Monthly Archives: February 2009

Deep pockets

Every couple of years, I feel the need to clean out my coat pockets.  Here’s what I found this morning in the pockets of my winter coat:

1) My crumpled-into-a-ball black leather gloves

2) My CTA card

3) My Blackberry

4) 6 1/2 used tissues (and I mean REALLY used)

5) One lavender “Dora the Explorer” glove

6) $.23 (two dimes and three pennies)

7) Two never-played-with Happy Meal toys (never figured out how they worked)

8) An empty Jolly Rancher wrapper (grape) and an empty Milky Way wrapper (wait, who put that there…I hate Milky Way bars). (And why does WordPress keep turning my “8”‘s into smiley-faces? It’s so stupid!)

9) A drycleaning receipt for $41.70. (Relatively new…dated last Saturday)

10) A pink post-it note with both cell and home phone numbers for someone named Laura. (Hmmm….No memory of that person.)

11) A folded-up black-and-white photo of Barack Obama (?)

12) A folded-up crayon drawing of a house, with the sun out, and me standing next to the house with the name “David” written on it. (Actually, it’s “Davi” oin one line and “d” on the next.)

13) A Chase ATM receipt

14) A black button (maybe from the coat?)

15) Two Jewel weekly supermarket lists

16) A crumpled-up coupon for $1 off Quilted Northern toilet paper (hey, expiration date 3/15…that one’s still good)

Wow – look how much thinner I look in my coat now!

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A tale of two sisters

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 Due to circumstances not entirely out of my control, I have one daughter who’s learning to drive, and one daughter who’s learning to use the potty.  One daughter who cried today because she has an ankle injury and can’t run in Thursday’s track meet, and one daughter who cried today because I wouldn’t let her dump the contents of my purse on the floor.

Separated by 13 years, they are night and day, these two girls.  Emma is more quiet and reserved, taking everything in.  (In the words of Tim’s mother, “Emma doesn’t say much, but when she does, it’s really important.”) She is cautious, calm, quiet, quick-witted, sweet, self-assured, and can come across as somewhat aloof.  She never played with toys, but preferred to play with whatever was available, or to just sit watching, smiling and laughing. She is very much a mixture of her dad and me – she looks more like me, but has more of his personality.  She has been my best friend for years, my favorite person to hang out with, my pal for those years it was just the two of us.

Margaret is a world of contradictions.  She’s a girly-girl tomboy, feeding her dolls one moment, and crawling down the stairs head-first the next.  She is bossy (or, as we said in my family, she’s “like Aunt Gertrude”, one of my paternal grandfather’s seven sisters.)  Talking constantly, she keeps up a running commentary of what’s happening, and when she’s not talking, she’s singing at the top of her lungs.  She is hot-tempered and hilarious.  Affectionate and obstinate.  Always right. Likes to break things.  She’s like me on steroids.

Between them, and with David in the middle, they require every parenting skill I have, and some I don’t even have.  They are crazy about each other – for whatever reason, they don’t fight with each other the way they each do with David. (Yes, I have to remind Emma that she’s 15 and he’s 5). 

Must be a girl thing.

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I’d like to thank the Academy…

Observations from the Oscars (well, okay, from my living room watching the Oscars):

1. Can we just watch 3 hours of Hugh Jackman? Please?

2. Hugh has some white spit in the corner of his mouth, and it’s only the opening number.

3. Ok, Hugh chatting people up is getting really tedious.

4. OMG – what is Whoopi Goldberg wearing? She looks like a fur-covered animal.  Tilda Swinton’s attire isn’t much better, but at least she looks like a human.

5. Oh, nice. They had to show Angelina when Jen is presenting, didn’t they? Meow.

6. There’s a lot of beige going on. Must be the recession.

7. Best bit so far – Ben Stiller as Joaquin Phoenix. And Natalie Portman was a good sport to go along with it.

8. If I admit that I really like Beyonce, does that make me a bad person? How about if I admit that I really like this production number?

9. Beige-a-vu. I’ve seen this color before.

10. Okay, my favorite dress so far is on the woman who won for best documentary short film.  It’s red and it’s drap-ey in the back, and it’s beautiful. It puts most of the other dresses to shame.

11. That Tom Cruise/Jimmy Kimmel ad for Jimmy Kimmel’s show was pretty funny.

12. When did Liam Neeson get so old?

13. Nice tribute to Paul Newman, and nice job by Queen Latifah, but otherwise that Tribute didn’t work, because you couldn’t read some of the names on TV.

14. Are Reese Witherspoon and Queen Latifah wearing the same dress? They both have those odd strap things. But at least they’re not wearing beige.

15. More beige. On Nicole Kidman.

16. Love Kate Winslet’s dress.

17. Oops. Anthony Hopkins is a “sir” as well (according to Wikipedia.) Maybe it’s not as important to him as it is to Ben Kingsley.

18.  Good show but not enough Hugh Jackman.

And it’s a wrap.

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What a surprise…

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Today, a list of things that surprised me about parenting:

1) Before I had children, I always imagined that my children would be exactly like me.

2) Once I had the amnio/CVS that determined that my children were “perfect”, I thought I was out of the woods.

3) I thought parenting would get way easier once the kids were out of diapers. (Actually, I still have one in diapers, so I’m still holding out a bit of hope on this one, but not much.)

4) I thought that if a child had a natural talent for something, they would automatically like it and stick with it.

5) I thought it was impossible to clean up someone else’s puke without actually puking myself.

6) I thought there was a direct correlation between good parenting and having calm, well-behaved children.

7) I thought parents loved each of their children in exactly the same way. (And I didn’t realize that loving them differently is a completely different thing from loving one more than the others.)

8) I had no idea that sibling rivalry is hard-wired, and doesn’t have anything to do with how much siblings like or love each other.

9) I thought that girls liked dolls and boys liked balls.

10) I thought that I’d be my children’s best teacher.

Boy, was I wrong…

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And then you’ll be a man, my son

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My son (my only son, David, 5) adores his dad.  Adores his dad so much that all he wants to be when he grows up is a daddy.  This is after he marries our neighbor Fen, who is an older woman at age 6. (“Someday, when Fen and I are married…” he muses. )  (The marriage plans are becoming a bit more complicated now that Fen’s family is moving, but hey, they can always stay connected on Facebook, and then have a great story to tell.)

David is concerned, however, because he realizes that to be a daddy, your voice has to be way lower than his is right now. He asked me about this last week, concerned that maybe there’s something he needs to be doing about this voice situation, and no one has told him what it is. He was quite relieved when I assured him that he doesn’t need to do anything, but that it will just happen naturally when he is 12 or 13.

David’s adoration of his dad may stem in part from the fact that they are the only males in the house (other than the cat), outnumbered by the women.  Or maybe little boys just adore their dads. (I have nothing to compare it to.)

My secret that I may or may not tell David is that, when I found out at 13 weeks of pregnancy that he was a boy, I was crushed.  I had been a mom to a girl for 10 years, and it was all I knew.  Further, I didn’t have any brothers (or even cousins) close in age to me. All I knew was girl stuff.  Barbies. Barrettes.

But of course, David has taught me how to be a mom to a boy, and it’s not so difficult. I’ve learned to build train tracks (and replace the batteries in the trains). I enjoy Thomas the Train videos as much as the next person (if the next person happens to be under age 5.)  And of course, there’s the fact that David loves many of the same things I love – particularly singing and listening to music. He’s like me in that he’s outgoing and he loves to perform (and unlike me in that he is EXTREMELY literal and detail-oriented, and has perfect diction.) 

On the nights when Tim has class and I’m doing the bedtime routine by myself,  after I tuck him in (after stories which seem to take an eternity to read, because he has so many questions and so much commentary on each one), he calls, “Mom, wait! I forgot to give you a kiss and a hug.” (Of course, he’s already given me at least three.)  And I go back and get my kiss on the cheek (never on the lips – David doesn’t kiss on the lips), and he settles in to his much-loved bed. 

Unless Tim is home, and then I’m chopped liver.

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Inside out

Here are a few things I’ve learned in the past year:

1. When I compare myself to someone else, I can only compare my insides to their outsides. And it’s not a valid comparison. Most people look waaaayyyy more together on the outside than they feel on the inside (myself included).

2. Hurt people hurt people.  People who say and do hurtful things usually learned it from someone else.

3. Most people don’t wake up in the morning thinking, “I think I’ll be an asshole today.”  I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: most people are just doing the best they can.

4. Shame is a bitch of an emotion.  You can’t see someone else’s shame, because we all mask it with other things, like anger and frustration, because shame is so shameful that we’re even ashamed of being ashamed.  I think a lot of really bad behavior comes from shame, but it’s so hard to recognize it in other people.

5. It’s kind of stupid to worry about things that are going to happen in the future, because it never works out exactly the way you think it’s going to.  So all that dress rehearsal was just time wasted.

6. There’s nothing you can do to change the past, so you might as well learn what you can from it and then let it go (or at least try to just think about the good stuff.)

7. You might as well beat your head against a wall trying to get someone else to do something they really don’t want to do. This is true if they’re 3, or 43, or 93. You may have leverage, but you got no control.

8. Riding in a car with someone who’s just learning to drive is a really scary experience. 

 (Sorry, had to throw that one in there.)

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10 Things I Don’t Understand

1. Why people go on talk shows if they don’t want to talk (Joaquin Phoenix).

2. Why potholes happen.  I know it has something to do with ice and snow but I don’t know what. Probably involves physics, the only class I dropped in college, because I couldn’t understand it.

3. What Rod Blagojevich is thinking.

4. Teletubbies and SpongeBob, Squarepants.

5. How the Internet works.

6. Why no one else can figure out how to make French Fries that taste as good as McDonalds.

7. Why the sink in the 1st floor bathroom is still clogged after three Drano treatments. Come on, it’s only toilet paper the kids put down there! (I think.)

8. Why ice keeps forming on the bottom of the freezer so that about every two weeks I have to hit it repeatedly with a meat tenderizer to get it to break up, and then I have to clean up all the ice.  I think we have a leak somewhere.

9. Why the only toy a child wants at any given time is the exact toy that the other child is playing with at said time.

10. What happened to the partners for the approximately 100 individual socks I have stored away in a plastic bag.  I know that as soon as I throw them away, those 100 partners are going to show up!

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