Monday, February 28, 2011

Assisted Living

"Momma, you will never have to live in a cage," little kid told me earnestly, out of nowhere. "No. You will never, ever live in a small metal cage, never. You're a person. Not a dog."

"Well...thanks? I guess? I should get that in writing so you'll remember that when I'm old and unable to take care of myself.

"Old? You're not that old. Just a little old," he assured me.

"No. When I get old. So old I'll have to come live with you and your wife and you'll have to make me sandwiches."

"You'll have to call first."

"I'll have to call? Before I come live with you?" I asked, slightly offended although of course I'd call.

"You won't be livin' wif me! You'll be livin' at your own house. You have to call before you comes ober. I'll give you the password--just to visit. When you call."

"I can't live with you and your wife? But what about when I'm too old to live at my own house alone?"

"Then I guess you'll die?"

"...that's a plan."

Guess whose college fund is going straight into a retirement account?

Just kidding.

He doesn't have a college fund.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Staring Contest

I have a stalker.

He's 6. He lives across the street. He has reported that:
  • his television is much bigger than ours
  • our house is much smaller than his
  • he has a pool table and we do not
  • our playroom is the smallest playroom he has ever seen
  • we do not have a pool in our backyard and he does
  • our garage is pretty messy.
But guess who never wants to go home?

Guess who waits anxiously at his window every single day for our car to pull in so that he can be tortured at our inferior home?

He is adorable and slightly annoying.

"Miss Ashley, can I come over today?"

"Uh, today? Well we have some things to do today. How about we call you later and we'll see?"

"I can come over later? I will come over later. I can come over later, right?"

"Ha ha, well--"

"I will wait for your car and when I see it I will come over. Okay? Right? So, later when your car comes home?"

"Uh....yeah. Okay. We'll see you later."

"Later when your car comes home...right?"

While he's over (several times a week), his method for dealing with Mr. Ashley or I correcting his behavior is to stare straight at us with no acknowledgment of what we're saying or that he can even hear us. Then he goes right back to what he was doing. Until we tell him to knock it off again, and he stares at us--straight through us really, with no acknowledgment whatsoever.

I don't like having to yell at other people's kids--but some of them leave me no choice.

Mr. Ashley and I were admiring this tactic though and discussing its usefulness in real life. To just stare someone down stoically if they ask you to do something (or not to do something) you don't feel like doing and then go back to doing what you want, seemingly without a care in the world. It's pretty bad ass. But when he goes back to doing what he wants, he stares at us guiltily which is pretty much a dead giveaway that he's up to no good. This is the fatal flaw in his method and gets him caught every time. But he doesn't really seem to care.

We sent him home to get some dry clothes after they went swimming at our community pool that is not like the pool in his backyard, and he came back to report that his mother just needed some peace and quiet. Yeah. After 5 hours with 3 boys, I know the feeling!

Next weekend I'm sending my kids over there and I'll advise them to stare her down and ignore her if she suggests they go home or come here to play.

Because I'm pretty sure she owes me some peace and quiet.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Well, it's official. Big Kid will no longer hold my hand in public. 

It took me a while to notice; I'd reach down for his hand and find it unavailable, either hanging too low or swinging too hard or he'd start walking faster or slower. But one day my hand searched around for his hand and I realized he was pulling it away from me. 

"Oh, do you not want to hold hands?" I asked. 

"'s just....not in public, mom."

I tried not to look sad (but it makes me want to cry a little bit just typing about it now.)  "Oh, so I'm not cool enough anymore?" I attempted to joke. 

He felt bad and I felt bad for making him feel bad. "Mom, I just...uh--we can if you want to. If you really want to." 

"Nah, it's cool. I'm good." I said, while my heart broke into 10 million pieces.

If 7 is about maximum hand holding age, that means I only have maybe 3 years left of hand holding. I love the feel of their dry, warm little hands holding mine. The lack of hand holding hadn't occurred to me during my many "time is passing too quickly" freak outs. 

He still holds little kid's hand; in fact, he insists upon it. little kid is NOT allowed in a parking lot, not even a completely vacant one, without holding Big Kid's hand. If Mr. Ashley is holding a sleeping little kid, Big Kid will still insist on holding his hand in case Mr. Ashley shows a lapse of judgment and puts him down. Despite little kid fighting not to hold hands and us telling him it's not necessary, Big Kid thinks it's necessary and that's what happens. So it's not hand holding in general, it's just me. 

It's just not cool to hold mom's hand in public anymore.

So I guess we'll have to hold hands in the privacy of our own home which is a little weird, but I'll take what I can get while I can get it. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kids First

In the car the other day, little kid announced, "Kids should always go first."

I had no idea what he was talking about (life rafts? exiting elevators?) so I agreed.

"If you know that why don't yous do it?"

"Know what?"

"That Jesus says the childrens always come first."


"That's how come yous gots to start listening to me and stop arguing wif me all da time. Kids come first! Kids know best!"

"I don't think that's what Jesus meant."

"How would you know? You don't even goes to church! That's what my teatsers said, that Jesus said children come first and that YOU should listen to ME 'bout what I wants to do."

"Well, Jesus and I will have to agree to disagree. I had kids so I could be the boss."

"I'm tellin' my pastor on you."


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Snooki is a New York Times best selling author, Larry the Cable Guy has a show on the History channel, all of MTV's shows are about fat and/or pregnant people and Justin Bieber is on CNN as often as Mubarak.


I know I tend to lean toward the dramatic, but I think the Mayans knew their shit. I think we'll implode by 2012.

Other than this dire realization, I'm having a great week. I got my hair done today, my funnest (it is a word) cousin is in town with her completely adorable baby, and I will be reunited with The Renee tomorrow and we will eat and go to the beach. Life is good. Today. And most likely tomorrow.

(and will probably continue to be at least moderately tolerable until we all blow up in a big fat ball of  vainglorious fire the same color as Snooki's spray tan. Sometime around 2012 according to me and the Mayans.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Uncomfortable Moment

Yesterday Big Kid asked if he could borrow my laptop and I told him that he could and that it was in my room on the bed.

I walked into the room about 20 minutes later and he asked if he could turn the television channel.

"Sure. The remote is on the nightstand."

"I was just wantin' to change it because they're talking about the," drops his voice to a whisper, "s-x word."

"Oh." I said, wishing Tyra Banks could refrain from talking about the s-word at 3 in the afternoon.

(I wasn't watching Tyra, by the way, I was watching whatever was on before that. I feel the need to clarify that because I don't watch crap like the Tyra Banks show. I watch other crap.)

"Yeah, go ahead and watch whatever you want."

"Yeah, you know, they're talkin' about the s-x word and pregnancy here on this show."

"Mmmm. Yep. Definitely let's change it."

"'bout bein' pregnant and havin' the s-x word. You know?"

"Yeah, you can turn it now."

"I bet that's know, doin' the s-x during pregnancy."

(Big Kid knows NOTHING about the mechanics of doin' the s-x, for the record.)

"Only about half as uncomfortable as this conversation. LET'S CHANGE IT NOW."

So, thank you Tyra Banks for opening that line of conversation. It was one of the most horrifying discussions of my parenting career so far and a real mother/son moment that I'm sure we'll both remember for an unfortunately long time.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Creative Writing

Big Kid is in 2nd grade now and they have started (attempting) to teach them creative writing.

Despite being creative, Big Kid lacks imagination. He agonizes over his writing prompts, baffled over what it is the teacher is looking for or complaining over her insistence that he write more than 2 sentences. Today's writing prompt involved what life would be like if we lived underwater and he couldn't figure out how he could write a full entry about how we would be drowned and could never survive those conditions.

This is his brainstorming list:

List of ideas for my asinment:
There once was a town called __________. They would wear air tanks and it would be hard to sleep and they couldn't drink water and they could not be able to use paper and they would no be able to use electoronics and they couldn't
Mr. Ashley tried to explain that this wasn't really what the teacher was looking for and suggested that he pretend we had adapted to underwater life. Clearly this presented a challenge for poor practical Big Kid:

There was a town called Watersong. I lived there and it was hard to live in Watersong. First I tried to eat a sandwich. But it got all soggy and wet. Next I went outside to walk my fish Murphy. The mailman came by and I ran away because Murphy would start to bark. Then I pounded a fish bowl and it was completly fine. Its owner was very mad. After that a stingray stinged me. Great Neptune that hurt! Last I tried to take a nap. I couldn't.
I still don't think this is quite what his teacher is looking for, but I also doubt she'll be surprised.

(And it is creative.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Well, Hello

Sorry for the blatant neglect! I feel terrible. (Well, not really terrible but I feel pretty bad about it.) I've been doing some odd jobs/freelance type work and as usual, my time management skills suck and something's got to give and that ends up being you guys and laundry. I am sorry you're relegated to laundry status, that is pretty bad.

On top of poor time management, work also takes me about 500x longer than it ever did before due to various technical difficulties like people stapling all of my printer paper into books with one made-up word written on each page. I asked little kid why he did this and he angrily told me that he had to make books telling his work friends not to throw his cell phone into the ocean because they are on a 104 day vacation to Mexico. I asked why he wasn't in Mexico (thinking of how much easier working at home would be if he was in Mexico) and he said, "Someone's gots to stay and do the work!" No clear answer on why they have his cell phone, why they would throw it in the ocean or why they couldn't share one book about not throwing cell phones into oceans.

He also informed me that his work friends were "dellergic" to girls and could never, ever meet me. He was sorry to relay that sad piece of news and I'm sad that so many are afflicted with dellergic reactions to girls. That will be one boring trip to Mexico!

Mysteriously, little kid's name appeared printed in capital letters with a Sharpie on my coffee table. When we accused him of doing it, he began shaking with rage and indignation and insisted that he did NOT write his name on the coffee table, that he didn't know who did it, and that he was really really mad at us for blaming him for everything. So I guess we have an intruder with handwriting very similar to his; clearly someone with a sinister plan to frame him.

In happier news, Big Kid won a bike! This was extra awesome because he outgrew his bike and buying him a new one has been on the to do list but we won one with $5 worth of raffle tickets. I am pretty sure this is a sign that I'm about to win the HGTV Dream House because GOD OWES ME.

(Just kidding, God, but it would be nice...)

Anyhoo, I feel like we went on a few dates and I got lucky and didn't call you back for a while and now this is the awkward "So, how have you been?" reunion booty call. It doesn't help that I condensed 4 or 5 decent potential posts into one short, choppy awkward post.

But whatever, at least I called, right?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Coach Crazy

So, the nerd herd meeting didn't go well today.

As most of you know, I coach a team of smart kids (kindy kids and 2nd graders) and they come to my house each week and make me insane. As individuals, they are adorable, they are brilliant, they are funny and they are wonderful. (Most of them.) As a group, they're just freaking crazy.

So today, knowing that painting would be a disaster, I carefully taped down drop cloths on my driveway. This was no easy task--it was windy, I was alone, the tape wouldn't stick, people were jogging by and giving me weird looks; it sucked but I got it done.

Then I went and volunteered in Big Kid's classroom. Doing math. And I don't even know 2nd grade math. I encourage the kids to help each other, secretly count on my fingers and flub my way through. When they cry about the subtraction 2-minute timed tests, I agree that it sucks and secretly thank God that grown-ups get to use calculators.

Then I pick up the nerd herd in front of the school and walk them across 2 lanes of busy traffic; usually begging them to not get killed and pantomining suicide to the crossing guard who pities me with my unruly herd.

I do have a co-coach and she meets me on the other side of the street. (I actually have 2 but one doesn't do much. At all. Ever. Up to and including showing up.) So we take the kids home (to my house) and I give them cupcakes and lemonade for behaving so well on Saturday (I had an all day thing with them in another county--yeah.)

Then we break out the paint and ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE.

In spite of the drop cloths, they start getting paint all over my driveway. I move them into the grass where they get paint and grass mixed up on their boxes and create multi-colored patches in my yard. They paint each other. They bicker. They get paint all over their ridiculously expensive designer clothes because their parents didn't get the 4 emails and 3 verbal reminders about bringing paint clothes.

They are terrible painters.

People were not listening, people were running around, people were getting time-outs. During clean-up a full bowl of paint was accidentally dumped on the driveway, despite repeated instructions to keep the paint away from the driveway. It dripped down the concrete in a dark river of blue. I told them all to sit in the grass and NOT move. I lectured them on not listening and the mess they had made by not following instructions as I tried to scrub the paint away. The paint would not come up.

Coach Ashley was tired. Coach Ashley was not happy.

"What are we going to do next, Coach Ashley?"

"You're going to sit on the grass and wait for your parents to arrive." And that's what they did. It was only about 10 minutes but to them this is an eternity.

It was not a stellar day. I feel bad that I got so crabby with them, even though they deserved it. My co-coach is one of those sweet as sugar types so I'm embarrassed she saw me ready to wring their necks.

Tonight I told Big Kid, "Sorry the meeting was so stressful today."

"I'm sorry we got so much paint on the driveway." (It was a lot of paint.)

"It's no big deal, you guys are little and accidents happen. The not listening was the big problem but whatever, next week will be better. Soooo, did I seem a little crabby and crazy today?" I asked, wondering how my fed-upedness had seemed to the little people.

"Just a little. I'd say about 5% crazy and that's not even very much. It was an okay kind of crazy." He assured me.

I can live with 5%.

Soooo the nerd herd won't be painting again, nor will they be having cupcakes ever again. The moral of this story is (as always): DON'T VOLUNTEER. Ever!