Friday, September 26, 2008

Please Do Not Disturb

In an attempt to improve the curb appeal of my home, I recently removed a torn, weathered piece of paper that had been taped over my doorbell. The paper once read, "Baby Sleeping. Please do not ring bell!" The note had been placed there over 3 years ago by me, a new mother attempting anything and everything to get my newborn to sleep longer than 20 minutes at a time. I was desperate to get rid of the source of every evil that might wake him, and later my daughter, before they'd slept enough. At the time of its removal the print as well as the original color of the note were indecipherable, but it had served its purpose of deterring would be solicitors from disturbing the once elusive naps of my *sigh* no-longer babies.

Here are a few things that I have noticed since removing this subtle plea to leave my home's occupants undisturbed:

1. I am way better at ignoring a knock at the door than the doorbell.

2. The dog barks louder at the doorbell than a knock at the door.

3. My kids nap through the doorbell and the dog barking.

4. People go door to door selling some pretty weird crap.

5. I have broken no less than 7 slats in the blind covering the front window as I try to peer through without being seen while trying figure out who is ringing and if it is worth answering.

So this is what I would like to post by my front door to deter unwelcome doorbell ringing. I think it gets the point across better than a simple "No Soliciting" plaque.

Please do not disturb the occupants of this home if one of the following circumstances applies to you:

If you are campaigning for a political candidate or cause, I already know how I am voting in the upcoming election. Your interruption of the privacy of my home is not going to change my mind. Unless of course, I had been planning to vote for your guy, now I might not since I don't know if I can support a candidate who has rung my doorbell EIGHT TIMES to get me to listen to him. While you're at it, why don't you let your campaign headquarters know that those pre-recorded phone messages don't work either. In fact, the more I feel annoyed by your candidate's antics to get me to vote for him, the less likely that I will.

If you are here to sell me something I am not interested. Again, your interruption of the privacy of my home is not going to change my mind because I either a) already have it; b) don't need it; c) can't afford it; or d) know how to obtain it without inviting a stranger into my house. Thanks anyway.

If you are the process server trying to issue me a citation for that photo radar incident, I swear that wasn't me driving.

Basically, if you don't know me or don't have pre-arranged business with me, don't bother because I'm not gonna answer. Now please kindly go away.

P.S. If you are my neighbor coming to tell me that my obnoxious sign probably violates some friendly neighborhood code of ethics and would I please remove it, I would be more than happy to discuss it with you, just as soon as you are willing to talk about the hideous pink gravel and garden gnomes that presently grace your yard!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What is it with men and their primal urge to urinate outdoors?!!

I know that I will never understand because I am a girl and so I don't have the ease of just going when and where nature calls me. Standing up outside in the yard to pee is not the most comfortable thing I can imagine doing, so it doesn't appeal to me, and I don't, and won't ever, get it.

My husband is a yard pee'r. He used to be covert about it. But I caught him once, and now he has no discretion. (Well, I mean, he keeps it in the family but still, not exactly what I want to see my husband doing.) I know I am not the only one because I've had this conversation with some other moms, each with little sons all at various stages of potty training and who want to do just about everything exactly the way they see their dads doing it, including "watering" the grass. And hey, if it gets anyone that much closer to being out of diapers, then who am I to judge?

So yes, our little man pees in the yard. I guess I am okay with it because the dog pees there too, right? And if it makes the difference of not having an accident because he doesn't want to stop what he's doing long enough to go in and use the bathroom like a proper person, then who am I to say no?

The problem is that when Dylan was given the green light to pee in the yard, should the need arise, a pretty important detail was overlooked. A three year old does not have the discretion to determine which outdoor spots are appropriate for peeing in (meaning ONLY OUR OWN BACKYARD WHEN NO ONE BUT FAMILY IS THERE), should the need arise.

I was out and about with the kids yesterday and we happened to stop and sit on a bench near a sidewalk cafe with a bed of plants separating the restaurant from where we sat. Dylan mentioned a need to go potty so I said we'd go inside to find one. I started gathering our stuff and Sadie and vaguely heard him say something about not needing a bathroom. So as I looked up with my arms full of stuff and Sadie, ready to head inside in search of said bathroom, Dylan was literally a fraction of a millimeter away from pulling his pants down, whipping it out, and peeing on the lovely plants in front of God and everyone eating at the nice little cafe.

ME: NO! NO! NO! NO! COME HERE NOW I NEED TO TALK TO YOU NOOOW! (I know, the yelling. I am losing Mom of the Year points here but the urgency of the situation required it.)


ME: NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! DO NOT PULL DOWN YOUR PANTS AND COME OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!! (I know, again with the yelling.)

At that point, I didn't care if he had to go so bad that he wet his pants because that would've been preferable to the alternative at hand. I always have spare clothes for him in the car anyway. Can I have some of my points back for that?

D: But I really have to pee.

ME: I know, that is why we are going inside here to use the restroom.

D: But I don't need the restroom. I can just pee right here on these plants. My pee can water the plants.

ME: We let you pee outside when we are home, in the privacy of our own backyard. You cannot pee on plants in public places. And those people eating right there DO NOT WANT TO WATCH YOU PEE!

Then of course, all of the "but whys" and the disappointed agreement to go and use a proper restroom.

Turns out, he stood in front of that toilet for nearly ten minutes. But he didn't really have to go. It was never about the peeing, it was about the chance to pee in public, or nature, or whatever.

Well, he got his chance a couple of hours later. We were outside in the front yard and my neighbor walked out of his house, looking at me kinda funny. I turned around to see what he had noticed and there's my grass peein' little boy having a party. ("But Mommy, you said it's okay if we're at home!" The boy has a point. Can't argue with that!)

A couple of disturbing thoughts on this topic just occurred to me: 1)Are these men, and consequently their sons wishing to emulate them, that feel the need to urinate outside actually marking their territory, you know, like the dogs that pee out there too? And 2)OMG what if he tries to pee on the playground at school?

What?!! I'm supposed to just be grateful that at least he's not using the toilet seat as a hat?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

And Then There Were Two

In my offline life, I have a couple of friends who will soon find themselves bringing home new little ones to add to their families. And online I have some friends (who wouldn't know me passing on the street, but I read you everyday, Kristen and Rebecca and I heart you) who are due in a couple of weeks with a girl apiece. So I found out about this online shower and decided to crash it. You can too! (Really, go to the link below, especially if you are in the throes of baby newness yourself, or you just need some perspective in your life about What Really Matters. You can link to some fantastic posts about, well, babiness. But take a box of Kleenex!)

My friends, you make me laugh, you make me cry, you make me think in ways that challenge me to be a better person, a better mom, everyday. So as you prepare to welcome your sweet new babies to the world, I wish you showered with all the happiness imaginable, and I am adding my own little gem to your cache.

My biggest fear, in preparing for baby number two (besides OMG WTF AM I GOING TO DO WITH TWO KIDS?!!) was how much it would rock the world of the child we already had. He was the love of our life, the center of our universe. What would it do to his developing sense of self to suddenly be sharing the spotlight with this new, unknown little creature? Had we prepared him enough? How would he react? Would he resent her? How would he treat her? How would we as parents deal with balancing the needs of both?

I delivered Sadie by scheduled c-section. As I prepared for the day she would be born, I remember thinking about how much I wanted to not be pregnant anymore. I remember thinking about how much I wanted to know this little being that had been growing inside of me. But mostly, I wanted her brother to know her. I couldn't wait for the moment of their meeting.

Much of what I remember about that day is blurred by drug-induced fuzziness. But when I think back to the day that Sadie came to be with us, I have one brilliant shard of memory that blazes through the cloudy layer of half-consciousness. It is the moment that Scott brought Dylan to the hospital to see me, to meet his sister. And in that moment, when he saw the baby and his face lit with instantaneous recognition, and he expressed in his not quite yet two-year-old way "that baby Sadie, that my Sadie," I knew. I knew that she was his. I knew as he leaned over and softly kissed her sweet head that he loved her. I knew as he grasped her tiny hand in his and she clung tightly to his finger that she would always need him. In that moment I caught a shining glimpse of Our Family, and whether or not we had done enough, it was enough. And as I sank back into to the medicated haze, I smiled, suspecting that I just might be okay with two.

his Sadie

he loves her

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Blogiversary!

I just realized that my first post on this blog was exactly one year ago today. Gee, you'd think I'd have more posts up by now or something. Anyway, here's a look back at that post, so you can see how much we've all grown in one year! (The link is actually to the second post I did. My first post was just a little blurb on the 17th of Sept. 2007 saying, hi, we're here!)

Anyway, Happy Birthday to my blog, and thanks to everyone who's been reading me this year!

P.S. I am the WORST SIL ever! Happy Birthday, Diane!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Whad'ya know? Eating carrots really is good for your eyes!

During some serious sand play the other day, Dylan came to me rubbing his eyes (with sand-covered hands, of course) complaining that there was something scratchy in his eye. (Gee, I wonder what it was.) So I told him to stop rubbing, because he would only get more sand lodged in there. Then I suggested that he try to cry, so that his tears could wash the grains of sand out of his eye, or I could pour some water in his eye if he wanted me to.

DYLAN: No, no, no, no, nooooo!! Do not get water in my eye.

ME: Then you should try to cry so your tears will wash the sand out.

D: But Mommy, I am not sad.

ME: Can you think of something that would make you sad enough to cry?

D: WAAAAAAAAH! (total drama queen fake cry) I miss Daddy! (Scott happened to be out of town at the time.) WAAAAAAAHH! (still fake)

ME: How's your eye.

D: Still sand

ME: Now do you want me to pour some water in it?

D: No, no, no, no, no!! I will go play some more and maybe it will just get out.

A few minutes later, he walked back over to me.

D: Hey, Mom, did you know eating carrots is good for your eyes? Can I have some carrots?

(Like I'm gonna say no to my kid asking me if he can snack on some carrots!)

After munching on a few carrots and contemplating, he proudly announced: Hey, my eye is all better now! Carrots really do fix your eyes!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The conspiracy rages on

If you haven't yet read about the beings in the universe conspiring against me, go here first. Otherwise, read on... this is an update which illustrates just how widespread the conspiracy is becoming.

To be fair, I have to admit that the last couple of times we have gone to Tempe Marketplace, the splash pad has been fully operational and my kids have actually played in the fountains. Of course, I have no photographic proof because you know how it goes about actually taking pictures.

The weather here has been decent for the first couple weeks of September (meaning that the highs are hovering just around or slightly below 100) so it is actually tolerable to think about enjoying outdoor activities. So last Friday morning we headed for the Phoenix Zoo. I figured we could see a few animals and by the time the kids got too hot, we would head for the splash play area. I packed a bag with swimsuits and everything, totally prepared. So a few elephants, giraffes, and squirrel monkeys later, we were all hot and tired and the kids were ready for some water fun. Do I need to tell you what happened when we made it to the splash area? Yep! No water fun last Friday!

We recently discovered the Splash Playground at Tempe Beach Park. We had plans to meet a friend for a playdate there this morning. I am so sorry to all the other moms we saw, kids, towels, and picnic lunches in tow. I know that it is quite a hike with all that stuff from the parking lot to the actual playground only to find it closed for the morning. I, apparently, was the bad luck that arrived right as the park was to open at 10:00 that caused the malfunction that needed to be repaired for at least two hours before any of the play equipment would be splashable.

Not to be thwarted, our quest for water play continues. The zoo has opened a new play space with caverns and waterfalls which we will be checking out later this week. I guess I should make sure it is really open before we go and before I once again cannot deliver on a promise of splashability. And if you were planning to check it out, maybe don't go this Friday morning because my water play curse may wreak havoc on your kids' fun!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

And for some not so nakedness...

Sadie gets dressed all by herself... in her upside-down skirt!

Friday, September 12, 2008

And speaking of nakedness...

Three year old boy nearly arrested for indecent exposure in family restaurant!

This is almost a non-post, but when it happened we laughed so hard our cocktails came spewing out of our noses.

Anyway, to make a long and mostly boring story short, I will get right to it. We're sitting in a (not) fine dining establishment eating dinner and Dylan's being a little wild man and trying to climb over Scott to escape from the booth. Scott grabs him by the waistband of his shorts and accidentally depants him. For whatever reason (part of the long boring version that really has no relevance) he's going commando. So he ends up flashing our entire side of the restaurant his full frontal. I look over and Dylan's back is to me because he's facing everyone else and all I can see is skinny little boy butt. (Hence, the wine spewing from my nose.) Good thing we've got him feeling all confident about his parts and stuff, so at least he's not embarrassed. Very anticlimatically, amidst the wine and beer spraying everywhere, we manage to get him decent before any arrests could be made.

Okay, so it's really not that funny rereading it. Guess you had to be there!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pieces and Parts

As Scott and I watch our kids playing together in the bathtub, we find ourselves maneuvering through conversations that we never imagined ourselves having. Like ever. Or at least until they came to us and asked about the birds and the bees. Like when they're twenty or something, right? Conversations about parts and differences and functions.

I think that because we have one of each gender, and they bathe together and see each other naked on a regular basis, we are probably dealing with the parts issue more than parents of two of the same, or with just one child. I didn't think I would have to talk about S-E-X so early on. (Not that we are really discussing it, but, you know, laying the foundation for how we as a family will discuss it when it becomes appropriate. Like when they're twenty.) Dylan notices that Sadie is missing something that he has. And since Sadie doesn't have one, she is very curious and likes to grab it when she has a chance, like she would grab at my nose, or my tongue if I stuck it out at her. The curiosity is as natural and innocent as wondering why her eyes are blue or why his feet are bigger.

And since Sadie is learning about 27,000 new words a day, she wants everything labeled for her, so she can repeat and learn and say it on her own next time. So while Dylan is flaunting his parts and wondering where Sadie's are, Sadie looks down to not find them there, then points and wants to know what her pieces are called. Well, I have to answer her, right? Like I would if she pointed to her knee or her ear. Because it is natural curiosity which I don't want to thwart. So I should really teach her (them) the correct terminology. But I can't. I don't know why. I don't consider myself to be prude or anything. But I have a really hard time saying that girl part word.

The first time Dylan discovered his masculinity during a diaper change, I had no problem announcing to him that yes, that's his penis. He's never called it a pee-pee or a wee-wee or anything else. It's always been penis. I can say it without without skipping a beat. See? Penis. Penis. Penis. As a result, Dylan is quite confident discussing his penis no matter who's around or where we are. At an extended family gathering, "What is up with my penis? I need to itch it." In a crowded public restroom as he waits in the stall with me, "Mommy, why don't you have a penis?" Or in a public restroom with Scott, "Daddy, your penis is big and mine is just little." We take these conversations in stride, even if we are a little embarrassed by them because it is important for him to not feel ashamed of any of his parts. In time we know that the social filter will develop and he won't just yell, "Penis!" inappropriately across the playground in sixth grade. (Well, maybe he will, but not because he doesn't know any better by then!)

So why, oh why, do I seem to be falling into such a double standard with my daughter? Because believe you me, I want her to have just as much confidence and unashamedness as her brother, if not more so. Because girls just seem to end up with way more issues about that stuff. And so that it isn't taboo to talk about when it becomes really important for her to trust me to talk about it. And so that I don't get all giggly and goofy when I have to say, you know, the word. Because how I talk to her now is the basis for how we will have all future conversations about this most important subject. And the closest I can come is VahJayJay. Which will get me by for maybe one more week because she can't really pronounce it yet but you know she's making so much progress with those 27,000 new words a day I'll bet she'll have it by then. In a week she will be asking me, "Mommy why does Dylan have a penis, but I just have a vahjayjay? Come on. What is it really called?"

I can't fool them now, and I definitely don't want them to feel fooled when it really matters. Because misinformation, or incomplete information will lead them to make uninformed choices, when it really matters. So I better just get over it. Here goes. Vagina. There, I said it. All pieces and parts officially named, head to toe, front to back, boy and girl. I am duly equipping my children with the information they will need, when it really matters. Now someone please just tell me that "when it really matters" isn't until they're at least twenty?!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

This is not a political blog.

But I have opinions about candidates and issues. And I am a mom. I care about what kind of future I am choosing for my children when I vote. So if you are part of a presidential ticket hoping I cast my ballot your way, here are three talking points you can throw at me until you are blue in the face (ha! get it? blue!) but that still won't earn you my vote. Or my respect.

1. "I'll bet she is the only VP nominee with the exception of maybe Teddy Roosevelt who can field dress a moose!" (Thank you Fred Thompson for that gem.) Are you kidding me?!! Because you're telling me that as if having the ability to field dress a moose actually does qualify her to be VP! But if that is the only thing you can come up with to say about her, well then bring it on!

2. I know that McCain was a POW. I know he suffered terrors beyond what ordinary humans can imagine. I know his captivity and sacrifice were horrific and heroic. I don't discredit any of that by saying this: Don't have someone give a speech on McCain's behalf detailing Every. Single. Moment. Of his torture. I already know he suffered a lot, beyond anything I could possibly comprehend. Orating upon exactly what means of coercion caused which of McCain's injuries does not make him a better presidential choice. It kind of makes him seem a little needy and desperate for votes. Like he deserves my vote for the singular fact that he was a POW.

3. Do not expect to gain my support by making an issue of the fact that your sons and daughters, and people associated with you and your family's sons and daughters are now currently serving, have in the past, or are scheduled to be deployed to Iraq. Don't get me wrong. I am in no way, shape or form diminishing the service of anyone who chooses to defend our nation as a member of the armed forces. I am grateful for every son, daughter, mother, father, wife, and husband that is over there. But you candidates, and those who speak on your behalf, are diminishing your loved ones' service by rattling it off in campaign speeches as a vote-earning tactic.

Did anyone know, from listening to Beau Biden's introduction of his father, and then to Joe Biden's speech that Beau would be deploying to Iraq in October? Or did you have to google it afterwards, like me? I am betting on the googling, because they didn't play on your emotions by parading it in front of you as a ploy for votes. Beau's service to his country, admirable as it is, remained a private family matter and not a campaign tactic.

Speaking of private family matters, while I abhor the attention being paid to the rumors surrounding the pregnancy of Sarah Palin's daughter, private? My ass! When you are the poster child for the Conservative platform of Abstinence Only, then you make that private family matter very, very public. Because you are touting a program, a family value, a way of life, to an entire nation that you can't even manage to maintain in your own family. I'm sorry. That deserves public attention. Not to discredit the choice of running mates, but certainly to punctuate the need for comprehensive sex education. An issue which won't be progressed if McCain and Palin are elected.

Maybe when the GOP candidates begin to focus on actual issues, rather than preying on my emotions, they might turn this true blue mom's head. But really they just continue to leave me feeling pretty disgusted with everything they have to say.