You’re Barfing Up the Wrong Tree….


Sorry I’ve been so hit and miss lately.  On top of the typical holiday madness, Felix had his tube and adenoids surgery last week.  I was whipped into a horrific frenzy for days only to have it be the easiest thing in the world.  You know, it’s one of those things where you feel like an ass for getting all worked up over nothing.  Regardless, I’m glad it’s over with.

The Dude the morning after his procedure, preparing for the imminent junk-food binge.

The Dude the afternoon after his procedure, preparing for the imminent junk-food binge.

This past weekend was action-packed.  Saturday was a kid’s party and a parade, Sunday was free time with daddy (while I went to a cupcake and toy exchange) followed by lunch and an outing to a local plantation, where we missed the scheduled Xmas event but still got to run around outside a lot.  In the heat.  After eating crap all weekend.

Rolling around in front of  the plantation house, jostling their little bellies full of crappy food.

Rolling around in front of the plantation house, jostling their little bellies full of crappy food.

So both kids were overwrought and uber-tired.  No surprise.  Will put Felix down in record time (under 3 minutes) and I was in charge of Stella.  She had been complaining about being too tired for 2 hours.  She ate a bit of a snack (crackers), and we adjourned to the bathroom to potty and brush teeth before reading her nightly stories.  She sat on the commode, made a brief comment about being sick, before barfing all over herself and the bathmat.  It was Technicolor. I mean, this was impressive vomit.  Obviously the confetti cupcake, lemonade, French fries, Xmas candy, and Cheez-its on top of an afternoon of jostling in the sun wasn’t a good mix.  She wasn’t too happy about it.  Neither was I.  She had one more very minor puke outburst (all over her bed, of course), but that was it.  I really don’t think it’s viral.  I think it was a weekend of crummy junk food on top of too much activity.  I’m not a total food Nazi, but my kids ate pretty poorly the past couple of days.  Mom fail.

She woke up this morning and ran into bed with me and Felix.  I thought she was cold.  Nope.  She had wet the bed in a most extraordinary fashion.  Poor thing.  In the confusion with the puke, I don’t think she ever actually went to the bathroom the night before.  It’s the first time she has ever wet the bed.

I have a mountain of laundry.  I started 2 loads before I even left for work.  She said she felt good this morning and was excited for school, if not a bit lower-energy than usual.

Figures. I finally get the little one well and now the big one is sick (sort of not really).  Fingers crossed we can eat like human beings this week and be healthy and whole for Xmas!

Element, O, P, Q, R…


We recently went to the aquarium with the kids.  I mentioned that in passing during my last post, but then diverted into a rant.  Anyway, it was a wonderful outing.  With the holiday weekend and all, it was largely deserted, so the kids got to look at every critter and we could really take our time.  Stella loved the penguins.  Usually you can barely see any of them since kids and parents are jammed up against the glass 6 deep.

The penguins really were awesome.

The penguins really were awesome.

Since her behavior was so exemplary, I offered to take her to the gift shop to pick out a treat.  Unsurprisingly, she chose a penguin doll.  Also unsurprisingly, she chose one that was ginormous.  Surprisingly, this thing wasn’t that expensive so I acquiesced.  Felix came home with a giant stuffed catfish, which he seems to enjoy.  Anyway.  The penguin has been her friend of choice since we got it.  It travels through the house with her, and would likely go to school and “dahnce” if I would allow it.

The Dude really enjoyed the parakeets in the aviary.  Unfortunately, they didn't sell stuffed parakeets.

The Dude really enjoyed the parakeets in the aviary. Unfortunately, they didn’t sell stuffed parakeets.

As is customary, I asked her A) is the penguin a boy or girl, and B) what would she like to name it.  The penguin is a girl.  Duh.  Her name is….. Element.

I don’t know where my kid gets this stuff.  It’s kind of creepy.  This is the same kid that gives dissertations on the eye, and how the pupil gets big when it’s dark and tiny when it’s bright.  She will enlighten you on contrasting traits of arachnids and insects, and that crickets sing by rubbing their forewings together.  She even made a sculpture at school of “a bug trapped in amber.”  It’s ugly, but what kid does that?!

Anyway.  Back to Element.  This thing is ridiculous, particularly at night.  It’s even  more ridiculous if Element requires an entourage.  I usually put a limit on the entourage to 3, giving a total of 4 friends.  After all, her big girl bed can only hold so many friends.  So Tuesday night, Element required the company of Pete the Cat, Rainbow Dash, and Sammy the Turtle.  What complicates things is that when it’s dark – either before the sun comes up or after it goes down – the floor obviously becomes molten lava.   This requires Stella to leap from couch to table like a mountain goat, or if she must touch the floor, she runs like the wind before launching herself at the closest piece of furniture, no matter who or what might be on it.  It’s like getting slammed in the ribs by a 40 pound missile comprised of muscle and bone adorned with flying blonde hair.  Unpleasant.

Stella and Element enjoying some stinky chips before bed.

Stella and Element enjoying some stinky chips before bed.

The lava floor also means that I have to carry Stella and friends to bed such that their feet don’t get singed.  I tried to scoop up my daughter, Element the morbidly obese penguin, Pete, Rainbow Dash, and Sammy.  It was ridiculous.  I’d have to be Mommy Stretch Armstrong to get my arms around that load.  I started getting the hysterical giggles, as it was just too damn ridiculous.  This caused me to drop Sammy.  That resulted in borderline drama by Stella, nearly waking up Felix and his catfish.

Obviously for future gift shop purchases, I need to implement some sort of TSA-style rules, in which whatever new friend must conform to certain size restrictions.

 

Glob, Rant Me the Serenity


I won’t bore you with the minutiae of our long holiday weekend.  Suffice it to say it was long, there was togetherness, we had snow (no mean feat in Louisiana when it’s in the 70s), we elected NOT to wait in a line that was at least a half mile long adjacent to razor wire (don’t ask), and miraculously, no one ate too much.  We capped it off by a mostly-magnificent trip to the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans.

Note to self: Thanksgiving weekend is a rad time to go to venues like the Aquarium!  Everyone is either travelling, pissed off, hung over, watching football, throwing elbows trying to get good deals, or drinking to overcome all of the above.  The aquarium was deserted.  It was sublime.

Riding home was a bit more eventful.  By this time, everyone else was riding home from wherever their holiday revelry had occurred.  What usually takes about an hour took double-time.  We inched down Interstate 10, jammed bumper to bumper.  Fortunately, both kids racked out.  It was usual interstate bullshit:  you come to a complete stop for about 3 minutes, slowly inch along for about 12 minutes, finally see a stranded vehicle whereby traffic accelerates for about 2 minutes, before you manage to reach speeds of 40 whopping miles per hour before you have to slam on the brakes and repeat the whole cycle.

It was (luckily) during one of the actual moving portions of these cycles that I saw it.  I’ve never seen anything like it before, and it made. My. Blood. Boil.

Warning: as I rant, I get angry again.  This results in more profanity than I usually employ in my blogs.

I want to state for the record: this is not about abortion.  I don’t care what you believe about that.  That’s your personal opinion.   This is not about free speech.  This is about using your fucking head and exercising common decency.

You know those pro-life dipshits that like to print those horrendous macabre picket signs with incredibly graphic photos of aborted fetuses and then stand on public sidewalks screaming at random passers-by, spouting bible verses?  Well picture that disgusting shit on the sides and back of a very large truck, inching along an interstate.  Where there is no escape.  Where CHLDREN ARE SUBJECTED TO THESE AWFUL IMAGES.  Innocent children.  Who don’t know where babies come from, much less that anything that awful could happen to them or anyone else.  My very sensitive 4 year-old daughter was sitting less than 10 feet from this thing, thankfully asleep.  She can read, you  know.  She would have had some pretty strong reactions to this thing had she seen it.

The signs on the sidewalk are one thing.  You can cross the damn street to get away from those fruit-bats (or beat them with their disgusting signs, if that floats your boat and you happen to have an attorney on retainer).  But to roll this filth down the street, where there is no escape, is reprehensible.  And the insanity that the message is all about saving children, when they’re basically assaulting children with images that kids have no business looking at is the height of hypocrisy.

I know that, like the fuckwits from Westboro Baptist Church who think it’s ok to protest soldiers’ funerals, this is about shocking people.  If one would attempt to “discuss” this with them, you’d get a lot of hogwash.  There would be self-righteousness, sneering, and witty repartee such as “would you rather your children see nudity or prostitutes?”  The answer to that is yes: that’s easier to explain.  It’s nowhere near as offensive.

If people want to have an honest, appropriate discussion: that’s one thing.  If I approach these asshats and say “tell me – no, show me – the most awful abortion information you can” is one thing.  But to rub people’s faces in it – when the population you say you care so much about can see it and have nightmares later? It’s moments like that that I hope there is a hell, and that they enjoy the heatwave.

Sorry.  Like I said.  Blood boiling.

 

 

Les Messérables


Things have felt a bit more unmanageable than usual lately.  Sure, some of it is pre-holiday angst.  What gifts are we getting for whom and can we afford it and when can we order/buy said gifts based on our bank account.  Do I have enough stamps to mail all of our cards?  The decorating.  On top of all of that, there just seems to be all of this extra debris that’s clogging up my synapses and making me feel a bit more edgy than usual.  For example:

  • Our white Xmas tree isn’t so white anymore. Sure, it’s been getting a bit yellow-ish despite my best efforts to the contrary, but this year it’s pretty awful.  Will put it outside in our non-climate-controlled storage room, and I think it killed my tree.  It’s not as bad when it’s lit, particularly since I added a bunch of extra lights (required since the top half burnt out several days before Xmas last year).  When it’s not lit, it looks like a pack of Great Danes came in my house and hosed it.  Fortunately, my children insist that it be illuminated every second they’re awake.  I’ve thought about spray-painting it, but it’s pretty ghetto as it is.  This is the end for this tree – its last Xmas.  It had a good run.

    Thanks to the magic of Instagram and fun filters, you can't see that awful color so much.  At least the kids loved it...

    Thanks to the magic of Instagram and fun filters, you can’t see that awful color so much. At least the kids love it…

  • My car is like a travelling landfill despite the fact that at every single red light I gather up handfuls of fruit snack wrappers and cram them into grocery bags. My kids just eat dozens of these things a day and now expect them when we go anywhere at all.  Yeah, that’s my own damn fault.  Add to that the candy cane wrappers and I’m buried in tiny crinkling bits of garbage.
  • Felix needs tubes in his ears. I fought it as long and hard as I could, but we were back at the doc early this week for yet another double ear infection.  He hadn’t even been off of antibiotics a full week.  The poor kid has maybe had 2 weeks total of health in the last 4 months.  We’ve been on every antibiotic – oral, injected, drops – known to modern medicine.  He’s had his ears cultured.    The surgery is on the 10th.  I can’t even think about it without wanting to cry.  I know it’s not a big deal – that tens of thousands of kids get them annually (hell, Will and I both had them) – but this is my little bitty dude we’re talking about…

    The dude is not amused.

    The dude is not amused.

  • With that, he doesn’t sleep so well, obviously. This means I don’t sleep so well, causing me to look and feel worse than usual.  This is also probably why it seems I’ve had the same damn cold for over a month….
  • I missed my family on Tgiving. We went to Oui Oui’s, which was nice, but it’s always hard for me to be so far away from my people on days like that.  But the gumbo was fantastic and my little Cajun offspring ate it for two separate meals.

I’m trying to just buck up and keep my merde together.  We do have lots of fun activities planned for the holiday season.  It’s like Halloween; it’s going to be so much better and more exciting than last year.  I just need to ignore my urine-colored Xmas tree, thoughts of pending surgery, and trashy car and focus on the good stuff.

I Herd It Through the Grapevine


Not to beat the proverbial dead horse, we’re having some unusually cold weather down here.  It’s so unusual that it’s causing parents of young children to do the otherwise unthinkable: dress very very warmly.  We’re talking the whole shebang: coats (duh), long-sleeves, hats, and even gloves/mittens.  It’s just a bit foreign to us.  This past Friday was the first big test; we had our first hard freeze of the night, and the kids’ school had emailed all of us to remind us to send hats and hand protection to school.  Yes, this is necessary for some of us.  It’s just  not something we have piled up ready to go as a rule.

Mornings when I go to the office are always a bit more hectic.  We’re under a much tighter timeline, and I pretty much have everything planned to the minute.  Gloves and hats really F’ed my plan up.  As I struggled to get both of my children properly clothed, I got so bloody irritated and flustered.  Felix wasn’t too bad.  He wears mittens and is generally pretty patient if not wiggly.  Stella wants everything NOW.  She freaks out if I’m helping Felix on with his coat before HERS IS ZIPPED.  AND HER GLOVES NEED TO BE ON NOW, made more frantic and obnoxious since she can’t seem to slow down enough to put one finger in each hole.  She looked like a blasted industrial accident victim.  I was relieved to drop them off that day and am still amazed I wasn’t late for work.

Later that afternoon when I picked them up, I had a moment of sheer admiration towards the staff of their school: every little kid had on coats (zipped or otherwise fastened properly), hats, and mittens or gloves.  The odds are not in their favor.  I don’t know how they do it. There are so many of the little people, so few of them, and so many tiny gloves, hats, and zippers.

The term “herding cats” comes to mind a lot these days.  Whether I’m trying to feed the kids breakfast or dinner and making sure Felix gets one of his endless antibiotics or trying to get them ready to go somewhere, that phrase is appropriate.  But “herding cats” doesn’t even come close to the agony and struggle involved with getting little people dressed for winter.

Gotta loooooove antibiotics!

Gotta loooooove antibiotics!

Stella is unaffected.

Stella is unaffected.

I think this phrase ought to be adjusted.  It’s more “herding cats while preparing a chocolate souffle and riding a unicycle and simultaneously herding a separate herd of cats.”  Bravo, school ladies.  Bravo.  You are stronger, wilier, and more patient than I am!!

 

Put the Peddle to the Metal


Just when you think Facebook can’t become more annoying, it does1.  The political garbage from both sides of the lunatic fringe, the “repost this or this tiny innocent girl will be devoured by bears” nonsense, the Ink Master spoilers (and I’m still so damn furious about that – the spoilers and the outcome.  Come on, Joshua Hibbard!  You had it in the bag!!  And who kicks out a tattoo artist for pot?!  Sex, drugs, and rock and roll….and tattoos.  They’re 4 peas in a pod.  Bad call, SpikeTV.  Bad call.  Sorry.  Got off on a rant there.) – all of that was obnoxious enough.  But now?  Now it’s like an online Tupperware party.

You talented bastard (Thanks, Google, for the photo)

You talented bastard (Thanks, Google, for the photo)

I remember hearing about those as a kid.  Tupperware was the rage, and the neighborhood ladies would all be dragged to these parties to listen to that patented burp, drink some punch, and feel obligated to buy a $10 plastic bowl.

Now with Facebook (and Instagram, to a smaller extent), you can be added – against your will, by your “friends” – to groups that sell things that you don’t want or need.  As if the damn ads weren’t bad enough, your “friends” are now hustling you.

Note: This is very different from the friends, businesses, or groups that I have chosen of my own free will or because of my interest in what they’re selling.  I follow some people that are talented artists in many different fields, and I enjoy seeing what they’re doing.  It’s like Pinterest in real life.  I also know that some people occasionally sell things for extra income or for their kids’ school.  I overlook that as well, since those are both useful endeavors.

If I want eyelashes, picture frames, cheap stackable jewelry, or spray tans, I’ll research it and buy it myself, damn it.  I will not succumb to virtual peer pressure and feel obligated to buy some piece of crap I don’t want or can’t use.  You could at least burp for me.  Geez.

1 And I know.  If it sucks so bad, commit Facebook suicide, right?  It’s tempting.  And one day I just might.

Income Taxi


I had a glimpse of my future last night.  In my mind’s eye, I was thrust into a future where one of my main purposes in life is that of a child conveyance – to school, to karate, to swimming, to dahnce.

Yes, we had our first dahnce lesson last night.  Our girl loved it, of course.  I’m not going to say she’s Ginger Rogers.  She’s not very good at all, at least not yet.  Of course she did swell when she actually paid attention and watched/listened to the instructor.  Mainly, however, last night – to Stella – was about looking like a beautiful ballerina.

Dahncer

Dahncer

Dahncing at home

Dahncing at home

It started rough, as we are having this ridiculous cold spell right now.  (Those of you up north will scoff, but we actually hit freezing last night and yesterday’s temp didn’t clear 50˚. When that happens down here, we start checking for permafrost.)  She was pissed that she couldn’t wear her sleeveless leotard and had to wear the long-sleeved one.  Then, she had to put sweat pants on over her leotard and chiffon skirt.  The final blow was having to wear boots instead of her ballet shoes on the way to class.  Once we actually made it into the room, however, and the pants and boots were off, all was right with the world.  With each little girl that entered, Stella had to enthusiastically admire her garb and loudly point out that they all matched her own.  Basically, the “lesson” was more fashion commentary and tickling than actual dance.  I think the group only danced about 15 minutes.

Recovered from the indignity of sweatpants and boots

Recovered from the indignity of sweatpants and boots

Action shot

Action shot

At the conclusion of the lesson, my daughter and I walked to the car in the cold dark.  She was already asking when she could go back.  It felt like it was 9:00 PM.  It was only 5:20.  I drove home like a granny, hunched over the wheel, cursing rush-hour drivers, and squinting.  I don’t go out at night.  I don’t drive well at night.  Oh man.  I am old.

But we’ll be back next week, and probably for a long time to come.  Because I think she likes it.  And she’ll like other things.  And then Felix will like stuff.

Santa needs to bring me a chauffeur for Xmas.  Or some night-vision glasses.

Time Heels All Wounds


Will and I had a nice date on Tuesday.  We were both off of work, Stella’s school was in session, and Oui Oui offered to watch Felix for us.  It was great. We hadn’t had a big block of time to just ourselves in a while.  Being practical, however, we did have a couple of errands to run – errands that are a ginormous pain in the ass if you’re toting a kid or two around.  One of these errands was buying Will a new pair of shoes.  He’s almost as petulant while shoe shopping as Felix is with one of his  900 ear infections.  Almost.

Anyway, I don’t get to go out shopping much at all.  Even if I do have some money to spare, A) getting out without the aforementioned wiggly ballast in tow, and B) while avoiding most people because I dislike most people, is difficult.  Ergo, I typically use the magic of internet shopping.  But some things – such as my husband’s shoes – simply must be done the old-fashioned way.

The plan was that Will was supposed to start looking at shoes, pulling some to try on.  I wanted to look at kids’ shoes.  Why?  Because Stella is about to start taking dance lessons, and I’ve already learned that little ballet slippers and tap shoes aren’t cheap.  Aren’t cheap at all.  Oops.  And I meant “dahnce” lessons.  For whatever reason, Stella channels her inner British princess when she discusses dahnce.  Well, Will can’t be trusted in a shoe store, and he ended up just following me around to scout potential dahnce shoes instead of finding boring men’s shoes.  Not that I can blame him there.

As I scanned the wall of cute little pink sparkly tennis shoes and Mary Janes, my blood started to boil.  In one section alone, there were no fewer than 6 different pairs of HEELS.  HEELS FOR TODDLERS.  To clarify: these were toddler sizes – not girls’.  Not that that’s much better.  I started to rant.  Will started to look bored at first, in that “sure honey whatever you say” kind of way, until he picked one up and asked how old of a girl would fit the sparkly silver pump in his hand.  He got it, when I flipped it over and showed him it was Stella’s current size.  Why in the world are they selling heels for 4 year olds?!

I’m cool with dress up.  Stella flounces around the house in wings, tutus, dahnce slippers, tiaras, cowboy boots, mustaches, and kitty masks on a daily basis.  I’m even tolerant and slightly amused when she drags my shoes out and clomps around the house – even my heels.  Because they’re mine and they’re ridiculously big on her little foot.  She could never ever in a million years wear mine out of the house because it simply wouldn’t function.  She couldn’t walk, run, skip, or dahnce.  It’s just fun for her to clomp around in mommy’s shoes.  But heels designed for little feet is just a sick abomination to me.

Little girls are supposed to be cute, sweet, wild, free, curious, precocious, sparkly, magical, and innocent.  They are not supposed to look like, dress like, act like grown ass women.  Toddlers should not be wearing heels and mascara.  They should not be wearing shorts or pants with shit like “Diva” or “Cutie” stamped across their innocent little butts.  No one ought to be reading anything on their innocent little butts.  No one ought to even be looking that hard.

Stella selfie

Stella selfie

Maybe I’m just over the bend – old fart, square, has-been – whatever.  I sound like one of those old people: “Back in my day, we didn’t have high heels when we were in preschool.”  You’re damn right, we didn’t.  I can remember chafing against my own mother when she said 12 is too young for eye-liner, that skirt is too short, that bathing suit is cut too high.  But SHE WAS RIGHT.  She was trying to help me be what I was: a girl.

I said "innocent."  That doesn't necessarily rule out mischievous.

I said “innocent.” That doesn’t necessarily rule out mischievous.

I don’t know what the answer is.  If I were wealthy and crazier, I’d buy every pair of these things and burn them in a heap in front of the stores that sell them.  I could write the manufacturers that make them, chastising them for over-sexualizing girls.  But the sad truth is, there’s a market for this abominable shit.  Some parents – I guess – must think it’s ok to dress their little girls up like teenagers.  But I don’t think it’s ok.  And my kid isn’t wearing this trampy mess.

Free, sweet, swinging.  AND NO HEELS.

Free, sweet, swinging. AND NO HEELS.

The ADD Hatter


A recent morning conversation:

Me:  Stella, we’re going to run late.  Please put on your shoes.

Stella: Wow!  It’s a firetruck!  (on TV)

Me:  Stella, we’re going to run late.  Put on your shoes. (turning off TV).

Stella: I want stinky chips.

Me:  Stella, put on your shoes!  Now.

Stella:  Chocolate milk?

Me (to Will):  Am I speaking f’ing Mandarin this morning?

Will: What did you say?  (Staring off into space)

(And people wonder why I just adore red wine.)

In Blume


Any parent of little children understands the fundamental loss of any type of privacy or personal space. It starts when they’re infants and you have got to take a pee but dear god you just got the kid to fall asleep and if I put him/her down now the screaming will resume so I’m just going to hold him/her while I tinkle and you only need one hand to wipe, right? Before you know it, they’re walking and they’re your shadows and they just kind of follow you anywhere and everywhere.  Then they’re talking, and everything is deserving of commentary.  That’s when it gets….uncomfortable.  But they’re little so you can’t just lock them out, particularly when they’ve really started throwing down with their baby brother over the tea set.  An almost-20 lb weight advantage is huge when you’re not quite 4 feet tall.

Mommy, why do you have hair on your butt?  (Butt in this instance is actually my hoo-ha, but it’s all in the butt-type-region so who cares when you’re talking about it?)

Mommy, you’re tee-teeing!  I can hear it!

You have long boobies.

You’re pooping.  I have to poop, too.

It’s stupid and annoying but it’s all natural, right?  So you just roll with it.  There is no alternative other than to hold your urine and bowels until they go to sleep (in 16 hours) or revert back to junior high gym class clothing changing techniques, whereby you manage to put a shirt on underneath another shirt without exposing skin.  But you were 13 then, and much more flexible…

Just when you reach acceptance of this kind of thing (although you dream of the day in the next 3 years when you can mandate bathroom privacy, damn it, because girls and boys and mommies and daddies need private time to attend to personal matters), there’s a new wrinkle:  periods.

I just can’t handle that kind of discussion or running monologue.  I can just hear it now:

Mommy, you have a giant bo-bo!  You need a band aid!

Mommy, why is your butt bleeding?

Mommy, is that a diaper?

Mommy, you need to cut that string.

Already, she’s been reading the box on the back of the commode: Mommy?  What’s a “tame-pone?”  I usually ignore her or quickly mumble something about grown-up stuff.

When I got my first period, my mom took me out for dinner.  We had Chinese.  It was a special “coming of age” kind of moment.  I loved it, particularly after reading all of those Judy Blume books.  I’ve already told Will I’ll be doing something like that with Stella.  But y’all: I am not prepared for a Judy Blume moment with a 4 year old.

It’s that delicate dance of not wanting to create weird body issues/ hang-ups and GETOUTOFMYFACESOICANCHANGEMYSANITARYPROTECTIONDAMNIT.  Other moms?  Input?  Advice?