Friday, May 29, 2009

Theres a hole in the bucket

I am finding it very f-ing ironic that in order to manage our finances I need to spend hundreds of dollars on software.

My bank updated their site, which made the software I was using obsolete. I took a deep breath and decided to buy the software I've been wanting to buy for some time. I thought I had researched it all. I talked, (or rather chatted- brilliant, I can chat online and screaming kids don't disrupt, except they do or maybe I would have chatted the right questions.) to someone at the company to insure that I could import the files from my geriatric software. I can! Thats great! Hey, am I taking care of this or what?

Let it be said that I am still juggling the pain in the ass antics of the inhabitants of my house (who I love dearly) while focusing 75 percent of my brain on the financial software (hey- thats the most anyone gets. 75%. Don't be greedy.) In retrospect, I should have just attached a feedbag to S, instead of refilling her bowl with cheese 3o times. Especially since I discovered on the 29th time that she was sharing with the dogs. Please don't ask my why I filled it a 3oth time. I really don't know. Ask the 25% of my brain that was on duty.

I was actually looking forward to updating our finances. Getting organized. Growing our business, guaranteed, as the software promises. But hey guess what? I can't run the software on the operating system I have. No, I will have to buy more software to make it work. After I calm down a bit I will have to figure out what the hell to do.

But first I need to get the cheese bag away from S. She has gone and gotten out of the fridge herself. And is filling up her bowl. I give up. It has to be a conspiracy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pre-K and the code of silence

J and I went to H's kindergarten orientation last night. Its all getting a little too real, this kindergarten thing. I know it will be great, I know H will be fine. I know H will be fine before I am fine, but I guess thats how it goes.

I have taken to calling the school where H goes to pre-school the cosa nostra. It is comically hard to figure out small details, like, oh, I don't know- what class your child is in? What teacher they have? On H's first day of school, I didn't know what class she was in, or even where the classrooms were. I didn't know who worked at the school, and had to pull someone aside, who I think was a parent judging from the fact that they were only slightly less clueless than I was, to ask where I should be going.

I found a classroom, saw that H wasn't on that class list and tried another and another until I found the right one. I met her teachers for the first time that day, and didn't get to know them any better until back to school night which was a few weeks later. S starts school at the cosa nostra in a few weeks. I'm not sure what class she'll be in, or who will be teaching the class, but now I am a part of the familia. I know who to ask, I know where the classrooms are. I know the procedure. The procedure is just come here long enough and you'll know. People aren't trying to be difficult, for the most part, its just that they assume you know, because they think probably your mom or your grandmom told you. What? They didn't go to pre-K at this school? Where are you from anyway? We've lived in our house for 9 years. A few years ago a neighbor at the other end of the street came up to me and said "You're the new people, right?" I said "no, we've been here for 6 years." "Yeah", she said. "The new people."

So, imagine my shock and awe when J and I go to this kindergarten orientation and receive a folder with a class list, a calendar for next year. All kinds of forms all in the same place. Then we actually met the kindergarten teacher. AND the parents of the kids who will be in the class. 4 months before school starts. Actually, the fact that there was an orientation at all threw me off course. I received a letter from the school about a month ago. The beginning of the letter said something about meeting your mentor family, and everything else stopped- I think I actually heard the needle sliding off the record. Mentor family? I missed the important part of the letter, which even said, in these very words, to write May 27th on your calender. Its a very important orientation meeting where we will answer all your questions... It said to RSVP. I didn't. I forgot. I am making a hell of a first impression. I had to be reminded by the director of the school that perhaps I should show up.

At least we didn't miss the very important orientation meeting. I have my hand over my heart as I swear not to block out any more important information just because kindergarten scares me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

An indulgence

I promise to not over abuse and make this a garden blog, not that theres anything wrong with that, but it occurs to me I can rant not only about my kids and dogs and my art but about my plant obsessions too.

For example, this is Graham Thomas:

Isn't he handsome? I think we see some of Graham's friend Jude the Obscure (best rose name ever) in the back ground.

This is another of my favorites that I lug in when it gets cold and back out when it warms up.

I used to know the name of this plant, but I've forgotten and have spent too long already trying to figure it out.

Here is S. Enough with the plant portraits already, she says.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

American Gothic

Birds and bees

An update: This is my new robin friend. The one that came into my kitchen and pooped.

I'm pretty sure that he flew (or landed and then hopped a few times) into my house on his own accord- not that Maxi brought him in, as I had previously thought. After I took him outside, I saw the nest he must have been in just a few feet from my back door. I had the door proped open, to assist me with everyone who is always trapped on the opposite side of the door they want to be on and yelping. Even though I have been pleaded with by J, and given countless 'told you so' looks after we get bees in the house, to keep the damn door shut to keep out the vermin. My defense of keeping the door open "Whats going to come in? You're crazy" is wearing thin, what with now bees and birds flying in. I heard cheeps and tweets and saw some concerned robin parents hopping about. I saw the robin's siblings spread out around the garden on branches looking shell shocked- it must have been the day they were given the boot.

I am a little concerned about this guy as he was all of 5 inches off the ground. I literally held the camera an inch from his little bird face and he was unfazed. I think he needs to be a little fazed for survival here in the land of hungry cats and bird dogs.

Friday, May 22, 2009


I went to the grocery store with S this morning after dropping H off at school. We needed just a couple things. I have been trying (again. still.) to rid our lives, at least the waking moments of our lives, from the dreaded pacifier, so we left it in the car. S decided to leave monkey in the car, too. I hesitated, but then, since she did it on her own, decided not to be an enabler. I even thought about not using a cart and just using a basket. Since we only needed a couple of things. S insisted on a cart so we got one. I usually let her eat a bagel while we shop, one of the million of things I said I'd never do. Since we needed just a couple things, I told her we weren't going to get a bagel today.

I went to the produce guy, who must hate me because no mater what I'm looking for, its the one thing he has to get from the back. Today it was cilantro. He said to come back in 10 minutes, and then said to S, "Hi princess! Where's your bagel?"

After I picked up the last of the couple things I needed, but before I headed back to produce to get the cilantro, S lost it all. Jumped out of the cart (yes, she was bucked in. It doesn't matter.) Ran away from me. I caught her, she fell to the ground. Its like a ballet now, I reach my hand to cushion the blow to her head, she rolls around on the floor in the middle of the aisle.

I wanted to just leave. Screw the cilantro. I have some in my garden, I'd just use that- but I really like the produce guy and he seems the type to never go get things from the back for you ever again if you stand him up once. I had S in a kind of straitjacket hug. Shes screaming. Patrons are staring. The produce guy is talking to the deli lady with a box of cilantro under his arm. I have to interrupt. Is this worse than standing him up? I don't know. No soup for you!

We somehow get to the checkout. Luckily there is no line. I got S to sit inside body of the cart, which will surely screw me next time we attempt to shop for groceries. The cashier one lane over sees S freaking out, and looks at me and says "Where her pacifier?" This is the same lady who tells me every time I see her that S needs to give up the pacifier, that I should give her a sippy cup instead. Why this doesn't drive me insane I don't know, but I like this lady. I alwaystell her I let S use the pacifier in the store because I wouldn't be able to feed anybody other wise. She comes over to talk to S. She says to her "You're too pretty to have that ugly attitude!" S glares at her. Blinks. Glares some more. "Where your monkey at?" She asks.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Today's excitement

H, S and I were in the backyard eating water ice (what would happen if you put popsicles in a blender for anyone unaware of water ice) H ran inside to go to the bathroom. H came running back outside, seconds later- crying hysterically- so unlike her. I wondered what it could possibly be, fear sliding up my throat while I reassured myself that as horrible as it was, she got away from it. "There's a bird in our house!" She screamed. "A REAL BIRD! IN OUR KITCHEN! AND IT POOPED!" I relaxed considerably, but she was frantic and would go nowhere near the house. And hadn't gone to the bathroom yet. I headed in to assess the situation, hoping the bird was alive. I came in the back door and Maxi went outside, in disgust. A baby robin sat in the middle of the kitchen floor, looked up at me and pooped. Adorable.

H was still frantic, S was now frantic too as I'd left her in the backyard alone (and her water ice was done). The dogs were in the kitchen with me and very interested in the robin, and Maxi sauntered back in. The robin began to get a little nervous, hopped/flew into the pile of rubble I call the laundry room and wedged itself behind the vacuum cleaner.

I convinced H to get inside and go to the bathroom, got S inside to see the birdy, got the dogs and cat outside where they couldn't eat the robin.

I caught the robin, and was admiring it, hoping it wasn't going to die in my hands from shock. I wore garden gloves just in case its robin parents can find him and give him some handouts- I don't know if theres any truth to that baby animal shunned by parents if they smell humans thing. This guy seemed old enough to fly the nest, but only just. I'm assuming this bird was brought in by Maxi, and have no idea where she got it from. I called H down to see the robin, how often do you get to see a robin so close up? She refused. I was yelling about it being JUST LIKE LITTLE BEARS ROBIN, further traumatising the bird, I'm sure. H wouldn't come down.

When I was trying to catch it, every time I held my fingers above its head it would open its mouth to be fed, so once in the box and outside I tried to dig it up some food, which it didn't eat- what with the trauma of being caught by a cat, and a human, salivated on by some dogs, screamed at and around. What do you mean you're not hungry?

H had bravely come down by this point and I asked if she wanted to help get a worm for the robin. "Yes!" She said "Lets get the one that pooped on me. Because I didn't like that." Don't cross her!

Now I'm on robin patrol- I'll have to escort the dogs to the bathroom and keep Maxi, home wrecker, inside for a bit.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Manic gardening

I just put my bougainvillea outside. For the last 2 springs, I let her summer indoors. Before that, for 12 years give or take, I religiously migrated her. She would grow big and flower during the summer, then I'd have to chop her back to fit inside so she could survive and commiserate with me over the winter. This to me is a harbinger of good things ahead- that my bougainvillea is outside. It is also alarming to me that I have tempted fate by putting the plant outside for the first time in 2 years. To have something horrible happen and then have to re-evaluate my harbingers.

I was sitting around over analysing (who me?) this earlier. More accurately, I was over analysing while getting lunches ready, writing a tuition check for H's preschool that I forgot to drop off, letting dogs in and out and answering a thousand rounds of Mooommmmy!..." not while sitting. What does it mean that I am insistent on this plant existing?

Is it because for me bougainvilleas embody Mexico? My bougainvillea makes me heartsick home sick, after all these years. Is it the stubborn/superstitious angle? I will control this plant thriving out of its element. I'm afraid it means something if this plant ceases to exist, see above harbinger fear. Or is it just another angle of my obsessive plant collecting and manic gardening bug.. no... swarm?

Its mostly D all of the above, but I've had a day true to obsessive garden swarm. So I'll go with that.

I got the grass cut today- which is no small feat to do during H and S's waking hours. Well, S was asleep, and I promised H she could "water" the garden when I finished mowing, which would buy me some time to do some much needed weeding. The "..." is because H waters every thing but the garden, including me, when she waters the garden. This time I made her change before I gave her the hose. She came downstairs in white shorts, a white shirt and pink and blue water shoes. I don't know why white clothes seemed to be better candidates for getting wet, and in fact I didn't know she had any white clothes as she generally refuses to wear anything with out color.

Getting watered while weeding turned out to be the manic garden hors d'oeuvre. The real mania came after dinner, when my neighbors who were dividing their iris gave some to me. I was already outside torturing my children, making them mulch and telling them it was fun. Now I was hell bent on planting the iris before bed time. S was screaming because dirt kept getting in her sandals. H was HYSTERICAL because a worm pooped in her hand. The dogs were chasing each other in crazy figure eights around us all. I was focused. Must. plant. iris. I got them planted. Then I decided to move them. H says "can we go to bed now?" She had been asking all day if she could go to bed early. But no. I had to plant the iris. No sleep until the iris are planted.

In the midst of the planting mania, worm poop phobic children, spastic dogs, and bed time pleas- I was startled to see a bird jump out at me. My crazy slacker robin has returned. For 2 springs now, I've had a gardening robin. I'm not sure if its the same one, or if this whole robin family is like this- but this robin has discovered its easier to let me do the digging for worms, and he sits there, close enough that I could reach out and touch him, and waits for me to dig. Then swoops in and scares the crap out of me as he pounces on worms. He's been known to follow me around and give me cockeyed critical looks about my gardening frequency. "Hmm. A lot of weeds, there lady. Perhaps you need to dig some of them up? Just sayin."

I finally, somehow, got the irises planted and re planted. I hurried to get the hose and give them a soak so their roots could get comfy. I looked up from the hose to see S running at me full speed ahead- S, the one who won't walk on the grass. I stared at her, transfixed, completely confused as to why shes running towards me. Not upset, just running. She got to where I was and stuck her head full on into the hose spray. I was choking, I was laughing so hard while my daughter, who had a previous cat like aversion to water - so much so that she wouldn't bathe unless held down, is jumping in front of the hose so it sprays her in the face, running to me to dry her face on my shirt and doing it again and again. H sees the chance to re-water herself and is soaked in no time. She had changed back into the clothes she had changed out of earlier when she was playing with the hose. Why I even bother I'll never know. "Tomorrow we should bring the toothbrushes out here too!" H yells gleefully. It was easier than a bath- I'll give them that.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


As I have mentioned in earlier posts, S is a bit of a nudist lately. Today, the girls and I were sitting on the bench looking out the window, S shirtless, as is becoming usual. H touched S's nipple and said "whats red on S's nostril?" Is it bad that I didn't correct her? She'll know its not a nostril soon enough, right? I was frozen by simultaneous thought of "What is red on S's nostril" and "wait a minute, its a nipple not a nostril" What was red was nothing. Just the... nipple hole? Come on, I breast fed my girls, I should know breast anatomy better than that- but I don't know what thats called. The part the milk comes out. S has always had breast tissue. She was born with it. The doctors weren't concerned saying it was from my hormones. I was a little concerned, I nursed H and had the same hormones and she didn't have breast tissue. H lifts her shirt and investigates her own nipples. Looks back at S's. How come S's are bigger? She asks. "Everyones body is different, everyones body is beautiful..." I start. H interrupts me "When I'm a grown up will mine be bigger than S's?" "We'll have to wait and see" I tell her. She huffs. "Well. I hope so."

Fans and bananas

What does it mean that I'm sitting here googling vacation packages I can't afford? I need to get away. My lifes work is to become more organized, to get a step ahead of the competition, in this case all the nutters who have booked their summer vacations last summer. Is that every body? If I ever have a summer rental I will only rent it to people who call a day a head. I'll call it Procrastinators by the Sea. For when you need to get away tomorrow.

And now the daily tantrum update. Because I know you care. Last night, my sister K was auditory witness to S wanting a banana. Wanting is really not strong enough a word. When S wants something she furrows her brow glares and yells instructions to who ever is nearest to give it to her. Now. She has some words, but is unable to string them together, especially in times of urgency. Like when she wants a banana. What she does is string a lot of harsh sounding syllables together. Picture a German CEO yelling at his staff after they lost a big account. As with most of these tantrum stand offs, I don't care that much if she has a banana or not, but I am trying to get her to stop yelling her demands like a dictator. Demand nicely, is that any better? My sister and I agreed that she had lost her right to banana. We discussed tantrum diffusing tactics even though we could barely hear each other.

We hung up the phone- the banana tantrum had been going on for some time. I tried, stupidly, to explain she could have the banana if she asked nicely. We were way past this point, so essentially I waved a steak at a starving lion. Then H started asking for the banana, which by the way was the last one. Now H is on the floor wailing that she "can't hear her tv." H does live here and have to deal with S's moods, and is generally very good about it. She has every right to complain that she can't hear the tv. Unfortunately for us all, I was at the end of my rope. "THATS IT! EVERYONE UPSTAIRS" H went semi willingly and hung out in her room for a bit. I carried S up to her room, the carpeted isolation chamber prescribed by her pediatrician, and came down to try and get dinner on the table. I heard banging and screaming and thumping from S's room. I hurried to get the food on the table and ran up to get her. She was still going strong. Eventually she settled down enough to eat, and then she returned to her usual (well, part of the time anyway) sunny self. When this happens, especially with food, I worry that I am starving her. So, lest you be thinking the same thing, she had a bowl of cereal before asking for the banana, and I offered her different foods that she wasn't cursing me in German about.

This morning, I woke up in as good a mood as I ever am in the morning, and S was all smiles. We came downstairs, J and H were still asleep. S demanded some cereal. I got her to ask nicely and say please. Then she demanded the light be turned on. "Mommy will you turn the light on, please?" I did. The she demanded the fan be turned on. I said no. I knew what this would mean, but I'm starting to feel like a hostage in my own house. I gently said no. She of course lost it. I Stepped over her writhing frothing screaming body and poured some coffee. Tuned out the yelling and tried to read the paper. This went on and on. H came down and asked what was S was upset about. "She wants the fan on." "Oh." It wasn't until I got H's breakfast, a waffle, that S calmed down. She demanded a waffle too. "Mommy can I have a waffle please.." I pleaded with her.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Shes got the looks that kill

It was never a question of if but when. S has come into her own fashion sense. H has broken me in, so I am fine with the fact that S is wearing jeans, her pajama top, a flower sun dress and purple boots.

What I was not prepared for, but I should have seen coming, what with S's guillotine personality and all, is that when shes done wearing something, shes done. It will come off. It doesn't matter where we are or who we're with, the offending article of clothing will come off and will not be reapplied.

It happened yesterday at the playground. S was done with her shirt. I tried twice to get it back on, and then had to abandon ship. I made my way back to the car carrying a half naked S who was trying to head butt me and dragging H who was muttering about it not being fair that she had to leave because her sister wouldn't keep her shirt on and why do all her friends sisters keep their shirts on and so on. I glanced back at the park and because clothing removal is contagious among the 2yr old set, saw the domino effect of mothers trying to keep clothing on their children while shooting me dirty looks.

And speaking of dirty looks. S is the master. I have been told I glared at people when I was a baby. S glares at everyone. The glares are getting more frequent, more pronounced and more precise. We went to get shoes today. I had S's feet measured as I was sure her shoes were too tight and that was the reason she won't keep them on. No. They fit, but she apparently doesn't like them. She locked onto a pair of canvas shoes, striped with bright colors with a plastic heart on top. They're cute. They were on sale. They didn't have them in her size. She already had her shoes off and the striped ones on. They were just 1/2 a size too big, they'll fit her soon, so I went to the register to pay. I got them away from S so we could pay, I think the cashier needed the box- I'm not sure what she took from S, but she jumped back startled, incredulous, she asked, "Did you see that look?!"
"Uh huh. I don't know what to do with her."
"Better you than me. That's what they say... if looks could kill..."
She rung us up. I paid.
Then she said "Should I give her the shoes so she doesn't kill me?"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nine years

Today is J and my 9th wedding anniversary. Crazy. Crazier still is that we were together for 10 years before we finally got around to getting married. So, as my mother pointed out today, I've known J for half my life.

I feel like a giant shit head for being as mopey and annoying as I have been all day. Life has been stressful, we are both busy. The downside of knowing someone for 19 years is the same is the upside- you just know. You don't always have to talk. But then someone like me can decide to freak out about sitting in silence and read all kinds of things into it. Someone like me can read not being kissed goodbye in the morning as a deep gaping evidence of all that is wrong with the universe and is not afraid to pout about it for the better part of the day.

Did J just stop by the playground when he knew we were there, stay for all of 5 minutes- make sure to kiss me goodbye as he headed back to work, to right the wrongs of the universe? Now thats 19 years of knowing a person. He just told me that he had planned to leave the flowers he brought me when he came home on the driver's seat of my car at the playground but "it turns out you do lock the car sometimes." Again H knew about this and kept it secret. Why does this freak me out?

I had planned to make us dinner. I make us dinner every night, but this was going to be a nice dinner. Candles, chocolate, I wasn't sure about the rest. But maybe some fish, some cocktails. Maybe I'd make some clams. I don't know what the hell happened. I couldn't decide what to make. I got side tracked. None of the fish at 2 different stores looked good. I got burgers. They sucked. I forgot to get cheese. I decided to have the dinner which by now was not remotely romantic, while the girls were awake- my original dinner was to be after I herded them off to bed. Then I wondered if maybe we should go out to dinner instead. When J came home (albeit late) carrying the flowers, a really nice card and chocolates, that are mint that he doesn't like, so unsharable chocolate, even, I hadn't even started my big nice master plan dinner. The girls were hungry, trying to eat the hinges off the refrigerator while I tried to cook. Basically it was your regular dinner chaos. I owe J a dinner.

We've been through some ups and downs over the last years. I can't believe it was nine years ago we were married. It doesn't seem that long ago at all. I know its a cliché but I am one of those lucky enough to be married to my best friend.

H decided to give us an anniversary gift, she wrapped up a small doll for J and a van with rainbows on it for me. She put a D on J's and a M on mine. She didn't even ask me where the tape was. She found a gift bag to put her wrapped gifts in.

Somethings changed around here with H, its like we're living with an actual self sufficient person. She is helpful. I mean, shes 5, its all relative. The other day, I was sure she had used all the band aids for adornment, despite my hiding them so they don't meet this fate. I actually needed a band aid so I asked H if there were any left. I wasn't expecting her to find one, I was just frustrated that I couldn't. She asked if I wanted Dora or plain, and then came downstairs with a band aid. I have no idea where she got it from.

For all of my worrying today about our life, the way we are, the decisions we make- what effect this all has on the girls- putting H to bed tonight she said "Mommy, I want to be two things when I grow up. At the same time." She said "I want to be a mommy and an artist. Just like you" Then she said "Mommy! Why are you hugging me so hard?"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Plan

Please disregard previous post. I was tired, and yes, my lips were chapped. In reality, I realized after I was finally able to get up and make dinner, I was crashing from a sugar rush. After a dinner of lobster ravioli and fish sticks and broccoli I felt much less sluglike. I asked H if she wanted ravioli or fish sticks, she said "both." She gets this from her father.

I had accompanied H and S and their grandfather for The Plan. The Plan is ice cream. I usually don't go to The Plan, I let them get all sugared up and enjoy 1/2 an hour of quieter than normal (because thankfully its never all the way quiet) but today I went. The Plan evolved from H's suggestion that she and her grandfather "make a plan" every time they get together. He would say, "Well? What should the plan be?" There is only one answer. Now they just cut to the chase. There is always a plan that involves The Plan.

Ouch. Quit it.

You know your tired when.
When you don't have the energy to list all the myriad of tiring things your not doing. But also when you are sitting, like I am right now, looking at blankly my computer screen thinking how chapped my lips are. Thinking I should work on the confounded website. Thinking my lips are chapped. Maybe I should write something interesting on this blog for once, I think. My lips are chapped. Wasn't I about to make dinner? My lips are chapped.
H says "Can we watch another show, since you haven't started dinner yet?"
Right. I said they could watch one show. "Fine, one more" I say.
My lips are chapped.
And I'm tired.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mothers day and the fallout

I should have written about the lovely day we had yesterday, yesterday.
I will try to re-cap, although the rosiness may be tainted as I am having a hellish day that started all too early with an hour long tantrum from S that 1/2 a bottle of lotion on her hand (her very small hand that didn't need any lotion in my opinion much less half a bottle) wasn't enough. I said no more lotion. That's all it took. Before coffee. No fair.

Anyway. Yesterday. I woke up with everyone in bed with us. H had woken up in the middle of the night scared because the wind had blown her door shut. I had been thinking I hadn't slept next to her in a while and was kind of missing it, so when she asked if she could come into bed with J and I, I scooped her up and brought her in. S woke up earlyish and being that she wakes up the way I do (very slowly and begrudgingly) shes always game to lie down a little longer. Ruby, Mayo, Maxi, well they started in bed and never left. When the girls got restless, J got up with them, and I slept until 8:23. I know that's precise, but I was enjoying every minute of it. Its been ages since I've slept past 7. In fact 7 is the new sleeping in. 8:23 is just decadent. Check this out, I came down stairs and everyone sprang into action. H had set the table, she gave everyone but me a small plate. I had a regular sized queenly plate. J poured me a cup of coffee and started making eggs and toast.

After breakfast H and S gave me some beautiful pictures they drew, and J, H and S gave me some earrings that are mother of pearl hearts. J said H was adamant about the earrings and would take no substitutions. They are beautiful. I am more impressed and a little scared by the fact that H was able to keep the earrings a secret for a week.

After meeting we went to Baja Fresh for the 'most favorite burrito' even though it was mothers day and not H's day. I did have some great fish tacos. And I also spent a large part of our lunch time in the bathroom, because I forget every time: as much as H loves apple juice, it does not so much love her. And S came too, well, because she can demand to sit on the potty.

After lunch we dropped off J and S to nap and H and I went to get some plants. H of course had to use the bathroom (damn apple juice) but plants make me happy.

H and I got home and I did some speed gardening- mainly weeding, before we all headed to my grandmothers house for dinner. In addition to the absolute beauty of not having to think of what to have for dinner or having to make it, I got to climb the apple tree in the back yard with H. I probably first climbed that tree when I was about H's age. I was really fun to be up in that tree with her. Even though I was freezing, wearing a dress and it took me a minute to remember how to get down.

All in all, a great day. That makes days like today worth it.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Stomping on eggshells

I took the girls to their well visit doctor appointments the other day. H was a model patient this time, which was nice and surprising. S, well. I suppose she was ok, but if looks could kill the whole office would be a ghost town.

We had to leave gymnastics class early to get to the appointment, which was an obstacle as this was the last gym class ever for H. A class she's been going to for 2 years with the same friends. A class that has made me some friends, too. We'll still see these people, and really gymnastics was a glorified playdate (with a director, balance beam, trampoline.. how can you beat that?) but it was the first of the lasts with this group of kids, and that had me a bit choked up. As we were leaving, H turned back from the doorway and yelled very loudly "GOODBYE EVERYONE!" and every one stopped what they were doing and yelled back "GOODBYE, H!" As one mom said, it was very Norm from Cheers. I don't know from under which cabbage leaf this outgoing child came forth. S, who used to love gymnastics class now cries throughout the whole thing, won't let me put her down. She hides behind her monkey, which she folds in a triangle, and puts over her face so she looks like an old west baby bandido.

I knew that leaving the gym class before it was over to go to the doctor was going to be trying for all of us. I predicted loudly that if everything went smoothly, there would be a treat at the end of this ordeal. At the doctors office, the nurse said to get the girls down to their t-shirts, socks and underwear. Then she looked at H who was wearing jeans, a dress and a t-shirt over that. The nurse said to H, "perhaps you would like a gown instead." H as I mentioned before was very co-operativre, and taking her job as big sister very seriously, showing S at every chance she got how easy it was. The doctor was taking advantage of this too, when she checked H's ears, she said "Ok, look at your sister and smile really big, so she knows this doesn't hurt."

When it was S's turn, she did as she was told, but with a deeply furrowed brow and glares all around. I told the doctor that I wasn't worried about her health really, but her behavior. I described the tantrums, the anti-social behavior as of late. The doctor said I may have to change the way I do things to accommodate S, she said "maybe shes not the child you take to the grocery store" Is that an option? Not really. About the tantrums she said "Do you have a carpeted room where she can't hurt herself?" Ok, so my doctor just prescribed a padded room. Whats next a straight jacket? I described some more of S's behavior and the doctor continued with her grocery theme, "maybe she'll be the one to organize your grocery coupons." The doctors point, besides frustrating me, was that S is who she is. She called me out on doing things to appease the beast. Its true that I cave more than I like to think because S just makes it too damn hard otherwise. The doctor gave me a stern warning that I couldn't let S think her tantruming ways will be effective. She suggested S is keeping them up because they have been effective. Shes right, which pains me because I have been actively aware of this. It will require more digging in of the heals on my part. Gloves are off.

We went to the dollar store, as the predicted treat after the doctors visit. I told the girls they could each pick out one thing. I practised not giving into S's tantrums. Even though she walked around the store wearing a giant fuchsia straw hat, wearing 3 plastic leis and carrying a spatula while growling "NO!... MINE!.. S!" (incase you didn't know who 'mine' refers to) we successfully left the store with her only carrying a small white fluffy bear. H by the way chose a glittery baton.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Maybe it is a restaurant. She looked across the table at her children eating peanut butter sandwich, snow peas and scrambled eggs for dinner.

My uterus

Today at Trader Joes, a woman holding a child asked me if my daughter was adopted.
"No. She isn't" I said.
"Oh. We adopted Kaily from China."
Here are somethings I didn't say:
"Good for you"
"What the fuck?"
"How long have you had her?" I really wanted to say that, just as point of conversation, but it seemed like the wrong thing to say somehow. Like I was asking about a car. Although in retrospect I don't know why I was worried about offending her. I felt cold, short in my answer. Like I should elaborate.

She asked me this in the chocolate/cookie aisle. Instead of saying anything more I reached for the pound of chocolate with almonds bar. And then threw the lemon chocolate cookie tub in my cart too. For emphasis.

I didn't know what to say. She was reaching out, she probably has adopted babies on her radar. It must be hard to adopt a baby, I have a lot of repespect for those who do. Its just that I didn't. I don't notice it, but I supose S doesn't look like me at all. I am not sure why, but it hurts me when people ask me this. My heart cries out "can't you tell?"

Its much better than comments made in the past, such as "Where is that baby from?" I am waiting for that phrasing again so I can use my "my uterus" answer.

I never got this with H. It shocks me every time I hear it about S. Yes, they're my babies. Just as Kaily from China is her baby. I hope she went back for some chocolate too.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'll have that and a side of cheeseburger

Things have been so chaotic. I am making myself sit down and write despite the fact I have no idea what I'm about to say. Should be interesting. S is eating a bowl of macaroni and cheese and a cup of milk out of a mug. She's calling it coffee. She has already had a piece of pizza and 2 bowls of yogurt while we were waiting for the pasta to cook. H had a burrito at 3 o clock, because she has a burrito everyday, but also because just as I took a deep breath to prepare for my proclamation that tonight would not be a burrito night, like every other night this week, she said "tonight, I want cinco de mayo food." Now, a burrito is not cinco de mayo food in my book, but its close enough to make me not go anti- burrito tonight.

Wait, why did she have dinner at 3 o clock? Because we are all WAY off. Its been raining for days, we haven't seen the sun. We are developing skin over our eyes and gills. Also, J was home from the studio today recovering from minor eye surgery that was majorly squirm inducing and disgusting, but had him sitting on the couch reliving it all afternoon so H and I could go do errands while S napped. That put H and I 2-3 hours ahead of schedule. We got home at 3, she wanted dinner. Fine I said. Do you want to go to bed too? I was joking. "YAY!" she says. "Really? Can I go to bed early?" What? I also joked (I need to stop this) that she could have the burrito for her 1st dinner and the mac and cheese I was going to make for S when she woke up for her 2nd dinner. As soon as she was done with the burrito H yelled "I'm ready for my second dinner now!"

Maybe I should have just called the burrito a snack, as a food experience at 3pm is usually called in this house, but I have been conditioned not to call a burrito a snack. J and I have an ongoing.. discussion, I'll call it.. about what constitutes a snack. For example, J says, "I need a snack. I'm going to get a cheeseburger." This makes me insane and gets me spluttering my philosophies about snacks vs meals. "a. cheeseburger. is NOT. a. snack." and then he argues about why it is, but to be honest I don't listen to that part. Which is why we keep having the 'discussion', I'm sure. I can't think of what could possible convince me that a cheeseburger is a snack. Anyway. Where am I going with this? H and S have their fathers appetite and ideas on what a snack is. I think I have to just agree to disagree on this one. Either that or reframe my ideas of what and when dinner is, and have 35 dinners a night.

H just asked for waffles with ice cream for dessert. "How did you know about that" I asked. "I just thought it sounded good" She is very proud of her 'creation'. I will not be the one to tell her we're having Belgian waffles on cinco de mayo. She has suggested that we all thank her for her wonderful dessert, and is going around like a good chef making sure everyones waffles and ice cream are properly mixed.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Who does she think she is?

Who does she think she is? I saw this film yesterday. I am still processing it. Its billed as a documentary about women who are artists and mothers- who don't make a choice between the two. I think its more about how being an artist isn't a choice. You choose not to be yourself, or you find the courage to listen to your inner voice, and in some cases suffer the consequences.

I sat watching this film not sure if I would burst into tears or throw up. These women felt so familiar to me, the things they were saying were things I say all the time. How do you do it all? But they do. Some of the women's marriages couldn't handle them following their dreams. None of them gave up being a mother, all of them celebrated the miracle that is being a mother. But some of them had to give up their family as they knew it.

But how to banish the doubt? How to find the time. My favorite line from the film, one woman was saying her husband was supportive up to a point. After some time they separated. He said "I need a wife" to which she replied "I need a wife, too."

It was incredible to see these women doing what they need to do, despite society calling them selfish. Even though it is still making me ill. Calling me once again to stop making excuses. This has been on my mind constantly for the last few weeks. Stop making excuses. Just do it. Get to Oz. Drink the courage.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The crazy insane ways of the universe

Just when I'm ready to throw in the towel and contemplate being chicken farmer, soap maker, dog washer- that this art thing is just too much. Too much frustration. Not worth it. Thats it, I quit, I say. Despite the fact that I have learned and re-learned that I can't quit. I decide to force myself to be happy making art for myself only, in the dark dank basement, or some other woe is me location. Maybe its enough to make art for me and the dogs, cats and chickens I don't have yet. Its at this point, time and time again, the shifty universe comes calling with its art tendrils and pulls me back in. Throws me a bone. Kicks me in the ass and says get on with it and stop moping.

Is it an addiction or a guardian angel that makes me not give up? It seems like a larger force, what ever it is. I have been so fortunate, I choose to see it as a good thing, instead of an endless purgatoryish battle. I get phone calls out of nowhere, "Hey your work is great, will you be a part of my proposal?" Sure, let me check my schedule.