Friday, June 13, 2008

Summer Vacation

I know I’m out of season, but for the last few days “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot like Christmas” has been stuck in my brain. And while it has felt more like winter around here than summer, the truth is the line—“And mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again”—has become my mantra, my positive affirmation, the theme song for the next two and a half months of my life.

School has been out for approximately 20 days here in Idaho Falls, 19 if you choose not to count Memorial Day. Is it just my children, or is summer a whiny wasteland for all little people under twelve?

I have great kids. Really, I do. But the three of them, together, have bad chemistry. If they’re not fighting, they’re scheming which is never good for me, the lone adult outnumbered by her children. At least when they’re fighting I know where they are and what’s going on. It’s when things become quiet that I start to worry.

In the last two weeks one of more of my children has been grounded for five years, sat on timeout for a total of 164 minutes, flooded the toilet, flooded the bathtub, run down the street in their pajamas, ridden the cat like a donkey, watched Barbie: Mariposa 14 times, quoted inappropriate lines from Monty Python: In Search of the Holy Grail, eaten dirt, gotten lost in the grocery store, started a collection of potato bugs, released and/or killed his sister’s collection of potato bugs, and wacked her brother on the head with a broom.

In response to the list above, I have said each of the following at least once in the last 20 days of summer:

Don’t hit/kick/bite/scratch/pinch/touch/look at/spit at/tease your brother/sister.
Go apologize to your brother/sister.
Give that back to him/her.
Don’t talk to your brother/sister that way.
Don’t talk to me that way.
Sit on timeout.
Do you want to go to your room?
What did you just say?
What’s in your mouth?
Don’t roll your eyes at me, Mister!
We don't go outside naked.
You don’t know where that’s been.
Flush the toilet.
Come here.
Come here!
Come here!!!

Parents, it's gonna be a great summer! All 49 and a half days of it.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Guess what? My blog is all grown up and has a domain name of its very own! You can now get here by typing in How easy is that? So change your links (or leave them--you'll still be able to get here).

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and thanks for reading!


Saturday, June 07, 2008

When Crazy Happens

Yesterday was my birthday. I know, I know. Happy Birthday to me. But this post isn’t about how old I’m getting (hallelujah!). It’s about the most bizarre and disturbing experience I’ve had…ever, I think.

I was picking my kids up from my MIL’s house when they informed me I wasn’t allowed inside yet. They were still preparing my “surprise” party. So I stood outside and held Zack, swaying him back and forth while singing in his ear.

It was then that this old man approached us and started talking. I couldn’t understand what he was saying at first; it was obvious that he had a senility thing going on. I just assumed he was telling me how adorable my son is, because, well, he is. See?

But that’s not what he was trying to say at all. He began speaking with more urgency, and after this awkward moment where he told me I needed to call the duck, he found his words and began terrifying me beyond belief.

This is where I need to stop, mid-story, and explain how utterly Panic-Happy I am. Yes, Panic-Happy is a condition and I have it. If I, in one weak moment, can imagine something bad happening, I make it my divine responsibility to start worrying about the possibility of the bad thing happening. For example, Zack has been having headaches lately. Perhaps four in the last 6 weeks—not a huge amount, but enough to get this Worse-Case Scenario Mama on task. I’ve imagined all the horrible things that might be causing aforementioned headaches. I won’t list them here because typing them out may cause me to hyperventilate and pass out before completing this post. On with the story…

By that time my MIL had come outside and was trying to help me end the conversation with the crazy man. Come to find out he didn’t want me to call a duck; he was insisting I call a doctor, because, he informed me, Zack was dying. And he didn’t stop insisting. He had remembered all the words necessary to tell me, over and over again, that God had informed him my son would die unless I got him to a doctor, immediately. He followed me into the house and my MIL called the police.

This is where I must interrupt, yet again, to say that this is the point at which I began to have a panic attack. What if this guy could read Zack’s energy and knew something I didn’t? What if the death sentence he envisioned was somehow connected to those disturbing headaches? What if all those movies with the slightly insane yet incredibly prophetic characters who could save countless people if they could only get past the slightly psycho exterior were being replayed in my MIL’s livingroom? I actually considered picking Zack up and taking him to the emergency room right then and there, leaving my MIL to deal with the crazy man. But what would I tell them? “This crazy man said my son’s dying and I need you to look into that for me.”

After about 10 agonizing minutes with this man insisting on Zack’s death and frightening Kaleb and Leah beyond belief while I stood between them shaking uncontrollably, the policeman arrived.

Long story short, the policeman got the crazy man home and his caretakers promised to suspend his walks. And I finally stopped shaking.

Bizarre, right?

But for whatever reason, having someone tell you that your son is dying, even if that someone’s presence of mind is questionable, is a disturbing experience. Last night was long and uncomfortable. Thankfully in the light of day the old man seemed less prophetic and more lost. And Zack, I’m happy to announce, is still very much alive.

Mama? She be needing some therapy.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

How Dieting Has Aged Me

I haven’t quite decided which is worse. Looking fat or looking old. Unfortunately for me, the two seem to be mutually exclusive. Let me explain.

After seven weeks in Weight Watchers I have lost a total of 20.2 pounds. Fabulous, right? The only problem is that my face, which was once pudgy and prime, is slowly deflating. At first this wasn’t a problem until I realized that the fat had actually been stuffing my wrinkles, eliminating them altogether. As the skin settles closer to my skull, it’s beginning to pucker and sag. I’m becoming svelte, slender, and shriveled. It’s hugely disappointing.

I first noticed this while driving my car. As I looked into the rearview mirror I noticed a distinct line between my eyes. I thought it was a stray eyebrow hair and immediately tried to remove it. It was no hair. It was a deep-set wrinkle! You’ve heard all those smartypants newscasters warn about how stress causes premature aging? Turns out they’re right. All those years I furrowed my brow with worry and anxiety have permanently scarred my forehead.

When I lived in Japan my friends used to slap my forehead whenever I furrowed my brow. They warned that if I did that enough, like crossing my eyes, it would eventually stay that way. You don’t believe things like that when you’re 21. But I tell you what—it’s been fifteen years and I believe them. If only they’d wacked more sense into me.

My friend told me that some women scotch-tape their foreheads when they’re home to prevent brow-furrowing like a poor woman’s Botox. Sadly, for me, it’s too late for that.

But it turns out that happiness causes just as many wrinkles. I curse my mother for extolling the virtues of a healthy smile. I now have jowl lines and crow’s feet as evidence of all my virtue– a thing that didn’t preoccupy me much before I began losing weight. I’m just praying my skin still has enough elasticity to bounce back. That or I’m counting on modern science to develop the technology where the skin from my children’s buttocks can be grafted onto my face. Considering all the skin they’ve stretched out in other areas, I figure they owe me a cheek or two.

I guess the moral of the story is, keep your expressions consistent. Either furrow or smile, but don’t do both. And apparently you shouldn’t sleep on your face or put your eye makeup on with your pointer finger—it’s too strong. The ring finger is best suited for that, being weak and all. I know, I’m learning all these beauty tips a little late in the game. But 20 pounds ago, I could apply makeup with the palm of my hand and sleep with all three children on my face. The sacrifices you make to be thin.

So I’m opting for old. That’s all there is to it. And if my skin doesn’t bounce back, at least I’ll have my skinny jeans (okay, okay—size 11 jeans). That and I’m still banking on the skin-grafting.