Friday, September 29, 2006

Haven't You Always Wanted a Monkey?

Sign on a church on the way to A's school: "Happy 48th Birthday, Messiah!" I'm trying to think of a funny comeback but the only thing I could think was that it would be funny if I was driving with one of my Jewish friends and they said, "Wait a minute, didn't your Messiah die at 33?" That would've been funny.

Big Sister and Big Niece along with Grand-Nephew Who's 1 Year Old This Week are coming into town today. I got on the computer to see when they were arriving and half an hour later, I still don't know and I still need a shower. So, see ya later.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Star in Our Midst

Here's A. dressed up, he reports, as "A Famous Movie Star."

I'm guessing the star is in costume here, perhaps as a donut-machine repairman.

After I took the picture, he asked, "But did you get the bracelet? Are you sure you got the bracelet?"

The accessories do make the outfit.

And, just to share the cuteness....

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Hold On To Your Ball

Middle Sister (and her DH) is in a local production of Footloose, which I went to with my Dad last week. I discovered that the line I always sang as, "Now take ahold and pull..." is actually "Now take ahold of your soul..."

However, I 'm not sure what's really correct, because when I looked up the lyrics, every result on the first page of the blingo results reported the line to be "Now take ahold of your ball...." I think taking ahold and pulling makes more sense than that.

It also appears that while I was singing "C'mon the four-ring track," Kenny Loggins was singing "C'mon before we crack." Ah.

And is it, "Oh, Milo..." or "Oh, My Lord..."?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Why I Scrapbook

I get some flack for my scrapbooking obsession. I’ve almost always got my camera with me and I scrap almost everything that happens. If I don’t scrap it, I blog it. Documenting our lives is a priority for me.

My dad was here for a couple days this week. He’s in his mid-80’s. You know how some older people tell lots of stories, over and over? He’s not one of them. I asked him lots of leading questions and got pretty much one-word answers back. He’s not rude or unfriendly, he just doesn’t seem to have much to say.

Ignoring my arm-waving and silent “NO!”, G. tried to get him to talk by asking him what I was like as a little girl. My dad told him that I did lots of singing and dancing as a kid, and that as the dance teacher’s pet, I would go up on the stage at age four and sing “Shantytown” in front of a whole audience.

G. was, understandably, shocked to hear this. “Really?

I shook my head. “Dad, that wasn’t me. That was Middle Sister,” I reminded him. Middle Sister and I are 12 years apart, so we’re talking whole different decades here.

“Really? I thought that was you.” He said he didn’t remember anything else. Since he was obviously impressed with Middle Sister’s childhood performances, I’ll probably just let him go ahead and think it was me next time. What the hell. He was gone much of my childhood, and was of the generation that provided for their families and left the child-rearing to the women, anyway, so it’s kind of remarkable that he has a memory in there somewhere of any of his children. I’ll take what I can get, even if it’s not about me.

While he was here, my dad was looking at my scrapbooks, and saw one about my head injury. “Brain injury? When did this happen?”

“Just last February. You remember – I fell, hit my head and ended up in the hospital. Almost needed brain surgery.”

“I didn’t know about that!”

“Yes, you did. Oldest Sister told you and you called me in the hospital. You asked if I needed anything.”

He narrowed his eyes as he searched in the archives of his brain, and finally shook his head. “Nope, don’t remember a thing about it.”

The last morning he was here, I asked him what my mom was like when she was a young woman. “Oh, just a typical college co-ed, I guess.” I waited, but that was all he had to say.

My mom died when I was 21, and we had what could charitably be called a complicated relationship, or uncharitably I suppose I could just say that she was crazy.
The few times that she and I managed to communicate with each other, the subjects of my childhood and what kind of little kid I was did not come up. My sister told me recently that she thinks my mom might have had PPD after I was born: “I don’t know; I just remember having to take care of you a lot.” At 19 years old, I’m sure taking care of her infant sister wasn’t exactly what she wanted to be doing, although she’s always been very nice about it.

So I never had very much information about my childhood, and in the last few days I realized that now I’ll never have it. I don’t know what my favorite toys were. I don’t know what I liked to do or what my favorite foods were. I don’t know what my first word was, when I got teeth or when I walked. I don’t know what kinds of activities I enjoyed. I know almost nothing about myself or my life before the age of six. My sisters were 12 and 19 when I was born, and they remember some stuff, but didn’t realize it was up to them to keep a baby book for me.

G.’s parents, on the other hand, are younger (and alive, which helps) and still know all that information. I know he walked at 16 months and his first sentence was, “There’s no pickle in there,” complaining about his tuna sandwich. He was a great sleeper and slept so much that his mother worried. He was shy but polite (except, I guess, if you made his tuna wrong).

Anyway, that’s why I scrapbook. As teenagers, my boys will probably roll their eyes at the albums upon albums filled with their childhoods, but no matter what happens to me, the stories will be available to them, and they’ll never think I wasn’t paying attention.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Birth of a Soccer Mom

When I told A. that I’d signed him up for soccer, he said, “But I can’t run as fast as the other kids.” Broke my heart. Four years old and he’s already feeling inferior. I know that feeling. I signed him up for a Kidz Love Soccer session because it’s supposed to be noncompetitive and I thought that would be a good way to start out.

Last week I was so nervous. To give some history, I was a very small kid and that equaled “unathletic” to everyone else. This was in the good ol’ sadistic days when the coach would pick two students who then took turns picking teams. I wasn’t always the last, but I was usually pretty close. I also had very bad allergies and was kept inside from March to June, so I never learned team sports. I really wanted to be a tomboy because it seemed they got all the good storylines on TV, but it was hard when I couldn’t go outside.

Anyway, I bought into the whole thing and firmly believed I sucked at sports. But really, I wished I had the confidence to join a pick-up softball game. I played intramural softball in college and I can’t tell you the courage it took for me to not fake an ankle injury and sit every game out.

I didn’t want that for A. He’s small for his age (4.8 percentile! Way to get back on the chart, buddy!). I encouraged him onto the field and told him to have fun. He’s not very daring physically, so I was afraid he’d be intimidated or worse, bullied by bigger kids. G. and I are continually amazed at our outgoing children, though. He ran out there and got in line without hesitating. He listened to a little girl tell the coach about her boo-boo, so he raised his hand and informed the coach that he had a cold. The coach expressed his sympathies appropriately. The coach has shaggy hair that hangs halfway down his face and a goatee and a certification from Kidz Love Soccer that he knows how to teach in a “nurturing” way.

These are 3-4 year-olds, so the range of attention varies greatly. A. is one of the quicker ones, so he picked up the directions quickly, which gave him some confidence. They played tail tag, where each kid sticks a jersey (what do you call those vest things players wear over their clothes to designate teams in scrimmage?) in their shorts and then run around trying to get each others’ tails. The assistant coach was careful to point out that hanging on to your tail if someone grabs it is not allowed. If someone grabs it, you let them have it.

So A. ran around, grabbed people’s tails, giggling the whole time. But here’s the part that made my eyes well up: a couple bratty girls (i.e. cheaters) hung on to their tails and wouldn’t let him take it if he grabbed it. He looked at them like, OK, whatever, and turned right around and went after someone else without taking a second glance. He didn’t cry, he didn’t fight them, he didn’t cry foul and most importantly, he didn’t give up. He just kept on going, giggling and trying other tails. God, I was proud of him.

Tonight they played tail tag again, and if I do say so myself, he was one of the most successful. Now, this group includes several kids who didn’t get the game and just stood there, so it’s not like he had a whole lot of competition. Still, I was so proud of him for getting in there and playing instead of hanging around the edge.

They also played firefighters, where they ran around kicking the ball to knock over orange cones. He did fine at that, too. He’s not the biggest or the best, but he’s right there in the middle and I can tell he’s so excited to be successful.

Tonight he came off the field at the end of the lesson, accepted a hug and my profound admiration, a sip of water, and headed back onto the completely empty field.

“Honey, where are you going?”

“I’m going to play soccer.”

“Dude, it’s over. Time to go home!”

(looking horrified) “No! It’s not!”

“Yeah, honey, it is. Ask the coach.”

So he trots over to Hippie Coach and asks, “Can I play soccer?”

Hippie Coach of course thinks he’s looking for reassurance and gives him a cheery, “Sure! You can play soccer!” I say, “No no no no…he’s asking if it’s all over….tell him you’ll see him next week”

Hippie Coach looks at me like, “Hey, I just need to get home.”

A. trots back onto the field.

“Honey, seriously. It’s over. Look around. Everyone else is going home.”

Then he gets that look…that look that means his head is about to explode. His face gets super red, tears start flowing and yep, here come the wails. He was sooo upset

Poor guy. He’s just so excited about doing something physical well. Or if not well, just not horribly. I cannot tell you how proud I am.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Brain Drain

Lots of stuff to talk about, but no real brain cells to dedicate to making a coherent post. So I'll give the highlights and continue to work on the coherency.

1. One of my layouts is getting published in Simple Scrapbooks' Digital Scrapbooking #6. I'd decided I wasn't going to submit anymore (not that I did that much anyway) because getting rejected takes some of the fun out of it. I had some digital layouts I liked so I sent them in, and one's getting published. It'll be out in mid-December, I think.

2. A. had his first tot soccer-lesson on Tuesday, and he was absolutely average. It was wonderful. I was so proud I thought I'd burst. He loved it and didn't want it to end. Writing about why that was so fantastic is a post I'm working on.

3. The birthday party went well. Painting the wooden cars was a hit, and there was a ton of food left over. I always have too much food. A. had a great time.

4. He is finally sleeping in his big-boy bed. He loved his crib, so we let him sleep in it for a really long time. We bought a new mattress last week and it sat in the extra room for several days before A. agreed to sleep in it. He did well last night, but tonight was tough because he napped this afternoon and didn't fall asleep until about 10pm.

"Mama, I have to tell you something. What are you watching on TV?"
"Mama, it's too dark in there."
"Mama, I heard something and it wasn't my book."
"Mama, Ben cried a little bit."
"Mama, it's kind of scary in there."
"Mama, how can I do this? How can I fall asleep?"

I believe he is finally asleep. Ben moved into A.'s room (the "nursery") but refuses to sleep in the crib and was REALLY pissed off when I put him in there, so we moved the pack 'n play in there. Maybe once he's used to the room, he'll sleep in the crib.

5. Ben is in the toddler stage of throwing everything in the garbage. So far he's tried to trash his father's socks, both his cup of milk and A.'s, and several train engines. And that's just the stuff we caught.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


What really got to me in the days following 9/11/01 was the footage of families carrying around posters of their lost loved ones, hoping someone would recognize the face and give them good news. You knew the families had poured over familiar photographs of their missing person, picking not necessarily their favorite photo, but the one that stood the best chance of being recognized.

"Which one looks most like George? No, he's not usually that dressed up. Use this one - where he's in his work clothes." The anguish on the faces of these ordinary people always made me cry even when I thought I was numb. Each one of these people had a family, loved and was loved by someone.

Project 2996 assigned bloggers individual victims of 9/11 and each blogger, including Middle Sister, researched their person and wrote a tribute to them. The main site was inaccessible yesterday, but today you can see the master list. They're all very touching. Check this one out - two kids named their backyard treehouse for their guy so he could "always be close to the deer."

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Forget June 21st

I'm pretty sure the day of your child's birthday party is the longest day of the year.

Yes, we did favor bags. I succumbed to peer pressure.

Excuse me while I go collapse.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Other Ways I'm Getting Old

Please tell me you can't hear these either: Stealth Ringtones

It's possible that it's because I'm unfamiliar with them - Jay Jay and his crew are only on on early weekend mornings here, so I've only seen them while it's still dark out and I'm still groggy. But something about their fleshy faces being sucked onto the fronts of planes really creeps me out. Thanks to Corndog for reminding me.

A. turned 4 on Wednesday. We didn't make a big deal out of it because his party's not until Sunday. He told me yesterday, "Mama, what my body really wants is to open another present."

Unfortunately, I woke up this morning with a cold and thought, "No. No no no no, I can't be sick. We're having 10 kids and their parents over on Sunday. I cannot be sick." Guess what? I'm sick. In fact, it's not even 8:30pm and I'm going to bed. G'nite.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Oy, We'll Miss Ya, Mate

My least-favorite son woke me up at 5:10 am today. I don't make coffee that early because once G. gets up about 3 hours later, I want to go back to sleep immediately. So I'm pretty bleary-eyed first thing in the morning. I logged on to the internet and saw "Steve Irwin killed at 44," in the headlines, and my first thought was that it was joke. I did a quick calendar in my head, realized it wasn't April 1, which took me a while that early in the morning, and thought, "could this be true??"

Alas, it is. In 2002, while I was pregnant with A., G. and I went to one of our last childless movies together - we chose the "Crocodile Hunter." Yes, I actually saw that one in a movie theater. The other one we saw during that time was "In the Bedroom," which was a big mistake to see when I was pregnant with my first child. We're not great at picking out movies. (We also didn't think there was a future for cell phones that take a picture and that text messaging was stupid and would never catch on.)

Anyway, we were big Croc Hunter fans. Yeah, I know he dangled his baby in front of a crocodile, but no one ever said he was particularly bright. He was funny and enthusiastic and I will miss watching him. I'm also really glad he didn't get killed by a crocodile.

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