Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gems from Little A.

Most of my FB friends will know how tickled I was when Little A. raced to bathroom shouting, “Gotta take off my Cars underpants—time for the World Grand Pee!”

And then there was the night when his dad proudly gave him a homemade miniature braciole on his plate: “It looks like a poop!”

As long as he’s been talking, A. has recognized two orientations: upside-down and "upside-up." Much like when his sister used the term “lellow” for the color between orange and red, I cannot bear to correct him.

Last week, we stopped by the Girl Scout cookie booth briefly, and A. hid under the table. While S. and a friend waited on a sweet retired couple, A. decided to blow the biggest raspberry of his life. The gentleman at the booth had NO idea he was there, and kindly responded to the girls’ blushes and giggles by saying, “Don’t worry. At least we know you girls are healthy!”

It occurs to me that three of these four stories involve bathroom humor. I guess he really is a four-year-old boy.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bike Styles

We have a new “bikestyle.” The whole family has come to love our Saturday morning bike rides. This week I couldn’t help thinking how very much our bikes and our riding styles reflect our personalities.

The Firecracker
Someone painted “Misty” on S.’s bike at the factory, but that emphatically does not match her riding style. Her brother got training wheels, and she didn’t, so when they started learning to ride, we worried that she’d get frustrated and give up. I’ve never seen her more determined in my life. Falls, spills, skinned knees and all, she stuck to it. In two days, she went from novice to speed demon. She simply must be first in line when we ride, but not in a greedy or competitive way. It’s more like a deep biological compulsion. She was born to “take point.” She loves the speed, and the occasional off-road jaunt.

The Designer Dad
Not only did we have “value engineering” to consider when we bought bikes, my husband also had certain functions in mind—hand brakes, but no gears. (Really, who needs them for family rides in Florida?) Somehow, he managed to find a bike that meets those specs AND looks really cool. Seriously, some arty French cartoonist probably draws bikes like this—totally streamlined and mostly black, but with a red tire/yellow rim on the front and yellow tire/red rim on the back. The ultimate architect’s bike—form follows function.

Major Damage
Little A. does not have a reputation for caution in the first place, so the name painted on his bike—“Major Damage”—fits disturbingly well. Early on, he discovered the joy of bumping his front tire into S.’s back tire and hanging her up. He stops hard, without notice—loads of fun for the aging reflexes of the slow adult behind him. And he often involuntarily off-roads while checking out the scenery. Luckily, it’s the dry season here, so most of the ditches he ends up in are just grassy depressions, but that kid has gotten up close and personal with his cross bar so often that I seriously wonder if we’ll have grandkids.

Earth Mother Lite
I’m the grown up version of the hippy theater chick or New Age girl. Riding last, I keep an eye on everyone, comforting Little A. during aforementioned spills. I love the feel of the wind in my hair as I pedal my retro-styled turquoise and cream cruiser in my funky t-shirt and full-length skirt. Why the Lite? Well, I didn’t actually dig up a vintage bike—mine was probably made in China for a big-box store. I wear leather shoes. You know-I’m not perfectly crunchy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Best of...Valentine Outtakes

We usually try to email a picture of the kids to our family on Valentine's Day. Sometimes the outtakes are better than the real pictures. So here are my faves from past years, and a few of this year's best/worst. Feel free to vote for 2012's Best/Worst.

Best/Worst of 2008

This is the weirdest sign I've seen in the three months I've lived!

Best/Worst of 2009
Mom! He's eating it!

Best/Worst of 2010
Get off of me!

Best/Worst of 2011
No, turn it around. No, the other way!

And the 2012 Nominees are....

A: So you want me to...what? S: I said, stop talking so she can take the picture.

A: The monkey is where? S: Mom. You had to know that wouldn't work.

We're TRY-ing!

That's the last one, right? Right?

On reflection, they're getting kind of civilized. Oh, no--this doesn't mean they're growing up, does it???

Monday, February 13, 2012

Before and After

After a month of this...
We are back in business!
Burdens my counter currently bears for me:
Olive oil, salt, pepper, wine
Scones (made with now accessible baking tools)
Girl Scout cookies to put away
Girl Scout cookies to ship
Island of Lost Toys
Dog leash
Recent art projects

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why I Love My Countertop

I’ve been missing two cabinets and a countertop—between the kitchen door and the stove—for the last month. They fell victim to mold. Requiem aeternam, armarium.

The replacements are coming tomorrow and I’m giddy with happiness. Why?

Junk drawer—‘nuff said.

Cooking—yeah, well, it’s kind of nice to be able to put stuff next to the stove

Island of Lost Toys—every toy that gets “Mommy, fix it” or “If you can’t play with it nicely, you can’t play with it until tomorrow” has been homeless for a month. They’re squatting on my desk. 

Dog gear—no, it doesn’t get near the cooking. But the leash stays in the basket on the counter a lot better than it stays on a full bookshelf or an end table or on top of my purse or the kids’ shoes or…

Getting up—oh, yeah, I said it—I pick up stuff off the floor and wipe up stuff off the floor ALL THE TIME. I’m old and tired. Until someone declares himself my loyal knight and follows me around offering me his hand every time I bend over (Ryan Gosling, anyone?), I need my countertop. Especially when I HAVE been working out!

Just passing through—this countertop is the spot in my house equivalent to an hourly hotel. Hardened investigators come here looking for transients and fugitives. It knows drama—dun-dunh. Without it, things are just lost. 

Tomorrow, I will let you know if it’s as good as I thought it would be. Now I’m going to go sit down—oops, I forgot, I have to…

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mom Word: Priduilt

Priduilt \ˈprīdilt\

The combination of pride and guilt parents feel when a child steps up and does a new, adult task amazingly well. It involves awe for their perception, generosity, and skill, yet regret that the task lay there, undone.

For example, I felt priduilt when I came back from walking the dog this morning to find that S. had dressed herself, set the table, dressed her brother, and was FOLDING A BASKET OF LAUNDRY.

Okay, this morning I overslept (happens maybe twice a year) and was running a half hour late. Not a big deal—we have extra room in the morning schedule, and I knew I could make it up. So S. is just an amazingly generous kid, right? This doesn’t involve me failing to be the adult, the anchor, the rock, the secure base for my children to count on, right? Right?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bizarre Things I Love About My Kids

So, I'm not taking work time to blog--really. I jotted these down last week and thought I'd share today. I need the lift! 

Break's over--grindstone, here I come.

S. can grow anything. Seriously. She gave her teacher a palm tree she grew from a nut. We have a four-foot oak tree in the backyard that she grew from an acorn. You know that thing little kids do with beans, a paper towel, water, and a clear plastic cup? She not only planted the plants and kept them growing, the plants PRODUCED BEANS! We harvested six of them last week.

A. wants to be a space scientist when he grows up. No fooling. Thanks to him I know what the Kuiper (rhymes with viper) Belt is. He grabs me at odd moments to recite the moons of Jupiter or tell me Uranus is the sideways planet. Well, he recently freaked out about a MINISCULE spider in the bathroom, so I told him to calm down, it’s not the end of the world.

He looked at me and said, “Mommy, the world is round. It doesn’t have ends.”

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How To Tell If You're Tired (By Mom Standards)

It takes five tries to right wright rite type that title correctly.

You try the car door; it’s locked. You dig through your purse (no keys). Wondering why you’re standing there, you try the car door again, remember you need keys, start to look in your purse, then realize you just did. You pause, puzzled, until the toddler pulls on your jacket, rattling the keys in your pocket.

It’s too much effort to make coffee.

You are listening to someone on the phone, giving them your undivided attention, and you suddenly realize you have to ask them to repeat everything because your brain had a 404 Error and you Did. Not. Hear.One.Word.

You can actually fall asleep with a forty pound four-year-old crawling all over top of you to “tuck you in.”

You spend twenty minutes tracking down the dog because, even though you KNEW he would try to go after/chase/move in with the dog walking by, your hand just refused to follow orders and failed to frantically clutch the leash.

Your kids have given up making fun of you for inadvertently using the wrong word—it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

You proudly get the kids to their 4:00 gymnastics class ten minutes early, only to realize that they’re actually five minutes late for their 3:45 class.

You can’t sit down because you’ll fall asleep…

* * * * *

Okay, friends, I heard you--my blog is a lot more fun when I'm on vacation. But let's face it, I myself am a lot more fun when I'm on vacation! Pay me lots of money and I promise to devote myself to vacationing and, therefore, writing fun blog posts. Or maybe hook me up with a corporate sponsor?

No? Well, I guess it's back to writing what I know!