Tuesday, December 29, 2009



Another bad parent admission - my kids learned how to cuss from dear ol mom. Yep, I can out swear their bad boy biker, once-upon-a-time Marine daddy any old day.

So, I'm standing in the hallway of my dinky 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom "bungalow" doing the pee pee dance, begging my twelve year old to hurry the hell up. He even asked if I was doing the pee pee dance, meaning he was going to take his sweet ass time trying to torture me. I reminded him that I can and will get even.

"AUGH! That's NOT fair," he wails from the bathroom, still dawdling.

"Yeah, well life's a bitch," I inform him, "and so is your mother."

He giggles

And then I say, "you know... if your mother is a bitch... that makes you.........

a son of a bitch!"


"Mom, you're not right"


Now hurry up before I go pee in front of you

FINALLY, I get the bathroom. Geez. Whose stupid idea was it to move into a house with just one bathroom????

Monday, December 28, 2009

One Upping At Christmas


Christmas and Grandparents - a combination that just screams "SPOILED CHILD"

It's kind of cool to see the grandparents go gaga over the kids, to give to the grandchildren things they weren't able to do for their own kids. It also makes it easier for us wallet-strapped parents as we know we can get away with just buying practical and cheap stuff like underwear without totally screwing our kids out of an awesome Christmas experience. It's all fun and games until grandparent rivalry kicks in.

What your parents and in-laws co-exist without any such rivalry?



Here's how it rolls, my father-in-law (FIL) is allllllll about Christmas. He must have suffered one too many underwear-only holidays and goes way overboard. His house, I'm sorry, mobile home, is a tribute to ol' Saint Nick in the highest degree. His artificial tree comes out of storage as the Thanksgiving Turkey is cleared from the table. It's lit up with antique ornaments and his house is draped in garland from room to room. The presents gush out from under his lush tree filling his tiny living room. He answers the phone in a HO HO HO merriment from Thanksgiving to New Years.

Then there's my mother. She is the shopping queen finding everything on sale in February and stockpiles her load. It would be a total shame if one of the other grandparents gave more gifts to her adorable grandchildren. So the race is on. Christmas lists are requested by late summer and she has shiftily taken note of what and how much was spent on the kids the year before.

One year, after a few spousal fights over the excessive back and forth trips between four or five households over Christmas we thought we could bring together my mother and his father for Christmas Eve festivities. You know killing two birds with one stone? I mean the two are friends for crying outloud, this is a no brainer! We were smacking ourselves on the forehead for not thinking of it sooner!


Take a close look at my livingroom. It's a large enough space, especially compared to father-in-law's place
There were presents from end to end, most from "santa" - some in my mom's handwriting, other's in FIL's handwriting, a bare minimum in my handwriting. Totally insane.

To add to the fiasco, my sister-in-law (SIL) and her two kids attended the soiree. She and my mom do NOT get along in the least, but were at least civil for the evening.

After hours of ripping open presents - oh, you know one present at a time was distributed and everyone had to sit and wait for it to be opened before someone else could open one - further extending the exhaustion of the evening. So as we neared the end, the big, cool presents were saved for last. And this is where the rivalry really showed. There was near armwrestling as to which grandparent got to have the grand finale. My mom relented and allowed FIL to go last. It was, in fact, a grand present... so grand I forgot what all it was.

OH but we weren't done! Oh no. That's right, my mom got in the last word after all and asked my spousal unit to go get the large items out of the back of her car. WHAT?

This grand finale I DO remember because it was so underhanded, so lame, and the gifts, so underwhelming. She bought the kids SHELVES. OOOOOOOHHHH bigass bookshelves.

That was the one and only time we combined Christmases between the grandparents. SIL insisted that she would never do it again because she felt like the whole emphasis was on my kids - it was. As we assured her, we wouldn't ever make that mistake ever again. It was so stupid and so exhausting. NEVER again.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sting Christmas

Every kid has one, that one singular must-have gift, the one that gets toted to the ends of the earth, sleeps in the same bed with the child and even sits at the dinner table. Every parent who bends to obtaining the cherished toy also fantasizes about hiding it for all eternity.

Keith's prized toy was Sting, the wrestler. His father had turned him onto professional wrestling almost from the point of me announcing my pregnancy with the child. Going down the toy aisle he would gravitate to the action figures so for Christmas 1992, Santa loaded up little Keith with not only wrestling action figures but also a wrestling ring!

Keith also found under the Christmas Tree a large doll resembling his favorite wrestler of all time, Sting!

Mr. Sting accompanied Keith EVERYWHERE. I insisted that Sting could not go into the store as the security guards would take him away, so Sting stayed behind in the car. He went on overnight stays at Grandma's and swam in the bathtub. I don't remember how long Sting stayed as Keith's constant companion, but it was well after Sting lost a lower portion of one of his legs. Eventually he was relegated to the lower depths of the toybox and a new toy took front and center.

What were the prized toys of your children?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Not Because I Love You

I just got off the phone with my older son finalizing plan for Christmas. I told him that if the roads are too gross not to come out. He accused me of being a Grinch.

Wellllll pardon me for not wanting to pry my ass off the couch on my day off to visit one of my children in the hospital - because I would feel obliged and shit. So don't screw up my day off.

Be safe dammit! And Merry Christmas!

Weather was indeed crappy and my children followed my instructions to call me if they didn't feel safe making the trip. Christmas has been postponed until New Years Day. I'm a tiny bit sad, but very proud of them doing the responsible and SAFE thing.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mother-Daughter Over The Years


Being a person who thrives on being "involved" it's no wonder when my daughter joined Girl Scouts that I got sucked into being a co-leader. Of course it doesn't stop there, oh no, Linda and I, co-leaders of like mind (uh, actually we share a brain - she has the nice, benevolent side; I am, of course, owner/operator of the evil side) we got active at the neighborhood level. Who knows what stopped us from climbing the ladder to meddle at the district or council-wide levels?

Every year our neighborhood organized a Mother-Daughter camp weekend at one of the three council campgrounds. It was during the winter so we stayed in the heated cabins and got to use the commercial sized kitchens. We dutifully took our troop and their mothers for our first camp weekend and absolutely loved it. The following years, Linda and I weaseled our way onto the committee (actually we were coerced and being schmucks who can't ever say no we were called to duty). Our daughters, both named Amanda, also enjoyed being behind the scenes.

One of the arts and crafts activities was to decorate a picture frame and someone took polaroids of the mother-daughter duos. It was such a popular activity that we did it every year. Even after we parted ways with the Girl Scouts, Amanda and I have continued to snap pictures of the two of us smooshed up close.

Scanning the GS pictures are a little difficult as the scanner grabs the frame decorations, blurring the pictures. These are fun memories and I love seeing how she's grown from a little girl.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Leasburg Exit

Nothing like a flash from the past when cruising down the highway. Signs alerted us that the next exit would be Leasburg and suddenly I recall a little camp trip back in 1997.

Leasburg isn't a stop on the traintracks, not even back in the day. It looks like maybe there was a grocery once, but not any more. Beyond Leasburg is Keyes canoe rental - one of our annual haunts. That year, however, I had just given birth. Ian was all of two months old when I finally broke loose for a little vacay on the Huzzah and Meramec rivers. We took Amanda and Keith camping with my friend Booty and her daughter, forgoing the canoe trip because I am a total freak about my kids EVER getting near the Meramec River. EVER. I still shudder at the thought.

The plan was to camp and then meet up with friend Piranha and her family to help her parents move to Lake of the Ozarks. Baby Ian had spent the night at Grandpa's house, but Grandpa couldn't keep him for the entire weekend so Piranha was going to pick up Ian and bring him for the rest of the trip.

That was the plan.

Oh, did I mention that Ian was a puke monster for the first year of life? And totally incapable of sleeping for long periods of time? Basically he was a completely delightful baby.

So imagine Piranha's delight as she sat with her husband, twin seven year olds and her own brand new baby all of 2 weeks old at a gas station in the middle of nowhere BEFORE CELL PHONES, holding my cranky, crying, non-sleeping, puking baby. And me nowhere in sight.

For a really long time.

I'm not sure what led her to call my house to leave a message, however she was none too happy to have my then husband answer the phone. His happy ass was supposed to be pulling up at the gas station not answering the fricking telephone. Well he got an earful before he was able to explain that I was still coming to retrieve my cranky, crying, non-sleeping puking baby, that he had left the party early as he was feeling sick (that would be excessive drinking and overexposure to the sun).

Booty and I had misjudged our time, arriving a tad late to our meeting location. Piranha quickly handed over the car seat with my puking bundle inside. She also delivered a letter mysteriously written by my wee bundle of joy while staying at Grandpa's house. I am sooooo not kidding about that letter. I know I have it buried here someplace and one day will share it with the world. Sharing that letter with Piranha had us laughing so hard that she quickly forgave the extended stay at the gas station, sitting on cases of soda as she unsuccessfully rocked my cranky, crying, non-sleeping, puking baby.

Any time we pass the Leasburg exit and the now remodeled gas station, Booty, Piranha and myself will recount that miserable day.

Sunday, December 13, 2009



They fight. It's a fact of life. Pretty much every damn day. Actually EVERY damn day, multiple times a day.

My kids don't fight like I did with my brothers - that was brutal. The kids brand of fighting is more of taunting and teasing. Well, except the whole nut sack punching between the boys, but since they both think it's funny no harm is intended. And that is probably the whole gist of it, no harm is intended.

With two of them no longer living together, family get-togethers become boxing rings. I shouldn't be too surprised. Whenever I'm around my brothers we exchange all sorts of niceties as well. I hadn't seen one brother for a several years and his first comment to me was "you got fat". Without missing a beat I came back with "you got ugly".

It's all fun and it's bonding. Amazingly my kids are quite close. It's hard to remember watching my kids rip into each other, toss insults back and forth, smack and trip each other in passing. Then I remind myself that they really do like each other.
(Don't you just LOVE the snow boots? Yeah, she wore those all year long until she couldn't squoosh her foot inside it any more.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Our Million Dollar Video


Sadly I don't have the video digitized, maybe one day I'll hook up the ol VCR to make the transition.

I remember standing in my mom's livingroom laughing so hard I was gasping for air. Actually EVERYONE was laughing so hard they were gasping for air. The snorts and squeaks made it even funnier so we were laughing at ourselves laughing.

In the middle of the floor was my son, my second child. He was all of eight months old and somebody (probably my mother) thought it would be "cute" to see his reaction to her musical stuffed Rudolph. She turned it on and set it down on the floor opposite of the baby.

It would take four steps, nod twice and then the nose would blink.

And baby Keith's eyes LIT UP. He wanted that blinking thing across the room BAD and started to commando crawl towards it. Every time Rudolph stopped to blink, Keith would stop crawling and flutter his feet. Uproarious laughter - awww, isn't this cute? Quick somebody grab the video camera!

To move things along we moved Rudolph closer, impatient to see what Keith would do. They were practically nose to nose and Keith refused to blink, captivated by the reindeer. As Rudolph would nod, so would Keith. Even more laughter.


Then, Keith propped himself up and latched onto Rudolph's nose with his mouth! As Rudolph would nod so would Keith's head. And when Rudolph's nose lit up, SO DID KEITH'S CHEEKS!

Funniest damn thing EVER!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Death Of A Christmas Tree


It happened one Christmas day back when my youngest was just a wee toddler. I was sure we had a future baseball star on our hands as he had been scolded for the umpteenth time not to swat the ornaments on mommy's pretty tree with his wiffle bat. Oh but he had perfect form and his father was quite proud, if only he would aim for something besides my precious tree.

We will never know exactly how it happened although the offending bat was later found at the scene of the crime. I was in the basement in quiet conversation with my husband when we heard a loud crash. We jolted up the stairs to find the Christmas tree splayed in the middle of the livingroom floor, our two older children standing on the couch plastered to the wall with wide eyes and a beseeching look that screamed "I didn't do it" and their little brother stranded UNDER the tree, little red TellyTubby slippers poking out in desperate kicks to be freed. I instantly pictured the Wicked Witch under Dorothy's house in The Wizard of Oz*.

Scrambling to lift the tree off our smooshed baby, we found he was quite alright, just a little shaken. We lost a few ornaments, but fortunately the tree is home to mostly plastic and fabric decorations. The tree stand, however, died. Since Christmas was over it didn't make any sense to try to find a way to rig it back into an upright position. We swept up the shattered pieces and then left the tree lying prone in the middle of the floor until we had more time to properly pack it up.

Later that day, the youngest was found behind the tree stand (still attached), turning it as if he were driving a big truck.

I totally failed to photograph a single portion of this epic tale. BAD MOM! BAD BAD BAD MOM!

*I type for shit and originally had "The Wizard of Ox". Typos of this magnitude truly amuse me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Sense of Direction Is Hereditary


Waiting for daughter to arrive at a meeting I get a call from her in near panic. I know this sound. She's lost again.

Me? I'm descended from homing pigeons. I'm not above getting lost or a little turned around, but with a little diligence and a few choice words I manage to get to my destination albeit a little late. But those moments are rare. More often than not, I know exactly where I am geographically. I definitely got this trait from my mother, the AAA Queen. She will proudly tell you that she can whip up a trip-tik with the map laid out on the counter facing the customer, upside-down to her, and perfectly wiggle that orange highlighter across the entire US of A!

The geography trait was passed down to my youngest son. I recall him chirping up from the backseat, barely able to talk, pointing out familiar landmarks. His siblings staring at him awestruck because THEY had no idea where they were. When Amanda finally had her drivers license I would send her youngest brother along for the ride just to make sure she could find her way home. And no, I am not kidding.

Amanda inherited her lack of direction from her father. I used to joke that he would get turned around in a cardboard box. It never failed to amuse me how he would be completely lost in a shopping mall - me totally secure, willing to place money, which end was anchored by Sears.

Keith got a mix of the two. He needs solid directions, but has managed his way around town. Only once have I received a frantic call as he took a wrong exit off the highway and landed in downtown St. Louis. And to be honest, I've made that mistake and it's not an easy one to undo. Between Google Maps and him rattling off street signs I finally got him to terra firma.

Amanda read street signs to me and while the streets were familiar, they weren't so familiar that I knew their intersections and I certainly couldn't discern which direction she was headed. She was following MapQuest which had directed her some fucked up way into the neighborhood. Had she called me to begin with I would have had her there in a total of three turns. Finally I asked, "is the sun on your left?"


"turn left." I told her major streets to look for and gave her right/left directions.

I really have NO clue where she was. It's too bad I've finished her Christmas Shopping because she really needs GPS.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Can I ever get a decent picture????????

Is it at all possible for my children to pose for a happy family picture? EVER?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fund Raisers


'Tis the season for schools, sports, clubs and churches to hit you up for their latest round of fundraising. The slick sheets of candy, cookies, wrapping paper and trinkets galore dazzle you just in time for holiday shopping.

Today I'm delivering live wreaths to my co-workers and collecting the last orders for butterbraids. It's never ending. And having three kids has meant multiple order forms overlapping left and right. At least I'm down to one child now, but that hasn't slowed the activity any - how the hell does that happen????

I know some people who flat out refuse to sell, buy, or even discuss fundraisers. In fact, I've had to tell a dejected child more than once that we just cannot participate - the project, whatever it was, could do just fine without me passing around that stupid sheet.

Some places have gone the short route of just asking the parents to donate $50 at the beginning of the year and be free of the fundraising hassle altogether. And trust me, I've plunked down well over $50 per child per year in buying crap from their fundraisers, so that really is a bargain.

But I like some of the stuff.

The wrapping paper is good, solid stuff. The cookie dough comes in cool buckets and tastes delightful unbaked. And our local fundraiser thing, TJ's Pizza, is the BEST EVER! Girl Scout cookies? Just go ahead and mark me down for 3 thin mints, 2 samoas, 1 peanut butter... better make that FOUR thin mints and THREE samoas and one peanut butter.

And having been the adult leader of a few groups trying to raise funds? Totally sympathetic to anyone else in the same shoes. It's like it's my duty to return the favor. I do try to be selective and only buy what I can use or gift and try really really hard not to order anything out of guilt.


So what are you opinions about kids fundraisers? Gobble them up? Avoid them like the plague? Pick N Choose? Something from everybody? That $50 idea is the best ever?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Art of Shampoo


Husband has noticed that the shampoo bottle is not emptying at a rate consistent with two people showering everyday. I don't take notice because I use the frilly girl stuff in the pink containers, figuring two able-bodied males can mention when their supplies begin to run low. And who would think to look if one wasn't running out fast enough?

It came out in the course of conversation that Ian is only using conditioner, not the shampoo. Husband thought it was completely ridiculous, why on earth would somebody go to that much trouble to NOT wash his hair?

My thought? Maybe nobody TOLD the child about the difference between shampoo and conditioner?

I don't exactly recall ever having that conversation with ANY of my kids. But, I also have to remember that for the past several years Ian has been practically BALD and didn't need much instruction on hair care beyond "rub a washcloth across your noggin". So, no, I can't imagine anyone HAS explained the difference.

And so last night we had a quick instruction on shampoo and conditioner.

Rinse, lather, repeat

Monday, November 30, 2009

Boys, Boy Parts, & Stupid Games



Last night I had to use my MOM VOICE - the loud, screechy, sit-your-ass-down-before-I-ground-you-forever tones that set children the world around on edge. After twenty some years at this parenting game I've even mastered "The Look" and "The Point", things you see sweet little southern old ladies execute flawlessly causing grown men to quiver in their boots. I don't know that I have that effect over grown-ups other than the ones that actually emerged from my very own uterus. With time, maybe?

It seems my sons, ages 20 and 12, have taken up a new past-time - sucker punching each other in the crotch. Oh it's great fun, don't you know? Toppling your six foot brother into a twitching blob on the livingroom floor or catching your twerpy little brother in mid-flight running across the bedroom. Yes good times.


Dammit, this gonad attack could seriously alter my future as a grandmother (not that I want or need that to happen ANY time in the near future. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE wait. PLEASE! And by all means, WEAR A CONDOM if you can't wait. PLEASE).

Besides, I really do not want to deal with nut sack injuries that might require me to apply ice, extract lodged zippers and certainly not a trip to the ER. It's really bad enough that I happened to be present when the nurse removed a catheter - something a woman does not ever want to witness with her grown, man-sized son. Really. I could use a little Etch-A-Sketch eraser action to get that out of my memory.

I've mulled this over with several other mothers and we all agree that this qualifies as "stupid boy behavior." This may, however, take the cake going beyond TYPICAL stupid boy behavior.

Whatever the reasoning, whatever the pleasure or sense of revenge, it is quite clear that my sons are braindead both above and below the belt.

Friday, November 27, 2009

In Store Meltdown


We've all seen it - the in-store meltdown by a child who has had ENOUGH. There is no placating him, no toy, no candy, no promise big enough to quell the whining and tears. The only recourse is to leave. NOW!

And there is nothing like having that meltdown happen in your own cart by one of your own. Seeing it happen to someone else brings out a knowing sympathy.

Today was Black Friday. After four hours of non-stop shopping and line-standing we came to Walmart and a boy at a neighboring checkout quickly ticking down to his own little explosion. Mom and dad saw it coming, was trying to hurry along as best as the slow line would allow. Fortunately there were two parents on this outing so one could continue in the checkout line while the other took Mr. Meltdown for a bouncy walk. The other shoppers would have preferred if mom had just taken him straight to the car as his high pitched wailing was really unbearable.

Personally I cannot see any reason to bring a child along on marathon shopping days like Black Friday, although I saw many other people who didn't seem to have any problem with it. There were plenty of strollers, pumpkin seats and kids locked into shopping carts especially after the sun was up. I'm glad to see the kids were not brought to stand in line in the cold, dark morning hours. But after the doors were unlocked and the first rush of craziness was over, kids were present all day long. Whining and wimpering and outright wailing was a constant background sound to the day's shopping.

I guess I'm sprouting into an old lady because I would rather not encounter "that" on my shopping trips. Some teenager or non-shopper out there could make a killing by offering Black Friday babysitting. I certainly haven't participated in Black Friday until now partly because I wouldn't bring kids with me on such a day. Well that and I am not a professional shopper - I'm more of a professional ANTI-shopper.

So do your fellow shopper, and your ticking time-bomb child, a favor and leave the kids at home. Hire a babysitter, coax grandpa into a few hours of bonding time or get your bargains online. THIS is no place for the meltdown prone.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Are We There Yet?


As we look toward family gatherings and lengthy car rides, let's discuss the oft asked question, "are we there yet?" It comes in multiple forms:
"How much longer?"
"How many miles do we have to drive?"
"Why do we have to go?"

After several rounds of intense questioning by my middle child it started to dawn on me that the string of questions were code for "what's going on?" We spend so much time planning and discussing with our partner the upcoming events that we forget that until Thursday night in a flurry of packing and prepping the car that the kids may not be aware of a five hour trip across the state for a weekend stay with Aunt Beatrice, who they only know as a name on Christmas cards and occasionally invoked in long-ago memories.

So one of the first things we can do to avoid a long string of repetitive backseat inquiries is to actually forewarn the kids of travel plans. Now if you've been parenting for a few years, you have learned that mentioning speculative plans can backfire especially if the plans don't come to fruition. However if you wait until the plans are solidified, it could be Thursday night prior to leaving before you know anything for sure. Rarely do these plans materialize in a matter of days. Usually you know several weeks, if not months, in advance that this weekend is even a possibility. Therefore, you owe it to your kids to give them fair warning of upcoming plans, even if it's not etched in stone, at least a week or two in advance.

The flip-side of the backseat inquisition is EXCITEMENT. Those kids are jittering with sheer anticipation of getting there. And NOW! So then you need to find something to distract those anxious minds. Depending on the length of the trip you can utilize electronic babysitters (DVD's, hand-held games, books, CD's). Don't rely on just one gadget to be enough. Your normally sedate child will turn into a bouncing chihuahua and will need multiple distractions. You will need a whole diaperbag of games, gadgets and maybe a horse tranquilizer. Okay, nix that last one, but trust me you will fantasize about it.

I also found getting extra copies of maps to be a great silencer. On a fourteen hour car trip to Florida, I handed my middle child a map with the anticipated route already marked out with a highlighter. I taught him watch for road signs and how to follow along on the map. For his younger brother I got a travel book with games and cartoons relevant to the area we were traveling. Because we were crossing several state lines, each child got their own stickerbook so they could record the states they visited as we drove. I still have mine from my childhood and continue to update it thirty years later.

All of this planning and charting and mapping is also a fantastic teaching opportunity. Reading, geography, sequencing, alphabet...

Remember all of the stupid cartrip games people play? Find words in alphabetic order on billboards. Singing 99 Bottles of Rootbeer on the Wall (okay, I admit, my kids learned it the real way with BEER). I Spy, 20 Questions, and a whole songbook of campfire songs. Anything and everything. Even teenagers too "cool" to do anything but roll their eyes will join in... eventually. If you also think all of this cheesy and unnecessary, lighten up. You're making memories dammit.

Sadly you'll still have a few "are we there yet" but hopefully not a constant string.

So everyone, what car ride distractions do you remember from your childhood? What do you do with your own kids?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Growth Spurts


Girls seem to blossom overnight, but really it's more gradual and it just SEEMS overnight. Boys, on the other hand? Definitely overnight. Or certainly in a matter of months.

Last May I had a skinny, short sixth grader whose shaved head was starting to grow out. He had a couple of major events requiring dress clothes. Everything he tried on required a belt (or those groovy inside belts they now put in the waistband of kids clothes pants) and was too long. I knew this day was coming so I bought slacks requiring a belt and a little hemming. I rolled up close to three inches on those legs - and by the way, my tailoring skills totally suck. I'm sure his grandmothers would have a full-blown hissy if they saw how I attacked this project.
By September his other slacks (older ones, not too long) were starting to show his white socks. Well, first things first, he was promptly told NOT to wear white socks or those ankle thingies with dress shoes! And then, where are those slacks I hemmed up in May?

crickets chirping

Last night was another dress-up meeting. Finally the hemmed pants make an appearance as I'm asked to make them longer. My sucky tailor job is quickly pulled out and viola, pants that come down to his shoes! It's like magic.

He's still skinny, but really looks like a teenager with that bushy mop on his head.

In the car he proudly told me that he can go back to wearing ankle socks.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Has it really been a week since my last post? Very sorry - life has been whirling out of control. Or I've been dreaming of hibernating.

I get a little frantic trying to remember everything I have to do. And when I get frantic about trying to remember everything I am bound to forget something. I learned a long time ago to cart a pocket calendar around with me. It has been an amazing lifesaver for my wee little brain. Recently I discovered that I could order a five year month-at-a-view calendar. I have been dancing around with my happy book, my new brain. Those planners with broken down days by minutes and hours have never been of any help. I need to see the entire month, to be able to look ahead beyond today, to remind myself at least fourteen times that I have an obligation on Saturday.

Schools have started issuing daily planners to students beginning in fifth grade. This has been a huge improvement in teaching personal responsibility and time management. When my older kids were in school they were given credit for filling out each days activity and having a parent sign it. By seventh grade I was able to back away from asking what homework projects they had because they could forecast and organize on their own. By high school they learned to use those booklets like daily bibles, even recording out-of-school activities.

My younger son attends school in a different district and I don't think this group of teachers ever embraced the idea of the planner. It's just another gimmick. But I've seen it work. It meant the 5th & 6th grade teachers harped on it endlessly and enforce parent involvement. It was a win win win situation all the way around. Since this group of educators haven't stepped up, I'm forced to take the issue up personally. It's much more difficult as I cannot see and hear what is being told to the kids in the classroom. I don't know if he's missing major assignments. It's rather aggravating. We're muddling through.

So, are your kids getting these daily planners? Is it effective? Are the teachers USING it? Are you reviewing it?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kid Friendly Job


I have the tremendous luck to work for a fantastic company that allows us to bring our kids to work (provided they stay quiet and out of the way). I also have a fabulously large work space that allows a second person to be in my area without being a huge nuisance.

So tomorrow I will be bringing my son to work while his teachers enjoy a professional development day. He will have his PSP, a book and a laptop at his disposal to keep him fairly busy during the day. And when the novelty of his electronics wears off, he can play DVD's in one of our conference rooms if not occupied by one of the ninety bajillion meetings we hold every week or he can run minor errands for my co-workers.

Fortunately no one abuses this liberty so having school aged kids running amok through our halls and cubicles is a rarity. Most are able to keep themselves entertained and also put in a few hours of volunteering. It's a win win situation that we all cherish.

No one better screw it up!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Time To Wake Up

This morning I walked into my son's room, crawled into bed next to him, pulled all of the blankets off of him and onto me and started poking him in the ear. Then under his arm, behind his knee and on his very ticklish waist. Then we played tug-of-war with his blankets. All the while his eyes are closed.

He finally crawled out of bed with a scowl on his face. Mr. Grumpy Grumpinstein. Hey at least I didn't choose my favorite wake up method - really bad, very loud, off-key opera.

So how do you coax your kids out of bed in the morning?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Parental Screw Ups


So a few friends of mine were discussing today ways they totally screwed up in the parenting department - you know those times you turned for a few seconds to grab something and the baby rolls off the couch, bed or changing table?

Me? Oh I have plenty of flubs. There was the pretend nibbling that turned into an actual bite on my son's ear. Or the time I walked out of the post office leaving behind my son, same one I bit. When I reached the car and saw the older two sitting there I realized what I did and turned around and got him - he didn't even know I had left. He was playing with some blocks. Of course his brother and sister filled him in on the primo parenting and it's now brought up as a regular reminder of how much I love my children.

So what about you? How have you flubbed in the parenting department?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Eau De Boy


My youngest is twelve - in the throes of boy stink. I worked for many years in an elementary school and noticed that the fifth graders start to reek right around mid-March. I joked that as the sap starts to churn through the trees, so does the hormones through the kids. And at twelve, in seventh grade, the odor has not receded.

Having one son already pass through these stages, I know that another smelly stage is coming probably around ninth grade - the swimming in cologne stage. I guess I should be grateful that he didn't turn to Axe. Someone had alerted him to the new scents of Old Spice, and like their advertisements say, "this isn't your father's cologne."

I remember in college two particular boys, Clark and Kenny. They were two incredible pieces of manliness, both baseball players with chiseled bodies. As if the vision of this duo walking across campus wasn't enough, they wore Polo. I know many people who retract thinking of the guys who wore Polo back in the '80's but for me and Vicki and Barb that particular smell will forever mean Clark and Kenny. Better yet, they were friends with Vicki's boyfriend and often were found visiting my dorm room. Hours after their departure people would come into our room and say, "mmmmmm... Clark and Kenny were here." You could smell them. In a good way. ...sigh!

Years later I still stop at the men's cologne counter and sniff that emerald bottle of Polo, recalling those years of Clark and Kenny. Swoon. There is nothing like a GOOD cologne on a man. It seems that the good looking guys master smelling good. So imagine walking past your own bathroom and catching a whiff of delicious man cologne and realizing it's YOUR SON emitting it??? I swear I had to find a place to sit down to absorb that conflicting information.

While it's nice to have a reprieve from years of stinky sweaty boy, I wonder if it's an improvement? It does make me believe that boys have, in fact, no capacity to smell. Why else would they be able to live with their stinky feet or how could they bathe in such strong colognes?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Job Well Done

You know after all of those years of scolding, sleepless nights, and locking horns there is a payoff.

Last night after cleaning up from volunteering at a trivia night, I dropped my daughter off at her car amazed that the clean up was a cinch. I had to set up and tear down the AV equipment. The set up went quickly although I did it myself, but I knew tearing it down, my most dreaded part, was going to take a while. I also loathe dragging it out of my car and into the office. I figured it would sit in my car until I got to work on Monday. But no, my daughter was also volunteering and she stepped in, easily taking commands and not getting in the way (some helpers aren't quite so helpful). She also offered to help unload it all at the office. Holy crap, who can pass up an offer like that? If only all cleanups went so smoothly.

When I dropped her off at the car, I thought "wow, I raised an amazing person."

(I'm totally taking credit although many people may have contributed to the cause)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

First Game

Today is the first game of the hockey season for my son. It's his third year and I think he's finally got the swing of the game. This is floor hockey and he competes against five other teams in his age bracket. It's not the cut throat competition of ice hockey and requires very little equipment, just a stick.

Sadly his team lost by one point. By the last ten minutes of the game things really heated up and the parents were all standing up and screaming. Nothing like a few last minute points to get the blood pumping.

I'm glad his brother and sister weren't heavy into sports. Amanda played several seasons of girls soccer for her high school. They were played after school while I was at work so there wasn't much juggling of schedules. Many of the parents in today's audience have two or three kids playing hockey so they spend all day sitting in that gym. Some of the players also play ice hockey adding another level of chaos to the schedule.

What activities are your kids in? How insane is your schedule?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sleeping Like a Baby

One of my online friends just came home with her first child. Neither is sleeping. So how is it the phrase, "sleeping like a baby", ever came about. Babies do not sleep and when they do, they jolt awake at the tiniest of sounds.

"Sleeping like a drunk college student" would be better, don't you think? Of course as a parent of two college students, I would prefer to not think about passed out college students, not that I've ever fit that description myself. But it would be a more apt description of one of those really sound sleeps that we all desire? To sleep all through the night, no interruptions, and to wake up refreshed and happy?


Passed out college students probably don't wake up refreshed and ready to go. hmmm

Well, my friend Wombat needs happy thoughts sent her way. Her baby needs to start sleeping other than when held and momma is in DIRE need of sleep. Hopefully they both will find their way to a mattress and will begin sleeping like a baby really really soon.

Thursday, November 5, 2009



Okay, everyone, join me singing, "C is for cookie"

You can thank me later today for that little earworm.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sesame Street

YAY (Did I really overlook a positive aspect when naming this blog? Well, I'm adding YAY. It's tiring to only whine, we need to celebrate too)

God Bless Google. If it weren't for that precious search engine how would I know that today is the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street? Yes, today Google features Big Bird's legs (isn't it cool that Google does that on special days?)

Did you watch Sesame Street as a kid? That would depend on your age. If you are anywhere past your mid-forties chances are you were "too old" to be captivated by muppets reciting the alphabet and counting and dancing and singing. But me? At 43? When Sesame Street came out I was three years old and the target audience for the new show. All of that cartoonish showmanship was absolutely captivating. To this day I have a hard time navigating away from Sesame Street when it comes on TV.

My children were as captivated by Sesame Street as I was. It was clean wholesome TV and not nearly as mind-numbing or violent as TellyTubbies or Power Rangers. I could actually sit down with my kids and enjoy the same show.

This is not to say I don't have some criticisms about the show. It's clearly targeted toward inner city kids. City buses and taxi cabs are foreign objects to most American kids (I'm sure that amazes New York TV execs). The attempts to keep the show demographically even is horribly obvious, even to small kids. And changing the theme song? That is sacrilege! Maybe it's been changed back... it has been a few years since I've watched it. But there was an "urban" beat added to "Come and play, everything's a-okay..." A real turn off for a purist like me.

I cried when Jim Hensen died. I loved his magical creatures. They were so zany and yet so personable. Those monsters were not scary monsters. They were fun and lovable. I cannot decide if I love Cookie Monster or Grover more. I've become a pretty big fan of Elmo too.

Sesame Street, thank you! I would surely have learned my alphabet and how to count despite your existence, but you made it fun. You kept me entertained and educated.

Happy Birthday, dear friends.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Holiday Planning


As I pant over the fact that October seems to have flown by, making September seem only days ago, I am now struck with the fact that it IS November. And since it is November it is time to thrust ourselves into planning the upcoming holiday season, schedule who goes where, and to think long and hard about traditions.

Personally, Holidays are about logistics. How to get all of the necessary people together at the necessary times. I had a tiny peek into the chaos when I was dating my first husband as he was pulled from mom's house to dad's house to grandma's house to some shindig at a hotel. He came from a big family. I did not. Holidays for me had, up until my marriage, been a private affair around the family dinner table. There was no shuffling from one meal to another. It was simple and it was easy. Since the day I said "I do" holidays have been nowhere near simple nor easy.

It was difficult when the kids were little as we had to pack up a diaper bag with multiple changes of clothing and any other implements of mass destruction like portable cribs and walkers. And of course bundle the kids in cumbersome snowsuits to keep them warm. None of the homes we visited were suited for large gatherings and bringing babies or toddlers and their assorted equipment was even more burdensome. Grandparents cooed that they didn't care - they were just happy everyone was together. So we tripped over each other and tolerated cranky baby cries as little ones couldn't keep their regular nap schedules.

Getting home was insane as we had to lug all of the loot (leftovers and shiny new toys) home in our tiny car.

Then I had to get divorced and further complicate the whole chess-game. Kids are picked up one night to be dropped off the following afternoon to be picked up another day later. Thanksgiving is a jumble of seven different meals spanning half the state over four days. Fortunately my two older children are able to drive, but they also have significant others further adding to the mayhem. Christmas is a delicate ballet crammed into 36 hours. By December 26th we are worn out and sick of looking at ham and turkey left overs, pie is a dirty word and life would be much quieter if batteries would instantly die.

Since my kids have grown up in this strange world of shuffling to and fro maybe they have fond memories of it. Me? I find it horribly stressful and vow not to make it any more difficult when they start their own families. I'm not quite sure, maybe I'll follow my former mother-in-law's lead by hosting Easter in August (we really did that one year). It's about being together - the specific dates don't matter at all. And I'm screwed up enough to actually pull it off.

So how is holiday planning in your world? Easy Schmezy? A well orchestrated ballet? Quiet and uneventful? Sheer chaos but you love every minute? Do you volunteer at soup kitchen or do you host a quiet affair for friends abandoning family chaos?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Other People's Children


We encounter them all of the time, good and bad. They are other people's children. The good ones we hold up as examples to our own children, "look there how that little girl is quietly reading a book, not running around like some heathen banshee." The point gets kind of lost as your child doesn't understand the meaning of "banshee" and, well, "heathen" is sort of vague too, but they do get the idea that both are bad descriptions. The bad kids are great examples to point out, "I swear, if I ever catch you doing THAT I will tan your hide!" In fact, my kids have probably learned more about acceptable behavior from my comments about other people's kids.

But what do you do when THAT kid is your kid? Notice I didn't ask "if". They all do it at some point or another. If you swear your angelic darling isn't THAT child then chances are they REALLY REALLY are. Even good kids can act the ass.

All three of my kids have been particularly good kids, but even they have had their moments of glory. My very first teacher conference ever was for my daughter in kindergarten. We brought her along, knowing that this was going to be rave reviews. And it was. Amanda was a very good little student. But that night she decided to go haywire. She was scooting under the desks and running around like a wild... banshee. Both teacher and I stared at her in absolute shock - me in embarrassment, teacher in bewilderment.

Another time I was at the grocery store and Amanda and Keith were running some form of tag between the aisles. I cut the trip short, ushered them through the check out line and once we hit the parking lot I read them the riot act all the way to the car. A woman with a little baby screeched at me threatening to call Family Services. Yeah, just wait lady, your day will come.

Maybe that is the key, the parents' reaction. That there should be a reaction.

Last night the Halloween party was invaded by twin heathens, possibly four or five years old. They rolled out of the van literally screaming at the top of their lungs with mom and dad ineffectively hushing them - and bam, Spiderman and Hulk broke loose and never stopped for the next three hours. Screaming, running, hitting, poking, provoking, hiding, screaming and more running. Mom and dad moseyed to the dining room leaving the miniature tyrants to run loose outside, assuming the other adults would keep an eye on them. Which that right there is a huge mistake - NEVER assume another adult will monitor your child. We have our own children to monitor and hell one of the children I was monitoring was a legal adult. I served my time chasing around energetic kids, I do not appreciate having someone else's brats thrust on me.

What is one to do when left facing unattended children misbehaving? Most people try to look the other way, but not me. I have a schoolmarm raging inside of me and she comes bounding out whenever children are running rampant. I have found her to be quite competent in squelching errant behavior. A stern look dead in the eye and an even tone leaving no question that you are quite serious and I say things like "put that down, it doesn't belong to you" or "you're not allowed to___". Sure enough I had to tell Spiderman that he was not allowed to touch my daughter's costume (he was hitting her constantly), that no one was to open the pumpkins, it was not nice to blow out the jack-o-lantern candles, and that he could only run on the grass, not the parking lot. The kid avoided me like the plague but was peeved to find that I did not stay close to my jack-o-lantern and was instead in all of his places of misbehavior. He'd been chewed out a few times.

Another mother reprimanded Spiderman for hitting her daughter but he came back with "she hit me first". The mistake this mom made was trying to be nice, to not start a scene. The little snot ran to his mother, who had finally come outside, and was clearly trying to tattle-tale. She ignored his pleas. And there was the whole problem.

It's hard not to cast judgment, but the problem seemed rather cut and dry and everyone was privy to it except Spiderman's parents. Rather sad actually.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Costumes and Christmas Lists


Halloween costumes and Christmas lists are two things kids will obsess over at a frantic pace, nearly all year. You can drive across three states with a non-stop stream of babble gurgling from your backseat detailing either or both of these topics. Mind numbing doesn't even begin to describe it.

I figured when preparing for Easter that maybe discussing the upcoming Halloween and Christmas gifting seasons is a tad early. But just a tad. I declared many years ago that I will not entertain any discussions concerning Halloween until September. None. Zilch, nada. And I cannot accept any Christmas lists or magazines marked up for my reference until AFTER Halloween. One holiday at a time dammit!

We got the Halloween costume completed several days ago (a major feat for my procrastinating ass) and guess what was handed to me last night? A lego magazine marked up all of the fabulous Bionicles he wants for Christmas. I DON'T EVEN HAVE *MY* COSTUME FIGURED OUT!!!! We cannot have this conversation. Well, there wasn't a conversation at all - it was not so slyly slipped under my book. hint hint hint

Well the joke is on HIM! He's getting underwear for Christmas, so there!

Friday, October 30, 2009


I have circle of friends who gather every time a beauty pageant airs on TV. They wear their tiaras and feather boas and share platters and bowls of fattening food and, most importantly, pitchers of margaritas. Then they pick the contestants apart and squeal with laughter.

How rare they would land such a flub as the little girl from South Carolina wanting to get maps into the hands of the kids in South Africa!

But what do you do when your very own daughter announces she wants to enter a pageant? Of course you ooze supportive sentiments and keep your doubts hushed up and quiet. I mean how can she compete against girls who have had years and years of experience of toddling around with vaseline on their teeth and duct tape on their boobs?

That was exactly the situation when my daughter proclaimed that she wanted to run for Miss Missouri. It came with a hefty entry fee that she managed to scrounge up through various sponsorships. A friend offered her a fabulous dress for competition and she mustered enough tanning bed trips to hide her lily white skin.

I sat in the audience that night, holding hands with my mother in a white knuckle clutch. We were in awe of actually being at a real beauty pageant. She and I had spent many years bonding over Pageant shows, not laughing at the contestants like my friends, but genuinely admiring the dresses and hairdos. And here we were at one live, with one of the contestants our own flesh and blood.

When she came down the stage stairs in an elegant glide, not tripping or stumbling like I would do, suddenly my eyes started streaming in nothing but pride. She was so beautiful, so graceful. We were sure she was well placed to actually win. It was devastating when her name wasn't called as a finalist, but she bounded out afterwards, tired but not dejected. It was a glorious experience, she said, and she landed a meaty scholarship to a school where she later found her calling.

Pageants come in many forms, not all of them for beauty queens. Amanda also ran for Miss Missouri for her favorite organization, Job's Daughters. This was more about her participation and knowledge of the organization as the winner would spend the next year promoting the group. This time she did place among the finalists, but no title. She came out of this one more dejected because she could really see herself winning. Just the same though, she came out with the most trophies and a killer smile.

Pageants can offer so much more than a tiara and title. Some come with scholarships, but they all offer an experience. A wise woman will take it for what it's worth and add it to her life resumé. Our job as parents is to clap like crazy and urge her on - neither of which is too difficult.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Great Pumpkin

So we're watching the classic Peanuts, The Great Pumpkin. My kids never got the glory of these old cartoons, the ones we middle agers continue to insist on watching with the same intensity as we did thirty years ago. I still moan when I miss the old Rudolph cartoons and my kids look at me cross-eyed.

I'm pretty sure a PowerRanger Reunion, a Pokemon Christmas Special, or something from the 1990's will make a come back in another 20 years and my kids will be all agog over it. The payback will be the dismayed look on my grandchildren's faces wondering what hokie crap is that? With any luck I can lure the little ones to the glory that is Snoopy and Rudolph and Frosty The Snowman while their delusional parents pant over the Japanese influence that ruined the cartoon world. Yes, that is a political stand - I do not like the new animation. Of all things I could possibly say, well... it looks... fake.

Oh well. Last night I pulled out an extra blanket for the bed, a twin sized one to cover me since my partner in crime is a walking furnace. It was covered in a faint print of Ariel, The Little Mermaid. A deep sigh, remembering this to be the prized blanket of a little girl decked out in Little Mermaid paraphernalia from head to toe. The child who watched the VCR tape a million times before I finally viewed it from beginning to end in one sitting. That was a little surreal, being able to quote a movie I was watching for the first time. Maybe this will be the treasured cartoon of one of my children?

Things come and go, trends fade away. But we fiercely cling onto those happy remnants of our childhood. We try to share their glory, but the retelling is never as good as the actual experience. So the memory lingers in our mind and we are sad that another generation will never understand sympathizing for broken toys on a stray iceberg or the sheer anticipation of the song "Kiss The Girl".

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pink Eye

My kids are past the pink eye days, but lo and behold I've managed to get the nasty disease. It's forced me to take off work (yes that IS the cause of tears streaming down my face, not the infection... riiiiight). I don't miss having sick kids, but I do somewhat miss having random days off because of sick kids - you know what I'm talking about, right?

It took me a while to figure out the source of the contagion, but sometime this morning I recalled using a computer at the library on Saturday and touching my face. I know better. I work on computers for a living and just last week pleaded at the monthly staff meeting for my coworkers to wipe down their laptops with antiseptic wipes because when they get sick *I* get sick. Total self preservation there. After using a public computer I should have gone directly into the restroom and washed my hands. But I didn't and I'm pretty sure I wiped something off my face. After touching my face I always manage to remember my mother admonishing me when she showed up at my job at Taco Bell twenty odd years ago, you know in that screwed up way that mothers do just to embarrass you, and her pointing out that I touch my face a lot. I can't remember this motherly advice/observation/social embarrassment BEFORE I touch my face. No, always after. And thus, I infect myself with something crusty and gross in my eye. Lovely.

As I lay on the couch I think of sick days from school. It's mandatory that sick days are spent on the couch. Well I assume such for the entire world, but maybe it's just my family. You're really super sick if you can't even get out of bed. My ever so helpful mother would leave a pot and a wooden spoon to serve as bell if the invalid needed anything. In retrospect I'm sure my mother intentionally never obtained a real bell because she would be forced to do bodily harm to the first of us miscreants to ring it out of pure amusement... or need... whichever.

Since none of us had acquired the taste for tea, she would make jello and make us drink it hot. In case you have never had the pleasure, it is sweet. Too sweet. And when you vomit, it adds unnecessary color. I'm sure that last detail was also unnecessary, but the world needs to know. In case. Drink your tea and be glad of it!

With my own sickly children, they also got to drive the couch, but no banging device as everyone is right there anyway. A few times I even made the evil hot jello for them, but they fortunately LIKE tea and quickly opted out of grandma's tonic, waiting, instead, for it to set up and eat it like proper American children. I do insist that my kids drink orange juice when they are sick. They choke it down like troopers and pretty much avoid the stuff the rest of the time. I swear by it.

As I talk to friends and coworkers, I discover that not everyone is privy to the restorative powers of driving the couch, watching Scooby-Doo, eating jello and sipping orange juice. They were forced to stay in bed and drink broth, or worse, tough it out and go to school/work.

So what was the sick day options when you were growing up, and what do you offer to your own children?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

School Pictures

By now most of the kids across the country have had their school pictures taken. And so we wait for the outcome. Will they even be presentable to share with family or do we need retakes? Personally I block out that pictures are even due to come in and am totally surprised when the kids pull them out of the backpacks.

Of course with my bouts of A.D.D. having me forget that picture day is even coming up in the first place, I remember about three hours after the kids left for school that I should have given them the once-over before letting them out the door. It was several years after the fact that we noticed that my son, Keith, wore the same version of shirt THREE years in a row. Granted it wasn't the same exact shirt, but it does leave one with the thought that he's a huge St. Louis Blues fan.

Then there are the pictures the kids HATE. My daughter, Amanda, detests that she's missing teeth in this picture. Personally I adore it.

What do you do about pictures where the kid refuses to smile? Again, I find these priceless - these are me in first grade and Ian in Kindergarten.

And then finally the one that elicits commentary from the grandparent gallery, "you really should see if they can touch that up" Come on, she got a hold of stamper. It captures the time in the child's life when stamps and stickers MEANT something. Again, I find it priceless - my mom, not so much

So what treasured school pictures are in your stash? Any crossed eyes or tongues sticking out? Stray hair or food dribbles?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Crazy Kids

My mother has a load of stories about my youngest brother with some really off the wall "stunts."

When my brother was learning to walk he did the strangest bear crawl with both hands and feet on the floor as well as his HEAD! And it left a lovely rug burn on his forehead that caused strangers to ask about his accident - no accident, just a dumb crawling position. He had a respiratory problem since birth requiring that mom to be vigilant about keeping his airways clear. One night she was cleaning out his nose and started pulling out goopy green gunk, thicker than anything she had ever seen before. She took him to the doctor the next day who was also stumped by the strange substance coming out of the child's nose. It turns out that my brother had dismantled a green sponge and shoved it's bits and pieces up his nose! He was the one as a teenager who thought it would be fun to ride his bicycle off a store loading dock... and breaking his arm in the process.

Likewise, my youngest son carries a unique resume. He has been caught holding a wiffle ball bat in proper form in front of the Christmas Tree. He stood in front of my lit three wick candle, singing Happy Birthday... of course he blew out the flames. One day while on the phone with a friend, Ian was investigating the new entertainment center and managed to get his body stuck inside one of the cabinets. He has dropped pennies into a fax machine and cottonballs in a VCR.

One Christmas I was standing in the basement, jolted by a crashing sound sending me flying up the stairs to find the two older children standing on the couch, flatted against the wall with eyes wide as saucers. On the floor in front of them was the Christmas Tree splattered on the ground and two little feet decked out in TellyTubby slippers sticking out like the Wicked Witch under Dorothy's house. None of the children have ever been able to explain exactly how the tree came to land on top of Ian. A couple ornaments were lost in the great Christmas Tree crash, as well as the tree stand. After sweeping up the mess, we left the decorated tree in the prone position until we were able to package it all up the next day. My youngest, not daunted by a killer tree, was later found at the base of the tree, turning the broken stand as if it were a steering wheel. *sigh*

There has to be something about youngest children, or is it youngest sons, that manage the most off-the-wall stunts. I mean if it were the first child doing these things, she would be an only child, right?

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I'm not an expert, just a survivor. I don't promise solutions or even advice (although I do love to dole it out), but a place to find someone else who will say "hey, I've done that too!" or "I've been there". Knowing you're not alone in this crazy journey of parenting is sometimes just enough.

I have three children - a daughter 21, a son 20 and another son 12. I am in the midst of round three of puberty (his voice is changing and he spends countless hours in front of the mirror willing his mustache to grow - when he can sprout something thicker than the women in the family then he can brag) and two college students muddling through the beginning of adulthood and it's various and not-so-fun dilemmas.

I thought I would start my first post wondering about crazy stunts kids pull. A messageboard friend lamented just a few days ago about her toddler dashing out of sight only to be found several frantic moments later gleefully sitting in the bathtub.

Ah yes, the climbing years! I remember them so fondly. Fortunately I had only a few climbing episodes with my kids. I've heard horror stories of little ones sitting on garages, stranded in trees and hiding in kitchen cabinets. My middle child had a thing for the bathroom sink.

So here is child #2 after climbing up on the toilet and into the sink on two different occasions in two different houses...
One teeters between dashing in there and scooping him up before he topples over or grabbing the camera for posterity. Clearly I had my priorities in order as I opted for the camera over child safety.

So what are your climbing stories? What odd and unsuspecting places have you found your children?