Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I was a very cautious child. After a traumatic incident at a very young age involving an old
wooden roller coaster and my gung-ho Father, I would not ride a roller coaster
until I was fourteen. During our yearly
trips to the beach, my five cousins and brother spent the day at the waterslide
having a ball while I sat at the concrete picnic tables, occasionally taking a
splash in the wading-pool, too scared to even attempt a cruise on the
plastic-coated foam mat until I was well into my teens. I am now a roller-coaster junkie and enjoy a
thrilling waterslide when the opportunity presents itself. I guess becoming an adult released my inner
daredevil. Granted, you will never catch
me on a plane strapped to a parachute, or clad in a wetsuit, jumping into shark-infested
waters, but I will happily jump on a roller coaster that simulates
G-force.  I’m not sure when I conquered my fears but I did. I think it must have been the result of
peer-pressure because all of my courage seemed to appear in my teens.

My son is definitely my
child. He is easily frightened by loud
noises and darkness. He does not enjoy
thrill rides at all and absolutely refuses to do anything that might have the
end result of getting him even the slightest bit wet. My husband and I were pretty nervous about taking him to Disney
World. Would he be willing to ride
anything? Would we be forced to ride
the monorail and “It’s a Small World” over and over again? If so, how could we possibly justify the
$750 we spent on park tickets alone?

We braced ourselves for his debilitating fears as we walked
into the park the first morning. We
decided to start with the slow, easy rides and gradually work our way up. This strategy turned out to be a success. My son rode every ride he possibly could at
his limited height. He rode “Pirates of
the Caribbean,” “Snow White’s Scary Adventures” (a surprisingly dark ride) and “The Haunted Mansion” without even
flinching. The only ride that he even
had an issue with was the kiddy roller coaster in the Magic Kingdom. It went too fast for him and he asked that
we not ride it again. This was not a
problem for me as there was a relatively long line for such a short ride and it
gave me whiplash from all of the jerking and bumps.

My son surprised us all with his bravery and willingness to
try just about anything (as long as it did not get him wet). I guess he is not so much like me after all.
If my parents had taken me to Disney World at age four, I'm pretty sure that they would have spent a great deal of time in the line for the Dumbo

Monday, October 30, 2006

Urban Blight

My oldest child will be four in less than a month and we
have never stayed in a hotel room with him despite the fact that we travel
quite a bit. Now I know why. We left on Sunday morning to drive down to
Orlando for our weeklong foray into Disney-style debauchery. We spent the entire day in the car but, as
all of us are relatively accustomed to long car trips, things went relatively
well. We arrived in Orlando in time for
a late dinner and checked into our hotel room. Our reservations on Disney property did not start until Monday night so
we were forced to spend Sunday night confined to a hotel room together. I was dreading that much more than I was the
11-hour car trip.

We went to dinner with my parents and brother (also
traveling with us) and then went back to our hotel room. The hotel was on International Drive, right
across the street from a ridiculously large miniature golf course. The second my son saw that giant pirate ship
his energy level hit the roof. Kids
seem to have some sort of adrenaline switch that is triggered when they lay
their eyes on expensive tourist traps. He was out of control and the energy spread like wildfire into the veins
of his sister. They were both bouncing
off of the walls and too excited to sit still. We decided to take advantage of the hotel’s pool to wear the kids out so
they would sleep well that night. We
had a busy day in the morning and needed our kids to be well rested. We had a good time in the pool and, as soon
as the kids started showing signs of being tired, we dried them off and put
them in their pajamas. We followed our
evening routine, even adding some stories and an extra glass of milk but, alas,
it was to no avail. The kids were in
plain view of each other and still reeling from all of the urban blight on
International Drive.

At 11:00 pm, the scene in our hotel room was not
pretty. My daughter was standing up in
her Pack N Play, singing an incoherent baby-tune and bouncing up and down. Every once in a while she would stop, smile,
wave and say, “hi.” It was completely
irresistible and, despite my frustration, I was enjoying her serenade. My son was all over the bed, standing,
sitting and rolling around on the polyester comforter. He did not want to sleep by himself and kept
egging his sister on. My husband and I
were at a loss. We decided, finally, to
call in reinforcements. My parents and
brother were staying in the room next to ours so we took my daughter in there
where she proceeded to run around, treating the room like it was a baby
obstacle course, laughing every time she fell or someone looked at her. My husband and I then took turns lying in
the dark hotel room with my son, listening to him complain about the “scratchy
blanket.” An hour or so later he fell
asleep. Twenty minutes later my daughter
followed. Seven seconds later my
husband and I crashed in the second full-size bed, shivering because the
pathetic excuse for a blanket was so thin and worn, not to mention scratchy.

The kids woke up at 7:30 sharp, bright eyed and ready for
their day. We checked out of our hotel
room and drove towards the mouse ears vowing never again to endure the torture
of a night in a hotel room. Next time
we will bring the tent.

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Working Vacation

Another Gray Hair will be on hiatus for the next several days.  We are taking a family vacation and I will not be able to update the blog on a regular basis.  We are heading for Disney World.  I've decided that it will be a "working vacation" because there is no doubt that I will come back with an endless supply of material.

The blog should be updated again on Monday, October 30th. 

Thursday, October 19, 2006

No Wisteria Lane

My neighborhood is no Wisteria Lane. It’s much more culturally diverse and lower
income, a little “Sesame Street” mixed with a little “My Name is Earl.” The people to our left do not speak English,
have a chain link fence, and butcher cows in their backyard about twice a
year. The people to our right wear
wife-beaters, smoke and (I’m fairly certain of this) hang out naked in their
above ground swimming pool after hours. No one has children anywhere near the ages of my kids and, while they
are all very cordial, most of our neighbors keep to themselves.

I love my house though. It’s old and has a great deal of character. Plus, it is the house that I brought both of my children home to
and the first property that my husband and I ever owned. I do, however, wish that we lived in a more
family-friendly neighborhood. I’d love
a sidewalk and a neighbor or two that I could talk to as I walked down the street,
feeling completely safe and at ease letting my kids walk with me. I feel certain that I will have this some time
in the near future but it will be a little while.

This Halloween we will be going to a friend’s house to trick
or treat. The first two Halloweens we
were in this house, we bought a big bag of candy, turned our porch light on and
waited for the trick or treaters. They
never came and we were left stuck with a bag of candy that we had no business
keeping around the house and a painstakingly carved pumpkin that no-one had the
opportunity to admire. It was a
difficult lesson to learn but, after two years of no-shows, I have finally
accepted my Halloween fate. My family
and I will spend our Halloween in the family-friendly neighborhood of our
friends. We will walk the sidewalks and
pretend that we live there, amongst the picket fences and polo shirts. We will look at the tastefully landscaped
backyards and marvel at the lack of cow carcasses and wife-beater clad
smokers. Our kids will have a blast
because they will be with their friends and completely oblivious to the fact
that trick or treating in their own neighborhood is not a viable option.

If all goes well, we will be living in a Halloween-friendly
neighborhood by the time our kids are old enough to care. We sure will miss the cow carcasses
though. Halloween won’t be the same
without catching a glimpse of a dead cow hanging from a tree branch in our
neighbor’s backyard.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How Much Ambien Will Put a One-Year-Old to Sleep?

Folding laundry is not my favorite activity, nor is emptying
the dishwasher, but I do them every day. They used to be simple tasks that I could complete within a few minutes,
but not anymore. My time folding
clothes is now spent strategically placing all of the folded items in piles
that are at least three feet high so that my daughter does not dismantle them
the second they are folded. Loading and
unloading the dishwasher has become an exercise in futility. For every one dish that I put into the
dishwasher, my daughter takes two or three out. She’s so fast that if I turn my head for a second, I’ll find her
walking towards the living room armed with a steak knife. I have to focus so much energy on
distracting her and keeping her out of range of our knife collection that it
ends up taking me thirty minutes to do a five-minute task.

I know that it is right on target developmentally for my
daughter to want to participate in every activity that I am engaging in but I
am done with this stage of development. I am ready to move on. It is
challenging enough for me to keep my house clean without
distractions. I’ve read some literature
on this subject and the most common advice is to let the child have involvement
in the task on some level. It made me
think of that commercial where the Mom is telling her infant daughter all about
the stain lifting power of “All” or “Tide” while she folds laundry
peacefully. Yeah right. I simply cannot talk to my daughter about
laundry for ten minutes. I cannot talk
to anyone about laundry for any length of time, nor would I want to. Plus, if The Wiggles cannot hold my
daughter’s attention, there is no way that detergent talk will. And what about the dishwasher? I’ve tried giving her one safe utensil and a
dish so that she can pretend to cook while I get the dishes done but that works
for about five seconds. The only thing
she really wants to do is take the dishes in and out of the dishwasher and put
them in her mouth. This creates a real
problem, especially when the dishes are dirty. So until something changes I guess I’ll just have to add laundry and the
dishes to my “Things to do while the kids sleep” list. That list keeps getting longer and
longer. Pretty soon I’m going to have
to start crushing up a little Ambien and lacing their pre-nap drinks.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Wicked Witch of the West

Yesterday afternoon I was minding my own business, tidying
up my living room while I watched a little Oprah, when the doorbell rang. I am always a little alarmed when I have
unexpected company so I took a peek out of the bay window to see who was
there. It was a white minivan that I
did not recognize. I walked to the door
and opened it ever so slightly. On my
front porch was a young man who immediately made me uncomfortable. I’m not sure why. He just did. My instincts
tend to be pretty accurate so I kept the door cracked and waited for him to
talk, peering at him through the two inch slit between the door and the frame.

He looked at me, smiled and said, “I’m melting. How are you?” and chuckled. It was raining outside but he was no Wicked
Witch of the West. He was MUCH more
creepy than her. I did not
respond. He then handed me a can of
Airwick air freshener and told me that it was his gift to me. What a smooth talker he was, insinuating
that my house smelled without ever having stepped foot in it. Not knowing what to do, I took the air
freshener in my free hand (the other was gripping the door knob, ready to slam
it at anytime) and waited for the catch.

As soon as I had the air freshener in my hand, he took off
for his van saying, “Now, let me run to the car and get the rest of my products
so I can show you what we are all about.”

I immediately said, “No.” and placed the air freshener on
the floor of the porch. “I am not
interested.” He tried to continue his
spiel and kept walking towards his car so I said it again, this time a little
more assertively, “No. Thank you. I am not interested.” I politely slammed the door and locked the
deadbolt. I grabbed my daughter. We ran into her room where the blinds were
closed on the window that faced the front yard. I peered out a slit in the blinds, watching him leave.

I hoped that he would stop in the driveways of my neighbors’
houses but he did not. He kept driving
to the end of the street. My neurotic
mind went crazy. Why did he just stop
at my house? Did he want to test the
water and see if I would open the door to a stranger? Was he scoping out the property for a later burglary attempt? Our home, after all, is filled with
valuables. We’ve got the 27-inch TV
that we bought ten years ago, the china that we bought at Target, my fake Louis
Vuitton purse, and my extensive cubic zirconium collection. Who wouldn’t want to rob us? My husband assured me that he was just a
salesman trying to make a buck and that I had seen one too many episodes of Law
and Order
. He’s probably right but
I’m not taking any chances. The next
time my doorbell rings unexpectedly, I’ll be armed with my son’s baseball bat and some
hairspray to spray in the face of the perpetrator. I will feel pretty awful if the unsuspecting solicitor hands me a
copy of The Watchtower but that’s the price they pay for not calling
before they come over.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Underwear Buzzer

My son will be four years old next month. He still wears Pull-Ups at night. He has been potty-trained since he was two
and a half but we cannot seem to get him to wake up at night to go to the
bathroom. Every time I go to the store
and drop $13.00 on a pack of Pull-Ups, I think to myself, “Maybe this will be
the last pack I buy.” With the money
we spend on Pull-Ups we could afford to get some cool service like Netflix or
take my son on a date to see a movie each month. Will we ever reach that point? Will he be eight years old and still wearing some type of protection at
night? Or will we have to invest in one
of those devices that you install in little boy’s underwear that lets out a
loud beeping sound when it starts to get wet? Yes, these exist.  I know because
I used to wake up when my brother’s would beep in the middle of the night.

I know that part of the problem is that my son is a milk
junkie. Milk is part of his bedtime
routine and, while we have reduced the amount he is given, he still gets about
a half a cup to drink while we read him stories. I am very determined to keep his nighttime drinking to a
minimum. My husband, on the other hand,
sometimes caves when my son begs him for some additional milk. On the nights that he sticks to the
half-a-cup plan though, my son wakes up with dry Pull-Ups 80 percent of the
time. This gives me hope.

I'm sure my friends would tell me to stop buying them and
force him to get up and go at night. I feel certain that this advice would backfire. He would wake up too late with a wet bed and
I would have to get up in the middle of the night to change his sheets. Would he learn? I’m not sure. It’s not
exactly a punishment to have your sheets changed in the middle of the
night. There are no consequences, just
sleep interruptions for both of us. What kind of a solution is that? I think my current plan is to gradually reduce his nightly milk
consumption until it is completely removed from his bedtime routine. Then, I will wean him off of the
Pull-Ups. If this doesn’t work I will
be looking into an underwear buzzer. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Catch the Moon

The album pick for this week is Lisa Loeb and Elizabeth
Mitchell’s Catch the Moon. For all of you gen-Xers out there, you will remember Lisa Loeb’s song,
“Stay” from the 1994 classic film, Reality
. It was, hands down, the best song on the soundtrack and a mantra
for all college girls pining
after love in the mid-nineties, myself
included. If you enjoy soft, sultry
folk songs as much as I do than this is the album for you. My favorite track is “Little Red
Caboose.” If you just heard the first
five seconds of that song, you’d swear it was Johnny Cash. My son loves this one as well because it is
about a train. We also really like Lisa
and Elizabeth’s version of “Big Rock Candy Mountain” and “Twinkle Twinkle
Little Star.” My son really likes to
sing along to “Free Little Bird” as well. It is repetitive, melodic and very easy to learn. There are some tracks that are less than
masterful but, all in all, Catch
the Moon is
a great album and a
pleasure to listen to for kids and grown-ups alike.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Deboning a Chicken

I have figured it out, the fundamental difference between
men and women. No matter what men do,
it’s always enough. No matter what
women do, it’s never enough.

We were having company over for dinner this weekend and I
made chicken fajitas. I cooked a chicken
in the crock-pot during the day and, while I took my shower, I asked my husband
to debone the chicken. He did. I was grateful but I still had a ton to do:
make salsa, grate the cheese, make the rice, the beans, and season the
chicken. Time was not on my side and I
was getting a little stressed. Sitting
in the sink were about 6 dishes from the deboning process (an absurd amount in my opinion).

“Are you going to do those dishes?” I asked.

“I deboned the
chicken.” He replied and walked out of the room.

Wow.  It must be nice
to feel so fulfilled after performing one task that you feel like you can move on to other things. As a woman, I never feel this way. This difference
between men and women is not some sort of epiphany that I had and, in my infinite wisdom, am sharing with you.  The chicken incident just really brought it to the surface for me.   It's fascinating to me that women never really feel like they have contributed enough to their children,
their husband, their friends, or their job. Whereas men walk around, for the most part, with a clear conscience,
knowing that they have done their part. Why are women so fraught with guilt and so driven to overcompensate for
something that is never quite defined? Is the need to please some sort of intrinsic desire that we all have
from birth or is it something we develop after we become adults and become brainwashed by society's expectations of us as well as our own unrealistic expectations.  I think it is time
we get inside the heads of our husbands and partners and figure out how they
live a guilt-free existence. As much as
we hate to admit it, we might actually learn something from them.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Little Monster

My daughter has started hitting when she doesn’t get her
way. She’s 17 months old and at the
height of adorableness so it is very difficult to get angry with her. For instance, this morning she kept pointing
at the bag of chips on top of the refrigerator and saying her “I want” word,
“Mo-aahh.” I told her no and she
pointed again and said, “Mo-aahh.” I
told her no again. She walked up to my
leg and slapped it while staring right at me. She made a really angry face and grunted as she slapped me. It reminded me a great deal of her

It appears that, unlike her brother, my daughter is
discovering her autonomy at a very young age. My son was sweet and obedient until after he turned three. Apparently, my daughter’s days of sweetness
and light are nearing an end. I need to
brace myself for the months ahead, dealing with the terrible two’s when they
are actually supposed to occur. This is
a concept that is foreign to me. I have
no idea how to discipline a child who cannot yet communicate or if it is even
possible. What should I do when she
hits me? My current plan is to say, “we
do not hit” firmly, every time she gets physical with someone. I’m hoping that sooner or later it will sink

This is all very ironic because my good friend’s daughter,
Katherine, was around my daughter’s age when we met. Katherine and my son used to play together several times a week
when she was my daughter’s age. She
would push him down, slap him, hit him, and kick him on a fairly consistent
basis. I felt sorry for my son (who was
around 10 months old at the time) but attributed that behavior to her age and
let her Mom handle it. I, of course,
secretly thought she was a little monster and vowed never to let my child behave
that way. I was a first-time, super naïve
Mother at the time and was not yet aware of the power of karma in the realm of
parenting. Boy, did that thinking come
back to haunt me. I’ve got a little
Katherine on my hands. 

Katherine is now a smart, sweet, funny four-year-old and
continues to be my son’s best friend and future wife (according to him). She still has her moments but she is much
more mature than my son and very rarely loses control of her emotions. I guess it’s time to ask her Mom for some
advice. She clearly knew what she was

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Traveling by Air

In one of my favorite books on child rearing, Operating
Anne Lamott wrote something that stuck with me. I’m not sure of the exact wording but, in my
memory, it goes something like this:

When I say my prayers at night, I pray that my son is happy. I pray that my son is healthy. I pray that my son changes the world for the
better. But, most of all, I pray that
my son outlives me.

This rings so true with me. I desperately want my children to be happy, healthy, productive human
beings who find love and joy in their lives. I also want them to enjoy their childhood and learn, from my husband and
I, how to be a good wife, husband, Mother, and Father. There is absolutely no doubt that I have
these aspirations for my children. If I
am to be 100% honest, though, and acknowledge my deepest fears, what
I want, more than anything, is for them to survive me.

The second I became a parent I became completely
vulnerable. My heart is no longer
inside of my chest. It is outside of my
body, beating in the rib cages of my children. For me, being a parent is like traveling by air, with worse
odds. You strap yourself into your
seat, make sure the tray table is in its upright and locked position, and put your
safety and well being wholly in the hands of the pilot. Has he been drinking? Most likely not, but stranger things have
happened. Is he tired? Maybe, but he’s got to earn a living. We pray that our children are healthy and
make the right choices in life. They
are bound to fail just as we are bound to fail as parents. The best we can do is tighten our seat belts
and provide our children with the skills necessary to fly their plane safely to
its destination. We pray that they
enjoy the ride and, most importantly, that we reach our destination long before
they do.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Indian Corn

On Friday, my son brought me a note when I picked him up from preschool. The note said, “We are decorating our room for the autumn, please
bring in some Indian corn on Monday.” I made a quick mental note to remember to pick up some Indian corn from
the store and rushed to get some grocery shopping done.

Monday morning came and I dropped him off at school as
usual. I went walking, ran some
errands, and wrote my blog for the day. Then I packed my daughter in the car to pick my son up at school. While waiting in the long line of minivans
and SUVs, I decided to sort through the papers in the passenger seat. They tend to pile up on me as the week goes
on. There it was: the orange note,
staring at me, reminding me of my inadequacies as a Mother. My heart sank when I realized that I had
forgotten the Indian corn. It had
completely slipped my mind.

I was probably the twelfth parent in line that day. I obsessed as I waited about my son’s
non-contribution to the classroom’s autumn decorations. Was he the only kid who did not bring a
decoration? What did his teacher
think? Did he feel left out? Did the decorations look barren and
incomplete without the beloved autumn staple, Indian corn? What had I done? My son’s teacher smiled and put him into the van. We exchanged greetings and the door was
shut. I pulled forward about 20 feet
before strapping my son into his car seat (this is how we are instructed to
handle pick-up in order to prevent delays). I jumped out of the car and started the arduous task of strapping my
energetic son into his car seat.

Here’s the conversation that took place:

Me: “Did you decorate your room for autumn today?”
Son: “Yes.”
Me: “Did everyone
bring a decoration?”

Son: “Yes. I didn’t though.”
Me: “Were you the
only one?”
Son. “Yes, but it’s
OK. I ate a cupcake.”

I was crushed.  I was hoping for at least one other forgetful Mom.  My
poor baby was the only student who’s Mom forgot to send his
decoration. Great. I’m the loser Mom of the preschool
scene. The next time they decorate
their room, I’m sure I’ll be assigned some inconsequential item like mistletoe
or a popcorn garland. Gone are the
glory days of Indian corn. I can no
longer be trusted. I doubt I’ll be
asked to bring a special snack again or be the classroom Mom.  What if I don’t show up?

I have GOT to make this right. So, today, I will be purchasing Indian corn. I’ll send it to school with him on Wednesday
along with a self-deprecating note apologizing for my forgetfulness. Maybe I’ll throw in a miniature pumpkin for
good measure. I will not be “that
Mom.” My son will not be the kid that
the teachers feel sorry for. I’ve got
my work cut out for me.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Surrendering the Fantasy

My son asked me if I knew what a turnstile was this
morning. I paused, thought about it,
and realized that, although I had heard the word countless times, I could not
quite place what it meant. I told him
that I wasn’t sure but I thought that it was like a lazy Susan. He looked at me like I was crazy and said,
“What? No it isn’t.” So I asked what it was. He said, “Remember when we were at Disney
World? They had turnstiles before we
walked in.”

Not quite sure what he was talking about, I replied with my
standard acknowledgment, “Oh.” I knew
that, at some point during the day, I would have to figure out what a turnstile
was. I kept doing mental scans of the
entrance to Disney World, trying to find something that remotely resembled a
lazy Susan. I was wholly (and
erroneously) convinced that a turnstile and a lazy Susan were synonymous.

After I dropped him off at preschool, I met some friends for
my morning walk. Resigned to the
prospect of surrendering the façade that I am actually a relatively intelligent
human being, I discreetly asked one of my friends what a turnstile was. She immediately said, “Well, a perfect
example of a turnstile is at the entrance to Disney World. They are those silver things that you push
through when you enter the park.” My
son was right.

This turnstile incident was the first time that my son has
actually known a bit of factual information that I did not. What an epiphany that was. I thought that his knowledge would not
surpass mine until he was well into his teens. I guess I was wrong. It is a sad
day when your three-year-old’s vocabulary is superior to your own. I know that I should be pleased because he
is obviously very smart and retains information easily. I just desperately want him to see me as a
brilliant scholar, capable of answering any question he may pose. I might as well surrender that fantasy
though, because my son has an incredible memory and six months or so from now
he will say, “Remember when you told me that a turnstile was a lazy Susan? That was silly.”

Sunday, October 8, 2006

For the Kids

Finding a good compilation album of children’s music is
challenging, to say the least. One surprisingly
good one is “For the Kids.” Released by
Nettwerk Records in 2002, “For the Kids” features several well-known artists
singing both classic and not-so-classic children’s songs. This one is definitely one of my favorites
because it has a nostalgia factor with some classic songs for our generation as
well as some very appealing new songs. Children of the seventies can rock out to Cake singing, “Mahna
Mahna.” This song will bring back
memories of hippie puppets on “Sesame Street” that looked like they were
straight out of a commune, singing a nonsense song. My son’s favorite song is “La La La Lemon” by the Barenaked Ladies. He cracks up every time he hears it.  He also loves “Snow Day” by Bleu even though,
at three-years-old, he has no idea what a snow day is. My favorite song, by far, is “Wonderwheel”
by Dan Zanes. I make my children listen
to it over and over again. It is one of
those songs that fills you with joy every time you hear it. With a few exceptions, most of the 16 tracks
on “For the Kids” are great. I highly
recommend it.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Primetime Grattitude

I know that, in the past, I have touted myself as a social
butterfly, which I am, to some degree. That is the way that I like it. I am most content when my schedule is full. I’ve got many activities during the day with my children as well
as many in the evenings without them. I do not, however, make it to every event that I am invited to. I treasure my evenings and, aside from
clogging, keep my attendance to the other events to a minimum.

My husband leaves the house before I wake up in the morning
so the evenings are, literally, the only quality time that I get to spend with
him during the work week. Sometimes he gets a wild hair and
spends the evening working on some random home repair project that would take
most people at least 12 hours but, give my husband a roll of duct tape and some
caulking and he can fix anything in less than two hours. Most nights, though, we both need a
reprieve. He deals with a high stress
job and the general public all day long. My days are spent saving my daughter from putting foreign objects in her
mouth and dealing with the unpredictable and highly volatile behavior of a
three-year-old. The 2006 primetime
line-up creates the perfect opportunity for both of us to decompress. So, thank you “Lost” for giving my husband
and I something in common to obsess about during the week. Thank you “Grey’s Anatomy” for keeping us
entertained and for providing some major eye candy for both of us. And, most importantly, thank you Jon Stewart
for making us spit out our drinks in laughter nightly and keeping us abreast of
current events.  WIthout these shows, we might actually have to speak to each other.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Picked last for Dodge Ball

My son is a klutz.  He will trip and fall while walking on a completely flat, paved surface.  Watching him run is like riding in the passenger seat with a drunk driver, constantly waiting for an accident to happen.  My husband and I like to take walks in the evenings on a paved trail that runs through our town.  On average, my son runs into at least three people during every walk.  This is not a joke.  He walks directly into them, usually hitting them with his head first, which can be unfortunate for some unsuspecting men (my son is a little over three feet tall and has a very large head).  I’m not sure how this happens.  It isn’t as if he is looking behind him or beside him.  His eyes are forward and open.  How does he run into 150 pound, 5-6 feet tall human beings so often? 

I am usually unable to relax and enjoy the walk because I am so worried about my son’s safety and that of those around him.  I have to constantly remind him to watch where he is going.  He doesn’t enjoy this very much and gets pretty defensive.  “I am watching where I’m going.”  Usually, three to four seconds after he says this, he runs into a pole or a person.  This is just when he is walking.  Running is an even more perilous activity.

My son’s lack of grace is certainly not high on my list of concerns.  He may have to work a little harder at sports and he probably will not get chosen first when the dodge ball teams are picked in P.E., but that’s OK.  All of these fall into the, “that which does not kill us makes us stronger” category.  After all, I was usually one of the last three girls picked for dodge ball in grade school.  In high school, I wasn’t good enough for the tennis team so I became the team manager.  I even played the flute in the marching band and I turned out OK.

Obviously, I would prefer that both of my children have a positive social experience in school but do I really want them to be the most popular kid?  I think not.  Unchecked popularity and social ease only contribute to the sense of entitlement that our kids are destined to have.  I’d prefer that my kids have some obstacles to overcome.  Instead of bragging to my friends about my son’s game on Friday night, I think I’ll be quite content to say, “My son may be a klutz but he’s a computer genius.  You should see the PC he built out of a paper towel roll and some clothes hangers.”

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Dirty Little Secret

I have a dirty little secret. I am a clogger. Yep,
that’s right, a clogger. Every Tuesday
night I head to the dance hall to clog my heart out with a bunch of
other women (and a couple of men) who share my obsession with bluegrass music
and fast-moving, toe-tapping fun. I
also try to play tennis once a week, have the “Hot Mamas” movie night once a
month, and two Mom’s Night Outs each month; not to mention the inevitable 2-3
home “buy me” parties that I get invited to. Suffice it to say, I am a busy woman.

My husband is, for the most part, very supportive of my
extracurricular activities. He is more
than happy to watch the kids while I go out and clog, play tennis, or hang out
with my friends. He realizes that this
time is important to me and that it actually makes me a better mom and wife to
get away occasionally. Last night,
however, was a different story. I
called him as I was leaving clogging to tell him I was going to get dinner with
my friend (this is what I do every week). There was a pause and I asked him what was wrong. He proceeded to tell me that he was hungry
and there was nothing to eat in the house. Well, this was not true. Granted, it was pretty slim pickins in our pantry but there was food. There were sandwiches, chips, apples,
macaroni and cheese, and pretzels. He
most certainly could have had a decent meal. After going over that list of choices with him, I got no response, just
silence. I waited. He finally spoke and in a morose voice said,
“OK. Have fun. I’ll see you when you get home.” He was clearly upset and this was highly
unusual. I decided to let it go and
enjoy my meal.

When I got home, I found him sitting on the couch, spooning
lima beans into his mouth directly out of the pot that they were cooked
in. As I entered the kitchen I
discovered that he had taken the pre-made Beef Stroganoff Crock Pot meal (the ones that come in the bag and all you have to do is throw them in the
Crock pot all day) out of the container and poured it into a pot. He then attempted to cook it on the
stovetop. Obviously, his attempt at
instant Beef Stroganoff gratification was not successful. The Stroganoff was tossed and he ended up
cooking a can of lima beans. What a
delicious, well-rounded meal!

It consistently amazes me what poor communicators men can
be. Last night I discovered two things
about my husband:

  1. A hot meal is very important to him.

  2. He can be a little passive aggressive at 8:30 PM when he's hungry and alone, with no ramen noodles to comfort him.

So, from now on, I will be purchasing some type of pre-made
entrée that he can throw in the oven for himself on Tuesday nights. I am more than willing to make sacrifices
for my family but giving up clogging is not one of them. On Tuesday nights, I gots to get my clog on!

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Allergic to Babies

“If my sister gets up while I’m going potty, would you make
sure she doesn’t get my doggy? Cause
remember, she’s [doggy] allergic to babies.”

This is the first thing my son said when he woke up this
morning. Clearly my child with a
bladder the size of a chickpea, he made a B-line to the bathroom upon rousing this morning. He was not worried about
anything except his precious doggy. My
son has always needed some type of security blanket, usually in the form of a
stuffed animal. I was the same
way. I slept with the same tattered
blanket until I was 12 years old so I guess he is pretty much a carbon copy of

It is moments like this morning, when he says opens his
mouth and a sentence like that comes out, that I remember how sweet, smart and
funny my son really is. Yes, he drives
me nuts with his constant badgering and seemingly never-ending stream of

“Mom, can I have some milk?”
“Can I watch a movie?”
“I’m hungry.”
“When are we going outside?”
“Will you play with me?”

But he also makes my heart melt when he sees his sister in
distress and immediately brings her the teddy bear that he made her at
Build-A-Bear for her first birthday. He
put so much thought into making it that he assumes that seeing it will bring
her joy, regardless of the situation. How sweet is that?

Ironically, the qualities that I find most annoying in him
are the ones that are proof- positive that he is my son. I flew off the handle for no apparent reason
throughout my childhood (and, if I’m being totally honest, into my
adulthood). Just ask my Mother (or my
husband). I had to have my security
blanket to sleep. I still do it just
takes a different form: an eye-mask, aptly called “my eye thing.” I was desperately afraid of storms and water
slides and was the pickiest eater ever to grace a South Carolina table. My son reminds me of myself, only
three-years-old with very little self-control and an iron will. I guess I should be grateful that there is a
little version of me running around. Isn’t that the whole reason human beings want to reproduce?


Monday, October 2, 2006

Mad Skills Yo


In case you haven't noticed, I just discovered how to add graphics to my blog entries.  It makes them much more appealing, don't you think?  It is a true testament to my computer skills that it took me nearly a month to notice the photo icon on the post composition screen.

FYI:  This is NOT my child, just a picture I found on the web.

Kan't Doo

Kandoo wipes are a racket. For those of you unfamiliar with this
product, Kandoo wipes are small, moist wipes that are marketed to
toilet-trained toddlers for the purpose of wiping. They are made by Pampers and come in a cute purple and green
container that fits perfectly on top of the toilet. I buy them. My son
expects to be furnished with them and if we run out of refills, I run to the
store to get some.

One refill of Kandoo (50 wipes) runs me about $3.94 at my
local Wal-Mart. That works out to be
roughly 8 cents per wipe. Wow. That’s the first time I’ve done the
math. What this boils down to is that,
essentially, every time my son drops the kids off at the pool, we flush 8,
sometimes 16 (for big jobs), cents down the toilet, literally. What a crock.

Why does my son need wet wipes? He’s not in diapers anymore. Is he too good for toilet
paper? Is his pallor skin that has
never gotten a freckle because of the massive amounts of sunscreen I douse him
with anytime we are outside so delicate that Charmin would give him welts? I think not. Deep down, I know why I buy Kandoo wipes. I see them on TV in the hands of toddlers, wiping themselves with glee and
grinning for the camera. I see boxes of
Kandoo at my friends’ houses, glaring at me, daring me NOT to buy them. How mortifying would it be if my son drug
the box out of a friend's bathroom and said, “look Mom, they do
still make Kandoo wipes! See?”

My current situation allows for the extravagance of Kandoo
wipes. I only have one child that uses
the precious commodity. He’s a boy so
he does not wipe as often. What do
parents of girls do? They must have to
buy refills every week! If I have my
way, my daughter will never know what a Kandoo wipe is. She’ll think the charming green and purple
box is just a decoration that every family has.