Tag Archives: kiddos

Mustn’t. Tell. Children. Yet.

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So we ultimately decided to spare the hapless travelers at the airport and tell the children about Disneyland when we wake them up to go.  We’re pretty certain that the shrill cries of girlish delight will grate on the ears of persons unrelated to the girls in question, particularly at that hour of the morning.

So we decided to do this in kind of a “Christmas morning” style.  We’ll wake them up and ask them to come to the living room, where there will be little bags on the couch.

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And the first thing they will see inside the bags will be neon pink t-shirts, lovingly crafted by yours truly.  Under these will be their own personal copies of the tickets to Disneyland and LegoLand.

Since we’re not stupid most of the time, we will have our own copies of all the tickets.  Because children.

Their bags will be packed and all that will be necessary to do is to put clothes on them, brush their hairs, and herd them and all the luggage out the door into the waiting van of our friend The Amazing Kirsten.  We will get to the airport, become caffeinated, feed everybody, and hop aboard the bus with wings.  A few hours later, it’ll be all about the mouse!

Why My Mom Is The Best Ever.

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So for some reason The Lovely Rhonda received a genuine Barbie® doll catalog not long ago.  We have no idea why.

My daughter, who is 8, has never been a huge Barbie® fan.  She just never was that interested in them.  So you can imagine what a surprise it was when she got all excited about this one doll in particular.  Of course it was a collector doll.

african barbie

I’m definitely  not inclined to shell out a hundred and twenty five dollars for a doll of any kind, but if I was it would have to be a hell of a doll.  So when she started mooning over it I told her that that was way too much money to spend on something like this — but we certainly could make one.  Regular Barbies can be had for six bucks, and how much fun would it be to make one?!  She was ALL. OVER. IT.

A short while later we ended up at a craft store getting fabric for a school thing she’s doing, and we got a couple of extra fat quarters (precut hunks of cloth for quiltmaking and such) since they were on sale.  She disappeared into her room and emerged some time later bearing two pieces of fabric, raggedly cut with school scissors, and asked me to sew them together to make African Barbie’s skirt.

My sewing skills are pretty limited.  I can repair a stuffed animal, I can sew on a button.  I can make a pre-fab felt ornament.  But this was kind of outside my skill level…  So I did what had to be done.  I took it to Grandma.

My mother likes to sew and she makes beautiful things — mostly quilts, and pajamas, and the occasional tote bag.  She hems curtains and makes other little odds and ends for her non-sewing children.

Okay, for me.  I have no idea if she does it for my brother.  His wife is crafty so for all I know she does her own.

Anyway, I got a package today.  I had brought her some curtains I needed shortened, and also Delia’s little Barbie skirt.  When I took those things to her, I told her about buying the fat quarters for Delia’s school project and lamented that we really didn’t have loose fabric laying around since neither of us sews. I told her how the girls were all interested in the material once we’d gotten it home.

So along with the curtains and the skirt, Mom sent a couple of stacks of material, tied in little bundles, for the kids to play with.  There was even a little bag of odds and ends — little ribbon roses, lace, crocheted embellishments.

fabric bits

This is why my Mom is the best ever.  Just one of the reasons.  There are so many.

Listen to my butt song

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So this morning the middle child, hereafter referred to as “the middle child,” woke up all giggly and came into Grone Up Land to roust me and the wife out of bed.  I mean, it was already like SEVEN O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING ON A SATURDAY, get up already!  Guy!

Anyway she clambered up onto the bed and thrashed around singing and cajoling The Lovely Rhonda.  Because she is a long, skinny insubstantial child, I actually mistook her for one or both of the dogs.  Until I heard her say:

“Debra’s butt is making music!”

I am reasonably sure that I would not hear this out of one or both of the dogs, not without powerful mind-altering substances on board.  And we rarely let the dogs engage in that kind of thing.

At any rate, TLR and I both laughed and I was promptly accused of cutting the cheese, which I denied.  And then she said it again: “I hear Debra’s butt music!  It sounds like a guitar!”

As God is my witness, I have no idea what she was talking about.

TLR said, “Debra’s butt isn’t making music!”

“Sure it is,” says I, “Come on over and listen to it!”

But no, the wife is slightly too savvy to fall for that.  Which is probably just as well since I didn’t really have anything at the ready.

So all day the middle child keeps sidling up to me and saying, “Let me hear your butt song!”

I keep protesting: “THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A BUTT SONG!”

The youngest has even taken to pressing her ear to the side of my buttock.

Eventually she may come to regret this.  Just sayin’.

Sneaky Planning is Sneaky

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So we got the Collective Spawn some rad little be-wheeled suitcases today and after my kid is shoveled into bed, we will smuggle them into the house and conceal them, probably under our bed or something.

Our bed is kind of low-lying, so I sure hope they fit.

If not, we will conceal ordinary shopping bags under the bed and transfer the items therein to the suitcases on the night before the trip.

We plan to pre-pack most of the stuff they’ll need — clothes, mostly — so that once they are all asleep, we can get our stuff all packed up and ready to go.  I think we may even throw the bags into the back of our van so that when our friend The Amazing Kirsten arrives, one of us can be herding the children into their shoes and coats while the other one flings the bags from our van into Kirsten’s, out in the driveway.  The curtains will be closed so the little buggers will be none the wiser.

Thus will Sneakitude: Maximum Level be achieved.

Sneaky Moms

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So we have a lot of children.

Okay, we have three.

Three is like a lot if they are girls.  These girls.  These three girls.

We also happen to have a small amount of “extra” money due to unforeseen circumstances, and we have spring break.

And we are sneaky, especially The Lovely Rhonda.

Sneaky Rhondas plus internet = vacation fun times.

So, we are packing up some stuff in bags and then we are going to this place we’ve heard about in California.

We’re not telling the Collective Spawn.

We have to get up super early on the day of departure, so we’re going to tell them to plug in their various electronic babysitters the night before, because “we have a lot of super dull grown-up errands to run tomorrow so we don’t want you to be too bored.”  We will apologize in advance for all the tedium and say that perhaps, if everyone is well-behaved, we might go to the dollar store or something along the way.

Then in the morning we will get them up at the crack of dawn and our friend Kirsten will pick us up and take us to the airport, and so it will come to pass that they will learn that we are going somewhere, possibly on an airplane.

Probably when they learn that we are going to Los Angeles the oldest child might figure out that we are headed to that one place we’ve heard about.  She will then inform the others, and we will neither confirm nor deny.

I plan to play dumb until the great big gates hove into view of the shuttle, saying instead that we are no doubt visiting the World’s Largest Ball of Twine or something.

And then we will enter the Happiest Place on Earth, and the magic will begin.

The Last Valentine’s Day Post, I Swear

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So  I was in kind of a funky place all day vis-a-vis the whole Valentine thing.  Not so much because I was feeling pressure to meet some societal standard of adequate gifting etc.  The standard is self-imposed and is one that I’m comfortable with.

No, the problem was that the item that I had carefully hand-selected has not arrived.  And when I went online to check on its progress through life, I was informed that the website was sorry but that it could not provide updated information about whether it had even shipped, let alone where in the hell it might actually be.  I was welcome to call Customer Service.

I was not, frankly, in the mood to call Customer Service.

So, I resorted to the next best thing which was to substitute a place-holder gift to tide The Lovely Rhonda over until the real deal finally makes it off the slow boat from China or wherever it will be coming from.  Thus did the children and I hop in the van and head over to a place where such things could be obtained.

Just before leaving I was struck with some kind of flash of inspiration, or maybe it was something I ate — there is a wicked virus blowing through the house, more on that later — and found myself sitting at this very keyboard tapping out a little something.

I’m not much for mushy cards full of Hallmarky sentiment, but it turns out I can churn out a limerick for any occasion.  Behold:

There once was a nurse with red hair

Whose life needed urgent repair

She stole a man’s wife

‘Mid stresses and strife

Despite all advice to beware

 

They married, those ladies bespoke

And some might think she treated it a joke

But love is mysterious

She takes it quite serious

So, disregard naysaying folk

 

I love you more each passing day

I’ll go anyplace that you say

I’ll stick to you always

And chase you down hallways

If ever you scamper away

 

Be mine always

…. I didn’t really steal her but it sounds better that way.

And the virus?  Two kids out of three so far.  We would not have made that trip to the place in the van this afternoon had I realized it wasn’t just one of those things for the first kid.  It hit the second one as we sat at the dinner table.  Lucky us!

More About Valentine’s Day

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So last night The Lovely Rhonda’s girls were getting their Valentine’s cards done for school today.  My kid had already had her Valentine party at school because her teacher is off for a few days starting today and didn’t want to miss it, so they had it yesterday.

We weren’t paying that much attention to what the middle child was doing with hers until she was nearly done.  The Valentine’s cards she had picked out were the kind that come with a sticker that you were supposed to insert into the card so that the recipient would then have a groovy sticker as well as the card.  But she was very carefully peeling every sticker off its backing and affixing it to the cards, one by one.

For some reason my big fat stupid mouth opened and I said, “Oh no, you’re not supposed to do that.  The stickers are supposed to go inside the cards… but… and you’re almost done… and… ”

And at that point I wanted to turn back time because now this poor kid, this poor seven-year-old kid who has already had kind of a rough evening, is sniffling and sobbing about how she did them all wrong as she very sadly finishes putting the stickers on the cards.

So yeah, I felt super good about that.  I just looked at TLR and said, “What is wrong with me?  Why did I say that?”  And she didn’t have a good answer either, because there wasn’t one.

So I grabbed the car keys and said, “You know what?  I’m going to go get  you a new box of Valentines cards because I don’t want you to be sad on Valentine’s Day.”  And I raced to the store and got not just a new box of cards but a box of cupcakes too.  Because I made a kid cry for no reason but my own inability to shut my face.

And I got some flowers for TLR because her gift has not arrived yet.

This is just not my year for holidays.  I kind of blew her birthday present too.

After I got home I sat with the kid and she addressed them and I folded them and put the stickers inside, and everything was okay after that.

This parenting thing.  It’s exhausting.

Fiveitis: UPDATED

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So my lawfully wedded wife, The Lovely Rhonda, has this child.  This child who is five.  This five year old child who is really, really five.  She’s five all the time.  She’s five when she gets up, and five when she goes to bed, and five all of the hours and minutes and seconds in between.

Today, for example, this five-ness has manifested in several distinct ways.

The morning went fairly smoothly, aside from the agonizing wait for breakfast.  Really, it was grueling.  I was making oatmeal and the one  child in the house who does not care for oatmeal was already having her bowl of Honey Nut Not Oatmeal Cereal.  This, of course, was difficult for anyone who is five to tolerate.

Um Debwa.  Is bweakfast weady?

Not quite.

Well can you at weast CHECK on it and see if it’s —

At this point she was cut off by her mother who notified her that this was perhaps not the most polite thing to say.

Things went on more or less without incident until lunchtime.  I was told that she was “starving to death” after her lengthy and eventful soccer game, and so anticipated that she might actually eat her lunch, but no.  She was served a sandwich and a small amount of soup.  She ate the two saltines that came with the soup and nibbled at the sandwich, guzzled the apple juice, sucked three noodles off the soup spoon and began the most prolonged dawdle that has ever been witnessed in captivity.

Before either of you get excited that we have unrealistic expectations about this child’s ability to eat one sandwich and a half cup of soup, let it just be said that she is famous for eating, at most, a third of what is presented to her, no matter how miniscule this amount may be, and then declaring herself full.  Thirty minutes later she will begin a tireless campaign for snacks that ends only when the next meal is served.  She will make endless plaintive cries of “But I’m hungwy!” and act as though we are starving her, perhaps in between beatings.   She will repeat this at each meal regardless of whether a snack was provided or how long it has been since she last ate.

So, it’s not like we never feed her and it’s not like we demand that she eat endless platefuls of food.  We would just like her to make the effort to consume something resembling a reasonable amount of food at a meal such that she is adequately nourished for, say, more than an hour.

Today she dragged this mealtime torture on for close to ninety minutes.  At last she finally ate the sandwich and the soup.  If she asks me for a snack in an hour I will grit my teeth and try not to break whatever I happen to be touching at that moment.  Wish me luck.

All of the children have been mandated to clean their rooms today and she is no exception.  To her credit, she is better about this than when she was four.  When she was four she would act as though we were lighting her on fire if we requested that she begin putting a few toys away while waiting for an adult to assist her.  She would sit on her bed and scream like we were beating her.  Now she just dorks around in there until someone comes and tells her to pick up five toys and put them away.  It’s not any more effective but at least it’s quieter.

Today she went to her room as directed after lunch and, inexplicably, emerged a few minutes later wearing only underpants.  I had thought she wanted to perhaps change out of her soccer clothes, although this did seem out of character, but I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt.  She went back into her room and when I went to check on her had put the same clothes back on and was sitting on the floor with her knees stuck under her shirt stretching it out.  We had already been through this at the table, because obviously if you’re going to displease the wardens by going on a hunger strike the thing to do just to make it worth your time is to stretch your brand new soccer shirt out of shape while sitting at the table.  So, I now required her to hand the shirt over and put on something less appealing, i.e. not her brand new soccer shirt but just any old regular shirt out of her drawer.

Oh, the humanity.   Clearly I am the meanest person in the world.

UPDATE:  As predicted, ONE HOUR LATER she asked me for some fruit snacks.  I managed not to break anything.  But she didn’t get any @#$&ing fruit snacks either.  OMG.

The Weddin’, Part IV: MAWWIAGE

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So we got married on January 5th, twice, and the second time it was a little fancier than the first.

I’d made this powerpoint of photos of the five of us, arranged chronologically, set to music.  When we met, the younger of The Lovely Rhonda’s two daughters was only a year old, her older one was not quite three, and mine was just turning four.  It’s nearly five years later, so they have changed a bit.

This powerpoint was playing on the gigantic plasma screen in the sanctuary as guests were filing in before the ceremony.  I can’t include the music without paying for some kind of upgrade, so imagine Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World playing as you view it, and if there is time, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds singing You & Me.

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Then when it was time, Sting’s The Secret Marriage.  This is a short song, only about two minutes, and I think it kind of sums up the way it is for people who for whatever reason cannot marry: 

No earthly church has ever blessed our union
No state has ever granted us permission
No family bond has ever made us two
No company has ever earned commission

No debt was paid no dowry to be gained
No treaty over border land or power
No semblance of the world outside remained
To stain the beauty of this nuptial hour

The secret marriage vow is never spoken
The secret marriage never can be broken

No flowers on the alter
No white veil in your hair
No maiden dress to alter
No Bible oath to swear

The secret marriage vow is never spoken
The secret marriage never can be broken

Toward the end, Rhonda’s youngest emerged as the flower girl.  She walked very slowly at first, tossing each hand-selected petal carefully first to one side, then the other.  After a few such occurrences she looked up and realized everyone was staring at her.  At this point she bolted to the front of the church to stand in her appointed spot, mortified and alone.  So I am told, as I was waiting in the entryway of the church like a good bride.  The ring bearers walked out in turn without incident and soon we stood before the altar, our super awesome minister poised above us.

There was a brief pause, and then, a la Peter Cook in The Princess Bride, Pastor Don opened his mouth and intoned:  “MAWWIAGE!  MAWWIAGE IS WHAT BWINGS US TOGEVVAH!  TODAY!”

mawwiage

…Okay, so when we asked him if he would do this for us, he had never seen the movie.  We showed him a clip of that scene on YouTube using Rhonda’s phone and he immediately agreed.  “I’m a bit of a ham!” said he.  We were fairly sure that many of our esteemed guests would be fluent enough in Dorkish to get this, and we were not disappointed.  There was a roar of laughter.  This very neatly set the tone for the rest of the ceremony.

After this there was the usual stuff about what makes a marriage and all that mushy stuff.  There were things we were made to repeat to each other.  Rings were produced.  I helpfully indicated which finger the ring should be placed upon.

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At one point the minister asked the assembled guests whether they would support us as a married couple to which, to my great and happy surprise, they responded shoutingly to the affirmative before he could even finish asking the question.

The minister from the church we used to attend was there too, reading poems in between things that we were repeating and so forth.

After the third and last such poem I turned to face the assembly.

“Okay, so, Rhonda doesn’t know about this part,” I said cheerfully, and pulling a folded poem that was tucked into my highpockets (as my Grandmother called it), gave the signal to the computer guy running the show in the back to fire up the secret powerpoint that I had smuggled in earlier.

highpockets

Here I have inserted the poem into the powerpoint so that both of you can see it:

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I must say that it was deeply satisfying to express all of this in the nerdiest way possible, i.e. using a powerpoint and a piece of paper retrieved from one’s brassiere.

At the end of the ceremony there came that magic moment when you could kiss the bride.  There was kissing, despite the fact that I am not the sort of person inclined to do such things whilst on display in front of my family, friends and co-workers.  It was made clear to me that this was necessary, to the point that bodily harm may come to me should I merely present a cheek for the kiss.

I am told that the flower girl chose that moment to throw, with great enthusiasm, the petals remaining in her wee basket.  This constituted a lot of petals since, as stated earlier, she only cast a few down before stampeding down the aisle in a panic.  Nevertheless, the timing was perfect.First Kiss

We made our retreat accompanied by hooting, catcalls, cheering, applause, and the ringing of a sh!tload of bells, lovingly crafted into beribboned fistfuls by stray members of the behind-the-scenes wedding party (millions of thanks to Bobby and Alison).  The song, not that anyone could hear it, was Lyle Lovett’s She’s No Lady. 

It was, in a word, perfect.

Stay tuned for the gripping conclusion:  The Weddin’, Part V: The Reception

The Weddin’ — Part II

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So we got married on Saturday.  The first time was of course just for show.  And to get lattes.

After that we stampeded on home to throw some of our stuff in the van and then head to the beauty school down the street for some beautification.

Because, you know, it’s a weddin’.  We got to look all purty.  And, I’m a lesbian.  For a long time, my idea of beautification involved wearing my newer Crocs, and maybe earrings.  So, although I’ve come a long way in recent years, I’m not exactly well-versed in Fancy Hair.

We had inquired at the salon we usually frequent, about whether they could gussy us up for the nuptials.  Sure, they said, but it would cost ninety dollars.

Each.

Oh, and they didn’t have two appointments available that day anyway.

So no.  The Lovely Rhonda then phoned up the beauty school to see what could be done.  Turns out they are always looking for victims  guinea pigs customers.

At the beauty school they managed to get the entire wedding party — the brides, the three little-girl attendants, my oldest friend from high school, and our babysitter — done in about an hour.  And, at fifteen bucks a pop, it was 105.00 plus tip for the entire posse.

A few days ago I posted a rather snarky comment on Facebook about some ladies, a mother and daughter, that I saw at the supermarket.  They looked as though they had just stepped out of that Jersey Shore show — voluminous dyed black hair, snug outfits, designer purses, teetery shoes, tons of cleavage, heavy makeup.

Guess who owns the salon?

Jersey Mama.  Nice lady, as it turns out.  Remind me to cut the snark back a little further.

The nervous, sweaty students spent this hour applying every curling iron in the building to the various hairs of our various heads.  I learned some stuff.

1.  If you normally have straight hair, curls are required for fancy events.

2. The opposite is true if you normally have curly hair.

3. Curling irons come in a dizzying array of “barrel sizes.”

4. A 5-year-old will sit unnaturally still for an hour if a teenaged beauty school student is wielding a hot hairstyling implement to her head.

5. It takes a solid hour of attention with a one-inch-diameter-barrelled curling iron, as well as expert supervision by a trained professional, to make my hair straight.

6. Not to mention about a can and a half of hairspray.

7. Curly hair is much longer when straightened.  (I already knew this but threw it in because it was dramatically longer and I felt that this deserved mention).

Afterward we returned home for a mad scramble of gathering various Fancy Event Costuming bits and personal care products after which we high-tailed it to the church, arriving only about fifteen minutes later than we had estimated.  Not bad.

Next:  The Weddin’, Part III: BRIDEZILLA UNLEASHED