Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Curious Case of Benjamin Baby E Button

The following occurred last week, while Baby E had an age appropriate friend over for a visit. It is while overhearing the following conversation exchange between Baby E and his friend, that I realized that perhaps Baby E spends a bit too much time with his mother.

GUEST: Let's have a snack or sumpin'...

BABY E: Absolutely! It is mid-morning, and if we have a snack now, our blood sugar will have enough time to even out before lunch.

GUEST: Ummm....ok....then...

BABY E: Let's have something light and refreshing, like apple juice and graham crackers. Sweet and tart is a wonderful combination!

GUEST: ........

BABY E: Here you go, here's your plate and cu......

GUEST: ooops....sorry...I spilled the juice...

BABY E: You're just lucky, young man, that this is dark carpeting.

Yeah, I think I'd better step up the play date schedule...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

First Love

You are my first born, my first love. You are 15 today, and the emotion of that makes my throat so tight I can hardly stand it.

We've learned everything together. You've pulled me through, and I've pulled you through.

I actually believed I knew what love was, before you were born.

There needs to be a new word invented, for the ferociousness of the feeling I felt for you, when I held you in my arms for the very first time. And saw your face for the very first time. I literally gasped, your eyes were so blue. It was like one of those camera shots, where everything else was out of focus, and only one thing stood sharp and clear and in the center: you.

I have clapped at every first that you brought my way. Everything with you has been new, fresh, wonderful. It's a trail of firsts, that we've both cut together. I marvel at all of it, how could I not?

It's been wondrous and exciting and scary and shaky.

There is a reason that firstborn children are leaders, and doers, and shining stars: because they were the first ones in their parent's sky.

I love you, Alexander....and my voice will crack if I attempt to tell you more than that today.

I love you. And you might taste the tears that fell silently on your sandwich this morning while I packed the lunch of my firstborn son.

Happy Birthday, my sweet boy!
How I love you, Alexander.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bil Keane Had It Goin' On

Many of you will immediately recognize the above cartoon, Family Circus, and think of its creator, Bil Keane. You will easily recognize the "Not Me" ghost pictured here. Not Me was often accompanied by his partners, I Don't Know, and Nobody. These 3 were always present at the site of broken vases, spilled juice, or after mud had been tracked into the house.

As a child, around the age of 8, I'd read Family Circus in the comic section of the Sunday paper. The bright colors of the strip, along with the guaranteed quick read in a few sentences always caught my eye, but every time I'd read it I'd think, "Lame. lame lame lame lame. Lame." I'd then announce to the closest person, sometimes to just the air, "Family Circus is so dumb." Heavy emphasis on the last letter "m," followed by an eye roll.

Last week, while at the library, my 8 year old son came across the Family Circus Treasury, the bible of Bil Keane's work. He had found it on the shelf, while looking for the cooler, hipper comics, like Foxtrot, and Calvin and Hobbes. The cool hip stuff was out, like much the rest of cool hip stuff in life is. So, he picked up the Family Circus, drawn to it by its simple white cover with a large colorful circle in the front. He had never heard of it. We took it home.

He sat on the sofa, feet up on the coffee table, flipping through the large volume quickly he pronounced it, "lame-o, lame-o, lame-o." It fell to the side of the coffee table.

I picked the heavy book up from the floor later that night, and sat and leafed through it. I began laughing. Like hard laughing. I went to show my husband. He recognized the cover, and remembered, "Oh, yeah, him. I always thought it was so dumb."

We sat together and read. And laughed. Family Circus was wasted on the foolish youth we were. We have now grown into Family Circus. It is for the parents we have now become.

Later that night while cleaning up the kitchen, my bare feet stepped on some sticky ketchup that had been left on the floor, right in front of the refrigerator, where it was visible to anyone. Anyone. "Who spilled ketchup all over the floor?!," I shouted. Boom. I had become the short black haired Mom on Family Circus. All 3 boys came running, and right on cue, they began down the line."Not me," said the oldest. "I don't know," said the middle boy, "Nobody," said the youngest.

Bil Keane, Sir, please consider this my public apology here to you, today, in front of the world. Bil Keane, you were not lame! In fact, you rocked at this parenting gig!

And to Family Circus, to quote the Na'vi in Avatar, " I see you! I see you!"
Bill Keane is now 87 years old and is happily living in Arizona, enjoying the heck out of the children of his 5 children. He has also graciously accepted my humble apology.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mouthy Housewives

My letter requesting help from Mouthy Housewives is published at their site today. I questioned the warning signals as to when and if Mommy needs to head to Blogger Rehab ["When does Mommy Have a Computer Addiction?".] You say you've never visited there? Oh, well, do not be consuming any sort of hot beverage at the time of your visit, because these sistas are cuh-razy.

Mouthy Housewives is a tongue in cheek advice column site, with letters of pseud0-concern answered by 4 very extremely beyond funny women. There are 4 major generous- with- their- advice divine prophetesses, along with equally hilarious guest advisers also offering their 10 cents worth (2 cents worth?! come on, they're a class act.) The comments are just as LOL, ROFL, LMFAO, ROFLMFAO funny as the divine advice posted.

Please pop over, and if you relate to any of the comments, or if you even find yourself nodding maniacally in agreement amid cries of "Yes!oh my precious goodness YES!", well, then it may be time to realize denial is not just a river in Egypt. Their advice to me today left me with a false sense of relief, which is all any of us are asking for anyway. As Fleetwood Mac sang it,"tell me lies, tell me sweet litle lies." Please.

Now, put that coffee down, and let me know what you think.

"Mouthy Housewives. Neglecting our families to give you advice since 2009."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy Birthday To You!!

Believe it or not, Baby E embedded this video of his favorite song into his birthday post here today. Don't ask me how he knew to do that. But, anyway, he did, and it's his Birthday. Happy Birthday, honey!!

[Please play video while reading for maximum heart tug effect :)]

We danced to your favorite song today. It was your birthday, and we were home alone, and we had the volume turned up as loud as we could stand it. And while we danced, I wished that this song would never end.

We were dancing and laughing, and you suddenly stopped and looked at me, and said, "Mom, it looks like you're going to cry..."

I answered, ", this isn't crying. It's laughter through tears, and it's the best feeling in the world. It means my heart is so full it can't hold anymore."

Which must've made perfect sense to you, because you went right back into the song as if you had never left it. And so did I.

Happy Birthday, Baby E. When you saw me getting quiet while I watched you open your presents today, it's because I couldn't believe I'm the one who gets to be your mommy.

See this picture of us together? See my face? That's the way you make me feel. Everyday.
Like I won the lottery.

I love you.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Little Shovel, Little Shovel, and To Whom You Belong

I keep Baby E's little tykes red shovel here, propped up right in front of my parking spot in our garage. Year round, season in, season out. It's the first thing I see as the garage door opens, and it can never be missed. On purpose.

"Mom, when we get home, can we make those mini apple tarts again?" We are only a few, short blocks from home, and I begin to slow down in anticipation of the turn ahead.

I sigh, too audibly to not be heard, all I can think of is how behind I am with everything that I need to do. "Let's see, I have a lot to do first, alright?"

"I hope we can, those are so good, and fun. If we do make them, can I use the wooden hole puncher to push down the dough to make the room for the apple filling?"

His request breaks my heart, but we've been gone all day, and I have so much catching up to do before it's time to make dinner.

I turn right, and head up the short distance to our house. As I pull in front of the driveway, I reach for the remote, and press the button for the garage door to open. It opens ever so slowly, and then I see it. As the garage door opens, I catch sight of what I always keep right.there. Right there in the line of fire. Propped up in all it's bright redness, so sharp against the white drywall of the garage. It's Baby E's red shovel.

I placed it there so that I have to watch it while I pull the car in. I have it there so that it has to be walked past as I enter our house through the back door. I have it there for me to see every time that the garage door lurches open.

The magical, mystical object of power that this object is. It reminds me that he will not always be the size of this little shovel. This shovel fits him now, but it'll be one day very soon, when he'll be too big, too old for it. He won't look to me, his most comfortable friend, the one that he wants to do all things with. I am like his red shovel to him. I am there, I am his closest friend, I serve all purposes. I can scoop sand, or smooth lumps out of mud puddles, or make bricks out of snow.

I placed his shovel there when we bought it for him 4 years ago, when he was too little to handle it masterfully. Every year, he has grown more adept at his use of it. It still suits his purposes. I placed it there, so that I would see it, and I do see it. Five or more times a day, I see it. I see it coming and I see it going. It's always clearly there.

It shouts to me, "I'm holding a handful of diamonds here for you, measured in minutes. If you want them, they're here."

I pull the car into the garage, I see the little red shovel. I smile while I shut the engine off.

"I know why you're quiet, Mom, we can't make the pies, right?"

I look at the little red shovel, "Actually, you know what I was thinking? I think your brothers would love your apple pies for dinner."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Dork at The Keyboard, Exhibit C

Ultimate Blog Party 2010ok something tells me this is going to turn into a blog post. Wait, it already is. How can I get rid of this purple ink?!?

Gaah! Now it's gone, I think I have to go wake up the geeksquad (14 yr old son).

When will I learn that "It's that easy..." usually comes back to bite me in the a**.

Oh, Snap, my husband told me never to push "Edit Html." Snap. I know just what I'll say, too, "Honey, it all happened so fast..." He hates it when I stay up at night, by myself, with the computer on.

Ahem...Heee-eeyyy! Anyone wanna come to a party? (That was Step 2, right?) No, I think the perky twins said something about a link back. "Alexander? Honey, can you come downstairs a minute and help mom?"


"There. Good night, mom." "Good night, honey, I love you...."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dead Sea Whaaa?

During Spring Break, rather than having a single destination, we had decided to stay home, and do a little bit here and there. Down time combined with Fun time. We were all up for it. I did not tell the boys the next day's agenda, and they would find out the day's plans on the morning of. Surprise makes any occasion a special one. Every morning, we'd wake up, and the boys would ask with true enthusiasm, "Where are we going today?" All plans were happily accepted, especially by Baby E., who loved doing anything that was new. With every announced plan at the breakfast table, he'd shout, complete with fist pump, "Yes!"

We'd all clean up the table, get ready with what we needed, and we'd be off.

"Mom, where's our trip today?" asked Maximus. I couldn't wait to tell them, "We are going to see The Dead Sea Scrolls!" I went on to explain how I had to order the tickets for the exhibit 2 weeks ago, and the exhibit was on loan from 4 separate museums, along with private collectors. This exhibit had taken years of international negotiations, and had cost a great deal of money in terms of insurance and being on loan. They were fascinated. Baby E seemed to just ponder the information, with a quizzical look in his eye.

"This exhibit contains articles that are over 2,000 years old!" I had all their eyes and ears. "These articles were stored in tall clay jars. A shepherd found them when he was throwing rocks down a cave. He said that every time he threw a rock into a cave's opening, he'd hear the shattering of a clay pot. " They stared at me, waiting for my next word. "All in all, they found 11 caves full of these tall clay receptacles. When they opened the jars, do you know what they found? They found some contained the Dead. Sea. Scrolls." Still no peep from Baby E., I did find it odd that he did not cheer today's announced event. Oh, well, perhaps he had become jaded by all the fantastic fun mama had planned all week.

We were packed and ready to go, our chatter continued on in the car. "Mom, how did they hold the scrolls together?" one son asked. "Mom, how do they know they found all the scrolls?" "Those are all great questions, and we can ask there. The exhibit holds all the Dead Sea Scrolls. Just think, over 2,000 years old! And we get to see them." I glanced in the rear view mirror, trying to zero in on Baby E's face. He was just taking in the conversation, but not with any excitement in particular.

We finally arrived at the museum, were able to park close enough, and rushed in to pick up our special "Dead Sea Scrolls" exhibit tickets at the WillCall Box. "Ah! here are the tickets! Let's go!" Everyone ran ahead, but you know who was just dragging his feet. "What is wrong, honey?" I studied his eyes for a hint. "Nothing. But, are you sure every one wants to see this?" he wondered. "Oh, yeah, this is huge," I explained, "Big stuff. Like the kind of thing you'll tell your kids about."

He walked on, not saying much, holding my hand. We waited in our assigned queue for the 10:30 exhibit showing. "There's a lot of people here, aren't there?" I said, in attempts to get a conversation going with him. "Yeah. I just can't believe everyone wants to see this." he sounded so skeptical. "Of course," I said, "who wouldn't be interested? Just think, 2000 years old!"

Baby E was quietly chewing on his upper lip, as he does, when he just can't put the pieces together. "Mom, is that all we're going to see?" he wanted to know."Is that all?, I echoed, "Oh, gosh, we'll be here an hour, reading about the discovery, and how they pieced everything together. You'll like it, honest. I'll tell you about everything we'll look at. We'll even get the audiophone guided tour, too, alright?" He still didn't seem too reassured.

The velvet ropes were unclasped, and we were allowed to enter. There was the mystic music, and the sand dune background. There were the placards, and the pictures, and the stories, and finally, at the end, the clay jars! And the Dead Sea Scrolls!

Baby E. stood in the middle of the exhibit, "Well, where are they?," he sounded more than just a little perturbed. "They're all right here," I answered, "now, shhhh, please." "No, where are the dead sea squirrels that they found 2,000 years ago? You said we were going to see them today."

Parents: 'tis wise to explain terms one takes for granted as an adult, such as "Dead Sea" not really being something physically dead. And, hello? but why would a little guy know what a "scroll" is anyway. Makes total sense to me.

Exhibit A-----The DEAD "sea squirrel" as in, the amphibious creature that lives both on land AND sea, and that has been DEAD for 2,000 years.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Honeymoon is Over

Way back, at the end of February, on Day Two of this baby blog, I had written "Hey! I blogged! And no one commented that I was an idiot and self-loving! I think I'm going to be OK! Gee, I'm glad I finally worked up the guts to start a blog.!"

Well, that lasted, what? 30 odd posts total.

I deleted a post I had up for a few hours yesterday. I had poked fun at living with a teenage son. I adore him, he is my first born, my life began with this boy, but life with someone this age can be funny. I had written some dialogue tidbits, of what it's like, all tongue-in-cheek, about mornings with a surly 14 year old. For me, my life coping skill is humor. If I can find a way to make it funny, I'll be alright.

The first few commenters realized the jest of it all, and smirked along with me, wishing me luck. But, then, the comments turned, and they criticized my son. Another commenter told me few bloggers can write, and I was among those that can't. Yet another felt it pressing and urgent to let me know that she had read the past posts, and they were a waste of time and about nothing. Now, when I visit a blog, and see something that I can't relate to, I just "X" out. Nice and quiet.

My gut reaction was alarm. I didn't want that post up anymore. My son is fantastic, the best there is...what were they saying? So, I deleted it. Then I went to bed, developed a migraine, and spent an hour laying in bed this morning. Do I just take a break? Do I just stop, say I tried it, not for me? And then I thought of all the fantastic people I've met because of beginning this blog. I had to think of that. I also began this blog for me. I really do like to blog.

And my take on life is different, in the same way that the commenters way of providing feedback is different.

Perhaps these commenters think that I actually think I'm an Empress. I don't. Or think that I'm bragging that I have an empire. I don't have an empire. I am a woman, who stays home with my children during the day. I work evenings for a caterer, so I can be home during the day with them. I have a house, with a small backyard; no empire.

Do they think that I imagine myself a fantastic writer? I don't. I am not an English major, I graduated in Special Education. I take care that my posts are literate, and I prepare them, I don't type off the cuff. What I have learned, in my life, is that humor saves me. And kindness unto others, saves me.

Without an excessive amount of detail, I will just say a few things. I feel rushed bringing up these issues, but the commenters have made me think that perhaps I've been misread, with my "Empress" title. I am anything but.

I grew up in the proverbial unhappy household with a verbally abusive, sarcastic mother (let me tell you, those commenters put her voice right back in my head) and the parental suicide. All of my siblings and I have developed a sense of humor to cope with this. People tell us that we are funny, we make them laugh. It's as if we are survivors of something, which, in fact, we are. I work hard to bring humor into our home, and make our children laugh, because I grew up with a mother that did not laugh, or smile, or talk to us, or make eye contact. I'm trying to make up for a lot.

With my traumatic childhood aside, I am now an adult who also has lived through alarming situations that each have shortened my lifespan with every occurrence. Each of my pregnancies were high risk, and I was hospitalized and on bedrest with each one. Despite all these efforts, we have children who were all born early, and each were in NICU, unable to breathe on their own. Once we survived the bedrest, and the preterm labors, our children then developed serious food allergies and asthma. We've come too close to some very serious turn of events in Emergency Rooms that I don't even like to remember. I treasure every day that they're here because of how hard we worked to get them here, and keep them here.

This is all part of my life, but I've forgotten about all these life happenings, until now. This is what I'm from, I don't think I'm an Empress. I'm just joking along, because if you don't laugh, then you'll just stay under the covers.

So, all this to say: I won't close up the blog. The mean lady did come knocking at the door. But so did all the really great friends I've made. So, I'm sticking around. So what if I can't write. Big Deal. It's not awful stuff, it's literate. And from now, I will place a disclaimer at the beginning of my post stating that I love this particular child I'm writing about to the moon and back, but I'm still going to tell you what he did today.

Now, please excuse me, while I go bury my face in their hair. Because I love them, they are everything to me, and I want to be sure they know that.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hasten, Children, The Hour is Nigh

Me: "Children, get thee down, do not be as fools!"

2nd Oldest: "What is she talking about?"

" *sigh* I think she wants us downstairs for breakfast."

Baby E:
"Do we have to come down already, Mom?"

Me: "I have my raised my voice to you, yet you have not quickened your step. You think that all is well, but I have asked you to complete the task assigned unto you---and yet it is to be seen!"

Oldest: "Alright, Mom, we're coming down....but we have off today, and all week, remember?"

Me: "Slovenliness? You speak of slovenliness? I have not languished in my bed, and yet I am renewed of strength and spirit! I strike while the hour is present, I have shown you this ten times by ten times, so you may see it as truth. But you still have no faith in my ways!"

Baby E:
" Mom, I don't want to have breakfast now. I want to just stay upstairs and play with my Legos for awhile first."

Me: "Laughter? Play? You shall hear neither until our tasks are done on this day. And when your stomach cramps with hunger, then where shall you look for what was once laid before you? No, child, no, I warn you to be careful of which master you choose to serve."

2nd Oldest:
"We'd better go downstairs, I know her, she won't stop."

Me: "Do my sons refuse? Is it because I am a simple woman? Is it because I do not strike fear in your heart? No, it is not fear that I want you to act upon, but love....yes! love, for what else is there for me to give? Children, come, come! That I may quench thy thirst, and warm your bellies with that which I have labored to set before you."

2nd Oldest: "*sigh* Don't tell me, let me guess, Mom's been staying up late watching The Ten Commandments again."

Oldest: "Yup."

Me: "Come, my oldest, for my love for you is stronger than any fierce wrath which you may have, O my teenage son. Come to me, all my sons, arise! to greet a day, let us go forth, let the trumpets sound! and let us surrender our hearts to the treasures of a day of which we have never seen!

The Caravan awaits to take us to our journey. We must go with all speed!"

Baby E: "Does she mean get in the car?"

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Dork At The Keyboard, Exhibit B

Me: (to myself) "Wow!! Holy Cow!! Hooking up with these blogger clubs really works, look! I have 83 new email messages on my gmail account! This is so cool."

click, read,click, read,click, read....

Me: "Hey, all these emails have nothing to do with me. I never even heard of these people, and they don't even mention me..."

Smart 14 yr old Son: "Mom, go in and check your email settings."

Me: "Whaaaaa?"

Smart Son: "Here, mom, let me, click, click.....MOM!!! aaaaaaaaaargh....."

Me: "Yes, honey?"

Smart Son: "You checked "yes" for "please alert me of new member activity!"

Me: "Oh, okay (said in very small, very tiny letters) , that makes sense. Well, it was fun to see all those emails for me, anyway, that weren't actually for me...."

Smart Son: "Mom, Dad's right, you just can't keep pushing buttons."

Friday, April 2, 2010

Dream Interp 101

What does it mean when you sit up in bed at 5:17 a.m. like you've been hit by a bolt of lightning from a real as life dream where the van you're driving, which isn't your usual green one BTW, but some other van you've never even seen before, is speeding down your residential street at some unnameable speed, and not the legally posted 25 mph that you always do and the steering wheel is powerless in your hands?

What does it mean when you wake up from this dream on the Friday morning before Easter Sunday. The Easter Sunday that is 2 days away, and some 10 give or take relatives are due to come for dinner, and you haven't even swiped a counter, or dusted a table, or swished a toilet yet? When you haven't even penned out the grocery list yet, much less planned the menu, or shopped for it?

Could this dream have anything to do with the awesome Easter baskets that you're famous the "house-over" for, the very baskets that your children have been talking about for days, the ones that you always have prepared and they just can't wait to find all the clever clues tucked here and there in the house, that lead them to these heavenly baskets bursting with everything they can imagine? The wonderful baskets you haven't even pulled out of storage yet?

"Probably just that cold pizza you ate right before you went to bed," offers my husband. "Just go back to sleep." Maybe he can go back to sleep, but I know I can't. I fling back the covers, my heart still pounding from the dream. "I'm no dummy....I took Psych 101...I know exactly what that dream means," I mutter to myself. I throw on my cleaning clothes, pull my hair back in a rubber band, and decide I'll begin with the toilets. I can mentally do the grocery list while I scrub, and I'm pretty sure that within the next 24 hours I'll remember where I have the Easter baskets from last year...



I do have a preoccupation with toilets, and their cleanliness. The following will explain it all: I live with 4 males. Not as sexy as it sounds.


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