Monday, November 29, 2010

If I Fell

Tonight I was kneeling in front of the refrigerator unloading tupperware containers full of leftovers for dinner when I realized I'd stacked them up on my skirt. I tried to scoot backwards with a tray full of roasted vegetables in one hand, stepped on the back of my skirt and nearly fell over backwards. Later in the evening my son admitted, upon cross examination, that he peed on the couch because he thought he was wearing a pull up.
I swear my life is just like a Seinfield episode except that I'm not making a million bucks an episode - and - I'm  keeping the couch.

song: If I Fell • artist: The Beatles

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

That's The Way I Like It

How to Cook a Turkey
by H
My dad's friend gives us our turkey. He brings it home to our house for my Mom to cook. When Mom gets the turkey, she cuts out the bones so people won't eat them. Then she takes the thing that tells her how to cook it off. Then she puts the turkey in a pan. Then Mom puts the stuffing on it. Stuffing is made of stuff, that's why they call it stuffing. Then Mom turns the stove on 10 degrees. Then she puts a cover on the pan so the water doesn't splash out and the flies don't get it. She lets the turkey cook for nine hours. The timer dings when the turkey is done. Then she lets the turkey cool off. We will have apple sauce, cranberry sauce, and Nana brings apple pie for dessert.

song: That's The Way I Like It • artist: KC & The Sunshine Band

Lift Me Up

My son the stand up comic.
"Why do they call it Parent Pick Up? I don't pick you up."

song: Lift Me Up • artist: Moby

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Crooked Teeth

Finally! The tooth is out! Some assistant at the school couldn't take it anymore (I guess C spent 20 minutes in the bathroom today) and wadded up some paper towel and pulled it out for him.
The tooth took so long to come out that it made me nostalgic. I would not have labeled myself as the type of mother who gets all mushy over my children losing their teeth but first he was the only kid in his first grade class that had not lost a tooth. And then he was the only kid in the second grade. And didn't he just get that tooth? Didn't he just get all those teeth? Wasn't he 11 months old yesterday?
Then a tooth finally came loose but took a month to fall out.
I remember losing teeth his way: tooth gets loose on Monday - tooth is out on Wednesday - half dollar is spent by Friday. Poor Solomon Grundy.
The loss of that first tooth is a huge milestone for a kid. One of the first, along with riding a bike, on that long road of milestones that leads to adulthood. It's bittersweet for parents - like every milestone is - even more so when you have a month to reflect on it, and all the apples in the laundry room go bad because your son with the loose tooth refuses to bite into them.
He must have been a little nostalgic himself. He asked the tooth fairy not to take the tooth - but to still leave him some money.

song: Crooked Teeth • artist: Death Cab For Cutie

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Right Place, Wrong Time

parenting tip #4637: The meal you prepare for supper will never be so appetizing as when your child eats it off the floor the following morning.

parenting tip #4891: The toddler who does not poop in his diaper all morning will unload with a colossal dump the moment you arrive at: a) the park, b) his big brother's piano lesson, c) the library, d) all of the above.
Do not forget to remove said stink bomb from your car upon arriving home.

song: Right Place, Wrong Time • artist: Dr. John

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Over My Head

This one is for Alison who suggested the perfect song title.
What if someone invented sponge socks so I could just walk around my bathroom and simultaneously wash the floor?
On Monday I got out sponges and a bucket to wash down a section of wall in the kitchen that was particularly grimy. It only took a nanosecend until the twins were up to their elbows in sudsy water. Which is better than the other day when they were up to their elbows in toilet water.
Did I mention how they like to clean?

song: Over My Head • artist: Fleetwood Mac

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kandi II

The e-mail was from "Mamapedia Sweet Deals."
The subject line read "Add a Twinkle to Every Occasion."
I read it as "Add a Twinkie to Every Occasion."
I've got to get rid of the rest of the Halloween candy.

song: Kandi II • artist: One Eskimo

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Just prior to putting the cranberry breads into the oven, the ones we were making to go with tomorrow's book project, he tells me, "oh, I forgot Jane is allergic to milk and eggs."
Let's hope the class likes cranberry sauce.

song: Linger • artist: The Cranberries

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Where Do The Children Play

There is a poem that ends with the verse: cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow, for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow. So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep. I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.
I remember seeing these lines repeated often in cross stitch catalogues my mother used to get. At one point I wrote it down just to remind myself that that was the kind of mother I was going to be - the cool mom with the messy house but happy kids.
But what author Ruth Hulburt Hamilton doesn't allow for in her poem is an answer to the question of who is going to do the cleaning and the scrubbing. Because at some point at least rudimentary cleaning has to be done - laundry, emptying the trash, washing dishes, picking up items off the floor that could be potential choking hazards or food dropped off the dinner table that we don't want the kids to eat three days later - petrified.
The poem from whence the lines come is titled "Song for a Fifth Child" so perhaps children one through four are taking care of chores. Maybe dad is a CEO and they have a housekeeper. Maybe the mother is just one of those people who never needs sleep so she can rock her baby and then clean house at 3AM.
And then there's this nugget, also a frequent needlepoint sampler: "I hope my children look back on today and see a parent who had time to play. There will be years for cleaning and cooking. But children grow up when we're not looking."
Are there years when we don't have to clean and cook because I must have missed them. I seem to recall cleaning and cooking even when I didn't have kids.
It didn't occur to me when I jotted the verse down that if I didn't do the cleaning - who would? Maybe my future husband would but shouldn't he get a chance to rock his baby too? No, the logistics of the whole thing were definitely lost on the 12-year-old me. The me that planned to become an artist and live with my husband in a studio apartment that I fantasized looked suspiciously like our basement play room (I didn't exactly dream big).
I write this mostly in jest but this is the kind of thing that preys on the minds of mothers. Are we spending enough time with our kids? Can we spend enough time with them and still have a house that won't be condemned by the department of health and sanitation? What are outside expectations of mothers? The expectation is that you're available to make healthy meals and help your kids with their homework and you have a house that's pretty clean. Not immaculate but seriously if little Jimmy gets picked up from a play date at your filthy house it doesn't matter how much rocking (or playing) you are doing - little Jimmy's mom is going straight home to tell little Jimmy's dad about what a slob you are. Likewise if little Jimmy gets picked up from a play date at your spotless house - little Jimmy's mom is going straight home to tell little Jimmy's dad about how anal you are. And I don't mean to vilify other moms, you can substitute your neighbor, your clergyman, your friendly campaign pollster, whoever it is who makes it past your front door. Mothers (and fathers) are being judged all the time, constantly looking for that elusive balance between work and play.
But back to our two bits of prose. Here's the point that the poets miss: kids love to clean and cook so why not combine the two; you'll get bored rocking after a while anyway. If I give the twins each a sponge they are off. They clean up and down the stairs, they clean in the bathroom sink, they clean the kitchen table. They love to wipe up spills both large and small. They love to wipe up the water left on kitchen floor after it's been walked across on a rainy day (consequently they've been busy this week), they love to point out all the spider webs underneath chairs that never, ever, get cleaned up.
And as for cooking, they love to pour ingredients into bowls and they like to add eggs to batter after I've broken them open. When they get bigger they'll get to use the apple peeler and the nut grinder and maybe they'll thrill to grating cheese.
These activities keep us all in the kitchen together, I can get dinner made albeit much slower than if I didn't have so much "help" and they get a mother who has time to play and still give them meals that don't come with a prize in the box.
But then eventually there will come a day when I'll say "hey guys, want to clean the sink or ride on the vacuum cleaner?" And they'll be too interested in Legos to come running. Or worse they'll say, "sure Mom, what will you pay me?"
Those kids. They grow up so fast.

song: Where do the Children Play? • artist: Cat Stevens

Here Comes the Rain Again

Yes, I made my kids wait at the bus stop in the rain without umbrellas. But the bus driver was wearing short sleeves so let's call it even.

song: Here Comes the Rain Again • artist: Eurythmics

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Holding Out for a Hero

How come all the male super heros have long-sleeved unitards, capes, and helmets but the lone female super hero has to combat crime in what amounts to a bathing suit and a few sweat bands?
How's she supposed to fend off villains while she's fighting a wedgie?

song: Holding Out for a Hero • artist: Bonnie Tyler

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Tonight, Tonight

parenting tip #3,985: Don't bother putting your toddler's shoes on until you physically get to where you are going. They will only take them off in the car.

parenting tip #3,986: In adhering to the above advice, don't forget said shoes at home or your kids will be the only ones watching soccer practice in their socks.

parenting tip #3,987: Throw moldy jack-o-lanterns into compost heap while your children are in school. Prior to October 31, set carved pumpkins on plates or plywood for post-holiday ease of removal transport.

song: Tonight, Tonight • artist: Smashing Pumpkins

Friday, November 05, 2010

Beans for Breakfast

Having been given a crock pot recently I have been investigating recipes with which to best make use of this new (to me) cooking accessory. Having things cook all day is in stark contrast to my usual method of burning things quickly in a stir fry.
So far there have been two unsuccessful attempts to cook dinner and one successful Halloween mulled cider.
I particularly enjoyed these online instructions for pork chops: Cook onions in oil until lightly brown. Add other ingredients. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes. Put pork chops in crock pot and cook overnight with sauce. Serve hot.
Cook overnight? And then what? Serve them for breakfast?

song: Beans for Breakfast • artist: Johnny Cash

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Box of Rain

The boys and I spent our late morning at Coonamessett Farm which makes me either the best mom on the planet for dressing my kids in their boots and rain jackets and letting them stomp through puddles, or the worst mom on the planet - for dressing my kids in their boots and rain jackets and letting them stomp through puddles.
The jury is out on which on it is. N thought it was great and happily zig zagged from puddle to puddle; S cried, refused to move from the porch of the farm stand and made me carry him the entire time.

song: Box of Rain • artist: The Grateful Dead


The internet is rife with articles listing creative ways to rid oneself of excess Halloween candy. What a bizarre holiday Halloween is. We dress up our children and send them out to beg for food that we don't want them to have. Why not send them out to score stuff we need? I could use some chili powder. And I'm almost out of barley. Oh and Post-It Notes, I could definitely use some Post-It Notes. But alas no - it's candy and likely to remain candy for at least the foreseeable future. As we now have enough candy to choke a moose (assuming you could get the moose to eat it), I've been reading the ideas and giving them some serious thought.
Some of the suggestions, such as freezing the candy and adding it to milk shakes, are clever. Some, like keeping a stash in your purse to bribe your children with, are not. If I tried to keep candy in my purse I'd just end up with melted misshapen candy bars at the bottom of my bag - not too tempting as bribe material.
Exploding candy in the microwave sounded fun but it had to be marshmallow-based candy and I don't know about you but my kids didn't get a lot of Halloween peeps.
Last year I bought some of C's candy back from him. I didn't see this idea on the list though there was a suggestion of having your children leave their bag of candy on the doorstep before bed where the "Halloween Angel" will find it and exchange it for a gift. Interesting concept but it doesn't answer the question of what to do with excess candy - it merely answers the question of how to get the candy away from your kids - unless of course the Halloween Angel is real...
Then there were some cool science experiment suggestions, exploding Mentos and glow in the dark wintergreen lifesavers for example, but like the marshmallow peeps the suggestions were too candy specific - who gets lifesavers and Mentos in their Halloween loot?
So I've come up with my own list of suggestions. What the heck. I have candy. I'm qualified. Feel free to forward the list to your less-creative friends, relations, and enemies.
1. String it up and use it for garland on your Christmas tree 'cause nothing says Merry Christmas like a tree trimmed in Twix bars. (Mmmmmm. Twix bars)
2. Box it up and send it to that annoying former classmate who just bragged on Facebook that she still fits into her prom dress.
3. Bring it to Staples and see if you can barter it for school supplies for your kid's classroom.
4. Lay it all in the driveway and run it over with the mini van. Your kids will think this is really cool.
5. Feed the M&Ms to your boyfriend's pet beagle.
6. Eat all the candy yourself and tell the kids the house was robbed. This is also a good way to get rid of any toys that you despise as well as the ripped Bermuda jacked your husband can't seem to part with.
7. Tell the kids the tin peddler came to town, just like in Farmer Boy and you traded their candy for three new dippers, a skimmer, and a strainer.
8. Create a found art sculpture with it and explain to the critics that it's a social commentary on the personal excess that defines our country.
9. Throw it in the front yard of any house that hasn't yet taken down all its political campaign signs.
10. Stick it under your mattress and feed it to the bed bugs.

song: Kandi • artist: One Eskimo

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Jailhouse Rock

song: Jailhouse Rock • artist: Elivs Presley

Monster Mash

The great white mummy sneaks up on Captain Ahab.
H: "How come on Halloween mommies can be boys?"
Mommy: "Your brother is a mummy. Not a mommy."
C: "How come they call them Sweedish Fish?
Mommy: "I don't know. Stop eating candy."

song: Monster Mash • artist: Bobby "Boris" Picket

All I Want Is You II

An older gentleman insisted I go through the door to the polling station ahead of him this morning. "You're prettier than I am," he said.
I told him it was too bad he wasn't running for something because he'd have my vote.

song: All I Want Is You • artist: U2

Monday, November 01, 2010

What It Takes

You want my vote? Take all the $$ being spent on campaign advertising and give it to my sons' elementary school so I can stop buying crayons, hand sanitizer and paper towels.
Then I'll vote for you.

song: What It Takes • artist: Aerosmith