The Best Laid Plans

I work at home part time and am working on starting up a videography business. And I am also a full-time stay at home mom. So what this means is that I generally put my kids to bed at 7:30 and then go to work until midnight or sometimes later.

Of course, the parenting butts in several times nightly in the form of Jack or Sam wandering in from their bedroom with various requests:

Sam: “I need some water.”

Jack: “I want to snuggle.”

Sam: “Can I watch baseball with you?” Thank God that’s over.

Jack: “I need [insert M&Ms, or whatever snack Alex and I sneak at night].”

Jack: “I need my blanket.” Note: It’s usually in plain sight on his bed.

Jack: “Help me button my shirt. No, no, all the way to the top.” That must be comfortable to sleep in.

Sam: “Jack is writing on himself with a marker.”

Sam: “Jack is writing on the wall with a marker.”

Sam: “Jack is writing on me with a marker.”

Jack: “I have a little cut.”

Jack: “I want a band aid for my boo boo.”

Jack: “Kiss my boo boo.”

Each of these is, of course, separated by a five or so minute rest in their bedroom.

But that’s not the point of my post. My point was that I just finished a giant videography project that has been plaguing me I have been working on since June, so I was going to take a night off and go to bed at, like, 9.

But my part-time job has an aspect wherein I get emails that I have to deal with in 24 hours. Generally I get fewer, sometimes considerably fewer, than ten of these a night, and it doesn’t take me that long to deal with them. After I deal with those, I deal with the bigger projects I have. This evening I was planning on ignoring those larger projects, but, as I opened up my work email account to start my quick work session before bed, I was confronted with an inbox full of three pages of these emails.

Long story short, it’s 11:15. So much for my night of rest.

Maybe I’ll take Halloween off.

I’m a-goin’ to bed.

Shopping

You know what takes a long time?

Trying to shop with this:


This being a toddler who is struggling to carry a basket that is nearly as big as he is, and who insists on stopping to ooh and aah over every item he sees on a shelf.

And then, when you’re trying to figure out which item to buy, said toddler puts everything he can find into the basket whilst saying, “Maybe this?” and “I want to buy this.”

Of course he was choosing things that are valuable to every two-year-old. Things like USB cables and external hard drives. Because why wouldn’t he want some obscure gadget packaged in a bright blue box?

Ka-Ra-Tay

Sam is a wonderful child. Sam is a willful child. Sam’s will is not always the most peaceful or disciplined will.

Therefore, I’m going to teach him to fight.

Well, sort of. We’re thinking of enrolling him in a karate program, not only for the exercise, but also for the philosophy of restraint, discipline, blah, blah, blah. (I’m such a good example.)

With this in mind, we headed over to Buddy Day at a friend’s karate studio. At first Sam was really excited. And then, when he found out he didn’t have a uniform, he was really bummed out and didn’t want to go. And then, when I laid down the law and told him we were going no matter what, he caved and started asking lots (and lots and lots) of questions. And although the real answer to almost all of these questions was, “I don’t know,” I made up plausible replies for most of them.

The karate studio was really cool. Our buddy wasn’t there when we got there, so we were just hanging out when Master L came by to introduce himself. He was incredibly nice. In fact, everyone there was. I’m not sure what I expected, but every employee that spoke to Sam asked him if he was ready to have fun. Not if he was ready to learn. Not if he thought karate was cool. Not if he wanted to know some cool moves. But if he wanted to have fun.

I totally approve.

The class itself was really fast-paced and fun. Sam was able to follow along with everything, and the teacher remembered his name after hearing it once. In a class of 19.

After class he watched a bigger kid class for the longest time. He was absolutely fascinated. He had more questions. Chief among them: When do I get my white belt?

I think I’m going to have to sell one of my children in order to be able to afford to enroll Sam. But it might be worth it. He’s in love.

Watching the class, I couldn’t help but think that it might be really good for Jack. They have classes for younger kids, and I’m thinking that it might give him a really positive way to learn to follow directions. I talked to Master L about it and he told me that they’re a little easier on the younger class because they’re, you know, three. And four.

And when I told him that Jack had some developmental delays so I wasn’t sure that he’d be able to hack it in the class, Master L didn’t even blink. He just told me that they treat everyone the same and that we were welcome to bring him in to let him try it out. Now I don’t just want to sign Jack up, I want to marry Master L.

Of course if I did sign Jack up, I would not only have to sell Quinn, but we’d have to have another kid and sell him too. Karate ain’t cheap.

And Sam? The first thing he did upon coming home was try to beat the shit out of Alex, but the next thing he did was a fancy move he’d picked up by watching the older kid class.

Anybody want to buy a 2-year-old?

Remember My Name

My Sam has made the Principal’s Wall of Fame at his school. That means he has “met the 90% average in reading and math.” But what it really means is that he gets his picture posted on the wall outside the principal’s office and he gets to go to a pizza party. Which was today.

But first, the photo:

I know he’s my son and all, but is that the silliest picture of a human being you’ve ever seen? Although come to think of it, his expression is probably the same one I exhibit on certain occasions.

I was glad that I wasn’t the only nerdlinger parent there taking pictures of a picture. One family of super nerds took video of the picture. (Dammit! I forgot my video camera!)

Before the pizza party, there is a little ceremony where each child’s name is called and they get to walk up and shake the principal’s hand and get a certificate and a medal. We apparently have a Super Principal. Here are two reasons why I think so:

1) Until this year, she paid for the Wall of Fame out of her own pocket every month. And at the end of the year she bought a $100 savings bond for one child from each grade who had been on the Wall of Fame every month.

2) And maybe more impressively, she has the power to silence a room of 1st-5th graders with two fingers. She made the gesture in the picture to the left without saying a word. In case you can’t tell, she is lifting two fingers of one hand over her head.

When she does that, the entire room goes silent in about 7 seconds. And all the kids make the same gesture. Sort of eerie, but impressive nonetheless.

I get the impression that she doesn’t take a lot of shit from the students.

Each family brought a pizza for the attendees to eat, and the school provided pizza for the kids. After the ceremony, everyone ate pizza and the PTA served us…um…I think&#8212I think it was…lemonade? It was so bad that the five-year-old I was babysitting and had dragged along wouldn’t drink it. It’s gotta be pretty bad for a little kid to refuse juice.

Me? I was holding my juice and the 5-year-old’s juice in the same hand and tried to drink out of one, forgetting that I was holding the other. Yep. Juice cascaded down my shirt, bounced off a chair, and covered the floor. I’m awesome. I bet if you were my child, that you would really want me to come to your school and embarrass you in front of your friends and their parents.

Totally. Awesome.

When we got home, I took a photo of Sam with his award. This is the pose he wanted to use:


This is the pose, I eventually got him to use:


In retrospect I think I like his pose better. And you see how he still managed to be insolent in the last photo by sticking his tongue through his missing-tooth hole?

And although I see how it would be easy to let it happen, please shoot me if you ever see me with a “My Kid is on the Honor Roll at…” bumper sticker on my car.

DCMM: This Just In: Breast Cancer Without a Lump

If you are a blog surfer (and since you are here, I am going to assume you are), you have probably seen the button to the left on some of the blogs you visit. You may know what it means, you may not.

WhyMommy is one of the contributors to this blog (you can find her here way down under Sam) and an incredibly brave woman who is fighting a rare form of breast cancer known as IBC or Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

Instead of crawling into her bed and not coming out after getting her diagnosis, WhyMommy has instead not only blogged courageously at Toddler Planet, providing information for those that may follow after her, but she has begun a publicity campaign to tell women about IBC.

You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer.

This is what she wants you to know. And this is what she is telling the world. She has been featured on hundreds of blogs, in Parents magazine and their Goody Blog, and most recently FOX News in DC did a substantial piece on her battle for IBC education. You can see it here. It is well worth it. Go watch. I’ll wait.

Perfect, thank you.

Now you know that IBC often presents as mastitis. You know that pain, itching, or heaviness in one breast is a sign of IBC. You know that if your breast is red, hot, or swollen, you should get checked. You know that dimpling of the skin or any change in one breast can mean IBC. You know that breastfeeding moms can get IBC. You know that if your child stops nursing on one side only, you should be aware that something could be wrong.

You know that if your doctor doesn’t bring it up, you should. Because not all doctors have seen it, so not all doctors will diagnose it. If you have been diagnosed with mastitis and one round of antibiotics doesn’t work, then get checked out.

Because time matters with this aggressive disease.

You may have these symptoms and not have cancer. But I don’t think anyone would regret being too careful. I don’t think anyone would regret getting the biopsy and hearing: “Not cancerous.” But a woman would regret ignoring her suspicions and catching IBC too late.

As WhyMommy said in her interview, “I had never heard of [IBC]. And I want you to hear about it.”

If you watched the clip, you also know how beautiful and articulate she is. And how damn adorable her kids are. WhyMommy is my friend. I knew her before she had cancer and I have always thought her to be an amazing person. The way she has dealt with this horrible, shocking slap in the face has been nothing short of inspiring. I’m sure she has her dark moments. Who wouldn’t? But even now she is incredibly vibrant and beautiful. She remains a fully involved parent to her children. She has a light inside her.

Her children are friendly, oh-so-cute boys. They are happy. They are well-behaved. They are sweet. I think she would tell you the same thing. It is a testament to her that she has managed to continue to parent in the same thoughtful manner she did before.

WhyMommy is a lot of things: an advocate, a woman, a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a scientist, a blogger, a woman with cancer. And so much more. Most of all, I think she is a fighter. And that fight in her will help her in every one of those facets of her being.

That fight is helping to save lives—not just her own, but the many she is educating to get fast help when they need it.

Visit WhyMommy at Toddler Planet. Please read her post about IBC. To join Team WhyMommy, please visit Canape.

What’s the Trick You’re Going To Do?

At Jack’s preschool, there is a once weekly class called mini-movers. They go and sing and stretch and play large muscle games. It’s really fun. The teacher plays a game sometimes called “Spooky Doo.” She says, “Hey there, [insert child's name here] Spooky Doo, what’s the trick you’re going to do?” Then the child does something funny like crossing their eyes or stomping their feet, or some other silly thing, then she moves on to the next child.

Today I was co-oping, so I got to witness this first hand:

Teacher: Hey there, Jack Spooky Doo, what’s the trick you’re going to do?

Jack: {burp}

I was so proud.

That’s right, Jack has learned to burp on demand and he really enjoys it. Some days he’ll sit on the couch and just burp over and over.

He does know that he should say excuse me, and sometimes he actually does. So then it’s: {burp}, “excuse me,” {burp}, “excuse me,” {burp}, “excuse me,” and so on.

I should point out here that burping is one of the things that really grosses me out. Not if it’s an occassional well-earned, I-just-drank-a-can-of-soda-and-now-I-have-to-depressurize sort of way, but small, needless burps give me the willies.

One morning last week Jack crawled into bed with me early in the morning and slept with me for awhile. Then at some point he started burping. Over and over. And over. And then a little more. I kept telling him that he needed to stop. Then I told him if he didn’t stop he had to get out of bed. Then I started counting every time he burped and told him that when I got to three he would be forcibly ejected from my bed.

About two minutes later when I’d booted him and he was crying on the floor at the foot of the bed, I was finally satisfied.

A note here: I have a husband and three male children. Those three children will eventually be teenagers. I feel like this is the gentle beginning to a horrendous life of on-demand burping that will eventually end in my stay at an insane asylum. As a mom to three boys I fear that I will be destined to a life of enduring grossness.

Laugh if you will, but karma will come to get you too. Especially those of you surrounded by small, gross children.

Baby, I’m a Star!

Kelley at Magneto Bold Too! awarded me this lovely button and told me that I rock.

I love Kelley. And not just because she seems to swear as much as I do.


This award was originally created over at Skittles’ Place (mmm…Skittles. My favorites are the red ones.) “…for bloggers who shine their light throughout the Blogosphere. Some do it with humor, others with creativity, and others with their kind and thoughtful natures. We all know more than a few of them so why not give them some recognition?”

Fantastic! Who even knew I had light?

Awards make me nervous (I’m a weirdo, I know that) because I get all stressed over whom to pass them on to. The first time I got one, I passed it on to no less than 22 people.

I think I’ll go with the blogs I go to if I know I need to laugh: Anne Nahm, Oh, the Joys, and Sarah and the Goon Squad.

Now I’m going to go take my social anxiety meds.