Friday, March 27, 2009


My son had computer lab at school today. I always love what he brings home, and have several very sweet notes that make me smile every time I see them.

Well, this is what he came home from school with today. Keep in mind he's in the first grade, so interpret using your best phonics skills. His teacher may be used to reading "first grade" but it's a little more difficult for the rest of us. My scanner isn't working, so this is verbatim.

I love SPRiNG becues we get to go to the pule. And im going to do swem teme this yere and cant wate I wontre wute teme nowone nows and I mite have to ware zukeny.

I love Spring because we get to go to the pool. And I'm going to do swim team this year and can't wait! I wonder what team? No one knows. And I might have to wear a bikini!

Zucchini/bikini. Same difference.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Check me out, babe.

My oldest son is 7. Make that almost 7 and a half. That's important, you know, until you hit 22, when all you have to look forward to growing up is gone.

He's all boy. Rough and tumble and athletically blessed. Always on the go, never tired, never stopping until he drops. Since he first crawled, I've not seen legs that weren't covered in bruises. Or arms. Or his torso. Or face.

And girls! Girls, as a rule, make him gag. His little friends all had little crushes at their schools and daycares. Not him. Even now, in the first grade, there's no one at all that interests him. Which is fine. It'll come.

Except for a little girl in our neighborhood...

I say "little" but she's twice his age. She's adorable -- blonde hair, blue eyes, long legs. And she's cool -- the kind of kid who just is and always has been. The kind of girl who probably will always be out of his league. Bless his little baby heart.

Her little sister is my daughter's very good friend, and she often accompanies her mother and little sister on walks around the neighborhood. I'd noticed that my son would get kind of goofy and aloof in her presence, but it was always such a subtle reaction from him that even though I was surprised, I never thought much of it.

Until one night a couple years ago. Early Spring.

I'd given the kids a bath 0n the early side, looking forward to quiet, quality time with a glass of wine and my husband. Upon coming downstairs, I realized my husband was still outside, so the kids and I went out to see what he was up to (and to give him one final, not-so-subtle hint that it was time to go in). It was dusk, and my son had on these cotton pj's that had glow-in-the-dark rockets on them.

You moms know that unless they're fire-retardant, jammies are snug. And snug pj's, while cute, make skinny kids look slightly ridiculous.

He was 5, and he's just gotten a big 20" mountain bike that I'd found at a yard sale (he's been riding a 2-wheeler since he was 4. I told you he was athletic.) Cute big sister is riding her bike up and down the street. Before I can stop him, he's donned his Power Rangers helmet and is flying like a bat out of hell out of the garage, down the driveway and into the street on his bike.

Going for broke, his skinned and bruised little baby legs peddle as fast as they can. He's a blur of lit-up rockets shooting through space, as he races to keep pace with the big sister. He's gaining on her...faster...faster.... Gotcha!

He slows his pace, straightens is back and...

Cue Barry White.

"Hey girrrl. You feeling goooood? Mmm. You like what you seeeeee? Yah babe. You know? Mmmm..." He looks over at her with this come-hither, "check me out babe" look on his face. She's 9! He's 5! And a half!

And he's wearing tight glow-in-the-dark rocket ship pajamas.

With a Power Rangers helmet.

That's making his 95th percentile pumpkin head look even larger on his skinny little cotton pj-clad bod.

Whether she picked up on the vibes he was throwing her way or not I will never know. My guess is, yes, she did. He wasn't very subtle. At the very least, she was amused. Maybe she was flattered. Who could deny that he was the total package?

For me, it was an unexpected and very overt gesture of adoration from a shy little guy who so vehemently is opposed to all girls.

Two years later, he's still got a crush. We've teased him a little, but he gets really upset, which is how I know I'm right about it. Even though he denies it, I watch him now when she's around, and he still shows off for her, but in a much more subtle way. With a hint of shy embarrassment. I know this because he always cuts a glance at me when she shows up to see if I'm watching.

I am. I always will. I'm his Mom. That's my job.

It's endearing. And wonderful. And heartbreaking.

I wonder if, one day, he'll remember his crush. I wonder if he'll still think, many years from now, about this little girl and the power she had over him. I hope he does, and that the pajama story will make him laugh. I hope it embarrasses him just a little, but not too much.

Mostly, I hope he finds someone who moves him to do the wonderful, painfully awkward things he did to impress a girl when he was 5.

And this time, I hope it works.

Monday, March 16, 2009

American Idol

My daughter, in all her glory. We were thrilled to enjoy a rash of extreme patriotism last spring when her preschool taught her all the words to every patriotic song that ever existed. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. And my daughter, who adores singing, sang each one over and over and over again.
Alas, she has a voice only a mother could love.

What do you think, is she the next American Idol??


Friday, March 13, 2009

Bubble Burst

My youngest son recently celebrated his third birthday.

He's a typical third child -- hand-me-down clothes, hand-me-down furniture, hand-me-down gear. We, i.e. Santa, took pity on the poor child and bought him a John Deere tractor with trailer and bulldozer-thingy for Christmas, justifying ONE MORE RIDE ON TOY with the fact that he'd never had a new ride-on toy. Poor thing. He gets the rusty, but fully functional three wheel scooter with the Spiderman decal peeling off -- his choice, because there's a fairly new-looking non-rusty Disney Princess scooter that lights up, but he's got no interest in that one -- and thinks he's hit the jackpot because he has a scooter and he can hang with the big kids. And he actually rides the tractor. But only occasionally. And when his sister hasn't commandeered it for her "shopping trips."

Who drives a tractor with a bulldozer scoop to the mall?

Since he's the third, we've also scrimped a bit in the birthday party category. You know, grandparents, cousins, a couple neighbors.... He hasn't minded. He's 3. But, realizing that I have yet to enter anything into his baby book, and that his pants are slightly too short and that the poor thing has a drawer full of hand-me-down underwear (I know, but can't I use some of it? There's a small fortune sitting there!), I decided this would be his year for a party with some friends. Of course, his friends are all age 7 and older. And they were mostly mommy and daddy's friends. And the menu consisted of wine, beer, juice boxes and cupcakes.

I asked him what he wanted. "Fi- duh-man." He's fairly articulate, but he still has trouble with "sp" -- he says "f" -- and that fireman or Spiderman? After asking him to clarify for the 100th time (still fi-duh-man, except with an air of exasperation and with his eyes bugging out at me), I ordered a fire truck and had Spiderman plates and cups. There!

Feeling pleased with myself that I was so on the ball with the fireman/Spiderman theme and having actual non-relatives at the party, I'm strolling through Target one day talking to my son about his party and a nice old lady overhears and asks him if he's having a birthday. He says, without any hesitation, that he is. Doing the proud mom thing I think, he must be so excited about his party to not even be shy with her! Until she asks him what kind. Gearing myself to explain the whole (cute, right?) fi-duh-man thing (remember, I'm feeling ridiculously pleased with myself), I'm jolted back to earth when he blurts...

"A penis party!"

She looks at me in shock. My face mirrors her expression, but with a healthy dose of horror added.

All I can manage to say is "um" as my face turns hot and my palms start to sweat.

Then she bursts into hysterical laughter. Stunned, and yet somehow returning to my senses, I apologize and encourage my son to do the same. He starts running around, gleeful that he's made a funny. She explains that she had boys and so she knows all about penis parties. And she walks off, still cackling.

Later, when recounting the experience with my husband, we had a good laugh. And it just goes to show you that as soon as you feel like you've actually done something right as a parent and you're feeling like an all-star, you child will decide to tell everyone he's having penis party.

Just to put you back in your place.


Since I've been unemployed, I've had time to explore other interests. I'm looking at my new status as a chance to try new things and pursue my creative inspirations. No really. I'm finding the motivation to try new things -- things I wouldn't have had time to try before.

That said, my sister (who's also my best friend, but, alas, lives far, far away from me) and I decided to start a store on Etsy. She's got a wicked creative streak too, AND three children, AND no time, AND no money -- just like me! And kikibOnan was born.

The name is my nickname for her when we were kids. Don't ask, it's very complicated. Anyhoo...we decided to start sewing and now we've gone a little crazy.

We make appliqued tees and onesies for kids. Using our own kids as inspiration, of course. And, thanks to the blogosphere, we're now getting some props from our other blogging peeps! Check this out.


The little hot chocolate tee is a kikbibOnan original!

Yay us!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Stir. Crazy.

I recently lost my job. Hey, the economy's a bitch right now. So while I've been home full-time recently, and with the rash of strangely frigid weather we've been enjoying here in Richmond, I've been stuck inside. A LOT. And I'm going stir crazy!

But not in the way you think. OK, a little bit in the way you think, but what I mean is, I'm in a redecorating frenzy!

Now that I have long stretches of time to spend in my rooms and really LOOK at them, I'm like, ugh. So I moved my daughter's and my son's rooms around, rehanging pictures (and in her case, hanging curtains that she doesn't need to hide the patch of wallpaper she peeled off -- another post for another day). Not satisfied to stop there, I've taken this opportunity to finish other projects -- I finished painting the trim in the playroom (and it only took me a year!) and now I'm making curtains. But now that I'm almost done with that, and before long-awaited warm spring weather robs me of indoor time, I'm going crazy wanting to paint everything else. My room, our bathroom,'s crazy.

But it's so easy. And so gratifying. And I'm a big fan of instant gratification. On the cheap, too, since we're down an income.

Speaking of paint, I love Sunny's Goodtime Paints. Now, I've never actually done any of her techniques, but I worked with her recently for some catalog shots for work, and she's one of the nicest, smartest ladies I know. Her work is amazing and creative and her techniques are actually pretty easy! I know! I couldn't believe it. And she has a great site that has tons of ideas, including a blog where she provides inspiration.
Right now I'm thinking of doing the stencil shown here to my downstairs hardwoods -- they're a mess and I'm too poor to redo them. Her stencils will really make you rethink "stencils." I think I've spent hours here.

Hours I probably should have spent actually doing something!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Be Still My Beeping Heart

My daughter is 5 and a half.

She's one of those "kids say the darndest things" kids.

Not trying to be funny. When she tries to be funny, honestly she's downright ridiculous.

What I mean is, she still mangles words and expressions. For example, we finally got her saying "girl" instead of "gwoyl." But now she can't say "grill." It's "girl." And she's just downright confused.

Sometimes I worry -- should this still be happening? I admit, it used to really bother me. She seemed too old to still be doing that. Especially considering how articulate my three-year-old is. But those are little memories you cherish and laugh about for years to come, and so I've decided that right now I can't bear to correct her. Is that OK?

Just the other day she came running into the kitchen with her hand on her chest and, flushed with excitement, stated "Mom my heart is beeping like crazy. I must be starving!" (Note to self -- review some basic anatomy with the kid) Keep in mind, this is also the same child who says things like "It's not your house" when I ask her to pick up her toys, and screams "your breath is bad" when I'm trying to explain why she's in time out, AGAIN. She's also the child who regularly threatens to run away and tells me God's gonna be bad at me for yelling at her. She's got the back-talking ability of a 16-year old. She could go head to head in a sassing contest with most of the teenage girls in our neighborhood, and win.

What gives?

So I won't correct her. For now.

Because we have plenty of time for that.

Because when she runs into the kitchen, cheeks flushed with excitement and eyes wide and tells me that she needs breakfast because her hear is beeping like crazy, I realize that it's all too soon that that innocence will be gone. And it makes my heart stop a little.

Be still my beeping heart.