DCMM: I Didn’t Know My French Fries Were a Metaphor

My husband, Alex, and I were sitting in a booth at Gordon Biersch the other night when he asked if I wanted to share some garlic fries. I said no, because my sandwich was going to come with fries. Then Alex asked if he could share my fries.

Obviously I said no.

Well, what I said was that he could have a couple of them. So he got all huffy, and when the waiter came by he ordered a salad with a side of garlic fries. Then the waiter piped up with, “She won’t share her fries with you, huh?” When my husband agreed, the waiter looked at me, shook his head, cast his eyes down, said, “Selfish,” and wandered off.
It was hilarious, but I was a little bit flabbergasted.

Alex and the waiter carried on with their mocking of me throughout dinner. At one point, the waiter walked by, grabbed my plate of french fries and pretended to walk off with it. I kind of can’t believe how far he took it.

He finally stopped to chat with us about how eating is more than “chewing, digesting, and excreting.” Seriously. He said that. At dinner. His theory is that the way people eat can tell you a lot about the kind of person they are.

Gah?

At least when I asked him if this meal indicated that I was greedy, he was clever enough to tell me that it indicated that I was a good sport. He then went on about how everybody is always trying to get more, more, more even when they don’t need it or really want it.

Then he told me I couldn’t have dessert.

Does anyone else think this is weird? And I didn’t even tell you everything. I mean, he eventually let (!) me get a mini carrot cake, and the whole thing really was funny, but I was feeling incredibly self-conscious by the end of the meal.

Needless to say, Alex thought it was hilarious.

I used to be a waitress and I never would have been bold enough to interact that way with a customer. I’m not sure I’m totally prepared for that level of intimacy with a waiter. I kind of prefer cordiality, maybe a joke or two, hot food, and steady soda refills. I don’t know that I need philosophy with my garlic fries.

What I do know is that the waiter was lucky that my husband was in charge of tipping that night.

Original DC Metro Moms Blog post.

Jean writes more about her life at Stimeyland.

Preparation, Schmeparation

Jack is going to special education summer school (ESY), and it starts July 7. As in Tuesday. I kept waiting and waiting for information to come in the mail detailing what would happen at ESY and when our meet-the-teacher day would be.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!

Last week the letter came, as well a letter from the transportation department. The sum total of information I got? Pick-up and drop-off times for the bus and an emergency information sheet that gets sent in on the first day of school. Oh, and this:

“If your child does not communicate well, please include a visible name tag and 3 x 5 card in his back pack with name, address, and relevant phone numbers at home and at work as well as a number for a responsible adult selected by you, to take charge of your child if you are not available.”

I’m sure this will go well.

These people have never seen my child before. I have my fingers crossed that he doesn’t hide his 3 x 5 card, claim to be Anita from the 30 Day Shred DVD (his new alter-ego, FYI), end up in the wrong classroom, and get sent home to somebody else’s house.

They didn’t even tell me if I should pack him a lunch.

Above and beyond all of THAT, which I’m just trying to not think about right now, there’s the issue of preparing my special needs child for school. He won’t know his teacher’s name, he will never have seen his classroom before, he won’t know where the bathroom is. He will be put on a bus and then have entirely new people introduce him to an entirely new atmosphere.

I might reiterate at this point that these are special needs children, many of whom don’t adjust to new things very well. Fortunately Jack is fairly adaptable, but not all special needs or typical kids are. And Jack is not always adaptable. Which is why I try to prepare him for things like this.

Fortunately in the letter, the site coordinator wrote that we could contact her at a certain phone number. So I called her to see if I could get a teacher’s name to give to Jack or maybe even get a tour of the classroom on a day when they were setting up.

Of course, the number was for the school, and the school told me that the site coordinator wouldn’t be in until July 7. Which, if you remember from the top of this post, is the first day of ESY.

Are you kidding me?

We ended up stopping by the school today to wander the halls and peek in the classroom windows and play on the playground a little so Jack at least has some idea of what to expect. At least when he gets off the bus on Tuesday, it won’t be the first time he sees the place.

Jack on the ESY school’s playground, all wrapped
up in a blanket on a 90-degree day.

CSCA*: Week 2—Government & History Week

* Camp Stimey Coming Attractions!

Please keep in mind that all Camp Stimey Coming Attractions are subject to the whims of Stimey. You just never know when I’m going to decide to trash Constitution Day and decide to make it Nail Cutting Day instead.

It’s been known to happen.

Alex just informed me that my small children won’t enjoy the National Archives, so I guess I don’t get to see the Constitution this week. Stupid young kids.

Jack has a playdate (yay!) on Monday, so we’re going to drop him off (fingers crossed!) and head out to the library to find some books on the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution, and the three branches of government. And, knowing Quinn, some books about puppies.

I’ve printed out a bunch of pages from the internet (“the tubes”) for my little dudes to work on over the course of the week. There are some good places if you google things like “bill of rights kids” or “branches of government kids” and whatnot. I’ve already forgotten from where I printed my worksheets or I would link to them. (Sorry.)

The rest of Monday and Tuesday are looking kind of busy for us, so we might stick to doing some learning about history without field trips. Maybe we’ll put out our baby pool in the backyard.

Wednesday is going to be See Real Live Government Buildings in DC Day. I actually have us scheduled to go on a tour of the US Capitol. I can’t believe how dumb I am. As I was clicking the “Reserve Tickets Now” button, I was like, “Oh dear lord, at least one of my kids is going to cause a national security breach and we’re going to end up on the news.” And then I clicked on it anyway.

Free tour. The US Capitol. Team Stimey. What could possibly go wrong?

I think that’s about all we’re going to be able to handle on Wednesday. We might drive by the White House and the Supreme Court building. If, that is, we’re not in some sort of Capitol Holding Cell.

Thursday we’re going to try to visit Alex downtown for lunch and might try to hit the American History Museum.

Here’s a tip for any of you who visit museums or other attractions. Before you go, always check their websites to see if there are activities to do at home or at the museum with your kids. I find that almost every museum has these. And if they don’t, that might be a red flag that the museum is not “child friendly.”

Interestingly, there were no such pages for the US Capitol Tour.

Alex has Friday off of work, so we might just hang out that day and maybe learn about the American Revolution in preparation for the fourth.

I was trying to think of a place to have a Camp Stimey meet-up for my internet buddies (“tubes friends”), but couldn’t find a good time or place to fit it in. I think if I try to do it in a place like a museum, I’ll just spend the whole time chasing my kids. We might do better in a fenced location. (Hey! Maybe at the Capitol Holding Cell!) I’ll try next week, when we have more than four days.

CSSS*: Week 1—Transportation Week

* Camp Stimey Saturday Summary!!

We had an unbelievably successful first week of Camp Stimey. It was amazing to me to see how adding some structured activities to the day resulted in so much less whining and so much more happy, quiet, cooperative playing when there was free time.

Wow. Active parenting. Who would have guessed it works?

See how happy they were on Day One?

Of course, this being Transportation Week, it was pretty easy to come up with fun activities (followed by much ice cream). Next week is Government/History Week. Submit your ideas now—I’m going to need them!

Here’s the quick version; more dedicated readers can read the details at the bottom of the post:

Train Day:

Aviation Day:

Personal Grooming and House Kids’ Bedroom Cleaning Day:

Boat Day:

Bus Day:


I won’t be offended if you stop reading right here. This might be a long, photo-heavy post. (As if it’s not already.)

Every camp day we start out with a circle time. I write out our agenda for the day so the little dudes know what to expect. Sometimes circle time involves reading stories and doing handwriting practice. Sometimes it is just a quick rundown of what we’ll be doing that day.

Often times I save book work for our end of the day “Table Activities,” the most important of which is writing about our favorite part of the day in our journals. (Quinn dictates to me and then scribbles while the others write and draw.)

Now for a quick (ha!) rundown of each day.

Day 1: Train Day!

We started with Train Day because who doesn’t love trains? I read them books about trains and then we practiced writing the letter “T” and drawing trains. Even Quinn could draw a “T”.


Our outing on Train Day was a trip to Wheaton Regional Park, where there is a miniature train ride and a carousel. Team Junior Stimey was suitably excited.


After the train we went on the carousel because a carousel transports people, even if only for short distances and in tiny circles.

Well, actually we went on it because, really? Was I going to tell my kids no? And I think you can look at Jack’s face and tell me that I made the right decision.


We then went to the giant playground against all of my better judgment. There I turned into a stressed-out, yelling, hissing, overprotective mother. That playground is huge, spread-out, and has really bad sightlines so if one or, say, two of your children are unreliable wanderers, chances are really good that you might lose them periodically and freak out.

Or at least that is the case with me. We didn’t stay long.

Day Two: Aviation Day!

Circle time on Aviation Day involved learning a little bit about airplanes using materials I found at the College Park Aviation Museum website. They have several kid-friendly activities available for free download. The best was paper airplanes.


Sam was able to make his own, Jack used my prototype, and Quinn got really, really angry that I was trying to force some crazy “working” airplane on him. Then he got crazy angry that his wadded up piece of paper self-made airplane wouldn’t fly.


The frustration of not understanding proper aerodynamics was quickly forgotten once we got to the College Park Aviation Museum, which was our outing for the day. I don’t think we have ever had a museum experience that went this smoothly.

It’s one big room with good sightlines (Pay attention, Wheaton Regional!) so my guys could be in different places and I didn’t lose anyone. There is so much for kids to do, and there are even goody bags when they leave.


There is a real airplane they can play in, there are pilot clothes to get dressed up in. There is a flight simulator for them to crash airplanes on….

Seriously. Happiness all around.


I’d brought a lunch to eat on the museum’s outdoor eating balcony and then we played on the little wooden airplanes they have in the courtyard.


Day Three: Personal Grooming/House Cleaning Day!

Um. I took Sam to get his hair cut. I cut everyone’s finger and toe nails. I groomed the dog. I cleaned my kids’ room.

Fini.

Day Four: Boat Day!

You want to know what is an awesome resource? Twitter. Wednesday night I asked Twitter where a good place to take my kids on a boat where they wouldn’t drown was. And Twitter answered with a bunch of great suggestions. The winner came from @delowe who suggested Lake Needwood.

Lake Needwood is this huge lake in Rockville (Who knew?!) that has tons of fun activities. They have pedal boats, rowboats, canoes, kayaks, a boat tour on weekends, fishing, and probably more.

Seeing as how my kids aren’t always the calmest, we chose the pedal boats. (Good decision too; Jack kept insisting on trying to stand up: “No! I can balance!!!”) We also dragged my Friend L along, sending her anxiety about her kids, a large body of water, and a small flotation device into high gear.

But it was a lot of fun.


They even have a scavenger hunt so your kids can be on the lookout for geese, frogs, turtles, snakes (scanning….scanning…), and more.

Sam, scavenging.

Here’s a tip though: don’t necessarily pick the hottest, uncloudiest day yet of the summer to go boating on a lake.

Day Five: Bus Day!

The whole point of making this week Transportation Week was because I knew we were going to have to go on a bus on Friday. I’m going to take pity on any of you who have read this far and not write anymore. I’ll just point you to yesterday’s post about about our bus trip.

And that was Camp Stimey Week One. Whew! Did it take you a whole week to read that? I apologize for always being so verbose. I’m aware that it’s a problem I have. Sorry.

So…Very…Sweaty…

There is nothing like an hour-long bus journey to make you happy that you have a car.

Our car had to go back to the dealership today to get its seatbelt fixed. Lest you’re worried that this is our last Team Stimey Goes to the Chrysler Dealership story, don’t fret. They ordered the wrong seatbelt so we’re going back next week.

@&)#!^$&*%@*%#!!!!!!!

Fortunately, we still had much that needed to be taken care of on the car, so leaving it there all day was not a waste. I may have mentioned to you that I was planning on throwing the munchkins on a bus to get them to the dealership when the car was ready. Well, that was an awesome idea. Especially on a million-degree day.

Bright side: it wasn’t raining.

So here’s what happened:

4 p.m.: I got the call that the car would be ready soon. They told me they would call me back when the paperwork was ready so I wouldn’t get there too early. Needless to say, I left immediately.

4:12 p.m.: And by “immediately” I mean “after several minutes of forcing kids to pee, put on shoes, and stop dicking around.”

4:14 p.m.: Our bus departs the bus stop.

4:15 p.m.: Team Stimey arrives at the bus stop and looks sadly at our bus driving away.

We learned several things while we waited in the hot sun on the side of the road looking wistfully at the cars driving by, the most important of which is that waiting for buses in the hot sun is NOT fun.

We also learned that traffic seems to go a lot faster if you’re trying to keep three kids safely away from it on the side of the road that if you are safely seat belted (grrr…) in a car.

We learned that Sam can complain A LOT.

And we learned that complaining doesn’t make the bus come any faster.

Eventually the bus came and we piled on. The bus was packed, so we all stood. Of course Jack almost instantly charmed a guy into giving him his seat. Jack had a little group of four adults that he chatted with, although the guy he took the seat from was his primary target. I have to say, all that therapy we drag Jack too has made a huge difference in him. He didn’t stop talking for the entire bus ride, which was 20 or 30 minutes. And he had his new buddy laughing and giving him high fives and chatting.

Outstanding!

Finally enough people got off the extremely hot bus that we Sam and Quinn got to sit down. I stood in front of them and noticed that Quinn’s sweaty head kept banging on my leg. It was because Mr. I Don’t Nap at Home had fallen asleep on a crowded, noisy city bus.

I wish I could show you a photo of how hilarious he looked, but even I, who will take photos almost anywhere, was too intimidated to do so on a bus.

Naturally I made us get off the bus one stop too early, which resulted in making Sam extremely angry (and whiny) at me. Then he spent the next four blocks we had to walk whining about how hot is was and how tired he was and how he was going to just sit down where he was.

And even though before I had kids, I swore I would never tell them, “Okay, we’ll go without you!” I went ahead and told him, “Okay, we’ll go without you! I think you might be sad and hot here on this corner.” (I was a waaaaaay better mom before I actually had kids.)

It was kind of a hilarious journey. And for all the complaining, it really wasn’t all that bad. But the best part was when we walked into the service department and my cell phone rang. It was the dealership calling me to tell me my car was ready. And that incredible timing kind of made the whole thing worth while.

I’m Tired and My Thighs Hurt

So I keep hearing about how all y’all are going to be Hot by BlogHer or Shredded, or Half as Small as You (HASAY) and it makes me think that now that all of y’all are super healthy and svelte, I’m going to look even more NOT by BlogHer, Puffed, or (eek) Twice as Big as You (TABAY).

You know what I say to that?

I was going to write something like, “Oh, hell no!” but what I would really (politely) say is, “Oh, good for you!” and then go mutter in the corner about cellulite and muffin tops.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to suck it up and do the 30 Day Shred. I started two days ago and, yes, Sarah, I hurt too. Although I think my situation was exacerbated by my 45-minute bout with pedal boating this afternoon. It turns out that a 4-, 6-, and 7-year-old aren’t terribly effective at assisting in the pedaling of a pedal boat. My legs don’t work very well anymore.

Anyway, the best thing (sarcasm) about doing the 30 Day Shred here in Stimeyland is the peanut gallery that gathers to watch me. Yesterday it took my kids about 10 minutes to find me. Today they were all assembled on the couches to watch before I was done with my warm up.

They had all kinds of questions (“Why aren’t you doing Level Two too?”) and demands (“Come on, Mom! Do it!”). And Jack stole my water bottle during my first abs section.

I had to explain to said peanut gallery that Level One helps me get stronger and once I’m good at it that I’ll move on to Level Two. To which Jack replied, “You are really good at Level One. You did the same thing as the sisters,” referring to Jillian Michaels and her irritatingly taut sidekicks. I found this extremely sweet and highly entertaining, due to obvious physical differences in Jillian’s henchwomen.

There are a couple of things that I like about the Shred. (1) It’s only 20 minutes a day, and (2) I appreciate the fact that Jillian wears sweats instead of spandex.

There are many things that I find horrible about the Shred, but you probably could have guessed that.

It’s possible that I won’t be HOT by BlogHer, but I intend to be HOTTER by BlogHer. But my exercise program combined with my Weight Watchering is going to make me for damn sure Hot by BlogHer 2010.

Now That I Know You Like Camp Stimey, I’m Going to Talk About Brushing My Dog.

Yay! Guess what? Y’all like Camp Stimey! I’m totally delighted to hear that. That means that I now feel empowered to blog ad nauseum about silly details of our summer.

I’m also pleased that those of you that followed along last year tell me that I came across as a competent and creative mom. I’m happy to hear that competence/creativity is what comes through instead of buffoonery and dingbattiness.

(Although I have a feeling that some of that comes through too.)

Now that you’re all excited about Camp Stimey though, I have to tell you that we didn’t do camp at all today. When I said yesterday that today was going to be Personal Grooming and House Cleaning day, I wasn’t kidding.

I took Sam to get his hair cut (Jack and Quinn politely declined). I cut everyone’s finger AND TOE nails. (Thanks for pointing out that my three kids can’t have 60 fingernails, Magpie.) I Furminated the dog. I even did Day One of the fucking 30-Day Shred. Which is not technically grooming, but somewhat related.

I got stopped in my little dudes’ bedroom on the house cleaning. After three weeks of house guests, that place was a disaster. I made Sam go under the bed to bring out all the crap that gets dropped down there. Evidently he found some ants and I suggested that this might mean that he’s been sneaking food into his room and he claimed that they were non-food eating ants and there has never ever been a Gogurt or a [petrified] cheese stick in there. Ever.

And then he did a lot of complaining that I was making him go under the bed with the biting ants (“I think one of them was kind of red, Mom.”) and how it was terrible and all. And then I told him that I couldn’t care less, but when he was done I gave him a dollar and let him play video games.

So tomorrow is going to be Boat Day, with a side of Cleaning the Rest of the House. Cross your fingers that there is no more fossilized cheese and that we all return safely from whatever boat we end up on.