Wednesday, March 26

My Week in Lists

Random things said to children on a Sunday night:
Pie, we don't put artichoke leaves on our ears. Pie, seriously. Pie, get the artichokes out of your ears now! Pie, you can't hide artichoke leaves in your hair, either. Pie!

No, Pie, you cannot sleep with your shalach manot.

Me: Doodles, you can't celebrate both Purim and Easter. You have to pick just one.
Doodles: Okay. I'll celebrate Easter.

Questions asked in the car on one thirty-five-minute ride from home to ice skating:
  • Why does your shadow follow you?
  • Why do babies wake up at night?
  • Why do moms wear bras?
  • What is that song about? [Song on radio: "Cruel to Be Kind"]
  • Why is the world going to stop and melt? [Song on radio: "I'll Stop the World and Melt with You"]
  • Why did the pharaohs get buried in the pyramids the Jewish slaves built?
  • How do they make the pointy part on the top of the pyramid?
  • Why do people die in boxes?
  • Then who puts them in boxes?
  • Some cars, they have DVD players in them, in the top, and the kids can watch them when they are in the car. Why don't we have a car like that?
Thing on shopping list that Adam insisted the Shaw's didn't carry:
Paper towels made out of recycled paper

The thing I bought three packs of the next day at Shaw's--on special! Buy one, get two free:
Paper towels made out of recycled paper

My week in Facebook status updates:
  • Jenny is eating all of her daughter's "potty treats." Good thing there's no danger of her daughter using the potty anytime soon. 3:12pm
  • Jenny is not sure where she's going to come up with a 4T sized king costume by 4 p.m. tomorrow.... 5:27pm
  • Jenny can freakin' work miracles. 1:11pm
  • Jenny is making an--ack--princess potty chart. 11:41am
  • Jenny is laughing at Adam for not realizing that the "C" in YMCA meant it would be closed on Easter Sunday. 7:08am
  • Jenny can't believe the things she obsesses about. 11:27pm
  • Jenny would rather be in Paris. Cafe au lait anyone? 5:19am

Things that surprise Adam:
Pie: I want a Cinderella coloring sheet!
Adam: Look, there's one!
Pie: That's not Cinderella! That's Snow White!
Adam to me: She knows the difference between Cinderella and Snow White?!?

My typical Tuesday:
  • Argue with Pie about getting into the car.
  • 8:45 a.m. Argue with Pie about dropping Doodles off at school. No she cannot stay in the car by herself.
  • Argue with Pie about holding hands crossing the street to go to singalong.
  • Contemplate a detour to the orphanage.
  • 10: 15 a.m. Tell Pie she can't order her friend, A, to dance with her, no matter how much Pie wants to dance with A and only with A.
  • Tell Pie that no, A's mother cannot take Pie to the muffin shop because I am going to take Pie to the muffin shop.
  • Lose Pie's shoe in the street on the way to the muffin shop, but don't realize that's why she's screaming because she's always screaming.
  • Sheepishly remove shoe from street when a trucker yells to me, "Hey, your daughter lost her shoe."
  • Notice teenlike smirk on Pie's face.
  • Tell Pie that she has to come home with me, she cannot go home with A and her mother.
  • Argue with Pie about how many pieces her muffin should be cut into.
  • Consider letting Pie go home with A and conveniently "forgetting" to pick her up--for a week or two.
  • Reassert with a little less conviction that Pie has to come home with me.
  • Argue with Pie about taking juice into the car.
  • Noon: Pick Doodles up from school.
  • Argue with Pie about lack of snack provided a mere twenty minutes after her juice and muffin.
  • Drive an extra twenty minutes to make sure Pie falls asleep.
  • Relax with Doodles. Read a book. Play some Legos. Have lunch. Take a brief nap.
  • 2:30 p.m. Pie wakes up. Change Pie. Feed Pie. Appease Pie. Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie.
  • Take kids to swimming class.
  • Sit alone for thirty glorious minutes.
  • 5 p.m. Take kids to "Tasty Tuesday" at Whole Foods.
  • Try to shush kids as they scream at the top of their lungs, "LOOK! THERE'S ANOTHER SAMPLE! GO, MOMMY, GO!!"
  • Get out of Whole Foods with just two $97 bags full of groceries.
  • 6:20 p.m. Get kids in bath.
  • Argue with them about bubbles. "No bubbles!" insists Doodles. "BUBBLES!" insists Pie.
  • Let them play/fight in the tub.
  • Tolerate screaming while hair is washed.
  • 6:45 p.m. Adam walks in. Hand over kids half bathed and hide in the office.
  • Wonder if Adam could function if I decided to take the summer off to travel and do something that's easier than dealing with Pie, like cure cancer or end poverty.
  • Spend one and a half hours trying to cajole Pie into bed.
  • Kids sleep. I zonk.
  • 9 p.m. Miss the kids. Consider waking them so I can cuddle with them.
  • 9:01 p.m. Adam blocks stairs to keep me from making huge mistake.
  • 11:45 p.m. Go to bed after working on top-secret preschool project that is taking way more time than I would have thought.
  • 11:57 p.m. Set alarm for 5 a.m. Boot camp tomorrow!

Evidence Pie is ready for college:
  • She prefers her pizza cold
  • She's up at all hours
  • She finds bodily functions hilarious
  • You can't get that girl off her cell phone
  • She's a little cliquish
  • She's perfected the eye roll
  • She binge eats
  • She's got the moves
Watch out Dartmouth U Mass Middlesex Community College Blaine Beauty School!

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Wednesday, March 19

Viewer's Choice

I have a to-read list a mile long. I'll never get through it, but I still always add new books to it. I have no shortage of books.

But movies? I have no clue about movies. Odd that I was once a film major, huh? I couldn't be more disconnected from the movie scene. I feel like every week I stand, paralyzed, in the video store. What to watch? What is any good? I don't see movies in the theater anymore and I don't read reviews. So I'm stuck. All I see are names and DVD covers.

I love, love, love documentaries. I'm a sucker for a good romance or romantic comedy. Straight drama and comedy also do it for me. I'm not so hot on action, sci-fi, or horror. So tell me, dear reader, what is out there? What should I be watching? What have I missed? Tell me what I should be watching! Pretty please?


System Failure

Hey, you! What are you doing here? Are you just trying to distract me. People, I have THINGS to do!

Okay, deep breath. Those of you who know me, know I'm a fairly organized person. I have binders. They're labeled. They're color coded. They're pretty. Adam just went to the accountant to do our taxes. The accountant said we are the most organized folk he's ever seen. I have systems and techniques and methods for staying on top of things. I have charts. Being type-A makes me happy. Nothing is more satisfying to me than purging the crap from my life. Did you know that I've not only made four batches of hamantaschen at home, but I, somewhat successfully, managed to eke out a few dozen batches with a class of nine toddlers and then a class of twelve preschoolers. And I make freakin' good hamantaschen. (My recipe comes from The New Jewish Holiday Cookbook, which is amazing!) Is it because I'm a good cook? Nah. I'm really not. It's because I'm organized!

So how is it that it's now 8:29 p.m. and at 4:30 tomorrow my son is to be dressed as King Ahasuerus and I have nary a king's robe nor scepter in sight. Yes, that's right. I've got nothing! Nada. Or, to be somewhat holiday appropriate, Klum. Purim, the most joyous of Jewish holidays, is gonna be a tear-fest for one of us.

How did this come about? I'd like to blame the Y chromosome. Because the X chromosomed of this family are all set for tomorrow.

If you recall, Doodles was an astronaut for Halloween. A lovely idea but a less than lovely costume. I ordered it online, and the helmet was this rolled up piece of plastic that supposedly attached by Velcro to an inflatable backpack. Except the Velcro never stuck and I was worried he was going to suffocate behind all that plastic. It's not a practical costume, certainly not if part of your Purim festivities include a "festive meal," which ours certainly does.

Exactly a week ago, on the way to feeding group, we passed by a party store that advertised "Purim Costumes." We stopped off.
Me: What do you want to be?
Doodles: I don't know.
He flips through the racks.
Doodles: Oooh! I want to be this!
He found a Power Rangers costume. I'm not crazy about Power Rangers, but I look nonetheless.
Me: It's a size eight to ten.
Doodles: Will that fit?
Me: No. You're a size 4T. Sort of. [Note: Doodles is still small. Very, very small. Truth be told, there are probably some 2T costumes he could comfortably fit in.]
Doodles: How about this knight?
Me: Nope. I'm not sending you to school with a sword. Hey [pointing to a 2T to 4T sized king's outfit]. How about King Ahasuerus?
Doodles: No. I think I want to be Superman.
Me: King Ahasuerus is a pretty cool costume.
Doodles: No, Superman. Maybe Spiderman.
Me: [Sigh] Okay, well they don't have any of those in your size. We'll have to check another store.

We leave the store.

Over the weekend, we're pretty busy. In my oh-so-organized way, I take my son to a Shabbat service, co-chair a tot Purim program, take my son to a birthday party, and color Easter eggs with friends. I mention to my son that we need to go to the party store to look for his costume.

Me: Superman, right?
Doodles: No! I'm going to be King Ahasuerus. Remember?
Me: WHAT?! I thought you wanted to be Superman!?!
Doodles, sighing heavily: No, mom! I want to be King Ahasuerus!

On Monday, I tell Adam, "Listen, I need you to go by that party store [it's absolutely, completely, totally, can't miss it, on the way home from work for him] and get Doodles his costume." Adam, of course, replies, "Yeah, sure." Adam, of course, neglects to stop by the party store.

I contemplate making the outfit, but invariably, I'd end up spending about five times more on materials for a less-than-satisfying costume than if I had just bought the damn thing.

So today, on our way back to feeding group, we stop at the party store. Where they have one king costume left. Size 12 to 14.

Me: Doodles, they don't have your king costume.
Doodles: Okay. We'll get it somewhere else. Hey, Pie!
Pie: Yeah?
Doodles: Pie, why don't you go as Queen Esther.
Me: Doodles, hush up! Pie has already decided to go as Pooh [a costume that our neighbors gave us a long time ago as dress up and is sitting in our basement just waiting for Purim.]
Doodles: No, Pie wants to be Queen Esther. Look at the pretty Queen Esther costumes!
Me: Doodles!
Doodles: Pie, don't you want to be Queen Esther?
Pie: I'm going to be Pooh.
Doodles: But look how pretty Queen Esther is.
Pie: Yeah. Pie going to be Queen Esther.
Doodles: See!!! She wants to be Queen Esther.

I dragged them out of that store as fast as I could. I told Adam we needed a king costume and he had to stop by a different party store. "Oh yeah. Didn't you tell me to do that earlier in the week?" ARG!! "I can swing by on the way home." When I tell him the store in his neighborhood is all sold out, he has the nerve--the freakin' nerve!!--to say to me, "Well, what did you expect? It's across the street from a synagogue." Little does he know that the wine I served him tonight is poisoned.

So, anyway, here we are, now 8:50 p.m., and I have nothing. Nada. Klum. Did I mention that before? I wonder if I can convince Doodles that there's a ghost in the Book of Esther. A plain ghost. Made out of a sheet. A green sheet. Because, you know, we don't have any white sheets.

Purim freakin' Sameach, people. Happy freakin' Purim. Good thing I'm supposed to get drunk.

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Wednesday, March 12

The Gates Project

I've read a number of times that kids like boundaries. It helps them feel safe in the world. But no one has demonstrated that more the Pie. We're having a tough time with that monkey, but as she's both two and terrible, I'm hoping this is a phase she will outgrow. Our lives have become one big temper tantrum. The slightest thing will set her off and I'm at a little bit of a loss as to how to deal with it, as Doodles didn't go through this phase till he was three and a half and a little more capable of reasoning. (If anyone has any favorite books on this subject, suggest them, please!)

Anyway, as mentioned, she's in the big girl bed. Which is causing big girl problems. Because Pie has never gone to bed nicely, but at least before, she couldn't get up. Naps are nearly nonexistent unless I have a specific bribe/lie ("Oh, the rules at the YMCA are that anyone in the Seahorse swim class must take a nap before class. If you don't take the nap, the Y won't let you swim. Sorry, it's just the rules!"). But if I don't have that, forget it!

The other night was particularly bad. An hour and a half of top-of-her-lungs screaming as she wandered in and out of the bedroom. Finally, Adam threatened, "If you don't stay in bed, I'm going to put a gate on the door!"

Pie immediately stopped crying. "Want gate!"
Adam: You want a gate?
More screaming, but eventually, "Want gate!" More screaming ensued.

So Adam dutifully went to my office, which is gated off from grabby hands, and took the gate. He moved it to Pie and Doodles's door. Pie took one look at the gate, one look at us, then looked at the gate again. She then walked over to her bed, climbed in, and not another peep from her.

Frankly, I think it was all a big fat ploy for them to gain easy access to my office. Because that's just the kind of devious kids I've got. More power to them.


Crack for Mommy

Pie's in a big girl bed. I really, really didn't want to do it, but she was starting to sling her leg over the side of her crib, and I feared for the splat.

Last Thursday morning, she was up at 3:47 a.m. Adam tried bringing her into our already overcrowded bed (Doodles had climbed in at about 11:30 p.m. and had a kickful night), but it was clear by 4:20 that she wasn't going back to sleep and by 4:40 that Doodles too was up for the day. I got up, but was absolutely miserable, so I left the kids to their father, went back to bed and finally fell back asleep shortly after 5:30. At 7:30, Adam wakes me up. I'm having a hard time getting out of bed, not made easier by my darling children.

Pie: Mommy! Read me! Read me Valentine and Cheerio book! Mommy, I have slippers! Mommy, where are your feet?
Doodles: Why do you have cracks in your eyes?
Adam [who is trying--and failing--to convince me to get out of bed]: What cracks?
Doodles: Those red cracks. In Mommy's eyes. Why does she have them?

Mommy looks haggard because you made her that way. Now let me go back to sleep!!!
Let's just say that after that comment, Adam had a hell of a time


The State of My Life

Do you ever just have one of those days? When your toddler hasn't napped, your preschooler is hopped up on sugar, and everything seems to be slightly off kilter? Like you turn around and your dinner (Shabbat dinner, no less) is setting off the smoke alarm, your daughter has peed on the floor and is crying for dry clothes, and your son is trying to cram the elephant he's brought home for the weekend from school into a pair of doll pajamas. And the next thing you know, everyone is hungry and tired and you're in the basement, frantically looking for some outgrown pajamas for Hippo the Patamus, because if your son's animal has pajamas, then you know damn well your daughter's animal needs some, too, and you can hear the timer going off for the food, and you can hear your husband come clomping in and the sounds of him riling up the kids and all you can think is, "Where can I possibly find pajamas for a hippo?" and then you think, "What the hell am I doing?"

Yeah, that's what it's been like for me, too.


Wednesday, March 5

From the Are You Trying to Kill Me? Department

Pie loves to "draw." Coloring, writing, whatever. Loves it. But I'm not crazy about her walking all over the house with open markers, so I generally confiscate them quickly when she's done, which doesn't go over so well. Luckily, she's into her Color Wonder markers, so we've found a happy medium as she can keep her own markers. But this causes other problems.

Pie: Mommy, I want to color.
Me: Okay.
Pie: Where my markers?
Me: I don't know. Where did you leave them?
Pie runs off. Comes back.
Pie: I can't find markers.
Me: Did you look in the playroom?
Pie: Not in playroom.
Me: Are you sure? Did you check your backpack?
Pie: Yes. Not in backpack.
Me: Are you sure? Your markers usually end up in your backpack.
Me: Okay, okay. It's just they're usually in your backpack.
Pie: NO! Can't find markers!!
Me: Well look again. I can help you search for them in a minute.
Full-blown meltdown ensures. A good ten minutes of screaming, with me reminding her, "You get nothing when you have a temper tantrum" and her insisting, "I need markers!" Finally, I walk away and eventually she calms down on her own. Three minutes after that, she bounds cheerfully back into the living room.
Pie: Mommy, I found my markers!
Me: That's great, Pie Pie! Where were they?
Pie [with grin only Pie can deliver]: In my backpack.
Oh. Dear. Lord. That's 2 1/2. What am I going to get at 12?


From the You Know You're Loved Department

On the diaper-changing table (no, that girl is nowhere near potty trained, thanks for asking):

Pie: I'm not feeling [which is Pie's way of saying she's not feeling well]
Me: Oh, Sweetie! What's wrong?
Pie: I want somebody to make me feel better.
Me: Of course, Sweetie! What can I do to make you feel better?
Pie: No, not you! Somebody else.


From the Does the World Really Need Another Blog? Department

Once upon a time, I had a writing teacher make me keep an Observation Log, a journal in which I recorded one tiny fact of my day. Something seemingly minor. It's a habit I've followed in fits and starts throughout the years and something I always mean to do more of, as reading back on those observation logs, those tiny details remind me so much more of a moment than my often rather-bland diary entries. For example, from the journal I kept eleven years ago when I was abroad for eight months:
  • In Plovdiv, Buglaria, "I saw a child alone in a bumper car--driving around and around with no one to bump."
  • On the kibbutz, "When I spray the kiwis, I put a plastic tank on my back, like a knapsack. It holds about 15 liters but I only use 10. I put in 200 ccs of a chemical, a capful of another, and 10 liters of water. I put most of the water in first so it doesn't foam up. The black straps dig into my shoulders. A black bar protrudes from the left side and it needs to be pumped to make the sprayer spray at full blast. I look like an exterminator."
  • "To me, the cutting shears resemble a trout, which is strange considering I don't actually know what a trout looks like."

These are much more evocative for me than the "Today I traveled with Ivan to Jordan." Those tiny thoughts bring me directly back into the moment.

Now, to make what will appear to be a digression: As you probably all know (if you know me in person, that is) is that I heart my iPhone. Oh, iPhone! I'd marry you if it weren't for that evil Adam already living in my house. The thing I love best about my iPhone is... well, there is no one thing. I love checking my e-mail during the kids' swim class. I love always having my music next to me. And I love, love, love the photos it takes. I take lots of photos on it.

Let's combine the two. I've started documenting my life through my iPhone photos. One photo a day. The tiny details of my life that would otherwise get lost. Right now it's just photos but I'd love to start including observations, a la my grad school log. We'll see. Anyway, I have a separate blog I've started for this purpose, which you are welcome to check out every now and then, should you so desire: jphone jenny. Yes, more self-indulgent crap on the Web. Did you expect more from me? Well, you were wrong.

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From the Get Over It Department

I don't normally post unrelated videos on my site, but I found this over at Mom O Matic and I thought it was hysterical.