Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Snack Attack

I was going to do the official Christmas wrap-up so that we could move past it already (even though Christmas was great!) but once again blogger is being crappy about sharing photos, so you get a little kid story instead.

The other day he asked me, "Am I fat, or skinny, or just a little bit chubby?"

"You're perfectly healthy," I answered,"You just need to keep being active and eating healthy foods and you'll stay this way."

"Well...actually...I'm wantin' to be a little chubby so I'm thinkin' I  need more junk food."

Nice try, little kid.

He also has an excellent manipulation tactic where he'll ask for something outlandish like, "Can I have 6 cookies?" and I usually reply with "NO!!! Absolutely not! You may have ONE cookie!!" at a time where I would normally just say no to cookies. Something about throwing a number out there makes me respond with one. He's a natural born negotiator.

God help us all if he goes into law school or politics.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Santa

"What are you going to ask Santa for?" I asked as we waited in line to see Santa.

"A dinosaur, a book, Legos and a bike!" little kid said.

"A bike? You don't need a bike."

"I wanna bike."

"But little kid, you have 2 bikes. Santa doesn't have room in his sleigh to bring people who hardly ride their bikes a 3rd bike."

"Look, don't you worry 'bout it. I'm gonna get me a bike. It's between me and Santa and I'll get me a bike. You'll see," he said with determination.

Yeah. We'll see alright.

Big Kid can't give Santa any suggestions, saying he has everything he needs and he just wants Santa to surprise him, because Santa should know better than anyone what he likes.

Yeah. He should. But it doesn't mean he wouldn't appreciate some suggestions.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Psycho Scott

Remember how I said Kourtney Kardashian's manchild reminded me of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho?

Bret Easton Ellis (the author) thinks so too! and wants him to play him in the movie remake. I hate to see that tool get a job but I love being right.

Great minds think alike!

(Or Scott just really does resemble a murderous, social ladder-climbing sociopath that much).

Naughty or Nice

Harold Hubert Piggybottom has been busy around our house! Big Kid thinks he's not as much fun as he was last year but I pointed out that Harold is older, more mature, and may be running out of ideas. Maybe he doesn't want to be a messy troublemaker anymore, hmmmm? Maybe he's tired?

I'm tired, I could see how he would be worn out.

Anyway, here are some of Harold's antics:

Harold made himself a Lego bed and covered himself with a piece of felt little kid drew on earlier in the day and brought some popcorn and Christmas DVDs. Nice! (if you look all the way to the right, you'll see where little kid wrote his name on my coffee table. He insists he didn't. Someone also wrote "dad" at the same time, so Mr. Ashley is also a suspect.)


Harold brought wind-up pooping animal toys into our manger scene. On this same night, he drew on the kids' photos. I was really upset until I realized he used dry erase markers and I do think poop jokes (especially around the baby Jesus) are inappropriate, but I eventually decided the photo graffiti was funny. The kids were upset and offended over their mustaches and demanded I erase them. There was even talk of requesting a new elf next year because that was just so wrong. Naughty.

Harold bowled with friends. The kids were amused by the tiny bowling set. Nice!

Harold zip-lined through the house. Kind of annoying because I was almost decapitated by his zip-line more than once, and I'll need a ladder to get the tack out of the window sill. But mostly nice.

Harold sang Christmas carols with our tree angel. Nice!

Harold brought hot chocolate and made marshmallow snowmen. Everyone liked this! Nice!

Harold brought little bitty donuts!! How amazing and adorable of him! little kid insisted on eating one even though I pointed out that maybe elves have germs or maybe the donuts are stale, but he said they tasted like donuts. Nice!

 
Harold went on a sleigh ride. He's also wearing a crown, not sure what's up with that. Nice.

And then, after a big search for Harold, we found him in the freezer with another little elf!: 

We were super confused about the new elf and I was irritated they used all of the ice cubes because I don't have an ice maker. It's like living in a third world country. They also threw little marshmallows around and all of my ice tasted sweet. I say naughty, but the kids voted nice.

They seemed to be friends because they had a campfire the next night:

They even roasted marshmallows. (Elves seem to love marshmallows.) Nice! 
 We still didn't know who the little elf was, but the little punk helped toilet paper our tree the next night: 

 
Naughty! And a waste of toilet paper, which is a precious commodity around here.  It looks like Harold is throwing up gang signs at us. What's his problem?


The next night they were on my computer. I don't really like people (or elves) on my computer. They had googled some pictures of santa's village, reindeer, and elves. They also left a video for Big Kid, which was a huge relief because Big Kid had himself absolutely convinced that he was on the bad list (which is clearly completely irrational because I can't even think of the last time he was in trouble). There was a video from Santa and they ran his name through the nice/naughty machine and he came out nice. I cannot even begin to describe the visible joy and relief on Big Kid's face. Poor guy. Nice. 

And now we're back down to one elf. Em was over the other night and saw our elves and although she had her game face on and didn't cry or pout or show any visible signs of distress, I could tell she was a little sad not to have an elf of her own. I mentioned this to the boys the next day and said her family hadn't managed to get signed up for the elf program and that I planned to help them next year but felt a little guilty that we had 2 elves and she didn't have one. Before I could even finish, they both simultaneously said, "Let's give her one of ours!" without as much as a second thought. So we dropped our new mystery elf on her doorstep and they never wavered in their decision. I was proud of them for it and it left me feeling Christmas-y.  

She ended up getting a letter from the North Pole explaining that there had been a mix-up because she was staying at our house during the time of the elf placement census and her elf's name is Jakob Jingle Giggleglitter. She had suggested we name the little mystery elf Jake, so it's even more magical that it ended up being his actual name! Christmas magic! Nice!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Reginald the Hedginald

I know I owe you all Harold Hubert updates and pics but I just don't have it in me tonight. Maybe tomorrow?

As a consolation prize, I give you Reggie the Hedgie, straight from his bath:


And tomorrow you'll get 90,000 Harold pics. Or 15, minus how many days you've already seen.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Better Not Pout

"Kyle's mom said Santa wasn't real," little kid said about one of his kindergarten classmates.

"Hmmm. Weird."

"Why would she say that?"

"I don't know. Maybe they don't celebrate Christmas."

"They do."

"Well, then maybe she didn't sign up to have Santa come...or maybe she was a bad girl when she was little and didn't get any gifts and is still mad about it."

"Maybe so."

Thanks, Kyle's mom, and you're welcome.

Reading Between the Lines

Big Kid caught a glimpse of the new blog header over my shoulder and asked to see it. After he admired the look and checked again to make sure I was kidding about my empathy for baby-eating hamsters, he asked if he could read a few posts. I let him read the last few G rated entries, mostly things his brother has said.

"Mom, this is hilarious!" he said, with genuine laughter. "Oh my god, so funny. Hey, mom? Will you teach me to be funny? Like, to write funny blogs?"

Beaming with joy, I tried to enlighten him, "Of course I will! You are very funny! You just have to write casually, like the way you speak and you have to look for the funny angle in every situation. Just start getting your thoughts down on paper--"

"No, I mean the spacing."

"The spacing?"

"I think the spacing is what makes you funny. Like, the paragraph breaks? Can you teach me that?"

"The...spacing? Makes me funny?"

"Yes, you have to teach me how to do that. Please!"

 The spacing makes me funny. The empty space between my words is what is so amusing. My talent is in the blank spots.

Seriously?  ಠ_ಠ


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sun and Moon

I was going to update you all on Harold's antics but Blogger doesn't feel like uploading pictures, so I guess we won't! Maybe it will be in a better mood tomorrow.

Yesterday little kid announced, "The sun is not a planet, it's a star! A real bright one!"

"Right! It's actually a ball of gas. Did you know even if the sun wasn't hot, astronauts still couldn't walk on it because it's not a solid, it is a gas. It's also not that the sun is so bright, it's that it is so big. That makes it appear brighter," Big Kid said.

"Yep. And then the sun that's a star goes down and the moon goes up and it's night!"

"Actually the sun doesn't go down. The sun doesn't go anywhere, the earth travels around the sun. So, the sun stays in one spot and the earth spins around and around and that's why when we are waking up, children on the other side of the world are going to bed--because they are facing away from the sun," he continued.

"Wait--are you tellin' me the sun doesn't go down? For real?"

"No. It just appears that way. It's really the earth's rotation that makes us go from day to night. So right now it's night time for us, but that's because our side of the world is facing away from the sun. As we turn back around it will become day."

"That's....that is....wow. That's amazing. Do other people know this? Because it's blowin' my brains thinkin' of it."

Mine too. It's incredible to realize all of the awe-inspiring things that happen every single day that are beyond my scope of appreciation.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Harold Hubert Piggybottom Returns

Look who we found tangled up in the carport yesterday morning!

 Harold Hubert Piggybottom, the same naughty Christmas elf we got last year. I was hoping we'd get the nice type who baked cookies and cleaned the house, but no such luck.

He came with the following letter:

(This was the letterhead, I'm scanning it in for you):

Season’s greetings!  Thank you for your participation in the Elf Live-in Foster Service (E.L.F.S). You have been assigned Harold Hubert Piggybottom for your second consecutive year.  Since you reported good behavior from Harold, it was determined that your family was a positive fit for him and we appreciate you welcoming him into your home.  You are obviously a good influence because Harold exhibits some minor behavioral problems while at home in the North Pole; he has recently been moved from the toy workshop to the reindeer stables after a near disastrous incident with the bouncy ball making machine.  Luckily, he is better with animals than he was with tools.  (Note: You may want to secure all power tools and heavy machinery for the duration of his visit.) Anyway, we were delighted to hear of his good behavior during your visit last year.

But despite his mischief,  as you know, Harold is a good elf with a good heart and he does love Christmas. Please remember not to touch Harold or he may lose his magic, and don’t forget that he will not perform magic when being watched.  Santa will collect him on Christmas Eve and will leave your E.L.F.S. experience survey at that time -- your honest input is important so we can continue to make appropriate elf placement and evaluate each elf’s participation in the program.

Happy holidays and enjoy your elf visit.



Joyfully Yours,


          Bristol Pinelin Treebright
         Chief Elf Officer of E.L.F.S.

(The kids lied about his behavior on the survey last year, because it wasn't that great.)

Last night he painted a Christmas tree (we think because ours isn't up yet) AND he got the glitter out. NO ONE touches the glitter. No one. Not even me.

And yes, that is a tree frog in a paper towel paint smock there in the corner. I don't understand it either.


I think it's important to be honest on the satisfaction survey so we can hopefully get a sweet housekeeping elf next year, but the kids love this little troublemaker and I might be stuck with him forever.

Work Out

"I've got to go to the gym tonight," Mr. Ashley said.

"Don't go!" said little kid.

"I have to go to be healthy. If I don't go, I'll get a fat belly."

"I want you's to have a fat belly."

"You want me to have a fat belly? Why do you want me to have a fat belly?" Mr. Ashley asked with a smile.

"Because then I'll move in on my mudder. I'll sleep in the big bed and you's sleep in the little bed and I'll be the hubsand."

"You're a total creeper. I'm going to the gym."


(And he clearly thinks I'm shallow!)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thankful List

Things little kid is thankful for:
Mom
Dad
His teacher
Our dogs
Corn

Big Kid was pretty upset not to be included. "I ranned out of room. You was gonna be under corn," little kid explained.

(That didn't help much.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving

"Thanksgiving is when the pilgrims and the indians sailed to America to eat turkey togever waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the 1980s," said little kid.

"Haha, no, like the 1600s."

"Whatever, I just knowed it was a long time ago."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Make it Stop

Breaking Dawn is the last of the Twilight series, correct?

And then I can be done hearing about it everywhere all of the time? Please?

I am counting the seconds until it's over. I'm hoping 2012 can be a mostly Twilight-free year.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bad Coat

The other day at Target, I saw a cute red fitted coat as we were walking out the door and I stopped to try it on.

"How do I look, Big Kid?" I asked.

"Like a fat woman in a red coat," he answered with a smile, without skipping a beat.

"Big Kid!! I am NOT fat! And you don't call people fat. Especially me. I'm not fat, Big Kid."

He laughed. "I just don't like the coat. I was kidding."

"That's the un-funniest joke you could ever tell a lady! This coat is not my size, by the way, it is too big. That's the problem, I am not the problem," and all weekend I teased him about calling me a fat woman in a red coat and how I may have to find a new oldest son since mine is so awful.

Today I dragged him to the Target across town and was delighted to find the coat in my size. This time he knew to stand there quietly while I hopped over to the mirror and tried it on.

"I look....like a fat woman in a red coat," I said sadly once I buttoned it up and assessed the situation.

Big Kid cracked up laughing. "I told you so!" He tried to compose himself and added, "But you're not fat, mom, it's just a bad coat. But I did tell you so," he was hardly able to hide his smirk. "Fat woman in a red coat" he whispered to himself while laughing.

Why did he have to be right? I like always being right and I really (thought I) liked that coat.

Friday, November 11, 2011

KKK

I am ready for Kris Jenner and her harem to go away now, please.

She pimps out her kids, she cheated on her former husband, she's a liar, she's annoying, she raises the type of people who get married for 72 days for publicity, she spelled several kids' names wrong for the sake of keeping everyone in "K"s and she's mean to Bruce.

Her claim to fame is having married a rich guy and having had a child with an exceptionally large ass. She's made an empire from these 2 events.

Did anyone see when they were in Bora Bora and Kim was having a tantrum because her room was too big and was covered in flowers? Whenever I'm making fun of assholes (not just the Kardashians--anyone) I whine at Mr. Ashley, "This room is too big! There's flowers everywhere! Waaaaaaah, my room is too big!!" and I think that's the only decent thing that's come from the existence of this family.

And don't even get me started on Kourtney's manchild, Scott. He reminds me of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. I believe he's a sociopath (even more so than Kris).

The Kardashians make me miss the Hiltons. It's that bad.

Monday, November 7, 2011

If you love him...

Big Kid is in the Family Fun costume contest for his Mr. Fredericksen costume. I know these are annoying, but he would love to win and all you have to do is hit "like", so it's pretty easy if you are so inclined.

If you are not, I understand (but no more funny Big Kid stories for you, then!)

Mr. Fredericksen from Up photo 

HERE is the link!

edited to add: If it influences you any, tonight he finished reading the Chronicles of Narnia. All of them! That's loveable and like-worthy.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Humpty Dumpty

While watching me paint my nails on the back porch, little kid stacked up all of the cushions and created one precarious pile on top of one of the porch benches, which he then climbed so he could sit on top.

"If I fell off a here, I'd crack my head open," he announced.

"Yes, you might." I answered, just trying to paint my freaking nails.

"Then would I die?"

"I don't know, I could maybe take you to the hospital and they could sew your head back together. But that would hurt. I would just get down."

"You'd have to take me to a 'opsital 'cuz you can't sew, right?"

"Right. Not someone's head up."

"But...not at all, really. Right? You's can't sew a dress," he sounded kind of sad or maybe disappointed in me.

"Right, I can't sew a dress."

"So you can't sew at all."

"No, not really."

"So, I'd have a better chance of dying 'cuz you couldn't sew me up and would have to drive me to a 'opsital? A better chance than someone's mom who sews."

"I guess so. That's why you should get down."

"I'm thinkin' you should learn to sew. My grandma can sew."

"Maybe you should live there, she could sew you back up if you fell."

"I'm just gonna get down from up here. You could probably sew if you tried."

Probably not.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

First World Problems

I woke up this morning to a terrible ruckus in our kitchen. I knew everyone else was sleeping and it sounded like things were being banged around and moved. Having just fallen asleep after watching the first four episodes of American Horror Story, I decided that most likely someone was dismembering babies on our kitchen table so I did what any sane person would do and ran right out there (naked, I might add).

It turns out my hedgehog, who has been free-ranging on the back porch but had to come in last night because of the cold, was wearing a tiny plastic cup on his head and was burrowing through his shavings and running into the sides of his bin. This would have been hilarious had I not been cold, naked, scared and tired, standing exposed in our open living area, hoping no scary baby-dismemberers were lurking in the shadows waiting to claw my face off. I thought I would rescue Reggie by removing the cup from his face, but he flipped it back over and put it right back on, obviously using it as a helmet. I took the cup away so I could go back to sleep and he proceeded to turn his food and water bowls over in protest.

Happy to be back in the warmth of my bed, I tried to fall back asleep but the country club next door started its daily, 6:00 am-ish, county noise ordinance-breaking, morning landscaping and I laid there freezing and resenting their humming and buzzing and Reggie's food bowl rearranging.

Then I started coughing and couldn't stop, followed by throwing up from said coughing, followed up with the worst Dunkin Donuts coffee I've ever had (it may have been poisonous) and now my laptop cord has completely stopped working and I'm using the dregs of my battery to entertain myself while stuck in bed sick.

I think getting my face clawed off at the break of dawn by a baby-dismemberer would have been a quicker and possibly even less painful start to my Saturday.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween!

While working on Big Kid's Mr. Fredericksen costume from the movie Up, he asked what I was going to be.

"I could be Russell!" I said, "I could get a boy scout uniform and...."

"Mom, you can't be Russell. He's a little boy!" Big Kid insisted, looking worried.

"Well, Mr. Fredericksen is an old man and you aren't an old man." I pointed out.

"But Russell is a boy. You're not a boy. It's just not normal for a mom to dress like a little boy."

"Oh. Well, then I don't know what I can be if you won't let me be Russell," I answered sadly.

Days later he asked again, but I suspected he was double-checking to make sure I hadn't procured a boy scout uniform somewhere along the way.

"So, did you ever decide what you'll be for Halloween, mom?"

"Yes! I was thinking about it and I'm going to be Kevin!" I said with excitement.

"The...bird? From Up?" Big Kid asked, looking very concerned.

"Yes!! I'm going to wear, like, a one piece blue bodysuit. A tight one, I think they're called unitards? And I will attach some feathers to my butt and maybe wear a headband with some feathers? I'm thinking a shiny blue body suit, so I'll stand out. And we'll go everywhere together so people will know who I am!"

Big Kid looked absolutely horrified as I described my vision, I could see the growing panic on his face.

"Just kidding, Big Kid, I'll wear my skeleton dress again."

His relief was obvious. "Skeletons are a good costume for moms. That's a good choice."

So, no shiny blue unitard for me, although I think it was a damn good idea.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Not a Good Plan

I took a small, broken up handful of old gold jewelry to a jewelry store a month or so ago, thinking it would be awesome to get enough money to take everyone to the movies over the weekend. They ended up giving me close to $500 cash for it, which of course I was thrilled with, but this transaction completely blew little kid's mind.

Since then he has collected anything shiny--a gold plastic whistle, a silver-looking belt buckle, stray pieces of broken costume jewelry, brass buttons, etc. and routinely begs me to take him to the jewelry store so they can melt it down and give him money. I always have to explain why this plan will not work.

Then one day he hopped into the car with a smile when I picked him up from school.

"Mom, I gots a great idea!" he said, grinning.

"What's that?" I asked, doubtful.

"We should get some tubas and take 'em to the jewry store so they can melt 'em down and gibs us money!" As I composed myself he added, "Don't worry. It will be a lots of monies!"

"But where will we get the tubas?" I asked, because I'm practical like that.

He looked a little nervous about proceeding. "I can get us some tubas...." he answered.

"Oh? How will you get us tubas?" I asked.

"Maybe we could...find some tubas? In my music teacher's class? I could probly find some tubas." He looked guilty and slightly suspicious.

Big Kid interrupted impatiently, before we could plan some big tuba heist. "Dude, this is a terrible plan. It will never work and it's stealing. Number 1, we don't steal. You know that! Number 2, tubas are brass, not gold. I don't even think the jeweler will melt down brass--who wants brass?? Number 3, they fingerprinted mom for that money. You're going to steal tubas and then get fingerprinted?? No. No, you're not.You need a new plan, bro."

"Yeah, your brother's right. We would never, ever steal." I added, because I had to say something.

little kid sat quietly and considered what was said. "So...tubas aren't gold? They's shiny like gold."

"Dude, tubas aren't gold. The end."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Punishment

Today as the boys got in the car, little kid was crying.

"What's wrong?" I asked. (Because you have to ask. Even though you know there's a 90% chance you'll get some ridiculously petty answer.)

"My brudder pinsed me," he sobbed, clearly hurt and embarrassed.

"Big Kid, you pinched him??"

"Mom, I had to. I didn't want to pinch him," he replied.

"Why in the world would you have to pinch your brother, Big Kid? That is so not cool that you did that to him!"

"He was singing a rude song. I had told him twice to quit and he wouldn't so I pinched him."

"Big Kid!"

"I'm not havin' him singin' rude songs. Trust me, you wouldn't have liked it."

"You're not his boss! You are NOT the parent. You do NOT discipline him. You have no right to pinch him!"

"Well, it's the only way he listens, by pinching."

"But it's not your job to make him listen!" I said.

"Whose job is it when you aren't around?"

"No one's! You can tell him not to sing that song and that it's rude and that you'll tell an adult, but if he chooses to sing it, you do not have permission to discipline him."

"I'm just tryin' to make sure he gets raised right! Singin' rude songs is not gettin' raised right! It's making me angry that you don't care!"

"I do care and it's nice that you care, but this is mainly my job. You cannot punish your brother, you do not have the authority to punish your brother. And little kid, you don't sing rude songs!"

And then I took away Big Kid's computer time...and with it went my only hope for some peace and quiet this afternoon.

I think I'm going to just start pinching people instead.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

little kid Starts Seetz

little kid: Me and Miranda are gonna have seetz.

Me: Seats?

little kid: No, seetz.

Me: Sheets?

little kid: Bro, tell her what I'm talkin' 'bout.

Big Kid: I don't know, bro, cheats?

little kid: SEETZ!! SEEEEEETZ!!!

Me: You and Miranda are going to have sheeps?

little kid: NO! Why would we have seeps?? What is wrong wif you guys?

Me: I think we need more clues. Can you say it in a different way?

little kid: Me and Miranda are going to seetz--

Big Kid and I: ...?

little kid: SEETZ, a 'becial class where you learn to talk good.

Me: Oh, speech?

little kid: YES! Seetz!!

Me: That sounds like a great idea!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Little Bit of Kindness

So, I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before or not (it seems unlikely that I haven't since I'm pretty sure I've told you all 98% of everything about me by now) but I am slightly obsessed with little people.

Not kids (of course not) but the vertically challenged who you may know as dwarfs or midgets, but they don't like being called that now. I don't love the term "little person" either but it's not up to me, so whatever, I call them what they want. I think they are miracles and aren't revered nearly as they should be. I also think they are amazingly adorable.

So imagine my delight when I saw a little person employed as a sign holder on a busy road near our home. I shrieked and pointed him out to Mr. Ashley, exclaiming over his cuteness and vowing to eat at the BBQ place he was advertising. "I wonder if I could take him to lunch there?" I asked. "Would that be weird, to ask him to lunch?" Mr. Ashley assured me that it would definitely be weird. "I'm at least going to bring him some cookies or a cold drink or something one day. I want to meet him." I meant it, too.

I took the long way to pick the boys up from school most days just to see him, waving happily and giving his dance moves a thumbs up even if I was 3 lanes away. Every time I saw him out there in his little jeans and colorful hat, I smiled. Every day I saw him I thought of how one day I would make a point of stopping and meeting him.

And then last week a hit and run driver killed him. Running over a curb, hitting him, and leaving him to die in the bushes.

I was so sad and so angry. Angry at the fucking asshole who could just leave. Angry at my stupid county who thinks hot, ragged, poor people on street corners holding signs is preferable to allowing proper signage for local businesses. And unbelievably disappointed that I wouldn't catch a glimpse of his striped hat on my way home anymore.

But mostly I was really sad that he worked such a hot, thankless, boring job, and probably had a challenging life, and may have had no idea how much joy he brought people every day. Facebook confirmed that I wasn't the only local who loved seeing him, many were outraged and many were sad. It killed me that I felt so strongly about a perfect stranger who I thought was a hard worker and a good sport and I never got the chance to tell him so because day to day life got in the way and I assumed there would always be the future.

I woke up the next morning with my heart still heavy and had to take a moment to remember why I felt so sad inside before remembering that the little guy was gone. I read articles about him that revealed that he was an even harder worker than I knew, working odd jobs in construction and other sign holder positions, as well as at haunted houses and Christmas events. He always wanted to be sure to carry his own load, said friends and family. He loved animals and used to take his cocker spaniel to the dog park twice a day, arriving early to sweep the pine needles from the paths. His sister reported that his dog kept waiting at the window for him to come home. He is deeply missed by not only those who knew him, but also by those who didn't; "rest in peace" signs hastily erected in front of local businesses and a memorial at his old corner, code enforcement be damned.

The outpouring of love and interest was touching, I just wish he had known about it when he was alive.

Today Big Kid and I were driving to lunch and I saw a new sign holder on another corner. It was raining outside and he was dancing with all of his heart and soul. Not just dancing but DANCING! Feeling it! I laughed and pointed him out to Big Kid. I considered calling his employer to let them know how great he was. I thought of how cool it was that he was really going above and beyond for the sort of shitty job that probably pays minimum wage and makes you stand in the rain on a street corner. I thought that he probably gets thirsty out there dancing like that and that I should stop with a cold drink one day.

And I thought of the little guy.

And at lunch, I thought maybe there won't be a "one day". And I thought of that guy dancing in the rain for $7-something an hour, making strangers smile as they drove by and how he probably didn't even know he was awesome. And I bought an extra bottled water.

I was a little nervous. Some of these people are homeless or mentally ill and some of those people can be dangerous. Also, this guy was a hard worker, not someone seeking a handout, maybe he doesn't want my water. Maybe he'd think I was weird and would be rude to me. Maybe I shouldn't. I was kind of hoping he would be gone.

But there he was, an hour later, with the rain pouring down, still dancing like his feet were on fire. It took two u-turns and illegal parking to get near him. I jumped out in the rain and approached him from behind, realizing he had headphones on and unsure of how to proceed. I lightly touched his arm and he turned and looked at me and I held out the water.

"You're working hard out here, I thought you might be thirsty!" He looked confused but smiled as he reached for the water. "I love your dancing and you made me smile today so...thanks!" He looked amazed. He looked touched. His face flooded with happiness. We both stood there in the rain for a moment, pleased with ourselves and each other. He stuttered out a very genuine thank you and gave me a big grin. I told him to keep up the good work, he told me to do the same, and I saw him gratefully chugging the water as I got in the car. We waved enthusiastically at each other as I pulled out of the parking lot.

And it felt amazing. It felt really good to have that 2 minute moment with a perfect stranger and to tell someone they made me feel happy. It felt good to overcome my fear of being weird or of other people and to make a momentary connection like that.

Next week, my awkward acts of kindness victim will be the guy who wears a Superman costume and holds a sign for a tile and granite place. I've thought many times that he has to be hot in that suit, he wore it all summer.

I'm still really sorry I never got to meet that little guy, but feel grateful for what that regret taught me. I'm going to try to remember to thank the unthanked more often in his honor.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The C-Word

Last night we went to a hockey game. For someone who doesn't really like sports, I am surprisingly loud at sporting events. (To be fair, I do really like athletes...)

A goal was scored and the crowd did the "We're going to beat the crap out of you! You! You, you, you!" cheer. Big Kid looked over at me in shock.

"Did you just say the c-word??" he asked. "Is that what they say?"

"Crap? Eh, it's not really the c-word. It's not really a bad word, just an impolite and usually inappropriate one--but the rules are a little different at sporting events. You shouldn't walk around using that word but if you want to do the cheer with the crowd tonight, I'm cool with that."

He looked shocked. And conflicted. And pleased.

Our team scored again and Big Kid and I pumped our fists in the air and joined the crowd in the cheer together.

We got up to go to the bathroom between periods and he said, "You know what? It feels a little bit good to curse. I mean, I don't want to be the kind of guy who curses and I don't want to hear little kid talking like that," (little kid was thankfully absent for the above-mentioned conversation and never picked up on the words of the chant), "but sometimes it feels good to be a little bit bad. You know?"

"Yeah, I know. Just know the right time to be bad, you know?"

"Uh, yeah, I'm not gonna be walkin' around using the c-word. Don't worry."

I'm not worried. And that's why I let him do it.

(And why little kid might never be allowed.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Overcoming Obstacles

"I wanna sit on your lap," little kid said to me as we were looking at the computer.

"Okay, but you're almost too big for my lap!" I answered as his arms and legs were hanging all over the place.

"I will NEBER be too big for your lap, did you hear me? NEBER."

"What about when you're in college. Will you sit in my lap when I come to visit?"

"Yep."

"What about when you're married. Will you sit in my lap then?"

"A course. I'm always gonna sit in your lap, I like it."

"What if your wife thinks that's weird? You know, an adult sitting in his mom's lap?"

He considered this seriously.

"Well, I'm just gonna have to pick the right woman. And if she doesn't like it, then she's not the right woman! I wish I could marry you, though."

Yeah, great, then I could be a human chair for life!

We still have to have the "You can't marry your mother" conversation on a weekly basis. He just refuses to believe that this is a fact and thinks Mr. Ashley is the only thing standing in our way.

He referred to me as "his woman" the other day (he does this all the time, very bizarre from a 5-year-old) and when Mr. Ashley clarified that I was actually his woman and that he met me first, little kid said, "Well, one day you'll die," very matter-of-factly, as if that would finally end this argument.

I don't know whether to be flattered or afraid.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Apple Inc

"Big Kid, Steve Jobs died yesterday, you know, the founder of Apple? A lot of people are really sad and it is all over the news and internet because he was a genius and even more importantly, a super hard worker."

"Mom! Mom! I KNOWS him! I know 'at guy!!," little kid said excitedly from the back seat.

"You know Steve Jobs?" I asked.

"He's Johnny Appleseed! He planted da apples all over da lands. He work-ed really hard so ebrybody could have apples and now he is dead! I know all about Johnny Appleseed!!"

"Ha! He's not the Johnny Appleseed you're thinking of, he's the guy who invented iPads and stuff. He's the reason people like us have computers in their homes--they were big and expensive before."

"Oh, well, Johnny Appleseed died too and people were very sad and it was on the news, probably."

"Yes, him too."

"I'm sad for them both now, both apple guys. I really like apples."

"Me too."

Rest in peace, the other Johnny Appleseed, and thanks for planting Apples all over the lands.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

And I Know It

The other day at Home Depot, I walked up to a manager and a teenage employee to ask them a question before checking out. The manager was 40-ish, balding, chubby--perfect Home Depot manager. He answered my question and I thanked him, and then out of nowhere he broke into that "I'm sexy and I know it" song, which he continued to sing, complete with sound effects, as he moonwalked down the aisle and around the end cap.

It was incredible.

The teenage cashier was obviously mortified but I have probably thought about this guy every single day since. It was one of the funniest spontaneous things I've ever seen and if I knew his name I'd write a letter to Home Depot headquarters about him (but I'd probably leave out his actual actions, I'd just mention that I enjoyed my visit because of him.)

He has become a legend in our house and much to Big Kid's dismay, I've got little kid singing the song now. Big Kid DESPISES the word sexy. It makes him visibly cringe. I never realized how prevalent the word was until I realized how sensitive he is to hearing it. I finally had to try to explain that it wasn't really a bad word, just not an appropriate one but he still hates it. So he's not impressed that I've got little kid singing lyrics like, "I'm sexy and I know it," and "Girl, look at that body. Girl, look at that body. Girl, look at that body. I work out!"

And I know he's right. But it's too funny to stop.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Meet the Teacher

If you took Mary Poppins and made her more modern, prettier and stuck her in a kindergarten classroom, you would have little kid's kindergarten teacher. I swear to you that I could not have custom ordered a more picture-perfect first teacher than this woman. She is outstanding and award-winning. She looks and talks like a Disney princess and has every one of those little kids convinced that she chose each of them to be in her classroom because they are so special.  When I had lunch with them they all beamed with excitement as they said "She choose-ed us! Because she knew we was the best! That's how comes our line walkses so straight to the cafatewia."

little kid adores her and as a result, loves school.

She's been teaching for 21 years (but she looks young) and has read the same poem on curriculum night every one of those 21 years. I can't find it for the life of me but it's a poem from a mother to a teacher about sending her daughter to kindergarten and how she loved this child since before she was born, knew her name since before she was conceived, that she was her miracle and her entire universe and she was entrusting her to this teacher now. She warned us before she read it that she cried every single year.

And she did.

And I don't mean a little weeping, this woman broke down and had to stop to compose herself THREE TIMES throughout the poem. Three heart-wrenching, painfully awkward, completely silent and still moments as she got herself together. She sobbed through some of it. The men in the room were flabbergasted and tense and the moms couldn't help but get teary-eyed at her emotion. She blurbled about how she doesn't know why our children were with her but she knew in her heart and soul that they were meant to be here with her and that she truly thought every single one of them was a miracle and felt blessed to be entrusted with them.

At first I was stunned by this odd public outburst. Then I was moved by her vulnerability. And by the end of it, I just loved her so fucking much. I can't even leave the f-word out of it because it went beyond loving her as a teacher; I love her as a person and a mother. She GETS IT, really, really gets it, the importance of her role in their lives. She loves them like a second mother would and I love her for that.

I feel like my kid won the lottery having her as a teacher. And to think, she feels lucky to have him!

She did laughingly share with everyone that little kid is the only 5-year-old she's ever heard say the words "brain fart" and that although she laughed she had to tell him it wasn't allowed, and that was a little bit embarrassing--but if that's the worst of it, I'd say we're doing good.

So let it be known that I cried at curriculum night, and not because my kid says brain fart.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Moved

I have survived the move!

But barely.

I was without internet for 957 days and had physical withdrawal symptoms. Well, it was actually 6 days. But it was a very lonely and sad 6 days. I wasn't even able to stop and tell you all that I had lost my fancy Magnum Sharpie and as a result of that loss, packing came to a complete standstill. Instead of telling you all, I had to just continue packing. Without my fancy marker. It was awful.

Then instead of telling you all that a 4 bedroom house with a 2 car garage didn't fit in a 2 bedroom house with no garage, I had to just keep unpacking those boxes. And move a lot of them onto my ginormous porch. And throw a ton of shit away. And I still have stuff to unpack.

Did you know that I do not suffer from insomnia when there is no internet? Isn't that amazing? I'd rather have insomnia though.

I was in a true panic the first day here when I realized that all of those extra, mostly unused rooms in the other house had actually served as a sound buffer. Suddenly I could hear every dog toenail on the tile, and every single noise the kids made. There was a brief period of time when I decided this house would be perfect if we didn't have kids and then I realized the reason we don't have orphanages around is because people would drop their kids off at moments like this. Because it sounded like a really good idea for a second. I could have kept my office furniture that way.

(It was really nice office furniture.)

But we're all here (even the hedgehog and weiner dog, for the commenter who asked). With all of our stuff. And our teensy tiny fridge and our teensy tiny dishwasher and our teensy tiny washing machine. They have dials, nothing is digital. I forgot how to use washing machines that don't have special little drawers for the detergent. The appliances all say they are "whisper quiet" and then it sounds like a tsunami is approaching when I turn the dishwasher on. There is no pot-filling faucet over the stove but the sink is so close to the stove that I can pretend there is. There is none of that nambsy-pansy "energy efficient" bullshit here though--water shoots out forcefully, the toilets could flush rocks, and the water comes out of the tap so hot that you could boil eggs. So that's awesome, except for the environment and all.

And I love it. Or I will love it. One day. When the maze of boxes is gone and everything is in its place (and everything must have a place here so I will be organized by default) and I'm planning vacations with the money we're saving.

And I'd better love it because I am never, ever, ever, EVER moving again. Ever.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

You Haul

Fuck packing. For real. When I get Oprah rich, I will just buy all new stuff if I ever have to move. I don't even care if I have a staff of people to pack it all for me, I want nothing to do with it ever again.

I don't even feel sorry for homeless people any more. One shopping cart full of stuff and no neighbors sounds pretty awesome right now. No telephone? No random piles of detritus to be sorted? Sign. Me. Up. If I don't end up Oprah rich (unthinkable), then moving is going to involve me shoving my sleeping bag and backpack into a stolen Target cart and rolling on down the road.

It sounds heavenly, a close second to just getting all new stuff.

Between wandering from room to room staring at things today, I finally got to the point where I was just tossing glass things into boxes, figuring they'll make it if it's meant to be.

So, we may not have any dishware by the time we get to the new house.

And I don't care. As long as we get there.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pack Rat

I move on Saturday. The amount of packing to be done is alarming.

I guess all of the time I've spent picking out paint colors and reading the Hunger Games wasn't as productive as I thought.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Let's Play Guess Which Kid

Guess which kid wept for the Kennedy family on the way home today?

and 

Guess which kid stuck 2 pieces of metal into the outlet of a 1950s electrical system yesterday?

Don't worry, everybody's fine.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

House Signs

So there came a point where I looked at Mr. Ashley and said, "I'm going to be disappointed if we don't move to that ugly little house," and he said, "I know, me too."

So we negotiated with the new landlord, got an astronomical deal for our area and got the keys for the Ugly Seagull. Well, Mr. Ashley negotiated and got the keys because I don't like unfun grown-up stuff unless there's no one else to do it for me.

Oddly enough, the last time I was at Wal-mart I decided I wanted a tie-dyed key. I don't know why, I'm not even a tie-dye type of person. I just wanted one of the cute custom keys and that was what I picked for the house we live in now.  I didn't tell anyone though because it was a weird want. I was right not to tell anyone because when I told my friend this story tonight she said, "Why on earth did you want a tie-dyed key??" and I understood why she asked.

But Mr. Ashley came home with the signed lease and the well-worn key and...it was a tie-dyed key.

I'm a big believer of signs (and no, I'm not a schizophrenic, although I'm also a big believer in thinking I may have every disease or disorder I've ever heard of) and I think this was my wink from the world that the life plan is right on track (I still don't know where we're going, though.)

Also, tonight I had a girl date with above-mentioned friend. We went to see the Ugly Seagull but it was late and I was afraid we were lost. It was dark and the roads were curvy. I finally saw a familiar landmark and turned around into our driveway and she gasped and said she knew this house.

"How do you know this house? Do I even want to know?" I asked.

She said that her car had flooded in that neighborhood (fantastic!) and she was caught in calf-deep water with a toddler in her arms and thunder and lightning everywhere. Terrified, she ran to the nearest house, up under the dry carport and to their front door which they opened and welcomed her and her child inside until help could arrive.

How perfect is that?

So, I'm back to thinking it may all work out after all.

(Once I get rid of 800 square feet of stuff.)


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Up

Big Kid started the Harry Potter series at the beginning of summer. Long after I had told him to get in bed last night, allowing 10 minutes for reading before sleep, he appeared in my doorway with a sad, sweet little smile.

"What are you doing, bud?" I asked.

"Did you finish your book already?" Mr. Ashley guessed. Big Kid nodded, still smiling.

"You finished the last book?? Was it good?" He nodded again, smiling big but with watery eyes.

"What is wrong?" Mr. Ashley asked, confused at the mixed up emotions.

"Are you sad because it's over?" I knew because I do this too, with shorter books than the Harry Potter series. I mourn the loss of imaginary characters and their temporary involvement with my life.

He nodded again. "It was just so good. It went by so quickly and now I'm done with Harry and his friends forever..." his voice cracked and his face creased again as he finished explaining, his little shoulders slumped. I promised we'd take him to the book store for Narnia or Lord of the Rings or another series the very next day. He went to bed happy about his accomplishment and sad that he had accomplished it.

I love that boy of mine! (Both boys, of course, but this post is only about the one.) He is my mini-me.

We watched Up last night for the 50th time and both cried...again. Multiple times throughout the movie. He's decided to be Mr. Frederickson for Halloween and I haven't been this excited about a Halloween costume since they've been able to choose their own.

(little kid is going to be a ninja...sigh).

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Ugly Seagull

So, I had settled in really nicely with this whole stay-at-home mom thing (especially now that the kids are gone all day). The laundry couch is a long lost memory, my finger and toe nails are painted weekly, I go to the gym regularly, I grocery shop with a list and without yelling at people like a crazed maniac, I go to stores if I want to...and wait for this one, if you're not already gagging you're about to...I do crafts. Ugh. I should be so ashamed, it's disgusting. I'm the very woman I used to enjoy making fun of!

But God looked down upon all of this contentment and was like, "What the hell happened here? How is she so happy? Has she finally just accepted her unemployed, non-real estate owning, broke-ass, rudderless lot in life? Did she forget that I gave her dad cancer? Someone hand me her snowglobe so I can shake this shit up, this cannot be."

(I wasn't there, but this is how I picture that it went down. And for the record, I'm back to believing in God again and have been very faithful about it. I even comprehend the Jesus thing better now and was fully embracing accepting the whole deal as-is despite some of my former doubts. I've even been praying nightly, and for people other than myself. So we should be good, I think.)

So He got in touch with our landlord and our landlord called and said that the job interview he was so sure he got...he wasn't so sure he got now. And he wanted his house back if not. By October 1st (when our lease ended but we were all under the understanding it would be extended.)

So that sucked but my brain just said, "Okay, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming," like Dory does in Finding Nemo because it is very good advice. Enthusiastically I stated, "That's alright! Home is where WE are! We will find something else!" until I looked everywhere and found NOTHING else. Nothing that would accept our 2 dogs.

I had to decide if we were the type of people who would put our 13 year old German Shepherd to sleep (because who would want an ancient dog with a bad leg?) and find another home for our weiner dog. Who is a punk but he is our punk. It turns out, we are not those kind of people. But we are also not homeless kinds of people, so that was extremely stressful.

We had seen one very weird little house in a great neighborhood. It smelled bad and it was ugly. It wanted to be a beach cottage when it grew up but I think the definition of beach cottage changed in the last 60 years. It was 5 minutes from the beach, in one of the best school zones in the state and was very inexpensive. But did I mention it was weird and smelled really bad? If I had to name this house I would call it the Ugly Seagull.

So in desperation I told Mr. Ashley to take me back to the smelly house. He did not want to. I insisted and since the owner left it unlocked and gave us permission, we went inside again. It had been painted and smelled less. Its high pitched beamed ceilings and the entire back of the house being glass made it feel light and airy. It has all tile floors. Its screened back porch is enormous. It only had 2 bedrooms but they were each set up as a master and were fairly spacious. I kind of liked it. Its ugly became quirky and its little became quaint. Its price and school zone became very tempting. It is odd but so are we and frankly, I'm past caring.

We called the owner and he said we could have it whenever and do whatever and he's owned it forever and never plans on moving to it or selling it (and it's really too ugly to sell in today's market anyway but he didn't say that). Mr. Ashley was still reluctant but I was looking up Pottery Barn beach-like decor and getting excited about the proximity of Target. Also, my neighbor is driving me fucking crrrrrrrrrazy lately. That's another post but that situation is full on out of control and she just refuses to not be friends. I had to tell her FOUR times today that I did not want to and was not going to take a walk with her today. No is NOT an answer to her. She calls me every day and doesn't stop if I don't answer or return her call.

So we were going over to the Ugly Seagull tonight to sign the lease and even Mr. Ashley started to see the appeal, we were excited. He called our current landlord just to give him a head's up and he said that the position he interviewed for hasn't been filled yet, that he knows it's between him and one other guy, and that he thought he would know by Saturday. And for us please not to leave.

And I look at my lovely kitchen with the pot-filling faucet over the stove and think of the amazing neighborhood hoopla around Christmas and Halloween and how much we like walking to school, and the thought of not moving to a weird, ugly, smelly little house is very tempting. But the Ugly Seagull has grown on me and I'd also be a little sad not to move there, oddly enough.

Our current landlord called back in a panic and offered to refund the cost of whatever deposit we put on the Ugly Seagull if he did get this job offer. I guess the good news is that we won't be homeless, the bad news is that either our house will be small and strange or I'll continue having my stalker neighbor calling me every single day and being all up in my business.

So I guess I'm in limbo (and I HATE that) and will just have to trust that God has a plan (and accept that He just cannot stand any plans I may make for myself.)

But I'd rather be back to painting my toe nails and watching Maury from the treadmill.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Prediction

Big Kid: Dude, stop torturing me, bro.

little kid: 'at's my job! I'm the little brudder and my job is to torture you.

Big Kid: And you know what, little kid? I'm the big bro and my job is to look out for you and be nice to you and help make sure you grow up good--and look what I get for it! I get tortured by YOU.

little kid: I'm not quittin' my job. I do what I want. I want to torture you, bro, so I will.

Big Kid: And that's why I'm going to grow up to have a good job and a nice wife and 3 beautiful kids and you'll be in prison. That's what you'll have, dude, jail.

(And Big Kid has never even heard the "College fund for one, bail fund for the other" joke, so he came to this conclusion on his own.)

little kid: A course I'll have jail, bro. I'm gonna be a scuba diver cop--so I'll be's takin' peoples to jail. Cops don't gots to be in jail though.

He looked triumphant and Big Kid looked concerned.

And I had to clarify that yes, cops can go to jail, and then their roles reversed and Big Kid was triumphant and little kid was concerned. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dinner LOLs

In a moment of questionable parenting tonight while we were out to dinner, I told Big Kid a "your momma" joke. To be fair, I think being his momma and telling a your momma joke makes it okay, but Mr. Ashley didn't think so.

"Seriously, Ashley? I don't think we need to get that started."

"Oh, you want 'your mom' jokes? Your momma's so fat I tried to walk around her and got lost twice. Your momma's so ugly when she went to Japan on vacation, they started yelling 'Godzilla!'. Your momma's so big when she stomped on a quarter, a booger came out of George Washington's nose..." Big Kid went on to list a string of "your momma" jokes, barely taking a breath as he went down his list.

Mr. Ashley and I looked at each other in shock at first, but I'll confess we were truly laughing our asses off about halfway in. I don't care if that's inappropriate, it was hilarious. Add it to my list of parenting fails but hot damn it was funny. I did point out to Mr. Ashley that it turned out I had done no damage at all with my one "your momma" joke.

(And don't worry, I did redeem myself as a parent by telling him that he was NOT to use "your momma" jokes on others...unless they used a "your momma" joke on his momma first.)

Later we were discussing Words with Friends and I told Big Kid I'd have to arrange it so he could play against me through Facebook.

"Let's play on your phone, mom," he suggested.

"You can only play on an iPhone or droid, Big Kid. I don't have no iPhone."

Mr. Ashley sighed because he knew what was coming, because I recite this same refrain any time an apple commercial comes on or any mention of an apple product is made.

"I don't gots no iPhone. I don't gots no iPad. I don't gots no iPod even. I don't gots no iAnything. I sure wish I did, though."

"You're going to get an iPatch if you keep it up," Mr. Ashley replied. 

Also at dinner, little kid declared that he would grow up to be an artist who only paints pictures of people with hairy eyeballs.

It was a really good night at dinner.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dear little kid,

Today you are 5. That is big stuff. Despite your small body and the fact that you still say "tup tup" instead of ketchup (and I'll never correct your pronunciation, because your way is better), you are becoming a big boy.

Even with only 5 short years of life experience, you are an inspiration to me daily. You face every challenge and situation with courage and charisma, you are charming and funny, you are quick and bright, you make friends easily, and you have a twinkle in your eye at all times. I wish I could be more like you.

The day before kindergarten started you told me,"I'm gonna do good in school. My teatser's gonna like me and I'm gonna do real good."

"That's true!" I agreed, delighted by your enthusiasm and confidence.

"You know how I know that?"  I asked how you knew.

"'cuz I'm so cute!!" You answered, beaming.

I explained that that wasn't how school worked, how you had to try your hardest and do your best and behave at all times, and you followed up with, "Yeah...but bein' cute doesn't never hurt. Trust me on this one."

And I do trust you on that one. But I also know that being cute is among the least of your defining qualities. You're a cool guy with a big heart and matching personality; you will have a good life because you'll make it that way. You bring an untold amount of joy to our family each and every day, just this afternoon Big Kid listed you as Most Important Person in the World in a school assignment. You are such an important person in our world and we have been blessed to have you here for these 5 short years.


And yes, you are cute and that never does hurt.


I like you, I love you and I'll always protect you,
Mom
(The best job title I could ever have)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Change of Heart

Despite all of my cheerfulness and bravado about the new chapter of my life, I woke up this morning with little kid lying beside me, all snuggled up asleep in our bed where he does not belong, looking way too small for school

I moved my face close to his and listened to his peaceful breathing and the little sucking sounds he makes in his sleep (picture Maggie Simpson without the pacifier). I noticed the teensy tiny bit of chub left over from his preschool years, remembering how fat his cheeks used to be and realizing again that our baby years are over.

I thought briefly of homeschooling or at least insisting on one more year at home with me before kindergarten, and then he woke up excited to go and my crazy plans were foiled.

As they ate breakfast, Big Kid said, "So you guys are going to walk him to his class and I'll go to my class?"

"No, I want you to walk with us to drop him off so you can walk him there in the mornings. Then we'll walk with you to your class to say goodbye!" I answered.

"Oh, it's okay, I'll walk there with you guys and then walk ahead to my own class. I know where it is."

And it was then that I realized he didn't want us to walk him to his classroom on the first day of school.

"Big Kid, please!" I said desperately. "I won't try to kiss you." He stared at me quietly. "Or hug you! Or anything," I promised sadly.

"Alright, mom," he said in a hesitant voice, clearly pitying me.

We dropped little kid off and he was fine. He threw a bewildered look at the bawling kid in the corner, squeezed my hand a little tighter and walked me over to his desk where he dropped my hand, raised his cheek for a kiss and turned to start his day. I got to the door and had a mild moment of panic, turning back, certain that he was watching me or was upset...but he was already distracted. "LITTLE KID" I hissed, not ready to go. He looked up, I blew him a kiss and he waved as I stepped out of the room and tried not to cry on my way to Big Kid's class.

I noticed that Big Kid began walking quickly as we approached his room. "Big Kid...can I at least get handshake?" I said, voice wavering and cracking, heart pounding. He paused, taking a furtive look around the busy halls.

"Dude, your mom is about to cry. Just hug her," Mr. Ashley insisted.

Big Kid obligingly gave me a half squeeze around the waist before darting into his room, clearly not wanting me to cross the threshold. Probably a good choice.

And I came home to my empty house and I was sad. Sad that they don't need me and that babyhood is over (even though them needing me often drives me nuts and I'm not a huge fan of babyhood.) I felt as if I was laid off of my job-- maybe on my 2 weeks notice; tolerated but not needed. Phased out.

Then I went to the gym, enjoyed complete silence for hours, and didn't watch one minute of any kind of survival show, and life was a lot better again. Like, a lot a lot. The day went quickly.

When I picked them up, little kid said "I like-ed it but I miss-ed you. I really miss-ed you a lot but I had fun," which was the perfect answer.

Big Kid said, "My day was really long. I wanted to come home so bad at one o'clock. I just couldn't stop thinking about coming home, you know why?"

Dreading the inevitable answer about school being boring, I asked why and he replied, "Because I really love you. That's what I was thinking about, how I love my house and my mom," which was also the perfect answer.


And all was right with the world again. 

(And I'm back to really liking the idea of being home alone so often!)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Big Things

Tomorrow is little kid's first day of kindergarten and Big Kid's first day of third grade. As you all know, the thought makes me sad. My boys are growing up and that's hard.

But you know what else?

I'm going to be home ALONE from 8:30 to 2:50 five days a week, bitches! Whenever I start getting a little misty-eyed, I picture myself at the BEACH or GROCERY STORE or WHEREVER I WANT all alone and I can't help but smile. I have been keeping the thought of this day in a hidden little drawer in my heart, my own little escape hatch, for the past 5 years and tomorrow it shall arrive.

I love those children. I enjoy being with them. I am sad summer is over. But the thought of getting to know me again, the me that is separate from the snack-getter and sandwich-maker...that's a thrilling thought. I can read books or watch grown up television, or sing and dance to "girl" music, and not talk about video games or cartoons. I can be anyone I want.

From 8:30am to 2:50pm on week days.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Weared Out

Big Kid: Maybe I'll be a teacher when I grow up! I could teach 3d animation modeling to college kids. Is there teachers for that?

Me: I guess there must be.

little kid: That's hard work, bro. It's a tough job bein' a teatser.

Big Kid: What do you know about it? You know NOTHING about it, bro.

little kid: I know it really weareds a lotta people out. Teatsers are always weared out!

Big Kid: Dude, you know nothing about teachers. You've had what, one teacher in your whole life? I've had a bunch of them, like all kinds. And I'm talkin' college kids, they're like growed ups. I don't think they're wearin' their teachers out.

little kid: I had 3 teatsers and they was all weared out. I know all about teatsers. It's not a job you want to do, bro, I'm just sayin'.


I kind of agree with little kid but I didn't interject.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Unacceptable

So, I was just downloading birthday photos and they made me cry. This one in particular:

He's 8.

He on his 5th Harry Potter book of the summer. It seems like just yesterday (and I know that's a cliche but really--feels like no more than a month ago) that I read Steinbeck's East of Eden out loud to him as a newborn because I didn't know what else to do with him. Now he's staying up until midnight reading 800 page novels that I haven't read.

He taught himself multiplication this summer. I bought him a workbook and told him I would give him $2 to complete it. He wanted to start right then but I wasn't ready to sit down and teach him how to multiply so he taught himself. He completed the whole book within an hour. I'm ashamed to admit that he understands the core concepts of multiplication better than I do...and he taught himself.

He kissed a girl this summer. Despite me telling him specifically that kissing girls was not allowed. He did it anyway. And he liked it. And he got caught (because as a girl, she had to blab about it and her mom called me). And I could tell it was worth the little bit of trouble he got in. Ugh. I'm afraid he's humoring me when he agrees that there will be no more kissing until he's 16.

He's going to be a 3rd grader. I remember being a 3rd grader--how could I possibly have one? In 3rd grade, Catfish and I snuck out of Mr. Eder's class to hang out in the bathroom and waste the paper towels and soap. 3rd graders are officially real people and not just little kids (not that wasting paper towels creates that distinction).

How do I make it stop? Don't even get me started on little kid, and the fact that my baby isn't a baby at all. Every inch they grow squishes my heart a little harder and they won't stop growing.
 
And where the hell did summer go?


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Good Things

I don't normally post things like this but feel bad for not posting this one sooner. A friend of mine is adopting a little boy with special needs from Russia. They are a nice family who live in a beautiful neighborhood and this child would be blessed to have them (and them him, I'm sure!).

When I finally move to Charlotte, I'm going to move into her neighborhood and we're going to be anti-social neighbors who only communicate via Facebook messages. I can't wait!

Anyway, she's having a raffle-type fundraiser with some really great prizes. You could win a Wii bundle, a nook, an ipod Touch, a GPS and there's a ton of great etsy-type stuff with some fabulous jewelry. I can't wait to win the ipod Touch! I don't have an i-anything. You buy entries by donating to this very good cause of helping bring Andriy to his loving new home.

Here's the link if you have an extra $5 and feel like doing a good deed (and maybe winning something--but not the ipod!)