December 29, 2008

The Frog

This morning on the way to daycare both boys were sitting in the back seat. I hear Tristan start screaming, "Gog! Gog! Gog!" I have no idea what "gog" is, so I glance back to see if he using his sign language too and, sure enough, he's making the sign for frog.

"Did you see a frog?" I asked, to be sure.

"Dewius! Gog!"

Julius starts laughing maniacally and yells, "Ha Ha HA! I HAVE HIS FRO-O-O-OG!"

I rolled my eyes. I love having two kids, but I am also annoyed by having two kids who fight all the time. I don't understand it and I don't like it. My siblings and I didn't really fight, probably because they were so much older than me. My husband claims, "Boys just fight." Still, I don't get it.

And so I begin with my Annoyed Mommy Voice, "Jules, give him back his frog."

"BOING! BOING! BOING! I'm making it hop!"

Tristan continues to scream, "Gog! Gog! Gog!" and starts doing that I'm-going-to-cry-if-you-don't-give-me-what-I-want shriek.

So I change to my Really Pissed Off Mommy Voice, "Julius! Do you want me to pull the car over?" Dear God, I sound like my mother! At which point I paused to say a quick prayer something like, "God please make me not ever sound like my mother again..." which I followed up by screaming, "JULIUS GIVE THAT FROG BACK TO YOUR BROTHER RIGHT THIS MINUTE!"

"Okay, Mom."

I could feel a little pulsating throb at the side of my head. I resolved that I should eat better and exercise more so I don't have a heart attack this early in my life.

For about 23 seconds there was calm in the back seat and even though God didn't answer my prayer and I still sounded like my mother I knew everything was going to be okay. Until...


"Julius, do you have his frog again??"

His answer was a hesitant, "Well, sort of, but not really..."

"What does that mean? You either have the frog or you don't have the frog."

"Well, yeah... I took it, but there's not really a frog."

I slammed the brakes on in the middle of the road and turned around. "What do you mean there's no frog?"

He shrugged. I looked at Tristan who had his little hands cupped together.

"Tristan, what's in your hands?"


"Can I see your frog?"

And very slowly he turned out his hands to show me. Sure enough, there was nothing there. Nothing! They were fighting over an imaginary frog. They were making me pray to God and make resolutions about my health and slamming my brakes on in the middle of a street when no frog even existed.

For a second I could feel my sanity slide sideways and I had this image from the movie "The Matrix" where Neo is talking to a little savant kid who is bending a spoon with his mind.

Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Spoon boy: There is no spoon.

Neo: There is no spoon?

Spoon boy: Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

Perhaps that is really the trick of understanding sibling relationships. Siblings fight. It makes me crazy, but that's what they do... fight fight fight over the dumbest, most unimportant stuff.

And all these months I have been trying to figure out why they have to do it and how I can "fix" it. What can I do to make them stop so I can get some peace? Apparently nothing.

Siblings fight when there is something to fight about. And when there is nothing to fight about... they invent frogs.

December 27, 2008

An Odd Correlation

I used to do research for a living and was pretty good at my job. This was back before using the Internet for research was easy. It was something you used to actually have to work at.

These days mostly all you have to do is just type a question in and those clever programmers with their smart algorithms create a search environment that almost always delivers up what you're looking for and unless you're searching something REALLY obscure, they get the job done on the first page of results.

So it surprised me today when I was delivered a very strange search result in the middle of the search results I was expecting. And I'm wondering... is it a secret message? A sign? Is it my husband playing a prank on me in an effort to get me to clean the bathroom? Or is there some strange correlation between Thai cuisine and bath tile cleaner? Should I stop eating Thai food?

What do you think it going on here?

December 25, 2008

Tristan Talks to YouTube

I found this adorable video on a blog I follow.

I was playing it for Tristan who loves anything with animals. Watch the video below and then scroll down for the rest of the story.

The whole time the video was running and the guy was asking "Do you want to go for a walk" Tristan was sitting on my lap with a huge smile on his face saying "yeah!" Sometimes he'd nod yes, sometimes he'd say "yeah, gock!" (yeah, walk!) then he kept saying "ride ride ride ride" about 800 times. Every time the video ended he'd say "more". We watched it a dozen times til I began to feel sorry for him since he obviously didn't understand that he was NOT actually being invited to go on an excursion with these juicy little morsels.

December 24, 2008

Is This a Problem?

Tristan's new year's resolution (he's 2, so we made it up for him) is to be potty trained.

When I picked him up at the sitter we began talking about it and mentioned it to him in an off-handed manner. I say a lot of things to him in an off-handed manner because I think he doesn't either 1) listen to me or 2) he doesn't understand me, except now I'm wondering if I am wrong on both counts.

So, anyway, we're talking about the plan to potty train and he starts getting this really stressed out look on his face and wants me to pick him up and hold him, which I do.

In a cordial, casual manner I ask, "Hey, what do you think about no more diapers? Are you ready to wear big boy pants?"

He looked very alarmed and said emphatically, "No!"

In an effort to be helpful, the sitter says, "Hey, what about some really cool underwear with Scooby Doo on them!"


"Transformers? Cars?"




In an effort to be funny and lighten the place up I said, "Barbie?"


Oh, his dad is SO not gonna like this.

December 23, 2008

Mark Up Your Dictionary in Red

Today I ran across a blog post about Cliff Young who won an endurance race in Australia. The story of his approach, his attitude is amazing -- not only because he tried and succeeded, but in the sweetness of his can-do attitude.

It gave me the warm fuzzies for another reason. It made me think of my mom and how she raised my brothers and I. She was a very determined single woman. Her philosophy was "nothing is impossible", it was the way we lived. She never really explained this idea to me, rather it was just something understood in our household. It was always a given that if you work hard and have determination you can achieve your dreams, even if they seem outlandish.

I believe the reason she successfully instilled these ideals into us is because they were part of the fabric of our every day lives. My mother is NOT a motivational speaker. She's a noisy, energetic hurricane of a woman. You know when a storm is coming you can feel the atmosphere around you change? That's what it's like when my mom comes into the room. Internal barometers start spinning like crazy. When she leaves people often say, "What was that? What just happened?" So, her influence is not by what she says, but what she does and how she lives.

The only time I ever heard her refer to her philosophy of life it out loud was once I overhead her side of a conversation in which she said, "Don't tell ME what I CAN and CAN'T do. Don't try to limit my beliefs." (At that time I didn't listen further. I was just happy it wasn't me she was talking to.)

As kids whenever we said we wanted to do something she was always enthusiastic and would encourage us no matter how weird or crazy our ideas. Some things worked, some things didn't, but we always learned from the adventures and sometimes the failing is as valuable as the succeeding.

I feel so blessed that she raised me the way she did because all my life it never occurred to me to have doubts. It was never about "can I do this" but always about "HOW can I do this". It's a fabulous gift she has given me, one I hope I can pass on to my kids.

Once I had some clients in my office and they brought their young son in. He was probably around 7 or 8. He proclaimed to me that his intention was to become a rodeo star and champion bull rider. His parents immediately started explaining all the ways it wasn't going to work out and he'd respond to them with all the ways it COULD work out. Exasperated, they looked at me and his mother says, "Tell him what a bad idea this is."

Well, that's a pickle, isn't it? I sat there for a very awkward moment and tried to find the right balance between making my clients happy and doing what I considered the right thing. Finally I said, "It's great to have a dream. I say go for it, but just be sure you have really good insurance."

Okay, so I'm not a motivational speaker either. But for heaven's sake, why dash a kids dreams to the rocks when chances are he's going to change his mind 312 times between now and the time he's a grownup anyway? Why train him to accept failure before he tries? Why teach him pessimism? Some days I wish it were legal to slap people. Unless I'm the people. (Somedays I think I am the people.)

We live in a culture of negativity. It's an easy and seductive trap to fall into fueled by the media. Let's just sit this one out. Go get your dictionary right now and with a big red marker draw a circle and a slash through the word "impossible". Let's re-adopt the spirit of our forefathers who (just IMAGINE this!) came across the country on boats with little food and no place to live and made a whole country. Now THAT'S a crazy idea, but look how well it worked out.

So, now that your dictionary is all fixed up tell me what you'd like to accomplish that might seem impossible.

December 22, 2008

Something Nice

Someone did something nice for my pal Ginny. You can read about it over at her blog.

What a wonderful person. Whoever you are, I thank you also. Ginny deserves it.

Hey... everyone do a random act of kindness today on someone because that soy latte buying woman is out there somewhere. Get her! :)

December 20, 2008

A New Perspective

Yesterday I had a business meeting in a very tall building. Tall for me anyway.

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I live in a tiny little town with one stoplight which acts not only as a landmark for giving directions but also as a landmark in the stream of time. "Well, I don't remember what year Calvin swallowed that toad on a dare, but I know it was before the stoplight was put in."

By the way, do you know how much stoplights cost your city? Lots of money. I know this because I was just at a city budget meeting that ran until midnight, a meeting with a dozen bleary-eyed people allocating millions of dollars fueled only on holiday sugar cookies and baklava. I think if the citizens of a city know their politicians are working on the budget late into the night they should take shifts hauling in soups and strips of bacon and very large grande mochas to make sure bizarre things don't happen such as designating money for an electric trolley that nobody ever rides.

Which brings me back to the 29th floor where nothing stands between me and a violent impact with the earth below except about half an inch of glass. I found it fascinating to gaze out over the city from here as this is rarely my perspective.

The city I was in was not particularly beautiful. A river runs through it and most of the buildings are low, sprawled across the land as if they are amassing for some sort of future event in which they rise up and become beautiful and sophisticated partygoers, shucking their sad demeanor for something better. It just hasn't happened yet.

I was struck by how shabby buildings often look from the top. From here you can see vents and pipes and heating units, spindly cell and microwave towers, tubes that burp toilet exhaust into the air, half-full (or half-empty) dumpsters. These are things I never notice from the ground.

From here I feel like a voyeur. I see a black sports car driving around the parking deck. Undoubtedly the man inside considers himself alone, but I know better. My eyes wander from car to car crisscrossing the grid of the streets below me and wonder where they are going. I wonder how many times I have thought I was walking or driving in a city, thinking I was alone when actually someone on a 29th floor was watching me.

I love looking out to the horizon. Later I will explain to my oldest son about the horizon and the curvature of the planet and chuckle happily when he asks me if I drove to the end of the earth.

Nope, I stayed right here on the 29th floor in this room with the fascinating view, my back turned on everyone until my meeting started, a meeting filled with confusion, untruth, a meeting that created bewilderment and chaos in almost everyone who attended. And then a long ride in an elevator down to Level 5 (red) and a drive around a parking deck during which I thought I was alone, but could have been watched. And then a nice meal at a nice restaurant where a nice man gave me free green beans to make up for him giving my seat away and making me wait 20 extra minutes.

When finally seated, I mused over all that happened that morning, my eyes resting on the free beans and thought... in a bad economy you just can't beat free food (except maybe a big winning lottery ticket).

December 18, 2008

Cool Link: Wonder How To...

I ran across this today while trying to find the apparently not-so-secret recipe for Rubio's Baja Grill fish tacos. I haven't had one since we left California. Waah!

Anyway, this site gets a big WOW from me. It has videos on how to do anything and everything. Go check it out!

December 17, 2008

Did He Really Just Say That?

I was watching the news tonight, actually just staring at the TV more than anything, and George Stephanopoulos was giving his review on how Obama is doing with his picks for the cabinet.

He indicated that overall the President-Elect seemed to be getting a good cabinet, diverse, capable and without giving away positions for the sake of "tokenism". However, despite all this there are still complaints.

Liberals say they are not well-represented and women's groups say Obama is not doing as well with women as former President Bill Clinton did.

I actually had to use the Tivo and go back to make sure he actually said what I thought he said.

December 16, 2008

Spa Day!

My youngest son has severe eczema to the point where he will scratch himself bloody. It's a really horrible affliction and I feel so bad for him because he's just bound to be miserable. It takes a great deal of care and diligence to keep his skin moderately stable and on a GOOD day, he's still patchy and welped and uncomfortable.

We have a good regime from the doctor which consists of many things we CAN'T do (no fragrances in soaps, detergents, shampoos and no bubble baths which is one of those awesome childhood traditions that is hard to deprive him of) and a decent prescription medicine. The absolute BEST part of the regime (for him, not us) is what we refer to as "spa day".

This consists of taking a wet toddler and slathering him with handfuls of Vaseline. We pull him out of the tub and while he is still wet let him dig his hands into the Vaseline and then we scoop in and liberally apply the goop. At first I thought he'd never lay still for it, but it turns out that it's a genetic pre-disposition for all males of the species to go supine and allow a woman to blob copious amounts of slippery stuff all over his body. He's so accustomed to this practice that he will occasionally run through the house shrieking, "ba day, ba day, ba day!"

Doing this after every bath is time-consuming and an adventure. As soon as Tristan senses we're finished he likes to jump up and run streaking through the house because he doesn't want to wear a diaper. We call this being "free and easy". Normally, if one is fast enough one can catch a baby before he runs off unfettered of his diaper. However, this particular baby has been coated with about 22 layers of petroleum jelly and anyone who has ever seen a country rodeo with a greased pig competition can imagine what happens next. I don't even have to tell you.

The next step consists of me yelling, "Free and easy!" as the war cry to let the rest of the household know that Tristan is on the loose, weapon locked and loaded. One or more of the other men of the household will attempt to subdue the greasy heathen and generally it will take two of us to strap him back into his diaper.

Getting him dressed is another whole matter as cotton clothing doesn't slide well on sticky skin.

However, the treatment works great for eczema and I'd highly recommend it with some slight modifications. Maybe adding sticky flypaper (fragrance-free!) to the spa day station. Or perhaps fencing and cross-fencing the interior of the house. Or maybe inventing a new type of petroleum jelly that instantly puts babies to sleep on contact.

This morning I walked into the kitchen to find Tristan had scooted a chair up to the counter and had gotten into the butter dish. He had squeezed the butter into his hands, rubbed it liberally on the counter, the cutting board and as I walked in he was coating his hands and arms with it. He looked up and me and smiled hugely, saying, "ba day!" Makes sense I guess. We've turned him into some kind of desperate lube junky.

I dropped him off at daycare and the daycare worker hugged in and cuddled him and exclaimed, "Tristan you smell so yummy, like fresh baked bread!" As I walked out the door all I could think was "Lady, please don't eat my baby."

December 15, 2008

Someone's Gonna Get Fired

I'm sure by now you've heard about the shoe-throwing incident with the President. While we could all make up shoe jokes all day, I'm fascinated by the fact that I have yet to hear anyone ask the question I want to ask which is, "Where the heck were the Secret Service guys while our President was being pelted with Iraqi shoes?"

In fact, for your convenience I have posted the CNN news story below. Watch the President's impressive ducking maneuver and the slower-than-molasses SS guy who finally makes it up there after the last shoe lands.

Someone's gonna get his bootie handed to him at the post-mortem.

By the way, I would like to say, Mr. President, after all our disagreements, I am very impressed by your quick reflexes and now I feel a little bit bad because I laughed at David Letterman's Great Moments in Presidential Speeches.

December 12, 2008

If I Were My Toddler...

The other day I was driving somewhere and my 2-year-old was in the back seat. He doesn't really talk much and much of what he says is indecipherable. (Often I have had very superior mothers claim to me that they understand everything their children say, so in an effort to make myself feel better I have recently decided that they're all big fat liars.)

That particular day Tristan was pointing out the window claiming to have seen a wolf. A wolf, I asked to be sure I heard correctly.

"Yeah. Vuff. Beebee."

"A baby wolf?", still making sure. Often he will repeat the word 647 times until I guess correctly what he is saying.

"Yeah. Beep."

I glanced out the window. Nothing but woods. "There's a sheep in there? With the baby wolf?"

"Beeps!" Aah, more than one sheep then.

He often will make outlandish claims about what is outside the window. I find myself hoping it is a fertile imagination and not some kind of chemical malfunction that makes him delusional. Or worse, that he actually DOES see something that I don't.

All of this got my mind to wondering what exactly the world would be like if we didn't outgrow the things we do as small children. What a strange, surreal, unpredictable (and possibly horrifying) world it would be if we did not rid ourselves of the madness that plagues us as children.

In celebration of my merging into adulthood (which I keep saying could happen Any Day Now) here is my list of Things I Would Do If I Were My Toddler:

  • Insist constantly that I be served candy for breakfast (oh wait, I do this!)
  • Refuse to speak when spoken to
  • Hide my face when strangers speak to me
  • Slap my brothers when they piss me off
  • Kick my mother in the shin if she refuses to give me what I want
  • Pee in my pants during business meetings
  • Throw food across the table or onto the floor because it's hilarious
  • Fall to the ground and growl like an animal when I'm frustrated
  • Insist there is a tiger in the potted plant at the doctor's office
  • When people are talking to me, run away down the street if they break eye contact for the slightest moment
  • Wear my shoes on the wrong feet even after I've been told they are on the wrong feet
  • Crossdress
  • At a special nice meal, let food fall out of my mouth and say, "Blehhhhhh...."
  • Jump up and down in the booth seats at restaurants
  • Draw on the important papers of my colleagues with large, black permanent markers
  • Claim there are farm animals in the woods when there actually are not
  • Scrub the toilet with other people's toothbrushes
  • Pull women's shirts down so I can look at their "bips" (breasts)
  • Run in circles yelling, "ayyayayayayayayayayay" when people are trying to tell me something important
  • Pile parking lot gravel on people's bumpers
  • Do belly flops in a full bathtub
  • Take off my shoes and socks when we're on a road trip (oh wait, I do that!)

Yes, these are all things he does at any random moment and it's perfectly fine because he's two and only he can get away with it.

What wild and crazy things do you wish you could do that you DON'T because it's not socially acceptable? Let's pretend, on paper, there are no rules -- what would you do?

December 10, 2008

Whaddya Know?

Not long ago a young friend of mine in his 20's had a flat tire. He ended his tale of the flat-tire adventure with a big sigh saying, "I am SO lucky Darren happened by!"

This morning a colleague of mine stuck his head into my office and said, "I have to run down the road for a minute. A belt on my son's truck came off and he doesn't know how to get it back on."

As I sit here sipping tea, I think about how it's a rarity these days that people know how to do basic stuff. Admittedly I don't know much at all about cars so I'd be at a loss with a rogue belt, but I *do* know how to change a tire, little ole me, although I'm not sure I'm strong enough to unscrew those pesky lug nuts.

Part of the mystique of characters like James Bond and McGyver is that they have knowledge and ingenuity. Where are the people like that? Why aren't MORE people like that? It's not like you actually have to pay for that knowledge. Talk to your parents or grandparents. They know lots of stuff. Read a book, look on the Internet. There are lots of great how-to sites.

My husband and I are raising two boys. I want them to be good at things, to be confident and capable, to be problem solvers. I like the idea of them having a few old-fashioned values and I want them to "know stuff".

What do you think is valuable for people to know? I started my own list. Can you help me add to it?

I think everyone over the age of 18 should know how to:

  • change a tire
  • shake hands
  • make gravy
  • write a proper thank you note
  • make paper airplanes
  • iron a shirt
  • sew on a button
  • make coffee
  • read a map
  • jumpstart a car
  • unclog a toilet
  • use a compass
  • grow vegetables
  • swim
  • tie useful knots
  • balance a checkbook
  • drive a car
  • ride a bike
  • make fire
  • perform CPR and basic first aid
  • the Heimlich maneuver

This is just a start. I was tempted to add "when to stop talking" and "how to kill someone with your thumb" but those are probably subjective and would not be on everyone's list. (One of those is on my list of things to learn... I'll let you wonder which one!)

I know there are so many more and we haven't even gotten to YOURS yet. Tell me what is on your list!

December 7, 2008

The End of an Era. Well, the Roll Anyway...

Over the eight years that my husband and I have been married we have developed an inside joke about the plastic wrap that is in our cabinet.

Not long after we married we bought a membership to Costco and on Saturday mornings we'd head over there for the free chow and a big grocery shopping spree. On one of those expeditions we purchased two rolls of plastic wrap. Why buy one, right? Because it just runs out and it's always good to have a backup. Because really... it always happens that when you really need it you pull the plastic and end up standing there like a big goof with three inches of wrap in your hand because the roll went dead.

For only a few months after that we stayed in California before deciding to relocate back to my home state of Arkansas. We packed up all our belongings, including the two rolls of plastic wrap, and have since been living happily ever after.

About two years after we moved here one of us realized that we hadn't purchased any plastic wrap since we bought the first two rolls. We figured any day now we were due to run out.

Another couple of years went by and we began speculating about the magical quality of the rolls. Despite frequent use of plastic wrap we seemed to never get near the end. We considered it to be some very special faerie-powered, mystical plastic wrap that replenishes itself at night on full moons. We were happy, we were in love. Life was good.

Somewhere around year six we went from special magical faerie plastic wrap to feeling superstitious about the rolls. We'd had these rolls of plastic wrap our entire married life. Did that relate in any philosophical or mystical way to the marriage itself? What would happen when the rolls ran out? Anything? Nothing? Should we stop using them? Was that cheating? Did it matter? We sort of joked about it and yet... every time I used a piece of plastic wrap I wondered if some metaphysical clock were ticking somewhere.


Earlier in the year I was at the back of the house and Rob was in the kitchen. I heard him yelling this horrified, "Aaa-aaagh!" I dropped what I was doing and ran to the kitchen figuring he'd sliced through his hand or was having some other miscellaneous kitchen mishap. I rounded the corner to see him standing in the middle of the kitchen with a plastic wrap box in one hand and a three-inch piece of plastic wrap in the other. He gasped, "It's the last piece. THE LAST PIECE!"

"Wait, wait... we have another roll don't we," I suggested, hopeful.

He threw the stuff to the floor and yanked open the cabinet. There sat the other roll in its yellow and blue box, metal teeth gleaming in the light like some crazy possessed box of plastic wrap you'd name Cujo or Christine. "Yes, here it is. We have one left."

We looked at each other and didn't say much. What could you say? It was bound to be coming to an end... the rolls anyway, hopefully not the marriage. Would we survive it?

Another few months went by. Fast forward to yesterday. Another horrific bellow comes from Rob in the kitchen. I race in to see him standing there, again, with three inches of plastic wrap and a terrified look on his face. "This is it," he said, grimacing.

Julius, our oldest comes racing in. "What is it, what is it?" He stares at his dad (who is still holding the plastic wrap and waving it around in the air) like he's a stranger visiting from a mental institution. I said, "Oh, uh, well, your Dad just needs more plastic wrap and we're all out." Julius rolls his eyes and leaves the room.

Well, really, what was I supposed to do, explain it to him? It boggles the mind to think we bought those mutant rolls three years before he was even born.

So, here is what I'm thinking. If those lasted eight years, all we need to do is go find that brand of wrap and buy enough rolls to last us until somewhere around the end of our lifespan, give or take a few years for being in the nursing home and maybe purchase one extra roll since we have two kids now and will probably be using more.

A quick googling of the average life expectancy of humans yielded me a nifty little calculator. (Sidenote: calculating your life expectancy is a sobering thing which gave me pause to wonder why I'm sitting here writing about plastic wrap instead of out climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or doing a castle tour of the UK or publishing my best-selling novel.) After a few clicks I determined six rolls should do it. We'll get seven to be on the safe side. Lucky Number Seven.

It's a small price to pay to save a marriage.

December 5, 2008

Killing Santa

When my husband and I had kids we had slightly different philosophies about how we were going to handle "the Santa Issue". He was raised to believe there was a Santa and I was raised in a non-Santa environment.

I was uncomfortable with what I considered a deception; he maintained it was harmless and nobody is permanently scarred from the discovery that Santa isn't real. (Oh, sorry if I spoiled that for anyone who still believes... oopsie!) Indeed he seems quite fine. He has very fond memories of childhood Christmases and no bad memories of the event at all. Since my family never celebrated Christmas I yielded to him as the Holiday Expert.

Five years later my son is now in Kindergarten and has asked me twice if Santa Claus is real. As expected, bigger kids are telling littler kids that Santa isn't real. So, I put the question off by saying he needs to talk to his dad about it as his dad is the Santa Expert. Julius says, "Why is Dad the Santa Expert? Why aren't you a Santa Expert?" Er, well... now that's another long story.

Fast forward a week and finally I can't stand it anymore and we decide we're going to fess up and explain about Santa Claus. We go into some long drawn out explanation about how Santa is a symbol of Giving, Generosity, Good Times. (I resisted the urge to add Greed, Excessive Consumerism, Poor Financial Choices and Hedonism.) We explained why "we" thought it would be fun for him to believe in Santa, fun for him, fun for us to give him Santa gifts and all that. We stressed the whole "symbolism" thing as a way of not completely admitting that we're big fat liars.

While symbolism and the spirit of giving and all that is a really nice story, the real truth is Mommy and Daddy killed Santa Claus.

At the end of this protracted and horrible explanation we just sat there looking at him and asked how he felt about it. He said he was sad, although he suspected the kids were right. And he looked horribly disappointed. I, of course, felt like crying and was filled pretty much to the top with self-loathing... 'cause, you know, I'm a Santa Killer.

I asked him what we should do about his little brother. To tell or not to tell? He says we should tell Tristan the truth and also tell him that Big Brother is sad about there not being a real Santa.

Right now the boys are piled on their Dad watching The Santa Clause. I'm all for Hollywood breaking the news next time.

Hopelessly Cluttered

I'm hopelessly cluttered. I have this fantasy that one day I will magically become organized and live and work in a pristine and uncluttered environment that people will admire. Right now I live in an environment where people fear for their lives that there might be an avalanche and they will die under a heap of falling magazines or other little doo-dads I'm certain I can't live without.

I do mean well. Once I bought a really cool book on how to organize myself and lost it within the first week. I think I got to about page two before I became suicidal.

All this is coming up again because my mother just handed me a book called How to Be Organized in Spite of Yourself. (How fitting is that title?) I told her I lost my other book and she laughed so hard she had to sit down in the chair because of a subsequent coughing fit. She said she'd drill a hole in this one and tie it to the corner of my desk with a big red ribbon.

My family hates me because I lack domestic skills. The only reason they keep me around is because I'm slightly charming, sporadically amusing and I'm the only one who doesn't mind changing the diapers. I'm afraid of what will happen when our youngest is potty trained. My usefulness will suddenly decline and I'll be forced to do more outlandish things to prove my usefulness such as cure cancer, invent a car that runs on air or maybe just polish up a little bit and become a supermodel. (Yes, because I'm SO CLOSE to making that achievement!)

But enough about me... what about you? Take my survey so I can see either how abysmally hopeless I am or give me hope that I'm not alone. (Survey is limited to the first 50 people, because I'm a cheapskate who won't upgrade the service.)

And if you have any great hints about organizing, feel free to post them here. Every little bit helps, doesn't it?

P.S. I'll post the survey results later after they are tabulated.

December 3, 2008

Thank Goodness for Gravity

My two-year-old has tiny little legs. He's all torso with these powerful little stumpy legs and he's very strong. Last night he tried to lock me in the bathroom by throwing himself at the door and pushing it shut as I was pulling it open. It was not a pretty sight and I was certain someone was going to get something amputated.

He hops a lot and runs in circles. He jumps off chairs, off the couch, onto his brother, onto his parents. Once he jumped on me when I wasn't expecting it and it cost me two trips to the chiropractor. Lately he has been running across rooms and slamming into people so that he bounces off and falls to the floor. He likes to pretend he falls off things. He loves flying through the air, but much to my dismay he likes landing as well. I don't even understand how this is possible.

He was walking at nine months and climbing before that. He is fearless and I am fearful. He's a runner and in the mornings I have to hold his hand when we walk to the car (which he hates) because he likes to take off running and he almost runs faster than I do. This morning was one of those mornings... he wanted to go see the school buses that park near our house and he took off running. There we were, half the city's traffic going past our house with him running so fast flames were shooting off his backside and me behind him trying to close the gap before he can hit the street. We looked like Tom and Jerry complete with his silly, gleeful grin and my own mask of rage and frustration. It's a small town and I'm sure a daily event to drive by our house in the morning with people taking bets on what they'll see when they pass by. Fresh spectacles daily!

Often gravity is in my favor and probably the only thing that saves me. More often than not he tips forward and skips across the dirt like a smooth stone across water. That's when I make my move, snatching him up and hauling him across the yard under my arm like an angry bagpiper marching to war. "No-o-o! No-o-oh!" shrieks the bagpipe, his little legs flailing. It's good to be bigger. Okay, maybe slow, but when I catch him I'm good.

For now anyway.

December 2, 2008

My Icemaker

Apparently, my ice maker is having another psychotic episode. Those of you who have migrated from the old, dead blog will remember the long-winded tale of the ice maker from last year.

It has been very well-behaved for a while, but I have now (apparently) made it mad again by allowing two containers of homemade meatballs to sit in the ice bin for a couple of days. Heaven forbid the bin serves two purposes. Heaven forbid I treat the ice maker like the machine it is.

Those of you who are just tuning in... well, I'm sorry you're having to witness all this. :)