Monday, September 19, 2011


One of my favorite fonts (and the font we use for our kikibOnan tags -- shamelessplug) is called Boyz R Gross.

Obviously, created by a girl.

As girls, we start out thinking boys are gross...then they're not gross -- they're nice and kinda' cute.  Then they're cute AND gross, but we don't mind the gross because of how cute they are then we marry them and they are gross again.  Because, suddenly the cute is replaced with things like dirty toilets and having to launder their exercise gear.

Then you have sons.  And I love my boys more than I though I could ever love boys.  I am overthemoon CRAZY about those dudes.  Just ask my husband.

But, as any mom of boys will tell you, the cycle begins again.  But it goes backward.  They start out adorable and precious and you love them like crazy.  And they are not gross, really, any more than any baby is gross.  Then they start playing in dirt and giggling when they poot (it's inherent with boys) --  now they're getting a little gross, but let's face it, still pretty darn cute.  Then they stop washing their hands when they use the bathroom and forget to wear underwear and lick their hands to slap each other's faces and make underarm farting noises everywhere.  Getting grosser by the second.  Then they show up with gum in their hair despite the fact that they had gum days ago and have taken several showers since, except they forgot to use soap.  Or shampoo.  They have potatoes growing under their nails, they store their retainers next to the fake dog poop they keep on top of their dressers (and you're not sure which is which), and there are dirty socks everywhere.  I actually found one balled up inside my son's yearbook.  His YEARBOOK.  Which, remarkably, was on the shelf where it was supposed to be.  Thank God for small miracles. There is underwear between the wall and his bed, and there are wet things on the floor of his closet, along with a million shoe strings and used tissues.  There again, thank God for small miracles -- he used a tissue!  But the socks smell, and the underwear.  My boys themselves are generally just grimy everywhere.  To make matters worse, T's coloring is so dark that I can't tell if it's dirt or his skin.  I wish I could say it's just his skin.  They smell like pickles and trashcan.  And they're not even teenagers yet.

And now, they have to wear cups.  Which you, as their mother, have to wash.

It's a good thing we love boys.  And it's a good thing that love can overcome the disgusting that. is. boys.

You know, that's why boys love their moms so much.

We know too much.


Thursday, September 15, 2011


Our summer was one giant battle of the sexes.  Mostly, it was Meems battling the fact that she's the only girl sandwiched between two boys.  Who really get along and play together and have similar interests.  That are, unfortunately, NOT interests she shares.  Although she tries.  Bless her heart, boxers just don't work on a girl.  Besides, she only wants the station wagons and the minivans when they play cars.  Which don't cut it on construction sites.  And, apparently, construction workers don't get mani/pedis over lunch break.  Despite her encouragement that it will make them feel better and their wives will LOVE it.

She was lucky to spend two weeks with some girl cousins.  And for two weeks, she had sisters.  For one of those weeks, there were even NO BOYS.

The sadness when they left...heartbreaking.  Because, despite her insistence that there might be a baby in my tummy (there's not) she's never going to have a sister.  Which breaks my heart too.

Today, walking to the bus stop, she was discussing our family dynamics of more boys than girls in our family of five plus a male dog which makes 4 boys and only two girls.  "But, that's OK, because I like having brothers."  She then shot me a look like "wait, what did I just say?"  Total shock.  And then a shrug as we walked on, her declaring with a sigh "It's true.  It can be a hard life, but I love them, even though they're always mean to me.  But sometimes they are nice.  Even though they're usually mean."

And then, she stopped dead in her tracks, looked at me very seriously, and said "unless you really DO have a baby in your tummy, even one you don't know about because God wants me to have a sister."

There's no sister growing in there.  I'm positive.  This is the way it is.  But, you'll love having brothers.

Especially if you can sell them on the mani/pedis....


Friday, September 9, 2011

Independence Day

This week, my little T man started kindergarten.

As my friend Celia says, it's a little boohoo and a little woohoo.

He's my baby and I'm not ready for him to be so grown up.  The fact that he IS so grown up means that the other two are REALLY grown up.

That's the boohoo.

Truth is, I've had a child at home and no more than 2.5 hour chunks of time to myself for 10 years.  And I am ready for a little "me" time.  WOOHOO!

So, seeing as I work Tuesday through Thursday, and Monday was a holiday (and they hadn't yet started school), today was my very first day of no kids.  For 7 whole hours.

No car line pickups, no negotiating naps, no running around like a crazy woman trying to get all my errands done in 2 hours.

I have awaited and anticipated this day for so long.  Independence Day.

So here's how it went down.  Hold on to your seats, people.  You're in for a bumpy ride.

1.  Wake up everyone extra early to take Meems to her tutor's before school.

2.  Shove Pop Tarts down their throats, yank brushes through their hair and show extreme irritation that W forgot his backpack three times.  And to wear shoes.  And to get his lunchbox, which he had taken out of his backpack for some odd reason.  I think it was after he asked me what I had packed him and he was checking to make sure...that I wasn't lying???

3.  Get Meems situated with her tutor while I deal with two very bored little boys who don't have anything to do despite the fact that I told them at least 11 times to bring something to do.  Yes it's my fault they are bored.

4.  Drive back to school.  What's with all the police?  Answer a million questions of this nature that I don't know the answer to, explain that it's probably NOT a robbery or a mob hit (do you know what that is?  no.  then don't say it).  Finally, it's time to drop them off.

5.  The children are wild at this point.  Curse you Pop Tarts!  They are talking a mile a minute and hanging out the window talking incessantly and asking me questions that are getting more and more ridiculous by the second.  Or maybe that was my perception because THEY WOULDN'T OPEN THE SCHOOL.  And I've been waiting for this for 10 years.

6.  I'm literally shoving them out of the car when they get to the door, with a sugary sweet "bye babies, love you too much, mwah" that I'm sure they didn't believe.  GETOUTOFTHEDAMNCAR.  Please.

Now, there's a caveat here.  Yes, I was ready for them to just GO because I was ready for them to just GO ALREADY, but also the sushi I had for dinner last night was doing the samba with the coffee I drank this morning and, well, let's just say I needed to get home.

7.  Toast myself some waffles.  I never have time to eat those and I am starving.  Eggos, because I am a gourmet.

8.  Talk to my mom on the phone.

9.  Shower.  No shaving because that takes too much time.

10.  Out the door.  Daggone, why is everyone driving so slowly?  Run a couple errands, then off to meet the aforementioned Celia for lunch.  The most exciting thing ever!!!  I'm running late, but that's OK because it means I missed the craziness that surrounded the President's speaking engagement here.  Yes, THAT President.  Which explains the police.

11.  Lunch with a long-time bestie in Carytown.  No rushing.  No looking at my watch (although I did because I'm not used to not rushing -- bad habit.  must break.).

12.  A little stroll and a little shopping.  Beautiful day, finally not raining, and no children means I can go in any store I want and spend as long as I want.  I even made myself NOT go in stores that sold stuff for them.  I drooled over some Hudson jeans, Frye boots, American Apparel gold lame tube dress (just kidding), jewelry, a linen and green alligator faux Kelly bag, and some rainbow hued skinny jeans.

13.  Take my time getting home.  I plan on ingesting a Tums and then some ice cream while I sit, watching Secrets of a Stylist, until it's time for T's open house/meet the teacher thingy.

14.  Remember that the dog is out of food and run off to Target.  Shoot, the gas tank is on E.  But the ice cream calls and the sitting and I decide I'll coast on fumes until later.

15.  Tums and ice cream.  'Nuff said.

16.  T's meet the teacher thingy.  So fun to see him in big school.  He is all hugs and kisses and "miss you mommy."  He proceeds to give me a tour around his classroom that consists of every little thing.  He explains to me that the big hulking desk is where the teacher works.  And introduces me to Mr. Chalkboard.  And explains that "these are hooks, they are where our backpacks go."  And because it's all new to him, it's all new to me and I love every minute.  Especially because he's holding my hand the entire time.

17.  Round up the other two.  I am glad to see them.  No, really, I am.

18. Get home.  Pour myself a glass of wine.  It's only 4:30, but what the heck.  I did the back-to-school week all by myself.  Call my sister.  She is not ready for a glass of wine.  Instead, she is scooping dog poop out of the yard while she talks to me.  I tell her she might be taking the multi-tasking thing a bit too far.  She doesn't agree.

19.  Write.  The perfect end to the perfect day.  Even if it doesn't make sense to anybody but me.  The writing that is.

20.  TBD

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

That'll Never Happen

“Oh, honey, we don’t really get earthquakes around here.  Don’t you worry.”

These are the words that I spoke to my 9-year-old son a couple weeks ago.  He asked me if we’d ever had an earthquake.  I told him that they didn’t happen in Virginia, although we did have a mild one several years ago when he and Little Meems were babies.  A very mild one.  And that's the ONLY time EVER in my WHOLE life of living in Virginia that we've had one.  

Seeing that he thinks I'm pretty old, he was mollified.

So what happens?  A 5.8 earthquake.  Right where I told him there wouldn’t be one.  Just two days AFTER I'd told him not to worry about ever having one.

He and his siblings were playing outside.  My husband was working from home while I was at work.  As soon as he realized what was happening, he raced out to them to make sure they were OK.

“Yeah, we’re fine.”  Quizzical looks.

“Did y’all feel that?  Did you feel that shaking?”


“That was an earthquake!!  Are you all alright?”

“THAT was an EARTHquake??”

“Yes, pretty crazy huh?”

A shrug indicating that was really no big deal, and then back to playing, completely unfazed that what I told them would never happen actually happened.  Not bothered in the least.  No.
Big.  Deal.

Until I got home.  And of course, I was met with…

“YOU said we’d never have an earthquake…”

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Take THAT!

For those of you who know and love Little Meems, or who just follow her stories, you know that her year of being a 3-year-old was nearly her last year of life.  As in, I didn't think she would survive it.  As in, I didn't think I would survive it.  As in, daily thoughts of "I canNOT do this" and tearful calls to my sister to vent and ask advice.  Because I teetered on the brink of sanity most of that year with her.

Who was this creature?  Her older brother had always been so even tempered.  I, myself, am relatively even tempered.  She was not even tempered.  Not even a little.  Stubborn and mouthy and feisty and challenging and needy and emotional, all rolled into one little ball.  She was also sweet and loving and affectionate and snuggly and caring, but mostly that was with other people.  I felt like I'd birthed an alien life form and I was lost as to how to parent this child who, literally, was unlike me in almost every way.  What kills me is the memories other people have of her at that age and what a doll and a firecracker and how funny she was.  For me, those memories are emerging, but for a while got tucked behind the memories of all the challenges.  I want to remember the funny cuteness of her little three-year-old self, and the further I get from that time period, the more I do, but I sometimes feel like I lost a year of her.  And it slays me.

I was overwhelmed.  With a new baby, a new status as a stay-at-home mom (and the financial burdens of that), a husband with a travel-all-the-time job.  It was mostly me, most of the time.  No relief.  To be truthful, (and as time passes I now realize), she felt that chaos the most.  She still feels the absence of her dad more than the other two.

But.  BUT.

It's also the time that she made me laugh the most.  Some of my funniest stories are from that difficult, precious little three-year-old girl.  Like I said, the good memories are slowly making their way out of hiding, now that we've all had a chance to distance ourselves from that time in our lives.

Like the time she got so mad at me when she sassed me and got sent to time out.  Stomping through the dining room, she wailed back and punched the wall.  "I bet that hurt."  Yes, to the wall.  I don't remember who was sitting with me at the kitchen table, but we had a good laugh.

Another time, my mother and I were at the kitchen table and she was throwing a tantrum over something we told her she couldn't do.  She looked at us and screamed "FINE.  I'm LEAVing!" and stomped off through the door into the garage, where we overheard her wandering around, occasionally kicking the pole in frustration that the garage door was closed and she was trapped.  Even then, she knew that she couldn't come back in and still save face, so she hung out in the garage, screaming under her breath (a very rare talent) until I went to retrieve her.  She immediately burst into tears and squeezed me so tightly.  She had gotten stuck in the "what's next" and was held captive by her pride and it was too much for her little body to bear.

There was the time she lost all her toys and room accessories for continued misbehavior.  As I was clearing the room out, she was laying on the bed, arms behind her head, legs crossed, one leg wagging up and down.  Finally, as I struggled with the books, she said "oh, you dropped one" and went back to wagging her foot.

If it was quiet, disaster was on the horizon, whether it be blue paint spilled on the hallway carpet, nail polish poured down the toilet, lipstick pictures on the walls, wallpaper ripped off her walls, paint hammered off her antique iron bed, oh, yes, and the time she cut her hair off.  She had less than a half inch of hair remaining on the crown of her head.

Oh, so many stories.

There are the good memories, but I'll save those for another time, when they're not overshadowed by my failings as a mother.  Because those are too special to taint with these admissions of my own ineptitude.

I wonder...what are her memories of that time?  I feel certain she can't remember many instances of that year when it didn't look like my head might explode.  She probably never even noticed that the vein on my neck doesn't always pop out.  I imagine all she can remember is my mouth open wide and words coming out and the exhausted look that took up permanent residence on my face.

I hope not.  I don't always know that I was the mother she needed for me to be that year, but it was a further education in how to be her mother.  She needs a different kind of mother than my boys.  I never understood what it meant to be the parent your child needs until I had two completely different children who needed completely different things from me.  W doesn't want hugs after he's gotten in trouble; Meems wants them immediately and will cling to you like her life depends on it.  A raised voice is enough to get through to and upset W, while Meems is completely unfazed.  W is like a cat, and wants affection on his own terms; Meems wants it constantly.  And then there's T, who's an entirely different kid altogether.

Yet, in some crazy way, all the trials and tribulations made me more connected to her than I knew I could be. I feel her pain.  I can anticipate her moods (most of the time) and know how to diffuse them.  I know when, in the middle of her frustration, she's gone past the point of no return and just needs me to scoop her up and hold her tightly.

I like to think that was God's plan all along.  He doesn't give us more than we can handle, right?  I had to prove myself.  She knew what she needed all along; I had to find out.  She's one of His special creatures, of that I am convinced.

And I can't thank Him enough for the blessing that is Little Meems.