Friday, October 21, 2011

Dear Idaho Falls,

Remember last year when we broke up because I was overwhelmed by life and thought it might be better for my family if we moved to another state?  Well, I’ve changed my mind; I’d like to get back together.

First of all, it wasn’t you—it was me.  (Unless we’re talking about your winters and then it’s all totally you.)

Weather aside, we loved your schools—especially Linden Park Elementary where all my kids started kindergarten and enjoyed Popcorn Fridays, the Homework Club and Ms. Glisendorf, the school secretary who I admit to having a little girl crush on (please don’t retire—pretty please).

We were happy with our dentists and pediatricians.  In fact, the doctor who diagnosed my youngest with eczema was the object of another crush about which I wrote extensively, effectively embarrassing the nice, single pediatrician and shaming myself (in case you were wondering, no, we did not leave Idaho Falls because of any outstanding restraining orders).

We enjoyed the parks, the library, the museum, Happy Hour at Sonic and the dollar theater which is really a misnomer because it costs more than that, but I’m guessing the Two Dollars and Fifty Cents Theater doesn’t sound nearly as good.  We liked the shopping, the greenbelt, old downtown and the numbered streets, although we’re not a fan of 17th which is very busy and the place where we got into a fender bender two days after Christmas.  

Idaho Falls is the place where I started a life as a single mom and was buoyed up by friends and neighbors in the community who cleared snow from my sidewalks and windblown tree limbs from my front yard.  It’s also where gracious volunteers fixed my frozen pipes and gave us an entire winter reserve of wood after our furnace broke.  It’s the place where my kids found friends, teammates and teachers who loved them through some hard times and then kept loving them long after things stopped being so tough.  
Our first Thurs in IF it snowed.  That was October 6th...

And lest we forget, it’s the place where my BFF lives, who’s literally been with me through thick and thin, back to thick and, knock on wood, on our way to thin again.  It’s also where I found Mr.Charming who may or may not be filing a restraining order after discovering that we’ve rented a moving van so we can come back.

You had us at hello, Idaho Falls.  You had us as hello.

Sincerely, Me

P.S.  While our love for you is completely unconditional, we would really appreciate milder (and shorter) winters.  Thanks for your consideration.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Labor-Day Weekend

If I were entrepreneurial minded, I would totally open a store specializing in gifts for unusual occasions.  Like, when you need an I-told-you-so card for your mother after she paints the house Spicy Mustard.  Or maybe a wedding gift for the cousin who once got you with the honey-on-the-toilet-seat gag.  

For example, if someone had known that I would be meeting Mr. Charming’s ex wife and parents this past weekend, they could have gone to the aforementioned specialty shop to get me a refrigerator magnet, or, say, a box of chocolate-covered Valium.  

As luck would have it, the weekend, completely unmedicated, was fairly uneventful.  Unless, of course, you consider the Meet and Greet picnic where I was at a complete loss for words. 
I know.  Imagine that.

But whatever awkward silences may have existed were completely filled by my children, who are walking Hallmark cards.  The following were said at some point over the three days we spent in Idaho Falls and may or may not have been overheard by other grownups:

Kaleb: I’m okay with having stepbrothers and sisters as long as we can play their video games.

Leah: [following an especially emotional good bye] People are always sad to see me go.

Zack: If you marry [Mr. Charming], would his ex wife be my step aunt?

Kaleb: I just want you to be happy.  Oh, and it would be nice to play Dungeons & Dragons too.

Leah (and Mr. Charming’s youngest girl): Mom and [Mr. Charming] are dating and mating (which they continue to believe are synonymous terms, regardless of lessons emphasizing the contrary).

Zack: I think [Mr. Charming] is nice.  I especially like all his Spiderman comics.

Zack:  Mr. Charming’s ex wife is nice.  Maybe even nicer than you.

Zack: Monkeys sometimes eat their own poop.

Zack:  I either want to be a comic book artist or a mad scientist when I grow up.

Out of the mouths of babes, right?

The weekend, designed to serve multiple purposes, taught me three very important things: 

  1.  Always print map instructions before heading back home through Montana,
  2. There are no prefabricated threats that will prevent my children from speaking their minds, and 
  3. Chocolate-infused Benadryl is another brilliant idea.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dating and Disney

This was written a few months ago.  Updates forthcoming...

Disney has done my children a great disservice.  While I didn’t expect Walt to teach them everything, I was kinda hoping his franchise would cover the intricacies of love and romance.  My bad.

Let’s be honest here.  I’m about as social as a ceiling fan and my flirting skillz are seriously subpar, so when I talked to my children about the possibility of mommy dating, it was in grand hypotheticals.  Like winning the lottery, having MTV pimp my ride or getting all my laundry done in one day.

As luck would have it, Mommy is dating.  And if I’m reading my children correctly, they might spontaneously combust.  Apparently, they firmly believe dating is just a casual word for betrothal, and it’s only a matter of time before the wicked stepfather sends them away to boarding school.  Pray tell, where did they get those active imaginations?

My daughter is especially vexed.  In regards to famous Disney hookups, only Jasmine dated around.  Ariel imprinted with her true love moments after surfacing, Aurora and Snow White’s first kisses were with Prince Charming, and insensible shoes brought Cinderella’s destiny to her front door.  So according to Disney’s schedule, I’m either ready to take a ride on a magic carpet, have my fairy Godmother fit me with a designer gown or prick my finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die.  Not that any of those wouldn’t be equally exciting…

Of course, I never bought into Hollywood’s shrink-wrapped version of romance myself.  I didn’t once swoon when Christian Slater told Marisa Tomei he had a baboon heart. I didn’t cheer for joy when Patrick Swayze said that no one puts Baby in a corner.  Nor did I become a little faint when Eric Stoltz and Marie Stuart Masterson engaged in a practice kiss. 

Okay, so I’m a sucker for it all.  And when my daughter’s eyes glaze over when talking about princes, I tend to glaze with.  But unfortunately, most of Disney’s romances are caste with disenchanted mommies: stepmoms, stepqueens, class A felony kidnappers.  Not one of them rides a paddle boat in the moonlight while being serenaded by sea creatures.  And believe me, that’s on my bucket list.

Whether or not I’ve found Mr. Charming remains to be seen, and I’ll be the first to admit the search can sometimes feel quite magical. However, the reaction of my kids has reminded me that I can never forget my true loves.  Because for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, for armpit farts and public brawls, they are my happily ever after.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Playing Pretend, Grownup Style

This was written shortly before Oprah's show ended.

When my children don’t know I’m watching, they pretend to fight mythical creatures, perform to sold-out auditoriums, save the planet from hostile alien invasions, use the force to defeat Darth Vader (or whiny little Luke, depending on their mood), film the prize-winning America’s Funniest Home Video and flush marbles down the toilet, although that last one has nothing to do with this particular post.

One of my most embarrassing moments came when my father walked in on a similar dreamscape: I was 13-ish and singing the Pointer Sisters’ “Jump” into a hairbrush while performing some fantastical dance moves.  He tried to back out of the living room, but not before I caught a glimpse of him, bewildered and amused, behind me in the mirror.

I’d like to say that as a grown woman I’m above that sort of Extreme Pretending, but I’d be lying.  And unfortunately I’m not much of a do-gooder in my imaginary escapades; I’m not establishing world peace, eliminating poverty and hunger or curing cancer—the truth is I’m generally engrossed in a deep and touching interview with Oprah Winfrey.  Sadly, this particular dream has a shelf-life of about 30 days seeing as how Oprah’s final episode airs in one month.  I’m a little bummed.

In the interview she’s laughing raucously at my witty and spontaneous humor.  But then she gets serious, leaning forward to grab my hand and ask how my life has changed since becoming a best-selling novelist.  I won’t bore you with the details of my imaginary interview, except to say that it’s the highest-rated pretend Oprah episode to date.

Just a few weeks ago, I told my BFF that I regularly engage in pretend Oprah interviews--in fact, just that morning Oprah had asked about my first extravagant purchase after becoming filthy rich.  I had laughed, modestly, and told her that while my lifestyle hadn’t changed much, I did splurge and buy one of everything pictured in Pottery Barn’s Spring Catalog. 

It was then that I realized I’m not the only adult lost in the haze of an intoxicating day dream.  My BFF informed me that she regularly imagines her Sunday service interrupted by rebel forces which she single-handedly disarms and incapacitates with a series of round-house kicks, much to the surprise of the entire congregation that, awestruck, applauds her efforts, albeit reverently.  No wonder my kids liked playing at her house so much.

So I guess that everyone plays pretend, some of us more rigorously than others.  And although Oprah may be retiring, I may just have a pretend future in fighting mythical creatures.  My BFF could always teach me a thing or two, in her dreams.

How about you?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Road Trips and Rest Stops

If my column had a jingle it would go a little something like this: shaming myself publicly so that you don’t have to.   And because I was an English major, I like that my jingle is a double entendre: I shame myself publicly before anyone else has a chance to do it for me AND I shame myself publicly so that you can avoid my shameful behavior.  

Either way, my joy comes in knowing that, if all else fails, I generally make readers feel just a little bit better about themselves.  

You’re welcome.  (Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.)

Over spring break I drove 10 hours to take the kids to see their dad in Utah.  Then I continued to drive 10 more hours to visit my own biological father in Taos, New Mexico. 
I’m guessing there are three common difficulties in traveling long distances via automobile with children: 1. bathroom emergencies, 2. sibling rivalry and 3. the spilling of fry sauce in the backseat.  Check, check and check!

As for number one, my daughter has a bladder of steel.  It’s creepy, really, how long the girl can go without going. That is, until we get on the road.  Kryptonite is to Superman as road travel is to her continence.  And as soon as she mentions the need, her brothers chime in: “You probably shouldn’t think about Niagra Falls” or “Is that water running or is it just Leah running to the bathroom?”  And my personal favorite, “Superheroes never have to go to the bathroom.” (I don’t think Spunk understood the purpose of this exercise.)

Once I quieted the boys, I gave her my best hold-it lecture, because these emergencies never happen within 10 miles of a gas station or a rest area.  Think about something else, and put the water bottle down.  That’s it—that’s my lecture.  

Luckily, there were no accidents (aside from the fry sauce debacle) and no close calls.  
Unless, of course, you count my drive sans children.

In my defense, there’s a long stretch of mountainous terrain for which New Mexico has not yet received adequate funding for rest stops.  Also in my defense, I have birthed three children and do not have a bladder of steel, on or off-road.

About two hours into my drive home, I texted my BFF: ‘Totally peed on the side of the road.  Classy.’  Apparently, she’s privy to the jingle because she forwarded my text to a common friend, who was, at the time, driving back to Idaho Falls from Las Vegas—with her husband.

“You forwarded my text about peeing on the side of the road?” I asked.

“Oh, she totally appreciated it.”

So once again, my column is a cautionary tale.  This time it’s intended for those of you who may be considering the occupation of public shaming, because like superhero work, once you assume the charge, your life is no longer your own.  Unless, of course, you have an alter ego, a bladder of steel or a cell phone plan without unlimited texting.  

Then you might be okay.

Friday, October 07, 2011

The Tween Eye Roll

My oldest child seems to be suffering from a condition in which his eyeballs are magnetically drawn to the top of his head. It happens mostly when he’s talking to me.  Either he needs a specialist or karma has come to kick my trash.  (By the way, that evil cackle you hear in the background is my mother laughing at me.)

From approximately 11-years old to midway through my freshman year in college, I was notoriously sassy.  Some people reminisce about near-death experiences or most embarrassing moments at family gatherings.  My mother talks about Shauna’s Moody Years.  And from the way she describes them, I was so caustic that red lasers would often shoot from my eyes and flames burst from my ears.  Also, periodically my head would spin all the way around, independent of my neck.

The truth is, I was especially feisty in junior high when boys stopped pulling on pigtails and started snapping bra straps.  It was a time in which forgetting to wear your deodorant could make for an excruciating bus ride home, either inflicted upon oneself, the person next to you, or that mean kid who sat in the back.  With reckless abandon, I tried out for basketball, cheerleading and drill team, only to be rejected thrice.  I also learned that people could be incredibly cruel for the sake of popularity as I watched a boy get stuffed into a industrial garbage can at the end of PE one day.  Puberty is not for the faint of heart.

You’d think with all this I would be much more empathetic to watch my son edge his way into the preteen years, complete with questionable body odor, dirty socks that smell that corn chips and the infamous ‘eye roll.’  Uhm, not so much.

I’m nearly catatonic with fear.  

The junior high horror stories are much worse than the ones I went to school with.  Apparently the hallways abound with mini Charlie Sheens and their goddesses in the terrestrial dimension, pushing drugs you can overcome with your mind.  Winning?  Maybe if you’re homeschooling.

But instead, I’m going to use my mind to will my children through a prepubescent experience more like my own.  This includes being grateful for the condition from which my son is currently suffering, because it doesn’t require rehab.  And to guide me through this uncharted territory in parenting, I’m going to draw from my father’s arsenal.

“Those eyes can either roll on the floor or not at all.  Your choice.”

It was a different brand of parenting, but effective in its own way.  Because I turned into a most pleasant and healthy adult.

What? Are you rolling your eyes at me?

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentine Reflection, sort-of


This week's Valentine's column.

Just so you know I did a lot of preparatory work in writing this Valentine’s column.  First, I texted my BFF: ‘Trying to write a Valentine’s column.  Kill me now.’  Next I reminisced about all my elementary school crushes.  Then I fantasized about eating a giant heart-shaped sugar cookie.  And then I posted to Facebook: ‘Trying to write a Valentine’s column.  Kill me now.’  Don’t let anyone tell you this job is easy.

I’m not at all bitter about being single as Valentine’s Day approaches, a day set aside to celebrate lovers and romance and a naked cherub forcing people into relationships through violent means.  No, not all.  

Because even though I am single, I am loved.  

Okay, so that wasn’t enough words to pass as a column, so I have to keep going.  Hang with me, people.  I’m sure this is going to get better.

Like I said, I am loved, most importantly by three wonderful children, two of which still allow me public displays of motherly affection.  

My youngest two are totally okay with public kisses.  My daughter is all about dainty pecks on the lips, and if I miss, she’ll pout and demand a do-over.  My 6-year old is still a little sloppy about it, and when he’s not looking, I have to wipe some of his exuberance from my face.  A few weeks ago, he ran halfway back from the bus stop when he realized he hadn’t kissed me goodbye.  All together now: Ahhhhhhh.  

But I know those days are numbered.

My oldest son boycotted kissing just last week.  I was tucking him into bed when he made the request.  No more kisses—he’s too old for that.

I’ll be honest—it left me reeling for a minute, until, that is, I tried to envision myself kissing the poor boy on his wedding day.   I can only imagine the scene from the bride’s perspective as the lumbering mother-in-law leans towards her man, puckering up for a big smooch and then wiping old-lady lipstick from the corners of his mouth.  

So while I was a little forlorn at Kaleb’s request, I can appreciate his maturity and the steps he’s taking to prevent awkward mouth kissing for him and his posterity.  

Then the other night while I was tucking him into bed, he said, “You can still kiss me, Mom.  Just not on the lips and not in front of friends.”

Ahhhh.  Looks like I’ve still got this one for a few more years.  I think I’ll celebrate by eating a giant heart-shaped sugar cookie.

Happy Valentines, everyone! 

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Picassoman

I haven't blogged for awhile--I've been trying to decide what kind of writer I want to be when I grow up.  

But, in the meantime, I had to post this goody.  While I may be biased, I think my little Spunk is a prodigy when it comes to Spiderman works of art.  Like this wonder:

 
He’s only 6.  Amazing, right?

Okay, so maybe I’m biased.  But let me know if you’d like a print on canvas—it’s only 40 kazillion dollars this week.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Elliptical Dreams

Does this elliptical make my butt look big?
I want an elliptical.  A nice, inexpensive, calorie-burnin’, exercise while netflickin’, slimin’ and tonin’ machine.  

I am convinced it is the cure for the extra donk in my badonkadonk.  

So I have been scouring Craiglist and the MoneySaver for a deal, and in my mind, securing this elliptical is the same as squeezing my badonk into a pair of skinny jeans. I know my thinking is flawed, but please allow me to have my moment of delusion.  I deserve that much.

It was in working through aforementioned flawed logic that I realized exactly the type of person I am.  

I am the person who thinks that buying a bunch of plastic bins and hanging file folders is as good as organizing my home. 

I am the person who feels that renting a post hole digger is the same as installing a fence.  

I am the person who believes that making a to-do list is just as good as checking it off.

I am also the person who prays for the invention of a calorie-free cheesecake, although that’s totally unrelated to this post.

So, I’m trying to be completely mature and commit to being all healthy and stuff before I find my magic elliptical.  And that’s why I’m currently thinking about committing to eating healthy and exercising before I actually find it, although that really sounds like just a lot of work.  Not like my magic elliptical which will make burning thousands of calories a day easy cheesy.  

By the way, I’m also on the lookout for a walking broom that will do my laundry and a unicorn that will help with yard work.  Thank you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why I Love Facebook

I have decided that there are half a dozen Facebook camps.  I could break them down into genus and species (one includes those closet farmers who long to live the rural dream), but I’m sure I’d lose about half my friends in the process.  

I’m in the unfortunate camp that believes Facebook IS a viable social life (currently my only social life, thank you very much).  This means I change my status at least once a day and comment on a handful of others before nightfall.  I know at least half the other camps will collectively roll their eyes at me, but to them I say, I y’am what I y’am, virtually.

So you won’t be surprised to discover that I had an imaginary conversation via Facebook this week with the 3-Day Weekend.   And this is exactly why I love Facebook.  I posted a fairly innocuous status:

3-day weekend,
May you include lots of sleep, pizza, recreational basketball viewing, and non-argumentative playtime with kids.
Pretty please?

It wasn’t even very creative, but in less than 20 minutes I got this response:

Dear Shauna,
More like ecstatic joy on Friday, grumbling about chores on Saturday, whining and sulking at church on Sunday, and then constant bickering with each other and the cry of, "But THEY'RE going to the movies, why can't WE?" until the blessed hour of bedtime. Just thought you needed a little reality check there.
Love, the 3-Day Weekend. *smooch*

In this comment, the 3-Day Weekend is played by my friend, Sharon, a classmate from my days at BYU-Hawaii.  She is so witty that sometimes my eyes sting just from reading her comments.  I wasn’t nearly as quick with my reply, which, now that I look at it, is lame-O.  

Dear 3-Day Weekend,

I'm just not that into you.

Sincerely,
Shauna

And the conversation continued until we both spontaneously combusted.  No, really.

Dear Shauna,
I'm always here for you anyway. At least, whenever the teachers at your kids' school decide that they can't stand your kids for ONE MORE DAY and take a vacay. I'm afraid I'll stalk you until your youngest is in college. Bwa-ha-ha-ha.
Love, The 3-Day Weekend.

Dear 3-day weekend,
I have yet to secure that type of commitment from a single man. Regardless of your perseverance, I find myself attracted to the Boys and Girls Club who open their doors to my fighting children when I am at wit's end (thanks to you). Unfortunately, they are closed on Saturday and Sunday, thus ensuring the grumbling about chores and whining and sulking at church. Read: you suck.
Shauna

Dear Shauna,
Who do you think inspired the Boys and Girls Club to close on Saturday and Sunday? I have my ways of making people do what I want them to do. I am all powerful. Do not trifle with me.
Love, The 3 Day Weekend.

Dear 3-Day Weekend,
I'm very close to filing a restraining order against your stalking, delusional 72-hour self. We are going to have fun this weekend, whether or not it involves three little straight-jackets (note to self: check etsy for handmade straight-jackets in children's sizes). So there.
Shauna

Dear Shauna,
Just be grateful that I do not call my cousins to aid me in demolishing your carefully constructed delusions. Spring Break and Memorial Day still want recompense for the joy you had last year. And don't even get me started on how much Presidents' Day wants payback. Remember--it's not the kids who are out to get you--it's us.
The Vacay from Perdition.

Dear 3-day,
You and your inbred cousins can go pester all those families at Disneyland. Already we've had 2 meltdowns, 1 screamfest, 1 public brawl, and 5 'do-you-want-to-spend-the-rest-of-the-weekend-in-your-room?'s. It's only Saturday. I don't know what's in the 3-day weekend water, but it has possessed my children in a Linda-Blair like fashion. I have a dream, 3-day weekend, that my three little children will one day endure a 72-hour time span without teasing, whining, fighting, pouting, crying, or, heaven-willing, one roll of those sassy little eyeballs. Watch your back, Vacay from Perdition, because you have children too. And until we settle the score, all your silly little unofficial holidays will not be safe (yes, April Fools' Day, Grandparents' Day, and International Talk Like a Pirate Day, that would be you).
Shauna

Dear Shauna,
I do have children of my own. I hereby retract all ill will heretofore either intentionally or unintentionally leveled in your direction and beg for your forgiveness. You are tougher than I am--I am merely a vacation and a lame one, at that. you are Mother. You are invincible. You will Win. My apologies to you and yours, and I will endeavor not to be a pain in the rear from here on out.
Love, Three Day Weedend

Dear 3-day weekend,
Ah shucks. Let's be friends.
xoxo, Shauna

I know what you’re thinking: here are two women with far too much time on their hands.  And to you I say, here are two women looking for a healthy outlet so they don’t place their children in strait jackets and run away to Jamaica.  (By the way, it was Sharon that once pointed out to me, via Facebook, that straight jacket was really strait jacket.  A true friend who also happens to be witty and brilliant.  Back in paradise, her mother was my grammar and semantics instructor, wouldn’t ya know  [Oh, and even after that poignant Facebook lesson, I still spelled it straight jacket in this exchange because I’m, you know, unbrilliant.])

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When Legos Come to Stay: A Photo Essay

Our home has been infiltrated by the Legos.

Like the eighth plague of Egypt, these sharp, minuscule pieces of plastic have assailed and prevailed.  They came in stockings, were disguished as gifts and stoawayed in backpacks and laundry bins on the kids' return from holiday visitation with their dad.  Impartial to gender, they came, fell apart and pierced our fleshy souls (as in the bottoms of our feet, not the metaphysical essence of our beings).  

Anywho.

Girl Legos are different from boy Legos, in case you were wondering (and no, the difference is not discerned by looking at their accessories).  Leah got a pink, white and orange set that can be built into a cute little Victorian home complete with a white picket fence and flower gardenette. 
And apparently, once your girl Legos have been assembled, you are to perform Lego Plays. 
In this story, a young Lego Girl longs for a pony.  

Lego Girl: Oh, Mama, I so wish I could have a pony.
Lego Mama: Well, dear daughter, you know I cannot afford to give you a pony.

Aside: This is called, Art Imitating Life.

Lego Mama: But your birthday is coming up and you do have a rich uncle.  Why don’t you write him a letter?

Aside: This is called Wildly Imaginative and Slightly Disturbing.

Lego Girl does write her rich uncle, and lo and behold, on her 8th birthday, she is given a pony named Patty, because “that’s a good name for a horse.”

Spunk watched the play with anticipation, because in his chubby little hand (how sad I’ll be when those hands stop being chubby) he held some Lego characters of his own, and they were itching for a role.  So when I jokingly said that maybe Sis’s Legos needed a Lego doctor, because they kept falling apart between scenes, Spunk saw his chance. 

Using his best siren voice, he pushed his Lego pirates and Lego truck onto the set.  Like the Marx Brothers, his swashbuckling pirates clambered from their perch, bumping into each other and losing limbs of their own. “We’re the ambulance guys,” they said.  And then, as an afterthought, “To the rescue!”

Because these guys are the rescuing type...
Sis was devastated, because, of course, this meant her Lego Play was ruined.  She retreated into the bathroom and wasn’t to be coaxed out, until, that is, we agreed to watch the production from the beginning and keep our big mouths shut.  
 
The pony is much loved.  Unfortunately, after some time (perhaps 15 minutes), Lego Girl begins to neglect Lego Dog, Skittles.  There is sadness and confusion.

The play is so engaging that Sport, passing by for a drink of water, becomes intrigued and watches the Lego Play.

Lego Mama confronts Lego Daughter and shares her disappointment in the girl’s behavior when…

Sport: So, is that, like, horse poo?

Sport, Spunk and I lean towards the brown Lego pieces.  I press my lips together because I can feel what’s coming.  But it doesn’t stop the explosive laughter. 

Lego Poo?  BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Because I am that mature.

Our promise broken, Sis again retreats to the bathroom only to return to set up the final scene (which includes no lose brown Legos).


 Lego Girl and Lego Mama share a tasty brunch throughout which Lego Girl continually rolls her eyes at everything Lego Mama says.  The End.

Not to be outdone, Sport brings out his completed Lego set—a task that took exactly one day of seclusion in his bedroom.   
This assemblage is unaccompanied by any script or character arc.  It’s simply Endor ‘from that Star Wars movie with the Ewoks.”
And this is my favorite part—because that’s Lego Chewbacca!
And I know what you’re thinking.  What if Chewbacca ate Skittles before stealing Patty from Lego Girl so that he could use her Lego manure as fuel for his dying planet?  What a great sequel, right?  
 
Someone else will have to coax her out of the bathroom though, because she’s not listening to me anymore.

(I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the eyeroll is the tenth plague of parenthood.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What Medusa and My Naked Body Have in Common

There are some things you can never take back.   Swimwear from which you’ve removed the panty strip, the fruitcake your neighbor gifted over the holidays, that comment about your mother-in-law’s meatloaf and her family’s genetic propensity for lazy eye, and the image of your naked self irreparably burned into the retinas of your oldest offspring.  Yes, gentle readers, my son accidentally walked in on me naked this week, and he shall never be the same.

I think mine is the generation of teenagers whose parents all walked around in their underwear, at least that’s what I’ve gathered from informal research.  When I came home from a night out with friends, I’d have to stick my head in the doorway and call out, “Everyone decent?” before inviting people through the Barnes threshold.  My friends all have similar stories to share, of naked fathers and their robust dashes from the john to their bedrooms, of mothers accidentally flashing neighbor children when answering the front door in beltless robes, and countless potty breaks with gaping bathroom doors.  

All this probably explains my prudery.  Until this week, I’m fairly certain that my children have been spared any full frontals of their mother.  My dashes from the shower to the bedroom are quick and covered.  Any scantily clad trips through my own home are often made to the Mission Impossible themesong, as I duck under windows, peek around corners and hug the walls in order to maintain modesty.  

But sadly, all good things must come to an end.  In my defense, it was his fault.  He was tattletaling, and we all know there’s no reward for that.  Regardless, my 9-year old son walked into the bathroom as I was entering the shower.  In that frightful moment his face elongated around his gaping, oval mouth—I can now guess why Munch’s screamer was screaming.  Like Medusa’s head, my naked self seemed to have turned the kid to stone for a few awkward moments, during which time I cried, over and over again, “Shut the door, shut the door, shut the door…”

For that frozen second I caught myself thinking, This would have been so much better had it happened when you were thin.  To which I realized, can it ever be good to see your naked mother?  Only, I gather, in Greek mythology.

Finally, mercifully, the bathroom door closed.  I quickly put on my robe (secured the belt, of course) and followed him into the bedroom.   He fell on the bed and covered his head with the comforter.  At which point I thought, What do you expect to say, exactly?  “So, you saw me naked? Bummer.”  Or “That’s why you should always knock, mister.”  I bit my tongue on the tempting, “I can’t be held responsible for most of what you saw, because a lot of it is your fault, carrying you around in my womb and all.”

It’s done.  You can’t unring a bell, or in this case, you can’t unsee your naked mother.  He had a tough time meeting my eyes the remainder of the day, and I had a tough time keeping down solid food.  

For any of you that might be interested, his birthday’s coming up, and the poor boy could use a lifetime supply of therapy.  

To his future wife I say, “I have effectively lowered his expectations.” And, “You’re welcome.”

Sunday, January 09, 2011

New Year's Column


I know it's a little late, but here's my New Year's column.  I'm currently hatching this fabulous post about, wait for it, Legos.  I promise it's life-altering.  Until then, here's a post about resolutions and time machines because, really, how can you have one without the other? (I don't know what that means either.)

Even though you’re reading this after Christmas, I’m writing it just before which means I’m currently experiencing Pre-Christmas Bloat which is followed by the New Years Eve Binge and then, finally, the guilt-induced Great Weight Loss Resolution.  It’s the circle of life, people.

This has been a stressful year for me.  I have prepared a house for the market (and it still hasn’t sold), moved my family to a different state, experienced BFF separation anxiety, and witnessed the death of our family vehicle, fondly referred to as that Stinkin’ White Mini Van Missing a Front Bumper.  All this means one thing: I have gained approximately 30 pounds.   

As a result, I had to unpack my big-girl pants, and it wasn’t a happy moment for me (not to mention, I hadn’t kept many of them in the first place).   It reminded me of the first few years of my kids’ lives.  My oldest and youngest are exactly three years apart which means we went through boxes and boxes of clothes.  In fact, every six months I’d travel to the attic where I would retrieve the next set of clothes big enough to fit my three toddlers.  Will I forever be keeping a spare wardrobe of clothes like that?  Boxes of skinny jeans or boxes of fat pants? Or, heaven forbid, bigger fat pants?  Let’s hope not!

So I’ve made a decision.  I will build a time machine and travel back to the Victorian Era when chunky was voluptuous and exercise machines were nonexistent.  There.  Problem solved.  Except for the pesky little part about the time machine.  

Maybe, ladies, we could band together and change society’s view of beauty.  Let’s bring voluptuous back!  Let’s boycott the waifish look and thumb our noses at washboard stomachs and buns of steel!  Let’s celebrate the female form that’s, say, approximately 30 pounds above her healthy weight range.  Pretty please?

Or, and this is a good one, we could bottle and sell Spunk’s metabolism and eat cinnamon rolls for the rest of our lives.  

Okay, okay.  So it’s probably easier to lose 30 pounds than it is to accomplish any of those things.  The only problem is I don’t wanna.  I don’t wanna count calories.  I don’t wanna stop eating movie popcorn.  I don’t wanna perform cardiovascular activity three to five times a week.  I also don’t wanna keep wearing my big-girl pants.  So I’ve reached an impasse.  Although the big-girl pants are more deplorable than the rest, which brings me back, once again, to the Great Weight Loss Resolution.
 
In my stocking, Santa gave me a pedometer—and for the record, you know something’s wrong when the Big Man implies you need a little exercise.  So I guess moving is part of that resolution.  As is eating fewer cinnamon rolls and more fruits and vegetables.  And doing things I don’t wanna until I feel like I do.

Unless someone can pass me a time machine.  Anyone?  Anyone?

Happy 2011, everyone.