Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Grandma says no

My mom is a lot like Martha Stewart. She is a great cook, gardens, and is very crafty. She is absolutely meticulous about everything from her gift-wrapping to her housekeeping. She vacuums several times a week and picks microscopic crumbs off the floor.

I like things orderly, but I am far from a neat freak. I tend to clean every two weeks or so or if there is visible dirt. I have been on edge the last month I have lived here making sure no mess is ever left behind.

Q follows my mom around like an obedient puppy. When she is scrubbing a spot off the wall, he has his own rag washing his own unseen spot. When she is vacuuming, Q is running around behind her mimicking her moves.

She is always telling him her particular rules. "Don't put your cup on that table." "You can only drink juice in the kitchen." "Wipe you feet twice before you come inside."

Now he has started repeating her rules to us. Tonight T was eating a cookie at the table without a plate. "Grandma doesn't like that," Q told him.

Q started gathered up my hand lotion and perfume from my bedside table. "Grandma said not on the table."

My mom seems to be enjoying her little rule parrot. I think it's all a little too strange. Now my mom isn't just telling me what to do. My son is telling me what my mom wants me to do!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

My mom threw a Mardi Gras party for all the grandsons this past weekend. She served alligator (a spinach concoction) and had the boys make crowns and wear beads. It was ridiculously cute.


Saturday, February 21, 2009


I have strep throat and mastitis (an infection of the milk duct). It's not fun.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Death of a plant

It has been a trying day. I feel like I say that every day, but it is usually true. It's not like I am performing brain surgery or anything, but it is still stressful.

I feel a little under the weather and rundown. Baby R was up a couple times overnight and Q was in and out of my bed. My throat hurt this morning, and my entire body was achy. To top it off, I think I may have a clogged or infected milk duct, so one of my nipples is killing me.

Because of all this, I laid down to take a nap when the boys were down for theirs. Q was in my bed but got up and wandered downstairs. Instead of getting my butt up and following him as I should have, I rolled over and fell asleep again, happy for the solitude.

A short while later, I heard scratching and running and squealing from downstairs. I had that sinking feeling as I crept down the steps to see what the boy and dog were up to. I was horrified to find an innocent plant ripped to shreds and strewn about the family room. Dirt and leaves were everywhere. Thankfully, my mom wasn't home so I had time to hide the evidence. It was a giant mess though. One plant was a goner and another was partially gnawed. Q had even unraveled thread and taken buttons and needles (!) from the sewing room. A white towel in the middle of the mess was caked in dirt.

I picked up the big pieces, tossed the towel and Q's socks in the washing machine, locked Ruby in her crate, and sent Q upstairs. I vacuumed in lightning speed cringing at the mess. Just as I was putting the tubes of my mom's universal vacuum back in the closet, she walked in the door.

"Ruby ate a plant!" I told her immediately. She didn't take it too badly, especially considering this is the second plant the tag team has destroyed in three weeks. She was mostly worried about whether Ruby would get sick.

I learned my lesson. Dachshunds and toddlers are not to be trusted together unsupervised.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Need a husband

I am dying to have my husband back. I just need someone to share the responsibility for a few days. I want someone to go get the baby in the middle of the night and change the poopy diaper. T will be back for several days next week, and I am more than ready. Late this afternoon I was near my breaking point. R was on a fuss marathon and Q was whiny and clingy. Bedtime could not come soon enough!

I have a manicure appointment tomorrow and am dying for the hour-long respite.


Sunday, February 15, 2009


The smallest disappointments can crush a toddler and make a parent share the pain. We went to my sister's house for a few hours tonight to eat pizza and let all the boys play. They started an interesting game called Balloon Stomp which is fun in theory, but the concept just does not translate to toddlers.

The object is to tie a balloon around your ankle and then run wildly around the house trying to stomp on other kids' balloons while protecting your own from being stomped. The elements were there: Q is fanatical about balloons and running and screaming is right up his alley. The problem came when a cousin stomped Q's balloon, and it burst with a loud pop. Q's eyes widened for a beat and then he ran screaming into my arms. He just did not understand it. His anger and disappointment over the ruthless attack on his balloon made me melt. We calmed him down by offering him two more balloons that no one could pop.

He carefully protected them as he carried them to the car. During the hour-long drive home he drifted off periodically but then would awake abruptly and mumble something like, "He popped my balloon."

A word of advice: Balloon Stomps are not suitable for toddlers.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

I am what I am

My hairdresser opened my eyes the other day. I was paging through the Yellow Pages and clicking around online to find a good salon for my haircut. I stumbled upon a girl I went to high school with who sounded great. I booked an appointment.

I enjoyed catching up with her, hearing about her marriage to a classmate of ours, and her five-year-old boy. We were talking about home ownership, and I mentioned how much I detested yard work. She asked, "Don't you like gardening or anything?"

I sheepishly admitted, "No, none of it."

"Me neither!" she said. "I finally just accepted last year that that is just who I am. I hate gardening. I just don't want to do it. That's not me."

"I agree!" I happily exclaimed.

It was so freeing. It seems like everyone I know loves to garden. I feel like I am missing some brain connection that would drive me to dig in the dirt. It was wonderful to find kinship with another non-gardener. My mother and sisters garden and compare stories about their plants. My dad says yard work is a stress reliever. I couldn't disagree more. I love a beautiful yard but would rather someone else did the weeding.

I have tried to force myself to like it even going so far as buying flowered work gloves and forcing myself to pull weeds from the ground as I repeatedly checked my watch until an hour had slowly ticked by.

I don't think I am (entirely) lazy. I love to plan meals and cook. I don't terribly mind cleaning, and I keep my children happy and healthy. I am just a NOT a gardener, and I am OK with that.


MM's mini movie review

I actually have the time and opportunity to see movies these days. So here is my take from the last two weeks:

Revolutionary Road- Intriguing in parts and certainly easy to relate to. I fell asleep a few times, and found it depressing for a new stay-at-home mom. Was OK.

The Reader-For some reason on a Kate Winslet kick apparently. This was really good. Very thought-provoking. Be prepared for some awkward nudity however.

He's Just Not That Into You- I actually did not want to see this, because it is not my kind of a movie. We were late for the other one though, and this one was in the next time slot. It was better than expected. Not an Oscar winner by any means but very entertaining and relevant.


Friday, February 13, 2009

New look for a new life

I love getting my hair done. Whether it is new color, freshened-up highlights, a major cut, or just a trim, it just seems to make you feel better. Unless it is a disastrous cut, but that is another story.

For years, I have been restricted when it came to hair choices. I had to be fairly conservative and steer clear of drastic changes. But not any more. For the last several months, I have been growing my hair out, picturing these luscious flowing locks. I was ending up with stringy hair just past my shoulders. So I decided it was time for a change. This week, I went it to get several inches lopped off, bangs added, and my color darkened. The result is at left. It felt strange washing it this morning and coming to the abrupt end of my hair, but I really love it. It feels like an outward expression of a new beginning.


It has been a hectic several weeks. To sum up, we went to Texas for my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary. On their ranch, Q rode ATV's and a motorcycle with my dad. I flew back and forth again with two children, but this time my sister and her four sons joined us. We got a lot of looks with our crazy brood.

T finished the 2,300 mile drive cross-country with two cats and a dachshund. He endured constant meowing and stressful potty breaks. They arrived in Wisconsin Wednesday afternoon. The dog has already peed and pooped on the floor more than once, and my mom has taken to spraying one of the cats with water every time the cat jumps on the counter. Tomorrow T is unfortunately headed back to Oregon for a week. We enjoyed a day together today getting lunch at a vegetarian restaurant and going to a movie. He has to go back and forth for six weeks as he works to finish his MBA.

I can't wait till all adults, children, and beasts are permanently reunited.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Grace under pressure

The cockpit recordings were released today of the airliner that landed on the Hudson River last month. They are just stunning. I was amazed to see the landing itself and found it hard to believe that every single person survived.

Hearing the recordings added to my amazement. The pilot known as "Sully" was incredibly calm under pressure. I mean, just ridiculously calm. In an even voice, he said he may have to land in the Hudson. And that he did, saving the lives of everyone on board. I just can't get enough of it. I find it all so impressive and admirable.

Maybe more so, because I often struggle to stay even and calm under pressure. A few days ago, I ventured out in my dad's Cadillac to find some desperately needed coffee. On a side note, I miss the omnipresent coffee houses of the Northwest. They are severely lacking in the Midwestern suburbs. Anyway, the first one I Google-mapped was closed, so I set out into the unknown, driving on random streets until I finally stumbled upon one and procured my beloved triple dry cappuccino. Then, coffee in hand, I was hopelessly lost and out of gas. I filled up and texted my husband repeatedly. Nothing looked familiar and everything did. I was stressed and anxious. I finally called my mom and had her talk me in.

Sully put me to shame.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Marginal Mama

Generally I think I am a good mama. I brush Q's teeth twice a day, force him to eat healthy food, read to him every night, take him to the doctor. But, sometimes I feel like a crappy mama. Like say, when everyone else's children are happily playing in the indoor inflated playhouse thingie, and my child is screaming as he sits in time out. Why is my son in time out ten times a day? Is it me or is it him? He has taken to screaming at me, " No! I said no!"

I am self conscious about it in front of my mom and about how I respond to it. I imagine her thinking, 'Wow, that child is bad, and MM has no control.' And part of me fears she is right.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Cabin fever

It has only been five days, and I am feeling a little isolated. I want a car of my own to use and someone else to change poopy diapers. My mom did change one, but they are not exactly the types to just jump in and help. I also want T in my bed to curl up with.

I need some purpose and routine. Tomorrow we are going to an indoor play center, and I am going to get my nails done. It's nice to have plans! When I just hang around the house, I feel frazzled and bored, and I look for things to snack on. Not good.