Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Time for me?

So I just had this long conversation with BFF on the phone and she urged me to take some time for myself. She suggested even taking 20 minutes out of the day to go and buy some milk at the grocery store and getting on the longest line if that's what it took to get some "me" time. I kept arguing with her that I didn't need it. I say I don't want to leave the girls at home and all I would do while I was being alone would be worrying about them. It's silly, I know. And those of you who know BFF know she can be quite persistent. When she thinks something is the right thing to do, she will get you to agree - whether you like it or not! But, really, what kind of lives are we living that going to the grocery store alone is considered a mini-vacation? When I think of "me" time, I think it's being too self-serving, like my whole life should center on my kids and only them. Then I was reminded of that thing they tell you on an airplane. If the oxygen masks come down, put yours on first and then put on your child's. At first you think, "That's crazy! I would help my child before I help myself!" But, if you're passed out (or dead) you can't help them at all. So, I'm going to try it. I'm going to go for a walk or sit outside and read or do something nice that doesn't involve stress. Because I realize I'm at the point where I fake constipation just to get five minutes to myself in the bathroom. I think I need a new plan!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Taking a Dive

This morning, I watched my little girl stand on a diving board. You need a mental picture - we're at the Marist College pool, where Caty is taking her second week of swim class. There are banners hanging from the rafters touting the school's triumphs in the MAAC and NCAA. I'm getting visions of my daughter gliding through the pool on her way to a trophy while I sit in the bleachers cheering her on. The reality? Total fear. You can see it in her eyes, the way she stands, it's rippling through her. This girl won't even jump into deep end of the pool unless someone is there to catch her. It's bad enough that her lessons take place in 12 feet of water. She doesn't understand that swimming is the same in four feet as it is in 10 feet. She had told me that morning that she didn't want to even go to swim class and there was no way in a million years that she would jump off the diving board. The whole class, I pretend not to watch her. I see how stiff she is. I know everything she is doing wrong. I wish she would understand that if she would just relax, she would be swimming like a fish in no time. But, I read my book. I grit my teeth. I talk to myself. I ask God to give her courage. She is filled with dread. I see her standing on that board waiting for the girl ahead of her to swim to the side. The longer Caty waits, the more apprehensive she gets. Then, she starts edging farther out onto the board. She's almost at the end. So, I've got my phone out and start taping. I can't wait for her to jump and send it to everyone. I'm filled with anticipation. I'm so happy. And wouldn't you know, the moment that little girl jumps off the board??? Some guy walks right in front of me!!! I'm not sending everyone pictures of this guy's back, so I'm praying Caty will jump again next week!

Friday, March 27, 2009


I'm pretty sure the guy that invented Legos didn't live in a place where people walk barefoot! Ouch!

Cleaning up

When do kids learn personal hygiene? When do they learn to start taking care of themselves? It's not like I want them to be completely responsible for their daily grooming but, man, make an effort, would ya? I think we've got the whole "cover your mouth" thing down when it comes to coughing, but not so much with the sneezing. My kids will sneeze and let whatever comes out just come out and then it hangs there until I run over with a tissue and wipe it off! Okay, now that you're finished gagging.... And then when they do use a tissue, they crumple it up and give it to me. Do your kids pick boogers out of their nose and then hand them to you as if it's some sort of prize? Ugh. I'd rather have the dead mouse prize that the cat likes to give me! And what's with the toothpaste? Unless I squeeze the toothpaste out onto the brush, the stuff is all over the sink, the hand towel and God knows where else. They like to look at themselves when they spit it out too, so instead of the spit going in the sink it goes all over the mirror! As I'm typing, I hear Sabrina yelling "DONE" from the bathroom, which means she is ready for me to wipe her bottom. She makes it fun for me though. After she pops off the toilet, she turns and looks in the bowl and says "Whoa! That's a big one!" Seriously - are these my husband's kids or what??

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Happily ever after. Princesses get to live that way, so why shouldn't everyone else? I think the reason a lot of books have happy endings is because that's not the way things turn out in real life. Things are complicated and hard and there isn't always a light at the end of the tunnel. But, still, there is something that makes us keep going, right? It must be the dream - the hope of the fairytale ending. And I guess if God didn't show us bad times, we would never learn to appreciate the good things in our lives.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ask and you shall receive

You may remember a few weeks ago when I ranted about the Escalade lady driving too fast in front of the house when the kids were waiting for the school bus. I got some suggestions on what to do and considered reporting her to the police. Instead, I prayed for her. I prayed for her not to be angry and I prayed for her to notice my concern for the safety of the neighborhood children. This morning, she was driving about 30 and she smiled at me. I asked and I received.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Yesterday, Chris and I took the girls to Roller Magic in Hyde Park for a birthday party. There were lots of roller bladers and people tripping and falling in their brown and orange rentals. Of course, Chris and I didn't get skates - pretending we're not skating because we want to help the girls, but realizing we're too old and out of shape to try the embarassing feat of roller skating again. We're not the only ones. There are tons of parents walking along the edge with their little ones slipping and tripping all over the place. We laugh at the parents brave enough to look like goofballs on wheels and secretly wish we had the cojones to join them. And then, Expose's "Point of No Return" breaks out from the speakers. Parents all over the room are standing up, bopping to the music, suddenly transformed to 1986. Chris is picturing himself gliding backwards around the rink in his Cavaricchis and his spiky hair. You can almost smell the Drakkar in the air! There's a woman busting a move while the kids on the Dance Revolution machine are wondering why "that old lady is spazzing out". It gets Chris in the mood to blast freestyle music in the car with the windows down. Then I remind him we're 38 and driving a minivan. Oh well, at least we have the memories!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Madame President?

At the PTA meeting last night, some suggested I run for president. I laughed because that seems the furthest thing from my mind. I know I could do it - I have the organizational and administrative skills. But, I just don't think I'm patient enough to deal with so many issues. I would probably roll my eyes and frown when people made suggestions I didn't like. I wish I could be one of those people that say negative things while smiling - the kind of person that people think of as "nice." Regardless of whether I decide to run for the board, I'm still on a mission to convince more moms and dads to become active in my school PTA. I just don't know how! When I talk to people and they say no, I take no for an answer and don't push it. There are a lot of moms who complain about PTA and say it's a big clique. I don't get it. When I started going to meetings, I didn't know what was going on. There were a lot of experienced members and they didn't seem to realize that newbies might not understand what they were discussing. So, I did this crazy thing - I went back to the next meeting and I TOLD them! Can you believe it? Me - giving my opinion? So, I jumped in and got involved. And I'm learning as I'm going. So, maybe someday I'll be PTA president or maybe I'll just keep doing publicity or whatever else they need help with. But, I'm begging all the parents out there to get involved with their child's PTA. Go to Board of Education meetings. Volunteer. Even if you work outside the home - find some time to give some time. Be a voice - fight for your school when there are going to be cuts. Your child won't remember that you worked overtime to pay for that new TV. But they will remember that you were the dad who sat in the dunk tank at the school carnival or the mom who read to his class.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Liar, liar pants on fire!

I cannot tell a lie! Well, I would like to, but my 7-year-old daughter just won't let me. You know when you read and you leave out chunks of a story because you're just too tired or bored? Well, when kids learn to read, you can no longer do that. Before, they didn't know any better. Now, you're screwed! And you can no longer tell little fibs to your younger kids to spare their feelings. When the fish is floating at the top of the tank, the little ones will believe he's just sleeping. Older kids love to tell their younger siblings "He's not sleeping! He's dead!!!!" When her tooth fell out while Caty was sleeping, she figured she had swallowed it. My sister said maybe the tooth fairy found and took it back to her lab to verify its authenticity. A younger child just might fall for that one. Not my girl. "Nah, I swallowed it," replied Caty. "Mom, can you check my poop to look for it?" Well, I could or I could just go get the other one that I saved and tell her the tooth fairy really did find it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Birthday for my "baby"

Today is Caty's seventh birthday. Tomorrow, she'll have a driver's license and will be shopping for prom dresses. The more I know this little girl, the more I like her. Of course, I love her because she's my daughter, but I sincerely like her too. She's a little spitfire. She has made my life crazy since the minute she was born. Had she waited just 29 more minutes to come out, she'd have the same birthday as my older sister - who happened to be in the delivery room. But, I guess she was impatient then too. You know when a woman is in labor and she pushes out the baby's head and the doctor tells the mom to stop pushing so he can turn the baby and the rest of her body can come out? Yeah, that didn't happen. She just came out, ripping me (yuck, sorry) open and bounding into the world. She had colic. She didn't like her formula. She wouldn't sleep. She was just a handful! Caty gets bored easily, so she has been going to school and the museum and the gym and classes and anywhere I could take her since she was a baby. At 2, she pretty much potty trained herself after watching her best friend Gage pee off his back deck. At 3, she was in pre-k full time with four-year-olds. So, what should I do with her now? Send her to college? She finally got the Nintendo DS that she had been dreaming of for months. Now, she'll probably sit in her room and lock us out so she can play her games. She won't let her sister touch that thing. Me? When I tried to put a game on for her, she told me "You don't know what you're doing." I'm doomed. The kid is more tech-savvy than me and she knows it. You think if I team up with Sabrina, we could take Caty?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Growing Up

I bought Sabrina a new party dress for cousin Kim’s baby shower this weekend. Of course, she had to wear it the minute it came out of the bag. As I was zipping up the back, I asked Sabrina to hold up her hair. When she did, I just wanted to cry. She used to try to hold up her hair and most of it would just fall right back down. When did this little girl learn how to do that without me helping her? As I zipped up the dress, I swear I could picture her in a wedding gown. I just did a two-decade fast forward and my heart just about broke. I know I did this with Caty too. She’ll be 7 on Sunday and wants to text and be cool and tells me I know nothng about style and fashion. She’s been a teenager since birth. Sabrina is different. She’s my second and my last. When I watch her sleep, I just want to hug her and snuggle and never let go. Every time I open the fridge, I look at pictures of my friend’s little girl when she was born. I remember holding her and letting her fall asleep on my chest because it was the only way the colicky baby wouldn’t cry. Now, she’s got bangs and a little flip hairdo and she loves shoes and purses. Yes, I’m getting emotional watching my little girls grow up. Everyone is right who tells you “It goes by so fast!” It does. It’s too fast. But, I can’t freeze time so I’ll have to keep stealing glances when I can and hugging as long as they’ll let me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pajama party

The other night, Caty’s school was having a story night and the kids were to come dressed in their PJs and get milk and cookies and some stories. Well, my little girl wanted to wear a pear of pants that had writing on the butt. Yes, I know it’s my fault for buying them. But, they were the only sleepy pants in the store when I needed them, so that’s what she got. I would never let her wear such things outside the house! So, I told her she couldn’t wear them. And she said, “Well, why does (insert classmate’s name here) get to wear them?” “I guess her mom lets her,” I reply. “Well, when I’m a grown up, I’m going to wear whatever I want and I’m going to have a party and you’re not invited. I’m gonna have a guard that can throw you out!” I’m starting to feel a little like Rodney Dangerfield here. I get no respect!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Party animals

How sad is your life when your kids stay up later than you? Okay, if you have teenagers and older, then it's okay - those crazy people can stay up for days! But, when your kids are young, it's kind of sad that you fall asleep before they do. I can remember a time when I would stay up until all hours of the night and not feel tired at all. Now, I'm yawning at 7. My kids? They're up till 10! And when I say up, I mean jumping, running, laughing, talking, reading, singing - doing whatever the opposite of sleeping is! It would be one thing if they would just lay there quietly while I stroked their hair and then they fell blissfully off to sleep. Not my girls - they want to party like rock stars. Bedtime equals playtime at our house. Now you'll understand those dark circles under our eyes.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hooray for Poopy!

You know that saying - "Your child won't go to kindergarten in diapers"? Well, I wasn't so sure. I actually thought Sabrina might be known as the ultimate partyer in college because she'd never have to stop drinking to use the bathroom. She'd just pee in her diaper right in the middle of the action. Well, today is the day she proved me wrong - thank God! Yesterday, she made it an entire day in undies. No accidents (and when I say accidents, I mean purposely peeing on the dining room floor or the couch). I was so happy. It's not that I'm worried about the whole potty training thing or comparing her to her older sister who was potty trained at 2 after about a day of working on it. I just kind of want to stop shelling out $20 for a bag of pull-ups, you know? At first, Sabrina told me she didn't want to "ride the potty train," but she liked wearing big-girl undies and she said she'd try. I figured pee would be easy. She pees on the toilet at school. She does it at home when she feels like it. Poop? That's another story. Sabrina said No. And, really, what can I do? I can't make her poop on the toilet. I can't make her poop at all (well, I guess I could give her a laxative, but that's just mean!) A friend clued me in on this three-day potty regimen that requires you basically to stay home and follow your child, watching for any signs of their need to use the facilities. And, if you catch them in the middle of it, bring them right to the toilet. Can you just picture me running to the bathroom carrying my little girl as she drops a trail of poo nuggets along the way? I seriously considered the plan, but the idea of spending three days locked in the house with a backed-up 3-year-old and her impatient older sister is not my idea of a relaxing weekend. Oh, yeah, and the plan tells you to throw away all your diapers so you don't grab one in a moment of desperation. Hmm, sounds a lot like emptying the liquor cabinet after rehab! So, today, I was nonchalant. The undies went on as if it's something we do every day. She told me every time she had to pee. Then, I saw her walk behind a chair (a sure sign she's hiding to poop). I asked her if she had to go. "No, mama." Asked again. "Mommy, I need to poop in my diaper." So, I picked her up and brought her to the bathroom. I asked her if she wanted to big potty (our toilet) or the little one (a potty chair). She chose the little one. I felt so bad for this little girl. She kept standing up and sitting back down like she just couldn't get comfortable. And I just sat there like it was no big deal - just talked to her like I would any other moment of the day. Then, I saw the strain and her face scrunched up and turned a bit red. And, then, I heard it. A few little plunks and I knew the nuggets had found their way to the bowl beneath her bottom. I shrieked with joy, high-fived my girl and told her how happy and proud I am. Now, I told her, we will go buy the ballet shoes you've been asking for. She was so excited, she called about 10 people to let them know of her feat. And, wouldn't you know, she pooped twice today!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bottom Photos

Last night, I went bowling with some friends that I have known my whole life. It was a great time - I love them all like my own family. My husband was there too. Not so happy about that! Someone let Chris know that the camera was in my purse. So I'm sure you're not surprised to know that every time someone bent over to help little Caty or Kimmy with their bowling ball, that's when the flash lit! How many pictures of bottoms do I need? When you take photos of people, do your best to not get shots of them from behind – especially when they are bending over. Do you realize how unflattering that is? Would you like me to post a picture of your tushie on Facebook? How about if I sent it to all your friends via Snapfish? Seriously. Could you edit these darn things? Could you not post them? I can guarantee you that your friends will like you just a little bit less if you make public a horrible photo of them. Listen, I know I’m not photogenic. But do you really have to remind me of it? And do you have to remind every person that I’ve ever met by posting the photo on a public message board. Oh, I get it. You think it’s funny that you took a bunch of pictures of me looking like a doped-up moron. Great. Thanks. I’ll remember that the next time I see you. Make sure you have your digital camera with you too so I can stick it where….Okay, see you soon!