Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Family Vernacular

This Post Brought to you by the Letter Y

I have started recently to talk in a strange lingo ending words in Y.  I'll hand the boys a bottle and shampoo and demand, "Washy-Washy!"  or reprove them with, "No Touchy-touchy!" After spending their entire lifetime speaking to them in the grown up language of fully formed sentences and adult vocabulary, it strikes me as rather odd that I have suddenly reverted to some version of friendly cave-speak.

However, I think such idioms are the language of affection, and nostalgia.  The memory of my mother singing "Mom Thing" culls memories of soft round warmth in a way nothing else does.  When I think of how she put up with me deciding to call her Moo-Moe, at age 12,  I have the feel of snuggling and her rubbing my back in a way other memories don't capture.  

Nothing more fully represents the closeness my brother and I shared than our secret chirping noise made in the back of the throat that we used to identify each other in crowded areas. 

Our secret familial language is a way of saying, "we are us," in a way that separates outsiders and locks them out of our word play.  And I hope my new "talky-talky" conversations, while not eloquent or sophisticated, will live in my children's hearts and remind them of the best parts of having me for a mother.

Or maybe I've just been watching Raising Hope  too often. 


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Last Night I Broke My...

Image: paxarcana

I fell magnificently on the ice last night. It was a cartoon-worthy flight where both feet went out from under me at once and I landed on my back. My hat fell off.

Image: solodialogue 

It hurt suddenly and completely. It has been years since I have felt that instant infusion of blinding pain that is accompanied by an involuntary scream. I had to lay there for a while in a way that made me feel both childlike and elderly.

Today I feel like I spent the night starring in some sort of spanking pornography photo shoot. (By the way, if you happen to google "spanking porn" you will find a whole lot of disturbing images not fit to add to your blog. The internet never fails to be impressively disturbing.)

I am walking gingerly. My whole pelvis hurts, but the pain is mostly radiating from my right ass cheek.  I'm indignant at the location of my contusion.  It's somewhat humiliating to have a sore ass cheek. 

What's even worse is that I have no impressive bruise to validate my mincing walk.  I look exactly the same as I did before I broke my ass, so for all purposes I look like a major whiner.  If it 's going to hurt this much I should have a massive purple spot to corroborate my tale of humiliating misfortune.

However, even if I had an impressive bruise I would want to show it to everyone, and there are few social situations where it is acceptable to drop trou and show everyone your bruised ass. And I might forget that it's not ever socially acceptable in my quest for validation that yes, I am really injured, so I suppose it is for the best. sigh. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Disney Cult

Last year my mom wanted us all to go to Disney World. I thought she was crazy. I didn't see the value for the dollar and it seemed like an over-crowded over-priced rip off.  I had friends who went to Disney World without their children, and other friends who went more than once a year.  I honestly thought they were a little nuts.

Slowly last year, though, I started to feel a faint stirring in my chest, a growing yearning to take the kids to the Happiest Place on Earth. I asked questions, made plans, but I still hadn't drank the Kool-Aid. 

Come to Disney!*

I knew plenty of people who were full on Disney Cult members.  It seemed like everyone who had been to Disney was as eager to talk about it and offer advice as any new member of a self-help group or weird diet regimen.  They were a little scarily enthusiastic.

Then I went to Disney and I drank the Kool-Aid and joined the cult.  If you see me coming, run from me like you would run from some selling Amway. I am liable to hold you hostage until you, too, agree to go to the most wonderful place on earth. I can't speak clearly. I stutter. I am so filled with the wonder I lose my ability to form complete sentences. And I'm secretly planning my next trip back to the land of the mouse. 

Drank the Kool-Aid, Bought the Ears

*Kool-Aid image courtesy of Wikipedia

Friday, February 14, 2014

Get your Own Bed, Kiddo

Tiny Pants winds up in someone else's bed at least 75% of the time.  He's a night wanderer, and he'll tuck himself in head to toe with his brother or knock on my door in the middle of the night. Daddy reports the same behavior at his house as well.  The kid rarely sleeps all night in his own bed.

So imagine my surprise when he insisted on having his own bed last night. 
Hotel room = 3 people and 2 beds, which should not have been a big deal.  Bunking in is common, and bunking with Mama is a treat, or used to be.  Apparently not so much anymore.

BIG PANTS: This bed is mine!
TINY PANTS:  I want my own bed, too.
MAMA: Well, you get to sleep with Mama tonight!
TINY PANTS: How about one of us sleeps o the floor?
MAMA: Big Pants, can i sleep with you, then?
BIG PANTS: Yeah. We can take turns with who has to sleep with you. 

Has to sleep with me???? That's it. Tonight I'm getting my own bed. They can take turns sharing the bathtub.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

My Child is Trying to Make Me Look Like a Crack Head

My Child is Trying to Make Me Look Like a Crack Head.

Or a lunatic.  Certainly like the kind of mother who doesn't give two turds about her kids' art projects.  

Here's what happened:

Tiny Pants had to make his first Valentine's Day box for school.  You remember - you decorate a shoebox and everyone puts cards in it during your school party.  In my opinion, grade school Valentine's Day parties were the best thing ever. We had at least three weeks to make our fabulous box of festivity and love.  We talked about it often over the last few weeks.

MAMA:  Tiny Pants, let's buy some heart stickers for your Valentine's Day box!
TINY PANTS: I don't want stickers.  
MAMA: What do you want to do? 
(My head was dancing with pictures of paper doilies, bits of fabric, and glitter glue.)
TINY PANTS:  I want to tape Snakey on my box.  And my flashlight. And a piece of candy.
MAMA: OK.  We can do that, but why don't we think about it a while longer?
 (Lord, let him change his mind!)

I figured I'd ask again the following week and he would have forgotten. He didn't.

I waited another week, until we were in a store that sold cute heart stickers, etc., and tried to get him to look at them.  Nothing doing.

Let me explain a few things, here. 

1. Snakey is not a snake.  Snakey is a sticky thing that feels like snot.
2. The flashlight is an old broken toy that does not resemble a flashlight in any way, shape or form.
3. I had three colors of glittery glue!! I had stickers!  I had construction paper in a rainbow of colors!

Well, the box is due tomorrow, so it could be put off no longer.  Tiny Pants shunned my letter stickers and hand-wrote his name, then taped a marker to the side of the box and declared it done.

MAMA:  Don't you want stickers?
TINY PANTS:  Well, maybe a tiger.  And a lion.  And a Cheetah. 
MAMA:  Do you want the letter stickers?
TINY PANTS: I wrote my name already.
(Let the record reflect that he wrote his name so badly that I couldn't even read it, and I already knew what the letters were supposed to be. Can you say, not the biggest effort?)
MAMA:  What about the heart stickers?
TINY PANTS:  I'll just use these swirls.
MAMA: This heart came off by accident.  Do you want it?
TINY PANTS:  Well, OK, but just one.

I should be proud of his alternative view of Valentine's Day mailboxes.  I should realize that his art is not in any way a reflection of me.  I just can't help thinking it looks like some stoned mother handed her kid some broken toys and a roll of tape.  And did I mention the cat chewed on the corner of the box?

Found Art: An Interpretive Collage.

At least no one will accuse me of taking over and doing it for him. And he loves it.  He had a vision, he did not waiver from it for twenty-one days, he fought for his vision, and it turned out exactly how he intended.  In the end, I'm proud of that.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I Swear Children, I Never Flashed My Boobs at Fantasy Fest

I had the great fortune to attend three Fantasy Fests when I lived in Key West way back when I was young and child free.  Over the years we had a few unfortunate mishaps (like when someone slipped X to a visiting houseguest causing her to throw up for hours) but mostly it was fun in that Big Fun way you like to look back on and immortalize after you have children and can't really have that kind of grown up fun anymore.

For those who are unaware, Fantasy Fest is about cheap plastic beads in a large way.  The goal is to get so many beads that you get a neck ache or at least a really sweaty collarbone from wearing them all night.  Many women flashed their money-makers to get beads, but I did not.

I figured it wasn't really a thing locals did, because, unlike the tourists, I would have to see some of these people again, like at work or in the grocery store.  I had a friend who flashed at Fantasy Fest, and she was once confronted by a homeless man who raised his shirt at her and said, "I saw your boobies last night!"

I also knew that I was going to be a mother someday, and I didn't think that was the kind of behavior I wanted someone to catch on film and potentially haunt me some day. 

Also, you could totally get a ton of beads not flashing, so why bother? Besides, I figured my boobs were worth more than plastic beads. If they were throwing strings of rubies or pearls that would be one thing.

In the divorce, I fought for and won my ex-husband and my Fantasy Fest bead collection, which we had toted around in a box in the half a decade after we left Key West.  We moved seven times, and each time we carefully packed them up and brought them along.  I let my ex win on our fight over the kitchen broom, but those beads were mine.

The beads have since become property of the boys, and live in a tangled heap in their bedroom.  Occasionally, particularly when a girl comes over, they are brought out for dress up or pirate treasure or what have you. 

I found their ride-on ponies decorated in beads the other day, and I nostalgically untangled a few more strands for Spot and Butterscotch to wear.  And then it hit me.

Someday these kids will learn about flashing for beads at either Fantasy Fest, Mardi Gras or some other bead-greed parade.  And they will remember their mother's ginormous stash of beads.

It doesn't matter that I kept my shirt on; they will never believe me.  Heck, I don't think any of my friends now will believe me, knowing my flamboyant nature. I have evidence of a crime I never committed already stashed in the memory banks of my kids.       

Essentially, I should have flashed everyone after all.  But, you know, looking back, I don't regret not flashing then.  It would have been out of character for me in those days.  And I still have boobs, old boobs granted, but they are still attached to my body.  If I really want to flash someone, I still can.  Not sure I really want to, but still. Those kids aren't around all the time, after all.  My grown up fun days are not entirely behind me if I don't want them to be.  I am not dead yet. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Really Lazy Mama's Guide to Cloth Diapers

Photo: (another great cloth website)

I did cloth with both my boys. With Big Pants, I didn't start until he was almost a year old.  With Tiny Pants, I started as soon as that black meconium poop ended. It was really not that big of a deal, and I say that as the world's most lazy mother.  Here's how to do it.

1. Don't bother with soaking them. It's not necessary and a huge mess. Other than swishing in the toilet, I never used an official diaper sprayer or poo spatula, though I envied people who owned them. 

2. Don't get a diaper pail.  I used a full sized garbage can with a swinging lid so I could toss them in easily. When the pail got full (about 10-15 diapers) I'd run a load of wash.  Line the garbage can with a garbage bag.  Throw out bag when it gets icky.

3. Wash on hot with a tiny bit (like seriously less than 1/4 of the regular amount) of Tide Free and Clear.  Fill fabric softener dispenser with white vinegar. Do a second rinse and throw in drier (if they are the kind that are dry-able).

4. Get a dedicated laundry basket for diapers. (I got a super cute Moses basket for 9.99 on eBay. It lived in my living room for years, so cute was important to me.) Throw dry diapers in laundry basket. Occasionally I would pre-stuff the diapers and get them ready for the next day, but mostly I just lived out of that basket. 

5. Kinds of diapers - there are a ton of different styles. Buy a few and try them out and see what you like best.  There are drawbacks and benefits to every kind, and at different sizes of baby I liked different things.  My personal favorite were BumGenius, which I bought at  The people there are super nice and helpful.

6. With Big Pants I got by on only 8 cloth diapers for a very long time, and did laundry every single night. I slowly made some and acquired more.  With Tiny Pants I bought a 24 pack, plus I had the  handmade ones and the hand me downs.  It was gloriously decadent to be able to go 2-3 days without having to do the wash. 

7.  Cloth wipes aren't as gross as they sound. I resisted for a while, but it's easier to throw everything in the wash than to separate out disposable versus washable when you have a pile of dirty diaper and wipes. I bought a huge stack of car wash towels at Sam's Club and kept a squeeze bottle of water handy to wet them. Some people sell flannel wipes, but I found that a nubby fabric cleaned those nooks and crannies better. With wipes, bigger is always better.

8.  Do buy a wet bag for travel. It's very handy. It should be waterproof and at least 12" square. 

9.  Don't beat yourself up over occasionally using disposables.  I used disposables for car trips, and with Big Pants that was the only thing that worked overnight after he was a year old.  It's still better for the environment than using 100% disposable, and sometimes it's just easier. But I found the stench of disposable diapers far worse than cloth.  (With cloth you flush the poo. With disposables you store that poo in your kitchen garbage can.)

10. Cloth Diaperers are extremely enthusiastic and long-winded about cloth diapers. Ask any one who uses cloth and they will cheerfully tell you more than you ever wanted to know about it. (Around here they tend to congregate at La Leche League meetings, if you don't know any cloth diaperers yet.)