Wednesday, July 29

Passing the Buck. Or Passing Something.

I'm putting Doodles to sleep in his room. We're about two-thirds of the way through Harry Potter. Adam is putting Pie to bed--in our room, of course. The rooms are, oh, twenty feet away from each other. Pie, the delicate flower that she is, let's one rip.

Pie: Oooh, stinky!
Adam: That's what happens when you toot. What do you say?
Pie: It wasn't me. It was Doodles.
Adam: No, it wasn't. It was you. Say "Excuse me."
Pie: It was Doodles.

I think she's training for a career in politics.

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Sunday, July 26

Really? Really?

Adam: That camp picture of Doodles is so typical.
Me: What?
Adam: The camp picture. Didn't you see the camp picture he brought home?
Me: His bunk picture?
Adam: Yeah.
Me: Um, what about it?
Adam: Doodles is the only kid not looking at the camera.
Me: Excuse me?
Adam: Didn't you see? Doodles is looking the other way.
Me: In the bunk picture?
Adam: Yeah. It's classic.
Me: Um, Adam?
Adam: Yeah?
Me: Are you sure?
Adam: Didn't you see the picture? He's looking sideways!
Me: I saw the picture. Doodles isn't in it.
Adam: What do you mean?
Me: We had to preorder the pictures. But Doodles was sick the day they took the bunk pictures. He's not in it.
Adam: Oh. Huh. I thought it was him.


An Argument for Her Moving Out

After her epic temper tantrum, Adam and Pie had a little heart-to-heart.

Adam: I hear you had a rough day.
Pie: Yeah.
Adam: What happened?
Pie: I didn't go to ballet.
Adam: How come?
Pie: Because I had a temper tantrum.
Adam: Uh huh.
Pie: And I didn't get to go to Doodles's family night because I had a temper tantrum.
Adam: That's right. How come you didn't have a temper tantrum when you were at Beetle's house?
Pie: Dad! [please hear the "duh" in her voice] We don't have tempter tantrums at other people's houses!


Wednesday, July 22

One of Those Nights

Ah. The end of one of those days. You know, those days. Those days when all you can do is say, "It's 8:20 p.m. and both my children are still alive." It may not sound like much of an achievement, but it's all I've got today, and I'm pretty darn pleased. Because the little one came this close to being throttled. By her own mother.

The day started well enough--I had a pleasant run with a friend. I felt good. Ready to tackle my novel. Got home. Took a shower. I had a teeny tiny, itty bitty little blood blister on the very tip of my nose. Got out of the shower and it was bleeding. I know, exciting stuff. Except that it wouldn't stop and I had to put a band-aid on it. On the tip of my nose. To wear all day. On my nose. The tip of it. A band-aid. And when I told Adam, "Must be cancer," all I got was, "Must be a blood blister." He has this crazy idea: "If you hear hooves, think horses, not zebras." Which is wrong. When you hear hooves, think cancer.

But this is not about my hypochondria. This is about keeping my children alive. Which I did! Even though my daughter did everything she could to push me. I picked her up from camp with a plan. We'd hit the farmers' market. Then over to ballet class. Then a quick trip home to put together the food from the farmers' market to take to a picnic at Doodles's camp's family night.

Ah, a plan? Did I say a plan? Ha! Pie decided she wanted to show me how she can use the monkey bars, so I figured we could do that and still squeeze in a trip to the market. Pie showed me. Her ability on the monkey bars? She can place her hands on two bars and then drop. Whoo hoo! A few friends were on the playground, so she wanted to stay. Fine. She can stay. We can make it a very fast trip to the market after ballet class.

When it's time to leave, I get the first hint of Pie's evil twin, Tart. The clingy, whiny Tart. We head to ballet class. Now, this girl loves ballet. Lives for ballet. But suddenly we arrive at ballet, and she doesn't want to go. Well, not exactly. She doesn't leave the car, but doesn't say she wants to go home. In fact, when asked, she claims she does want to go ballet. I get her into the class, only she refuses to go in. Fine. We'll leave. But she doesn't want to leave. Won't stay, won't go. My voice is getting that edgy anger us moms get when we're furious in a public place. I really don't care if she does ballet or not, but I'm not going to sit in the waiting area with her while the class is going on. So we leave. And we drive two blocks when she announces she really does want to go to class. So I pull over. I get her out. And, yes, I'm angry. And I walk her back to class. We don't even make it through the front door when she's pulling me back to the car. So we get into the car. And ten minutes later, she starts screaming, "I want to go to ballet! I want to go to ballet! Turnaround! Turn the car around! I want to go to ballet!" And of course, we're all done with ballet. But not with the screaming. The screaming lasts for a full hour.

So we go home. And thank goodness for Beetle, because I called her up and told her she needed to take my child before I left her on a street corner in a box with a note that reads, "Free to a Good, Decent, Clean Any Home."

And damn, if Beetle didn't walk in to find my daughter on the floor screaming. And within seconds, Tart/Pie was up and acting like her charming self. "Today I made a fish bank! And look, here's my sand castle. I glued and put sand on. Mommy, made blueberry cereal bars. Do you want one?" A different child. So with the child safely ensconced with Beetle, I headed solo down to family night. With no farmers' market goodies. I searched the house for dairy goodies (Jewish camp--no meat allowed), and I ended up with lots of veggies and quesadillas made with American cheese. Mmmm!

On the highway. I leave at 3:45, which is cutting it a little close for the 4:15 start, but I shouldn't be too bad. Except for the traffic. Which is bad. So very, very bad. So bad that I finally arrive at the camp at 5:17. Luckily, Adam got there about twenty minutes earlier, and of course lots of folks got caught in the traffic. The family night was great and Doodles really belted out the camp songs during the performance. I even forgot for a second that I have a huge band-aid right on the tip of my nose.

And then we get home. Pie is happy to see us, excited because Beetle gave her some hand-me-downs from Tab. Can you count to five? Quickly? Because that's how long it took for Tart to return. And she went down screaming. And then giggling. And now screaming again.

Me: What was up with your behavior today?
Pie: I was tired. It's because I don't take naps anymore. [She hasn't taken a nap in well over eighteen months]
Me: Oh?
Pie: Yes, I should take naps again. I need to take naps
Me: Okay, I'll cancel your playdate tomorrow so you can come home and take a nap.
Pie: Noooooo! I don't need a nap!

I repeat. It's 8:20. My children are alive. Give me a freakin' medal.

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Saturday, July 18

Going Native

My son came home from camp and announced it was "wicked fun." Yikes. I swear, the second "wicked pissa" comes out of his mouth, I'm packing him up, putting him on a plane, and moving him to the Midwest. If there are any families in the Midwest who speak proper English who'd like a fairly well-mannered, occasionally ornery, Bakugan-obsessed almost six year old, let me know!


Wednesday, July 15

A Day Off

At 4 a.m. a little voice spoke into my ear. "Mommy, my head hurts and I feel heavy." A few cuddles and a Motrin, later, the boy was fast asleep. Luckily, he doesn't technically have a fever, a fever being 100.4 and when he woke, he had 100.3 (no, really!). The benefit of this being that he can have a sick day today, and as long as his temperature doesn't go up .1, I can send him to camp tomorrow guilt-free (kids must be fever-free for 24 hours before being allowed back at camp or school).

I think his body is just demanding a little downtime. It's been go go go for him. Camp is a loooong day for him. The bus picks him up at 8:30 and drops him back off at 4:30. Everyday he has Instructional Swim and Free Swim. Yesterday he had boating and dance and street hockey and music and a activity with his whole unit. I think he's plum worn out.

While it's disappointing to me when I lose a day of writing to a sick kid, it's not a big deal--not like I have a deadline or anything--and it's days like this that I feel downright giddy about not working anymore. A whole morning alone with my baby boy!

"What should we do?" I ask him.

"Um, I don't feel well." Doodles gives a little moan for emphasis.

Me: Well, we can play a game. How about Go Fish?
Doodles: I can't because I'm sick.
Me: Actually Go Fish is perfect when you're sick. Nice and mellow.
Doodles: No, we better not. Because then I'll get my germs on the card and when Pie plays with the cards, she'll get sick.
Me: Um, no, actually it's okay. We can play Go Fish.
Doodles: No, I don't think so. I need to do something I can do from the couch.
Me: Okay, how about another game? We can play on the couch.
Doodles: Nah.
Me: Should we finish the Encyclopedia Brown book?
Doodles: I don't think so.
Me [with a hunch where this is going]: How about I pull out the colored pencils and our drawing pads. We can do some drawing.
Doodles: Um, too much energy.
Me: Do you have any ideas?
Doodles: No. Well...
Me: Yes?
Doodles: I suppose I could watch some TV.

Sigh. So while I may not get to work on my writing today (and, yes, I am writing! Just ask my poor beleaguered readers who have been so fabulous in giving me feedback. I actually have even more to send them, but I fear for their free time... I owe those three women more martinis than I can count at this point. I'm feeling optimistic about having a really solid draft done by the end of the summer), this is a good catch-up day--blog, order photos, all the things I can do on a computer next to a mopey child watching SpongeBob. (I told him, "This is a one time thing. I disapprove of SpongeBob. I will never record SpongeBob. I will deny allowing you to watch SpongeBob. Enjoy.") I will do all I can, without getting off the couch. Can someone please bring me the bonbons?


Thursday, July 9

Summer Time and the Living Is Easy

While it wouldn't be quite accurate to say summer has arrived to New England, we do finally have a day decent enough to sit outside. I'd be happy if it were a tad warmer--lower 70s would be perfect--but it's not raining at the moment and I'm happy to simply accept that. Our yard is finally in, and while the backyard is not-yet-suitable for walking upon, well, we're walking upon it anyway. We put down grass seed in the back and all this rain has washed a third of it away and the birds have gotten the another third. So our backyard currently looks like a failed Chia Pet. Lovely. I do appreciate the fact that the wireless connects in the backyard so I can play on the computer while Pie plays with her friend. The front we used sod on, which kind of depresses me, because it is the ultimate in suburban lawns. However we've got a lovely planting plan that will transform it into something romantic and inviting--we just need to wait till the coffers are refilled enough to afford all those romantic and inviting plants.

But summer it apparently is, and we had a lovely 4th of July and now both kids are at camp. I had a hard time sending Doodles to camp, putting him on a bus to be carted off with all these children who were about twice his size to go off to swimming and boating and ropes and T-ball on his own. Pie is at her preschool camp and she, in her spunky way, "LOVES IT!" while Doodles in his typical more subdued way "kinda likes" camp, but definitely enjoys it more than he would staying home. And me? Me, I've got a three and a half hour stretch in front of me every day. And while I am doing a bit of puttering and cleaning--finally getting the clothes Pie has grown out of out of the house, doing the grocery shopping and baking cookies for friends with a new baby--I am also working on the novel. I'm getting in a good hour a day of decent writing time. It's one of those things that I have a hard time starting, but once I get started, I have a hard time stopping. I find my thoughts frequently drift back to my characters and I'm trying to take notes at odd times so I don't forget ideas. It feels good to get back into a writing routine again. I've got three more weeks of kids' camp (maybe more!) so I hope to really get a solid portion under my belt. (I'd like to write "under my typewriter ribbon" but it's been too long since I've used one of those... Maybe "under my web camera"? as that's what's atop my computer.) I make myself a pot of tea (because, yes, it's been that chilly), sit at my computer, attempt to ignore Facebook and Twitter, and plug away. My novel readers are awesome and have been giving me great feedback, which I'm working hard to incorporate. Writing is a lot like exercise--when you're not doing it, you can't imagine doing so. But once you start, you simply can't stop.

So yes, the blog posts may be a bit more infrequent. But that's only because there's other writing to be done. Because it's summer time. And the writing is easy.

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