Tuesday, June 29, 2010

i give you permission

i love parenting. i love the snuggles & the challenges & the cuteness & creativity that come into play when you're a parent. you get to do any of the stuff that you loved as a kid & sometimes it's just as awesome as you remember, sometimes not so much. i love that you can choose to let your kids do things that you were never allowed to do when you were growing up. i love that you can repeat the things you loved from when you were a kid in hopes that it brings your own kid as much joy as it brought you. i love getting to make the rules. i love that there are as many flavors of parents as there are of people.

sometimes i think i fall into rather non-traditional parenting because we don't do santa clause or the easter bunny. i kind of tried to the do the tooth fairy thing, but brooke told me "mom, i know it's just you & you can't be the fairy because you're too big to wear the suit." (that was around the same time that she told me i was round & have a bulbous chin. she makes me feel so good about myself.) i have reasons for doing these things, it's not just some arbitrary law that i've decreed. santa steals most of jesus' thunder (to my mind) and i want him to keep his thunder. also, i want brooke to be thankful to the people who make her christmas gifts possible. how can she show proper gratitude to some imaginary entity? and as for easter, i think that bunny is out to do the same thing as santa. upstaging God again. she still gets the gifts, baskets & candy so she won't feel like she got the crap end of things, we just do it on a day prior to easter morning so that the focus of the holiday doesn't get diluted by sugar & goodies.

we also celebrate valentine's day in the way my mom invented when we were kids. growing up, we didn't get easter baskets for the same reason as brooke doesn't get one on the real day, so instead, mom made valentine's day a big deal. we got a basket with candy, a treasure hunt with some great gift at the end & the valentine squirrel would hide hershey kisses around our room for us to find when we woke up. sometimes it was months before all of them were found & they had melted or turned white. i haven't worked the treasure hunt in yet because once you introduce something fun to a kid, it becomes the expectation rather than just a one time treat & i'm not ready for that yet. maybe i never will. brooke, of course, felt like she needed to be able to see the valentine squirrel, so we found one in the dog toy section of walmart & now he comes out for about 2 weeks each february & the rest of the year he hibernates. this past year, i made Tiny, the squirrel, a little shirt to wear for his big day. you can't see it very well in the picture, but there's a white heart on the back of it. i never knew creating a pattern and then hand sewing a shirt for a stuffed squirrel would be more challenging than making people clothes!

i also let brooke do things that most other kids aren't allowed to do. i realized it when brooke was about 2 & we'd go out to restaurants to eat with other people & i let brooke stand on her chair or crawl under the table because it was too much to expect her to be able to sit & be quiet while the adults finished eating & talking. my other friends made their kids sit still, but it just didn't seem reasonable to me, so i didn't care. she couldn't jump around, but standing & crawling were fine.

when we got a new refrigerator a few months ago i spent a lot of time switching the contents & cleaning up the old one while the new one cooled down. while i was working on that, my big cat sat up on top watching me like a vulture. brooke decided that she wanted to be a raccoon up there beside sophie cat, and for once in her life, i let her sit on top of the refrigerator. she was required to sit still while she was up there, but she loved the chance to sit up above the regular world & get the critter's eye view of the kitchen.

this past winter, brooke asked one day if she could throw a party with a bathroom theme. i barely hesitated for a second before saying yes. for the next few weeks we plotted & planned & laughed as we came up with all the different things that would make a potty party fun & yet not over the line into obscene. we invited friends from out of town who wouldn't be offended & we served burritos with refried beans & corn because it looked like things you might find in a bathroom. we drank pee punch (lemonade) & served chocolate cake made in a crockpot & call it crotchpot cake. it was the most, ooey, gooey, delicious thing i've ever eaten. we all wore panties on our heads & everyone had to tell a potty joke before they'd get their plate of gross looking food. somehow i only managed to snap a picture of my friend & i, but not the kids. probably even funnier that way. most moms i know wouldn't have wanted to attend our shindig, but i tell ya, it was a good time! and i think brooke will always remember our potty party fondly. i know i will!

i let brooke wear costumes around the house every single day if she wants to. until she turned 7 i even let her wear them out in public almost whenever she wanted. last summer a friend of hers was in the hospital for nearly a month after having surgery & brooke wanted to wear her dinosaur costume when we went to visit one day because she knew her friend thought that costume was particularly funny & she wanted to cheer her up. it was a bit odd strolling through a hospital with a kid in a big, furry dino suit, but it brought smiles or bewildered stares to most of the faces around us. then we had to run several errands afterwards, so she went to walmart & the library as well as a couple other places in the dino suit too. and when brooke wears a costume, she doesn't just walk around like a normal person. oh no, she gets into character & with the dino attire, she holds up just 2 fingers on each hand (to be a proper t-rex) and puts on her snarliest facial expression. she likes to lurch around hunch-backed & roar loudly & sometimes scares small children. she never apologizes or comforts a kid who she scares - because a t-rex would never feel badly for scaring children, so she doesn't either.

i let brooke color on our kitchen floor regularly. it started out as a reading game for school (thanks, mom for the awesome idea), where i'd draw out a big game on the floor & she had to read words & if she read them all & was pleasant about it, i'd wash it all off & let her have her way with the floor for the rest of the day. now we just design maps or other things from time to time. it's a bonding thing for us & it washes off easily, so there's no harm.

recently brooke & i went to a creek with my friend who has 2 girls close in age to brooke & we sat on the banks while the girls romped in the water. it wasn't long before one of them found a good, muddy spot on the bank & started rolling in it. then all three of them were doing it, and reveling in the opportunity to get wholly & completely filthy. there was a wedding going on at the park several yards away & people kept walking down to the creek in their fancy, wedding clothes to take photos & i can only imagine that some of them had to have gotten pics of our disgusting mud crawlers in the background. thank you, God for making kids washable!

brooke spends most of her free time lately drawing. she makes scenes & animals & people & anything else her awesome brain can dream up. she likes to cut them out & play with them like toys. she also likes to draw eyeballs and collars onto her hands to make her hands be dogs. it makes her feel better if she's lonely or nervous in public to be able to take her dog friends with her. she draws on her legs regularly - says it's her tattoos. i don't care. it washes off & isn't hurting anything. until recently, i've always said no when she asked if she could color on her face. i don't really know why since if i'm going to go with the rule of "if it's washable & not hurting anything, then i should say yes" then this would qualify for a yes as well. so a couple days ago, i surprised her by telling her to go ahead, get to coloring. her face lit up like it was christmas morning & she dashed for the marker box. she got a little mirror & set it up below the computer monitor so she could google pictures of various animals & then look into the mirror & draw the face onto herself. none of them lasted long because she always quickly thought of something else even better to color onto herself. but she was so happy! she was grinning from kitty ear, to kitty ear.

i can't give brooke everything i'd like to in life. i can't sign her up for cool activities or take her on fabulous outings very often. i can't give her kids to play with regularly, but one thing i CAN give her is permission. permission to fantasize about crazy schemes & then make them happen. permission to do the things other kids would get yelled at for doing. permission to get dirty & make messes & create memories.

how the cool flows

i think it's funny how our definition of "cool" is fluid throughout our lives.
when you're 5, cool is a clown at a party who makes balloon flowers & gives out tootsie rolls.
when you're 10, cool is getting hand me down clothes from your popular teenage cousin.
when you're 14, cool is a boy who dresses outrageously & uses bad language and doesn't seem to care that all the adults are keeping on eye on him.
when you're 20, cool is smoking cigarettes, having too many drinks on the weekends & making out w/ a stranger.

i think that at some point during my 20's, cool stopped being such a focus in my life, stopped being something i strove to either be or get close to. i was too busy trying to have a job that paid the bills and cars that ran & figure out my infertility issues. trying to get out of one state & into another. i didn't have time for cool anymore. at some point i realized that the people who used to count as cool didn't qualify anymore if they were still acting that way as an adult. it wasn't cool for a man to make others nervous due to his wardrobe or foul language. it wasn't cool to smoke or make out with strangers. clowns w/ candy don't interest me & well... i still like hand me downs, so i guess maybe i had it right when i was 10.

google defines cool as "fashionable and attractive at the time; often skilled or socially adept; "he's a cool dude"; "that's cool"; "Mary's dress is really cool"; "it's not cool to arrive at a party too early"

or  "Cool is an aesthetic of attitude, behavior, comportment, appearance and style, influenced by and a product of the Zeitgeist. Because of the varied and changing connotations of cool, as well its subjective nature, the word has no single meaning. ..."

recently a friend of mine who is a husband of one & father of four posted a video on facebook.

he commented that he saw a lot of himself in that, but he was sad to admit to being so uncool. i immediately wanted to reassure him that he is absolutely cool if he's like those guys. to a wife & mom, a man who does yard work, balances the checkbook, fixes stuff, watches movies with the kids, can cry at a disney movie, gives his dollars to his family & sings night night songs & puts the kids off to bed is the new definition of cool. he sure beats the cussing, badly dressed cool guys of my youth.

so by this new standard of cool, my dad is the coolest guy i know.
who knew?

Monday, June 28, 2010

you're my new bff - what's your name?

my sweet, quirky girl went to vbs this past week. it was a 4 night event at a church where she's gone over the past 4 summers, but we don't go to church there & we don't know anyone who does. brooke really looks forward to going every summer & this year it took a bit of arranging since we've only got one car & chris works evenings, but it was worked out because it was the one thing she said when our car died last winter - "does this mean i can't go to vbs next summer?!" funny how, as parents, you're willing to suffer through an awful lot of inconvenience for your kids when there's something they really want or need to do.

so far, every year that brooke has gone, she has latched on to a particular kid on the first night & refused to release them from her friendship until the final night of festivities. as far as i can tell, she bases her choice of a partner solely on appearance. she doesn't know any of them, she doesn't have any sort of interviewing process, she just looks around her group as soon as they all congregate & chooses a girl who's small & looks somewhat like her. she'll push her way through the sea of children to get beside the girl of her choosing & if she has to throw some elbows or yell at someone to get out of her way in the process, she's certainly not too good to do so. watching from afar, it's like she does "eeny, meeny, miny mo. catch a best friend by the toe. if she hollers, don't let go! eeny, meeny, miny mo. my mother said to pick the very best friend & you are IT! ready or not, you're my friend!" and from that moment on, in brooke's mind, that kid is her new bff.

she's pretty much oblivious to social cues, so the kid would have to be blatantly rude to her more than once for her to even consider releasing them from their unsigned friend contract. she wants to hold hands & pick them up & try on their shoes & do back to back to determine who's taller. she wants to trade silly bands & tell them all her deepest secrets while sitting in bible class. she wants to eat off their plate during dinner & whisper that  she sleeps commando except when she's having a sleep over.

sometimes she lands on a friend who is thrilled to be saved the work of finding a friend & embraces the whole package of brooke & her instant love. other times she gets someone who is very uncomfortable with this strange process of friending & doesn't appreciate their choice in the matter being taken away. the girl this year was named cate & i think brooke probably picked her because she was the only kid in their group who was shorter than her. some of those other girls are about 5 feet tall & have already grown boobs, so i don't really blame her for feeling like she needed a partner in little-ness. cate didn't push brooke away, but she didn't embrace her either. brooke came home the first night & told me that cate didn't like to be touched. i'm not sure how that information came out, but i suspect the girl must have told her that flat out because it's not likely she'd have gleaned it based on body language or facial expression. she said she didn't hold her hand, but she couldn't resist picking her up anyway. no wonder the next 2 nights, when brooke came in & squealed cate's name happily, cate avoided eye contact and tried to walk on past.

but brooke is a very determined, if clueless, little girl & by the final night, cate appeared to have been won over. she looked happy to see brooke & she even invited her to cut in line so that they could stand together & chatter & touch each other's hair. they talked about clothes & justin beiber & it made my heart very happy to stand back & watch as cate called out to brooke to come over and sit next to her while they ate their popsicles. to see them comparing mosquito bites and bathing suits.

i'm glad for brooke that she doesn't catch a lot of the social under-currents because as kids get older, most of them aren't very nice. she misses most of the snotty comments & glares and judgemental cliques around her and a lot of the time, she wins out in the end because she got to have her friend of choice. she doesn't suffer from insecurity because she has enough goodness and positive reinforcement in her life that she doesn't need to look around and wonder what anyone thinks about her. she doesn't notice the looks or comments from other kids & sometimes adults and that has to be better. she can go to bed at night and thank God for herself & mean every word of it.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

i just feel like writing

sometimes i hesitate to write something here because it wouldn't be appropriate for the whole world to see (not that i think the whole world reads me, but they do have that option should they choose to use it) or because i don't want my mom and dad to read it (since they're about my most faithful readers) or because i feel like it's boring & might chase people off. but this is my online outlet & if people don't want to read it, that's okay with me. i like putting things here that are funny, not just so that people will laugh, but because i love to tell a good story and it's cool to be able to take something that's only vaguely amusing & turn it into something that can get a real laugh. i love to read the blogs of funny people, but i almost feel sorry for them  once they fall into the rut of being a consistently funny writer. if people tune in for a read & don't get their anticipated laughs, they feel let down. i don't have enough funny in me to keep the hilarity going every time i write. there are days when i can't find the funny anywhere at all. sometimes i really want to complain or whine about things, but no one wants to read it & it generally doesn't make me feel better afterwards anyway.

so here's my stuff that i feel like writing about today -

we went to a birthday party at chuckie jesus today & brooke loves to ride the simulated roller coaster thing there. she told me, "i like to leave my seat belt off & put my feet up on the handle bar & play the air guitar when i ride this thing - it makes it more extreme!"  and she is absolutely right. i wish i'd thought of that!

yesterday i had to do my monthly cleaning of an office downtown & there was no air conditioning, so the thermostat said it was 90 degrees the whole time i was in there. i was a big blob of sweat & determination for the hour & a half that i spent cleaning. but i felt kind of proud of myself for staying & doing the job even though i'd been offered the chance to skip it by the office manager. my parents taught me a strong sense of commitment even when we seriously didn't feel like it & most other people wouldn't have bothered. thanks, mom & dad.

after cleaning the hot, stinky office, i came home & after a brief couch flop, a fat, nasty storm kicked up. i scrambled around to get the electronics shut down & unplugged (we've had two computers struck by lightning at this house even though they were on power strips. maybe it's because we're on a hill.) and then i realized that the kittens were getting totally drenched from the rain blowing through the windows into their little house. so i threw on a raincoat & ran outside to close the windows & put a cat carrier in there which i tossed them into to give them a little more protection while they screamed & cried & scratched up my arms. when the torrential downpour stopped i went back out to check on them & found that some crap scraps had washed into the middle of the house from somewhere & then gotten squished by the pitiful kitten feet & i felt compelled to lean into the house & scrub the poop soup off the concrete as best i could to get rid of some of the flies & horrible stink.

today we sent the first of our babies to her new home. her name changed from hector to tesla and brooke cried when she left. she's with a family who we know a little bit & i'm sure she'll have a good life there, but tonight, i suddenly felt all weepy & sentimental about the first of my babies being off with a new family in new surroundings. i'm not sorry she's gone, but still... i hope she makes a good chicken kitten & earns her keep.

and there you have it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

the kitten chronicles

for the past 12 weeks we've had twinkle, the stray kitty living in our yard. brooke fell truly, madly, deeply in love with having both an inside & an outside cat. she loved that twinkle would follow her around & come when she called & join her on her forays into the woods. brooke spent more time in our weird yard than she ever has before and didn't even beg me to come out with her. she didn't need me because she had twinkie for companionship.

five weeks ago twinkle gave birth to 4 healthy, squirmy babies while we watched over her and encouraged her. she's been a great kitty mom & has kept all of them healthy & safe with no close calls or incidents that i know of. i really didn't expect that a stray cat who's not much more than a baby herself, and living outside would do as well as she has with her brood. i've spent a lot of time over the past 5 weeks each day going out to feed twink and to play with & snuggle those babies. i pretend that i do it for brooke, but i really do it because i love it. i even go out after brooke goes to bed at night. i like to check them a couple times every night to be sure a raccoon hasn't carted one off or they haven't escaped & been made into road pizza. i can't tell you how many mornings i've been out front in my pajamas checking on everyone & doing head counts while feeding a hungry mommy cat.

and all this time i've been thinking about whether or not we should bring one into the house when they were old enough. i talked about it with chris & my landlord & my friends & family. i probably talked and thought about it more than i really needed to, but i couldn't help myself. i just love the cats. i've never rescued a stray before. i never got to witness the birth of anything before.  maybe that's why i've loved them so. i think this has been as much fun for me as it has been for brooke & i do believe i'm going to cry as hard as she does when the kitty babies go to their new homes. they're only a week away from the recommended date for when they can be homed, so i decided that it was time to take brooke's favorite kitten to the vet today for a checkup. i wanted to make sure she didn't have feline leukemia that could be shared with our indoor cat, sophie.

we took nim this afternoon & she tested clear for all the yuck except for ear mites & i expected her to have those since her momma does. they poked & stuck & weighed & prodded & jammed & examined about every inch of her, much to baby nim's dismay. brooke had to leave the room because she couldn't bear to see and hear her baby suffering. she happily romped in the waiting room w/ a schnauzer puppy while i listened to the baby's cries. the vet then told us that since nim's already eating solid food, i shouldn't let her back outside with her family because she'll pick the bugs right back up again. i wasn't expecting that, but it was a pleasant surprise. i'm actually relieved that i don't have to worry anymore about nim getting squished or eaten before she's old enough to come inside.

nim walked into the house uninvited a few days ago when i was giving all the babies some free time on the stoop & i let her stay in long enough to meet sophie. i won't say sophie was signing up to be the leader of her fan club, but she didn't put the smack down on her either, so i considered it a victory.
i've been letting her come in once in a while over the past week just to help her acclimate to being inside & she really seems to like it. her siblings seem lost & scared when they've come in, so i'm glad we chose the one we did. she lets brooke hold her on her back & just gazes up into her face like she's seeing her true love. she's a very sleepy girl & can't take much romping before she's falling asleep in a fluffy little ball of adorable-ness.

from brooke's perspective, this has been just about her best day ever. however, from mine, it's left something to be desired. i'm trying to keep my hands off the baby when brooke is around so that they can bond, but that baby apparently got the runs from all the butt digging she suffered through at the vet today & she's still so young that she's not good at the litter box etiquette. she cries when she poops & then stomps right into it & swings her tail so that i have to scrub her whole back half down while she screams & claws me. i had to do this 3 times today as well as cleaning up 3 piles of puke. i'm really ready for her to learn some litter skills & get her stomach settled so i can turn over the clean up to her.

this evening brooke went to vbs & chris & i were able to go out to dinner alone, which is always a really nice treat. on the way there i realized that i had poop smears in a few places around the front of my shirt & i had a faint odor of crap hanging around me.  i called a friend while driving to pick up chris to ask if i should just leave it alone & hope it went unnoticed or maybe turn my shirt inside out. that would mean the poo was flush up against my skin, but at least it wouldn't show & maybe the smell would decrease temporarily. she suggested that i should try to use some water & a napkin & scrub it off, but i was afraid that would draw even more attention to the area & i didn't really want to be going out to eat w/ my hubby w/ a big wet spot with rolled up napkin bits stuck to it on my boobs. there really was no good choice, so i decided that the least offensive of the bad options was to just leave it alone & hope chris didn't notice. he didn't. or maybe he was just too kind to mention it during dinner.

now my two little girlies are tucked in & both sleeping, maybe dreaming of each other. all in all, it's been a wonderful, eventful day & i hope that tomorrow will include contact with far fewer bodily fluids as we adjust to life with a new kitten.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

the naming of the warts

tonight when brooke was getting ready for bed, i got out the ole compound W to do a wart treatment on brooke's foot. while i was applying the stinky acid, brooke started talking to her warts. "oh wendy, why did you need to be contagious? now we have jiggly, wiggly & wendell." i asked her why she was naming her warts & she said, "well i just like to. but don't worry, i'm not getting attached to them."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

what to call THAT region

when i was pregnant, i tried to think of all the things i would need to have planned before the baby arrived. nursery clean & decorated - check. diapers on hand - check. tiny clothes washed in baby-safe detergent - check. crib bedding washed & arranged cutely - check. name picked out for boy or girl - check. decisions about immunizations - check. what to call the baby's genitalia - um.... not check. for some reason it seemed like a big deal to me that we decide ahead of time what we would be calling & teaching the baby to call his or her groin area. i did a ton of babysitting, as well as being a nanny & teaching preschool, so i've heard some pretty interesting things from the mouths of children when referring to their do-not-touch-unless-you're-a-doctor-or-parent-giving-a-bath region.

i wasn't crazy about hearing little girls refer to their vaginas because, first of all it sounds rather bizarre to hear that word said in a little baby voice & secondly, the part the kid is usually referring to isn't technically her vagina. it's her vulva. i didn't want my child to use a word like twat or coochie as i'd heard at the preschool from a little girl who also told me once that she saw her daddy stab a pencil into her mommy's neck. i wasn't crazy about the idea of chi-chi or fu-fu or any of the other cutsie names either, so i decided that i wanted to find the proper name for vulva, but in some other language. i did some research online, but none of the online translation sites could provide me with that word in any language, so i was stuck. i was leaning toward just going with vulva, but then i had a vision of being at food lion w/ my future 2 year old girl & scooping her up & putting her into the shopping cart seat a little too quickly & her yelling in her loud, high pitched, shrieky voice, "OUCH MOMMY! YOU HURT MY VULVA!!!" and everything would go silent & strangers would turn to stare at me and judge me for having a 2 yr old who yells about her wounded vulva in public.

so i was left w/ a conundrum. i wasn't able to make a decision about a good word to use & eventually i decided it wasn't all that important after all. it became "crotch" by default since it can serve multiple purposes & be gender neutral. i recently discovered though that brooke thought it was a female specific word when we were watching america's funniest videos & the announcer guy said something about a man getting hit in the crotch. she looked at me with the strangest expression & said, "they just said.... that... the man had a crotch!" i didn't see the problem until she said that men don't have crotches, only girls & ladies. i think we've got that ironed out now, but i'm still a little bit disappointed that we don't have a more interesting word for it. i hate to use vanilla words when there are so many spicy options out there to choose from.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

shoveling road pizza

today brooke & i went out front to visit with our kitties & i noticed her looking out toward the road. she said, "mom, what cat is lying in the road?" a few yards past the end of our driveway i saw a furry shape lying there, not moving with its legs sticking up. oh crap. i got closer & realized that it wasn't the color of any of our 6 cats, so i breathed a huge sigh of relief. brooke of course wanted to go out & examine it, so we  walked out to look at it more closely & it was a little kitten, not much older than the 4 babies who live in our front yard. he was black & white w/ the prettiest pure white toe pads on the bottoms of those raised paws. it had clearly only been run over once because it was still in pretty good shape, if you can say that a dead thing is in good shape. i was concerned about us being in the middle of the road even though we live on a fairly quiet street; i would hate for a car to zip over the hill & leave one of us as roadkill, all because we were gawking at a carcass, so i decided we needed to go back to the house.

i realized that over the next few hours & days that kitten was going to get run over many more times & we would have to watch as it got flatter & ickier & brooke would want to go out & look at it numerous times as it decayed in the road. with the heat being so ridiculous, i was sure we'd also be smelling it for a while before some predator finally dragged it away to munch whatever bits were left at that point.

brooke ran around to the back of the house & came back dragging a very old, very dirty shovel so that i would collect the little squished road warrior. ew. i so did not want to have anything to do with that furry bug buffet, so i went into the house on some flimsy excuse, but really to just avoid the job at hand. i finally gulped down the mouth vomit, donned some rubber flip flops & marched out to my destiny. i made brooke stay on the side of the road ostensibly because it was unsafe, but also because i really didn't want her to have a front row seat if i started to scoop the thing & a bundle of intestines or a rat fell out. i was standing there in the road with a muddy, spider covered shovel & i realized that i'd never used a shovel to scoop dead stuff before. this wasn't quite as easy as i'd first thought and i couldn't manage to get it scooped. i didn't want to bend over & push the thing onto the shovel with my hand & i wasn't sure i could get a good angle to push it on w/ my foot (never mind that i didn't want death germs on my shoe) so i kind of push/dragged it with the shovel over to the side of the street. i was thankful that nothing disgusting fell out & most of the bugs dispersed when i started wrangling their lunch. it took a few tries, but i managed to get it mostly onto the shovel with only the little floppy head hanging off the end. and then i was faced with the problem of what to do with it.

there's a lot next door to us where a house used to stand, but it burned down a few years ago & now it's just a broken concrete slab with a driveway with a lot of weeds & trees surrounding it. so i decided that i would death march that thing down the hill & fling it into the woods back there to get it as far away from ourselves as we could. but brooke didn't want me to throw it and with my luck, i would have thrown it directly into the nearest tree where it would have splattered & splashed back at me, so i put it gently down into a patch of grass at the edge of the woods & then with a queasy stomach, headed back home.

i'm glad to know now that i'm tough enough to shovel up a dead cat if i need to without asking a man for help (chris was in the house & i didn't even tell him about it till afterwards) and also glad to know that if someone asked me to help them dispose of a human, i wouldn't be tough enough for that. so please, dispose of your own bodies.

changing sheets should be against my religion

i'm going to admit something here that maybe i shouldn't. then again, i've admitted to all kinds of disgusting things here, like the apple that was in my couch for several months & multiple cases of incontinence (so many that i had to start a label category just to contain them all), so maybe this one isn't so bad.

i HATE changing sheets! i know a lot of people who feel like their sheets need to be done every week, but i doubt my bed gets changed more than every  4-6 weeks. we bathe daily, so i don't suppose it ever gets too bad & since we always shower before leaving the house, it seems like any bed funk we may be carrying will be washed off before we present ourselves in public.

ours really isn't hard to do & sometimes chris or brooke will help me, so i do that one fairy regularly. however... when it comes to brooke's bed..... i pulled fleece & flannel bedding off it today that i'm pretty sure has been on there since, oh.... maybe christmas? i've changed the pillow case a couple times so that at least her face isn't sleeping in the same drool for 6 months, but those nasty sheets are terribly neglected. she has a top bunk w/ no bottom bunk under it, and because of the way the mattress fits down into the frame, there's no way to change it from above. it has to be lifted up out of the frame to avoid ripping the sheets (learned that the hard way a few times) & since it's pushed into a corner, i have to pull the whole thing out from the wall to get to that corner. that doesn't sound so bad, but the bed is ridiculously heavy & since there's no bottom bunk, brooke fills that space w/ seriously large quantities of crap.

this morning i finally felt sufficiently guilty for making my child sleep in a bed of filth & decided to tackle the job. i had to first dismantle a strawberry shortcake tent that was blocking the way & also clean up all the contents of said tent. i had to remove all the electronics & gadgetry carefully & then grab & stuff all the costume bits into the dress up box that was downstairs being used for some other creative purpose. i made brooke help me clean up all the piles from under the bed - toilet paper tubes, coins, marbles, sticky tack, scissors, markers, books, more costume pieces, stuffed animals, littlest pet shops, cords that go to who knows what, bags of food scraps, dvd's, tape, a stick, a jar of dead bugs that she told me is her bug cemetery, string cheese wrappers, a grocery bag worth of paper scraps from things she's cut out, pencil sharpeners, sheets & blankets that have been used for waterfalls & grass & snow, 2 kid sized chairs, a glider footrest, a small table, 2 toy boxes, pajamas, some panties, several socks & a hair bow. then i had to pull down the sheet that's been tacked into the ceiling along the edge of brooke's bed that made the top bunk into a fort for the past few months. only lost 1 tack this time (i think that might be a new record) that had to be hunted for, so that was pretty good.

it was a rather daunting task, but since i woke up motivated & guilty, i was making the most of it & getting it done as fast as possible. ok, so the under-bed area was cleared out, but then i still had to pull the mammoth bed out far enough so that i could fit behind it. drag the head end 2 inches. drag the foot end 3 inches. drag the head end 3 inches. drag the foot end 2 inches. head. foot. head. foot. starting to sweat now. almost have a space big enough. head. foot. ok. enough already. i was mumbling to myself that i need to go on a diet so that i can fit into smaller spaces & hence have a shorter distance to drag the bed. i shimmied back into the crack & found that i had misjudged the distance because now i was wedged very tightly into a very small space and my boobs were nearly being decapitated by the edge of the bed (maybe that's why they're so long these days) as i struggled to stand upright rather than squirm back out & pull the bed out further. i could have called chris to come help me & i know he would have, but since i'm sheera, queen of power, i feel like i can't ask for help with changing sheets because how powerful would that be?

i finally got it done with much grunting, sweating & flipping off of the bed. now the bedding is in the dryer & once i get it all reassembled, i will feel like i've done enough work for the day & then maybe i can laze, guilt-free on the couch for a while.

Monday, June 14, 2010

list of randomosity

sometimes i get this urge to write, but it's completely undirected. like i want to sit down & put something funny or deep into this box, but think though i do, i've got nothing. i try scribbling notes to myself on paper to see if that sparks anything good & sends me into a previously unexplored direction. i tend to do some of my thinking/scribbling while sitting in the bathroom. i realized how much i apparently do this when i was hanging out in the bathroom last night & said, "hey brooke, will you bring me a paper & pen?" and she replied, "let me guess, you need to write down blog ideas." well she shouldn't make any judgments about me because she's spent the morning making art work with her spit.

a lot of my posts seem to be written in a rather list-y sort of way & that might be because of how i write my notes. or maybe it's because at heart, i'm a die-hard list maker. but in any case, i thought i'd share my notes w/ you & maybe eventually, the things that haven't been written about yet will come out. and maybe you might be able to help me out by making other random suggestions or aiming me at a particular topic.

  • jewelry = me nervous
  • easter cleavage
  • meeting the alabama fam
  • van potty
  • mammogram striptease
  • shart in car
  • bathroom chatting
  • rappelling cleavage
  • mole hair
  • I exist to make other feel more comfortable w/ their imperfections because my own are so apparent
  • cliver
  • charred crack
  • twinkie eat gerbil
  • swing kitchen by legs
  • silly chair - PEE!
  • scab reservoir
  • hammer pants onsie
  • peeled wallpaper
  • exchange kitten
  • "nice tits!"
  • first date @ 9
  • christmas presents returned
  • inside suitcase
  • bladder lies
  • Jesus footsteps
  • spicy bubble
  • vet heals zits
  • pot hole
  • computer abdomen
  • RAR shower curtain
  • knee weasle
so there's my list & one of these days, maybe i'll get around to working those things previously unaddressed into future posts.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

12 years down, 60 to go!

today is our 12th wedding anniversary. i think it's pretty cool that chris is the only long term relationship i ever had; before him, my record romance lasted 11 months, so this whole business of being committed to someone for 13 years now still seems pretty amazing at times.

yesterday we dropped brooke off at a friend's house & headed to red lobster. for the first 10 years we were married i didn't eat meat of any kind (for health reasons, not for tree-hugger reasons) so that wasn't an option, but in the past 2 years i've added a little bit of fish into my diet (although not quite as much as her), so it's nice for us to be able to expand our restaurant repertoire & go to a seafood place occasionally. on the way there chris mentioned that he would love to go sailing down the east coast for a dream vacation some day, so in case we're ever on a game show & i get asked about his dream vaca, i should file that factoid away.

i started thinking about how kids always ask & get asked about their favorite things. what's your favorite color? food? school subject? friend? toy? sport? and i realized that grown-ups don't generally do that. i decided that it was time for a refresher course for chris & i, so through our dinner, we asked each other about all our favorite things. dream job. recreational activity. pastime. movie. color. dream.

it was kind of like being on an early stage date in a new relationship, but without any of the awkwardness or nerves. sometimes i'm so comfortable with chris that i don't hold anything back & just let it all hang out, good, bad or otherwise. there's not a lot of mystery between us at this point, and i'm ok with that, but sometimes i wonder if that makes me more sisterly than loverly. maybe i shouldn't ask him to puncture & squeeze that spider bite on my butt or if i have food in my teeth. is it possible to have both?

we had a wonderful night of eating, shopping & seeing a stupid movie. we have a hard time agreeing upon movies because our tastes are so different. he wanted to see "iron man" & i wanted to see "sex in the city" but we came together on "get him to the greek" which was funny but so stupid.

i'm so thankful for my awesome husband. he makes me feel happy and safe & comfortable. i would pick him all over again if i had it to go back & do again. so chris, i love you. happy anniversary! may we celebrate 60 more happy years together.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

secretly, i wish i could...

tonight, the house is quiet. on the days when i clean a big, exhausting house, chris has been kind enough lately to take brooke out for a couple hours after dinner when he's not working so that i can have some peace & quiet to recuperate. usually i like to lie on the couch or read a book or play a stupid computer game, but tonight, i got the urge to have some rum for dinner. i'm not a drinker, let alone a solitary drinker, but i just remembered that we had a bottle of rum that has been in the laundry closet for a couple years, so i thought i'd get it out & indulge a wee bit. and then i thought i'd write a post about the things that i secretly want to do. well, after this i guess it won't be a secret anymore, but previously it was a secret, so we'll just go with it.

I WISH - that i could play the drums. and not just fiddle around on them when no one's watching, but seriously pound out a huge drum solo in the middle of a large group of people & just shock the hell out of everyone. i have no rhythm & can't even clap on beat, so this isn't likely to ever happen, but that's not really the point here, now is it?

I WISH - i was a respected photographer. i wish that i could have a gallery show of my gorgeous, controversial photos that made people think and wonder and discuss amongst themselves while i watched from behind a 2 way mirror (doesn't every gallery have one of those?) so i could observe their honest reactions. and i don't want to photograph scenery so much, mostly human subjects. i'd like to be able to find that hidden thing that's a few layers below the surface & catch it on film.

I WISH - i was the kind of woman who wore heels all the time, even when i'm alone. i would even like to wear those fluffy bunny slippers with little kitten heels. i have a fascination with shoes, but my body fights against me when i try to wear the ones that look all cute.

I WISH - i could flip the bird at any person who annoyed me. whether it be at the grocery store or in traffic or to my own family members, i just wish that i could silently fly that finger at the first sign of piss-off-y-ness while giving that offending person the hairy eyeball. i wish i didn't feel like i should be so freakin polite anymore.

I WISH - that i could write a book. i don't have a selected topic or theme, just something that would be gritty & funny & make people say that i was spicy and amusing.

I WISH - that i had the nerve or the body type to be able to go bra-less all the time. i truly envy those friends of mine who can wear strapless tops and not have to agonize over how to get a strapless bra that does the job it was meant to do without cutting off any circulation, but they can just say "to heck with it" and go boobies free. alas...

I WISH - i lived in a clean house. i wish that i had the motivation to clean it myself or the money to hire someone. i wish that i didn't live amongst a heap of clutter all the time & yet constantly feel the need to justify or explain or apologize if someone sees the pit we live in.

I WISH - i was young enough and thin enough to go on america's next top model and show those hootchies how it's done. i actually took modeling and acting classes back in the days before i met chris because i wanted to be a runway model.

I WISH - that i could go to a rain forest in borneo and save orangutans. i love their silky red hair & want to be a surrogate monkey mother & carry multiple babies around on my body while going about my tasks like washing my laundry on rocks in the river & hoping i don't get chomped by crocodiles.

I WISH - i could make a massive graffiti masterpiece on the side of a building with lots of bright colors and wacky letters that can hardly be read by the average person. i also like writing on tables, benches and walls, but i gave that up after my days at summer camp where i wrote my name on every surface i could find.

I WISH - i could go sky diving. or at least bungee jumping off something that was really, really high. i love the feeling of sheer terror right before doing something really scary & right after it's done, knowing that you did something that was almost too much to handle. the adrenaline high is fantastic! i'm too responsible for such things at this stage, but i wish i'd done it before i was a mom while i could still be free to push myself into calculated, but dangerous places.

I WISH - i had a harley. i have an inner biker babe that's just dying to come out. bring on the leather chaps & helmet hair!

I WISH- that one day, i could be driving along a highway, minding my own business & as i approached a runaway truck ramp, i could put the pedal to the medal & bash my way straight up that crazy ramp & see how far i could make it. i wish that i could do it while i had other people in the car & not ever say a word. just smash my way into it & then calmly, back out & proceed on my merry way like nothing had happened.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

where did my sexy go?

there used to be a time when i felt like i was a foxy lil number. when i drove down the highway & truckers honked & made rude gestures. men at gas stations harassed me and i had a fake name & number readily available in my brain to give out to the losers i didn't actually want calling me. i really felt like i was hot stuff.

this was before brooke came along. i gained a bunch of weight before & during pregnancy & afterwards, i never managed to lose it again. it never seemed like it mattered at the beginning because people expect new moms to be chubby. they choose to appreciate those voluptuous nursing boobs & ignore the jiggly belly below. well, i stopped nursing 7 years ago, but that jiggly belly is still hanging around & i can't very well blame it on the baby anymore. i realized that even my rack leaves something to be desired when brooke went through a brief phase where she wanted to draw naked women to make other people laugh & she drew long droopy tits with the nipples waaaaaay down low on the boobs. oh dear. she might be surprised when her own grow in & they look very different than what she's seen up to this point.

if i'm driving down the road now & a trucker honks nearby, i involuntarily swerve & look around, trying to figure out what i just did wrong that pissed him off. it doesn't even occur to me that he might be checking me out.

yesterday at walmart, brooke was hip hopping around the aisle as i tried to find just the right bottle of toilet bowl cleaner & a man near me started a conversation about how kids brooke's age are fun but eventually they turn 16 & it's all downhill from there. he recommended that i go ahead & get a gun now & use her naughty future boyfriends for target practice. when i managed to move on, brooke asked, "why was that guy talking to you?" um... once upon a time, i would have said it was cuz he thought i was cute, but now my first instinct doesn't take me there. now i figure it's because brooke's cute.

today i went to a little local beach with brooke & i was walking around with her, in and out of the water. a couple times i walked past a man who grinned at me. the first time i just felt confused as to why anyone would even look at me in a bathing suit rather than rapidly turn away like i do if i catch a glimpse of myself wearing a bathing suit as i pass a mirror. but the second time when he did the same thing i started getting paranoid. i checked to make sure that i hadn't inadvertently flopped out a nipple. nope, nips are in. so... oh crap, better check to be sure the tampon string isn't blowing in the breeze. hmmm, how to go about that discreetly on a public beach. i managed to drape myself w/ a towel & check things out & i think i was in the clear, but i was still oddly disconcerted that the guy smiled at me.

my whole mindset has changed as i've plumped and aged. it doesn't even cross my mind that a man might smile at me for complimentary reasons anymore. i mean, i know it happens occasionally because once in a while a guy is really blatant about it like about a year ago when i was at a karaoke bar with friends & i got an uninvited lap dance from some guy while he sang badly. but for the most part, if a man smiles at me, i think the chances are greater that i've got a dangling booger than that he'd like to get my number. i have an awesome husband who always makes me feel really good about myself.... but,once in a while, i kind of miss the old days.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

the pms rollercoaster

i have pms today & i'm fluctuating between fury, tears & hysteria that could tip toward funny or mania at any moment. ever since i was 11 i've been ragging & dealing with the drama of hormonal flux at this time of the month & i think i'm ready to order up some menopause.

i wish we could make men understand what it's like to go through this. you seem like a pretty rational human most of the time, but once a month you go through a change that makes you turn into a freaky, irrational version of yourself that even you don't want to be around.

you wake up feeling pretty normal and then you kick your toe into the leg of the bed & stumble backwards into the dresser where you smash your butt into the corner of the top & then proceed to fall on the floor & laugh hysterically. you feel like you've broken 2 toe bones & there's a triangular shaped hole in your ass cheek that's spurting blood, but all you can do is laugh till tears pour down your face. you realize that it's not actually funny to hurt yourself, especially first thing in the morning, but then you remember that it really is funny because if you were someone else looking at you, lying on the floor w/ a bloody butt & broken toe bones and your eyes still crusted shut from sleep, you would probably want to laugh too. and then you laugh some more until you can't breathe & your family is standing around you asking why you're in fetal position on the ground in the dark, rocking & making a lot of noise, but you can't answer, you can only sputter out things like "broke butt" and "smashed toes" and when they look at you strangely it just seems funnier.

eventually you compose yourself & make it through an extra large breakfast, but then the cat starts meowing for her food & she keeps it up & keeps it up & keeps it up. you put food in her bowl & show it to her, but she keeps harassing you until you suddenly burst forth with a blood curdling scream from the pit of your guts. there are no words, just an echoing bellow. the cat races off to safer havens & then you notice your kid's face & it's staring at you again with fear & trepidation because apparently mom has been transformed into an unpredictable alien today & can't be trusted to act normally. you want that look to go away & for the kid not to be nervous around you, so you give them a bowl full of marshmallows & honey for breakfast so that they'll like you again.

you go into the bathroom to deal with lady things at some point in the day & you swear that when you sit down, you can hear a gurgle, gurgle, glug coming from below & then there's a flood where you think your innards are being ripped unceremoniously out through your vagina. you flush quickly because you might need the extra room in the bowl because you're pretty sure you're loosing about 16 lbs of slush as you sit there. then it takes about 5 wet wipes and half a roll of toilet paper to begin to feel reasonably fresh (if such a thing is possible at that stage) and you proceed to wash your hands with a brillo pad & boiling water just to make sure you're adequately sanitary again.

eventually you sit down for some book reading time with your kid because you're still trying to prove that you are a good mommy, in spite of the alien influence that you've been experiencing in spurts throughout the day. you're reading a book about a seeing eye dog puppy in training & suddenly you find yourself crying. tears are flowing & you can't even read aloud anymore because of the sadness that has gripped your heart over the broken hearted child in the book who has to give her puppy away after the first year of training has come to completion. how can anything be more sad in this cruel, cruel world?!

you can't proceed with the book, so you flip on the tv for something funny to brighten your spirits. you come across the "fresh prince of belaire" and feel pretty good because it's just starting and you won't miss anything. you sing along with the intro, getting your groove back & feeling a little cool because you still remember all the words. you're smiling & your heart gets lighter for a few minutes. then will's dad leaves him to go out on the road & lets him down once again and you feel the water works start back up. you sniffle & try to hold back the tears as you gaze into will smith's child-like face as he watches his dad leave. how could anyone be so mean to him? why oh why would a parent ever leave their child? you hug your kid close & snuffle into their neck a little bit & whisper that you'll never leave them, not for anything.

then a commercial comes on & it's for charmin toilet paper & it's those chubby cartoon bears. just looking at the way the mother bear monitors & assists with her baby bears bathroom habits & teaches them that less is more when you have good toilet tissue in hand is like balm to your soul. your tears transform from tears of sorrow to tears of joy because you're remembering when your own little one was so small & adorable with their little chunky butt. when they smiled at you like you were the sun and the moon and thought you knew all things. and then you move back into the sorrow again because you feel your kid pulling away from you as you blow snot bubbles into their hair. that kid's not a baby anymore, it's a medium sized person now who's pretty sure you don't know very much at all. and before long they won't need you and they'll leave home & get married and have sex, and that's just more than you can bear.

you stumble clumsily back into the bathroom for some privacy & to give yourself some time to recuperate from all the chaos inside you. you have a repeat from the last bathroom trip, only this time you realize that you're out of tampons and pads. and you need one really, really bad. so you decide to stick half a roll of toilet paper into your underwear to serve as a blood buffer between yourself & the world & then walk out bow-legged. you go to the store, still with the toilet paper roll in your pants and when someone looks at you oddly because your pants are lumpy & you're walking like you've got a load, you start laughing hysterically. uncontrollable laughter that has you doubled up over the orange juice cooler with your legs crossed and drool hanging from your mouth.

you make it to the register but realize that you left your debit card in your pants from yesterday. you've got a little cash in the bottom of your purse, so you dig around frantically for a couple minutes while the people behind you start making huffing sounds and talking about you amongst themselves. you start crying again when you give up digging and you're still $1.04 short of your total & you ask the cashier if you can open the box & just take out a couple tampons to buy individually. he calls over a manager on the loud speaker & the manager is a man too. he eyeballs you nervously as he walks over. you ask him weepily if you can please just buy a couple tampons from the box because you don't have enough money & because you can't very well go on with your life with a roll of toilet paper in your underwear because as it turns out, it's not nearly as absorbent as that charmin commercial advertised. the people in line are mumbling more loudly & the manager and 17 yr old cashier look at you like you've gone completely mad, so the mgr rips open the box himself & hands you a handful of the things and tells you it'll be no charge and tries to usher you quickly to the door. you're so relieved that you could cry tears of joy, so you want to hug him, but as you go in for the embrace, he backs away, looking terrified like you have leprosy and aids and ebola and more than a little dose of crazy.

so you take your courtesy tampons & vacate the premises quickly and head back home for another round on the pms roller coaster.

capital disclaimer

i'm at a place in my life where i feel free to express myself in certain ways, even if other people don't approve. and one of those ways is that i have made a conscious decision to not capitalize anything other than "God" when i'm typing. i feel like it's disrespectful not to capitalize his name, just like i won't take it in vain. other than that, all words are fair game for being un-capitalized.

i was home schooled from the age of 9 through graduation by my well educated mother & father. they thought that writing & grammar & vocabulary & spelling were very important & it was imperative to them that my siblings & i all learn to speak & write correctly as it was a direct reflection on them. when i was in school, i followed their standards, but once i was grown, i felt that it would be acceptable to choose my own style of writing & that didn't include capitals. i still attempt to spell correctly & use good grammar most of the time, although i do drop that on occasion as well, such as when i helped brooke create a blog name. i know that i spelled wondrous wrong. it was intentional. i had just written a blog post about her called "girl of wonder" and she wanted it to be called brooke's wonderous world, so it seemed right to me to spell it that way.

when i'm schooling brooke and we're doing handwritten work, i make her use capitals appropriately so that she'll know the rules, but when she types, it's tough enough to find the letters and to spell words correctly, so i don't make her bother with capitalizing. i mean, why should she when i don't? so yes, i do know the rules and i do teach those rules to my offspring. i'm usually don't consider myself to be an uneducated ignoramus and i hope that my daughter won't be one either.

just thought i'd put that out there in case anyone was wondering.

*this is an edited version of the original post, in case anyone read that one. i was a bit too snarky & rude the first time around.