Sneak and Ye Shall Find


I did something yesterday that I feel a tad guilty about.  Will had just left the house to run a couple of errands when he called me on my cellphone to report that a man and woman were door-to-dooring and were currently stationed at Zsa Zsa’s house next door.  Sure, we’re gearing up for election season, so it could’ve been that.  Given that it was a well-dressed couple on a Sunday, they could also have been peddling some version or another of godness.

Either way, I wanted no part of that action.  So what did I do?  I ran like hell.

I scooped up both kids and dragged them to our bedroom and tried desperately to keep them quiet.  They were sort of confused.  I told them we were hiding and needed to be Sneaky Petes (totally made up on the fly).  They loved that.  But my children’s version of quiet and sneaky does not match with my own.  My version would have entailed us sitting quietly for a few minutes, waiting for the intruders to go away.  Their version involved lots of screaming, giggling, and jumping on my bed.

I am a trifle ashamed.  I should have just been prepared to answer the door and give those people the boot – politely.  Another option would have been to sic Stella on them.  While we were at the Fair last week, some girls came by my aunt’s cabin campaigning for some representative or another (politicking being common at the Fair).  Stella glommed onto them like ants on a sugar bowl.    Stella helped herself to a bracelet and fan and I heard lots of chit-chat about princesses, tiaras, and I think meatballs.  Those girls never stood a chance.  She may have to be our new doorman.

Beauty transcends all political and religious boundaries.  And meatballs.

Beauty transcends all political and religious boundaries. And meatballs.

Or maybe this Mad Max-inspired get-up

Or maybe this Mad Max-inspired get-up would repel interlopers…

Despite our differing opinions of Sneaky Pete-ness, it worked.  Either the religion/politics vendors didn’t bother with our door, or my children were so damn loud I couldn’t hear them knocking.

Stay cool out there.

Stay cool out there.  It’s been brutally hot.

The Elastic of the Mohicans


Crispi, the kids, and I have recently returned from what must surely be the strangest trip/mini-vacation of my life.

The original objective: to drive to Philadelphia, Mississippi to reunite with family and expose my children to the Neshoba County Fair. The Fair is a big damn deal, y’all. It’s even on Wikipedia. It’s one of those crazy, surreal, mind bending things that you either love or hate. Given the huge degree of hoopla associated with this event, the intention had been to come in early Thursday evening pre-Fair-opening and stay the night in my aunt’s Fair cabin before moving to a nearby motel where we – especially Stella- could chill, regroup, and swim. 

The first night was calm

  

The cabin itself is overwhelming, with colors/patterns/pictures/stuff everywhere

  

Felix handled it best of all

 What really happened: my kids are just a wee bit too young. That and Stella may take after her mother in that the whole thing is just a lot to take in. It’s overwhelming. And did you notice I said it was in Mississippi? And it’s late July? That means it’s “oh shit it’s so hot I’ve perspired enough in 5 minutes that my bra now contains a liter of fluid. I pity the fool that hugs me” hot.

We basically kind of fled. What made matters worse was the hotel room: nasty. *cough cough Econolodge cough*. And since we were in the boonies, it’s not like we could just try the hotel across the street. So we left. Checked out 2 days early, hit the Fair for one more session so that Stella could at least ride some rides, wrung out our bras, and set sail for Jackson, MS.  

    
 Our Jackson objective: stay in a nicer motel with a pool in which you could see the bottom, maybe hit a museum, and go back to the Fair late Sunday when it was less crazy/crowded and stay at the cabin again.

What actually happened: our bras dried. And we didn’t want to be back out in the middle of BFE again in that heat. So by bedtime that night in Jackson, we were going to maybe hit a museum and head back to good old Baton Rouge. 

See, Crispi thought we could rest a while. The kids thought better of it. Who needs a stinking nap when there’s a pool?!

 Yeah, only that didn’t quite happen either. When we woke Sunday, we totally decided that we should go to Biloxi. So we did. The kids got to see a beach – albeit a gross one (while the sand is pretty, the water is hideous due to barrier islands which trap all dirt and trash) and swim in yet another pool and sleep in yet another bed.   

Felix was OVER the car

  

We did find a hermit crab in the murkey surf

  
   
Summary: 4 nights, 4 beds, 3 cities, 3 pools, no fewer than 9 adjusted/discarded plans. We all survived and I’m nominating myself for the “Go With the Flow” award. For someone who hates spontaneity, I managed 4 rather tenuous days nicely. I’ll accept a ribbon, plaque, or a trophy.

Leak and Ye Shall Find


We have a serious problem at my house.  Donut has a leak.  Donut has been a fixture in my son’s life since mid-May, when he (?) appeared during my dad’s visit.  Donut was inflated when Will and my dad took the kids to the hotel pool.  “Giwaffe” was also inflated, but we managed to sneak him (?) out of the house for deflation.  Donut was different.  Donut was special.

For over 8 weeks now, Donut has been my son’s companion and bed-mate.  He’s enjoyed the wading pool.  Experts say you can conceivably drown in 3-4” of water, after all.  Donut and our inflatable globe have become a live-action wrestling ring for both kids.  There was also one of those inflatable Spongebob punching bag toys, but he (?) popped a couple of weeks ago.  No one seemed to really notice much when Spongebob disappeared.

You know how it goes: if one kid wants something, they both have to try to have it.

You know how it goes: if one kid wants something, they both have to try to have it.

Felix gets possessive.  Given how many times Stella has grabbed him by the neck, this seems only fair.  But you get an idea as to how Donut might have been punctured.

Felix gets possessive. Given how many times Stella has grabbed him by the neck, this seems only fair. But you get an idea as to how Donut might have been punctured.

While Crispi is here, we are planning to drive up to something called the Neshoba County Fair in Mississippi.  It’s a big damn deal.  I figured while we were gone, Will (who is remaining behind) could simply make Donut disappear – whisk him into the trash while my kids are distracted.  The breach to Donut’s hull is worse than that.

When the dude and I got up this morning, Donut was a collapsed plastic puddle in the corner of the living room.  Felix was really upset.  We’re talking deflated Donut hysteria.   I managed to blow Donut up so my son could “roost” there while sipping chocolate milk and watching Blue’s Clues.  But this won’t last long.  Donut was already pretty flaccid when I left for work a short time later.

This morning.  Donut's last?

This morning. Donut’s last?

I have no choice but to find a bigger, better Donut.  We can build it.  We have the technology.  Wish me luck.  My mission will start tomorrow.

There Joe’s the Neighborhood


As parents, we are hard-wired to think that our kids are simply remarkable.  It’s no doubt nature’s way of making sure we don’t kick them out of the house when they scream too loud, spill chocolate milk on the couch, or crap their pants for the 4th time in one day.

My daughter is remarkable.  Sometimes she’s remarkably loud.  Sometimes she’s remarkably dramatic.  Sometimes she’s remarkably curious.  She is never – and I mean never – boring or bland.  She wears me out.  She utterly delights me.

Her reading is amazing.  She’s 4 years old and already reading chapter books that most kids don’t touch until 1st grade.  To put it mildly, we encourage the hell out of it.  We’ve made charts with stickers and when she finishes a book, there is some reward.  Depending on what she selects, she may have to read more than one book.  For instance, she fell in love with this Hello Kitty nightgown (which has become a dress – I just roll with it) at CostCo for $10.  That was one book.  A trip to Chuck E Cheese was one book.  Her latest choice was a trip to Joe’s Crab Shack.  That ain’t cheap.  That was three books.  She finished the third book Friday night, so we owed her a trip to Joe’s this weekend.

You should’ve seen this kid.  She went to Joe’s STYLING.  She wore her Hello Kitty nightgown/dress, fairy wings, a tiara, jewelry, and her sparkly sandals.  I think every server came by to admire her majesty. The only thing more impressive was her appetite. Holy moly the girl can put away crab.  Felix had fun, too.

Ms. Dazzle herself

Ms. Dazzle herself

Must.  Eat.  Crabs!!!

Must. Eat. Crabs!!!

Little ham

Little ham

She was so pleased with herself and her appearance that she named herself Sparkle Dazzle.  We were not permitted to call her Stella.  It was cute for about an hour.  By the end of the day, I was over it.

But the best part of the day – for me – was later on.  We had a junior scientist kit in their closet that she dug out last week.  The main part of it is a microscope.  It’s not the best quality, but it was enough to get the idea.  Her favorite thing to look at was a dead fruit fly.  Despite the fact that it’s a transmitted-light microscope and the body wasn’t translucent, she was able to see the wings and tiny hairs everywhere.  She was so into it!  I’ve seen some cool pocket microscopes on Amazon for like $15.  I think we may be upgrading soon, along with some proper slides and cover slips.  As a science geek myself, I’m totally tickled she wants to do this stuff.  I’m trying to find some of the old thin sections I made back in school.

Getting our nerd on

Getting our nerd on

"Fruit flies have hairy booty butts."  (Whatever you say, Stella!)

“Fruit flies have hairy booty butts.” (Whatever you say, Stella!)

I’m just so proud of her.  She is sparkly and dazzling and smart.  The world better watch out for this one.

Sorry.  Braggy mom blog done.  I know that’s obnoxious.

With This Thing, I Thee Bed


I’ve discussed my son’s revolving door of Preciouses- those things that for a gleaming moment (or day) or two become the touchstone of his world.  Many have been things you’d expect: his big and small Lightning McQueen Pillow Pets, along with Mater. He’s had his favorite machines: his wooden bulldozer, his diggers, his tractors.   Some of these items end up in his bed at night.

Yeah, my pal TG at work gave him 2 paperclips. Preciousssssessss!

 Some of this is odd shit.  Donut has already had an honorable mention ( Do or Donut. There Is No Try. | Dramatic Momologue https://larva225.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/do-or-donut-there-is-no-try/) and is still very much alive and well.  Each night he falls asleep with a Donut blanket.  I suppose I should be grateful since he won’t allow any other blanket to touch his bare flesh.  I sneak in later and gently remove it, afraid Donut may deflate in the night and either suffocate him or cause such emotional trauma that we’d need a team of therapists.

I thought I’d put together a list of his bed mates (so far) for posterity, odd things only:

  • Coins
  • Qtips
  • A  mechanical worm
  • Donut (duh)
  • A Xmas ornament
  • A small cage
  • Cars
  • Books
  • A can of soup
  • Lotion
  • Paper clips
  • A paper crane
  • A water bottle
  • A toy fire truck ladder
  • And (drum roll) A. CAN. OF. PAINT.

Yep.  That’s the latest.  He’s been breaking into his closet at night in the dark and digging out the leftover quart cans of paint from their nursery polka-dots and dragging them into bed with him and Donut.

I generally try to sneak this shit out, particularly if it’s large/angular/noisy/spillable.  But geez, y’all!  What’s next?  A loaf of bread? A scalpel? Shoes? 

Awwww. It’s like a family portrait!

The Thin Red Wine


There are days when it feels harder to be a mom than usual.  A major example is when your kids are sick. Those days suck.  Other tough days are when you yourself are sick.  Those days suck also, but for different reasons.  And then there are more mundane suck days: like period days.

I think most of us gals like to try to function like regular people- only people that wear uglier undergarments than usual or require more bathroom trips than most.  But let’s get honest: hormones are NOT our friend.  They make us tired, weepy, pissed off, hot, uncomfortable, and just kind of insane.    And when you’re a mom and have little people doing little people stuff in your vicinity, your might as well turn green, explode out of your clothes, and start screaming “SMASH!”

I want my kids to think back on me as a cool, nurturing mom.  Not some maniac bellowing like a baboon.  One week out of the month, however….

This morning has been rough, but not atypical of this time of the month.  The kids have been loud and energetic.  They chased each other around, screaming, giggling, and fighting.  They locked themselves in the bathroom, hollering, and playing some kind of game which involved their TOOTHBRUSHES ON THE BATHROOM FLOOR.  By the time Stella went to school, everyone had been in time out at least 4 times. 

This is all very normal in a strange way…

 Usually things calm down and get very peaceful once it’s just me and Felix around the house. He plays cars, watches cartoons, paints, or digs around in kinetic sand while I do my work.  Today?  I hear “Beach!  Felix walk on sand!”  Oh no.  Oh yes.  He had dumped his entire bucket of sand on the kitchen floor and was boogieing on it.  I swept it up as best I could, but his “beach” is now contaminated with glitter, toast crumbs, and cat hair.

Sigh.

To make matters worse, I’m dieting.  This means no snacks.  Worse than that? No wine, other than a single glass or two on Saturday night. 

Quit snivelling, son. At least you can have cookies.

 We just sent a damn spacecraft to Pluto, for F’s sake.  You mean some brainiac somewhere can’t invent zero calorie wine?!?!  That’s a Nobel Prize winning idea if I’ve ever heard one.

The Fold and the Beautiful


I’ve spoken at length about not having time for myself – specifically to create or learn new stuff.  I want to learn to sew.  I mean, really sew.  Not just nap mat covers.  I desperately want to learn to crochet.  I adore granny squares and must learn to make them, dammit.  The problem is that all of those activities require time, patience, and space to spread out.  None of those things are in great supply at my house, particularly in the middle of summer when we’re in our summer hibernation pattern.

It's just too damn hot to be outside unless you're playing in water....

It’s just too damn hot to be outside unless you’re playing in water….

...or eating red popsicles.

…or eating red popsicles.

I got a wild hair on Sunday.  I decided I wanted to make origami cranes.  I didn’t want to just make one.  I wanted to learn to make them – muscle memory and such.  I want to be able to just sit down in a meeting and start folding some badass cranes if I get bored.  So I turned to that most magical professor, YouTube.  After getting pissed off trying to follow about 6 different tutorials, I finally found a winner.  And my crane factory was born.  Will was amazed that I managed to concentrate enough to generate even one while sweeping up glitter pouring chocolate milk threatening to send people to time out supervising our children.  By the end of the day, I had a flock.  I may need an intervention.  For reals.photo 3

I’ve mentioned that things at work have been less-than-ideal of late.  I have new neighbors.  One gets more calls than any 4 adolescent girls in a given day.  He won’t turn his ringer off.  He speaks rather loudly, often in Arabic.  Many of my new neighbors think it’s perfectly correct to cut fingernails at the office.  It’s like inmate overcrowding, only without shivs and jumpsuits.  On top of no pay increases in years, more expensive – and less-comprehensive- benefits, it’s just a petri dish for low morale and snarcasm.

I do what I can.  I have an aromatherapy diffuser that operates off of a USB hub.  And now I have cranes.  I was talking to a most amazing lady at work, my friend TG.  We were giggling about all the craziness in our midst and I was wondering what in the hell to do with all of these damn cranes.  She had the best idea.  I should stockpile my creations.  Whenever my  new neighbors act up, I can use a rubber band to “shoot the bird” at whoever deserves it.  That’s genius!

Now to select my first target…

You see crane.  I now see ammunition.

You see crane. I now see ammunition.

Lather, Prince, Repeat


I’m no prude.  Normal run-of-the-mill filth has never bothered me.  Boobs?  Sure.  Potty mouths?  Mine can hang with the best of them.  Violence on TV?  Whatever.

Then I had kids.  Everything changed.  You don’t want your kids to be some overly-sheltered milquetoasts.  You also don’t want your pre-schoolers watching Game of Thrones.

Music is anothe thing.  My kids have grown up with the Ramones, the Pixies, the Sex Pistols all mixed in with their Wiggles, They Might Be Giants, and Beethoven.  And sure: in some of those selections there’s the odd random questionable word or phrase. I usually creatively suggest an alternate and my kids are none the wiser.  If anyone catches them singing about a “tattooed stick” and “number thirteen” they’ll think nothing of it.

Then along came Prince.  The Purple Rain Soundtrack, to be specific.

I had been jonesing seriously for “Let’s Go Crazy” for months.  Right or wrong, Prince is a total dick about his royalties. You cannot find his music on YouTube or any other free music source.  I saw Purple Rain on CD for $5 on Amazon.  Score!

I should also note that my car stereo is pathetic.  It’s a CD/tape deck combo.  Old school.  Hence the CD. 

Be-bopping to Let’s Go Crazy

 So Wednesday the kids and I are bopping along to our new tunes.  Then. Comes. Darling. Nikki.

Oh my glob. Never has a mom hit the skip button any faster.  I mean, I grew up with this.  I had simply forgotten about how “they met in a hotel lobby,” and “masturbating to a magazine.”  That was all before she started to grind.

Y’all, I can’t play that in front of my kids.

P.S.  I also picked up Guns ‘N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction.  2nd song, Mr. Brownstone.  Axle hollers quite emphatically that we should fuck off. Back to the damn Wiggles, I guess.

Hide and Go Leak


Summer continues to charge along at a nice pace for the most part.  I’ve started amassing all the required material for Stella to start school.  It’s mind-boggling.  Uniforms, glue sticks, band aids (WTF?), markers, crayons….  Crispi will be here in 2 weeks, and she’s offered to take her backpack shopping.  Her official start date looks to be August 12.  Holy. Shit.

And my crazy mind has already started worrying about what to do with her during the seemingly endless amount of random days off and early dismissals.  Back in my day, you just went to damn school.  Like all the time.  We didn’t get out early at least once a month.  So I’ll be hemorrhaging leave at work until the end of time.

To beat the heat (somewhat) I had to buy shade.  You do what you gotta do...

To beat the heat (somewhat) I had to buy shade. You do what you gotta do…

We kept it to a dull roar for the 4th.  My kids are 2 and 4.  By the time it gets dark enough to go downtown for fireworks with all the crazies and drunks, it’s way past their bedtimes.  And did I mention the crazies and the drunks?  So we went to Oui Oui’s for some gumbo lunch, bought some small-time fireworks, and went home to have our own mini-display at 4:00 PM.  It was just right, honestly.  Stella’s not a fan of the loud noises.

Sparkly girl

Sparkly girl

The goofy tank fireworks were pretty popular

The goofy tank fireworks were pretty popular

On Sunday, we had our own fireworks around the house when our hot water heater sprung a massive leak.  Candidly, it was one of those proverbial ticking time bombs.  It was probably my age – so old, it didn’t even have a shut off valve for water or gas.  It could have been worse: it’s located in an outside utility closet (vs an attic, which would have been way catastrophic), it’s summer (so once Will capped it and the water was back on, cold showers weren’t a big deal), and Will and my FIL are super handy.  As costly as the unit itself was (plus all associated do-dads required to install it), we probably saved at least half that much for installation.  As of yesterday, we’re the proud owners of a sexy new water heater.

Now some of the outlets in my kitchen are bad screwy.  So if you’ve lost your house gremlin? How about summoning it back, eh?  We’ve had enough home issues for now.  We’d like to actually make progress on home improvements rather than manage crises.

Aaaaand it's Xmas in July during a recent showing of the Grinch.

Aaaaand it’s Xmas in July during a recent showing of the Grinch.

And then there’s the Dude.  He finally got his big boy bed Friday.  He’s slept through the night in there every night since.  Now Stella randomly gets up at 3 or 4 AM and hops in bed with us.  Really?  She’s slept perfectly well all night alone for 2 years now.  2 steps forward, 1 step back, as they say.

The McQueen bedding looks pretty cute with the checkered flag canopy.  Bonus Mom Points!

The McQueen bedding looks pretty cute with the checkered flag canopy. Bonus Mom Points!

 

P.S. I’m also stupidly excited about an idea I had: one of my blog buddies from Alaska has a daughter almost exactly Stella’s age.  I thought it might be super cool for the girls to be pen pals.  Our first letter went out in the mail today.  In the age of text messaging and email, I think an old-school pen pal is a magnificent idea.

Man of Steal


I’ve been a crappy blogger.  I know.  One of the “rules” of blogging is to be “regular” with your posts.  I guess I’ve neglected to take my emotional prune juice.  It’s not that nothing is happening, it’s just that it feels like a lot of effort to write it out for a bunch of folks who might not read it.  And now I’ll conclude the pity party and get back to the task at hand.  How’s life?

It’s Louisiana.  It’s hot.  We get these afternoon thunderstorms, which is typically a good thing: it cools stuff off.  But then there’s the wind and lightning which sometimes take a nice cooling sprinkle and cloud cover and turn it into a creation by Danté.  We lost power for 24 hours recently.  Sure, it’s only 24 hours.  We lost power for 3 nights at the end of April.  But it wasn’t in the 90’s in April.  It was horrible.  No one slept the night we were dark, and my entire house reeked of masticated cat food.  We lived, but not happily.

This was about 30 minutes in to the power outage.  The car was our only refuge.  I wasn't digging it.

This was about 30 minutes in to the power outage. The car was our only refuge. I wasn’t digging it.

5:30 AM McDonald's.  Where else can you get AC, coffee, and breakfast when there's no juice at home?

5:30 AM McDonald’s. Where else can you get AC, coffee, and breakfast when there’s no juice at home?

Will and I recently had a nice overnight break from the kids.  We watched Guardians of the Galaxy on DVD (fan-damn-tastic) and went to see Jurassic World in the theater in 3D.  It was a Chris Pratt love-fest.  Candidly, I didn’t know who the hell that guy was before Saturday  night.  Love.  Him.  And it was so nice to feel like a normal human being doing normal non-kid-related things again.  We hadn’t seen a movie in the theater since the first Hunger Games.  Stella was about 18 months old.

So we’re just trying to stay busy/happy and a bit cool.  I finally broke down and ordered a pop-up tent/canopy thing, so the kids and I don’t roast in the backyard.  We need shade, desperately.  There are lots of popsicles around.

We're not always happy...

We’re not always happy…

The big change afoot is that my son has decided that his toddler bed is unacceptable.  For the past week or more, he’s been sneaking into his sister’s bed with his “Donut” (that infernal inflatable inner tube he’s been dragging around for 2 months – see https://larva225.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/do-or-donut-there-is-no-try/) at night and during naptimes.  Thus far, I’ve been able to keep this knowledge from Stella; I go into the kids’ room, remove Donut, and place Felix in his own bed.  I think she’d be pretty angry that the sanctity of her big girl Kitty/Mermaid bed had been violated.  But the message is clear: the dude needs a bigger bed lest he keep trying to hijack his sister’s, ultimately leading to screaming and/or violence.

I’ve ordered the bedding, and the bed should show up Friday.  He’s just a little excited.  This may also finally mark the end of co-sleeping.  I have mixed emotions about that.  While he’s been sleeping in his own bed about 50% of the time lately, he’s my  last baby.  Y’all know what I’m talking about.

Ohmyglobnewbeddingandi'msoexcited!

Ohmyglobnewbeddingandi’msoexcited!

Of course it's McQueen...

Of course it’s McQueen…

I’ll try to do better with the blogs.  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!