Friday, November 2, 2007

This Really Happened

"Hey Mama, look at the elephant I made!"

"Wow--look at his enormous ears."

"Yep. And also I made an enormous nose, an enormous butt, and an enormous penis."

Okay, then.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Context Shmontext

"Vermouth??!!! You can't handle Vermouth!!!!!"

--I think it stands pretty well on its own, don't you?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Few Minor Things

My mother-in law can stand on her head. And not with her feet against the wall, either. You know the pose--I call it "Getting Ready to Go Through the Birth Canal"--where you put your head on the floor and your knees on your elbows and then gracefully lift your feet into the air until your body resembles a flag pole. Yeah, me either. But I've seen it done. And while this may not astound you young and flexible types, let me tell you that my mother-in-law is probably almost twice your age. Not old, definitely not elderly, my mother-in-law is one of those women who I just know will live long enough to raise money for my funeral by posing for one of those Naked Old Ladies calendars. And she will be the best looking. There is an old family story that says someone was complaining about their weight and my mother-in-law said, "Just come to my house for two weeks. That's all I need to whip you into shape."

She has one of those immaculate townhouses where you know to take off your shoes -and wish you could hack off your grimy feet at the ankles- before you enter. Once I spent a week there while our floors were being done and I compulsively cleaned up after myself every moment of every day. But it didn't stick.

When Pete and I have had our fill of the mental illness we euphemistically refer to as parenting, we call my mother-in-law to babysit. Invariably she asks for something to do while we are gone, because she gets bored. Apparently it is not enough for her to stare at the television and contemplate what she thinks she might have time to prepare to eat during the next commercial. "Give me something to do," she says. "I can fold laundry or whatever. Anything. I get bored." I always refuse. I give her a DVD and the remote and run like hell out the door. Come to think of it, though, I do have a few things I've been meaning to get to.

Here's a partial list.

1. There is a splatter of coffee on the stairwell wall that has been there since 2002. That was when Pete spilled it and refused to wipe it up because he was actually bringing the coffee to me. After a battle of wills that lasted three months, I finally cleaned the coffee off the rug, but I can only go so far and still keep my dignity.

2. There is something that resembles a booger on the bedroom wall. In the kids' room? No, ours. On Pete's side of the bed. In any case, that should just take a minute. You can use Pete's pillow case if you like.

3. There is some vacuuming to do in the basement. Those little white round things hanging from the joists are not party lights. They are egg sacs. From spiders. In a colony the size of which would make Warren Jeffs beam.

4. While you're down there, maybe you can take a moment to take care of that yucky I-emptied-but-didn't-clean-the-deep-freezer-when-the-power-went-out-in-August smell. That would be helpful.

5. There is a dress on the floor by the washing machine. It has been there since our friends got married four years ago. Why? Because while I thought I looked incredibly sexy in it, subsequent wedding reception photos told me differently and I left it there thinking I would wear it again when I lost some weight and gained some abs. Plus it needs to be dry-cleaned and those kinds of things I only wear once.

6. If you're really ambitious, you could brush the dog. He really loves it when you do that. You'll need a contractor's bag and a canine straitjacket for this job.

7. If you're really bored, you could try to clean out the fridge a little. You can probably guess what belongs there and what doesn't. For instance, 8 gallons of whole milk? Those belong. A toddler's slipper and a plastic letter M? Give 'em a quick smell, but those could probably get thrown out.

8. Throughout the house, on every level, you will find stacks and stacks of mail, fliers, ripped-out reminders from newspapers, downloaded lyrics sheets, and mathematics scratch-papers. These belong to your son. I have tried every method imaginable to control this paper storm, including forcing him to take it with him whenever he leaves the house, to no avail. Maybe you could pack them in one of those bazillions of boxes of his stuff that you shipped to our house when we got married? Then we'll just mark it, "Valuable Things," and send it to Thing One's wife when he gets married.

9. Thing Two is over a year old. If you have time, she could probably use a bath. Take pictures, though, okay? The first one is a milestone.

10. Finally, if you could just do a quick run-through in my car, it has been "Mom-ed." You know, sour-milk sippy cups rolling around under the seats, cast-iron french fries and chicken nuggets stuffed into the cushions, that sort of thing.

Don't feel obligated to fill all of your time though. These things are not priorities, they are just busy-work. Take a break. Relax. Do some headstands.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Politicians Make Larry Strange Bedfellows

This week it was (finally) revealed that Idaho Republican Senator Larry "I am not nor have I ever been gay" Craig was arrested in June at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport for allegedly soliciting anonymous sex from an undercover police officer in the men's bathroom.

Police reports state that Mr. Craig made "inappropriate toe and finger gestures" - which are widely known to be solicitations for anonymous sex - in the presence of an undercover police officer. The alleged gestures included sliding his foot under the stall and rubbing the officer's foot in the next stall. Mr. "I am not nor have I ever been involved in inappropriate conduct" Craig states that his finger and toe gestures were simply misconstrued and that his foot "may" have touched the officer's foot in the next stall, but only because he has a "very wide stance" when using the toilet.

Seriously, Lar, if your stance is that wide either the toilet is a hole in the floor or your legs are longer than your Pinocchio nose.

According to police and apparently several gay anonymous sex websites, tapping your toe in the next stall is secret code for "I want to have anonymous gay sex with you right here in front of the toilet." In all fairness to Mr. "There is not nor has there ever been a fairy on the prairie" Craig, could we be a little more specific about the toe tapping? What exactly is the secret code? Is it Morse Code for, "Hey, haven't I not seen you ever here before"? "Don't I not know you?" "What's a straight guy like you not doing in a place like this?" Perhaps it was a simple request for toilet paper?

In any case, Lar, I too think it's time for you to come out of the, uh, stall. You can still have bathroom sex with an undercover police officer. Or a domineering French butler. Your call.

And finally, while I'm here, which one of you douche bags got to my blog by Googling daddy finger spank?????

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I'm Not Getting Paid for This

If you like motorcycles, or motorcycle stuff, or even just like to hang out with people who really do like motorcycles or motorcycle stuff, go here to buy, sell, or trade your motorcycle stuff:

http://www.cyclehound.com/

According to my friend, who is kind of a decent guy, http://www.cyclehound.com/ is a FREE site to BUY, SELL and TRADE motorcycle stuff and just $25 for bike ads. The first bike ad is FREE too with the COUPON CODE: 1free (used when placing the ad).

I think word of mouth is the way to go when building or expanding your business, so this is a great place to add the link to http://www.cyclehound.com/ . I mean, just think, I get one hit a day on this blog--and that's usually me checking to see if I got any hits on my blog. If I go to http://www.cyclehound.com/ and tell me about it, then I go to http://www.cyclehound.com/ and tell myself about it, well I think you can understand the implications for my friend's business.

http://www.cyclehound.com/

Friday, August 3, 2007

The (Internal) Vagina Monologue

As Thing Two approaches her first birthday this month, I feel a slight panic setting in. But I'm not reaaaddy!!!!

Not ready for walking? Nah, I'll just take some friendly advice and knock her down.

Not ready for sibling rivalry? Trust me, Thing Two has proven herself a brave, bloody, and worthy opponent.

It's not nostalgia or sentimentality that has me daydreaming these days--it's boobies and bicycles.

Thing Two is done nursing. I know this because of the high-pitched scream she produces each time I present her with the prize. She retracts the scream only when a sippy cup is lodged in her mouth.

Although I'm not one of those women who insist despite all evidence to the contrary that nursing your offspring until they are 30 is indicative of extra-good mental health and selflessness, I would have liked to continue just a bit longer. You see, the wonderful scientists at WeightWatchers gift nursing moms with an extra ten points a day. Points which, if you are familiar with the program at all, you will remember allow a nursing mom like me to continue to eat like a junkyard dog with little or no real exercise while still achieving my weight-loss goal.

Now, as Thing Two gnashes breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that would astound the Monty Python Just-One-More-Mint Fat Guy, Thing One and I seem to be competing to see which one of us can survive on the least amount of bread crumbs a day. Even thus, I am still required to get in 5, 435 minutes of "fast-paced" exercise a day in order to shed a pound.

So, what is a lazy mom with an epic case of exercised-induced hives to do? Bicycling, my friends. Bicycling. Take out a second mortgage to pay for a Burley to attach to the back of my bike, strap the spawn in with nothing in arms reach to throw at passing cars, and go. The great thing about riding a bike is you can do a minimal amount of work and then coast for a breeze. Work, coast. Work, coast. Definitely my kind of fitness. I have even taken to going on long bike rides by myself after the kids go to bed, and I am honestly astounded at the distance one can cover on a bike.

If you intend on following in my healthy example, however, and want to ensure you are able to enjoy the biblical act ever again in the future, I have two words for you: Bicycle shorts.

I know. They're not pretty, but they are definitely a necessity. For men, the choice is limited to a pair of skin-tight black Spandex with a video rocker built in. Thankfully, I was born a woman so I could choose the much-lovelier skin-tight Spandex skort with the couch-cushion crotch. I wore it last night on an 8-mile ride. Sort of cute in a Monster Truck All-Star cheerleader kind of way. And way cushy. But I still don't trust the ride. And I am convinced that each and every other cyclist I pass along the way knows what's going on. At first I imagined they were thinking, Look at the cute mama in the skort riding her bike with such talent. She must be really healthy. Then I recognized my folly. What they were really thinking - each and every one of them, I know - was,

Now there goes a woman trying really hard to keep her vagina from touching her bicycle seat.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

What's That Again?

Me: "Hey Pete, 'member when Thing One used to stand in the living room window and scream, 'DADDY'S COCK!!!!!!!' for the whole neighborhood?"

Pete: "Truck. He was saying, 'Daddy's truck.'"

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Overheard at the Park

"I could never just get my kid a Black baby doll. I would feel pretentious or overreaching or something."

"Well, yeah, but I think I understand what she is trying to do. It sort of defeats the whole purpose if the White girl is dragging the naked Black girl through the sand behind her, though, don't you think?"

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

How To Drive Your Wife Absolutely Crazy in Bed

Announce, by way of an historically unprecedented "half-birthday" card - without Previous Spousal Error - that you have gotten her a gift which will arrive in the mail today. Then watch her run to the ungifted mailbox daily and then lie awake at night, bubbling with anticipation, as she wonders if said gift is ever, ever, ever going to arrive. Now that's hot.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Lookin For a Hard-Footed Woman

The other night I was painting nail polish onto that little flap of skin on my pinkie toe, trying to make it look like a real toenail, and I got to thinking about the ridiculous amounts of money gullible fools like myself spend in the name of beauty - or in the case of my feet, extensive rehab - when we can usually get the job done for a lot less with a few simple tools from Sears.
I spent my hour of "me time" in the toenail aisle at Target (I only went for toothpaste), hopefully scanning the labels for something that read, "Use just once and your blackened, abused, leather-calloused feet will turn creamy white. With no effort. Also guaranteed to shrink those knuckly finger-toes." With no luck, I grudgingly spent like $7 okay $9 well $9.99 on a home pedicure kit. When I got it home and examined the implements of my transformation, I was furious. Duped again! I had all of this stuff in my house already.


This pretty little number is called a pumice. To soften and gently scrub away your callouses.








Feeling a little sheepish, I ran to the toddler contraband bowl on the kitchen table, where we keep all of our tools and implements of toddler destruction, to find that yes indeed, I already owned a pumice; Hardware Hank calls it a sanding block. Perhaps someone like myself could try a belt sander next time?







Next, we have the heavier-duty, well, I don't know exactly what it's called. Callous grinder, perhaps?







Again, I ransack the kitchen looking for a familiar something that I knew, just knew, I already had. It is a backup instrument used to play along with Dan Zanes and friends. We also use it sometimes as a cheese grater. No yucky foot-pun intended.



Finally, if you cant scrub it off or grate it off, perhaps the Lady wouldst like to
lop it off like a slice of...




Cheese?

Whacked On the Butt

You know how when people sit around and talk about the pros and cons of spanking, you always hear someone say something ridiculous like, "Well, the only way I would spank is if he was running into the street or something"? Right. Because then it is justified. I am always left to think, Well, okay then, what about if he drank Drano? Poked himself in the eye running with a pencil? What if he swallowed a dirty quarter? It's the principle, right?


None of this matters. What I want to talk about is the 500 or so things I never ever in the whole of the universe thought I would do as a parent.

Things like going to the local firehouse and asking them if maybe, on a day that they weren't so busy fighting fires and stuff, they might come to a certain corner with their ladder truck and get a cheap-ass kite down from a telephone pole. (They said maybe, but after some thought I decided it was probably so they could lure me into giving them my name and number for future crazy-lady identification purposes).

Or like lugging Thing One and Thing Two to a Volkswagon showroom and telling the salesman, "We don't have any money; I just wanted to show my son his first love up close and personal."

Things like letting the not-quite-able-to-unlock-the-door-but-sure-as-hell-able-to-lock-it toddler into the house before me, with the keys, in the bone-chilling springtime cold and then pleading with him to "turn that little black thing." "No this way." "No, honey, I can't do it. Can you do it?"

Or biting him back when he bit me for like 8 months one time. I know. But not hard.

Or giving him a whack on the butt in the middle of Rainbow Foods produce aisle. Yes I did, and do you wanna know why? Because he was throwing things out of the cart left and right. Grabbing things off the shelves. Jumping on his head. Why couldn't I restrain him, you ask? Well, for one thing, he spent his nap time that day practicing the "Mama you have a nice blanket" (Lo-di lo-di lo-di) song rather than snoring. I should know better than to expose him to humankind when he hasn't had a nap. And furthermore, the only grocery store left in the Twin Cities area that I can securely restrain both of my children in the cart at the same time is Costco, and I did not need a case of cilantro that day.

So there's Thing Two strapped into the front of the cart, chewing on my shopping list, and Thing One is in the big part, grinning, drooling, and loaded for buck. See the thing is, up until like 75 days ago, Thing One did not do bad things. That is why my friends laugh at me. For them, I think it's a little like seeing someone fall down the stairs. A little sad, but freakin hilARious.

Out goes the bread. I give the look. For which I receive the deli meat, right in the look. I tried to include him into behaving. "Here, you hold the milk." He wouldn't throw the milk, would he? With a big-brotherly flourish, he tosses the milk up front for Thing Two to hold. The milk doesn't fit in the same cart as her thighs, so Thing Two shrieks.

Then I try to nice him into behaving. In a nanosecond of calm, I remember the Good Mommies and say, "Wow, see now that's the behavior I like". This is lobbed back to me in the form of his shirt. I try to keep him busy putting on his shirt while I run through my grocery list, but he keeps throwing it at the elderly woman who is keeping a nervous eye on us.

Leave the cart full of groceries you say? Uh uh. These are MY groceries, this is MY grocery trip, and I am going to make veggie burgers for supper tonight if I have to duct tape him to the wall while I do it. Maybe you see from whence the power struggle is originating?

Finally, in a moment of desperation, I tell him, "If you do not let go of the butcher, I will spank your little butt."

"Noho ho ho you won't." And then, then he laughed at me.

It'sallaboutfollowthroughnowyouhavetodotitit'sallaboutfollowthroughnowyouhavetodoit....

Quick look for witnesses, and a hearty whack on the butt, along with some nice, low, Tony Soprano-ish threats.

He didn't even cry. Just gaped. For about thirty seconds. Then back to jumping-on-head business.

Later, over veggie burgers, I say, "Thing One, tell daddy about the grocery store."

"Mama spanked my little butt. Like this," and reaches around to give himself an ultimate cage-fighting type thump on the butt with an expression that would make Joan Crawford cringe.

"It wasn't that hard."

"Why did Mama spank your butt, Thing One?"

"Because Thing Two wouldn't hold the milk."

It's a Toddler's Prerogative

"Thing One, are you ready to go?"

"Wait, I just gotta run upstairs and change my mind."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Simple Meditation

Persistence is a good trait that will serve my child well...
persistence is a good trait that will serve my child well...
persistence is a good trait that will serve my child well...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Thing One, Tell me a Story

"Umm, the screw is gone. We went to the hardware store and put the screw in the drawer and bought a new screw and mama yelled at the man."

No, I didn't.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

She is a Thing Two of Beauty


Lest anyone think that, as I mine the comic landscape of my two and a half year-old's life, I have forgotten about my second child, I will take a moment to pay tribute to the lovely Thing Two.

Thing Two does not laugh. She shrieks with delight. Or sometimes if I am really on my game, she will give me a polite huh huh. She has tackled her job as the youngest child with gusto, and her first task - egging on inappropriate big-brother behavior - has been perfected. I was finally making headway in convincing the big orangutan that, while we don't scream in the house, he can scream outside all he wants to. The neighbors love it. But one scream from him at the lunch table has the little orangutan in stitches. My guilt-driven insecurity about whether or not Thing One would ever look her in the face led me to do what I did next. "Scream again, Thing One."

Also, a yogurt cup doing a half-nelson off the dining room table is always good for a laugh. As is the dog rolling in yogurt on the dining room floor. Thing One has found an audience, and his life now has new meaning.

Thing Two is a thing of beauty. For one thing, she has a fat rash. Her thighs are as big as mine. Okay, so they are as big as mine were when I was 24, but still. Her wrists and ankles look as if someone has held her captive using orthodontic rubberbands.

She has no hair that the human eye can see. When I proudly ask friends and family, "Isn't her hair growing in nicely?" they politely say, "No."

Many a stranger has been shocked by the "riveting" blue eyes on the girl. I tell them the eyes are just catching the light off her head.

She is oddly irrational when faced with varying life events. For instance, she does not like having ice cold plastic swimming pool water dumped over her head by Thing One. She does not seem to mind, however, when Thing One prys open her mouth and checks her for teeth horse-auction style.

On a positive note, I can say that Thing Two has mellowed out a little in her old age. Lying in my hospital bed on the night of her birth, I heard a scream that made my skin rise and I knew that Pete was right--I hadn't been good to him and so the spawn had turned out like me. At eight months now, Thing Two is content to munch her way through life like little Miss Pac Man. Plus I think she is casing the place. I can see her eyeballs wiggling back and forth, memorizing every detail so that when she begins to walk she doesn't have to waste time sorting through harmless material and can get right to the good stuff. Like maybe the swimming pool water...

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Use Your Words

Dear Thing One,

Please stop calling me Big Mama, okay?

Thank you,

Mama

Monday, May 7, 2007

International Relations

It's not that I am overly in touch with my feelings. It's just that I am married to a first-generation American Swede who is genetically prewired to believe that the world is a double decker crap sandwich and if he can just get a good big bite in every day, he is living the good life.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Drama of the Verbally Gifted Child, Part II

There are days when I start to wonder if I made the right choice to be a stay at home mom. Those days when I can only muster a weak, "You're on" when Daddy arrives home after work. The days when I have wiped so many noses and rears and tears that I have given up and resorted to using my shirt sleeve for all three jobs.

And then Thing One and I have one of those moments that only a toddler and a parent can have, a moment when I am sure he gets It, a moment that, while likely gone from his memory by 3 p.m. Tuesday, will surely live on in his little heart forever.

Thing One: Where's Connie?

Me: Connie is at home.

TO: Where does Connie live?

Me: Connie lives next to Mr. H.

TO: Where does Mr. H. live?

Me: Across the alley.

TO: Where's the alley?

Me: Behind our garage.

TO: Where's our garage?

Me: Behind our house.

TO: Where's our house?

Me: On _______ Ave.

TO: Where's Connie's house?

Me: On _______ Ave.

TO: Where's _______ Ave?

Me: Across the alley.

TO: Where's the alley?

Me: Between our house and Connie's house. You know where the garage is? That's the alley.

TO: Where's Connie's alley?

Me: Well, the alley belongs to everyone, so our alley is Connie's alley.

TO: That's Me'ses alley.

Me: Yes, that's your alley and Connie's alley, too. It's also Mr. H's alley.

TO: Where's Mr. H?

Me: Oh, probably in his house.

TO: Where's Mr. H's house?

Me: Next to Connie's house.

TO: Where's Connie's house?

Me: Across the alley.

TO: Can we go see Connie?

Me: Maybe we'll see Connie when we take a walk later.

TO: But we can't touch shes's skasketball without asking.

Me: No, we can't touch her basketball.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Daniel's Jacket

Here and there and there
Blue as the hide-and-seek love in the boy's soft eyes
Pockets full of determination and treasure

A lonesome telegraph

Echoing

Carried roughly by the mothers
Who just want you to stay in one place

Gently by the mothers
Who wonder what's for dinner

Where have you been today?
Everyone wants to know
The kids don't like you
They want to call you Danny

You told me big tales
And I snuggled up close with your fear
Mama loves you big as the moon
She just can't reach you, Danny

Friday, March 9, 2007

Oh, My Past Neighbors, I am Heartily Sorry for Having Offended Thee

It's not that I don't remember my partying days, it's just that, from the ever-deteriorating vantage point of the other side of 37, my whole take on the matter of partying and neighborhood relations is, let's say, Differently-Abled.

We have a beautiful, old, much-mortgaged house in a friendly, blue-collared, laid-back St Paul neighborhood. Unfortunately, our financing options limited our choices to houses that were either in a perpetual state of disrepair, on the "wrong side of the tracks," or in That Other City Where You are More Likely to Get Your Head Blown Off. We chose the wrong side of the tracks, which is just right for us. We love our neighborhood and will never move. Unless of course, we find something bigger and better for less money and can take our neighbors with us.

Along with the well-behaved children who know that the neighborhood parents talk to each other and have to be in well before the street lights come on, a great library, and a nice park, we are surrounded by the Trifecta of St Thomas party houses.

It's so nice for the students. They can park their BMWs, Volvo XC-90s, Audis and Durangos in front of our house, go to College House in the middle of the block to warm things up to a drunken level, and then walk either East or West to their next wop-soaked destination, conveniently despositing their beer bottles, keg cups, and yes, multi-colored vomit in the nearest available yard.

At first I tried talking to them.

Me: Hey--it got a little loud last night, do you think you guys could try to keep it down a little?

Josh the Ex-College Student-Turned Home-Owner/Rental Entrepeneur Thanks to Daddy's Money: Oh Yeah, sorry about that.

Me: We don't care if you guys party, we just don't want to hear it.

JTECSTHORETDM: Yeah. Sorry about that.

Then, after a 4-am group beating of a helpless victim on the front sidewalk (which, the next morning I realized was indeed JTECSTHORETDM, confirming my suspicions that the guy probably deserved it), I tried lecturing them.

Me, at 7:30 a.m.: Pound Pound Pound.

Falling apart and clearly going to hurt all day person who answered the door: Yeah?

Me: Mornin! Where's Josh the landlord?

Falling Apart: Uhhh...does anyone know someone named Josh?

Amid a see of couch cushions, four-legged blanket-burritos, and a pea-soup-like fog of beer breath, a head lolls upward and says, "I'm Josh." To which I wittily reply, "Uh, no you're not. I want to talk to Josh."

Several clearly uncomfortable minutes later, after much murmuring upstairs, an "Uh, I dunno, some lady," and a couple of, "You go, No you go"s, I get an, "Uh, there's no one here by that name." So I say, with all of the coolness I can muster," Do you guys know what your neighbor does every day?

Blank stares.

"She gets up and goes to chemotherapy to deal with her breast cancer, then she goes to work, then she comes home to take care of her two-year old so her husband can go to work second shift to pay for the chemo." All true.

Blank stares, although I think I saw one of the way-too-cute girls get emotional.

Me: Her two-year old was up at four last night watching your buddies beat that guy senseless. Totally, shamelessly, untrue.

Blank stares, and an, "Oh yeah, that was Josh."

Again with the we-don't-care-if-you-party routine followed by several minutes of another clearly uncomfortable silence during which I tried to look as cool and understanding, yet tough, as possible.

Me: Okay, then. Have a good day.

We've tried calling the police, then looking out the crack in the window curtain to see them chase young partiers down the street to give them consumption tickets, but only saw some kind-hearted hand-shaking going on, after which the partying resumed.

We have even tried working with the St Thomas Neighborhood Relations guy, who to his credit met with the current students and landlord and reported back to us a roomful of blank stares and a hopeful vision of future quiet nights. They had a party two days later.

Then I summoned all the passive-aggression I could muster and sent an email to our city counselor who was running for Judge:

To Whom it May Concern I know we are just a family trying to sleep at night blah blah blah maybe you could take some time during this election season to help us blah blah blah.

Instant response. Must have been the just a family trying to sleep thing. They sent the fire inspector over who found 26 violations and called me to tell me if there were any other problems, to be sure to let him know. Ordered the illegal bedroom removed. Sent the football-playing boys before the disciplinary committee at St Thomas, where I am sure there was more good-natured hand shaking, told us to call the cops next time we heard anything remotely party-ish going on. Gave us JTECSTHORETDM's cell and home number and encouraged us to wake him whenever we were woken. An opportunity for conflict which made my heart leap with joy.

They were quiet. Beautiful silence every night, punctuated only by my two-month old's ongoing wailing as I maliciously and not-so-politically-correctly let her "cry it out."

Then another party. We called the cops. It was still election stumping time. The cops came. Blocked off both ends of our street. The Beautiful People ran like hell. My heart pounded with the excitement as I peeked through the crack in the curtain thinking no one could see me. This is what I remember a party being like. I put in my running time, you little freaks, and if I have anything to say about it, you will too.

Oh my past neighbors, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee.

I am sorry for singing Violent Femme's songs at two in the morning in the attic of a small duplex with three of my friends. And an amp.

I am sorry that my friend hid in your doghouse when the cops came to that one party and chased us down the street.

I am sorry for having passed out in your snowbank.

And for dragging my phone onto the porch and calling all my friends at 7 in the morning to tell them that when you are on LSD, lemon-beer is the cure.

For playing Wild Cherry as loud as that funky music could be played. Every night for probably a year.

For dragging my friends into the bathroom to show them my party trick and giggling loudly right up through the plumbing to your bedroom for hours.

For that one dude who puked up a whole McDonald's pickle on our deck after doing a Jack Daniels beer-bong. (Although that was pretty cool.)

I understand and am doing my penance. Every Thursday-Saturday. And whenever else there is dollar beer.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

I Feel Like A Woman

There was a time when I could watch an hour of daytime TV. Minus the bon bons, of course. Thing One would wake from his nap, want to snuggle a little bit, and watch Dr Phil with me. Of course, that had to end when Thing One developed the uncanny ability to notice each and everything around him for what it was, including shameless ratings ploys disguised as family therapy. I realized I pulled the plug a little too late when I asked Thing One on the way to get shots what our Dr's name was, and he gleefully replied, "Dr. Phil!"

It is during daytime television that the keen advertisers work their hardest to sell moms like me on the idea that all things in our life-including ourselves and our children-stink, leak, break, confound us, and otherwise need covering up, propping up, or fixing up. My favorite was a commercial for Febreeze playing this summer. I always thought Febreeze was just for getting rid of dog- and husband-stank. Apparently, I have been wrong all along.

Enter beautiful woman who clearly has never pushed a 9 pound baby through her vagina, but who, we are to believe, wants to smell like a real woman and not like puke, snot, shit, boogers, and dried up string cheese that has been ground into her dry clean-only size 2 top. We are to infer this dilemma, because of course there is no baby or ground-string-cheese-covered-toddler anywhere in site in the whiteness that surrounds her. The happy announcer announces that sometimes, we just want to smell like a woman and not a mom.

Come on!! Even I don't buy into that one. We all know that a real woman does not smell like Febreeze.

A real woman smells like Marlboros and yesterday's track suit. And on a wet day, a little like Border Collie.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Drama of the Verbally Gifted Child

Me: Hey Thing One, do you want cherries or bananas with your breakfast?

Thing One: No.

Me: You don't want any breakfast?

Thing One: I want breakfast.

Me: Okay climb into your big boy chair and I will make your breakfast.

Thing One: I wanna don't have breakfast.

Me: Okay no breakfast, then.

Thing One: I want breakfast.

Me: Okay, climb into your chair, then.

Thing One: No.

Me: Okay, then.

Thing One: Mama go get sister?

Me: Sister is sleeping.

Thing One: I gotta go to work.

Me: Okay, have a good day at work. Love ya.

Thing One: Where my keys?

Me: I think they're in your firetruck. What are you doing with the funnel?

Thing One: I just gotta pump a little breastmilk.

MommySpeak

"Mama just has to run the poopy diaper out to the garbage."

Translation: "Mama is going to step outside and take 10 cleansing breaths with my lips wrapped around a Marlboro before I teach you a bad word."

I'll Show You Mine if...Wait...I Don't Have One

Thing One: "Hey Mama, should we look at your penis?"

Me: "Mama doesn't have a penis, I have a vagina, remember?"

Thing One: "Oh. Well, should we put a little Desitin on it for you?"

Me: "Uh, yeah, no thanks, I'm good."

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Top Ten Book Ideas

I read books. I won't deny it. I devour them. Parenting books. Psychology books. Books on personality development. Activity books, coloring books, potty learning books. Maybe you sense a theme here.

And like any other stay-at-home-mom scraping together her pennies and skimming from the grocery money to buy a pack of cigarettes (to be smoked after the children are in bed, because daytime is for pointing out how yucky it is when we see someone smoking), I am constantly developing ideas for "the book" I can write that will lift us out of our poverty years and open the eyes of all those other sorry saps about to embark on the parenthood climb.

Here are some of my most promising prospects:

1. What to Expect When You Play Airplane with an Infant.

2. What to Expect When you Just Want to Go Cry in a Corner, but your Almost-Two Year-Old Has Just Peed There

3. Your Child, Leak by Leak

4. The Boy With No Hands Because he Wouldn't Wear His Mittens (A full-color picture book)

5. How to Bribe, Cajole, Reverse-Psychologize, Behavior-Modify, and Silence Your Spouse into Conforming to your Clearly Irrational Expectations

6. Mama Take the Boogie? Lessons in Sharing

7. I'm Okay, You're a Poopbag

8. Thing One's Mama Has Bowling Balls for Breasts: How to Teach your Children About the Beauty of Breastfeeding

9. The Anti-Jello-Body Diet

10. How to Teach Values, Ethics, and Decent Behavior When you Have No Conscience

She's a Firecracker

According to the Good Mommies, I am not supposed to compare my children because it may damage their Self Esteem. Not one to pass up on a sure opportunity for dysfunction, I have made a list:

1. On his birthday, Thing One wedged himself between two ribs during birth and stayed there for 2 1/2 hours, possibly waiting for the swearing to be over. Thing Two, on the other hand, tied herself in a great big knot and then hit the gas as soon as Daddy went to the cafeteria. (Nurse: "Do you think he will freak out if we page him?" Me: "Um, yeeeaaahhh.") 15 minutes later (Daddy made it) we had our girl.

2. At five months, Thing One looked like a white Don King. Thing Two looks like Mr Clean.

3. Thing One has a college fund. Thing Two has a brother with a college fund.

4. Thing One is about as laid back as they get. When all of my other friends' toddlers were flopping like croppies on the floor and screaming, I would think--wow--I'm glad my kid doesn't do that stuff. Then Thing Two was born. Maybe that's how she tied herself in a knot. Flopping like a croppie and screaming bloody murder inside my tummy.

5. Thing One is very much like his father-as I said, mellow, laid back, and about as friendly as they come. Thing Two, apparently, is a lot like me. Hence Daddy's smug grin when she bites down with all her might on my nipple after draining me--he likes to think of it as Karma.

6. Thing One was born with a penis, which came equipped with the creepy ability to identify makes and models of cars at the tender age of two. Thing Two was born with a Bugina, which came equipped with a Super Duper Mommy Confidence Shrinker--the model with the Handy Dandy Scream Amplifier.

7. My mothering in Thing One's first year was guided by parenting books and instinct (parental). So far, Thing Two's first year has been guided by criminal profiling books and instinct (fear).

8. Thing One had a bath every other day. Thing Two gets a bath when I think people might notice the toe jams. On her cheeks.

My mommy friends used to be a little envious of me, I think. I mean, when they ask you if your baby sleeps through the night, why wouldn't you answer, "Uh huh, he sleeps twelve hours. From 5:30 to 5:30. It's kind of hard on us, though, because we can't really take him anywhere."

Now my friends just laugh at me. Not with me. Cuz I'm not laughin'. I'm usually crying. You just can't hear me over the girl-screams.