The clothes are so closely associated with memories for me--I can think back to specific instances for nearly every outfit. But the women who bought so many of the clothes didn't care about that, and they were clearly not interested in any of the sweet notions that I ventured to share when they picked up particularly special outfits. To them it was a chance to pick up a lot of really cheap, really well-cared for clothing.

I don't think I like selling my stuff. The money feels dirty. I don't even want to spend it. It's just sitting on George's desk reminding me what I've done. It's going to be a long time before I have another garage sale of my own.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Yard Sale


I can't sleep. In a mere five hours I have to be up and ready to go for our yard sale (well, thanks to an onslaught of thunderstorms it's really going to be a porch sale). We are selling off our baby gear.

It makes me so sad. There's something really final about selling off my stroller and high chair and changing table. Oh sure, George and I have always agreed on two kids. And we have that all-American set-up of a boy and a girl. Who could ask for more? And why on Earth would I need to keep a changing table that I cannot use, have not been able to use for nearly a year?

Logic tells me it's time to get rid of all of these things. I mean, they are only taking up space in the attic. And eventually we are going to turn the attic into a usable room, so we do actually need to free up the space at some point.

But parting with these items--the Baby Bjorn, the clothes, the infant toys--I don't know if I can do it. I think I'll cry. I really do. Every transaction is going to make me think about when I received the item as a gift or when I bought the item. And, more importantly, when I first used it with Maren and then again with Grant.

I just hope all of it goes quickly, kind of like pulling off a band-aid.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

We're those people


I don't know when the transformation became complete, but we are now officially those people. You know, the ones that really piss you off in movie theaters. Yeah, that's us. With the talking toddlers and the cell phones... yep, totally us.

I know, I know. "Why can't you just find a sitter?" "Why can't you just wait 'til it comes out on video?" I'm sure that's what the other movie-goers are thinking as we sit there trying with all our might to hush our talking or crying children (all the while wondering why we even bother going to movies). But then something happens that I, for one, never thought would, I start justifying to myself why exactly it is okay for me to have my children at the new Star Wars movie.

"I never get to go to movies anymore." "I'm here in the middle of the day." "There are other moms and dads with kids the same age here." These are all the things I tell myself that make it okay to have the kids with me. My former self would call "bullshit." My former self would be pissed off at the new me for breaking this code of conduct.

My former self did a lot (and I really do mean a lot) of bitching about other people's behavior in movie theaters. I guess this is karma biting me in the ass. I mean, now I'm in a position where the only way I can see a movie is to wait until I have the kids out of town at my in-laws for the weekend or take them with me to the theater. The in-laws aren't available every weekend, so sometimes, when something comes out that we're just dying to see, we simply have to make the choice to take them with us.

So we go to a matinee. A weekday afternoon at a theater that is not very busy at all. If I had my 'druthers I would only take them to a mommy show (one that is specifically for parents with their kids) but our local theater isn't that forward-thinking and can't see that they would really make some money off of an idea like that.

The cell phone thing (I didn't forget that I had mentioned a cell phone) was a total accident, I swear. I totally forgot that I had that on in my purse today in the movie, until it rang in one of the only quiet moments in the entire two-plus hours.

All in all, they were pretty damned happy to see this family leave when it was over. Some people pointed, others glared. We didn't do much of looking people in the eye--we knew where we stood with the crowd. But we saw our movie. And damn it, like it or not, we'll probably do it again. Just hope you're not there when we do.