I seem to have some sort of death cough that has its sharp little talons wrapped around my lungs. Either that, or I actually did cough up a lung and the other one is working extra hard to compensate.

Consequently, I don’t feel like writing, but I do feel the need to have you all help me out with some things I’ve been curious about.

1. How much time per day do you spend cleaning?

2. How much time per day do you spend on yourself?

3. When did your child (or you) learn to ride his/her two-wheeler bike?

4. When did your child (or you) learn to tie his/her shoes?

5. When did your child (or you) learn to swallow pills?

Answer one or all five. I’m curious.

The Saddest Day of the Year…For the Dog

Ah, Thanksgiving. No doubt you’ve read countless posts about what your favorite bloggers are thankful for or about what they ate today. I’ve decided instead to poke fun at my dog. My poor, long-suffering dog who had to sit in my house all day long and sniff the air, which smelled like delicious, delicious food.

It was bad enough when it looked like this…

…but this is flat out torture.

Dog: “Maybe if I stare at it long enough,
it will fall directly into my mouth.”

This, by the way is the first of one and a half drumsticks that Quinn ate.
The injustice!

Dog: “Yum. Celery. Thanks a lot, assholes.”

The cats were also justifiably bummed out.

My family is thankful for many things, but based on what my kids said at the dinner table, they are more thankful for TV than anything else.

I’m thankful that Alex does all the cooking on Thanksgiving. (Seriously. He does. It’s awesome to be me.)

But really, I am so thankful for my family, for how lucky my family is, for my friends—both “in real life” and online, and for so much more that there’s not room to list it all here.

I’m also thankful that no one but me likes raspberry Jell-O with fruit cocktail in it. That way I get to eat it all. I know it’s completely embarrassing to prepare such a dish, but I’ve never claimed to be high brow, so there you have it.

Jack, however, really enjoyed poking at the Jell-O.


Note: We did give the dog some turkey. Not enough to make her throw up, as in years past, but enough to make her happy. And she got the raw turkey neck too.

DCMM: Home for the Holidays

Every year I watch the stories on the news about how busy airports are on Thanksgiving weekend, and I talk to my friends about how they are going to pack their cars and drive to visit family for Christmas. It sounds lovely to spend the holidays surrounded by those you love, but mostly I love spending the holidays surrounded by my own house.

I like to travel, but at heart I am a homebody. The holidays in particular bring out a deep need in me to be at home celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas just as I’m used to doing it. I enjoy having house guests, but I do not enjoy leaving my house.

Part of it is that I am a total control freak.

If we’re at my house, I can serve raspberry Jell-O with fruit cocktail suspended inside for Thanksgiving. If we’re at my house, I can insist that no one open Christmas presents until after breakfast. (Stockings are a different matter altogether.) If we’re at my house, no one is going to be serving ham or duck for either of these dinners—we’re having turkey.

Part of it is that staying at home is easier. I can’t even fathom carting a bunch of Christmas presents in our car to drive somewhere, much less stuffing them in suitcases for a plane flight. Seriously, I would love to hear how people do it, because according to the laws of physics as I understand them, such a thing is impossible.

While I do prefer to spend these holidays on my home turf, I have been known to venture out occasionally. Before we were married, I spent Christmas with my now-husband at his grandfather’s house. It was nice.

I guess.

And then there was the year we spent Thanksgiving with my husband’s boss. I almost swallowed my tongue when I heard that dinner would be at 8ish. I made a low-key Thanksgiving lunch (including turkey and Jell-O) that year and served it before we left for dinner. I mean, c’mon, Thanksgiving dinner is served no later than 4 p.m. Maybe 6 o’clock if the turkey got put in late.

Come to think of it, it’s entirely possible that we stay home for these holidays every year because no one invites us to their house because I’m such a controlling pain in the butt.

Original DC Metro Moms Blog post.

Hear more about Jean’s Thanksgiving Jell-O and Christmas turkey at Stimeyland.

The Deed is Done

I’m pretty sure that Jack’s aides, teachers, and principal know that I’ve hired an attorney to help us at his next IEP meeting. The big tip-off was when I gave the principal a letter asking for Jack’s comprehensive file, and then itemized a laundry list of things that I didn’t know existed. (The principal then asked, “Are you bringing someone to the meeting?”)

To their credit, they have remained very nice and supportive.

I really hope it stays that way, because I just officially alerted them to the presence of the attorney and my educational consultant. The lawyer wants to contact the school to request an earlier IEP meeting than the school originally suggested, and I agree that it needs to be done.

But I wanted to warn the special educator who will receive the phone call. So I explicitly laid it out for her in a note in Jack’s communication notebook, which is our usual method of conversation.

I have to say, sentences such as, “My attorney will be contacting you…” don’t slip easily off of my tongue. Or out of my pen, as the case may be.

I am so hopeful that Jack’s team continues to be as wonderful as they have been thus far. Because they mostly seem to agree with me, and it is the power tier above them that seems to be rejecting our requests, I hope that they understand.

I did end my note in the communication notebook with a paragraph about how much I appreciate everything they do.

Obviously, regardless, I have to do what is best for Jack, no matter what. And I truly believe that this is what is best for Jack.

My hope is that any unpleasantness can stay in the IEP meeting room and not in the classroom. Based on what I know of Jack’s team, I think that can happen. But cross your fingers for us anyway.

7 Years Old and Already a Delinquent

Part of Sam’s homework most days is that he brings home a book and has to read it to me. He writes down the name of the book and I sign my initials next to the name so that the teacher knows he read it.

Apparently one day I forgot to sign it, so Sam took it upon himself to forge my signature. And he did a damn good job. Can you tell which one is the fake?

If he’s this good at forging my signature now, imagine my life when he’s a teenager. Or, worse, when I’m old and senile and he forges my signature to put me in a home. I’m going to be completely helpless against him.

Interestingly, the only mark on his report card that wasn’t satisfactory or outstanding was handwriting. The teacher says he “needs improvement.”

I beg to fucking differ.

To Sum Up

As part of my long-term plan for internet domination, or a presence on 86 blogs, whichever comes first, I’m all over the web this week.

My feet are at Jodifur.

My story about how I dealt with a stranger making a rude remark to Jack is at Trusera.

I’m bitching about leaves at DC Metro Moms.

I’m challenging you to declutter with a contest at The Junk Pyramid.

I’m giving away “Ick” at Things and Stuff Reviews.

Five down, 81 to go.

In Like a Lion, Out Like a…Lion

Hey, remember last year when Sam started going to karate twice a week and I did a lot of whining about how I was going to have to murder Jack and/or Quinn or that I would have to take a lot of sedatives myself?


Well, I was thinking it. I sometimes dreaded going because both Jack and Quinn were insane there. I tried taking books, dry-erase boards, coloring books, trains, and toy cars and airplanes. All of them worked to one degree or another, but we always caused a scene, and Jack usually took a big swiping “Hello, there!” swing at a stranger on our way out. I often had to chase them around while they tried to evade me, and there was that first day when Sam accidentally locked himself in the changing room from the inside and couldn’t get out.

I mean, I don’t really blame them ’cause they had to kill 45 minutes there twice a week, but, F.U.C.K!

Then Vtech and LeapFrog came along and quite possibly saved my sanity. At the very least, they vastly improved my life. Each of those companies, for which I have life-long devotion, sent me review samples of their hand-held video games.

My karate life changed drastically.

I know there are people out there who disapprove of this type of electronic babysitting, but I couldn’t fucking care less. Prior to those game systems, I was stressed, angry, and a wreck. Afterwards, I was still stressed, angry, and a wreck, but less so.

Today was Sam’s last day at karate. We’re taking a break for a variety of reasons, some financial, some due to Sam’s whining whenever I tried to get him ready for class, and some due to the fact that we have two or three therapy sessions a week for Jack now. I just can’t pack it all in.

Today, which was a graduation day (Sam got his purple striped belt), was busy, loud, and chaotic. But we were all chill. We got there a little early, so got good seats. Sam went to practice. Quinn had fallen asleep in the car and was sleeping happily on my chest. Jack was playing video games. All was well.

And all stayed well. For a while.

The instructors did some speechifying after the belt presentations and Quinn woke up. And he woke up MAD. We had to remove ourselves to the lobby just a few feet away, but let Jack stay in his chair where he was quietly playing, oblivious to the hubbub around him.

The next few minutes are a little blurry, but I do remember a lot of people looking at me. But really, short of going out to the parking lot, there wasn’t a lot I could do. Then Jack got up and went to the bathroom without closing the door, which incidentally is something Sam did after his first or second class.

At some point Quinn was shrieking, Jack was “investigating” the moving parts of the lobby’s decor, and Sam showed up to ask if I’d gotten a group photo, which of course I hadn’t.

But I DID get this awesome shot.
I specialize in tiny, fuzzy, and terrible.

Then Sam couldn’t find his bag, and I almost said forget about it because we’re not coming back anyway, but figured that would be a bad way to leave, with Quinn AND Sam shrieking at me.

So we ventured into the fray, all four of us, because Quinn was sobbing and Jack can’t be trusted to not wander into the parking lot. We generally made a nuisance of ourselves until some friendly mom found the bag under her chair, across the aisle from where Sam had left it.

We said goodbye to the instructors and I started trying to herd the dudes out the door, when Jack gave one of those swipes of greeting I spoke about above. Those swipes I do not believe to be malicious in the slightest, but rather a way of interacting with people. But they always lead to a confused looking child or adult looking at us and wondering why the unprovoked attack, as I frantically try to apologize, get Jack to apologize, and tell Jack not to hit, while explaining proper social interaction all at the same time.

In case you’re wondering, it’s super effective. < /sarcasm>

Then, while hoisting Quinn into my arms because he refused to walk, I ripped his shoe off and dropped it on the floor. All while someone kept trying to foist the studio’s December calendar on me.

By the time I left, I was stressed, angry, and a wreck. And the sentimental feeling I felt watching Sam at his last class? Gone. And it seemed fitting to go out the way we came in a year ago.

I’d like to get him back there someday, but I’m okay with not having to wrangle Jack and Quinn at karate for a while.