This is what we call counterproductive

I decided it was high time the imp's room got a good cleaning. We started with the bookcase, her and I, and made our way through the toys. The problem with cleaning a room with a two year old is that the "out of sight, out of mind" rule ceases to exist. Suddenly it's all in sight...and therefore all in mind.

That room was clean for about 45 seconds.

Need I explain why?


For the Love of Spam

Dear Mr (or Ms) "Money for you to Shop",

Listen, I'm quite flattered that you're thinking about me but I think we need to chat. Ok, so here's the thing. I really love that you've got this great stash of money earmarked for me and all that, but how about we make a deal. How about you just send me the actual check or something instead of flooding my "free-and-just-for-junk" email account with a few dozen messages a day. Everything you send tends to end up in my "junk mail" box and the vast majority of the time I don't even know it's there. I have this compulsive habit of emptying that bin without peaking in it first.

I know you're there though. I see the total number of crap, I mean messages, sitting in that virtual spam can. I know it's you. Well ok, I know it's you and your friend "Laptop for you", sandwiched between a few girls that want to show me what they've got and a couple of "medical" devices that could either put a certain little blue pill out of business or bring an end to embarrassing "the water was cold" moments for men everywhere. (Which, by the way, is quite ironic since, you know, I'm not a guy.)

Yes, I admit it, sometimes I do sneak a peak in the junk box. Every now and then something I do need (or want) ends up trapped in the abyss. Every now and then I rescue it. Usually, however, my adventure into the great pit of despair ends in nothing more than some rolling eyes and groans.

Speaking of which, please do pass on my condolences to your buddy on the loss of whoever or whatever it was he/she was going on and on about. I only got to skim her pleading missive. From what I can tell it is such a terrible thing to endure and yet, I can't seem to feel comfortable helping him/her funnel money through my bank account. I'm sure you understand - I mean obviously you know a little extra cash would be useful here, it's why you've got some for me to shop with, right?

I'm curious. Do you even know my name? I mean every time you send me off a love note you address it to the first half of my email address -- you know, the part before the @. And the thing is, it's not even a name. It's a silly misspelling I created as a goof years and years ago. So am I just some miscellaneous 'gur' to you (I ran out of letters or I'd have been a gurl)? Do you want me to shop simply because you've got a thing for red heads? Suddenly I'm not feeling so special any more - at least not special in your eyes. I bet you're sending your genorsity to other gurs too, aren't you?

the holder of the free-email account you keep sending your love notes to.


All at once

When we had our children two years apart we knew there'd be times when their milestones managed to overlap. Big moments coming at us all at once.

Wait, first you need to understand something about me. I'm not the type of mom that really mourns the passing of a particular stage. I didn't get sad to see my baby grow to toddler. IN fact, I was almost relieved. I adore my children. I loved their little fingers and their baby quirks...but frankly, I'm really not a big 'infant' fan. I prefer the interaction and the give and take that the toddler years brought and I'm loving these preschool years. We get to a new beginning and I get excited about what comes next - to excited to miss what we're leaving behind.

So, you see, when it came to the big "start of school' ages, I didn't expect any lump in the throat or catch in the chest. I figured it'd be more of the same. More building excitement. More "yup, we're moving on and that's ok." what I didn't bank on is that it'd come all at once. . . even though I knew it would.

A few days ago we began to get information about Kindergarten registration. Our son will turn 5 over the summer and begin school in September. He's excited. He can't wait for the bus and the 'real big kid school.' He's practically counting down the days.

Then today I reach into my mailbox and see a familiar return address - our preschool. What was different was the way the envelope was addressed. It was in regards to my daughter. My baby. She'll turn 3 in September and she'll begin preschool at the same time. She's dying to go. She's begging. She's even willing to give up the diapers to go. (In fact upon seeing the letter today she ran to the bathroom giggling about being a big girl! Granted, she put a pull-up on right after that, but hey, baby steps.)

There it was - all at once. One off to elementary school and the other starting her adventure at preschool -- all at once. Suddenly I found myself looking at my oldest thinking "Wow, he's going to ride that school bus next year on his own. Without me? How's he going to get to class? Holy cow!" Then I looked at my headstrong daughter, "She's really going to sit in circle time? She's going to be gone for two mornings a week...on her own?"

It wasn't that one kid was on the precipice of a giant leap forward -- it was that both were, all at once. And suddenly that lump started to build and my heart skipped a little beat.


Gift receipt required

I was raised in a family that poured a lot of time into gift buying. We mulled. We pondered. We danced around the edges of conversations looking for hints. We wanted to find the 'right' gift that would mean something to its recipient - or at least be appreciated.

Sometimes we don't get it right. We know. It's fine. Here's the gift receipt if you need it. Feel free to exchange it.

Yet I'll admit, when every gift you hand a paricular person ends up disgarded - handed down to a daughter, not even as a 'regift' - it starts to get a little irritating. Why bother wasting the money on the token acknowledgement of a birthday? The 9 year is going to end up with whatever I buy. When I think of the list of items that got a "oh, thanks" and then later "here, you take it" I cringe. Any gift - spa gift certificates, gym certificate (which she asked for, mind you), bath lotions and gels from her daughter (yes, given to her daughter with a "I can't remember who gave me this, but I have no use for it. You have it.), and on and on and on.

My mother was grousing about it a few days ago. The pass-it-on-gift-getter was about to have a birthday and mom was getting cranky just thinking about what to buy that wouldn't be handed over.

"I have one word for you," I told my mom, "MONOGRAM."

And that's exactly what she's going to do. A nice, monogramed blanket - two hearts with both the birthday girl and her future-spouse's name on it.

Yeah, try to give this one away.


Can't argue with him

Megan is clearly overtired and easily melting down over anything and everything. She came to running over asking for help with the bathroom. So we dashed down the hall. She was wearing a diaper but insisting she take it off on her own. The problem, however, is that she’d already gone in it and it was a mess. Not something I wanted her yanking off and getting every where. I took it off for her – and the massive melt-down ensued.

I cleaned her, cheered for her as she did use the potty, calmed her tears and finally got her to lay down on her bed to ‘rest.’ In the midst of all that, Logan comes into the bathroom. “Excuse me,” he says ever so politely, “But I need some ice cubes and a straw for my drink of water. Can you please come get them.”

I said (maybe not as the complete paragon of patience since Megan was flailing around in a fit on the toilet at that moment) “Logan it needs to wait until I’m done here.”

“But I have the hiccups,” he said. I pointed out that I hadn’t heard a single hiccup and he needed to wait.

During a break in the action, I got him his ice and the straw. I returned to Megan and settled her on her bed, then tracked down Logan to chat. I explained that I wasn’t mad at him but that sometimes even saying “excuse me” doesn’t mean you can interrupt. You need to simply wait sometimes. “Logan, you could have had the drink you already poured without the straw or the ice. I needed to clean and calm your sister at that moment. The ice and straw could have waited for a few minutes while I did it.”

He thought about it. He left the room to retrieve his construction paper to make even more Valentine’s. Then he stopped and said, “Hey Mommy. I have a question.”


“What’s more important, cleaning a kid or curing a kid?” he asked.

“Well Logan, it was the hiccups which go away on their own and I’m not even sure you actually had them. In this case, the answer is cleaning the kid.” I said.

He shook his head, “Mommy, it is always more important to cure the kid.”


Megan finally drifted off to sleep for what has become the rare nap. Logan and I made Valentine's for Daddy. He wanted to play hangman - which, for some reason has become one of his favorite games of late.

He drew the gables, not knowing the true nature of a hanging man, he finds this amusing. He drew dashes under to represent the letters we were to uncover. There were a lot of letters.

"Do you know what that word is supposed to be?" I asked him, wondering if he had something in mind or just liked making the dashes.

"No," he said matter of factly.

"Then how do we know if we guess the right letters?" I asked.

"It's a mystery," he said and he set about guessing.


I think Bill Cosby had it right

Do you remember that show Bill Cosby had in the late 90's? The one with the cute kids spouting comic gems with no effort? Yes, "Kids say the Darndest Things."

Anyone sitting for more than a few moment with a young conversationalist knows this is true - Cosby (and Art Linkletter before him) simply had the good fortune of exploiting it on national television, while the rest of us get to enjoy the show (and possibly the humiliation) from front row seats in our day to day lives.

A few days ago, WordNerd explored the same topic (even referring to the same Linkletter show, which, by the way, is not something I had remembered until I went back to the site for the url to link.) Reading her thoughts reminded me that I had also slacked off from writing in the kids' respective blogs - the ones I like to use for future blackmail by preserving these comic gems for future reference. Then it occurred to me that some of those aforementioned topics (see yesterday's post) swirling 'round my brain were such prime examples.

Of course the tragedy is I have forgotten many of them already. Yet fret not. There are children involved here and they are apt to provide more fodder before I even realize I need it. For example there is Miss Independent Megan who likes to put her own shoes on yet does not always get the right foot and the right shoe matched up properly.

Grandma said, "Meg, honey, I think you have your shoes on the wrong feet."

Meg stopped running. She stared at her feet as she lifted her toes up and down a few times. Then she gave Grandma a puzzled look.

"No, Grandma, they're on my feet."

Or there's Mr. Romance Logan who sat at the table writing out his Valentine's Day cards for the preschool friends. I handed him a card and said, "Is this one ok for Sophie?"

And he said, "Mom! It's not like I'm going to marry her or anything. Geesh!"

Oh, lest we forget the joys potty training can bring. Megan, who knows darn well what to do on the potty and does so when the whim hits her, has developed that oh-so-charming-knack of discussing her (or anyone else's bathroom habits (or lack thereof) at any given moment. For example, kid-gym on Monday. She was lounging on mats waiting for her turn to tumble. She looked up with her eyes really wide and then started to giggle. "I peed and now my diaper is really hot," she informed me and every other mother in a 5 mile radius. Needless to say we took a quick break for a diaper change.

Or last but not least, there was the fine skill of peer-to-peer tutoring. As we left preschool the other day Logan's friend D came running over to a giant bear hug good bye. Logan's pretty particular about who is allowed to hug him. Mom/dad/grandparents/sister? Yes. Rest of world? Not so much. He pulled away, clearly not thrilled with the affectionate display. Seeing the boy was about to attack again, I jumped in with "Oh! Logan, can you high five him good bye?"

Both boys loved the idea. Logan held out his hand. His friend held his high, "Slap me high!"

And Logan did.

"In the middle," said the friend as he moved his hand slightly lower. And Logan did.

"Down low. . ." said the friend who moved his hand quickly away when Logan tried to catch it. "You're too slow!" the boy yelled in a familiar refrain*.

Logan laughed and patted his friend's shoulder. We left the class and as we did, Logan shook his head a little and smiled really wide. "I taught him that you know," he said in the prideful way any master might display when his prodigy excels.

*Damn those cousins in the far away place. It's so nice the things they teach.


Sometimes you just have to leap

The thing about blogging is it's a lot like riding a bike. They say once you know how to ride a bike you can take a hiatus of any length and return to the point at which you left off. Well, I've tried it and I've got to say, it's only half true. I took a long hiatus from riding actual bikes that have two moving wheels. Years later I climbed back on and guess what. I could pedal sure. I could keep myself balanced without the training wheels reappearing. BUT, and it's a big but, I was shaky. I lacked confidence. I was quivering a little and the bike quivered with me. Certainly in short order it was smooth sailing again, but those first few pedal strokes were almost painful.

Blogging is a lot like that. You take a break and then as you decide to return you falter a bit. What will you write? Where do you leap back in? How do you get those folks you've abandoned to return to you? You start with a few words. You peck at the keys and you pound the backspace. Start. Restart. Gather speed. Gather confidence and go. You're back in the groove.

And *that* is where I hope to be after tonight.

I slowed down my writing prior to our trip in the hopes that it wouldn't be quite as obvious I wasn't around. We left here January 27th and returned February 2nd. I posted the Mickey-eared kids as a way to explain the absence. I had full intentions of actually picking up the virtual pen again but I fell off the bike. I had no idea what to write. Or, more accurately, I had too many ideas and no clarity of where to begin.

This morning I answered a question about blogging. It made me stop and reflect a bit. Why do I blog? I had to go back. I had to retrace my steps and remember why I began. It was the muscle -- the writing one. I blogged to keep my muscle moving even when I wasn't using it professionally. I wrote to get the ideas bursting in my mind onto some virtual paper. I wrote to keep in touch with new and old friends. I wrote for love of it not the glory.

And I was letting a little thing like a hiatus get in my way.

Well not any more. I can't promise I'll be regular, but I can promise I won't disappear.

Give a wave, friends inside the computer - those of you that lurk and those that don't. It's sometimes easier to get myself moving when I know I'm not talking to myself. Not that I'm begging or anything.