I survived McEwan's Saturday. Another memorable novel. Not nearly as infuriating as Atonement. However, having a young woman strip naked in a threatening scene at the end was just gratuitous. No need for it.
I find that since having kids I'm super sensitive about violent or horrific things done to children or offspring. Reading Alice Sebold's Lovely Bones was just torture. As was Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper.
Anything that is just painful now due to having kids, growing older, or being somewhere new in life?
Thursday, November 30, 2006
I survived McEwan's Saturday. Another memorable novel. Not nearly as infuriating as Atonement. However, having a young woman strip naked in a threatening scene at the end was just gratuitous. No need for it.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I'm bordering on apopletic.
Every Wednesday I give each boy $1.75 to buy pizza and milk at school. While they think this is a huge treat, the treat is really for me because it means one day a week that I don't have to make their lunch.
Tonight when I picked them up, they proudly announced they had cereal for lunch. Not Raisin Bran or Muslix. No. One guy announced he had Cocoa Crisps while the other had Lucky Charms. Dry. They drank chocolate milk. No fruit. No vegetable. Pure sugar cereal. With chocolate milk.
This parochial school has to be kidding. There is an obesity problem in this country and they are serving Cocoa Crisps as a meal?
So, while I commend my guys for their honestly, there was no treat after dinner. They had more than enough sugary treats for one day. They had extra helpings of green beans and plain skim milk. I am writing a note to both of their teachers and plan to complain to the principal. The school is suppose to be part of the team to help kids learn good eating habits.
I will be eating my dinner after they all go to bed. It'll be my favorite. A bowl of Mini-Wheats. With plain skim milk. Then I'll write the letters.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Six years ago, several women I know started a bookgroup. It was held a few days after the boys came home from the NICU so I didn't go to that first meeting. Graciously they consider me an honorary founder.
Membership has grown and shrunk. We had a professor with us for a while but she agonized when she didn't read a book. Several women used moving away as a reason to join other bookgroups. One was quietly suffering that we were, well, women who liked to talk about our lives, drink and eat more than either read or talk about the books. She graciously joined another bookgroup and explained it was just easier since everyone lived in her town. The other suffering soul was a bit more vocal, even going so far as to tell that her new book group didn't allow alcohol. To me that defeats the purpose.
Tonight we met up at the home of a woman who is 38 weeks pregnant with her second child. She went into labor the day after hosting us 2 1/2 years ago and hopes we'll bring her "the same luck" again. The book this month was Saturday by Ian McEwan. We read another novel of his, Atonement, a couple of years ago. I have less than 100 pages to go in Saturday and it feels like plodding through mud. I remember the visceral, angry reaction I had to Atonement. Three years later I can still recall the him marching through the French country side, fighting the war, waiting in the cafe. To have it end the way it did was infuriating. I feel like I'm walking the plank again.
But then, what did our group talk about tonight? Two of us had finished the book and loved it (neither of them had read Atonement), two of us were in the midst and two hadn't picked it up (there are 4 other regulars who all had conflicts tonight). We talked about babies, movies, work, the new Governor (oh we are SO excited about that one), food, birth stories, twins, other books, Thanksgiving, wine....
It is what I wish for all of us. A group of friends who get together regularly to talk, laugh, support and sustain. And if a book is involved, you feel literary. But if you walk out feeling like you can face another month, even better.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Tonight the guys took all the pillows and cushions off the sofa. They created various walls and after turning off all the downstairs lights announced we were going into space. There was a "wall" dividing the boys from the girls so my two year old and I were on one side while the 6 year olds were on the other.
I yelled loudly "We're going to the moon!"
To which the toddler announced "NO! We're going to Costco!"
Must get provisions first.
Friday, November 24, 2006
I went to the movie theater twice today. I spent $40+ this morning to take three kids to see the latest movie cartoon Happy Feet. Then I spent nearly $40 this evening to take myself to see Shut Up and Sing. $9 for the movie ticket, $26 for the babysitter and $2 for the big box of Junior Mints that I didn't have to share with anyone.
While eating lunch I asked the boys what they thought of all those penguins. Of course, Robin Williams saying something about butts to a penguin-eating seal received most of the conversation. I fixated on how the little dancing penguin was forced to leave because he couldn't sing. I started talking about how there are some religions that do that to people, forcing them to leave or making them feel horrible because they don't agree with the teachings. I didn't start on Fundamentalists (take your pick which religion - Christian, Islamic, Jewish, etc), anti-gays or our President. I'll wait until they can really understand that. When they're 8.
Before the babysitter showed up, the guys asked what my "grown-up" movie was about. I explained it was a lot like this morning's movie. These women in a band said they didn't support the war and a bunch of people gave them a hard time, similar to Mumbles the penguin getting a hard time for being more Savion Glover than Stevie Wonder.
I sat in a darkened theater (inhaling my Junior Mints with glee) watching three women be turned out by what seemed to be most of country music. I have never been a fan of country music and the movie certainly reinforced my stereotypes of stupid, rednecks who blindly follow the government 'cuz that's what you're suppose to do. Plus, the only song I knew by the Dixie Chicks before the "embarrassed to be from Texas" line was about killing an abusive husband.
They talked in the movie about reaching a new audience, starting anew, since they were not being played on country stations. I guess I am that new audience. I proudly listen to them on my iPod (I can't listening to Silent House, about a grandparent suffering from Alzheimers, without crying). Plus, two of them are the mothers of twins. I'm a sucker for anyone that understands what it is like to mother twins.
And I've got the boots to wear to a concert.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
As I bit into my lunch today, I bit down on some bone. At first I thought it was from the gyros. Then, feeling my back molar with my tongue, I thought it was my filling with some tooth because the tooth felt really sharp.
I got the gyros from a place recommended by a colleague. He asked me what I thought of the gyros. I told him it was a little dry and that I initially suspected bone in the meat (pretty odd for a gyros) but then figured it was my tooth.
Don't malign the gyros. He said. He's a fan of this place.
So I left work early, dragged my dad to the dentist since I couldn't go to her office and get to my kids in time. He sat in the car to finish listening to Terry Gross on NPR (I do love this man) while I went in. I fully expected to be in her chair for an hour getting novocain, drilled and slapped with metal.
I thought that I had crossed that old folk line. It always seemed to me that old people had problems with their teeth - a cracked tooth from biting something, a filling coming out, general teeth woes - and having a filling break on a gyros seemed to signal I was ready to sign up for an honorary AARP membership (for the record, I'm 37).
However, my tooth was fine. Apparently that back molar is particularly sharp (which I never noticed).
Guess what colleague - I get to malign the gyros.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
I feel terrible.
Everyone sings perfectly in the van to Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend.
A kiss on the hand may be quite continental
But diamonds are a girl's best friend
Unfortunately it is Nicole Kidman singing from the Moulin Rogue soundtrack.
That's when those louses
Go back to their spouses.
I'm sorry. To them. And to Marilyn. She does it so much better.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Little Miss woke up at 4:45 this morning. I left her to talk, moan, yell, yelp and generally growl for 25 minutes. It was the scream "I wanna go potty!" that got me up. Somehow denying a person access to the toilet seems cruel.
Ever since the boys were babies I would use those little moments when we are close to give an "extra" hug (is there such a thing as too many hugs?). Putting them in their car seats, lifting them into their high chairs, putting on their shoes would elicit a hug, kiss, "I love you" or "you're so smart".
With my daughter there is the extra issue of how will she perceive herself as she gets older. She is such a confident, happy girl. I worry about growing up as a girl in our culture. Will she like her curly hair when she's older? Will she have the "right" body type? Will she have the confidence in herself to weather the mean, nasty and ugly barbs thrown by some of her peers?
So I snuggled with her this morning, after 5am, and told her she is beautiful. Not in the "you're like a model" or "this part of you is so perfect" but as in "you are a gorgeous person, inside and outside".
You mean I'm your friend?
And you're my friend.
With that I gave her a big hug and kiss on the cheek. She climbed on my stomach, held my cheeks and planted a big kiss on my lips.
That's right. I'm your friend. Not that I'll abdicate my parental duties to keep you safe, embarrass you in public and insist you behave yourself. But I will stand by you. When you are ugly. And when you are beautiful.
Friday, November 17, 2006
No, our house hasn't been infested. I took the boys to The Bug Opera. It was created to introduce children, and their parents, to opera.
So we drove 45 minutes from home, across a state line, to an evening performance in an old theater built in the 1920's complete with a flashing marquee board.
A caterpillar was afraid to change into a butterfly and a mosquito didn't want to try to drink blood after watching her friend be squashed to death. There was a mambo dancing spider, groovy fireflies and a beautiful luna moth. I'm partial to the luna moth. She was a high school classmate of mine and wrote the words to the opera. And she was beautiful. My boys were losing focus when she arrived and her voice and presence brought them back.
And what did they think as we left? One guy, as he skipped out of the theater declared,
"That was a big, great show!"
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Apparently the blonde actress in the Republican ad against Tennessee Senate candidate, Harold Ford, didn't think the ad was racist.
According to Texas Politics, she said "I didn't see it as racist at all. I don't see a single couple that is not mixed."
With all the attention she's worried she'll be typecasted as a blonde bimbo.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
When it is quiet during the day - too quiet - we call it Silence of the Lambs.
Early last month I found the boys in the attic. This is a dangerous place in our house. The stairs are steep and the attic is unfinished with exposed insulation, unfinished wood floors and boxes piled everywhere just waiting to fall. They were going through their dad's saved Star Wars figures and baseball cards
More recently, I came upstairs to find one son fly out of the bathroom and crawl under the covers on his bed. The other was sitting on the toilet with this big I've-been-caught-but-maybe-you-won't-notice grin.
He had a big clump of hair on his shoulder.
They had been cutting each other's hair with nail scissors.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I've got these boots.
They were given to me by a friend who, since she was coming out of the closet, decided to clean out her closet. According to her, lesbians didn't wear red snake skin cowboy boots. I took advantage of her fashion misstep.
However, I didn't wear them for a year. I kept them in the closet.
Then one Sunday I wore them. I ran into one of my least favorite classmates from graduate school. She was judgmental with a fake happy veneer. She was looking down and saw the boots first. She was horrified. Then she looked up and saw me. Immediately she had a big, fake smile "Oh HI!"
I fell in love with the boots.
And I judge a person based on their response to the boots. Guess I'm judgmental too.
Monday, November 13, 2006
I don't make a big deal about having twins. My sons are individuals who happened to have been born 10 minutes apart and look alike. I rarely call them "the twins". They are "the boys".
When I am asked about my kids I reply "I have two boys and a girl". The next question is always "How old are they?" to which I say "The boys are 6 years old and my daughter is 2 1/2."
Yes. They are twins.
Now we've got another set in the family. My bother-in-law and his wife called us with the news that they are pregnant with twin girls. Somehow this woman managed to get to her 20 week ultrasound without any indication of the growing litter inside of her. Which means she is carrying "small" (grrrr - lucky). I looked 20 weeks pregnant at 12 weeks. I kid you not. It's why I got an ultrasound at 14 weeks. Because I was that big.
My boys were also born 10 weeks early and spent 8 weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. While obviously they were sickly - how can you not be if you left the womb 10 weeks early - one guy in particularly had a frightening time. That and they both contracted an infection that quarantined them with other preemies. So in order to visit our kids, we had to wear gowns and gloves while other parents were getting to put their babies on their bare chests to bond.
But those are the stories I don't want to tell my sister-in-law. When people heard I was pregnant with twins, I was inundated with stories of sick babies, children with severe developmental delays, babies who died. Rarely did someone say to me "Oh wow! Congratulations. You are part of an awesome club."
In fact, when my boys came early, someone asked my office if they should send a condolence card. For when someone dies. A condolence card.
So congratulations dear brother and sister. You are part of an awesome club. It is mind-numbingly hard the first year but gets easier and easier as the years pass. The bond these two children will have will exceed your expectation. Your nephews are soccer-playing, insightful, caring, talented little guys who are tall for their age. They talk about politics, poverty and poop. And it is a privilege to be their mom.
And when you nurse, you will not only lose all the pregnancy weight, you will also lose another 10 pounds. I guarantee it.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Not that I in any way claim to be professional but, I have a nasty cough and shouldn't have attempted the low alto in my trio for this evening's performance in the church musical review. However, it was Gilbert and Sullivan.
My love of G&S predates my fag-hag-ness. In fact, I don't know many gay men with a fondness for G&S. I'm also quarantined in the suburbs so contact with gay men are pretty scarce these days. Married lesbians with kids - I meet plenty of those.
I was in four children's musicals in the church I grew up in. The second through fourth productions were G&S. I was the tallest kid in the youth choir and therefore got to play male roles. Not only male roles but the arrogant male roles. So in 7th grade I was Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. Pinafore ("When I was a lad...") and in 8th I was Pooh-Bah in The Mikado ("I am so proud if I allowed..."). In 9th grade I put my foot down and insisted that I not be the arrogant male. I got to play the romantic male in Iolanthe and can't remember a single tune from that production. Clearly I have a thing for arrogant males.
Fast forward to a phone call this summer asking me if I would be in a musical review at church. I was bathing someone and my response was "No". Life is too crazy, my husband is never home, I couldn't manage it. "But we're thinking of doing some G&S in the future and will include a song or two."
"Will I get to sing a girl part?"
Which is how I ended up being Pitti-Sing in "Three little maids from school are we" from The Mikado. I have been attempting to sing the low female voice, with little success thanks to not singing in public for over 20 years, a nasty cough and little time to practice. During rehearsals other performers were turning away to stifle their embarrassment.
Tonight I wasn't that bad. I even got the "you finally got it" line from the director. She was being kind. I just wore the kimono and waved the fan with gusto.
And to update you from yesterday's post, I didn't cry too hard during "For Good". And he did great. The best Do-Re-Me ever performed, if I do say so myself.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
There is a song in the musical Wicked called For Good. It is sung by Glinda and the "Wicked Witch". In case you've lived under a pop-culture hole or don't embrace your inner fag hag (or fag), Wicked the musical is based on Wicked the book - a wonderful story about Oz before Dorothy. I bet you didn't know that Glinda and the Witch were college roommates and one of their professors was a talking goat (I think) who is murdered. Not sure how that all plays out on stage but the book was fun.
I have now sung For Good four times and will be singing it with a chorus this weekend in a musical revue. One of my sons is also in the production which involves songs from the last ten years of musicals done at our church and songs from productions that are being considered for the future. He's part of a group of children singing Inchworm from Radio Days and Do-Re-Me.
The first time we sang For Good it was near the end of a rehearsal and my little guy was lying on the floor, under the folding chair, clearly at the end of his rope. I looked down at him as I sang
Because I knew you
I've been changed for the better
and I haven't been able to sing this song without tearing up and cracking my voice. So wish me luck this weekend. If only he understood how a sappy Broadway show tune can turn me into a puddle of grateful emotions. My life is so much better with him, his brother and their sister.
Who can say if I've been changed for the better,
I do believe I have been changed for the better
Because I knew you
I have been changed
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I love it when information is written on the back of envelopes. Not because it reminds me of getting phone numbers on the back of napkins. Because it reminds me of learning the difference between boys and girls.
My dad came home at bedtime when I was around 8 or 9 years old. I remember him walking into my bedroom to give me a goodnight kiss. He was in a grey suit, still with his tie on and a white shirt. As he leaned over to kiss me, I asked him what was the difference between boys and girls.
Did he bring up anatomy? Sugar and spice vs. snakes and snails? Peeing standing up? No.
He pulled out an envelope from the inside pocket of his suit coat and a pen. He wrote XX and XY at the top then four arrows pointing down. He explained the mother and father, zygotes and embryos. I felt so grown-up. Like he believed I would understand what he was talking about. I never forgot that and was well equipped for that part of sex ed and biology years later.
Last night the boys couldn't understand why this election was important if it wasn't about voting for president. I grabbed an envelope and explained the (theoretical) checks and balance of power in our government. While my simple triangle wasn't as complex as dad's genetic explanation of gender, it made me smile that my lesson was on the back of an envelope.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Last night I was explaining all the things I thought the President has done wrong (among other things Iraq, destruction of New Orleans, wasted world leadership, rising gap between rich and poor) to which one son replied,
"When I'm president I will take money from the rich and give it to the poor so its more equit... equit..."
"Yeah, equitable. So it's more fair."
I wish my Robin Hood was on the ballot.
Monday, November 06, 2006
"The president has done it now. I'm really mad."
Wow. What could make my husband so upset? The 100+ dead US soldiers in Iraq in October? The literally depressed state of New Orleans? The rising gap between rich and poor? The ridiculous go-it-alone stance that is making the United States a laughing stock and therefore incapable of providing leadership in Darfur or North Korea?
"I can't get onto my poker site. He's going after my poker site."
Friday, November 03, 2006
My husband's secretary thought the contents were a joke.
A sippy cup and a couple of diapers (size 6).
Our daughter had to spend the morning in the back-up day care at his office. I had one of those high profile meetings I simply couldn't get out of. The staff are incredibly kind to our children but it was suppose to be Mommy Day and I wanted to dash away with her.
I clearly dashed too fast and left a few things behind.
Which the center staff put into an inter-office mailer and sent up to the 20-odd floor.
Good thing there wasn't a soil pair of pants.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
It is getting out of hand.
My guys were picked up from school for a playdate with a friend. The mom graciously fed them dinner (well, McDonald's) and brought them to soccer practice where I met them. They ran to our van with gift bags filled with candy and plastic toys. Like they need candy. Or more plastic crap.
This was a playdate. I'm already of the belief that birthday party goody bags are completely out of hand. One family insisted we bring our toddler to their 7-year-old's party. As we were leaving the mom handed her a gift bag with a large Care Bear in it. She wasn't even an invited guest.
The boys' soccer coach gave every player a Halloween gift bag. She spends every Monday evening and Saturday morning with 9 boys, none of whom are related to her. Her own son had to drop out due to knee problems. I sincerely think she is amazing. She does not need to give the kids anything more.
Gift bags are just ridiculous.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
While I am not a convert to parochial schools, uniforms are good. I don't have to worry about their outfits during the week. Turquoise polo shirts emblazoned with the school name and a cross paired with navy pants.
However, uniforms are also lousy. They are expensive (two pairs of pants, two shirts, a set of gym clothes - all times two). I try to make an outfit last two days before washing. That means still having to pull together a respectable outfit for extended day so there is a chance the boys will come home with uniforms that are only a little dirty.
This is not the exchange I wanted this morning while furiously making lunch.
"Mom is the other short sleeve shirt clean?"
"I dropped the slime from the coffin and tried to wipe the dirt off."
"With your shirt?"
He stood before me with a huge chunk of Halloween slime (given to him by his soccer coach) sticking on his shirt. I brushed and rubbed off as much as I could while informing he cannot play with slime again until he is 27 years old.
He went to school with some orange substance still on his shirt.