Sunday, February 28, 2010
Emma adores her big brother and he knows it. Jack spends far too much of his time recently expertly taking advantage of his god-like status with Emma. Usually, it goes something like this:

JACK: Emma, let's see if Tom and Jerry is on Cartoon Network.
EMMA: Ok. Yeah!
JACK: Oh, look it's not Tom and Jerry, but it is Chowder! Yeah! We love this show!

This is followed by Jack excitedly jumping around until Emma catches the wave herself and forgets that she really wanted to see Tom and Jerry in the first place.

Note the expert use of the word "We" and the fact that he roped her in to changing the channel by luring her with her favorite show.

Another conversation I hear regularly usually starts with hushed discussion in a nearby room.

JACK: Emma, do you want a Twix?
EMMA: Ok. Yeah!
JACK: Me, too. Go ask Mommy if we can have some.
EMMA: Ok...Mommy....

Another variant of this discussion is:

JACK: Emma, do you want to go to Toys R Us?
EMMA: Ok. Yeah!
JACK: Me, too. Go ask Mommy if we can.
EMMA: Ok...Mommy....

Emma can also be used as a courier service.

JACK: Emma, do you want a paci?
EMMA: Yes.
JACK: There's one on the floor in my room.
JACK: When you are in there, can you bring me Marmalade (Jack's lovey)?
EMMA: Sure!

I feel really sorry for Emma some times as she is clearly being used to serve Jack's Greater Plan. However, I think I feel more sorry for Jack when Emma finally figures it all out. I think I'd better get my earplugs ready for that day.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Let me preface this by saying that I have (one of) the best babysitters. I've been quite lucky with sitters for my kids and my current one is not an exception. Thus far, she has never once been unavailable to sit. She is 18, has reliable transport, is CPR/First Aid trained and certified AND she also went through a background check prior to her name being referred to me. So all in all, I can't complain if she doesn't take the kids dinner plates to the sink after she puts them to bed.

Now, on to the real reason for this post.

Tonight I got invited out on a "girls night out" for dinner and drinks at a local pub. I was again lucky enough that it was Saturday and my sitter was available. She arrived promptly at 6:30 and the kids flocked to her sides. All was good.

I rushed off to get dressed and "put on my face" (I store it in formaldehyde in my bathroom medicine cabinet). I was ready to pop out the door, said an emotional "see ya" to the kids, and headed for my coat. Fifteen minutes later I was still looking for the damn thing and it isn't like I have many places to look. I knew that I had brought it in from the car with me earlier, but where the heck was it!?

Finally, I gave up, grabbed a non-coat alternative, and left. By this point, I was running late and dashed out in a hurry.

To make a short story even longer, I had a lovely parenting-free evening. Conversation flowed like conversation...of 4 tired mothers trying to make it until 9 o'clock. Breast feeding. Potty training. School. Husbands. All the great non-parenting-related stuff. I'd had a long day so I decided to call it a night and head home after a few hours.

I pulled up in the driveway only to find a homeless person asleep on my front lawn. In a big heap. A little surprised, I got out of the car and approached the homeless person...uh....heap of coat. On the ground for hours since I must have dropped it on the way in earlier.

In my defense, I did after all have 3 coats, one large mommy-sized handbag, 4 Target bags, 3 Chic-Fil-A bags, 4 empty juice boxes, and a bag of potting soil in my arms when I came in.So I can't possibly see how I didn't notice it falling by the wayside somewhere along the tromp up the hill to the front door. A normal person would never have let that happen, would they?

Anyway, I picked up the coat, dusted it off, and went inside to send the sitter home. When I came in I showed her the coat and said, "Guess where I found my coat!" She said, "Was it in the car?" I replied, "No. It was on the front lawn." "Oh," she said, "I saw that when I came in."
Friday, February 26, 2010
Oh, boy. I've been waiting nearly 7 years for this question. I've been reading, researching, and reflecting on this question so much that I could testify as an expert in any court in the country and today I was up to bat. Now, I bet I know to which question I am referring, but you would be wrong. Compared to this question, that question is a walk in the proverbial park.

We just finished our pleasant Friday afternoon diversion to Emma's ballet class and a swim at the pool followed by a trip through the McD's drive thru. As we're heading home, there is contemplative silence interrupted only by the snuffling and slurping sounds associated with Happy Meals. Suddenly, Jack pipes up.

"Mommy? Where does chicken come from?"
"Uh, um, chicken."
"Well, how do chickens lay chicken?"

Shit. All that research for nothing. I gave it my all and now what? Am I really going to have to explain where we get chicken? That we eat? Perhaps I can turn it into a "chicken or the egg" discussison. No, that would be wrong. Better that he learn it now and from me than in some other more shocking way....

"Uh, um, well, I can tell you, but I don't think you would like it?" And, I don't think you'd ever eat again.

Pause. More contemplative silence.

"Um, no. Never mind. I don't want to know." Damn. I chickened out. Can't believe I chickened out. Oh, well, maybe next time.
"Are you sure?" Please, please, please.
"Yes, I don't want to know."
"OK, well, let me know if you change your mind."

Whew! Dodged that bullet. Please, God, don't ask me where beef comes from.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Conversations at my house right now are a bit like some new-fangled method of torture/resistance training. They go a little something like this....

JACK: Mommy, make sure you tell them I want a 6-piece nuggets Happy Meal, not a 4-piece.
ME: I will, Jack.
JACK: Mommy, what happens if they give me 8?


ME: Come on', guys, we're going to be late for school.
JACK: What happens if we are not late?

Or...the most common to be use in just about all situations where a parental demand is made, such as:

ME: Be careful not to get that Sharpie on the dining room table?
JACK: What happens if I do it by accident?


ME: Don't hit Emma on the head with that.
JACK: What happens if I do it by accident?


JACK: (sitting in the driver's seat of my car) Mommy, what does "D" mean?
ME: It means "Drive" and it you move the stick to "D" the car drives. Don't ever touch that stick.
JACK: What happens if I do it by accident?

You get the picture.

I've heard about these things, but until now have not really borne witness to the true "developmental phase" as advertised in the books. We've had the occasional annoying or weird phase, but they are not as complex or persistent. This one is like his brain turns off and the compulsion to ask the question wins out.

The frustrating thing is that there is no way to answer these questions because they just lead to more questions. Most of which begin with "what happens if". It is truly a vicious cycle. When I speak, I get this wrenching panic because I never know what will happen next. It's starting to wear me down. (And, I didn't have much further to go in the wearing down department really.)

The other thing is that I'm starting to become afraid that I'm not helping him develop whatever skill he is trying to develop because I'm so annoyed by it. What is I say the wrong thing and cripple his critical thinking skills forever? There goes college. There goes the high-paying job that will keep me in my retirement.

So now I'm wrecked with anxiety about the guilt of potential parental failure. Why does parenting have to be so damn complicated?
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
JACK: Mommeeee. I'm hungry.
ME: We're going home right now. We'll eat when we get there. (Note: Home is 1.5 miles away.)
JACK: But I can't wait!
ME: I don't have anything, Jack. You'll have to wait.
JACK: Do you have anything in you bag?
ME: Let me look.....yes! Pretzels.
JACK: Nuh-un.
ME: Oreos?
JACK: Noooooo-wuh.
ME: Goldfish?
JACK: I don't want Goldfish.
ME: Gum?
ME: Fruit roll up?
ME: Well, that's it.
JACK: But I'm hungry and I can't wait.
GRANDPA: Jack, Mommy is not a supermarket.

Boy, wish I'd heard that sooner. I just renewed my contracts with my suppliers.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
ME: Jack, don't forget you have to finish your homework before you go to school this morning.
JACK: But I don't want to.
ME: Well, you have to.
JACK: But I'm tired.
ME: Well, after you take a nap, you can finish it. Would you like me to tuck you in?
JACK: No! I don't want to.
ME: Jack, homework is part of your job. Just be thankful you don't have to work in a factory.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Or it might as well be in my house. My son has recently discovered Pop Tarts. (Especially the S'mores flavored ones.) Yuck! I'm not exactly sure how he discovered them, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he saw a commerical on either Nick or Cartoon Network.

Since we moved back from the relative English-language television dead zone of Korea, the kids have been exposed to "Real American" TV for the first time in their lives. (My son was young enough before we left that we only let him see Disney and PBS.) The commericals are killing me. Pop Tarts are just one of the horrible by-products of commericalized life.

It's one thing to be exposed consistently from a young age so that, by the time it matters, commericals are ignored (for the most part), but my kids are sucking it up like SpongeBob Squarepants-shaped sponges because commericals are like mini-tv shows to them. If I have to hear "Mommy! Look Zhu Zhu Pets!" or "Mommy, look they make a kid-sized Snuggies!" or "Mommy, you could really use that when brushing your teeth" or "Mommy, can we make some brownies?" or "Mommy, can I have some Lucky Charms?"one more time, I might be forced to do something reckless and buy it. And I don't want to go there.

You can bet they are NOT going to watch the Super Bowl? The Super Bowl commercials will probably lead me down the road to bankruptcy. My heart is strong, but my will is fading fast. Help me!!!
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Somewhere, somehow, sometime in the past couple of months, I've completely lost my voice. My blogging voice, that is. Sadly for those who have to live with me, the actual voice is in rare form.

Part of the problem is that my beloved laptop was murdered (involuntary homicide) at the hands of my three-year old back in November and you would not believe how hard it is to get a new one these days.

My tech-savvy, genius brother helped me get one for an unbelievable deal. Then the mouse button (essential to computing these days) broke. Just the left one, not the right one. So I sent it back and dug out my VERY old Dell Insiprion 700m from 2005. Slow as the drip through my leaky roof, but it worked and I thought that it would work until my computer made it back to the company for the exchange. And it might have, except it took nearly two weeks to make it from Richmond to California; then, the transaction was placed in digital purgatory because they were sold out and were waiting for more to fill the order. Three weeks later, no computer and an unexplained refund. No advanced notice whatsoever.

That very same day, my old Dell spoke its last words ("Fatal Error; Dumping hard drive." on the blue screen of death) and breathed its last breath. Which is a good thing because after I heard its last words, all I wanted to do was haul it firmly across the room.

So, there I was, no computer, but I did have an iPhone. Do you have any idea how hard it is to buy a computer using the internet on an iPhone? It wasn't easy. At all. And I'm still not sure I've ordered the right thing. (Probably an Apple conspiracy. I bet if I were buying a Mac it would be easy-peasy.) But, that's ok, I said to myself. It'll be here in a couple of weeks and I have my iPhone to check my e-mail and maintain a healthy dose of Facebook.

Oh, I'm so naive. My computer was due to arrive in my humble abode by February 1st. On February 1st, I got an e-mail saying my shipment would be delayed. The new expected arrival date is the 8th. Now I'm just going to believe it when I see it.

By now you are probably wondering how I am blogging with no computer? Well, in a sheer act of desperation and a certain level of panic about what will happen if my children touch my new computer after what will be about three months of down-time, we bought a netbook that I can use until the new laptop arrives and the kids can fight over after that. Yeah, me! I'm online again.

The problem, you ask? Well, it turns out that I have nothing to say.

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