Thursday, December 28, 2006


I've been censored.  My post today has been removed.  Sorry people.  I wasn't real keen on the idea but, after a long debate with my husband, I decided to delete it.  Sometimes even I have to make compromises to keep things kosher in the old homestead. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Worst Case Scenario

Getting pseudo-professional
pictures made of your children is one of the most stressful activities imaginable.  I am pretty faithful to the Picture People
because I like the simplicity of their backdrops and the non-cheesiness of
their props. I’ve gotten my son’s
picture taken at JCPenney a few times but  I have not been happy with their props and backdrops.  Why is it that every department store photo
studio provides ugly, cheap carpeted blocks for your kids to sit on?  It is one of the great mysteries of the universe.  Do they think that carpeted blocks are really elegant and attractive?  Or maybe they think carpeted blocks convey an element of realism that a simple chair could never do.  Perhaps the most realistic picture ever taken of my son was of
him sitting on a block of carpet in front of a wooden playground backdrop. I’ve been to many playgrounds and I’ve never
seen one with a randomly placed block of carpeted plywood.

My least favorite part of getting my children’s pictures
taken is the sweating. I sweat
profusely during the entire process. I
turn into a blubbering, red-faced, sweaty mess. It’s really a sight to see. My kids are both in the worse case scenario phase for picture taking. My son, who is four,
simply does not like to have his picture taken. He gets distracted and frustrated and asks constantly, “when are
we going to be done?” My daughter, on
the other hand, is far too young to follow instructions and does not trust
strangers. She wants me to hold her at
all times and she refuses to sit still. Getting them to smile simultaneously long enough to snap a photo is a
small miracle.

I am perfectly content with one good shot of the kids. The Picture People staff, unfortunately, are
not. They are trained to be salesman
and probably work off of some type of commission plan. As a result, they try to work in as many
different props, poses and backdrops as possible. By the time they are ready to call it quits, I am in desperate
need of a drink and my kids are keyed up from being stuck so long in a photo
shoot.  They end up running around the store like wild animals. I’ve gotten some priceless looks from
new Moms taking their new babies in for their first pictures. I always chuckle to myself because I was
once in their shoes, taking my precious sleeping baby to the studio and watching the other Moms, horrified by the behavior of their children. Karma is a bitch.

The least stressful part of picture taking is choosing your pictures.  The Picture People have an ingenious sales pitch. At most portrait studios you look at the
digital images on a computer screen and place your order based on those
images. The Picture People actually
print the pictures so that you walk out of there with your photos in
hand. While this is incredibly convenient, it is unbelievably difficult to
decide against purchasing a picture of your child when you know that it will
get thrown in the trash if you don’t fork out the $18 it costs to bring it home. I usually end up spending no less than $50
when I go there.  Less than 10 percent
of the pictures that I have purchased over the years are hanging on my
walls. Most of them are stored safely
in a drawer for future enjoyment. At least
they are not in a landfill.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Post Christmas Stress Syndrome

Top Ten Post-Christmas Stress Syndrome Triggers:

  1. The need for an industrial snow plow just to clear a path through the living room.

  2. The inability to button a pair of pants that fit four days ago.

  3. The impending removal of the Christmas tree, the Christmas lights, and the Christmas chochkies.

  4. My Mother-In-Law’s less than favorable reaction to my unusual but requested (yes, darnit, it was and verified! Too bad I’m the only one that remembers the conversation) gift.

  5. The internal argument about whether or not to write thank-you notes for gifts received. What’s the correct etiquette on that? Do I really want to know?

  6. The Visa bill.

  7. The Western Town that shoots out cannon balls with such force that my daughter actually has a small bruise on her forehead. Yikes.

  8. The four, that’s right, four new pieces of furniture that are packed into my daughter’s teeny, tiny little room.

  9. The referee uniform that I am forced to wear when my kids get into brawls over each other’s new toys.

  10. The leftovers confronting my newly-motivated-to-lose-weight self at every turn screaming, “Eat me or I will go bad. Don’t be wasteful. Just eat me. You can lose weight tomorrow.”

Here’s the good news. My kids are happily playing with their new toys and have left me alone
long enough to write this list. Things
could be worse.  I am, however, about to bite down on a piece of fudge at 10:30 in the morning.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Fallout

Christmas is upon us. I cannot believe how quickly it has come this year. It seems like just yesterday that I was
bitching about the early arrival of Santa Claus at the mall. Now, my kids have sat on his lap five or six
times, we’ve participated in several Christmas activities with friends and
family, and I am officially done with my Christmas shopping, down to the
groceries. Woo hoo! 

The menus are planned, the presents are wrapped, and all we
have left to do is put together toys on Christmas Eve. I stopped by the liquor store today to
ensure that my husband and I had enough spirits to get through this
process. Toys are packaged so
ridiculously these days that you need an arsenal of tools just to get them out
of the packages. We are armed with all varieties
of screwdrivers, an Exacto knife, a seemingly endless supply of batteries, and
several trash bags for the Christmas fallout. Tis the Season! 

I wish you and your families a wonderful Holiday
Season. Here’s to too many toys,
Christmas debt and American overindulgence! It’s second to none.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Shock and Awe

I’ve already discussed my feelings about Christmas
letters. Now, what about those pesky
little photo cards that accompany the Christmas letters or, more commonly,
arrive solo? They are an entirely
different story. Once a fairly uncommon
tradition, sending out photo cards is now a right of passage for young
parents. It is also a competition. We may not admit it, but it is.

Every time I get an envelope from someone with children in
the mail, I rip it open to check out the photo card. First, though, I take a minute to check out the exterior. Did Jennifer type or write her
addresses? What font did Alyson
use? Did Joann place a tasteful sticker
on the envelope seam? My printer is on
the fritz so my addresses were hand-written. I also took full advantage of the holiday labels that I received from
The Sierra Club and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in the hopes that I would
reciprocate with a donation to their respective charity. Did I? Nope. Do I feel guilty for using
the labels anyway? A little. Suffice it to say, the exterior of my cards
left something to be desired. I
definitely lost that contest.

The cards that I have received have run the gamut from very
traditional, single photo framed cards to super-creative, multiple image
folding cards. Some of my friends
clearly dropped some major bank designing these greetings but it was all worth
it when I opened the envelope and gazed covetously at the photo within. I even felt the need to scan some of them
and email them to friends. We marveled at
the cleverness and creativity of our counterparts and began making plans for
next year’s card.

Next year’s contest is in the bag. It’s mine to lose. This
year my card was very run-of-the-mill. It featured one photo and was very traditional. No more! I’ve got to compete with my creative friends and prove my worth as a
Mother and master of all things holiday. I’m thinking of asking my husband to build a manger and making elaborate
costumes so that we can recreate the Nativity for our card. That would necessitate having another baby,
though, so it may be out of the question. We could also dress as the cast from “A Christmas Story” and purchase a
leg lamp and some bunny costumes for the kids. That would be pretty classic. The days of the whole family cleverly clad in Santa hats are gone. Now, you have to wow your audience. Shock and awe, baby. Shock and awe.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Mary Lou

I paid $3 an hour for random strangers to watch my kid
today. Don’t worry. It was at a
gymnastics center. Gymnasts are, for
the most part, good people right? They
are usually really little and cute. Every gymnast, in my mind, is Mary Lou Retton.  Who doesn’t trust Mary Lou Retton with their
kid? Come on! I dropped my son off at 10:30 and picked him up at 2:15. It was a bargain at $12.00 for the entire
time. They are offering this service
every day this week from 10:00-8:00 and I am thinking that my son might become
a pretty familiar fixture around there.

It was so nice to spend some Q-time with my daughter and
have a pleasant, quiet lunch. I went
with a friend to P.F. Chang’s. We dined on lettuce wraps and pseudo-fancy Chinese cuisine. We had peaceful conversation and did a
little shopping. It was freakin’

My son was very happy to see me when I picked him up. He was sweaty and red-faced and had clearly been playing very hard. I asked him if he would
like to return another day this week and he immediately replied, “yes.” Score! The only downside to the whole thing was the fact that there was no real
system in place for dropping off and picking up your kids. Anyone could have picked up my son. They did not even know who I was. This made me a bit uneasy. My friend, however, knew the staff there
fairly well and assured me that they were good, trustworthy people. That fact, coupled with my Pavlov-esque
gymnast/Mary Lou Retton association, made me feel better about leaving him
there. I smiled just thinking about
Mary Lou picking my son up and putting him on the balance beam. She would praise him for his wobbly walk in
her perky, Mary Lou way and he would beam and blush with pride. It was bound to be a positive
experience. So what if I had to sign a
blanket waiver, right?


Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Free For All

My Christmas shopping is finally done and, much to my
dismay, I have had no trouble finding something else to obsess about: toy storage. The sheer volume of toys that my children will receive is, as in
years past and despite my best efforts to avoid over-buying, absurd and it is
creating a major issue in my limited space.

Christmas is a free for all. I don’t think there is any getting around it. My children have two sets of Grandparents
who like to get the “wow” factor on Christmas morning, aunts and uncles,
great-grandparents, and two parents who want awe-struck kids walking into the
living room, gazing starry eyed at the pile of loot from Santa. We set limits this year: three gifts from Santa and three gifts from
Mom and Dad. We stuck with it too. My husband and I wrapped gifts on Friday
night and, sure enough, there were six for each child. As a shopaholic and habitual over-spender, I
was pleased with my self-control and ability to stay within the confines that
we had originally proposed. Kudos to

There is still, however, the problem of space. Where will all of these toys go? I have done some purging and sold or donated
several of last year’s toys. There
still isn’t enough space. Next year I
will have to remember to budget not only money for presents for Christmas, but also money for storage
containers and home expansion projects. We need another room just to accommodate all of our new stuff.

I’ve told my husband that when our children get older I’d
like to take all of the money that we budget for Christmas gifts and go on some
type of service project vacation in a third world country or even some part of
our own country in which there are people in need. Certainly, the message that this activity will convey will be
much more in line with the spirit of Christmas than arrant commercialism. But, who am I kidding? My kids are going to be rockin’ out to their
new ipods on the plane to Mexico.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Naturally Homely

If good health was a given, would you rather live a shorter
life (around 70) and be effortlessly hot or live a longer life (around 85) and
be, well, not so hot?

This is the theoretical, ever-so-philosophical question
posed by my friend Jacquelyn at lunch today. It definitely got me thinking. She would choose to die young and hot. I think, if health was a given, I would choose a longer life. I realize that this question is completely
absurd but it is the stuff of good conversation and debate and I am always game
for either. 

What the question really boils down to is this: How much value do we place on physical
beauty in our society? Is it worth 15
years of your life? It is, at least in
theory, to Jacquelyn. That’s quite a
statement. What is effortless beauty
worth to me? And, if it is effortless,
doesn’t that render some of its innate value meaningless? Wouldn’t it be much more satisfying to
achieve a high ranking on the hotness scale through my own hard work rather
than just coming by it easily through liposuction, gastric bypass, or
sacrificing 15 years of my life in some grand theoretical life wager?

In order to determine my answer I need to clarify some
things with Jacquelyn (this is her question after all). If I choose to live a longer life, can I
make myself hot through exercise, diet and good skin care or am I just doomed
to a naturally homely existence regardless of what steps I take to enhance my
appearance? Can I change my mind when I
hit 65? What constitutes “good
health”? These are the things that I
need to know before I can provide an intelligent answer to this question. It’s a really important one as it is very
realistic and the answer impacts my life a great deal.

Next week’s question:

Would you sacrifice one of your thumbs for a lifetime of
financial freedom? Think about it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dollar Store Mamas

I’ve spent the vast majority of my day obsessing about gifts
for my son’s preschool teachers. The
reason for this obsession is the plural “teachers.” I took my son’s school roster off of the refrigerator this
morning so that I could plan my shopping trip. I was
surprised to discover that there are eight staff members at my son’s
preschool: one director, two
three-year-old teachers, two four-year-old teachers, two teacher assistants,
and one office assistant. My son is in
the three-year-old class and I have exchanged pleasantries with his teacher,
the office assistant, and one teacher assistant. So, who do I buy gifts for?

Do I buy gifts for both three-year-old teachers and the
director? What about the teacher’s
assistants? Do I buy for all of
them? How do I know which of the
assistants helps in my son’s classroom? I’ve tried to question my son about this topic he and claims to know every
single staff member. Apparently, he has
had some type of interaction with each of them. Darn that school and their excellent staff to child ratio! I guess this means that I am stuck
buying/making eight teacher gifts. What
a bum deal that is, and not just for me, for the teachers as well. What that means is that I will have to
stretch my budget as far as it will go and hit the dollar store for some
tasteful gifts that do NOT look like they came from the dollar store (crossing
my fingers that none of my son’s teachers read this blog).

My friend Alyson who, thankfully, does not send her son to
the same school as mine, has handmade not only gifts for each teacher, but also
a personalized gift for every student in her son’s class. What the hell is she thinking? Is she trying to make the rest of us look
bad? I pity Alyson’s counterparts in
her son’s class on the last day of school before the New Year. They will walk out of the school doors clad in festive Christmas attire with heads hanging low, feeling
inadequate and ashamed of their Chinese-made chalkboard “My Favorite
Teacher” ornaments and store-bought-but-packaged-to-look-homemade peanut
brittle. Poor, sad saps. They can just call me when they leave and
we’ll plan some type of elaborate, vengeful scenario designed to make her feel
inadequate and elevate the rest of us Dollar Store Mamas to her Pottery Barn
status. Any ideas? I’m thinking we could burn rubber stamps in
her yard and start a quilting bee behind her back. We could make a beautiful quilt for her son’s teacher’s birthday
present. That would put her hand-painted,
personalized picture frames to shame. Man, I’m
really filled with the Christmas spirit today!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Snot and Vomit

My family is racked with illness this week. Both my daughter and I are on
antibiotics. She has an ear infection
and a sinus infection and I have the latter with a horrendous headache and a
seemingly endless supply of green goo coming from the pit of my sinuses on a
regular basis. I hear the start of a
cough in my son and my husband is just getting over a similar ailment. Our house is one big fun factory right now. Anyone want to come over?

My daughter is especially fun. She is totally opposed to any type of medication. When I administer an oral suspension liquid,
I have to restrain her arms and lay her down while simultaneously holding her
mouth open. She spits and coughs, gags
and sometimes, if I’m lucky, vomits therefore nullifying the previous effort. This exercise in futility, coupled with her crusty
eyes and runny nose, has turned my daughter into a two-and-a-half-foot tall, walking
horror movie. Somehow, amidst the snot
and vomit, she still manages to exude cuteness and I love her even when she’s
spewing amoxicillin-laced vomit all over my crisp, white shirt.

I just picked up some eye drops for her at the
pharmacy. I’m really looking forward to
putting those in. I’m already dreaming
up different ways to restrain and distract her. Poor thing. I’m so glad
that I got our Christmas pictures made last week. I guess, though, that a Christmas picture of my snotty-nosed,
crusty eyed children would go pretty well with the brutally honest Christmas
. Maybe I’ll snap some shots of
them in their Christmas outfits tonight after a hefty serving of
spaghetti. That would certainly make a
great shot.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Family Drama

I’ve been thinking about Christmas letters today. They are usually just an outlet for people
to extol the virtue of their beautiful, successful families. They are rarely an exercise in brutal
honesty. I’ve decided to turn Christmas
letters on their heads and try my hand at a brutally honest one this year. I’m pretty sure this one won’t make the
Christmas cards but it certainly will be entertaining in comparison to the
“official” Hale Christmas letter.

2006 has been quite a year for our family. We toasted the year in style, with Andre
Champagne and a couple of rounds of “Battling Tops,” our burgeoning New Year’s
tradition. Julianne spent the beginning
of the year growing weary of her once-beloved dog. Her prayers were answered when she found a new home for him in
late March. She is still racked with
guilt about this decision but enjoys her dog-less life none-the-less. Sean was not 100% on board with this
decision and it will probably lead to resentment later in their marital

In April, the entire family traveled to Denver to visit
Julianne’s beloved Grandmother. It was
a nice visit but, less than a week later, Julianne spoke to her Grandmother on
the phone and she asked, “When are you going to come and visit me,
Julianne?” Again Julianne finds herself
racked with guilt. The Hale family
spent July in the redneck capital of the world, Pigeon Forge, with Sean’s
family. It was a great trip thanks to a
little bit of Dolly Parton and a whole lot of red wine. In October, our family took a trip with
Julianne’s relatives to Disney World. It was a wonderful vacation and the kids had an amazing time. We will definitely go back once we get out
of debt from this trip. We just got
back from our annual Thanksgiving trip to the Midwest. We came home just in time for some family
drama as our new Grandma (whom I have yet to meet) is in the process of
becoming our new ex-Grandma. Divorce is
never good news but I try to look on the bright side. I no longer have to buy a $50 Christmas present for someone I’ve
never met.

Here’s what everyone has been up to:

Sean is still enjoying his job and thriving. Despite his success, he still drives a
certified piece of crap car that I can hear coming from two miles away. He loves gardening and woodworking and combined
these two passions by building a smurf-sized greenhouse in our backyard. Seriously, a squirrel would be hard-pressed
to fit inside of it comfortably. I made
fun of him incessantly until last week when he came in the back door with a
bowl of fresh, delicious, organic baby spinach for our dinner salad. Yum.

Julianne finally started pursuing her career goal this
year. She decided to take the bull by
the horns and start writing. She
received her first rejection recently and has been paralyzed ever since. She is still enjoying the stay-at-home Mom
gig but would like to start contributing to the family income soon. This temporary paralysis is a bummer and
while she does enjoy blogging on, it doesn’t bring home the

Our son is four years old and in preschool. He loves school and his teacher sings his
praises whenever she gets the chance. Apparently, he is an angel in school. He is a sweet boy at home but he has a temper. Our current projects include learning to eat the food that Mommy
makes for dinner and committing to memory the following house rules: “No hitting. No kicking. No choking. No poking. No yelling. No telling.” We’ve got our work cut out for us.

Our daughter is 19 months old and is as sweet and calm as
any baby we have ever come across. Her
laid back nature nearly sent Julianne to the loony bin as she suffered panic
attacks worrying about her inability (or refusal) to walk. She finally took her first steps at 16.5
months old and has been on the go ever since. She is getting more teeth and we think we see some bling growing on her
head. She seems destined for some diva
behavior and we expect her tiara to come in any day now.

All in all, 2006 has been a good year. Our family is happy and healthy and riddled
with guilt. I guess that makes us no
different than the rest of the world. We thank God for family, friends, red wine and Dolly Parton. We wish you a holiday season filled with joy
and a new year that is heavy on the happiness and light on the guilt. Cheers!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Choking and Poking

“No hitting. No
kicking. No choking. No poking. No yelling. No telling.”

These are the Hale family house rules. The choking and poking portion (rhyming, for
some reason, is a necessity) were a recent addendum. Unfortunately, they were not added arbitrarily. We had a choking incident in our house
recently and it was an ugly one.

Last Saturday night we had some friends over for
dinner. We went all out with a
traditional turkey dinner complete with stuffing, green bean casserole (my
friend Alyson is knocked-up and this is the only vegetable she will eat so I
took it upon myself to nourish her poor, nutritionally-challenged baby), potato casserole and a
delicious dessert that the lovely folks at the Fresh Market prepared with
tender loving care. The night went really
well. We had five kids total and they
were all playing well together. There
were a few minor incidents but nothing to write home about until Camden
(Alyson’s son) had the audacity to ignore a request made by my son. Before I even knew there was a conflict, my
son had his hands around Camden’s neck and was yelling like Fidel Castro and
strangling him right in the middle of the living room for all eyes to see. Ugghhh. What a nightmare. I immediately
removed him from the situation and took him to his room to talk to him. Here’s the conversation that took place:

Me: Choking your
friend is completely unacceptable. DO

Son: Yes.

Me: Why did you do

Son: Because I asked
Camden to please give me the train he was playing with and he didn’t answer me.

Me: Being ignored
does not justify choking. Nothing justifies choking. We do not hit,
kick, choke, poke, tell or yell in this house. EVER. This was when I decided to make an impromptu addendum to the
rules. I’m pretty clever with my poking
and choking rhyme aren’t I?

Son: Yes.

Me: Now you will
march back in there and apologize to Camden for choking him.  Are we clear?

Son: Yes. (Runs into living room) Camden, I’m sorry I choked you.

Shortly after that Alyson and her husband left. I was reeling for days about the incident
and still feel terrible. What in the
world was my son thinking? What caused
him to react that way and, most importantly, where did he learn to
strangle? My husband and I rarely have
verbal disagreements let alone down and dirty fights. I can say, with complete certainty, that my son has never seen my
husband choke me, or vice-versa. The
only explanation that I could come up with was that he either witnessed a
choking incident at school or on T.V. The
latter is definitely the most likely answer as he goes to a Baptist preschool
and his teacher, from what I have seen, has a great deal of control in the
classroom. Jimmy Neutron and Sponge Bob
are the likely teachers of the fine art of strangling. So, in order to prevent future incidents, I
have decided to closely monitor and limit my son’s television viewing.  I am also giving serious thought to enrolling
him in Karate. I’ve heard it provides
an excellent medium for teaching self-control and confidence. Plus, I’ve always wanted a reason to do my
Mr. Miyagi impression.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Festivus Tour of Homes

I am filled with the Christmas spirit today, a nice little cocktail of envy
and self-pity. I went on a tour of
homes last night with some friends. After a robust meal and some drinks we embarked on a journey that would
take us to four different houses in a small area of the city. Each of the homes was decked out in an
absurd amount of Christmas cheer. The
houses were, of course, miraculously clean. Each of the dining room tables was dinner-ready with beautiful holiday
china and crystal surrounding amazing centerpieces.  Every shelf was filled with Christmas chochkies of all
varieties. One house had so many Santa
Claus statues that an attempt to count them would result in the same outcome as
an attempt to count the stars in the sky.

Every path leading to every home was impeccably decorated
with tasteful luminaries and impressive landscaping. Aside from one home that took us on a nostalgic trip back to
1993, complete with elaborate floral wallpaper and puffy window treatments; the
homes were all flawlessly decorated with the ever-unattainable (for me at
least) attention to detail that makes one house stand out from the
rest. Each hostess provided a plethora
of finger food and refreshments. They
were all extremely sweet in a southern Paula Dean kind of way. They drew our attention to the especially
creative Christmas d├ęcor and explained to their captivated audience where their
inspiration came from. We all listened
and nodded thinking things like, “Perfume bottles on a Christmas tree? How clever” and “Oh, Santa Claus and Mardi
Gras. I get the connection.” And, at the time, we really did.

The tastefully creative unique decorations displayed by
these women of abundant means made my
Christmas-tree-decorated-only-in-Pez-dispensers and garden-gnome-dressed-in-a-Santa-suit
ideas seem silly and, frankly, a little pathetic. I definitely enjoyed the tour of homes and I did, despite my
cynicism, get a little dose of Christmas spirit. I think, though, that my friends and I should start a tour of
homes for the domestically challenged next year in order to counteract the effects of the real tour of homes. We could call it a “Festivus Tour of Homes,” a tour of homes for the
rest of us.

Monday, December 4, 2006

The Importance of Clean Sheets

Right now my son is taking a nap. He is sleeping on top of his waterproof mattress pad with no
sheet on the bed. His head is resting
on a pillow draped in a newly laundered pillowcase but his body is resting on a
fairly rough mystery material that keeps bed wetters from doing any permanent
damage to the mattress, a must have for any parents of young children. This arrangement is not one that I am proud
of but, nonetheless, it is the current state of affairs in my house. This happens more often than I’d like to

In the middle of the night last night, my son came bounding
up the stairs and woke me up by repeating my name over and over, “Mommy, mommy,
mommy.” I asked him what was
wrong. He said, “I’m wet.” Having lived through this scenario many times
prior, I knew that he was telling the truth and I immediately started peeling
off his pajama bottoms. They were
soaked. His pull-up was, miraculously,
fairly dry. This is the mystery of
boys. How can the underwear remain dry
while the pants get completely soaked? It’s some sort of freakish phenomenon that seems to happen on a fairly
regular basis in the case of my son. I
took his hand and led him down the stairs back to his room. I got another pair of pajama pants out of
the drawer and put them on him. I
grabbed a towel from the linen closet and threw it over the wet spot on the
sheets, tucked my son back in and went back upstairs as quickly as
possible. I managed to do all of these
things in a state of limbo, half asleep, half awake. The second my head hit the pillow I was back in dreamland. 

I had every intention of getting my son’s bedding washed and
put back on before naptime today but it just didn’t happen. His bedding was still in the washer this
afternoon and his nap could no longer wait. Instead of putting some oversized sheets on my son’s bed temporarily, I
threw my extra mattress protector on his bed (yes, it was clean), put him on
top with a quilt to cover up with, read him stories and kissed him
goodnight. He did not think twice about
it and had no problems jumping in bed under these circumstances. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad
thing. Apparently, he is so accustomed
to sleeping on a bed with no sheets that he thinks it is the norm. 

As I write this, I am a little worried that I am alone in
this practice. Will people read this
and think, “I cannot believe that she would allow her son to sleep on
his mattress pad.” Will my In-Laws read
it and call my husband at work to discuss my lack of skills as a Mother? Will my own Mother call me and give me a
little mini-lecture on the art of time management and the importance of clean
sheets? I have my comeback ready. I understand the importance of time
management and clean sheets but the two are not mutually exclusive. How is putting clean sheets on a bed for the
purpose of a two hour nap, risking the possibility of having another
bed-wetting episode and having two wash sheets and a mattress pad
instead of just the latter effective time management? If my son, as a result of his destitute Mother, doesn’t know that
sleeping on a bed without sheets is unusual, then what difference does it make?

Friday, December 1, 2006

The WOW Factor

My friend Jacquelyn just bought her son the Lightning
McQueen Power Wheels for Christmas. It
is really cute and will definitely have the “Wow” factor on Christmas
morning. I was with her when she bought
it and kept picturing her son’s face when he walks into the living room on
Sunday morning and sees that under the tree. He will go nuts, probably performing some type of improvisational song
and dance routine out of sheer joy (the theatrics in the Byrne family tend to
run pretty deep).

I’d love to get my son the same Power Wheels. His favorite movie is “Cars” and he
absolutely loves all of the characters. He does not, however, love Power Wheels. I would classify his feelings towards Power Wheels as
apprehensive at best and sheer terror at worst.

A couple of months ago we were at his friend Katherine’s
house (another Byrne). It was a
beautiful day and we were letting the kids run around outside. It was not long before Katherine pulled her
toddler sized jeep out of the garage as fast as it could go, coming to a
screeching halt in the driveway. Upon
seeing Katherine in the Jeep my son did not, as one would expect, run towards
the automobile and beg to have a turn at the wheel. Instead, he raced towards the door as fast as he could in
fear. He wanted nothing to do with that
Jeep. Katherine figured this out pretty
quickly and would hop into the jeep and start the engine just to see him sprint. It was both
hilarious and sad at the same time. In
the past few months he has made major strides.  He has agreed to ride in the Jeep but only as a
passenger. He lets Katherine do all of
the driving and, surprisingly, doesn’t freak out when she applies the breaks
two feet before she skids to a stop at full speed, barely missing having a head
on collision with a fairly sizable pop-up camper. She’s quite a driver, very capable but very fast.

My son will not be getting a Power Wheels for
Christmas. Until my daughter is old
enough to play the role of his chauffer, it will be a waste of money. I will have to bide my time until next year
when I can groom my daughter to ask Santa Claus for a pimped-out Barbie Power
Wheels. We’ll get a two-seater so they
can both enjoy it.  My husband will be so pleased.