Wednesday, October 31

A General Litany of Complaints

This morning started out pretty well. Despite screaming from 11:20 p.m. to 11:45 and then again from 2:34 a.m. to 2:47 (it's getting shorter!), and then waking at 5:14 a.m., which I ignored, Pie actually fell back asleep and didn't wake till 7:30, which is practically a record. Doodles was so excited it's Halloween that he was most agreeable. Both kids got waffles with a "face": two M&Ms and a candy corn, which put them over the moon. Kids got to school on time, no tears at drop-off, and I got in and out of the toy store in record time with gifts from the Switch Witch. One Venti latte in hand, and I'm ready to transcribe the interview I did Monday night with a very interesting director for a profile I'm working on.

But now? Now I'm annoyed. I'm just oh-so-annoyed. And my annoyance has snowballed and, I'll be honest here, right now I'm annoyed at you! Don't worry. You're not alone. Here are the people I'm annoyed with at the moment:

  1. I'm annoyed at my friend A. for turning me on to that woman's blog. A., you should have known I'd get sucked in and become an unproductive sloth. And while we're at it, what's up with hooking me onto Facebook? I'm a full-fledged addict. Someone send me a 12-step program.
  2. I'm annoyed with my father, who when I complained about being alone with my terrors and about my moronic husband (see annoyance #11), replied, "Oh, if this is your biggest problem, you're doing pretty well in life." My father who not once--not once!--in the first five years (probably much, much longer) of my life spent twenty-four hours alone with me and the Tweedle Twirp.
  3. I'm annoyed with myself for being annoyed and letting it make me waste my time blogging instead of either copyediting or transcribing, both of which have to be done.
  4. I'm annoyed that the supermarket Halloween candy was completely picked over yesterday so not only am I consoling myself with Halloween candy, I'm consoling myself with Halloween candy that's not even that good.
  5. Today is feeding group day, which means no nap for Pie.
  6. I'm annoyed that I planned our Halloween night to the second in order to get the kids to a couple of houses and be back in time to hand out candy to the big kids (who can't be trusted with a bowl of candy inside), have a piece of chocolate, and head to bed. And three seconds before it was time to go, Pie, who has been dying for her costume for weeks, announced, "No dragon!! No dragon!!" She tried on Doodles's old dog costume but it was way too big for her and then I remembered her Purim costume in the basement and she went as a ladybug, but only after a frantic search for her long-sleeved red shirt (in the dirty clothes) and a pair of red tights (also in the dirty clothes but unsalvageable because they're covered in pee--but wait, there's another brand new pair somewhere around here...). Still, desite the annoyance, they were the cutest kids on the block.
  7. I'm annoyed that the two pieces of chocolate have completely wired Doodles and he's still lying awake in bed.
  8. I'm annoyed that the helmet of his astronaut costume completely fogged up, rendering him practically blind during trick or treating. I'm annoyed that he wanted to run with his friends into the street instead of waiting for me and Pie but Pie wanted nothing to do with his friends who were either a) scary or b) just too overwhelming at the door.
  9. I want to start Nanowrimo tomorrow but I haven't a single idea. If anyone has a novel novel idea, send it my way pronto!
  10. I really wanted to settle in tonight, eat my kids' candy, and watch the last few episodes of Extras, but when I went to put it on, the receiver suddenly started blinking "Protector" over and over and over again. So, no sound. So no DVD.
  11. But my biggest pain in the ass, my ultra-big, save-it-for-last annoyance is with my darling husband who is on his second business trip in two weeks, this time to London, this time over Halloween, but he made sure his flight would be in early enough for him to see kids in costumes, manage sugar-rush kids, and help get them into bed. But! But! BUT! My idiot husband didn't allow enough time to get to Heathrow from London and he arrived 59 minutes before his flight. 59 minutes! And Virgin Atlantic shuts off all check-ins one hour before the flight. If the idjit hadn't stopped to pick his nose (or whatever the hell it was that made him one-minute late), I could have had an annoyance-free day. But now, he gets in past my bedtime. Just for that, I think I'll watch the last two episodes of The Sopranos without him. Oh, wait. See annoyance #10. Now I'm really annoyed.

Whew! Got that all off my chest. And you know? Right now I've got the trash TV on. Pasta is cooking on the stove. A glass of cabernet is hanging out right next to me. And Pie is not crying and Doodles is finally asleep. I'm getting ready to turn out the Halloween night and chill. Okay, so things aren't so bad. And thanks for all of your well wishes for my dad. He's much better, out of the hospital, back at home driving my mom crazy, just as it should be. My kids are adorable and I'm starting to unwind. But don't tell Adam that. I plan on making him pay. Big time. Happy friggin' Halloween.

Wednesday, October 24

The Post in Which I Admit My Most Humiliating Moments

I try to keep these posts foul-language free, but there's no way around it: Last Saturday, I was shitfaced. So drunk. Completely out of control. I had a sudden flashback yesterday: Me, dancing on a table. That one wasn't totally my fault. There was a low table. My cousin-in-law said, "Hey, look at that! No one is dancing on the table." The table breaking? Yeah, I think that was my fault.

And I did it at my cousin's bat mitzvah. I. Am. The. Most. Pathetic. Person. Alive.

Let's rewind a bit: Work has been a little stressful, Adam is preparing for a whole mess o'business trips, and I've taken on the task of room parent for Doodles's class (I think my status as suburban hausfrau is solid gold). I was looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend on Miami Beach. A quiet dinner on Friday night--my mom was making our favorite steak kabobs. A boat ride on Saturday on my cousin's boat. The bat mitzvah. A lovely brunch on Sunday. A relaxing weekend. Miami Beach. Ahhhh.

Yeah. Right.

On Thursday my mom called me. My father was having chest pains and was admitted to the hospital. Apparently, he'd been going around for a week (okay, since the previous Saturday because I know he's going to nitpick this when he reads this) with pains but ignored both my mother's and his doctor's pleas to go to the ER (he was in New York at the time, which is how he got away with not going). When Peter got to Florida, he went kicking and screaming (he tried to convince my mom to wait until he made some coffee, shaved, paid a few bills...). Not a moment too soon. He was lying there when his heart beat plummeted--he last remembers the monitor reading 36 beats a minute--and the next thing is my mom was screaming for help. They called Code Blue--straight out of ER--and pulled out the paddles and everything. Obviously, he's fine, otherwise I wouldn't be blogging this. By Thursday night things had settled down and he thought he might come home over the weekend.

So Friday morning, I'm packing. Doodles is yelling, "Your child! Your child!" as Pie raids the DVDs. I yell at the kids to clean up and Pie picks up her guitar and starts singing, "Clean up, clean up! Everybody everywhere! Clean up, clean up! Everybody do your share!" Needless to say, she did not do her share.

We make the plane and of course Pie chose that day to not nap. She happily watched her Dora...until the DVD player Adam forgot to charge died on her. And then she screamed. For a good while. Until I caved and did that thing I never do in daylight hours anymore: Ming Ming.

Off the plane and over to the hospital. Peter was up and around, looking good. Doodles was fascinated by the wires attached to his chest. When asked about the plane ride, Pie very coyly announced, "Pie cried. Pie got Ming Ming." And then Pie wanted to go home. Right now.

The night wasn't too bad. Doodles got to sleep with Nana. Pie was so exhausted she passed out. Nana took them the next morning and built them the most extraordinary tunnel/cave out of about seven moving boxes. And then, the boat ride. I love those boat rides. First we had a quick breakfast at our favorite, David's. And then we jogged down to the boat launch to hop a ride on the Triple Play. Except, Doodles, who adores boat rides, decides suddenly that he doesn't like boat rides. "I want to go home. I want to take a nap. I don't want to go on the boat!" Over and over. I know that when we get to the boat, everything will be fine. Sure enough, we get to the boat. Doodles's cousin, A., a lovely three year old, is on the boat. G., nine months, is there. H., nineteen months is there. There's a TV onboard. Chips. Heaven! Yeah. He refuses to get on. Adam agrees to let me go with Pie and he'll take Doodles home. So Pie gets on. And starts screaming. Top of her lungs. "No like boat! No like boat!" And that was the end of the Triple Play for us.

Back to the apartment. Needless to say Doodles doesn't nap. Instead, we head to the pool, where thunder quickly chases us back into the house.

So we head to the bat mitzvah. My cousin Annie was fabulous. Read flawlessly. Gave a great d'var Torah. Looked a little too much like a grown-up for my comfort, but she was beautiful nonetheless.

The party after was held at the synagogue. I don't know about you, but when I think "synagogue party," I think metal folding chairs and white-tablecloth-covered round tables. Yeah. Not even close. Think My Super Sweet Sixteen, without the attitude. The place was gorgeous and we could have been in any South Beach hotel. And the bar? It was open. Wide open. Completely open.

What was my family doing while I was drinking? Well, my kids were the absolute first people on the dance floor. They got their blinky rings and moved to the groove. Those two danced their pants off. I love my son, but unfortunately he has Elaine Benes moves. Pie? She gets out there and just shakes that tushie. They danced and danced, until Adam pulled them off the floor for a late dinner, at which point they crashed. Adam, who had been surreptiously checking Red Sox scores, "volunteered" to take them home--you know, the place that has a TV for uninterrupted quality time with his Red Sox. I quickly found a designated driver (and a big shout-out here to Stoney, the ever-reliable designated driver, and Claudia, the ever-reliable drinker in crime, and to Margaret, who apparently didn't need to be sober to take all these picturees), and drank the night away. I'll be honest--it was completely unintentional. It was just one of those nights where the wine glass was always full and at one point, waaaaaay too late, I realized I'd had about five too many. At that point, I did set down the glass and walk away, but it did little at that point.

At the party was a photo booth. While I wasn't the photo whore my cousin-in-law Jennifer was, I certainly was a photo skank. The pictures were then placed in a book for my, yes, thirteen-year-old cousin. And we were expected to write her notes. I remember at one point writing something to the effect that now that she was a woman, I'd take her out and get her drunk, and my friend Bettina pointing out that I'm really not the hip teen I seem to think I am, but an old lady wearing pearls. I looked down. I was indeed an old lady wearing pearls. True, I was a drunk old lady wearing pearls, but an old lady wearing pearls none the less. When the hell did that happen?

Funny thing is, I'm not even sure who I was drinking with. Margaret, who was drinking Scotch on the rocks in gigantic tumblers, was snapping pictures. Adam left. My mom left. My sister left. Jennifer was playing hostess. And Bettina summed up her evening in a haiku she wrote:

a crying baby
did not like loud club music
party ends early

Do I need to talk about Sunday? Sunday was not pretty. Actually, Saturday night was not pretty. Sadly, my wildest night out in four years ended well before midnight. I spent a lot of time doing the kind of things I don't like to read about. Brunch the next day wasn't super relaxing. A visit to my father before heading back. Delayed flight. A child who didn't want to watch her movie, but instead screams from her car seat, "I want go get out. RIGHT NOW!" A luggage belt that didn't want to return our luggage.

And now we're back. Well, some of us are back. Adam is in San Fran for work. My father is still in the hospital (but in good spirits) and is having surgery at 10 a.m. today to drain fluid from his heart. Doodles and Pie are back to their old selves, if by old selves you mean not sleeping, screaming all night, cranky during the day.

And me? Did I mention I danced on the tables? Dear God. Someone take away my pearls.

Wednesday, October 17

Food Around the World

Doodles wants to travel. The list of places he wants to go grows daily. "Can we go to South America?" "Can we go to Egypt?" "Can we go to China?"

I give him a stock answer. "Of course we can go to those places! But we can't go until you start eating energy food, because I want to make sure you don't starve while you're there."

So many of our conversations revolve around what food is eaten where. "What do they eat in Egypt?"

"Lots of fresh fruit. Lots and lots of it. You can go up to these little stores, and they'll squeeze you super fresh juice. It's yummy! If you eat fruit, you'll do great in Egypt."

A couple of weeks ago, he told me, "We can go to Japan. I'll eat bread there."

I broke it to him that bread is not exactly a staple in Japan and that if he starts to eat rice, we could consider a trip to Japan.

So that leads to all sorts of quizzes. In the car this week:
D: Do they eat raisins in all the states?
Me: Huh?
D: Do they eat raisins in all the states.
Me: Yes, you can have raisins in all the states.
D: So we can go to China?
Me: Oh! You mean countries.
D: Yes, countries. So do they have raisins in China?
Me: You know, I'm not really sure.
D: Look it up. When we get home look it up on the computer. Find out if they have raisins in China.
Me: Um, I'm not even sure how to look that up.
D: Do it.

Family Planning

Doodles: When I grow up I'm going to have kids.
Adam: How many kids are you going to have?
Doodles: Five.
Adam: What are their names going to be?
Doodles: The first one is going to be Bessie Brown because that's Peter's Mommy's name. The second one is named Nathan Brown because that Peter's Daddy's name.
Adam: What are the other names?
Doodles: The third one is named Hair. Hair is a very large girl baby.
Adam: And what about the others?
Doodles: The other babies are named Eyeball and Eyebrow.
Adam: Are they twins?
Doodles: Yes, Hair and Eyeball and Eyebrow are twins.

Wednesday, October 10

Talk Talk

Because this blog isn't complete without random conversations of my children:

Me: So, Pie, what did you do at school today?
Pie: Um, crackers.
Me: You ate crackers. What else did you do?
Pie: Peppers.
Me: You ate some peppers. Anything else? Did you play on the playground?
Pie: Um, orange.
Me: Yes, that's right. Your teacher did mention you had crackers, peppers, and oranges for snack. Who did you play with at school?
Pie: Crackers. Watch Super Why now?

Doodles: How do you spell smart?
Adam: S
Doodles: (writes S) ... What else?
Adam: M
Doodles: (writing) I always write my Ms like Ws.
Adam: Oh yeah, you write them upside down?
Doodles: Yes. I need to go to M class. At M class they'd teach me how to write upper case M and lower case m.

Food for Thought (So Don't Even Try to Put It Anywhere Near His Mouth)

Long-time readers of this blog will remember that my son has eating issues. As in, he doesn't. Oh, okay. That's not true. He's a little carboholic but his lips have never been sullied by an actual, real, whole vegetable. Never. Ever. He tolerated the stage one purees as a baby, but never progressed to stage two.

I have a great picture of him on his one-year birthday, absolutely furious at me for deigning to put a cupcake on his face. He wasn't happy until the Goldfish came out. The teachers of the toddler room insisted that they'd never had a child who they couldn't get to eat. Doodles made them cry uncle. It was the Tiny Tot teacher who finally said, "This isn't normal," which was completely validating. In entered Early Intervention. Doodles had an occupational therapist come to the house every week to work on sensory issues. In the beginning, the boy wouldn't go near Play-doh, freaked out over shaving cream, and gagged at the mere site of bread. He also entered a short-term feeding group, where many kids came together and wouldn't play with Play-doh, freaked out over shaving cream, and gagged at the mere site of just about every food imaginable. However, diligence won out and by the time he aged out of feeding therapy, he had added a wealth of new items to his list of foods he'd eat: bread, cake & cookies (oh joy), waffles, pancakes, French toast, and French fries (I know that doesn't seem like an achievement, but it meant we could go out for a meal without packing up a zillion bags of cereal, Goldfish, and Veggie Booty). Shortly after he added pizza. A real food! (Okay, so not the realest of foods, but let me have my short-lived joy.)

He was making enough progress that we decided not to pursue other feeding resources when he was no longer eligible for Early Intervention. Fast forward to his four-year doctor's appointment. Still not eating any vegetables. Still not eating any fruit. Still not eating any meat. I could go on, but the list gets boring. The doctor decided it was time, to once again, call in reinforcements.

Today Doodles started a new feeding group. It's pretty cool, and he seemed to enjoy it. We'll see how much he likes it once the novelty has worn off. It's once a week for two hours (right smack in the middle of Pie's nap time, but we'll just have to deal with that), and I get to sit in a room with a one-way mirror and observe him (I wasn't comfortable with the one-way mirror thing so I made sure to show him the room and let him know that I'd be sitting there watching him. I think it reassured him).

Five kids are paired with five graduate students and they're supervised by a specialist (I think she's the only one in the area; it's amazing we got in to this group, which just happened to graduate a couple of kids right before we called. The requirements for the group are pretty strict--such as no allergies--so we were very lucky). Everyone plays at first. Then it's circle time where they read a book that has food in it in some prominent way. Today they read Chicks and Salsa. Then, the group cooks. In keeping with the theme of the book, the kids made chicken fajitas. Doodles and his grad student cut green peppers together and chopped up cucumbers for the salsa. They had a hot plate out and the kids got to put things in the pan as they grilled them up.

While things were cooking, the kids played and they rearranged the room, creating individual tables for each child and grad student. They then came back for "mouth time." In mouth time, parents provide a food they're working on and the grad students work with the kids one on one to help them. Doodles was working on apples. They cut him slices and took off the skin (the way we've had a smidgen of success before). He did a lot of gagging but they provided him with a bowl to spit into and he was told he could spit out food at any time (and he was excited tonight to learn the word "spittoon"). They worked with all the kids to lick food, hold it in their mouths, chew it and spit it out and whatever they needed. By the end of the session, he had bitten off a few bites of apples, chewed it, and "sent it to his tummy." Doodles liked that so much he sent a few bites to his toes and his forehead and other various body parts.

At the end of mouth time, the chicken fajitas came out. Doodles got to roll his own. At first, he tricked them into thinking he was actually eating it, but to one in the know such as myself, it was obvious he was merely eating the tortilla and avoiding the insides. They caught on quickly enough. They had him lick a number of new foods. He even ingested the tiniest smidgen of shredded cheese!

Of course, we have homework to do with him: He has to have three bites of apple make it to his tummy every day (although he's welcome to spit out whenever he needs to). We'll see how it goes. And Pie wasn't thrilled with being confined to the observation room for two hours when there was real food out there (everyone who passed through and saw Pie noshing on her carrots, peppers, and sugar snap peas was wowed with her eating; it's not hard to excel in that group!).

And me? I'm signing off to go have a big plate of sushi. Mmmm sushi. And I promised I won't spit any of it out.

Wednesday, October 3

Who's Child Is This?

I've blogged a few times before about how I'm shopping impaired. I hate shopping for myself. Can't stand buying clothes. Just don't see the point about shoes. They're something for your feet to keep them from getting stones embedded in them.

Pie has not inherited this lack of clothing/shoe lust from me.

A while ago, I needed to kill an hour with Pie.
Me: Pie! [Nice tone] Do you want to go to the playground! [Mumble] Do you want to go buy shoes? [Exuberant] Or do you want to go to STARBUCKS!
Pie: Shoes! Shoes! Buy shoes!
So I took her to the shoe store where she picked out a lovely pair of shoes (in the dark burgundy) for herself. (I myself finally replaced those 2001 Merrells... with another pair of Merrells. What can I say? I live dangerously.)

So, anyway, yesterday we were at a kids store as I was looking for a baby gift. Pie is having a blast. She picks up a (admittedly cute) baby hat. "Get this one, Mommy! This hat!" I explain it's not quite what I'm looking for. I'm still searching the racks when Pie comes bouncing over with huge smile on her face and a very fancy dress in her hands. "Mommy! I like this! I really like this!" I evaluate. She'd have nowhere to wear it, but it is a cute dress. "Buy this dress, Mommy!" I peek at the tag. She's even picked out the right size. And then I look at the price tag: $50. "Not a chance, kiddo," I tell her. "Put it back." She gives one sad, "But I like it!" but does put it back on the shelf for me.

My two year old has better taste in apparel than I do. Maybe I should let her take me shopping...

The Devil Wears Diapers

That Pie and her temper tantrums. Oh are they a force to be reckoned with! In the morning, I lie in bed, pretending I can't hear the screams coming from downstairs. Doodles is finally starting to sleep in. You know, till about 6:20 a.m., which is heaven. Pie on the other hand is up daily between 5:22 and 5:29 a.m. I hide under the covers until she and Adam are safely downstairs. But the sounds of Pie still manage to sneak in:
Pie: Cheeeeerioooos!
Adam: Okay, here are some Cheerios.
Pie, arm shooting out, sending bowl skittering across table: NOOOO! Not Cheeerrioooos!
Adam takes away the bowl.
Adam: Okay, no Cheerios.
It goes on for much of the morning, with slight variations. If it's a school day, we get the wagging finger and the tearful "No school! No school!" If it's not a school day for Pie, I get gleeful screaming and shrieking as she hides from me as I try to get her ready to take her brother to school. There are temper tantrums over coloring. Temper tantrums over food. Temper tantrums over shoes. Temper tantrums over getting into her car seat. Temper tantrums over toys. Temper tantrums over books. Do I need to go on?

I, however, am beginning to learn a few tricks. For instance, the Pie has delightfully curly locks. Masses of curls pouring around her face. However, she will not allow a hair clip near said locks. The curls fall into her eyes and she can't see. As much as I hate to do it, I've had her hair cut twice, because it becomes so unruly. But I don't want to keep cutting it. This, though, is okay, because I've figured out the secret of getting a hair clip in her hair.
Me: Do you want a hair clip?
Pie: Yes!
Me: Which one?
Pie: Um, butterfly. No! Cow and chicken!
Me: Okay, here they are. [Go to put them in hair]
Pie: Noooooo! Want cow and chicken! Want cow and chicken.
Me: Cow and chicken are not a toy. They're hair clips. As in for your hair.
Pie: No! Have them!
Me: In hair!
Pie: No hair! No hair!
Me: Then no clips!
Pie: No clips!
Me: That's fine. [Pause] Say, since you don't want to wear the clips in your hair, why don't I give them to C.? He loves wearing these clips!
Pie: No! No! Pie wear hair clips! Hair clips in my hair!
And the clips go happily in the hair.

The nice thing about this is that Doodles is picking up the temper tantrum vibe and we've been getting a few of the surprising ones from him. The ones that go from 0 to 60 in three seconds flat. The where-the-hell-did-that-come-from tantrum. The ones that start something like, "Mom, can you help me open my yogurt?" to which I reply, "Sure, just give me a second to get off the toilet," which causes him to drop down onto the floor, bang his arms and legs on the floor, and wail, "I wanted a yogurt now!" It's oh so charming.

Of course sometimes, he's a little more straightforward.
Me: So what did you have for snack over at N.'s house on your playdate?
Doodles: A freeze pop!
Me: That must have been nice.
Doodles: I looooooove freeze pops!
Me: I'm sure you do!
Doodles: You should buy freeze pops!
Me: Sure! Just as soon as you start eating energy foods, I'll start buying freeze pops.
Doodles, with exaggeration, rolls his eyes and says: Oh come on, Mom! Just buy the freeze pops!
Four, going on fourteen!

The Wisdom of Wee Ones

Every morning now begins with inventory. As Adam gets dressed, this conversation ensues:
Pie: Daddy has a p*enis!
Adam: Yes, that's right.
Pie: Pie has a gagina!
Adam: Right again!
We don't feel ogled. No not at all...

Overheard by another mother:
Doodles: Do you believe in Santa Claus?
Little Friend: What?
Friend's Mom: She doesn't know about Santa Claus.
Doodles: Okay, but does she believe in him?

Doodles: How are baby horses born?
Me: Just like people. They grow inside of their mommies' bellies.
Doodles: But how do they get out?
Me: Through the horses' private parts.
Doodles: How do people's babies come out?
Me: Most babies come out through their mommies' private parts. You and Pie, though, weren't. I had an operation and the doctor cut my belly and took you out.
Doodles: So we were in your belly?
Me: Sort of. You were in my womb. It's near my belly.
Doodles: Womb?
Me: Womb.
Doodles: Womb?
Me: Womb.
Doodles: Babies are in wombs?
Me: Yep!
Doodles: Are there chairs in wombs for the babies to sit on?

Pie's first words upon rising: "Did the dinosaurs eat apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah?"

I'm in my office. Ella and Louis are on the CD player. But all of a sudden, I hear Billy Jonas. That's odd. I thought SteveSongs was the next CD in there. Come out to find Ella and Louis still playing, albeit softly, and the iPod playing Billy Jonas. Doodles sits sheepishly on the coach.
Me: Who turned on the iPod?
Doodles: I don't know.
Me: You don't know?
Doodles: Uh uh. It just went on.
Me: You were just sitting here all by yourself and the iPod just magically started playing Billy Jonas
Doodles: Yeah.
Me: Hmmm, that doesn't sound right.
Doodles: Well... I think Pie turned it on.
Me: Pie turned it on?
Doodles: Yeah. That's right. Pie turned it on.
Me: And how did Pie turn it on?
Doodles: She just did.
Me: Are you fibbing?
Doodles giggles.
Me: Did you turn the iPod on? You know you're not allowed to touch the iPod!
Doodles: It's okay, because I didn't touch it! [Doodles leans over to the side table that the iPod and speaker are on to demonstrate] See! I didn't touch the iPod! I used the remote, so it's okay! I never touched the iPod!