Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Galaxy Far, Far Away...

My three-year-old has become a complete Star Wars FANATIC over the past few months. Personally, I couldn't be happier. It sure beats the hell outta Dora constantly chanting, "Say! IT! LOUDER!!" until I want to put my foot through the screen. So, ya know, everything is relative.

What's been really cool about it is that, having grown up on the original trilogy and then the expanded prequels, I am also embracing my inner Star Wars geek. As a result, I am having real cinematic discussions about the series...

Granted, it's with someone who can't reliably wipe her own bottom... but, yeah.


Last night's car ride home gave me this little spot of wisdom:

"Hey, Mama, can we please watch Star Wars but not the other Star Wars, the REAL ones wif da REAL Pwincess Weia? Because the other ones have Queen Amidala and she's OK but I wike Pwincess Weia better and the Queen Amidala ones have some scary stuff and the other ones don't have that so can we watch them and maybe have a snack, like a lollipop, because I'm hungry?"

(I need to teach her punctuation.)

I try to weigh the merits of what Monkey watches, as to what it's teaching her either overtly or all sneaky-like. For that reason, there are a lot of shows (really popular ones even) which I don't give airtime.

IMHO, too much of what classifies as children's shows feature kids/tweens/teens running their mouths and being snotty and I just don't see that as a good idea.

So, let's look at what lessons Star Wars (and by that I mean all six movies, though we mainly go for Episodes 4-6) can teach kids:

  1. Help your friends. 
  2. You have to be smarter than the bad guys, especially when there are more of them and they're bigger than you.
  3. Don't underestimate the small and/or funny-looking guys... hey, Master Yoda may be small, but he sure can open a big ol' can o'whupass!
  4. Don't let your emotions get the best of you. 
  5. Find your focus by listening to your innermost voice. 
  6. Develop your talents. You have them for a reason.
  7. Be resourceful. (tauntaun Snuggie, anyone?)
  8. Some people would do anything for money. Don't be one of them.
  9. Honor your debts. Or you will find your ASS-ets frozen. (couldn't resist!)
  10. The person (or droid) who knows how to fix the computer is the one with the real power.
  11. Be willing to fight for what you believe in.
  12. The Jedi Mind Trick would be uber-cool if it worked in real life. (When faced with a reality I don't like or an argument I am clearly losing, I often reply, "These are not the droids you're looking for." So far it hasn't worked...gotta work on my technique.)

And, last but not least:

13.  The bad guys have better theme music.


May the Force be with you...!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sounds of the Season

I was reminded recently that I haven't done much on here (again). Le Sigh. The trend was that I would blog on my lunch hour at work...then work went totally haywire and lunch hours became "let's see what I can cram down my throat in 10 minutes."

But, since Monkey has been in RARE form lately I just had to get back on my bloggy horse and share some gems.

Enjoy.

1. "Mommy, I love you so much... I'm gonna eat your mipples off." (mipples = uh, yeah)
I responded with: Um, thanks, but you already did that.

2. "When you're done getting married wif Daddy, can I marry him?"
Me: No, baby. We don't live in Kentucky. You can't marry Daddy, because he's your daddy.
"But, I want a ring like yours!"
Aha... that girl is all about the bling. ;)

3. While Christmas caroling, after over an hour of walking in the cold rain, drenched and singing ironically about glad tidings, and cheer, and all that crap:
"UGH! I can't *TAKE* it anymore!!"
Me: Can't take WHAT, hon?
"This! Everything! I can't TAKE. IT."
-- This was met with appreciative laughter from the similarly drenched adults in the group. Daddy seized the opportunity to load her into the van and get out of the miserable walking-around-ness.

4. In the car, on the way home from visiting Grandma and Grandpa:
"Mommy, can we go to McDonalds? Pleeeeeeeeeeeze?"
Me: I don't know, babe. We'll have to see.
"But they have chicken nuggets and those are *healthy* for me. And, milk. Milk is healthy. Don't you want me to eat healthy stuff? Like, french fries?"
Me: Yeah, nice try there. Fries are NOT healthy. But you take your nap, and we'll see.

5. She complied, and after sleeping over an hour in her car seat, the snoozy Monk awoke with:
"Hi Mommy...
Can we go to McDonald's now?"
Me: Wow. You're really not going to let that go, are you?
"Nnnnnnnnnope."  (pronounced "nnnnnooo-puh")


6. With the upswing in successful potty trips, she's almost totally trained. Still doing Pull-ups at night (mostly for the sake of laundry, but even so, she's usually dry most mornings now). She stayed up WAY past bedtime last night and as Daddy informed me (upon my return from choir practice): "Beware. She has FULLY lost her mind this evening."

So, he and I were talking briefly and behind him, past our bedroom doorway goes the unmistakeable sight of bare preschooler heinie. An increasingly common occurrence, as she celebrates her upgrade to big girl pants.

But this streak came with a bonus... instead of the normal running and just giggling, she was singing.

"Feliz Navidad."

At the top of her lungs.
Buck naked.

...I kid you not.

Well, almost "Feliz Navidad"... she put her own twist on the lyrics and was actually streaking through the house singing, "Police Mommy Done." She argued vehemently that WE are wrong and those ARE the right words... I will never hear that song the same way.


7. I have mentioned before: Monkey is *not* a morning person. Not that I am, either. But, yesterday she woke up all kinds of grouchy, hungry, and whiny... and a good half hour earlier than usual. Which is kind of bad because that half-hour is when when Daddy and I do "fun" things like shower and floss our teeth. So, she was up, but that didn't mean normal morning stuff wasn't still on the agenda. I had about five minutes left to get in and OUT of the shower, with any hope of getting to work on time.

She picked that time to whiiiiiiiiiii-iiiiiinnnnnnnnne. She wanted Star Wars (disk was downstairs). She wanted breakfast (too early). She wanted Daddy. She wanted me to sit with her. There was a lot of I want-I want- I want going on.

We have started employing the parent's dream discipline tool: SANTA IS WATCHING. Lately, instead of singing "You Can't Always Get What You Want" we have been going with "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." (She can now often be heard singing the chorus quietly to herself as she does something she doesn't want to, like cleaning up her toys.)

I was trying to run into the shower after setting her up on our bed with the TV (on the WRONG show, obviously, because it was a glass-half-empty day in Monkeyville) and she was yelling she wanted me.

I had poked my head back into our room to tell her we were done, when divine intervention struck:

My cell phone, charging on the dresser, buzzed. Loudly.

Without skipping a beat, I pointed to it and said, "See! That's probably Santa... You'd better stop."

Oh. Mah. Gawwwwwwwwwwd.

The look! The look on her face was just... priceless.

Her eyes went wide as saucers, and she kept looking from the phone, to me, and back. It was the epitome of "Ho...ly...shhhhhhh...!!"

She suddenly started doing the "stop-crying" suck-back sniffles.


I left the room, guffawing as I leapt into the shower... thinking:
Mother. Of the. YEAR. Oh, yeahhhh...!!

*After my shower I heard her eating breakfast with Daddy, whom she told: "Yeah, I was being a stinker... but then, Mommy's phone went off and it was Santa and I better STOP so I did." 

To his credit, Daddy choked back his laughter... I, however, lost it and did the ugly-snort-laugh.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rites of Passage (aka: Uh, Where Ya Been?)

Oh, holy guacamole, has it REALLY been that long since I posted? Epic fail by yours truly.

Basically, there has been soooooo much happening that 1) it would be awesome if someone were documenting it, and 2) oh wait- that's supposed to be me. <facepalm>

So, here is a list of what-all's been goin' down in the land of Monkey Doodle:

1. She started pre-pre-preschool. (Because of where her birthday falls, she will miss the cutoff for starting "real" school by 18 days, which means 2 yrs of preschool + pre-K before actual kindergarten. Number one goal for this class? For my precious ray of sunshine to learn how to keep her meat in her seat and use her TWO ears more often than her ONE mouth. Good luck, teachers! <waves>)

2. She turned three. We had an awesome rock-star party and she did Courtney Love proud by sprawling on the floor, showing her (Ariel, of course!) undies, then throwing a complete hissy when everyone left and peeing on the floor. It was kind of awesome.

3. Three days after Monkey's birthday, we hopped on a plane to visit my folks in Florida for a week. I have since reminded myself that planning a rockstar toddler birthday party AND week-long family vacation, both happening in the same week, is hereby outlawed-- unless everyone promises to visit me in the loony bin. And bring chocolate or something.

3. More details on the trip need to be posted... because while we were there, Daddy Doodle and I got ENGAGED! Woo hoo!!! Hold up... that means lots more planning. <facepalm>

4. Adding to the FUN TIMES at work, I had to move offices with about a day's notice because of a whole bunch of dominoes that fell in an unexpected pattern. I had to pack up, coordinate with IT and the moving guys, relocate and be back in the groove because there was a major project going on I had to get done. That same day. Not even kidding.

But the office I moved into was N-A-S-T-Y which caused additional hiccups. They built a wall to make one big office into two decent-sized ones... and left drywall dust everywhere. I have asthma. Inhaling drywall dust is basically like trying to breathe shredded glass.

And then there were the creepy crawlies that were exposed <shudder>. I'm really not much of a diva, but there are limits and I was well beyond mine! I owe the Housekeeping Manager lunch, or a thing of Lysol wipes or, well, something.

5. So I moved offices that Friday. Then Tuesday (the day before we left for our trip) there was a ginormous software patch installed at work... incorrectly... that shut down the system for a couple of hours, which meant I couldn't do all the "gonna-be-out-for-a-week, prep-accordingly" stuff. Or, even half of it.

6. And then the person who is my backup for all my geeky software stuff had to try to do it while I was gone, oh, and then, and THEN!-- her last day working this job was also my last day of vacation. (Actually not an accident- she was kind enough to extend out her notice so that my vacation wouldn't be cancelled... cuz, it SURELY would have been in jeopardy.)

So, she was done-deal-gone when I got back to work.

7. So THEN!! The software, once correctly installed, had massive bugs in ONLY the process *I* run, and apparently only I understand... that are still not fixed. So I came back and had to try to figure out when/where/how/IF anything that was done in my absence actually worked. Because no one else has the foggiest clue what I actually DO at my job so I'm kinda on my own to find what's broken and uhhh, fix it.

8. Which then led to my ever-so-patient (HA!) boss having a massive hissy at me for unrelated matters and me nearly quitting and/or saying some four-letter words very loudly (for very MUCH related matters). That was just a BAD, bad day. Oy.

In summary:

Pretty much, for the past month+ I have barely been able to find my rear with a map and compass. Now, as my fancy-schmancy FB-device phone has two different navigation systems, I am plowing onward. West-northwest, or, whatever.

I had been writing on my lunch break, but then fell into the very intrusive and unhealthy habit of not taking a lunch at all. (No time to say hello-goodbye! I'm late, I'm late, I'm LATE!)

That in turn meant that by the time I would get home after the insanity that has been my job of late, looking at the computer (much less touching it) ranked right up there with voluntary root canal.

Thus explains my extended hiatus from posting. Which I am officially ENDING!!!!!


There is much to be told and I am going to do my best. :)

Starting with: ... more travel adventures. <evil chuckle>

Shameless Self-Promotion

I got a new phone. A smart phone, because as I had grown to discover, my old one was pretty freaking stupid. It didn't even work as a phone anymore. Think of it as a paperweight you plug in every. Single. Day.

It took me forever to choose one because I went to the store SURE I wanted an iPhone. Then I got to play with one and it was just kinda... meh. I wanted a bigger screen and more user-friendly key pad. I tried every smart phone in the store, at least twice.


So anyhoo, gots me a spiffy-sparkly new phone that does all kinds of apps and gadgets and web surfing (yay!) so I can geek out to my little nerdly heart's content... Once I learn how to um, use the darn thing. Most importantly, I can check FB like a teenaged stalker. Priorities!

The other goal was to have a phone that makes it easy to blog without being on a PC. So far I might have missed the mark on that one, but it could be that I am just slow on the uptake.



Anywhoo... while checking out the phones in the store... and their web service... I, uh, maybe might have tagged this blog as a fav on the demo phones. I see nothing wrong with that.


Shameless, but true.


Wow, that kind of sums me up in general. Huh.

LOL

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Little Helper. Sorta.

It is supremely wonderful that Monkey has developed a STRONG (nearly-obsessive) drive to "help" us do stuff areound the house. Most of the time she IS even helpful, at least a little bit.

More importantly, she is taking great pride in being able to do something that makes her feel like a big kid. She runs the floor sweeper in the kitchen-- which is only fair, since it usually needs to be swept because she dropped food.

One of her favorite things to help with is unloading the groceries. Daddy and/or Mommy will bring in the bags and set them on the kitchen floor.

(I used to put them on the kitchen table. That proved to be a bad idea, because she would just climb up the chairs and try to show her big toddler muscles by picking up, say, the BIG GLASS jar of pasta sauce...and the sweeper is just not that strong.)

So last night we went grocery shopping. It took twelve years (give or take). We got home, and Daddy was bringing in the bags because I had once again injured myself like the graceless dolt I tend to be.

I was moving my wallet and cell phone from the diaper bag back into my purse, so I would remember them for work in the morning. So, I was in the front room which is adjacent to the kitchen.

Monkey comes skipping into the kitchen, sees the bags on the floor and just gets downright GIDDY.

I hear her say to herself:
 "Ok... O.Kayyyy... I can do this!!"


She then bent over to get something out of one of the bags... and bonked her head on the kitchen table so hard the floor shook.

There was the briefest of pauses... and then I heard:


"Apparently... I  can NOT."


I made it back into the kitchen, laughing so hard it looked like I was having some kind of seizure.

Daddy came in with more bags, saw me hunched over the table and had this look of sheer panic-- I had, after all, just had a fairly bad back injury and WTH is wrong now??

I was trying to explain... I tried... with the wheezing and the pointing, and OMG did I have to pee.


Nothing would come out, because Monkey is just standing there in the kitchen, gently rubbing her forehead and, ever-so-quietly, saying "Ow."


Laughing that hard actually hurt my back more, and I barely made it upstairs to pee.

Whatever.

TOTALLY WORTH IT.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Some People's Kids

A blog I absolutely ADORE, Rants from Mommyland, recently posted in their "Domestic Enemies" series about what those trying to become a mom. I can relate...here's my story.


When I was growing up there was a catch phrase in my house, whenever someone did something stupid: "<ugh> SOME PEOPLE's kids...!"

It became a mantra, and to this day I still hear it resonate in my dad's baritone voice. Usually when I have done something completely ridiculous and/or spilled. Because-- that happens a lot. I'm not graceful.

Of course, before I became a parent myself, I was, of course, an expert on parenting. Aren't we all? I was sooooo Gwyneth: knew the answer to every problem and was ever-so-eager to share it. I was probably a complete and utter tool in that regard, to be honest.

My then-husband (now, EX) and I used to ruminate about what a great plan it would be to start a movement to develop a "No Kid" section in restaurants. Being night owls, dual-income-no-kids (DINKS) it was just SO irritating to try to enjoy a meal with SOME PEOPLE'S KIDS having a snot-infused screaming meltdown two feet away. We were absolutely convinced other DINK's would be thrilled to eat a grown-up meal, in peace.

The allure of kid-free dining changed around the time we stopped rabidly avoiding pregnancy and instead started seeking it... Casually at first, with the "whatever happens, happens" approach. I had medical issues that I knew could be an obstacle, but starting off, I felt justifiably sort of optimistic.

Unfortunately, optimism withers away when each month goes by with nothing to show for it. And another. And another...

A few months past the "gee, this-is-much-harder-than-expected" realization, I became crushingly, soul-achingly aware of other people's kids. They were freakin' EVERYWHERE... friends were knocked up left and right, month by month. A lot of them were even unplanned--seriously?!

Wow, yeah, guess that calendar method didn't work for you... but, excuse me-- I have to go take my temperature. Again.

It seemed like all the latest gossip rags were celebrating a flock of new baby bumps...population explosion!

Oh, but me? Well, *I* was peeing on sticks and getting poked, prodded, tested, and examined by people whose first names I never even knew. There were lots of lab coats and "hold still, please" and feeling vulnerably alone and exposed under cold fluorescent lighting. There was a lot of pain (physical and emotional) and exasperation, fear, and frustration.

And THEN, I started oral fertility meds. Ho.Ly. CRAP.

A word about that: for the lucky ones who DO get to see that stick turn blue, those medications CAN be a godsend. But they sure do come with a price. Not just financial (though that's bad enough), but physically, emotionally, and with sever cost to your overall sense of well-being.

My drug was Clomid. From what I've learned, my Clomid experience was fairly normal. I had a little nausea on the first day... and by the second, was generally down for the count with a migraine.That would last the next 2-4 days-- during which time we were supposed to be trying to conceive.

Yeahhhh... the slightest motion made me hurl, but there's work to be done, right? Absolutely the most UN-romantic, UN-pleasant physical activity ever.

And the emotions... like nothing I'd ever known. Alien forces took over my brain and I knew-- I KNEW-- I was totally irrational, and powerless to stop myself from saying those words or doing whatever crazy thing. I often saw myself in the third person, wondering who the heck that crazy woman was who looked like me except with zits and a box of Suzy-Q's.
But you keep trying, because those tests still show it's mayyyyybe possible, and the doctor hasn't given up yet. So you can't, either.

Having always been the girl who was willing to work hard for anything, no matter what--here's an obstacle to overcome, and by God, you never backed down before!! Right?

Except... at some point, the risks of treatment and lack of progress add up. The score sheet is no longer balanced.

Instead of the bubbly chit-chat, the nurses at the clinic start greeting you with that sad, sweet smile...and thus, you know where you stand. You're one of "those" now.

During the drug treatment, my (ex)husband took me on an extended weekend trip for my birthday. I'd been on the Clomid for nearly a year and we were waiting for the that month's confirmation (good or bad) for a state of the union kind of thing.

I'd hit the limit on using Clomid, and the doctor had said we'd need to consider the next step of procedures. My birthday month loomed larger because of that "do-or-die" status, along with being one more push even farther over 30...and closer to "advanced maternal age," with all its related pitfalls.

Unsure what to do in light of my overwhelming combination of dread and panic, my now-ex took me on a surprise long-weekend trip to the happiest place he could think of: Disneyworld.

It was an inspired gesture...

Which turned into a horrible nightmare when, on the first full day there, just before leaving for the luau at the Polynesian, I stopped to use the washroom... and got my period.

Again.

Happy friggin birthday! Now you're officially "past optimum conception age," hormonally bottoming out from the Clomid and sudden estrogen change... and at freaking DIS. NEY. WORLD. Ugggh.

Literally, *SURROUNDED* by Some People's Kids.

Everywhere I looked, the Universe seemed to be flaunting examples of (presumed) easily-conceived blessings from God.

Granted, many of them *were* screaming, fighting, whining, and disobeying their luckier-than-I parents...  

But still...oh, God, were they beautiful. Every whiny, snot-dribbling, sticky-candy-faced one of them.

I composed myself as best I could and glibly announced with a snort that we could APPARENTLY go on roller coasters now. My "this-isn't-as-awful-as-it-really-is" answer. Ha!

Luckily, the food was amazing so I focused on that. I mostly held it together until the end of the show when the MC asked for all the children to come up to be with the dancers.

And then invited alllllllllll the parents to take lots of pictures.

And everyone else to "just look at all those beautiful little faces! Aren't they just so precious?!"


And I promptly convulsed into uncontrollable sobs into  my pineapple bread.


Because... every unrealized dream stared at me from that stage.


Every pill, every procedure, every...everything... was right there in front of me.

And, they were someone else's kids. Not mine.


For those of you who have never known the absolute HELL ON EARTH that is dealing with infertility:
You are BEYOND lucky. Count your blessings.

If you were blessed with a child within a fairly short time of deciding you were ready to have one, I celebrate for you.


Just please-- think HARD before you make that offhand comment to your childless friend about how "lucky" she is that she isn't "stuck" changing diapers and just sooooo wiped out from all the late-night feedings and Mom's Taxi errands, or how jealous you are that she has her "time to herself."

It's very possible that so-thought "lucky" friend would give up just about ANYTHING for the chance to feel a child grow and kick in her belly and urge her to eat Taco Bell at 4 in the morning.

She might just be willing to sacrifice every penny in her "lucky" bank account to take whatever drug she has to, and undergo any possible painful procedure to give her just a little, tiny chance to have what YOU have.

And, it could take YEARS... with no guarantee, and even then just end with the shrug of "we don't know what's wrong here. Sorry."


So, PLEASE don't expect your "lucky" childless friend to commiserate with you when you want to vent about your swollen ankles or nausea, or really, any other aspect of pregnancy that's making you miserable.

Because she knows your misery will end-- and you'll soon be gazing lovingly into your newborn's adoring face.

HER misery-- by the way, often accompanied by those *same* misery-inducing symptoms, plus a whole bunch more-- may likely end with nothing. Just a lot of bills and an empty ache that nothing else fills.

So, if she declines an invitation to your baby shower, she's not necessarily shunning you. She just may be unable to face all the stories of the other guests' pregnancies and labor. Or, maybe she just can't deal with seeing one more set of simply adorable hooded towels and snuggly little booties that are about to be filled. By someone else's kid.

If she's struggling in her marriage, know that infertility and its nasty aftermath can be a major factor in the failure of a marriage. It destroyed my first marriage.

The blame, the shame, the hormones, and the cost-- it can all add up to divide even the most seemingly "lucky" couples.


Most of all, keep your heart open to her...

                 because the world is FULL of Some People's Kids.



A side note:
I write on this topic because I have been on both sides of the fertility spectrum: after all those pills and failed treatments, Monkey came to be RATHER unexpectedly, and yet just exactly the way she was supposed to, I think. 

Her daddy was not the person with whom I originally started that hellacious journey. Maybe for me, that was the point... that makes sense, in the scheme of how life has unfolded.

Having been through the absolute HELL of infertility, I have unending love and compassion for those who fight that same battle.

My prayers are with you, as a member of the Anguished Sisterhood of Almost-Moms.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Streak

Can someone please explain why young children find it necessary to strip COMPLETELY NUDE in order to sit on the potty?

I am really hoping this is a phase which will be outgrown before, like, college. Please tell me yes.


Monkey has a cute little toddler bottom.

We have been seeing it rather often, as the potty training train slowly chugs along this summer.

Every so often-- whoosh!-- naked bottom, zipping down the hall!

Thankfully, at least that's mostly happening *AFTER* she has used the potty.
ometimes, even AFTER she's wiped...  other times, well, there might be drippage, but hey-- we're focusing on the upside, OK?

So, Friday night Monkey's dad and I are talking in our room, which is right next to the main bathroom.
Mid-sentence, we see The STREAK zip down the hall. Again.

Although, she actually did have her PJ shirt on, which was a nice change...

I called her into our room to hopefully curtail the dripping, and assess the situation. (I said assess!)


Me: Uh, Monkey? You...seem to be uh... missing something... Did you maybe forget something?


She thought about it for a second, tapping her index finger on her (facial) cheek, then tells me, with a flourish:

"OH!! Yeah!-- I gotta go brush my teeth!"


...and streaked her bare bottom back into the bathroom.

Daddy and I fell over laughing.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Choices.

I am a firm believer that no matter what is happening around you, you always have a choice in what you do, feel, say, or think. Sometimes it is hard to see the options or even that there is a choice to be made. But it's there, if you look hard enough.

Adopting this frame of mind has given me, over the years, a much greater sense of inner peace and calm than I otherwise would have ever managed. Not that I don't completely spaz out sometimes- 'cuz, yeah, I do!- but overall, I am a "roll-with-the-punches" kinda girl. It serves me well in the very complicated life in which I find myself.

It's a strength, built of a skill-set carefully honed through 37 years of experience.

I am doing my best to convey that strength to Le Monk. She is (dare I say so) a brilliant little girl, whose ability to reason and communicate far surpasses the norm for her just-shy-of-three years.

But, oh yes, yessiree, make no mistake folks: she IS a toddler.

As you may well know, toddlers can be moody, irrational, disgruntled-postal-worker-kinda-flipping-out, with no notice, bunch. My formerly rational little Monkey is a card-carrying member.

Annnnnd, on top of that, we are in growth spurt mode.
Which means hormone shifts, bottomless pits of hunger and needing (but refusing to partake of) more sleep.

I've had to think on my feet a lot more lately than I had been. Like, this morning.

She's sort of getting the hang of potty training, and now it's becoming more the norm for her to wake up early --with a DRY diaper-- and announce she has to go potty. And then, she actually GOES, which is friggin sweet. (happily anticipating the influx of cash that not buying diapers may bring!)

Did I mention she wakes up EARLY?
Even during this growth spurt, when she really needs EXTRA sleep?

So, uh... yeah. She goes potty and that's great... then realizes how tired she is and her brain misfires all over and there are meltdowns and drama and all before 7 AM on a workday. Yowza.

This morning, the drama was that she was told by Daddy to pick up her books from all over the floor of her room. It was hazardous to walk in there because she did a "book purge" off the shelf, apparently before announcing her urgent need to potty.

The latest development in being told to do something is a knee-jerk reaction to WAIL LIKE A BANSHEE that she "neeeEEEEEeeds someone to HELLLLLlLllllllp meeeEEEEEEEeeeeee!!"

Which isn't true. She has been doing these things quite well, without help.
She just doesn't WANNA.

So there was drama, and the ever-present "No, you know how to do this, so you can do it yourself."
And then, of course the screaming. And the snot, and the foot-stomping and may I repeat, it was not yet 7 AM. Momma has had no coffee, and the brain cells are slow to respond.

Daddy was getting irritated with the whining and just kept repeating that she needs to do it-- just pick up one book at a time, stack it in a pile on top of the others, and keep going.

Monkey was NOT a fan.

On autopilot, I cruised into her room. She is mid-tantrum, with crazy bedhead now cemented to her face by tears and snot and there are seriously about 5,931,442 books scattered on the floor.

I asked her to breathe in and out (we're trying that to help with her anger) and listen. Then I told her:

"Look... you have two choices here. You can choose to do what Daddy told you-- stack your books in a pile-- or, you can go back to bed. Either way, you need to be quiet now. Your choice. Pick one."

...and I left the room.

She thought about it for a minute or so. I could tell, because there was excessive sucking back of snot and wiping of the hair from her face. She remained entrenched in the book carnage, watching out the doorway for my return.

She called me back into her room: "Momma, I haffa tell you someping."

Daddy came back in first, as he was closer.
...This was NOT met warmly.


"NO!!! MOMMA! I need to tell MOMMA my choice!!!"

Dad (somewhat miffed, and rightfully so) left the room, and I returned.
I asked if she had made her choice.

She said YES, with an emphatic nod, and then informed me she would pick up the books.

I said OK, and that it seemed like a good choice to me. Then, I left the room so there would be no repeat demand that she have help.


She absolutely BEAMED... and quietly stacked the books in a pile.


It took me a few minutes to realize that this approach had not only worked-- but given her that same sense of self-efficacy and CHOICE that made what seemed overwhelming, much less so.

I totally felt like Super-Mom.


Even more so when I realized I *STILL* had not had any coffee yet.


To me, everything involves making a choice. I looooooooooooove the concept of free will.
To quote Rush: "You can choose not to decide... you still have made a choice."

There are infinite choices facing us in every aspect of our days. Some are big, others minute.

If you can learn to see where the options lie, and choose for yourself the path you wish to take, life takes on a whole different flavor. The world can be far less scary when you know you can control what you DO, how you react, and what you think about it.

You can't always choose the sea in which you're floating, or the current beneath you, but you CAN choose which way you row.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

I've been away from the computer for a while, as we were on vacation this past week. We went to visit Monkey's grandparents, who live near the Wisconsin Dells.

It's a little hard to believe we are back. The time spent away weirdly feels both short and long. I was just taking a tally of all we did on our trip, and all I can say is: Holy schmoley, did we cram a LOT into one week:

Several barbecues, some lunches and dinners on the patio, lots of Grandma's homemade salads, bubble blowing, lawn darts and horseshoes, garage sales, fireworks, Grandpa's trains, Tommy Bartlett's science place, Circus World (which gets its own listing, below), arts and crafts, the zoo, two parks, Grandpa's homemade chocolate-chip waffles, s'mores via grill, some shopping, new tastes of calamari and linguini with clam sauce for my part-Italian daughter, making the world's coolest sand castle/rock island/most-cleverly-designed-fully-functioning waterway at Devil's Lake State Park, picture drawing on the original Spirograph set, a blues concert on the town square, staying up WAY past bedtime (All. Week. LONG!), a plethora of delicious ice cream treats, and even a tour of the Dells via the Original Wisconsin Ducks.

I've left something out, I'm sure.

Mommy and Daddy even got to have one whole dinner where we didn't have to cut anyone's food or deal with anyone else's potty issues, because Grandma and Grandpa took over Kid Duty for the evening.

We ate in a place that serves alcohol and did NOT have high chairs. ...annnnnnd, talked about the kids the whole time. Of course!

I have to say, Circus World is one of the coolest places to take kids. Evah! We go at least once per summer, and the shows are just amazing. This year, we saw a super-cute dog act (complete with a rebellious terrier), which had Monkey full-on HOOTING with laughter. (She's clearly a dog person. BOOyah!)

There were also dancing horses, jaw-dropping balancing and acrobatics performances, some really great magic tricks, and of course, clowns. (Not even the LEAST bit scary clowns, which I think is pretty hard to accomplish.) And, what's a circus without cotton candy, popcorn, and pretty girls in sequined costumes riding an elephant?!? Somethings just work perfectly together.

One of my favorite things about Circus World is the twice-daily interactive children's circus. It's in the old animal quarters (read: NO air conditioning!) and is basically an improv-style pretend circus, where the children volunteer to be all the different elements. One gets to be the ringmaster, another the magician, and then there are the animals, with each animal act having its own "trick" to perform in their cute little costumes. The fact that they're all KIDS--and therefore subject to their own impromptu fun-- makes every show unique.

This time around, Monkey was a tiger.

Oh. Mah. GAWWWWSH (edited so her dad doesn't yell at me)!!

I have raised a total scene-stealer!

The kids have on these stuffed-animal-looking tiger heads, orange t-shirts, and pinned-on tiger tails, and cross the ring to line up. They then get down on their bellies, growl at the audience, and are SUPPOSED to log-roll to their right.

My child, of course, doesn't understand what to do, so the others all crash into/roll OVER her. Her tiger hat falls off, so she must put it back on... crookedly. By this point, I'm crying with laughter.

So of course she stops to WAVE AT US.

They're then supposed to crawl/run back to stage right and, one by one, jump through a "ring of fire" (orange hula hoop, with a crash mat below it). The first few kids manage to do this fairly well.

Then, it was Monkey's turn.

She MUST go on all fours, of course, because that is how tigers walk, people! However, the t-shirt is big enough that she gets her knee stuck in it with nearly every single step.

Crossing eight feet of floor took her, I dunno, like, an HOUR? And, her hat kept falling off, so she'd stop to pick it up.

And then, of course, WAVE at us.
Again.

She finally made it to the hula hoop, mustered up just a teensy bit of momentum...

And FACE-PLANTED. With a tiger head flopping on top of her.

It was freaking *AWESOME*.

Probably one of my all-time favorite pictures, even though it is all blurry because I was laughing too hard to hold the camera still.


After her glorious debut as the world's least graceful circus tiger, we headed to the animal ride area. I got to take my 2 1/2 year old on her very first elephant ride...on, quite possibly, the world's CALMEST elephant. No wonder she didn't mind having girls climbing all over her. I think her name must be Prozac.

It was actually a tug at the ol' heartstrings for me, because one of my favorite pictures from my family involves this same thing: my mom and my brother, riding an elephant at the circus.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with that picture, because my brother was about 5 or so, which meant I was a baby and therefore unable to ride. That part = the hate portion. (My mom never DID take meeeeee!! Ok I will quit whining...)

But the LOVE portion of that picture??  My mother, holding her 5-year-old son, on an elephant... is wearing a FUR coat.

I could not make that up. It. Is. AWESOME.

I mean, you do know elephants blow DIRT up onto themselves, right? I love my family.


Two years ago, I got to sort of recreate that scene: I took Monkey's big sister for HER first elephant ride, while my infant daughter snored in the stroller because she was, ya know, an INFANT. I skipped the fur coat though, because summer in Wisconsin is not really fur-coat-ish weather. Plus, I don't own one. But anyway...

THIS year, I got to take *Monkey* on the elephant.

Of course, I almost didn't because we'd spent all our cash on snacks and lunch and the animal people only take cash, so we were scrambling to get enough singles together for us both to ride. Oops.

We handed over the most ragtag clump of dollars you ever saw, and got to ride up front so the elephant kept bopping our feet with her ears (and nearly knocked off my right shoe in the process). Monkey LOVED it and so did I. It felt surreal to be having such an update of my own family history with her. Pretty stinkin' cool, I must say.

Thanks to a donation from Grandma and Grandpa to offset our minor cash hiccup, Monkey's big sis (whose first elephant ride was with me, on the same creature) opted for the pony ride.

Apparently, elephants are soooooo two years ago. Who knew?


We dragged ourselves home just about at bedtime last night. While Daddy and I were unloading the van, the girls were running around the back yard, chasing lightning bugs and each other, and (probably pissing off our neighbors) filling the night with their shrieking, little-girl laughs.


We are now in "recovery mode" from the trip. There are suitcases all over the place, and there's no real food in the fridge yet. Pizza will be delivered tonight. The week's laundry is staring me down with the evil eye.


But right now, everyone is napping, except me.


We have a few bug bites, some mystery bruises, new freckles, and sunny highlights in our hair.


We still smell just the teensiest bit like that unique combination of sunscreen, bug spray, and melted ice cream cone.



That kinda sums up summer, to me. :)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

WTH

I have been neglectful of my blog... but that's OK. It's because I've NOT been neglecting other areas of my life right now. So you can tell me I suck at blogging, and I can admit defeat there, and we move on. Mmmkay?

Some big things have happened lately. Monkey moved from the crib to a "big-girl" toddler bed on 6/18 and I cried like a big teething baby to see the crib come apart. But she's happy, and this needed to happen, and holy CRAP is it a cute toddler bed. It even has a shimmering pink canopy. So that part's all good.

I had a birthday too, complete with a super-yummy cake home-made (well...from a box, but still, made AT home which counts) and decorated by Monkey and her Daddy. Love on a plate, folks: hard to beat.

Recovering from the whirlwind of that, plus working back-to-back Saturdays (it's busy season for financial aid, and new student orientation season as well) had me a bit flustered and out of my normal pace.

Then yesterday, I came across something that stole my breath away.

Checking my Facebook feed while my reports were running, I saw a comment come across. My really close friend from grade school now lives in South Carolina with her new-ish husband and their daughter. Her ex-husband still lives around here, with their teenaged son.

I saw on his feed a comment wishing their son godspeed, and how he will miss him.
I thought, "Oh- so he must be off to visit his mom for the summer."

No.

Not at all.

Their seventeen year old son went to sleep... and didn't wake up.

SEVENTEEN.

WTH?!!!!?!!!

I couldn't believe it. Started FB stalking and a new group popped up, for his parents, and all these heartbroken people are writing tributes to him, and oh-this-isn't-happening... but it is.

A parent's greatest fear is losing their child.

I'm watching that unfold.

And truly, I can't really DO much. I can go to the wake (and I will) and I can hug my friend till I break her ribs, but I can't really *DO* much. I am trembling and there have been lots of tears.

All I wanted yesterday was to hug my baby girl. I am blessed beyond words that I GET to do that.


Remind yourself, when your kids are fighting and whining and life is kicking you in the shin:

You *GET* to see those kids, in all their fighting-shoving-wailing glory.


It is all too reminiscent of how my brother passed. Just went to sleep... and then, gone.
But my brother was at least 38, had gotten more of a taste of life-- though still, not enough. He had medical issues plaguing him.

This was a healthy, athletic, YOUNG man.

Pray for his family, for his little sister who is going to grow up without her big brother. For all the misfits and picked-on kids that Tim looked out for, and spoke up for. Just like his mom did, for me, when we were kids. He will be horribly missed and he is incredibly loved.

Kiss the people you love goodnight.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sandwich Kisses

One of the universal similarities between children seems to be the love and security they feel from getting what we call "sandwich kisses."

You know what I mean?

Where the mom takes one side, the dad takes the other, and together they kiss the cheeks of the child who bonds them.

My kid eats that stuff up. She adds in her own twist, calling it "smooshies": she wiggles her face side to side, smooshing her cheeks into the kisses.

It's abundantly cute, IMHO.


The other day, we had a really good sandwich kiss going on, and announced it as such.


Monkey giggled (as usual), and repeated:


"Sandwich kisses!"


"Don't forget to put peanut butter and jelly on me!!"


How I <3 this goofy child!!!!

We're In Trouble.

My adorable toddler does not SOUND like a toddler. She talks Con.Stant.LY. and as a result, pretty much sounds like she's about 6 or 7.

We're so used to it, because she's been like this since she about 10 months old. The words have just gotten clearer, larger and in less need of interpretation.

She thinks quickly, talks even MORE quickly, and is generally more fearless than I can comfortably watch.

...Because, after all--  she *IS* still not even three years old. Yet.


But, just TRY telling *HER* that. She gets all kinds of tweener-pissy about it. She has argued repeatedly--to ME, who gave birth to her, after all-- that on her next birthday she is going to be 6.

When random people ask her age, she usually tells THEM she's 6.

Not sure what the magic is about being 6-- except that's how old her sister really IS, and SHE gets to go to school and has a backpack and homework and a bike. And can go to dance classes, because SHE no longer wets her pants. Come to think of it, maybe being 6 *is* pretty nifty...!

Anyhoo, we were at an ice cream social at the home of fellow church choir members.
Wow, that sounds so very wholesome. <chuckle> 

Monkey is kind of the mascot of our church. She's little, cute, and very outgoing and talkative. Thus, the older kids are usually really cool about including her in whatever they're doing. Of course, with THEM, there's no whining, because they're cool and she wants to be like them. But, uh, Mom and Dad? Not so much, thus whine away...!?!

The kids (including Monk) had been banished to the expansive yard to play or chase each other, or whatever the hell would keep them busy. The grownups hung out on the screened-in porch or in the house, to better avoid the Mutant Brain-Eating Mosquito Swarm.

I was talking with a friendly mom, whose kids were also braving the M.B.E.M.S. (This is the same family we hung out with when Monkey unleashed her recollection of Ke$ha lyrics a few nights earlier.)

We were laughing about the "look" I get from my adorable offspring when I clarify to whomever is asking her that NO, she is NOT SIX; she is in fact, *TWO*.

It's the "MooOOooom, you're cramping my style" look I hadn't expected to see until she had at least hit puberty. My friend's girls are older--and the elder girl IS currently in the vicious, mood-swinging throes of puberty. So, she sees that same lovely look All. The. TIME.

So anyway, we're having a nice parental commiseration chat, relaxing... and see our children (her older daughter, and Le Monk) approach the screen-porch door.

Which, by the way, opens onto a (very nice, very SOLID) *brick* patio.

Said offspring are thus standing ON said BRICK patio... and Monkey has apparently gotten a piggy-back ride from her pubescent friend.

They reached the door, and Monkey said she wanted down... so the older child says, "OK! Here you go."


And my toddler flies off her back, to the VERY SOLID, BRICK patio. Cue the slow-mo...


I *flew* off my seat, very un-church-ly yelping "JESUS!!" as I tried to somehow get to her (through the door?) before her adorably body went splat.

Needless to say, I am neither magic nor coordinated, and she met the patio before I could intervene.


Luckily, she landed mostly on her bottom--and did NOT, in fact, bounce--so her precious, precocious noggin did not have a rude introduction to those nice, hard bricks.


I think my reaction actually scared her more than being dumped on her tush. She saw my freak-out-face and started crying.

I grabbed her, checked for impact and tried to slow my stampeding pulse.

The rush of Pure FEAR flew through me... how many parents, every SINGLE DAY, see their kids start what looks to be a normal day, only to have something tragic happen to change their lives forever? ...That kind of thing. I'm a world-champion worrier.


While I had jumped to grab Monkey, my Mom-Friend had also grabbed *her* offspring.

...By the back of the shirt. Like a mama lion. It was kinda cool, actually.

In the "you're-lucky-we're-in-public" tone, she barked: "Come. Here. NOW," and pulled her bewildered daughter aside. Note: I don't think her lips actually MOVED... I need to work on that technique.

I sat with Monkey, trying to calm both her and myself. Her dad and I explained that we do not want any of the kids carrying her around, because she's too little to get down safely, and that she had just scared the unwavering CRAP out of us. Which was not OK.

Monkey calmed down long before I did, decided she was "all done cwying" and bounded out to go play some more. Not a scratch, and back to our regularly scheduled program...

I sat there, shaking my head.

Just scared, and grateful... and, maybe just a little pissed off at the tween who had so unceremoniously dumped my toddler onto a BRICK FRIGGIN' PATIO.


However, it turned out that my irritation was ill-placed.


My Mom-Friend came back in and apologized, asking if Monkey was OK.

Daddy Doodle: Well, *Monk's* fine...but Mommy, ehh, not so much. (I shrugged. It was true.)


With a sly grin, Mom-Friend said she wanted us to know that she'd appropriately reamed her daughter for piggybacking and DROPPING a two-year-old on the patio... but that she'd had a pretty valid defense, as the conversation played out:

Mom-Friend: blah blah blah, you dropped a TWO-YEAR-OLD!!

Tween: Wait... what?!?!?  What two-year-old?!?

Mom-Friend: Monkey!! She. Is. TWO.


<wait for it...>


Tween:  Really?!!?! ... She told me she was 6!!!!


As Mom-Friend sooooooooo rightly pointed out: 

We are in BIG trouble with this kid.

Discussion ensued of a potential, unpleasant phone call in our future...from a not-so-friendly police officer, informing Mr. Doodle that his 15-year-old has been removed from a club and could he please come retrieve her underage butt. "What?15?!!?! She said she was 23!!"

Seriously?
We are kinda screwed.  :(

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Parenting FAIL

I don't know why it continues to surprise me, but it does, every time:

Kids latch on to the absolute LAST THING you want them to repeat.

Say ONE bad word, and it becomes the repeated mantra for the next week. With, like, your inlaws or the Sunday school teacher.

So, yeah. <sigh> Color me surprised.

I'm a musically inclined person. I sing, write songs, listen to all kinds of music, and dance if no one is around to be traumatized or trampled. Monkey's dad (Daddy Doodle) is also very musically inclined; he plays guitar, bass, and drums, and is currently rocking out as a member of our church's handbell choir.

My family has a long history of talented singers. Both my parents, my late brother, and assorted other relatives have great voices. Daddy Doodle has a family history of musicians and singers, and his great-grandfather used to own a music store back in the day.

Thus, genetically, it's a given that this kid's alllllllllllll about music. She loves dancing and makes up her own songs all the time.

Monkey can sing pretty well for her age-- stays relatively on-key, and remembers lyrics REALLY well.

Maybe, uh... TOO well.

The other night, we had a get-together for the aforementioned church handbell group as an end-of-the-season celebration. Families were invited to join the ringers at a restaurant for a fun dinner out.

My job was to pick up Monkey from GoG (Gift-of-God = our sitter) and go meet Daddy and the bell ringers at the restaurant.


This should NOT have been complicated. Ha ha.


However, I was told the meeting time was 6 PM. That meant boogie-time to get me from work to GoG's, then through rush hour traffic to the restaurant.

We got to the lot at 6:05.

I'm thinking, "OK. Close enough, with a toddler and rush hour." Patting myself on the back, I park the minivan.

Didn't look like anyone I knew was there yet, but this group is even tardier than *I* tend to be, so that's no big surprise.

Monkey ate @ GoG's so she's set, food-wise. I'm feeling confident. We can chill.


Have you ever attempted to sit in a parked vehicle with a toddler strapped in a car seat, and nothing to look at or do?

Seriously, FIVE minutes went by and I was sure it had been at least thirty.


I decided to let her stretch out a bit. Got her out of the car seat-- we were PARKED and NOT GOING TO MOVE anyhow, so it's safe-- and brought her to the front seat to hang with Mommy.


I plopped her in my lap. The engine was still on so we could keep the heat going.

Because, it's June in Chicagoland and yes, sometimes that means you need HEAT in the car. Global warming, my rear.

Sitting in my lap, Monkey promptly reaches out and tries to use the windshield wipers. AGGGH! No touch!!

Monk, sweetly: "Is this how you dwive?"

Me: Sort of. This is where BIG PEOPLE sit to drive, when they're going to drive-- but we're NOT driving because we're already here, and if we WERE driving you'd have to be in your seat.
She looks around, and starts poking at buttons.

"*I* can dwive."

Me: No, dear, you can't. And, that's the radio. So stop asking. We're not going anywhere except INTO the building, once Daddy gets here.

"Show me how to dwive!"

Ummmm HELL no!

Much more nicely presented as, "No, honey. That's not happening."


Location change: I tried to get her to sit in the passenger seat and color.

That lasted all of 42 seconds.


I finally switched on the radio, moved the front passenger seat back, and had her "dance it out" on the passenger side.

And I'm thinking: see, this is GOOD. This will burn off some energy before we sit with grownups and attempt to eat in a restaurant, and speaking of which, where on the **** is everyone?!!


Monkey is happily dancing. Minivans are good for a little dance space, I guess.


Distracted by the passing time, I text Daddy Doodle with an irritated: Uh, where R U?

His response: Well, we just now started practice... the reservation is in <the director's> name, for 7 PM.


WHAAAAT?!?!?!?!
Had I been a cartoon, my head would have blown up in squeeze-y, pulsating bursts. I even felt a little pop in my eyeballs. 

WHY then was I told to be here at 6??? I have a toddler I'm trying to entertain... AAAAAAGH!

His response: We'll be there soon.


Awesome.

But at least Monkey was having fun dancing.


It was only 6:30. I waited another 10 minutes, then took her in for a pre-dinner potty trip. By the time we were done, everyone had arrived and we were seated.

She did fine during the meal, largely because she was already full. But it did run late, and we were nearing bedtime...

Also known as Leaving Da Building-time for Le Monk.

She got like, sloppy-drunk and was all floppity and goofy. Pure entertainment.


We waited for our bill (for FOREVER!). As we were getting ready to go, Monkey was singing to herself but struggling since she was so tired. She asked for help with the song.

I asked her which song it was.


"Sing the PJ song!!"

Hmmm... there's a song called Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton. Did she mean that?

I sang the start of the chorus.

"NOnononoNO! Sing the *P* *J* song!!!"


Clueless, I asked her to sing part of it so I could help her.

She was standing between Daddy and Mommy. Then my sweet little just-past-babyhood baby promptly stuck out her cute little toddler butt, WIGGLED it, and sang:

"PJ, turn it up-up-up!!!"



I convulsed in "OH DEAR GOD!!" followed by maniacal laughter.


...Daddy, who does not have anything to do with pop music if he can avoid it, stared at me as if I lost my mind.

Which I kinda did, since I was all snorting and red-faced.

He very calmly asks what the heck she's singing.


So I told him... it's that vile Ke$ha song that the hip-hop class danced to at Big Sister's dance recital.

He immediately remembers the uncomfortable clapping after watching 9-year-olds in green glitter lipstick inappropriately lip synching to "looking sweet and sexy-fied." Horror befell him.

Then, lasers shot out of his eyes.

I ducked them and apologized profusely...

Then ever-so-sweetly pointed out that had I not had AN HOUR to kill entertaining a toddler in a minivan, this might not have happened.


Bottom line:

Epic fail. Times two. :(

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tis the Season...?

Do you remember when we were kids, and studied the FOUR seasons (and no, I don't mean Frankie Valli)? Winter, spring, summer, fall...rinse, and repeat.

I'm not sure when that changed. I went to college in central Illinois, two hours from my home in the 'burbs. I remember clearly that we DID still have seasons then, at home and at school. So, it had to be after that.

I stayed on as a townie for an unexpectedly delayed layover after graduation (four years, instead of the planned 6 months). Then it was back to Chi-town-land, and briefly back to central Illinois. During all that time I still recall having actual, definable SEASONS.

Thus, I'm going to blame Indiana.

I lived there for about four years, and when I returned to Chicagoland, suddenly there were no longer four seasons.

*I* think it's because Indiana could never figure out what FLIPPING *TIME* it was, and that threw off the rotation of the earth or something. Look it up, I'm serious.

*Now, IN has adopted daylight savings time, and stays constantly within the eastern time zone... but when I lived there they opted out of DST. I was at the border of IN and MI, and seriously, you could never be certain what the hell time it actually was. Even within the same Hoosier town, one business could follow IL in central DST, but across the street was an hour different for completely random reasons. The whole state was an unorganized, time-clashing mess for six out of every twelve months. It completely irritated me --every. Flipping. DAY.

So, thanks to Indiana, Chicagoland now has basically two seasons:

Winter, and Yay-It's-Warm-So-Now- We're-Crazy-Busy (also called Non-Winter).


Winter means it's *FREAKING COLD*. C-O-L-D, cold.

...And/or snowing, sleeting, raining, gusting winds from the Arctic, all of the above, in many different combinations and likely to change from minute to minute.

However, it is a universal law that the absolute WORST of the wind/snow/sleet/icy daggers from above will flare up exactly 42 seconds before you leave your current location, so as to inflict maximum damage upon your outfit and/or hair, and leave you with the maximum lingering mess to deal with for the rest of the day.

Welcome to the midwest.

So now that it finally stopped snowing--maybe, I dunno, 3 weeks ago?-- it seems we're on to season #2.

Because it was 97 degrees yesterday. 99+ the day before that, depending on your location.

Courtesy of the 20+ degree drop today, there were storms overnight that literally shook me awake. I thought we were having an earthquake until I saw the rave party of lightning a few seconds later.

But yeah, we're busy. It's GO time, folks!!

Pools, splash pads, and water parks are now open...for the only two months you get to use them in Chicagoland.

Everyone and their DOG is having a BBQ, birthday party, graduation party, outdoor wedding, christening, celebration of cat adoption, or some-such-thing.

--Oh, and all those events? Most certainly will be on the SAME DAY. (Because there are only about 8 weekends of Non-Winter, so your options are limited.)


The Season-Formerly-Known-As-Summer also means it is INSANITY time at work. Higher education administrators <waving HI!> spend virtually all of Non-Winter gearing up for the start of the school year...

Which means that of those 8 glorious Non-Winter weekends, I will be WORKING at least three Saturdays.

I wasn't a math major, but I do believe that's a high percentage of prime Non-Winter time. Grumble.


On the up side:

Non-Winter means splashing around in the baby pool, chasing fireflies, letting Monkey make a colossal mess with the sandbox toys, and watching her flop down on her pillow, snoring before you even let go, ripe with the sour-sweet elixir of kid sweat, sunscreen, and watermelon juice.


On the down side:

There are mosquitoes here bigger than my fist. And they *ALL* know where I live.


Happy Non-Winter.

Grab a Popsicle before it melts and refreezes instantly when winter returns. In like, a week. ;)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Monkey-speak, Part 2

I actually have a whole ton of these saved, mostly for my own enjoyment. It's funny to read back over the list now, because Monkey now speaks like a typical five-year-old... but she's still not even three yet.

(Don't tell HER that though- she is rather insistent that her next birthday will mean she's six. No amount of arguing will convince her otherwise.)

PhrasePart of SpeechTranslation

 I'm done being stinky.declaration Please let my time-out be over.
 Not an excew-wentn. A bad thing to do. As in, "Sorry, Mama, that was not an excew-went."
 Woof feetv. To sniff someone's stinky toes, pull back, and say "WOOF! Stinky!" Inspires serious giggle-fits.
 Turn the wight offdeclaration Turn the light ON. We have some on/off confusion at the moment.
 Airplanen. Helicopter
 Headbandn. Sticky protective item put on scrapes or cuts. As in, "I got a boo-boo! I need a headband on it."
 Skelloweensn. Halloween decorations, especially if they're scary. Also used for Christmas yard decorations. 
 Eski-mo-moesn. Nose-rubbing version of kissing
 Binkyn. The now-vanished pacifier; also known as the Mute Button to Mom and Dad
 Babyn. Any child with a pacifier, even if he/she is bigger and/or older... Cuz, only babies use binkies, yo.
 Hoopta hoopn. The sparkly round toy Monkey *thinks* she knows how to use. Watch your shins.
 Arieln. Any of the Disney princesses. They are all Ariel.   Yes. They ARE.
 Snooping Bootyn. Disney movie about a princess falling asleep, and/or the name of the lead character (after she is first called Ariel). Calls to mind an entirely different genre of movie which would be horribly inappropriate.
 El-MO-mo n. What she used to call the furry red monster from Sesame Street. (Sadly, she now just calls him Elmo like everyone else.)
 Old MacFarmern. Kids' song about a farmer who has a bunch of animals. He also has a "MonkeyDoodle," with a giggle-giggle here, and a giggle-giggle there.
 Ippy Bippy Pidern. Kids' song about an arachnid getting hosed by Mother Nature
 ABCD'sn. The alphabet. It is NOT ABC's. She will correct you.
 Bring-backsn. Kids' song about my Bonnie lying over the ocean. Usually I am requested to skip to the good part (i.e., Bring BACK, bring BACK…); best sung LOUDLY.
 Poniesn. Hairstyle in which her hair is divided in half and put up in elastics on the   sides of her head. Unca Yim apparently needs them... Even though his     head is kinda shaved, Monkey keeps trying to give him pretty pony hair.
 I need to go pottydeclaration I am tired of being in my booster seat, and just want to go elsewhere.
 Got pee comin'!declaration I actually DO need to pee.
 I tooteddeclaration Danger: possible code brown in the diaper!
 What do you say?question She thinks you either burped or tooted, and therefore need to say  "Excuse me." Even if you didn't do anything, just say it. She won't let up until you do.
 Go cribv. To sleep, perchance to dream
 Sit-and-scootv. How wobbly toddlers are encouraged to safely go down the stairs 
 Babies bounce!declaration Gleeful response to falling on her butt. Courtesy of Aunt Boo.