Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Outings like the Energizer Bunny that keep going..and going...

Now that the snot isn't flowing as frequently I decided to venture out today into THE CITY to do some holiday shopping, WITH THE GIRLS. Yeah, some might call me crazy. But I did it.
And I am still alive. And so are they. And I bought stuff.

Our first destination was Hannah Andersson. All I allowed myself to buy was their great slipper socks in multiple sizes and patterns for multiple children on our list, including our youngest. But still, it was fun to be surrounded by amazing floral dresses and the cutest cotton frocks ever to be stitched together. Note to grandma: just send Hannah dresses! (They can be to my daughters the equivalent of the Health Tex dresses my grandmother bought me on a regular basis, well into my first decade of life.)

Our second destination was Powells, which is the city of books. When Jooge was only 6 months, I decided to start buying a new holiday book for her each year. And now that she has a sister, I had two holiday stories to buy. After a difficult search and many attractive options, I found two books, (hello holiday tales by Sandra Boynton and Richard Scarry) and made it out of there with not a sniffle uttered from my mini companions.

All in all, in venturing into the city I parked twice, put change in parking meters twice, donned baby in carrier, or put someone in the stroller each time, not to mention complimenting and encouraging the behavior that my two year old was showing. Here we were in the city with lots of potential for naughty but naughty was nowhere near.

We got back home and made a quick stop to Fred Meyer to return some stockings that were cheaper at Safeway and to get groceries since we had very few in the cupboards. (Yes, I intended to MAKE stockings for all of us this year, cute ones that match, but it just didn't happen and it just won't and the ones I found are really cute.)

Jooge had to go in the cart, and she did so without protest. Avery was asleep in her carseat, and remained so when I put her in the back of the cart. They let me return what I wanted to return. I found the things I wanted to get, and decided on something for dinner. By this time angels were beginning to hum in my ears. Was it really going to be this easy??

Well, just about the time I was putting spaghetti ingredients in the cart, Avery had had enough. She began to cry and wail, and tears flowed. I still had to check out, get home, and feed her, and put the Joooge (who had had multiple snacks in the car) down to a nap. And I do this every time. I push it too far. Everything is going completely SMOOTHLY and I don't go home! I push it too far. I should have BYPASSED Fred Meyer, gone after nap time, but did I do that? NO!

Instead, I fumbled over pushing my credit card through the machine to pay, and tried to get the sacks of stuff around the baby seat in the cart, noticing that my blood pressure had begun to climb. The checker was nice but she was probably thinking, BAD MOTHER. Jooge was being really friendly telling her that she was two because usually that is what the checkers ask her. This one didn't ask because she couldn't hear herself think due to wailing baby.

In the parking lot Avery sent cries to the skies. Translated, they meant: "What's that? I'm still in my car seat vibrating through the cold air? I want to be home, next to warm boob!" I clicked her into the car and opened Jooge's side to get her in (of course she protested, "I want to do it!") and packed the car with the stuff I just bought and luckily a very kind lady helped me with my cart. I was about to help buckle Jooge in when I saw that she was still picking up raisins off the carpet in the car NOT GETTING IN HER SEAT. Finally she was buckled in and as we drove home, (the baby had stopped crying!) everything was suddenly okay for a moment. I actually heard the lyrics to the Christmas song we were listening to. I was momentarily tempted to stop by the one place I hadn't yet gone: the Blockbuster, to exchange the faulty War of the Worlds that my husband and I weren't able to watch the night before. NO. DRIVE. Hadn't I learned my lesson? So I stayed the course. We were going home! "HOME!" The Jooge shouted. She also said emphatically, "I'm soo tired."

By this time, if we were wind-up toys, our motions would have been slowing. We got home, and I got them and everything inside. I grabbed our new holiday books, a water for Jooge, Jooge's hand, and the baby, who had just gotten a new diaper after sitting in poop for TOO LONG, and read to Jooge while I fed the baby.

And suddenly, peace descended upon us. Jooge was napping (HALLELUIAH, this was a day she would sleep!) and the baby had a belly full of milk and was headed to napville too. There were groceries again, and stockings, and I'd begun to shop for Christmas presents. Best of all, I had earned a nap myself. I took out my Energizer batteries and grabbed it while I could.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Conversation

ME: "Jooge, just don't give me any guff please."

JOOGE: "I CAN Guff!"

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Worst Mom EVER!

Things which make me in the running for WORST MOM


Jooge wears her rubber slip on boots most of the time, SANS socks, because it's easier and because she can put them on. (Thank God for the ladybug boots Kyle and Mindy!)

Today Jooge had only french fries for lunch.

The baby has one bloody nostril because while trying to use the bulb aspirator to suck snot, I somehow injured her. I can not tell you how guilty I feel about this.

The afforementioned snot is still flowing from Avery's nose, and has been for too long. Someone told my husband that the kids will be sick from now until they are five so maybe her sickness is "normal." It just feels like there's something I should be doing to cure her condition.

Today I had the baby in a shopping cart at Ross and I looked down and she was sucking on the little bar near the handle. AAAAAAA! A better mom would have prevented this somehow.

Julia has had a spanking. (Okay, not for months and months, but STILL! I never thought I would!)

I have never, on a regular basis, given my children their prescribed dosages of flouride.

Julia watches TV when I have to get something done.

In conclusion, there's really nothing like Motherhood to remind you of your shortcomings. For me, it's a powerful lesson in being imperfect, something I rebel against all the time. I think of it this way: for every mistake I make, I am modeling that moms aren't perfect. What a relief not to be perfect! My children are still happy, well-adjusted, listened to and loved. And me, I'm okay too!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Age Schmage

When people talk about their kids' age, it's usually in months. Children's clothing is sized according to months. Their well-baby visits occur at certain monthly intervals in their development.

Julia has been alive for 29 months and Avery for seven.

If adults thought similarly about age, we'd be a heck of a lot more depressed.

I am 399 months old, weeks away from 400.
(I don't even want to know what sized clothes that would make me!)

Friday, November 11, 2005

I learned it by watching you!

What does it say about me that when I eat french fries I really only like to eat the ones with squared ends? The kind that swerve into a tip, they're such a disappointment. I think they're drier too. The ones that are long, thin, mock rectangles, those are the ones I reach for. They can be short and rectangular too. But no thanks, I'll pass on the ones that aren't squared off on each end. A symmetrical preference, we'll call it. Yeah.

Speaking of my square preference, when I make waffles for the Jooge (the Nutrigrain round kind) I usually toast them lightly, spread them with butter and syrup and after cutting them into bites, take her mini fork, spear a few of the middle square peices all drenched in butter and syrup and eat them. Giving myself first shot at the best middle square peices is a guilty pleasure I enjoy because I can. I made her waffles dangit and I deserve to enjoy a bite of my favorite waffle anatomy. Notice how the square peices are the ones I go for though. The curved edge peices are floating around the edges of the plate like wallflowers at a dance.

The Jooge flipped out this twice this morning: once when I didn't put her milk in her "morning cup," and then when I reached for the diaper with Elmo playing soccer on the front, because she likes the diapers where Elmo is pictured on the front brushing his teeth. Each of those moments made me realize it's official. I have learned it by watching her.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I brake for libraries

I don't know where I'd be without the library. Every time I've relocated to a new place, one of the first things I've done is get a library card. I am a patron in the truest sense. Rare is the week that passes without a trip to the library. Call me a nerd. Fine, I don't care.

My favorite branch is this branch in a really quaint neighborhood between Portland and Beaverton, the West Slope branch. There, it is quiet. They have stuff on the shelves that other branches don't. It's never crowded. And the children's section! It takes up half the building and boasts a neat wooden dollhouse, large stuffed friends on the floor, and a layout that makes for great perusing while the Jooge plays. Tanasbourne, the branch closest to us, well it's a little too strip mall. I was so excited to learn that their location was temporary and that they would be settling into the spacious ground floor of a building near a really cool local park. Happy sigh. Of course that was the option that came about AFTER the local library levy failed.

And so one of my great destinations, my friendly places, continues to be the library. There I can hunt and aquire. Returning home with piles of free STUFF to look through and read is a strangely satisfying treat to me. Since the county library system is online, I often search and reserve that way, which means I get automated phone calls from Washington County Library Services about my items on hold all the time. (This can be both an annoyance and a treat)

And of course, since I go to the library, my offspring are also its friends. Jooge has been known to get excited about trips there. Sometimes she and I go there together while Daddy gets to be home with Avery. Since books have been part of Julia's world since day one, it's always a delight to find new favorites to read, especially because mommy gets tired sometimes of reading the same old stuff to her. She goes to sleep each night surrounded by the librarys loans.

The following are the most recently appreciated treats from the library:
Encylopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling (I'm a little off schedule with this series but finished it just in time to be ready for the movie that's about to come out)
Wonder Spot by Melissa Banks
Wilful Creatures by Aimee Bender
May Cooking Light-some great lower fat CAKE recipes :O)

So seriously folks, if you haven't been in awhile, go now! Run to your local library! I believe that these days it is one of those forgotten locales that always deliver, whether through the atmosphere, people , or the goods they let you borrow for free.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Don't Get Me Started

Saturday Night Live's Molly Shannon did a little bit on the news as a terrible stereotypical comedian who would say, "And how about dieting. Don't get me StARted" in exagerated exasperation. She wore a mullet and a blazer and was hilarious. And if I might, I'd like to borrow that phrase when speaking about a subject very near and dear: control.

Don't get me stARted on being a mom and trying to control everything. It's just not possible. In fact, control must have gone to the same place my sized ten jeans went. It must be hiding in the tubs that hold my pre-pregnancy clothing (worn three years ago) , knowing it will be awhile before those gems fit me again. And when they do fit, control will leap out of the container and skitter off to reside with my pregnancy duds, an even safer place to hide seeing that I am feeling pretty done with adding more children to our family.

For me, trying to control the madness that is our home is one of my most frustrating jobs. Whenever I try to neaten up, the two year old hands of my daughter Julia tear it to shreds again, then demand dinosaur crackers, dinosaur crackers that are supposed to be eaten at a table but which somehow end up travelling around the room leaving behind crumbs.

Aside from the obvious food remains, it's always the most random things that lie, minutes after I've cleaned, on our momentarilty pristine carpet. Who finds the paddle to my stand mixer captivating? Bet you can guess. And I'll give you a hint-she's the one who is recently tall enough to reach inside the kitchen drawers. Yes, she finds these kitchen treasures so captivating that there is a major shriek and flop when my controlling hands take something away. Does she then go to the playroom to grab something designed for play? SHA! Not. But, you've gotta love the way a two year old sees the possibility in all things. I mean to her, everything is a toy.

Lately we've been playing with rigatoni, stringing it on pipe cleaners, enclosing it in tuperware tubs for mini tamborines, etc. etc. Well, as fun as the tubes can be, it will hold Jooge's attention for only so long. I mean, come on, cupcake papers and wooden spoons beckon! And as soon as the noodles have been abandoned there is the threat that my 7 month old Avery will find one and ram it in her mouth, choking on it. I can TRY to control the noodles and their whereabouts until something happens to remind me that control is just the name of a Janet Jackson song.

The other day after the stand mixer paddle made it into recreational circulation, the silver icing bag tips also found a place right in front of baby, and I looked down to find her with one in her mouth. It was my turn to shriek and luckily I was able to pluck it out before it became lodged in her precious and virginal windpipe. Picture the pile of kitchen utensils that has found its way onto the countertop to be put somewhere else. Can't wait to control THAT mess.

So, I turn to blogging, something which seems to me to be the perfect way to control at least SOMETHING other than a freshly changed dirty diaper I am ramming into the diaper genie.