I’m Still Alive

Goodness, I didn’t realize so much time had passed since my last blog entry. Where does the time go?  At least I have a good excuse: we’ve been hiding in the basement with food, toilet paper, and shotguns, hoping that no one with swine flu comes near us.

I kid.

But seriously, who knew it could be so difficult to find a doctor to stick a sharp object in you?  My kids finally managed to get their first round of jabs, but I’m still naked, as is GrumpyDaddy.  My hands are practically bleeding from the constant washing and I canceled a play date when the mom told me her kids woke up with runny noses.  I’m not sure why I bother, given that my kids are in school and therefore will eventually contract every illness known to humankind.

So it’s been total chaos around here for no good reason other than that’s life in our household.  No one has pooped on the carpet, I haven’t ruined any food lately, and we didn’t leave town only to discover how much we miss being childless

For whatever reason, 3-year-old Ginger’s social life has kicked into high gear and we’ve had loads of play dates.  I suppose this is good, although she managed to bite another child at one of the play dates we hosted, which essentially is the social kiss of death amongst pre-schoolers.  She has never done this before and after the talking-to I gave her likely never will again, but I suspect the victim won’t be inviting Ginger over any time soon. 

The episode was just awful and was one of those moments that made me want to disappear into thin air because I was so mortified.  Remember Jonah, who bit Fred?  He was on my mind the entire time I was on my knees, in Ginger’s face, telling her that she was going to be in time-out until she was 18 because this was so beyond unacceptable.  I don’t think I could have apologized more to the victim’s mom in my effort to be the un-Jonah-mom.

I also got a bunch of hair cut off and was berated the entire time by a very loud hairdresser who spent 20 minutes announcing to the packed salon how awful my hair was.  I used to dye my hair and I’m growing it out because somewhere between the dye and my pregnancies, my hair went bad.  Really bad.  And if you had been in the salon that day, you could have heard just how bad it was.  The worst part was that I tipped her anyway when she was done.  Why why why???

So we are off for Thanksgiving.  A full week in a beach rental with my entire family.  And yeah, I’m thinking the same thing you are and it essentially involves the Oh &%#! face.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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My Kid Crapped On The Carpet

I considered giving this post a subtler title but really, what’s the point?

Tonight my kids were doing their usual pre-bath routine of running around naked while I was running the water to get it warm.  Ginger gets in the bath and I call for Fred.  He toddles toward me, pointing at a toy on the ground of the master bedroom, which is visible from the bathroom, and is clearly upset.  I tell him to get in the tub, at which point he says, “Poop!”

“Did you poop?”

“Yes.”

“On the carpet, over there?”  I point toward the “toy.”

“Yes.”

I run over to take a look and sure enough, there are three “toys” strewn across the carpet in the master bedroom.  Wow.

I then run back to the tub to find Fred climbing in, and Ginger screaming that he has poop on his rear end.  I tell him to turn around so I can inspect but he proceeds to sit down and I watch helplessly as a glob of poop floats off his butt and across the tub.

“Ginger, get out of the tub now!”

I drain the tub, clean out the poop, and then go retrieve the deposit on the floor.  It was surprisingly easy to clean up and this is where I made my biggest mistake of the evening (because letting Fred run around diaper-less and then sit his poopy butt in the bath wasn’t bad enough).  I failed to mark where the three poop deposits were and there was no visible mark left on the carpet, at least that I could see.  As a result, I had no clue which portions of the carpet to clean. 

This has got to be a joke.

So I bathe the kids and then get a flashlight and start crawling along the carpet, looking for poop stains.  It’s dark out and the lights in our room aren’t that bright, so I can’t see anything.  But then I realize my foot is in something wet – oh yes, Fred also managed to pee all over the carpet.  Fabulous.

So I did the best I could cleaning up the pee, but never did manage to find any poop stains.  Maybe tomorrow morning they will be more obvious.  In the meantime, I’m not saying a word to GrumpyDaddy, who has a fear of poop that exceeds his fear of death, about the essence of poop that sits on our carpet.  If he knew that our kid crapped on the carpet, you could probably find Fred listed for sale on eBay.

Stop Feeding My Kid Junk Food

I’m going to do something here that I don’t ordinarily do, which is a serious rant.  As in, I’m serious when I rant about this.

Why is it that when you invite my little Ginger over to your house for a playdate, you feel compelled to stuff her full of junk food?  I’ve yet to have Ginger come home from a playdate and not report that she had one or more of the following: lollipops, ice pops, fruit juice, candy bars, ice cream, artificially-sweetened water, jelly beans, and/or gummy bears. 

What is the point?  It’s not as though Ginger or any other pre-schooler needs a bribe to go on a playdate.  Do this many people really think it’s acceptable to feed kids this much garbage?  I realize that I’m a wee bit neurotic about sugar intake in our house, but apparently the rest of the population sits on the extreme far side of the spectrum on this issue.  

Moreover, are pre-schoolers really not capable of going 90 minutes without eating or drinking?  Ginger is on the lean side, but she doesn’t look as though she’s hurting for food.

Let our kids play, and scale back the junk food.  I can promise you that I won’t be feeding your kid any of that stuff when they come over to my house because (1) they don’t need it; and (2) I respect the fact that you may not want me to feed your child like that.  Trust me, our kids will have a good time without it.

Nakedness Is Fun

About 6 years ago, before we were married, GrumpyDaddy and I traveled to Ireland to visit some of his family.  One of his cousins came over from England with her children to meet up with us during our visit.  One of her sons was about 3 and tended to rip his clothing off at all times and run around naked.  GrumpyDaddy and I had several discussions about this, all of which started out along the lones of, “Can you believe that Johnny runs around naked all the time?” and invariably ended with, “We will NEVER let our kids behave like that!”

Fast forward to 2009.  We have two children and every night before bathtime, they love to rip off their clothes and run around the house.  Indeed, despite the freezing cold weather that has settled in here, they throw a fit if I don’t let them run around naked for a while.

And let me tell you, nothing is funnier than watching little kids run around naked.  Well, maybe little kids cursing, but I will NEVER let my kids behave like that.

Anyway, I think it’s hilarious.  GrumpyDaddy is appalled (he gets points for consistency).  My kids love it.  Life is weird.

Keep Your Filthy Germs Away From Me!

Since I always need to be obsessing about something, my newest focus is germs, or rather, killing them.

H1N1 (swine flu) is making the rounds.  We also have the regular flu to worry about.  And just for fun, the weather has turned sharply colder, which means people are just going to be sick in general.  As a result, I’ve become a bit of a germophobe. 

You know those people who won’t shake hands, and who use a tissue as a barrier between them and everything they touch?  Yeah, I’ve kind of become one of those people.  Plus, I’m washing my hands about 25 times a day.  And then using hand sanitizer, bottles of which I have stationed around the house, in my car, and in my handbag.

Apparently I revel in my insantiy.

You need to understand that I’m usually one of these “germs are good for you!” people.  I’ve never considered sending my kids to a chicken pox party or not vaccinating them, but I think it’s good for them to play in the dirt and pick up the occasional cold.  Germs are our friends!

Not this year, baby.  I’m basically convinced we’re all going to wind up in the hospital.

Please note this does not mean I’ve decided to actually start cleaning our house.  Why would I want to do something crazy like that?!?  So I’m sticking with the hand-washing.  It’s something, right?

Anyway, apparently using hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial soap, etc., is not good for the population as a whole, so I suppose I’m now making myself even more of a nuisance to the planet, but when you have two kids in school and almost assuredly will spend the next 7 months listening to them hacking up balls of mucus and feeding them ibuprofen to fight fevers, you are willing to take drastic measures.  If I have to play nurse to two kids + one hubster, I need to be healthy myself.

And so it is that in mid-October, my hands are already cracked and dry from the constant assault from soap and alcohol.  Woot for flu season.  May we all emerge healthy and intact.

The Best Damn Sauce I’ve Ever Had

OK, I realize this isn’t a cooking blog, but it’s so rare for me to stumble upon a recipe that gets me excited to eat (because I am completely lost in the kitchen) that I feel compelled to post this.

We had a small party on Saturday and someone brought over some chicken strips with Creole Mustard Sauce.  The sauce was AMAZING.  The best part is that all of the ingredients are fairly straight-forward and easy to find in the store, something that my cooking-phobic little heart adores.  I have used the leftover sauce on chicken, salmon, burgers, celery, broccoli, and cucumbers.  It’s incredibly versatile. 

One substitution to recommend: instead of regular dijon mustard, the person who made the delicious batch that I’ve been enjoying over the past few days suggests Grey Poupon Country Dijon Mustard.  I am cutting and pasting from the recipe website; the link is below the recipe.  I did NOT try making the chicken that goes along with the recipe.  Anything that calls for combining Cap’n Crunch cereal and chicken freaks me out a bit.

Creole Mustard Sauce

http://www.recipezaar.com/Planet-Hollywood-Captain-Crunch-Chicken-18065

If anyone decides to make this, I would love to hear if you like it or not.  Feel free to criticize – I won’t be offended since I claim no ownership of the recipe (the credit goes to someone named Mysterygirl, as cited on the recipezaar.com website).

And To Think I Once Believed My Kids Were Smart

I had another reminder recently of just how stressful it is to be a parent and how the title “parent” really ought to be changed to “permanent guilt trip.”

The kids and I headed over to a local park for a play date with one of Ginger’s friends.  As the kids played, the other child’s mom and I were discussing the kids in general and as an airplane flew overhead and my kids went nuts over it, I casually commented that some of their current obsessions include airplanes and helicopters, as well as the moon.

Other Mom then said that her daughter asked her earlier that day if the moon was a planet.

Um, what?

This child understands the concept of planets enough to make the connection that the moon might be one?  And here I thought my kids were somewhat intelligent.  I guess it’s time to start looking into some “alternative” classes for Ginger given that I’ve never considered discussing the concept of planets with her.

Seriously, though, this is the brutal part of parenting.  Surely there are ideas or concepts that Ginger gets that her little friend, who is only one day younger, doesn’t get… I hope.  It doesn’t help that her mother told me recently that they sometimes pass the time by singing songs in English, French, Spanish, AND sign language.  Meanwhile, I’ve spent three years trying to teach Ginger some French and we’re still stuck on “bonjour.”

It’s easy to think that your child is a genius whenever they make some new connection, and it’s certainly fun to think that your child is ahead of the curve on something, anything.  But then things like this happen to bring you right back down to earth.  And really, does it matter that Ginger doesn’t understand the concept of a planet yet?  She is three! 

This is what I loathe about parenting these days.  Pick up any book or read any news article, and it’s all about the hyper-competitive nature of Gen X and Gen Y parents who will do anything to get their kids ahead of the curve.  I see this at our play groups.  One three-year-old goes to a Spanish immersion class and now knows more Spanish that I ever learned from my year of study in the 7th grade.  Another 3-year-old is obsessed with horses and apparently knows all about different breeds, how to care for them, the best diet, etc..

Meanwhile, I read to my kids, speak to them using adult words, and encourage as much creative play as possible, hoping that somehow this all creates some fertile ground for a intelligent adults.  I’m certainly not using flash cards or quizzing them on the fifty states or taking them to piano lessons… yet.

Parenting really can be madness and I struggle regularly with keeping my head about myself as to how we are doing as parents.  Finding out that Other Child is a genius really doesn’t help my cause.