Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Selective memory

We all know what selective hearing is.

What? Did you say something?

But I hope I have selective memory. You know, the memory that only remembers what you want to remember. My mom has it. I think it is genetic. Hopefully on the maternal side.

Writing this blog is one way to preserve my memory. But it seems these days that I only am remembering the parts that make me want to pull my hair out, scream, and jump off the balcony. But there is so much more to our life together...and I need to document it today.

So last week was my birthday...this is not the happy part ...but what my son did to celebrate is certainly worth documenting.

He had me call my parents so he could speak with them and then proceed to lock himself in the laundry room and plot with them about buying me a present that only they would know how to get.

You see, last year I lost a bracelet that they gave me, and my son remembered this. He told them that he wanted to go to London (where the bracelet was purchased) and get another bracelet. OK...a bit unrealistic, but the thought and idea was there. They talked and plotted some more, I hit my head as I tried to listen through the door, and then he came out and handed me the phone...at that point I was told that they were all going shopping for my birthday and I was not invited.

The smile, that devious secretive smile, remained on the boy's face for the next four days and then they went. Again, I was not invited.

When I finally saw the little boy again, I was practically knocked right off my feet. He was running full force right at me, taking out anyone who stood in his way, and his smile was as wide as the grand canyon (again...genetic on the maternal side). I think by the time he got to me, he had already unwrapped half the present and was asking, "do you like it Mommy?

What he didn't know was that even without seeing the present, I loved it already. The forethought, love, and enthusiasm that came wrapped in the package still brings tears to my eyes. And to top the whole experience off, this is what I got
So not only is my boy generous and loving, but he also has good taste. Again...genetic and on the maternal side!


So we've been going to the gym a lot lately. Mostly because I have to compensate for the 2 Costco size bags of Halloween candy that are rapidly disappearing at our house, but also because I enjoy exercising and my gym has great child care.

If you asked my friends, their reactions to the child care would be mixed. But for me, it is perfect. The women are nice, they know my kid's names, they seem to genuinely care, and when we had an emergency this summer, they were 100% on the ball and trained, qualified, and all that other stuff. (Did I mention the rock climbing wall and moon bounce?) But like most activities that include the 4 year old, having a friend around really makes mommy's workouts much more fun.

Today, there was no such friend. And in the car ride home he made the following suggestion:

Mommy, the really should get a GPS for my friends.

What do you mean honey?

I mean, you could put it in your car, we would turn it on, and we could see if my friends were near the gym. That way you would know who to call to see if they could join us. It would be a Gym-P-S.

Seriously, I swear, he is only 4. Where does he come up with this stuff and what kind of TV is he watching with his father?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Arts and Crafts

I have to give credit where credit is due. My friend Boom runs a tight ship. When we used to live close to each other I would steal her parenting techniques without a thought. No concern of cheating or parental plagiarism. All's fair in pleases and thank yous.

So when I went to see Boom, I came with a clear head and a note pad in my pocket and high hopes of making these f-ing fours go away. And wouldn't you know it, she had tricks, and good tricks too.

Aside from the normal duct tape the kids to the trees outside and the start drinking at nap time trick, Boom had tricks that I hadn't actually implemented before. The one that is proving to be most successful is the arts and crafts area in the kitchen. At Boom's house, I barely noticed the kids were up for the first 2 hours each morning because they were just coloring, cutting, and even sharing with smiles on their faces. I drank coffee, read the paper, talked to my friends and all I heard was. "pass the blue crayon please" and "Can I have another piece of paper. thank you."

It was genius. Sure we've had arts and crafts before. But these were at the kids disposal, at their eye level, and needing little to no parental supervision.
So you know what? If you build it, they will come. I built a cabinet (if following wordless instructions counts as "building"), I went to Michael's and spent a part of the boy's college fund, and lord have mercy, we have the best arts and crafts area this side of the Mason Dixon.

I can't say that we are actually creating an artistic genius here. We're actually just putting stickers in different places and calling it "art work" but we're happy, we're quiet, and we're putting all our eggs in the arts and crafts basket.

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an impulse purchase at Michael's, bedazzled at home!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The dreaded phone call

So I got my first ever phone call home from the teacher. Yikes. I was practically crying as I was talking to my boy's pre-school teacher.

You see, the problem is that he isn't so into circle time. While I know this is a necessary part of life, I can't say I blame him. He has perfectly good reasons why he isn't fond of circle time.

I don't get to talk when I want to.
The teacher doesn't always listen to and/or think my answer is right.
I'm not always the one in charge of circle time.

Circle time isn't all about him, so damn it, he doesn't like it. Sounds simple enough.

Now if only I had as many logical reasons for why I cry at any sort of confrontation, we'd be on to something.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The inner voice

Usually listening to the little voice in my head isn't a good idea.

"you need cheese fries" it says.
"wear the heels even if they are uncomfortable" it advises.
"have another glass of wine" it suggests.

You can see how I should be skeptical of the advice my little inner voice gives me.

But when it comes to my children, my inner voice really knows what is going on.
"you should leave now." it hints.
"the kids should go to bed." it recommends.
"you really should avoid all public places" it implores.

How does it know? How does it know that 10 minutes later my child will fall on the floor screaming at the top of his lungs because his chicken finger fell on the ground? (while you are on the ground boy, just pick it up--5 second rule) How does it know that 10 minutes later he will hit his friend in the head with a plastic frying pan because he can't hear his tv show? (his explanation was that he wanted to make his friend be quiet...that's one way, I suppose) How does it know that 10 minutes later he will yell, "you are not my friend Mommy, you are poo poo eyeball forever" in front of a new group of mommy friends. (not terribly effective name calling, but creative to say the least)

I don't know how it knows, but it does.

Maybe I should start listening to it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Food Recession at Robert Oliver Seafood

On Sunday night I had the pleasure of going to listen to David Sedaris speak in Baltimore. I don't know what it is about him, but he can really make me laugh. Something about his whiney voice, his ridiculous stories, and his penchant to make fun of North Carolina...he really gets me going.

On Sunday, though, the humor really started before we even made it to his show. You see, my parents, my sister, my husband and I all were going to go out to dinner. Without the kids. What's so funny about that, you ask? Well nothing. That is unless you "eat" at Robert Oliver's Seafood Restaurant.

I have never, ever, ever, had such an unbelieveable experience at a restaurant. When we first got there, the rather surly host mumbled something...in hindsight it was probably "you don't want to eat here ladies, this place is s*^t." But we rolled our eyes, followed him after he huffed and puffed at us, and we sat down behind a mosquito net away from all the other diners. It wasn't perfect, but trying to keep our spirits up my husband and I kept repeating "it doesn't matter for us, we're so happy to be out we would be happy at chic-fil-a."

But at least at chic-fil-a, there is chicken. The very first thing that our waiter said to us was.
"good evening, I just want you to know that there is no calamari, no cobb salad, no chicken breast, no cesaer salad, and no fish."

My sister, who was STARVING, had already staked her claim in the calamari and cobb salad...you can imagine the dissapointment.

We forge ahead and try to order some wine. The waiter's response, "I'll have to check if we have that" Super, you do that.

Good news, they do! But they only have 2 bottles, so as he opens the first bottle, the server slams down the second and last bottle right on to the table. Not that we weren't going to have another, but it seemed a little aggressive to say the least.

If you have gotten attached to out waiter in this story, don't, because that is the last we saw of him.

My family is nothing if not content with a good drink and good company, so it took us a while to realize that the waiter hadn't brought us our hummus platter. When we checked our watches, 45 minutes had passed. Hummus with pita chips...not that hard to prepare, not necessary to cook, and after all, I could have walked to the Whole Foods and prepared it for us in half the time.

Our waiter, at this point, had all but vanished. I saw him fly by our table a few times, wiping his brow from all that non-food serving, non-order taking, and non-responding to his tables he was doing...tough job. Eventually. my father got up to see if he could attract some attention to us, to get some help, from someone, anyone who would acknowledge our presence. Like getting tickets to a U2 concert, he should have gotten there early.

As he stood up and headed to the bar and he all but heard, "back of the line buddy." This was the first time that we looked up from our immaculate, untouched table with not even a crumb from a piece of bread (we asked, they said they were out), and saw that there was a line of about 8 people all wondering/demanding where their drinks/food/waiter were. It was not a good scene. We then pulled back our mosquito netting and saw that none of the other customers had food on their tables, few had drinks, and all had scowls on their faces.

We knew then that we were a little lucky because we had not one, but two bottles of wine. When my father returned to the table, all he had was a corkscrew in hand...something seen as a small victory for our family as we could now get that second bottle of wine open. But he also returned with the knowledge that there was no food in the whole restaurant. Hmmm...something of a predicament when you are trying to go out to eat.

Resigned to not eating, buzzed from drinking on an empty stomach, and a bit giddy from the whole debacle it was time to head out to see David Sedaris.

Not to be outdone by the rest of the restaurant, as we hit the restrooms on our way out we found the ultimate outage...toilet paper.

There wasn't even toilet paper in this piece of s^*t restaurant.