Sunday, May 18, 2008

Monday, March 31, 2008


I love holding babies. But since I am now barren ("ute yank" a couple of years ago), I have to count on my friends to have babies. My girlfriends have not let me down. Last year 3 of my friends who were turning 40 all had their first baby. The best story of the three is the story of my friend Ann. She married a fantastic man who is 10 years older and has 3 children from a previous marriage. Sam wasn't too keen on adding anymore offspring to his brood, so Ann figured she wouldn't have children.

One day I get a panicked call from Ann- she's pregnant! She can't imagine having a kid and has no idea how her husband will take it (note to all you kids out there - pull and pray is not a reliable form of birth control). She comes over and I reassure her that Sam will be fine and that she'll make a great mom. Her husband is out of town and so she calls him that night to tell him. He is calm and very sweet but as the evening wears on she gets calls from a progressively drunker Sam. He's a little freaked out.

As the couple start getting use to the idea, Ann has a miscarriage. They are devastated. But she has the fever - she wants a baby! So as soon as the doctor gives them the okay they start trying again. She gets pregnant quickly but is fearful she'll miscarry. She calls me on her way to the doctor's appointment to hear the heartbeat, scared there won't be one. I'm nervous too but tease her and tell her that after age 35 your chances of having twins goes up significantly. Kind of your last gasp at fertility - your ovaries just start shooting out eggs, hoping something will stick. Anyway I tell her to call me after the appointment. When she calls her voice sounds crushed. "Oh no," I say. "They didn't find a heartbeat." Ann replies, "They found a heartbeat alright - baby A and baby B." Now she has to tell Sam they are having twins!!! Again Sam is great.

Behind their backs we are all saying that they don't know what they are in for - they are in way over their heads. This is the couple that eat at the hippest restaurants, go to concerts, and stay up past 9 (p.m. that is). These babies are going to rock their world. After a scary pregnancy with lots of bed rest and hospitalization, Ann gives birth to two healthy girls. I have never seen a mom slide into the role more gracefully. I'm sure she has tough days, but she rarely shows it.

When it came time to decide whether or not to go back to work Ann calls me for some input. I truthfully tell her I don't know anyone who is better suited for the job. I tell her that if she is even thinking about it she'll never regret staying home.

So now Ann is a stay at home mom and loving every minute of it. And just imagine - she just about missed out on this crazy thing called motherhood.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


My oldest boy started kindergarten this year. Our neighborhood school pulls from all kinds of neighborhoods so I knew that Zach would have a good mix of kids in his class. Our district allows families to transfer to different schools (white flight) but Steve and I know how important it is to support your neighborhood public school. All my beliefs were put to the test the at kindergarten orientation. An elderly woman sits down beside me and proceeds to tell me her life story. Her son is in prison for life so she is raising her grandson. Her grandson's mom is in jail for drugs. And to top it all off her grandson thinks that she is mom and great grandma is grandma. Ugh! She is wondering when she should tell her grandson that she is really grandma. umm...NOW!!!

Jump forward to the first day of school. I'm relieved to find that this boy is not in my son's class. I figure we have dodged a bullet. But not so fast. At recess Zach and this boy find each other (of course) and become fast friends. Now grandma seeks me out for a playdate. She doesn't remember that we have met before - but our 10 minute conversation is branded on my brain. I manage to put her off for a couple of weeks while I ask all my friends what to do. The general consensus is to have this boy over for a playdate but try to get out of making it a regular thing. So we have him over and he is a really nice kid. Grandma comes in and checks out our house and asks all the right questions when you have a playdate. She tells me her life story again and fills in some of the blanks (Jason's dad "big Jason" didn't kill anyone, but had a shot out with the police and mom is out of jail but also out of the picture). Then grandma insists that they have Zach over for a playdate. I finally concede. I have to ask all the questions you are suppose to ask before a playdate but have never had to ask because all Zach's friends have been kids of my friends (any guns in the house? strange men?). I only leave Zach there for an hour but it seems like a lifetime. When I pick up Zach he is full of stories. They eat bacon, Ritz crackers and squeezy cheeze for lunch! (yum) They play guns and cops and robbers! (hmmmm...) They try to watch Sponge Bob but Zach tells them he isn't allowed to watch that! (good boy)

Zach hasn't been over since but we've maintained a nice relationship. (more on that later) In the midst of old of this I wonder if our ideals are getting in the way of our child's well being. Should we take flight also to a whiter school? But then one of my friends asks me a question - does he like school? Yeah he loves it. When a lot of my friends are having a have time getting their kids out the door each day, Zach greets each morning with a smile and can not wait to get to school. And isn't this half the battle. He loves his teacher and she loves him. I couldn't wish for a better start to his education. I know will have more battles on this road but for now he is happy and loving school. I couldn't ask for anything else.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Nail Fairy

When my oldest was 3 he started getting into the Power Rangers. His buddies at preschool taught him all about them at recess, so without ever seeing a movie my son was an expert. This was around Halloween time and Zach really wanted to be a Power Ranger. I mentioned this to a friend and she said she could loan me a blue Power Ranger costume. Everyone was happy.
Then we went to my mother-in-law's for a wedding. She had purchased Zach his first Power Ranger movie. I watched the beginning of the movie and it seemed pretty harmless so I let him watch it. Also during this visit Zach smashed his finger in an accordion phone booth door (long story). It was pretty gruesome and it looked like he was going to lose his finger. This freaked Zach out so we made up a story about the Fingernail Fairy and how she brings you something if you're really brave when your nail falls out. This made him feel a bit better. So we are heading back home to Spokane and Zach starts saying that he doesn't want to be a blue Power Ranger anymore, he wants to be the red one. I said no, we already have the blue costume - I'm not buying a new costume. Zach bursts into tears and says, "But the blue ranger is a girl!". Poor kid - in his new movie Zach discovers that the blue ranger is a girl. It turns out there are various teams (now I'm an expert!) and some teams the blue ranger is a girl and on others the blue ranger is a boy. So I explain all this to Zach and by the time we get back to Spokane I have talked him down and he is fine with wearing the blue costume.
The day before Halloween I'm picking up a prescription at Rite-Aid and out of the corner of my eye I spy a red Power Ranger costume. I think to myself that if it is under $10 and the right size I'm going to buy it. Well it is $6 and the right size. Now I don't want to look like I've given in and bought him the costume so I remember the nail fairy story. When Zach got home from preschool that day I had the costume hanging in the entryway. I acted as shocked as he was when we walked in the door. The note on the costume said that even though he had not lost his nail yet, he had been so brave he deserved a reward. So for Halloween Zach was a red ranger and there was no question that the child underneath the costume was a boy. All was right in the universe.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Happy Easter!! Today is a day that takes all my will power. Not only does it have the most delicious candy of the year- it is also a Sunday. And that means the Sunday paper with the want-ads. I'm a stay-at-home mom and most days I'm really happy with my decision. But Sunday is the day I can peruse the paper and imagine what my life would be like if I would have made a different decision. As I read about the various jobs I imagine myself in each career: Office manager (me in stilettos and a sexy secretary pencil skirt), newspaper reporter (me in a bright trench coat and "smart" glasses tracking down leads), college professor (me in a fitted blazer and messy bun inspiring a younger generation) - hmm, looks like I need to get out my jeans and turtleneck rut. It has gotten so bad that I can't look at these ads anymore - they make me crazy. The other day a friend called early in the morning with the news that her co-op needs a new preschool teacher next year. My mouth began to drool as we discussed the hours (very child friendly) and the pay(better than most hourly jobs). Then it hit me - I don't like little kids. I love my own kids but a room full of 3 and 4 year olds - ugh! It is hard enough for me to teach Kindergarten Sunday school every other week. And that is just 45 minutes. So I call my friend back and say that this just isn't the right time - and it isn't. Luke is only 3 and I would like to be home with him until he is in school full-time. What is interesting is that job opportunities seem to come my way every year. So when I'm really ready to head back I know that there will be some new opportunities I never even envisioned. Until then I need to keep my eye on the prize - my kids. Now pass my that peanut butter egg!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Silence is deadly

You know the old saying "Silence is Golden"? The people who coined this phrase obviously did not have young kids. Any mom will tell you that if it is too quiet the kids must be up to something. I got a call the other day from one of my friends and she was ready to kill her children. She had been busy in the kitchen when she realized she hadn't heard from her kids in awhile. When she went to investigate she found her 5 year old twins in the bathroom covered with baby powder and maxi-pads. To make matters worse they had made a feeble attempt to clean up after themselves with wet toilet paper. So now the baby powder had taken on a paste consistency. As I was speaking to her she was peeling the maxi-pads off her kids. She said this was similar to taking off giant band-aids and the kids were yelping in the background. My first response was, "Did you take a picture?". This didn't sit well with her and she said that she was too mad to take a picture. I sympathized with her - I wouldn't have thought to grab the camera if my kids had done this. When you are in the heat of the moment all you want to do is punish and clean up. But this story was too funny and pictures would have been great for blackmail purposes when her kids were teenagers. I'm always thinking ahead!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Power Rangers

My sons are really into Power Rangers. So are all their friends. They love to dress up as them and play for hours with their action figures. My oldest son had a friend over the other day. They were playing Power Rangers as usual and his friend Jack told me that his mother was a Power Ranger. I must have been cranky because I told him that his mom was not a Power Ranger. He argued with me for a little bit and then gave up trying to convince me. Later when I talking to his mom I felt bad about bursting her super hero bubble. But then we came up with an even better idea. She told Jack that the reason I said she wasn't a Power Ranger was because I was one also. I hadn't told my boys yet and that was why I denying her super heroness (new word - watch out Websters). I said that what would really seal the deal would be for us to superimpose our heads on a couple of Power Ranger bodies. And then when she is on the computer with her son she could "accidentally" open the picture and then quickly close it with an "Oops - you weren't suppose to see that". I love messing with our kids. And I don't think it is any worse than Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy. Good clean fun - again check back with me in a couple years to see if I really messed them up.


The other day my 3 year old was in the bathroom as I got out of the shower. We only have one bathroom and have been pretty open with our nakedness. The jury is still out on whether this will scar my boys or make them have a good body image. Get back to me in 15 years. Anyway he looked up at me and said, "Mama, are you chubby?". Now I know I've been eating a lot of Easter candy lately, but I didn't think it had effected my waistline that much. I asked him what made him think that. He replied, "Daddy said only chubby people have boobies". I couldn't wait to find out what my husband had been telling the boys. It turns out they were asking him if boys have "boobies". He answered that only chubby boys have boobs. Great-----sometimes I don't think my husband thinks before he opens his mouth. Doesn't he realize that the things he thinks are funny are repeated by the little ones to people who don't think they are that funny. I have a girlfriend who says she is saving for her son's therapy instead of higher education. Maybe I should open an account.
Moobs = man boobs

Friday, March 14, 2008

Easter Candy

Okay - I love candy - it is a real weakness for me. And for some reason Easter is the hardest time for me. At the beginning of the holiday season (Halloween) I have pretty good will power. I buy the candy I don't like and my kids are big sorters so there is no stealing their stash. But by the time Easter rolls around my will power has dissolved. As I write this I'm eating chocolate eggs and jellybeans that were meant for my kids' baskets. I even had an internal conversation with myself as I bought the candy how I was not going to eat it, but I had the bag busted open before I reached my exit. One year I decided not to buy any candy until the day before Easter in the hopes that I would not eat my weight in candy. It was a great plan except that my son's favorite book that year was Owen's Marshmallow Chick. It is a cute little story by Kevin Henkes (one of my favorite authors) about a mouse who gets all this yummy candy in his basket, but his favorite is a little yellow marshmallow chick. So all my oldest wanted the Easter bunny to bring him was one of those yucky peeps. I love candy, but I cannot understand the world's fascination with peeps. The only time I like marshmallows are when they are roasted over a campfire. But I digress- it is the day before Easter and I can't find one stupid peep. I guess I'm the only one who finds them revolting. By the time I hit my 4th store I'm totally frustrated. I end up buying an overpriced yellow chick with frosting features. Yuck. So Easter is saved that year but I decide not to wait until the last minute to buy Easter candy. I have yet to figure out a way to keep me out of the candy. I'm thinking about locking it in our detached garage.

Getting started

It seems like my friends and I have a lot of funny insights to this thing called parenting. So I thought it would be fun to write it all down. Maybe this will help other parents - you can learn from my mistakes. I know one thing for sure and that is that raising boys seems whole lot different than raising girls. And when you put my husband into the mix that just adds more fuel (or testosterone) to the fire. I feel like a smack down wrestling referee most days. So here goes my first attempt at blogging. Wish me luck.