Saturday, May 31, 2008

lost in translation

If you were in one room and heard your child shriek,
"MUGGYSTUHH!!!! MUGGYSTUGGGGGGH!!! MOOOOMMMMYYYY!!!"


What would you think she wanted? My initial thoughts were:

1. Her Muggy is Stuh. AGAIN!!
2. She is pronouncing "Magnadoodle" even less understandably.
3. She wants to read Monster Munchies and is just really in a hurry.
4. Muggles suck. Although she's never heard/seen Harry Potter, so how would she know?
5. (Craig's later interpretation) A Muggy from the planet Muggelsteiner had landed in our sunroom and was somehow threatening all of known civilization with his Muggystick.

When I turned the corner, I learned the truth.

She had put her little blue purse around her neck, then worked it down around her waist like a sporran or fannypack. Then she put a plastic monkey in the purse, and the monkey became stuck in the purse. And she couldn't get the monkey out, so she was requesting help by hollering, "Monkey stuck!" to the best of her 21 month old abilities, even though the immediacy of the threat communicated sounded more like "I'm trapped under a VW bug" than "The plastic monkey is momentarily stuck in my sporran".

Learn something new every day, don't we?

Friday, May 30, 2008

what's with today today?

Today I keep thinking of Lucas in Empire Records, and the way the music changed the second he lost his bet and watched the $18k being swept off the roulette table. I am having one of those days.

When you have a willful child, you can tell within 15 seconds of seeing them in the morning. You know that no matter how quickly you serve them the food they've just requested, they're not going to eat it, and may in fact throw it at you, or worse, cram it in their mouth, chew it, and *then* spit it at you. Which is what happened with a Barbara's cereal bar, which grossed me out so much that we took an immediate shower. Yick.

Then Craig woke to find himself sicker than any human being had ever been in the history of the world. In his words. And then a friend's cat sliced Cleo's nose and lip open. And then, while sobbing, she bled all over my favorite shirt. And then her current favorite toy broke. And then she woke up from her nap crying for no apparent reason. And then, through the clever distraction of putting a sock on a toy bunny and calling it a mermaid, I was finally able to end the tears. Whew.

Luckily, I get to go eat Greek food and bowl tonight, and there is a distinct possiblity of cake, so there is still the sweet chance of redemption. But then, there's the much dreaded weekend. Yick.

So, um. Yeah. Rambling post. Today sucked, hopefully it will get better, and I expect tomorrow to suck. Very cheerful. Yay, pregnancy hormones.

Is it Monday yet? I like Mondays.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

before/after




So there are the results of the old chop-chop. A little shorter than I had anticipated, but the goal was to keep her from scratching red patches on her ears and neck where the curly little mullet used to lie.


Here is the before:

Bye bye, baby mullet!

chop chop

I recently decided that my child looked like an orphaned gypsy whose bangs were mangled in a hideous streetsweeper accident. Inspired by my friend Emile, I knew it was time for Cleo's first real haircut-- the first one that didn't involve me chasing her with eyebrow scissors while my mom had her in a headlock.

We eventually were pleased with Pigtails and Crewcuts at 2:30pm, but our 9:30am visit was extremely annoying. We arrived 2 minutes before they opened and were 2nd in line. Not bad. Then the second stylist was 15 minutes late and a "regular" jumped line, explaining that she was "a regular in a hurry-- you understand". And then she winked. Yeah, I understood. Which is why we walked out the door.

We had a great time at The Coffee Park and Moe's with some friends, then headed over to Snipits, which was recommended by my friend's 5 year old. The mom explained that they make girls feel like princesses. Such was not our experience, unless the princess in question was one of those horribly tortured girls from some sort of twisted fairy tale.

They have one tiny table with 3 chairs and 2 raggedy puzzles, all of which were dominated by rude older children who actually had the nerve to elbow Cleo in the face as they shouted, "NO, MINE!" and, "Mooooommmy, make the baby go away!" They also had some sort of invisible barricade system known only to the staff, so that if Cleo wondered into an area that they deemed inappropriate, we were told to "Go back to the waiting area". At one point, Cleo tried to climb into an empty barber chair that was about 11 inches from the substandard puzzle table, and the nearest stylist, and the least sour looking of the two, said, "Mom, we don't let kids play in the chairs, for good reason. You should know better." At which point I said, "Fair enough," and we walked out.

Finally, at 2:30, we returned to Pigtails and Crewcuts and had a fabulous time. We were the only customers, so no wait. Cleo got to choose her seat-- a fire truck. And they have an entire room for the kids to play with oodles of toys, not to mention a train table and Nintendo. Everyone smiled at Cleo and said how cute she was, and she had a great time getting a sassy little hair cut that is neither a wedge nor a pageboy.

So, in conclusion, do not go to Snipits if you have an energetic toddler who would rather feel like a fireman than a princess. Go to Pigtails and Crewcuts, and watch Alvin and the Chipmunks, and wonder what on earth Jason Lee was thinking, then take home a commemorative baggy of hair clippings. That's $17 well spent.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

wait, no crack?

As you know, I am one of those nutters who enjoys taking tests, filling out surveys, and generally being a "do-bee". I like to be good, and I liked to be perceived as being good. What can I say-- my parents paid me for grades when I was a kid. So when I found out I was pregnant, I called my health insurer to let them know that i'm pregnant.

Well, lucky me, they have signed me up for their fantastic "Future Moms" program, which is basically a trimesterly interrogation regarding all the sordid habits and debauches I enjoy while pregnant. This kindly nurse calls me up to "just check in with a few questions", all of which assume i'm an idiot crackhead that is not only stupid enough to do crack while pregnant, but *also* stupid enough to tell my insurance company about it. It goes like this.

Nurse: So, I know pregnancy can be stressful. Would you say your stress level is none, mild, moderate, or high?

Me: Mild. I have a toddler. (Cleo screams "STAWBEWWIES!!!!!" in the background as silverware is heard to clatter off the wall.)

Nurse: Okay, so do you maybe unwind every now and then with a beer? Maybe a cigarette?

Me: No, i'm an educated woman. I read a lot. I'm aware that drinking and smoking are pretty dangerous to pregnant women and fetuses. And i've never smoked in my life.

Nurse: (cloyingly sweet, in "girlfriend" voice) C'mon, maybe just a little ciggie every now and then?

(Note: I am tragically unhip, but even I know that no one calls them "ciggies" except 65-year old strippers.)

Me: (patiently) No.

Nurse: Okay, how about prenatal vitamins?

Me: Well, I just finished nursing a toddler, so i've been on prenatals, calcium with extra D, fish oil and flax oil for the past 3 years.

Nurse: Okay, so do you take that prenatal every day, or do you skip it every now and then?

Me: I take it every day.

Nurse: Are you SURE?

Me: (sigh) Yes, I am aware that I need extra vitamins and minerals while pregnant, especially over 800 mcg folic acid to support proper brain development and to avoid spina bifida.

Nurse: Okay, so you promise you take it EVERY DAY?

And you can see how it goes. For 30 minutes. Do I eat fruits and vegetables? Do I eat lots of candy? Am I drinking 8 - 10 cups of liquid a day? Am I SURE? Do I drink more than 5 cups of caffeinated beverages a day? And I try to be patient and understand that they must actually deal with uneducated and ignorant people who see fit to have 7 cups of coffee, 2 packs of cigarettes, and a fishbowl of margaritas every day and still manage to spawn. Which is scary.

I wish I could take some sort of test to opt out of this program. If I could send them a digital image of my bedside table with its 2 foot stack of dogeared pregnancy books, or a screenshot of my Firefox window with 8 tabs of pregnancy and birth forums.

But alas. They'll call me again in September, and i'll have to put down the can of ant spray and the forkful of mackerel covered in feta, and take off my beer hat and corset, and explain that I couldn't see my doctor because I had to go to a loud rock concert and share needles with some groupies while they took turns jumping on my stomach as I lay on my back and scarfed a Subway sandwich made with 3-day old seafood salad.

That's gonna be a real downer, man.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

birth, in a nutshell


I think that pretty much covers it. Gooey red and white and brown junk.
Actually, this was the serendipitous leftover after a friend's complimentary birthday loaf thingy at Killer Creek Steakhouse in Alpharetta. She had nibbled away all the chocolate of the "Happy Birthday", except, oddly, and to my amusement, the "Birth". And I took care of the chocolate cake thingy.
Could use a bit more red junk, huh?

Monday, May 26, 2008

can't I just wear a sandwich board?

I hate the idea of self-promotion, and clearly, I am doing it wrong.

Not only have my Etsy sales been at a standstill for the entire month of May, but I'm not getting the hearts and views i'd like, either. I read thread after thread about "how to get customers" on the forums, but i'm just not willing to bug the crap out of people for attention, spamming friends' emails and sucking up to the big bloggers. Yick.

So here are some ways i'm considering finding business for my Etsy store, because if I don't make any sales there, I have trouble telling people i'm "a working artist", plus I can't afford to buy the bath and beauty items and tidbits that keep me going. And I need more soap. So...

1. Wear a big, fat sandwich board, a la the 1930's, proclaiming that purchasing from my Etsy shop will cure mesothelioma.

2. Get some iron-ons and plaster all of Cleo's shirts with ads for my Etsy shop, then let her loose at the mall.

3. One word, 3 syllables: sky writing.

4. Offer to give my cat to the first person to buy something from my Etsy shop. Or, alternately, to *NOT* give my cat to that person. Their choice.

5. Bake a bunch of Tollhouse Cookies with my business cards inside of them, then sell them at a bake sale for $1. Baked goods + free surprises inside? Priceless!

6. Graffiti. It wouldn't take me long to tag http://www.pollywogpouch.etsy.com on a Marta bus!

7. Forehead tattooing. It works for the Maoris, and it would cover up my delightful pregnancy "glow", also known as acne.

8. Buy a big box of monarch butterflies, paint my Etsy shop address on their wings, and release them into the world to spread the word. Until they die or go to Mexico, where they don't care about Etsy.

9. Sponsor a little league team. Surely the Mighty Pollywogs would strike fear into the hearts of their opponents? Maybe I could split the cost with an escort service or funeral home.

10. Suck it up, post on the forums, add a signature to my emails, post pics on Flickr, buy a Showcase every now and then, post more items, and stop feeling sorry for myself.

Any votes?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

nice segue

And not the scooter.

I just have several points to make, and I don't feel like wasting my small stash of brain cells to do it. So here we go.

I had Gimme Lean meatballs and spaghetti for breakfast, and it was wonderful. I heard a great song at Whole Foods, but no one could tell me who chose the music or what it was. It sounded like Gnarls Barkley. If Baby Shmoo is a boy, I have chosen the fabric for nursery decor and can't wait to sew it. Cleo needs a hair cut. I just finished the last book in the Star Wars Legacy of the Force series, and I feel conflicted about it. I don't like my cat. I am slightly sad, because one day I asked folks on one of my forums to check out my blog so that I could bask in the glow of more than 30 readers, and I hit 60 readers that day, but now i'm back to 24, so I feel very pathetic. And I feel even more pathetic for checking Google Analytics to see how many people are reading my blog. I hate that CNN considers John McCain's current health important enough to take up one of the only two spots reserved for stories on "Health"; that's like using a "Tech" spot to tell me that he uses an iPhone, if he does in fact use an iPhone. I don't really care either way. I saw a coyote a couple of days ago-- it was awesome. Horizons Organic Chocolate Milk is the most amazing panacea in the world. I want to smell like lemons and sugar all day. I got a commission on Etsy and need to go buy some watercolor paper and get on it. I suck at playing the guitar in Rock Band.

And, lastly, Unisom is my hero.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

oh, HENRY!

Today as I sat, as curled up as my burgeoning belly would allow, in my favorite seat in my favorite movie theater, I got to thinking about how some things stay the same, no matter what, while other things change so drastically.

Same: I love to see movies in the theater.
Different: We mostly see afternoon shows while my folks watch Cleo and to avoid unruly teenagers that I want to bludgeon or publicly embarass.

Same: I love to munch something during the movie.
Different: It used to be Jelly Belly jelly beans or Sour Patch Kids. Now it's carrot sticks, an apple, and a bottle of Emergen-C. I have to carry a bigger purse.

Same: I love previews.
Different: When the previews suck, I laugh at them and make catty remarks with Craig. Like today-- there was this awesome and engrossing preview by the director of Pan's Labyrinth, but it turned out to be Hellboy 2: Electric Bugaloo, so we both groaned loudly and started harassing it.

And here's another constant: Indiana Jones still rocks! That movie was a big, splashy, delicious blockbuster full of cliches, gags, tag lines, and a 65 year old man doing things that my husband *and* his trainer couldn't do on 2 gallons of Red Bull. Spoiler alert for the rest of the bloggity: They actually put him in a lead-lined refridgerator, threw an atomic bomb on him, tossed his fridge a bazillion miles into the air and across the desert, got him out of the self-locking death-bin, hosed him off with White-Out, and he kept on kicking ass.

The movie had every single experience an Indiana Jones movie should have: Russians, aliens, skulls, army ants, crazed natives, blow-guns, pythons, quicksand, double-crossers, whippings, hats lost and found, machine gun chases, a quick wave by the Ark of the Covenant, a fight between the Preps and the Greasers, a flying saucer, waterfalls, boat-cars, cryptic letters, crazy people, mind control, long lost sons, feisty old ladies, nearly falling off mountains. EVERYTHING. Except chase scenes involving planes and horses, but, honestly, they only had 2 hours.

So, in conclusion, do yourself a favor. Go see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at 1pm on a Saturday. Balance the overly-fake-buttered popcorn and Reese's Pieces with a cup of baby carrots and a bottle of Emergen-C while you're doubled up in your seat, trying like hell not to pee yourself or miss one moment of the movie, smiling like an idiot when Harrison Ford actually crosses genres and tells us he has "a bad feeling about this".

You won't regret it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

haiku

fat man in a porsche
slurps fried chicken from fingers
no one is impressed

the wisdom of Coop

Special Agent Dale Cooper once said,
"Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don't plan it. Don't wait for it. Just let it happen."

And I try to live by the wisdom of Coop.

For example, yesterday, I heard one of my very, very favorite songs on the radio, Africa by Toto. When I hear this song, it has an amazing emotional and physiological effect, calming me, making me smile, bringing down my blood pressure, making me feel like i'm on a shady hammock in the afternoon. Hearing this song makes my day, and the possibility of hearing it is the only reason I keep 98.5 on my radio presets. And I realized... I could go to iTunes and download that song and listen to it all day. But right now, every time I hear it, it's my present. I spend every moment in the car listening for that one song, and when I hear it, it's like a dreamy gift of fate and the gods, reminding me how sweet life is.

Or, for another example, birthday cake. I freakin' love birthday cake. I'm like the Cookie Crisp dog, but for birthday cake. Or wedding cake. But it has to be real, handmade cake, not those fluorescent green monstrosities from Wal-Mart. I would go to the wedding of Rush Limbaugh and Paris Hilton, if they were going to have really good wedding cake, and they're the two most annoying human beings I can imagine. And I could bop on down to Cakes by Darcy right this second and buy any freakin' cake I wanted to, honestly. I could eat cupcakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I could keep a giant sheet cake reading "Happy Bar Mitzvah, Schlomo" in the fridge to nibble nightly. But I don't, because when I actually get cake, it's my present.

Today, I had lots of presents. I got 10 hours of sleep. I got to go to The Coffee Park and talk to a friend for 3 hours while eating a tasty lunch and having the best chai latte around. And then another friend showed up and *GAVE* me her Coffee Park membership, meaning that no matter how horrible life gets, I can count on 8 hours a week of safe and loving childcare while I paint, read, talk or cry with the best chai latte around. And *then* I got to go to the playground, and *then* my daughter fell asleep, and *then* I got to eat a lime popsicle, and *now* i'm sitting in my beautiful living room, blogging on my new laptop.

LIFE IS FREAKIN' SWEET, PEOPLE!!!

Like Coop, I seem to get lots and lots of presents every day, many of which I never expect. Part of being a grownup is knowing that I can buy perfect songs on iTunes or eat cupcakes for breakfast, but that withholding such treats until needed or given is even better.

And so i'll leave you with another of my favorite quotes from Dale Cooper of Twin Peaks, one that pretty much sums up my feelings about life in general:

I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

let's play Twister, everybody!

As if life weren't exciting enough, we had a tornado yesterday. It went like this.

::sirens going off::

Me: Huh? Guess I should check weather.com... TORNADO?!?!?!!

(I call my parents, the Weather People. Because if you're over 52, you're watching the weather.)

Me: Do you guys know anything about a tornado?
Mom: Yeah, but it's going to miss you.
Me: Awesome. It looks normal out there. Guess we'll just hang out. ::shrug::

(15 minutes pass, sky turns dark, demons begin to screech as the undead reign from hell, rain starts, trees are lashing, thunder peals, lights go out)

Me: Time to get the baby and the flashlight and go to the basement!
Storm: Yeah, you think, idiot? HOWL!
Me: Thank goodness I bought those flashlights last month, and thank goodness I have this awesome laptop with a fully-charged battery, and thank heavens for this new Little People DVD that will keep my child from climbing daddy's weight bench and eating all the dead spiders in this nasty, foot-smelling jiujitsu dungeon.
Cleo: LITTLE PEOPUZZ!$%^%$$#!!!!

(time passes as we watch Little People and make Elmo's shadow dance on the wall)

Me: I heard a door open upstairs... WE'RE BEING LOOTED!!!!
Craig: Hello?
Me: Did you not get my 2 emails, text message, and 3 phone messages that said "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STAY WHERE YOU ARE, IT IS LIVING HELL OUT THERE!!!"?
Craig: No....
Me: You should maybe check those things every now and then. How was driving through a tornado?
Craig: IT WAS SUPER COOL! Like, trees are down everywhere, and people are off-roading!
Me: Well, i'm just glad you're safe. And, no, you're not going back out on your motorcycle.
Cleo: MORE LITTLE PEOPUZZ???!!!!!!

(We are without power until around 11:30...)

Me: Well, here we are. Pregnancy insomnia, 13 hours behind on sleep, teething toddler, tornado, $150 worth of groceries going bad in the fridge, I can't watch Venture Bros. to get to sleep, and it's so hot that i'm laying in the pitch black, staring at a flashlight and sweating. This does not bode well. "Dear Cobb EMC, Sirs, I am not pleased..."

::lights squeak back on::

Me: HALLELUJAH!!!
Cleo: (sleepily) ...watch Little Peopuzz?

So that was our night. I am so, so thankful for electricity. And hot running water. And the fact that our property suffered no damage, when we could still hear chainsaws and fire trucks blaring at midnight through the open windows.

And the fact that my new batch of lime popsicles didn't melt a single bit.

It's gonna be a good day.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

10 things

Ten things for which I'm thankful:

1. ceiling fans
2. popsicles made with real limes
3. salsa, both the food and the dance
4. when Cleo hugs me spontaneously and says, "Luh you, too, mama"
5. TV shows on DVD, especially Lost, The Office, Venture Bros., Frisky Dingo, and House
6. my good friends, both real and imaginary
7. walking barefoot on fescue
8. seeing horses in fields on my way home
9. having a good book to read, when Craig finishes it
10. this totally rad new laptop, which allows me to connect without allowing my child to destroy my living room, books, and electronics

Take that, sleep deprivation. I can still be thankful! Not coherent, certainly, but thankful.

Monday, May 19, 2008

the gray side

I definitely haven't joined the Dark Side... I've read way too much about Jacen Solo to go that way. And now you know I'm a big Star Wars geek, so there's something to put in the old blackmail basket. But I'm learning, as a parent, that there is a definite Gray Side, where lines get difficult to draw in the sand.

First of all, there is TV. We don't have TV-- no cable, no satellite, and we broke our bunny ears. We actually wait until The Office or Lost is out on DVD before we get involved again. And why not? No commercials, closed captioning, weekend marathons-- it's all gooood. But as my pregnancy progresses, my exhaustion grows, and my toddler dips a screeching toe into the Terrible Twos, I have offered up 30 minutes a day to the god-like power of Samsung. That's right-- I let Cleo watch her Little People DVDs. And now it's her first thought waking up-- "Watch Littuh Peepuzz?"

So she's 21 months and already sadly addicted. Welcome to America, little buckaroo. And I feel very conflicted about it, but that's often my only 30 minutes of calm a day. I can clean, fold laundry, cry, read more about Jacen Solo, or just go into this odd Mommy Coma, which is like a nap when you can hear everything going on around you, including exclamations of, "EGGS!" "GIRAFFE!" "WHEELS!" And that 30 minutes makes me a better mom, so I feel it's a fair exchange.

Another trip to the Gray Side would be weaning Cleo at 20 months. It was slow, thoughtful, low-stress, and easy, but I still feel guilty about tapering off purposefully instead of going the child-led weaning route. Especially since she's now on the 3rd illness of her life and the 2nd one this month since the weaning weekend. It is painfully obvious that she is missing out on my immunities, and when I'm holding her fevered head at 3am, I am ridden with guilt.

But at the same time, anyone who has nursed an energetic and acrobatic toddler in their first trimester knows that it is utter hell. It's not like cuddling a soft, snuggling newborn... it's like wrestling a concrete octopus with talons and teeth. They do aerobics, they jump, they try new yoga positions, they elbow like wrestlers, all on your stomach while attached like barnacles, and it's all you can do not to cry and throw up with all those crazy hormones. And it HURTS! But loving, thoughtful weaning is better, in my opinion, than resenting your child, and the 10 hours of sleep she now gets each night, and the 7 or 8 hours it allows me, make us all a better family.


So, in conclusion, I know that the fall to any darkness isn't a decisive step, but lots of tiny decisions that make sense in context and eventually tally up to a big, naughty baddy in a black mask standing over you with a lightsaber. I don't want to be that baddy, but I also don't want to be Luke Skywalker, standing around impotently with an unlit lightsaber, expecting everything to work out okay through indecision.

We make our decisions, and we live with them, and I now have to go live with Aaron Neville singing about the Little People in that creepy falsetto.

Friday, May 16, 2008

my grandfather offered me a urinal

The surreal moments in life totally keep me going.

Like today, I invited myself over to my grandparents' house for supper, because I really wanted to eat some dessicated vegetables, and I get so lonely when Craig is out of town. We had a lovely time, and as I sucked down my 3rd glass of water, Papa hollered, "Mother, why is the floor wet?" We soon determined that the sewage system was backed up again, as often happens in their neighborhood. When you're 79, it's the most exciting thing that happens all week. We had to go outside and poke at holes in the ground, make thunderous phone calls to Roto Rooter, mop the floors, talk about "If shooey comes out of the potty, we're moving," and, finally, admit that there wasn't going to be running water that night.

Which is of course the time a pregnant lady's bladder would choose to self-destruct.

"Mimi, Papa, we hate to leave, but I need a potty," I said, gathering Cleo up.

"Sugarfoot, you can use my urinal," Papa said.

Total silence there. I imagine peeing into some archaic plastic container covered by my grandfather's splashed pizzle. My grandmother makes a face like she's going to barf baby chickens. Cleo continues to eat strawberries. Papa seems to actually be waiting for an answer, like he's just really anxious to hop up and grab a urinal for me.

"Thanks, Papa, but I don't think my aim is that good," is all I could squeeze out.

Then we went down the street to my parents' house for some much needed relief in several categories.

So I guess the moral of the story is: when Grandpa offers you a urinal, you say no as gracefully as possible.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

eat your heart out, Mr. Cuomo



I want a girl who will laugh for no one else
When i'm away, she puts her makeup on the shelf
When i'm away she never leaves the house
I want a girl who laughs for no one else

~Weezer, "No One Else", the blue album

Eat your heart out, baby. When Craig is out of town, I become a zombie. 11 weeks pregnant, enjoying a French clay facial mask, brushin' my teeth, sporting a day-glo orange toddler barrette, wearing my old lady glasses, hair in a schoolmarmish bun. Time to go kick back with a magazine and chillax to some season 2 of The Office. Because I am a glamorous girl, and I like to party hardy, Marty. w00t!

Knowing my luck, 3 ex-boyfriends will somehow defy all odds and find my blog tonight and send the above photo to everyone i've ever known with a clever tagline, such as, "Voted Most Likely To Be a Hideous Heifer at 30".


I'm always willing to throw my vanity on the sacrificial altar for a laugh.

And, speaking of which, NEW WEEZER ALBUM OUT ON JUNE 3!!! I may just pee myself. Night, all.


Dear Pepperidge Farm Marketing Team,

I have some questions regarding your package for "Goldfish Baked Snack Crackers Made with Whole Grain".

1. Why is your snack fish given an eye and a smile? I don't want to eat things that smile at me.
2. Why is the anthropomorphized fish in question wearing a bicycle helmet? If he is underwater, the water pressure would cushion his fall.
3. Wait, how can a Baked Snack Cracker live underwater? Wouldn't it dissolve instantly?
4. Yeah, and why is he riding a bicycle? FISH CAN'T RIDE BICYCLES!!!
5. Oh, and why is his name "Finn"? He doesn't have any freakin' fins!
6. He appears to be followed by three non-humanized snack crackers. Did you choose to withhold eyes from them, or were they born blind, like cave fish, or are they actually snacks, while "Finn" has eyes and a smile and is therefore a "real fish"?
7. The wheels of "Finn"'s bicycle appear to be composed of self-shredding cheese. How often do cheese tires have to be replaced, and must they be replaced with cheddar, or would low-fat mozzarella also suffice?
8. On the back of your package, we are introduced to Finn's lesser friends, one of whom is named "XTREME". Is that really his name, or just a clever marketing ploy?
9. Again, on the back of the package, we are asked to "Help Finn through the maze so he can play with his friends!" The maze appears to be Finn's bed, he is wearing sunglasses, and his friends are pictured with a soccer ball, CD, and books. WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE SMOKING???

Thank you for your prompt responses.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

...and now we are two...

Kids are funny. They change overnight. Teeth, tummy aches, the wrong color socks-- anything can turn them from precocious, adorable, sweet balls of fun into raging bags of nuclear ants, just waiting for a trigger. And today, Cleo's trigger was a nap disturbed by the FedEx man and the simple word "no".

I have no words for what she did. There was screaming, and there was crying, and there were red-faced contortions that made her look like a clothed mole rat in the throes of rabies, malaria, and ebola. There was shrieking, and there were tears and snot, and lots of melodramatic back curling. And this loud NGGGGGGGGGGH! noise.

I tried so, so hard not to laugh. I tried to respect her feelings and help her sort through them, tried to teach her to say, "I'm mad," and "You make me angry and sad when you say 'no'." I even explained to her, quite reasonably, that I was very sorry that I had made her angry and sad, and that she would unfortunately have to do what I said for the next 16 years whether she liked it or not.

This approach did not go over well.

And, I admit it, I did laugh a little, mainly when she was curled up on herself like a pissed off shrinky-dink and couldn't hear me through her howls of misery.

I begin to see why they call it "the terrible twos".

And then she goes and kisses my belly and says, "Baby Shmoo in there," and I suddenly forget how frustrating, willfull, obnoxious, and annoying she can be.

I think they're programmed to do that so we don't toss them in the recycling.

now we are 10

Or at least, I often act like i'm 10.

Case in point-- last night at The Melting Pot, my friend and I said the same thing at the same time, and I hollered "JINX!!!", and she had a token 30 seconds of silence, flicked me off, and kept going, and it was so funny that I laughed for about 5 minutes until I was wiping my eyes and everyone was staring at me bemusedly. Seriously, *I* am that person in the movie theater that laughs at all the wrong things, really loudly.

Or, the other day, when I heard a new Weezer song, I got really excited and started bouncing up and down in the driver's seat. And now i'm googling them all over, trying to learn about their 3rd "absolutely final album ever". Yay Weezer!

Oh, and I get really excited about cake, petting zoos, four-leaf clovers, pizza, good mail, new socks, movie previews, Play-doh, scented markers, and that Ewok special about the little curly-haired gamine stuck on Endor. Or I would if they ever played it anymore.

Could be a lot worse. Sometimes, i could be 90.

Monday, May 12, 2008

the preggo dreams begin

Last night I dreamed that I had a high school reunion at a Mexican restaurant in a treehouse in a giant baobob tree. It was really crowded, and I couldn't find a seat, so I just ordered a quesadilla at one of the tables and figured i'd catch it later. I never got to eat anything, but they gave me a bill for $19.99 for a margarita and a capicola sandwich, which are pretty much the last two things you could convince me to ingest right now. I protested and refused to pay, and they said, "You know what happens when you don't pay here, right?"

And what happened was they sent a whole passel of serial killers out to kill you. There was a tall pirate, a Scream guy, a Scooby-Doo style ghost, a Tarzan guy who hung people from the tree, and what finally got me outside the parking lot, a normal-looking fat guy with a tiny little knife like the fingernail cleaner on a tiny pair of toenail clippers. He slit me from throat to belly, laughed, and said, "Pay next time! Your family's next!" as my guts fell out. And then I woke up.

Thank you, hormones. Thanks a lot.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mothers' Day!

Happy Mothers' Day
to all my friends out there!


We grow enormous, we get stretch marks, we give birth, we bleed, we nurse, we lug huge diaper bags, we change the smelliest diapers on earth, we rock, we sing at 4am, we grocery shop with infants strapped to our chests, we hold them when they get shots, we take their temperature in the pooper, we are covered in spit up, we scrub yams off the floor, we kiss boo boos, we trade in our cute cars, we push strollers, we say no, we say yes, we pick up toys, we count piggies, we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar 56,000 times a day, we clutch our cell phones in the movie theatre as we wait for a call from the babysitter in an ambulance, we trade our heels for clogs, we elbow each other politely at consignment sales, we chase pecky geese, we insist on broccoli, we stand at the bottom of the slide, we pull worms from pockets, we hug, we kiss, we wake up at 6am, and we *still* manage to want another baby.

Moms, I salute you!
It's the hardest job on earth,
there are no breaks or vacations or do-overs,
and no one else can do it for you.
We rock!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

hear ye, hear ye!

Today was another horridly 6:30am wake-up, so all day I feel like i'm 2 hours ahead of the world. Therefore, when I saw Panda Express on the way home from Lowe's, I became very agitated about the thought of their deliciously horrible fake Chinese food. Apparently, 10am is too early for lunch in fake China, so I was very disappointed.

Then I saw Arby's and decided that fried cheese would do. Ain't pregnancy grand? And they were open! Grabbed my 4 cheesesticks, got on the road, and had the weirdest feeling...

... something smelled familiar...
... something smelled like...
... like...
... like the Renaissance Festival...
... why did my freshly cleaned car smell like the Renaissance Festival????

Then I realized it was my lap. The fried cheese in my lap smelled like the RenFest.

So, hear ye, hear ye! Ye olde crotch smelleth of RenFest. Tell the people!

Mmmm.... cheese.

Friday, May 9, 2008

nice potato, fatty

So I want steak for dinner, like every other night this week. But I can't cook it, because touching or smelling the raw or cooking steak makes me want to spew. So I call my parents, and Cleo and I head over there for some quality time and steak cookage. And then I realize we don't have any potatoes, and what good is steak without potato?

So I call my grandmother, who lives in the same neighborhood as my parents, and ask if she has a spare potato. "Shut yo mouth," she says, which is Southern for "Yes, you are welcome to my spare potato".

So I leave Cleo with my mom, happily shoveling in the strawberries and eggs, and I bop on down to Mimi's, where I admire her "beets and radishes" t-shirt, select a potato, laugh at my rapidly growing midsection, and discuss the possibility of macaroni and cheese on Mother's Day, which goes something along the lines of, "Well, if someone were to *bring* macaroni and cheese, I guess we wouldn't throw it in the garbage..." since no one in my family can ever ask for anything outright, ever.

And then I walked back to my parents' house, happily tossing the potato in the air and catching it.

And I realized... life is good!

And.... I must look like the neighborhood loon!

Seriously... who throws a potato?

Oh, that pudgy girl walking down the street. She likes to throw a potato, but she never hurts the cats and pays for the windows she breaks, so we're okay with it. I am the crazy person.

Who knew?

take my cat. please.

We all cried when Puddin' died. C'mon, I know you did, too. He was the ideal cat: lazy, obese, snuggly, weird, dedicated to remaining indoors, and not at all picky about food.

Then we got Scully, and we were excited. Well, the Biscuit and I were excited. Dr. Krog was quite enthusiastic when drunk, but downright annoyed when sober. What could be wrong with a pretty, tidy cat that liked the baby?

Sweet lord, what isn't wrong with her? She's driving me crazy! Here's the tally:
1. Clawed up 2 square feet of carpet under the spare room door.
2. Will only eat the most expensive of dry foods. Snubs all other food.
3. Yowls constantly, at all times of the day, for no recognizable reason.
4. Wakes up the Biscuit and me at 6am or earlier with prodigious yowling and physical rubbing.
5. Despite interest in having us awake and near her, absolutely refuses to snuggle. Does not know how to snuggle. Won't snuggle.
6. WON'T SNUGGLE?!?!?!!!
7. Darts out the door whenever possible. Stays gone for hours, if she can. Comes back scratched up and even yowlier than before.
8. IS NOT MY PUDDY CAT OEEEEEEE!

So i'm trying to return her to her previous home, where I was assured she'd be welcomed with open arms if it didn't work out. They are not biting. Thus far, i've been told to play with her more and just let her go outside. I'm too tired to play with her, and I utterly refuse to have an outdoor cat. Period. So i've offered to rehome her if they don't want her back, and we'll see how that "threat" plays out.

Lessons learned? Take a pregnancy test before getting a new cat. If you're a cat, don't piss off the pregnant lady. Don't lie about your cat's interests in going outside and clawing up furniture when the new owner will figure it out really quickly.

And lastly, take my cat. Please.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

a dork is born

To save time and headache, Cleo now showers with me instead of me giving her a long, splashy bath, drying her off, getting her dressed, and letting her destroy the bathroom while I shower with one hand holding the door closed and the other hiding shampoo bottles. She loves it. She stomps, kicks water, rubs "soap" on my knees, and squeegees the shower door.

After the shower, I wrap her up securely in a baby towel, dry myself off, then complete drying, lotioning, and dressing her. The current towel in rotation is all white with a little pointy hood, and I basically swaddle her in it so you can't see any part of her but her toes and her chin.

Looking at her today running around the bathroom in her hooded towel and gibbering unintelligently, I was reminded of the Jawas from Star Wars, naturally, so I said, "Who's mommy's little Jawa?"

And she crinkled up her nose, stuck out her chin, jumped up and down and shrieked,
"IMMOMMYSLITTLEJAWAAAAAA!"

It was awesome. The Force is strong with this one.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

chameleon karma

I recently left a playgroup early because I was utterly appalled by some mother/child behavior. The spring anoles were active, and all the kids were interested in the little green chameleons. In particular, some older boys, about 5, were actively trying to catch them. When I warned them that catching a lizard can make it drop its tail, which may or may not grow back, they were even more serious about their hunt, and one even said he wanted to pull off the lizard's tail himself. Which was bad enough. But their moms just let them try.

I said, "Do we really want them hurting animals?"

And one of the moms, a seasoned pro with 3 kids, said, "That's just what boys do."

My mental response was, "Yeah, the serial killers do that, and their weak and permissive moms let them," but I held my tongue and called my mom to make lunch plans instead. It's amazing to me that these moms didn't step up to the responsibility of explaining to their children that while it's great to like animals and observe their behavior, that it is unkind to antagonize and maim them. They were just too busy talking to upset their children by instilling character in them by stopping their cruel game.

Not only were they ignorant of the lizard in question, which one mom call an iguana, but they did not respond to new knowledge by passing it on to their kids. They could have had a teaching moment-- tell us more about the lizard, what does it eat, what is it doing-- but instead, they ignored their kids and allowed them to chase, capture, stomp, and otherwise disrespect living creatures.

No wonder the world is full of people torturing cats, shooting up schools, and flicking other drivers off as they run stop signs. I blame parenting. There, I've said it. Now step up and parent your stupid kid. Learn, adapt, pick up a book, put down your latte and interact. Karma's ugly, and you're going to hate seeing him on C.O.P.S. in a few years.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

it's Craig, the crazy Tarot master!

Every time we pass by Mrs. Powers or Psychic Tonya, Craig wonders aloud what it would be like to see a psychic. He is cynical and incisive by nature, a scientist and statistician, so it would really be an interesting learning experience to see a psychic try to extrapolate anything but doubt and amused derision from a Craig. It would be like a cat toying with a really stupid mouse, probably, while the mouse tried to pull a wedge of cheese from the cat's ear.

Which is why I booked a Tarot reading for his birthday, of course. It was set for 5:20 on Monday, and we were quite excited and even had babysitting lined up for Cleo.

And then the psychic canceled!

Now, honestly. If you're so psychic, how did you not know this was going to happen? And, secondly, if you're sooooo psychic, did you actually think we'd want to reschedule for another trip to flakeyville?

So we went to Outback instead for a rushed and mediocre meal.

Which, I, like, totally foresaw happening. Happy Birthday, sweetheart!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Stockholm, are you ready to rock?!?

If you've ever heard me sing... well, you probably haven't. I haven't sung much since my celebrated turn as Sister Berta, the evil nun, in the 1990 Crabapple Middle School version of Sound of Music. And there's a very good reason:

I have a horrible voice.

I mean, when I was pregnant with Cleo, I was terrified that my child would grow up demented because my singing voice is so atrocious. You get these mental images of the new mother cradling her infant and crooning beautifully, but I seriously sound like a dying condor being ripped apart by transcontinental jackals.

Which is why you might be surprised that I ROCK THE HOUSE AT ROCK BAND!!! Seriously. Every song, I was over 94% awesome, with several gushing reviews, such as "flawless" and "serious skills". From Weezer to Garbage, I totally pwned the mike. We played for 4 hours to celebrate Craig's 31st birthday, and it was just so much fun. I had no idea I could enjoy a video game so much, not to mention that I would have fun singing. And there weren't even dogs howling or people throwing boots in the background.

I have scant musical abilities and the voice of a chainsmoking turkey, but somehow, it worked.

So thank you, good people of Rock Band. Not only did you provide my husband with a fun birthday activity (and thanks to Adrienne and Evan!), but you have also made me feel good about singing for the first time in my entire life. That's quite a victory.

Oh, and you made me enjoy a song by Hole, which is possibly the biggest accomplishment of all. Blech.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

down with Veruca Salt

I can hear that little voice from around the corner, repeating things ad nauseum... "Mo strawberries... mo strawberries... mo strawberries," and I just keep waiting to hear a request for an Oompa Loompa.

Cleo spent 2 days with her grandparents while I went to a conference, and she had a wonderful time, and they managed to spoil her so rotten that she doesn't even seem like the same kid. A 2-hour date's worth of saying "yes" to everything but fire and knives is fabulous, but two days' worth of compliance is just dangerous. She is more whiney, hysterical, and generally unpleasant than i've ever seen her, and if I were a squirrel, i'd definitely toss her down the bad nut hole.

Anyway, my point is, I think this is why we see so many temper tantrums in grocery stores and kids on attention meds and Dudley Dursley wannabes. I think parents today want too badly to be their child's best friend and buddy and never cause them any unhappiness or strife, and we are creating an army of whiners who just break down when the world doesn't go their way. Everyone has to wait. No one gets a treat every time they go to the store. No one gets to win every time. Everyone is subject to someone else's whims, whether a parent, a boss, or the head teller at the DMV. Especially the head teller at the DMV.

So many people seem to think that "discipline" involves spanking and threats, but I think a lot of it is finding ways to say no, to redirect a child, and to plant understanding of what is going to occur. Yes, suddenly snatching your child off the swingset and fleeing the park is going to cause lots of tears. So don't do it. You can be kind but firm and create a process that makes the 2-year-old mind understand a chain of events. You don't have to be "the bad guy"; you just have to be "the firm and loving parent", and it's much more work than just giving in to a child's whims.

So now I have to start over and reprogram the poor little dude with the understanding that she can't have everything she wants the exact moment she wants it, and it's going to make for a tough couple of days, especially considering my first trimester exhaustion and lack of sleep. Thank goodness for babyproofed rooms, eh?

I think the most important thing to remember is that Veruca Salt's parents gave her every single thing she wanted, and she was rotten, and no one liked her, and she was miserable, and she was eventually incinerated by a squirrel.

I don't want that for my child.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

i'm sorry, Jim, but it is not to be

They've started again. The crazy preggo dreams.

Last night I dreamed that I met Jim from The Office at the La Leche League conference in Helen, GA. Not the actor, John Krasinski-- but Jim, who works at Dunder Mifflin. He totally fell in love with me, obviously, and kept trying to hold my hand in a seminar about weaning your toddler. I had to smack his hand repeatedly.

Anyway, he finally cornered me and asked me to run away to Scranton with him, but I told him, alas, I loved my husband too much and would remain faithful. He started crying and said,

"This is just like what happened with Pam!"

To which I responded, "No, sissy, it isn't. Roy really was a douchebag. Craig is awesome! Now quit crying. I have to go man the ICAN table."

Thank yoooooouuuuu, hormones!