Monday, July 28, 2008

The Gaping Black Hole of Need...

...a/k/a my children.

The best thing about our vacation was that the boys followed their cousins around and were kept busy pretending to be 8-year-olds. They were introduced to the Disney channel and now know the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana. I barely saw them. It was awesome.

Within half an hour of their cousin's departure, they were at each other's necks again and it was impossible to ignore them. Lacking the cousins to occupy them, they had to turn to each other, and that rarely ends well. They were wrestling, Ben was squealing in that ear-piercing way of his and G and I instantly had high blood pressure again. It sucked.

I'm finding it very depressing to be off vacation. I hate being annoyed by my children, but since we've been back it seems that I'm always inwardly sneering at them. I know it's me, not them, and yet I can't seem to turn it off. Sometimes I seriously want to pinch them or slap them, just because they're getting so on my nerves. It scares me. I'm able to control myself physically, but my words and my intonations are getting away from me.

I'm surprised and horrified by the bitchiness coming out of my mouth. This morning we made bathtub fingerpaints with dish soap, cornstarch and food coloring. Despite my warnings that this soap was different than the soap they were used to and would sting their eyes if it got near them, A. put the bubbles all over his face and in his hair, and of course, in his eyes. He was screaming as I quickly rinsed him off, tried to get him to stop rubbing his eyes with his soapy hands ("You're making it worse!" I yelled), and, as is so often the case lately, I was irrationally furious.

I had to rinse A. off with the shower, which made the bubbles in the tub multiply, and so then Ben started screaming, "Aaaaaugh! Too many bubbles! Mama! Too many bubbles! Make it stop!" like the Bubble Monster was coming to get him. I told Ben to chill out (which as you know always works immediately). I lifted A. out and then rinsed Ben off and wrapped both up in a towel, and then I said to A., "Well. I guess next time I tell you to keep the soap out of your eyes, you'll LISTEN to me, huh?"

Actually, I didn't say that, I sneered it. Although those were the words that came out of my mouth, what it sounded like was, "You stupid kid. It's all your fault and I am so disgusted with you."

Then I thought, "Jesus Christ. Chill out. He's 5 years old. You give him so many directions he can't remember them all, and he's not going to be able to stop himself from rubbing his eyes. He can't think that through. He feels bad enough as it is."

Actually, I didn't think that, I thought, "Jesus Christ. Listen to what a bitch you're being. Chill the fuck out."

It seems like I've been like that alot lately. It's awful and it needs to stop before my children start to hate me. Or worse, fear me. Right now they just kind of look at me like, Whatever. My tone of voice doesn't seem to phase them, but consequences do, which I KNOW because I'm a freakin' "Parenting Expert" and I say that with full-on air quotes....but I also know that over time, tone of voice comes right back to bite you in the ass, either in the form of kid's bad attitudes or the kid's low self-esteem. Sounding like you're always so irritated and frustrated with your child isn't good for them. Duh.

I've always sort of laughed at the gaping black hole of need they sometimes are because, Jesus, kids ARE awfully needy, aren't they? But it's threatening to overwhelm me right now and I need to get a handle on this quickly.

Maybe this is God's way of telling me to absolutely forget the idea of having a third?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Go Me

Guess what I just discovered?

Beej nominated me for a couple of awards, including Hottest Mommy Blogger:

My site was nominated for Hottest Mommy Blogger!

My site was nominated for Best Parenting Blog!

My site was nominated for Best Blog of All Time!
Thanks, Beej! I'm so flattered, although I think at the moment "Best Charity Blog" might be more fitting.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Blame G's Genes

So I, like many kids, took swim lessons every summer in the neighborhood pool. I proudly progressed from polywog to intermediate to advanced, and earned my "G" badge which meant I could go to the pool alone. I loved swimming and hanging out at the pool in the summer. I was never a fabulous swimmer, but I was comfortable in the water and could get from one place to another.

G was forced into swimming as a kid at PlayHaven (which he refers to as PlayHell) and has never quite gotten over it. He took private lessons again at the Y as a teen and actually learned to swim, but it's never been the quintessential summer activity for him that it was for me.

For the last two summers, we've dutifully gone to the municipal pool in the mornings, A. has gone off with the Tiny Tots and been carried around the pool by teenage instructors, and I've done the Mommy-and-Me thing with Benjamin.

This was the big summer where Ben could finally join A. in the Tiny Tots program and I could stay dry. That was the plan, and it worked for the first day, except Ben cried almost the whole time, and A. started out brave and then cried when his instructor told him to put his face in the water. So I sat there on the sidelines watching them cry and thinking, "It's cool. They'll get over it." There's always one kid who cries the whole time, right? I just happen to have two of them.

A. did these exact same swim lessons for the last two years with no problem whatsoever. All of a sudden he's terrified? Give him a few days to get used to it and he'll be fine.

So the next day, I got their swim suits out and they start screaming. "No! No! I don't want to! Please!" I sat there staring at them, like, "You've got to be kidding me. All you do is hang on the wall and get carried around the pool one at a time." But they were not having it. And I know from experience that when they're getting that hysterical, it's going to be a bad scene if I force it.

I feel really strongly about learning to swim - it's a safety thing, for heaven's sake. Don't they get that? A. doesn't - when I told him that the next year when he was finally six, he could move up to the next level and learn strokes, he asked, "But will I drown first?"

"Noooo....that's kind of the point."

So we made a deal that they would try it again today, and I'd get in the pool with them. It was Bernadette and me...Bernadette took the other two kids in the group (who, I was told, cried at the beginning and now happily dunked their heads under water), I took my two kids and we dragged them around and practiced kicking. Awesome, I'm paying for swim lessons and here I am doing it all myself. We played Ring Around the Rosie. Bernadette dunked her charges, I did not. Bernadette, you don't have to live with the PTSD that would come if I dunk them against their will, so don't look at me with all that disapproval.

But the best part came when we got out of the big pool and went into the little kid's pool for the last few minutes of class. I took Ben's hand and stepped in. Except - the little kid's pool wasn't about 6 inches deep, as I'd expected. I mean, it was about 6 inches deep on the OTHER end, the end we'd been in earlier. It was more like 2.5 feet deep on the end I was stepping into - I didn't realize the bottom sloped down quite that much from super-shallow to almost 3 feet. 2.5 feet is half of my height, so you can imagine what happened - I went tumbling into the pool, and took my 3-year-old down with me. Excellent. We both went completely under.

I felt Ben fall in on top of me, so I immediately righted myself, grabbed him and set him up on the side of the pool. It happened so fast that he was sputtering and surprised, but fine. The lifeguard AND the head swimming coach were there quickly, asking if we were OK. I'm surprised we didn't land on any tots and take them under too. That would've given all the dry parents on the sidelines (Grrrrr...I should've been one of them) a better show. A. watched the whole thing and then carefully climbed in himself. He was like, "You scare me."

It was awesome. I think we're skipping the rest of the session and I'm sure the instructors will be relieved. Maybe we'll try private lessons next year.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Weird Chick with the Floating-Eyes-Coffee-Cup

So I didn't do BlogHer entirely alone. I promised I'd bring a photo of Kelley with me since she couldn't make it in person from Australia. I made a tumbler insert with her eyes on it for my coffee cup, and to prove it, here are the pictures.

On our way. Safety first!

Kelley got some financial advice from the Intuit makeover "spa":

Lunch. Kelley doesn't eat much, so we shared a "North Beach" sandwich:

At 5pm, you could have a healthy break with Boca Burgers:

But we opted for the full-size candy bars instead. I had to eat two Milky Ways, because Kelley likes chocolate (I think. I don't really know. But I like chocolate quite a bit):

I wish I'd gotten one with the Michelin Man. MM was looking like he could use some company, too. But I was feeling very weirdly shy yesterday. Guess I picked the wrong day to give up sniffing airplane glue.

Here are few more pics in the Sesame Street suite. This was Grover. At first, I thought the puppeteer was blind because it looked like he was keeping his eyes closed. I thought, "Oh, that's kind of cool. The voice of Grover is blind!" kind of like, "Hey, the voice of Elmo is a black guy!"

But then I realized he was just watching the whole thing on a monitor at his feet.

And here's Abby Cadaby, with her puppeteer, the blonde pigtailed woman. The visitor was making a video where Abby was talking to her about her kids, and a friend was shooting it with a video. I kind of wanted to do that too, but didn't have anyone to hold the camera. :::sniff sniff::::[/pity party]

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Random Thoughts on BlogHer08

I am so very intimidated. These are people who twitter from their cell phones, right next to me. And something called tweeting, which, but I'm not sure, might be related to twittering.

Dooce is really tall. I was within spitting distance of her, but I didn't think she'd appreciate my spit. I thought about asking for a picture of perhaps the tallest woman with the shortest woman (me), but I was too shy. I think I literally came up to her waist.

Lots of people want to make money off their blogs. Quite a few already do. For some reason this depresses me.

Several people have had bad things happen to them because of issues or people they talked about on their blogs. This also depresses me.

No one knows me. I know no one. This depresses me too, although since I remain largely anonymous, can't really be helped.

I'm fighting a migraine, which really bums me out and makes me not terribly approachable or socially outgoing.

It wasn't all depressing. They gave out candy bars at 5pm, I made it my mission to get as much free stuff as possible and did fairly well, although I missed the gorillapods. Sigh. I did pick up a full container of Method olive oil body wash at the recycling station. Score! Totally made up for the $31 parking fee.

I saw the real (so to speak) Grover and Abby Cadaby in the Sesame Street Suite. I was sad that the boys weren't with me and I missed them. I also saw several mothers with infants and missed my infants, who are not infants any more.

I also saw the Michelin Man. He looks just like his picture, and I suspect he's not a man.

The lady at the Intuit financial makeover place looked lonely. Looking at their materials, I was encouraged to ask her a question about my business, so I asked her, "How do I make more money in less time?" She laughed, but didn't have an answer. I suppose if I'd asked her a question she could answer, I would've gotten a pair of the fuzzy slippers they had stacked up under the table.

I saw the HP guy give a chick a t-shirt from behind the table, so I went up and started talking to him about his touch screen, just so I could get a t-shirt. too. It felt slightly dirty. Not the t-shirt, which I'm wearing right now, but the behavior. It was a cool screen, though. Sold me, if I had the money.

There was a fashion show on Union Square, and I got to the plaza above the parking garage early enough to see the models show up for a walk-through. They were quite tall and insanely skinny, and I thought, how absurd is it that we pick that kind of body type to display clothing so we can sell clothing to lots of people, when no one I know looks like that naturally.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ack! Need Help!

So I'm heading to BlogHer tomorrow, and I just read the tips for newcomers. One thing I saw echoed several times was, "Have an answer to the question, 'What's your blog about?'"

Help! What's my blog about?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Coming Soon...

What I Did on My Summer Vacation (with visual aids).

But for now, while I get my photos uploaded, remember this:

Never, ever, poke your head into the doorway of a parenting class just because you're curious. Especially at your kid's Bible Camp. God will take the opportunity to punish you for not going to church more often, and before you know it, you'll be turning "Me" statements into "We" statements with the only other people in the room: the Reverend and the elderly parents of the assistant vicar.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Today we're heading from Portland to Sunriver, OR until next week. See the snow pictures? It won't look like that.

I'm pretty sure we won't have internet access.

Try not to do anything interesting until I get back, 'kay?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


We're climbing into the car this morning with the kids and driving north for about 12 hours until we pass out at my sister's house.

I've got:

pb&j sandwiches
turkey sandwiches
plain turkey in case the kids don't want sandwiches
cheese sticks
grapes and strawberries
cereal bars
power bars
cheese crackers
trail mix
diet coke


new kid's music
kid's books on cd
movies and a dvd player
tv shows on my iPod
new coloring books
lots of crayons
new WALL-E book

My children will repay my efforts by not complaining the whole way, right?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Canopy of Blessings

So when G and I were planning our wedding, which was eight years ago tomorrow, I had this great idea.

While dating, we had been to a Winter Solstice celebration where there was this bamboo canopy thing, like this chuppa without the cloth, and smaller.

Everyone wrote their wishes for the coming year on slips of paper and then attached them to the canopy with pipe cleaners. The whole thing was set over a small table of votive candles, which made the papers flutter slightly and was really pretty.

So my brilliant idea was that we would have our wedding guests write their wishes for us on slips of paper and tie them to the canopy as they arrived. Then, at the end of the ceremony, we'd get four friends to carry the canopy up to the stage (we were married outside) and actually be pronounced married while underneath the canopy of blessings. I envisioned a moment where we'd be silent and take in all the blessings from our friends and family.

We asked the guy who ran the Solstice celebration to come and bring his bamboo canopy. He was also supposed to lead the gathering in some sacred chants to set the mood, and he was supposed to bring a big tapestry for the stage. We are, in fact, quite the groovy-ritual planning pair.

Except Groovy Dude forgot to come. You know how those groovy types can be. Turns out he was making loads of money filming a car commercial that weekend.

Fortunately, my ever-resourceful oldest sister was in charge of coordinating the day, and grabbed the decorated shoebox for guests to put their cards in, emptied it, stuffed the blessings in it, and set it on the corner of the (bare) stage. The priest improvised and had a moment were we all stared at the shoebox.

So instead of a canopy of blessings, we had a shoebox of blessings.

And we spent two nights at the Hilton Waikoloa with the money we would have used to pay Groovy Guy.

Anyway, last night I came home to the blessings of eight years ago strung up in the family room. We had fun reading them to the boys. (G. actually strung them up on our first anniversary, too.) Some are funny, some are unsigned and anonymous, all are sweet.

You know, I still think it was a good idea. And we still have all these really cool wishes from people who love us. And we had a great time at the Hilton.

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