Monday, December 31, 2007

Dog-Gone It!

Today is New years Eve. Since I had awakened early and planned to stay up till midnight to see the New Year in, I had hoped for a little nap. My kids cooperated giving me space and relative quiet on the couch. Unfortunately COby, our CHocolate Lab, had other ideas. He wanted to play.

I kept getting toys shoved into me from his balls to other chew toys. I was expected to toss them so he could fetch them so I could toss them again. I told him to go away. He did. For about five minutes and then he was back.

Well, after awhile it was quiet but I had a queer feeling so I peeked out from under my lashes.....and saw a pair of brown eyes staring me down. His head was perched next to me on the sofa looking right at me. He realized I was watching and started inching closer to my face. "Dog! So help me, you better not be thinkinb' on kissin' me!"

I closed my eyes and settled back for some Zzzz's and was almost in dreamland floating on a cloud when my chin suddenly got wet....not just wet but slurped! I jumped up, "DOG!" He hightales it for his crate...preferrably the back where I can't reach him.

Decided to just get up and get things up but I swear I could almost read the dog's mind......Sounded a lot like, "Mission accomplished!"

Monday, December 24, 2007

Less For Christmas

When we were in our early stages of parenthood my husband and I would go gift crazy on holidays. Due to fertility issues our children our spread apart in ages so our oldest was five before she was blessed with a sibling. Back then when it came to gift buying we would go crazy. My daughter had every gift imaginable and then some gifts that could not even be imagined. Yet, even after she opened her tons of gifts, I would worry, "Did I buy her enough? Is she happy with everything?" And then there would be all that assembling that we spent most of Christmas Day doing! It just did not make for a fun Christmas.
Three children and ten years later we have wised up. The presents are far less due to economical reasons and far smarter as to need less assembly due to experience but along with that came an added bonus. Peace.
While I was worried the first year when I knew it would be a "slim" one, I learned to go for quality and pick a few things they would really love and play with. The result was more contentment and less stress, something I had not anticipated. In this day of consumerism and commercialism my family has learned to be content with what they have and it has just been such a blessing. While most kids have their Game Cubes, their super Nintentoes, their Wii's - my children have been content with their Game Boy advances. While most teens get their clothes from the Gap on a weekly basis, it seems, my teenage daughter does not even ask. Most of her clothes as well as her siblings, were given to us or bought at a garage sale and she has been content with that. She has friends who get rather generous weekly allowances of over twenty dollars while shedonly gets a fourth of that but we have discovered that there are kids in her circle of friendship who get nothing.
I am glad my children have learned to be content with what they have. The blessing of peace and contentment just makes it so much easier. I would advise anyone who buys their children loads of toys to one year set a limit. Children don't need all that stuff.And living with less with help them appreciate more and become better citizens in the long run.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Teenagers: And These Are The Days Of Their Lives

Having a teenager in the house is an experiment with insanity. My daughter hasn't been too bad thus far but some of the stories she brings home makes me think, "Man!" Teens nowadays have so much drama going on in their lives. It's just overwhelming!
My daughter, Nicole, is trying out for a duet for choir. Most of the boys did not want to try out. Two finally volunteered after much cajoling but neither had good voices. There is a boy with a good voice that would be nice to try out but singing with him would be a social trainwreck. This boy, "Alec", can't try out with Nicole! For Alec likes "Trina" who also likes Alec! Heaven forbid if Alec sang a romantic duet with Nicole! This is only eigth grade! Nicole has no romantic interest in Alec, whatsoever...She just wants to sing but she doesn't want Trina upset with her.
Now, tonight, she tells me that "Susan" is upset with her. Why? Well, Susan recently joined choir in the past two weeks. She never had sung with them before. And now, a week before the concert, Nicole found out from someone that she and Alec may have gotten another duet.....the female part which had been pursued by Susan who only joined the choir......
Makes one glad I am no longer a teenager! Do they give Emmy's for teenage real life drama?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Like Like

My nine year old son, Tyler, is a shy boy....or at least he is a lot more shy than my girls....... so it came as an extreme shock recently when he came up to me and asked if it was alright to "Like-Like" a girl. Well, once I picked my chin up off the floor, I told him that I don't care if he "likes-likes" a girl as long as he doesn't "do-do" anything about it. He then proceeded to tell me about this girl in his class. This was the same little girl who lives near the old middle school and would make eyes at him last spring when we were waiting for my oldest daughter and also the same girl who had made it a point to come up to Tyler after school to say "Hello". This little girl also asked if she could go to the recent foot ball dessert social. "Is she asking him on a date?!!!" She does have a name and I know what it is, but I know if I reveal it, Ty's dad and sister will tease him mercelessly.
Well, yesterday Tyler comes home and announces this girl told his friend, Ben, that she thinks Tyler is attractive. Now, maybe I don't have much self-control but I couldn't help it. I burst out laughing. What 8-9 year old girl comes up with that? And Tyler, my shy Tyler, is just grinnin' from ear to ear. Anyone got any sand I can go hide my head in?
I never had to deal with this with my extroverted daughter whom I told from the beginning that there will be no dating until she is 16 and then there would be more rules. I am glad the little girl lives on the other side of a very busy street and hopefully that will deter her from looking Tyler up.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Imaginary Friend With A Twist

Recently Lexi had an imaginary friend over a few times..... named Amy.
Well, she has since topped herself and has gone where very few five year olds have gone before. She introduced us to her "boyfriend", Jerry. Jerry is a quiet fellow. He wears his heart on his sleeve...he is that transparent! He sat next to my husband for supper. Dh told Lexi that Jerry will be going home when it gets dark and she informed him that Jerry will be sleeping overnight.
My husband told her, "Okay, but on the sofa."
To which Lexi replied, "No, he is sleeping in MY room!"
Norm asked her where and she said "On the floor."
Nicole said, "Well, he ain't sleeping in our bed!"
I asked her what Jerry will be doing while she is getting a bath.
She said "Waiting for me." My husband said, "He's going to be down in the living room with me cause I'm gonna have to have a talk with him. No funny stuff with my daughter or I'm gonna hurt him."
To which Lexi replied, "Oh, you can't get Jerry! He's good!"
Meanwhile Nicole and I were both laughing hysterically. My husband takes 2 swings at Jerry....of course he missed both times.....according to Lexi. He then told Lexi that Jerry better keep his lips off of her.
Lexi looked surprised for a second and then said, "We're gonna kiss!" I thanked Norm for planting that idea in my child's head. Later we were talking about whether we had ice cream in the freezer and Lexi walked over to the freezer and opened it. "HEY! JERRY BROUGHT US ICE CREAM! MOOSETRACKS!"ALmost had to do the heimlich on Nicole who was trying to get her mac & cheese down and erupted into a huge coughing fit from laughing so hard.
Isn't it funny what goes through a five year old's mind? Wouldn't you just love to be able to read it? Or maybe not!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

GONE in a wag of a tail

Item: Half of a peanut butter sandwich

Suspect: Brown chocolate lab cowering in the back of his crate

Every morning my kids have peanut butter toast. This morning I made one for my eight year old and my four year old and laid them on the counter in front of the toaster. My thirteen year old had already had hers next to a drooling chocolate lab licking his chops hungrily and left for school. My eight year old son devoured his before leaving for school as well. Then my four year old daughter went to retrieve hers. "Mommy, where is it?"

"On the counter."

"No, it's not"

"Yes, it is."

My husband, who was out in the kitchen getting his morning dose of caffeine chimed in, "It's not here, hon."

I was watching a news segment on television, "Of course it's there. I left it in front of the toaster."

"Not there anymore."

"Well, what could have hap-" I took one look at the dog, "COBY!" Tail between his legs he hightails it to his crate and cowers in the back of it. Aha!

Our last dog, a dalmatian, had been an outside dog. When we chose to have an inside dog, we had no idea some of the things that would entail. We have a cart to set our microwave on and the bottom shelf underneath has a rolling door and we kept bread in there. Sometimes we would neglect to pull the door shut but it did not seem to be a problem till a month ago. I walked out there to find bags to three loaves on the floor...the bread gone...... the dog cowering in the back of his cage. He knew. Oh, my and how that bread affected his digestive system! The house was permeated with odors nto wished on my worst enemy! I never knew a dog could do that till we had Coby. Now we try to keep bread away from him but he will choose any chance he can get to steal it, even if it's from my four year old's hands. He gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Gas Hog".

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Selective Hearing

"Tyler, do you have any homework?"

"Huh? I can't hear you."



New tactic. I whispered, "How about some cookies?"


It's amazing what our kids can hear when they really want to. I learned a long time ago that telling them anything while they were playing their gameboy was wasted breath. Even the television can totally disrupt their hearing. My husband is a volunteer firefighter and has a pager in the living room to notify him of calls. It is often turned up and can be very loud. Often I will come into the room after hearing it go off and ask my thirteen year old, "What was the call?"

She usually turns a blank face to me, "I don't know."

"Well, where was it?"

"I don't know."

"But you were sitting right next to it! You should have heard something!"

She shrugs her shoulders and turns her attention back to the television.

Then here was that time my son was playing his gameboy and his father got a fire call while watching television next to him. He was gone a full ten minutes before my son looked up, "Hey, where's dad?"

However I can be in another room and paper rustling will bring them running, "Can I have some too?"

I think the wisest thing a parent can do is go by the thought, "If you can't beat em', join em".

"Mom, can I have twenty bucks?"

"What? I 'm afraid I didn't catch that!"

"Hey, how about if I use the car tonight?"

"Did you say something?"

Yep, there certainly is something to this selective hearing thing. Try it on an adolescent near you!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hi, I'm Denise & I hail from the country "IJustCan'tSeemToWin"

Did you ever feel like that? Some of the arguments my kids, especially my two youngest, get into are just really really ridiculous.
This morning I had my eight year old son, Tyler, remake his bed because he's been getting really sloppy with it. I told him to put all of his stuffed animals, mostly dogs, approximately 20, nicely on his bed or an empty shelf I had provided. They are usually all over the floor. Tonight, after church, I went in and, instead of preparing for bed, he was sitting on the floor amidst all of his stuffed animals with a pout painted on his face. I asked him what was wrong. "I may as well get rid of all of them." When I asked why, he replied, "Because I can't get them to stand up on the bed."
Taking a breath I made myself answer very calmly, "So then just lay them down on their sides. As long as they look neat. Look, you can even put some on that shelf. I cleared a whole shelf off for some of them."
He continued in a pouty voice, "But they won't stand up so I am just going to throw them out."
Counting to ten, "Tyler, it is after 9:00 and you need to get to bed instead of arguing about this thing." I walked from the room.

More moaning from the room a minute later brought me back.
"I'm just going to throw them out."
Okay, let's try counting in German this time. Eins. Zwei. Drei. "Fine. Whatever. Just get ready for bed." I vacate the room.
A few minutes later more moaning and crying brought me back. This time animals were piled up from his trash can. Uno. Dos. Tres..... "There, I threw them out."
"Okay. Fine. Now please go to sleep."
It wasn't long till crying erupted from the room again. Gritting my teeth, I stomped to the room. "WHAT is wrong THIS TIME?!"
He breaks out in rather theatrical tears that I will give a Ten to, "I can't sleep without my dalmatian."
I walk from the room into the hallway and acted like I was banging my head against the wall, only I was using my fist. Hey, I may be frustrated, but I want to maintain my single vision and not see two of everything.
At 10:00 I went in to cover him again. He was sleeping soundly.....all twenty of his stuffed animals spread around him.....on their sides.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Empty Nest

I am so not looking forward to when all my chicks leave the nest. Because my children are spread so far apart in ages, I have a long time to wait. As long as the Lord sees fit not to take any of my children home, I figure I have at least fifteen more years until my last little fledgling flies away. (Unless I find a way to clip their wings. Hey! There's a novel idea!)

I had a small taste of it yesterday when my mother-in-law chose to take my youngest for the day. No matter how many scrapes she can get herself into or how many ways she can concoct to get on my nerves, the moment she left the hoouse, she took the sunshine with her. A stifling gloom enveloped me in despair and darkness and it was my unwanted associate for the bulk of the day. When she returned late in the afternoon, the sun was her welcome companion.
There were numerous times a seasoned grandmother would approach me with, "Enjoy them while they're young. The time goes by so quickly." I believe that wholeheartedly. It is so hard to remember that my thirteen year old was once a baby and yet it was like it was yesterday. She already is maturing into an adult wanting to try her wings by exerting her own independance and, yet, as many times she wants to make her own way, she often returns and seems to want her mother's attention and care.

My son often wonders why mom won't let him walk home from school by himself. After all, he is eight years old and not a baby and, yet, every morning he asks if I will be coming for him. I know my children recognize that with parent supervision also comes protection and security. Deep down inside they are torn between growing up and staying under that umbrella.

Yes, I plan to enjoy these years, as hard and stressful as they can be because I know in less then twenty years I will give anything to have them back.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

I'm Going To Run Away!

That was the announcement my four and a half year old made today when she did not get her own way..... and then she ran.... all the way to the living room. Four year olds seem to have it tough. They are still wanting to depend on their moms and, yet, they are trying to establish independance. Saying they are going to run away is like a stroke of independance for them even though it may be agrivating for their parents. My oldest daughter, Nicole, was five when she made that announcement. Her baby brother was just born and she suddenly realized that he was getting all the attention and we "lost" the address to return him. Theatrical as she was, one day she made the announcement. "I am running away!"
Amused, I asked, "Well, where are you going?"
"To grandma's!"
"Well, how will you get there?"
"I'll walk!" (Note: Grandma was at least 5 miles away!)
"Well, then you're going to have to pack a bag."
So she packed one. She went and got a small paper lunch bag and filled it with her necessities; a pair of underwear, socks and a toothbrush. Then she started out for grandma's. Of course, I would not let her past the neighbors.
Kids this age can uncannily cause the funniest sitcoms. I recently found my youngest daughter's hairbrush. I asked her if she's been brushing the cat. "Nope," she replied, "That's dog hair."
Then there was the time a few years ago that I found that the wall had been "decorated". I said,"Tyler, you and I both know you did this!" Tyler hung his head but said nothing so I continued, "So you are going to have to give me your crayons for awhile."
"It was done with markers."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Basket Case

Easter is coming! I have been slowly collecting items to place in my children's Easter baskets. One thing that really frustrates me is the amount of candy children get in their baskets. I usually try and buy them many non-candy items because they get so much chocolate from their one grandmother. Since I have children spaced far apart, I try and be creative as to what I get them. Yes, I will buy each at least a med-large size chocolate bunny and a little candy but I also buy items such as activity pads, coloring books, crayons, jewelry, matchbox cars, trading cards, snowglobes, bubbles, chalk or anything else my child may find interesting. I usually try to create each baket to the child's interests and age. I don't usually like to buy those big store-made baskets because most times they put candy in the baskets my children don't even like.

One thing we do for our children that they eagerly anticipate every year is to give them each their own scavenger hunt to find their baskets. For a very young child I have created bunny footprints for them to follow to their basket. For the preschooler-kindergartener, I collect pictures or clip art of various things around the house to use as clues. For the early reader I write the word or a little phrase for where they might find the next clue and lastly for the teenager, per her request, I made the clues coded so she had to figure out the riddle or code before she knew where to find the next clue. The kids look forward to coming down every year to find their first clue and then go hunting for the next clue until they have found their basket.

An Easter tradition that my mother-in-law has started was to paint Easter Eggs. Instead of using real eggs, she buys wooden ones at a craft shop and supplies craft paint to the children to paint their own eggs. This gives the children and opportunity to keep the egs year after year and is a fun way to pass the time. Every year she also presents each child with a porcelin egg with a picture and the date on it to collect as a sentimental collection in rememberence of her. I know she looks forward to Easter as much as the children do. There are so many traditions and fun things you can do with your child around Easter. This year my thirteen year old daughter decided to make small baskets for her friends. I showed her how to make 3"x3" baskets from paper stock and she went out and bought candy at the local Dollar General.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Animal Kingdom

At any one time you can visit my home and declare it to be a zoo. Sometimes the children are as tame as manatees and there is peace in the household. Unfortunately that is an endangered species in my house. Most times activity at my house could be compared to a pack of hyenas sparring for the choiciest meat.
My children are distanced several years apart. I have a thirteen year old daughter, Nicole, an eight year old son, Tyler, and a four year old daughter, Lexi. The eight year old and four year old are the two who get into the most tumultous scraps. My preschool "angel", who tells everyone she sees that her real name is Princess, knows exactly which buttons to push to drive my son directly through the roof and into the stars above. Tyler, on the other hand, enjoys "parenting" her where he enjoys assuming the role of disciplinarian. He can be an extreme perfectionist and any disruption to routine or carefully ordered toys will send him on a temper tirade and lexi is often all too eager to disrupt that order. Of course, Tyler is more than willing to report the tiniest discretion to me even if his dad is sitting next to him.
On this particular day the children were sitting around the lunch table nitpicking over seating arrangements and who knows what else. Suddenly Tyler yells, "MOOOM! She called me a giraffe!"
Rolling my eyes and growling in extreme frustration I turn from the stove with a smile pasted on my face, "Tyler, Giraffe is not exactly a put-down. At least she isn't calling you a Hippo."
Disgusted by the constant bickering, I stalked to the living room from which I heard my four year old daughter quietly say, "Hippo!"
I spent the next fifteen minutes listening to the two of them exchanging names of wild animals. "Lion!" "Monkey!" "Elephant!" Meanwhile I had my own quandry to settle. Should I let all of my frustration out in the form of a scream so hideous there was no animal who could match it or should I allow myself to wallow in hysterical laughter. I chose the latter. They say laughter is the best medicine but my question is, "Can youoverdose on it?"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

To be or what can it be? That is the question.

I discovered a small brown edible tidbit on my pantry shelf today. It was obvious one of the kids must have dropped it while scavenging for something to satisfy their hunger. I studied the item, turning and pivoting it between my forefinger and my thumb observing the bite size item's object's color, shading and texture carefully. Finaly, unable to locate in my mind the exact source of the item, I tossed it into the trash can. It's pretty bad when you can't distinguish the difference between a piece of child's cereal and cat food.
I mean, really! Why do they have to look so much alike? Do you suppose that they are one and the same but in different packaging? Perhaps Purina and General Foods are one and the same! Now, bfore I get 101 horrified readers protesting either the above mentioned companies or the ridiculousness of my words, please be assured. I do not actually believe that Chocolate Lucky Charms are actually cat vittles with marshmallows.....but let's just suppose.
And, while we are sharing food with our favorite furry felines, let's not forget our canine companions. I have came up with a novel idea I think can really make a little money. My dog and cat want to eat each other's food anyway; why don't Purina actually make a Multi-Pet Food? I think it would sell. Chicken vittles with a twist of peanut butter....Hey, my cat and dog would probably kill over it. And my husband thought I was sitting around all day doing nothing! Hey, my brain was working overtime conjuring up that brillant concept! You wait and see! A year from now you will see this advertised on television using a cat and dog contently eating from the same bowl and you can say to yourself that you read it here first!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

In The Shadows

She hated these Sundays-when her husband worked and she had to take her daughter to church alone. In fact, if her daughter had not enjoyed Sunday School so much, she would have skipped church entirely. The music was starting to drift up the hallway signalling first service was about to begin. Good! She would slip in quietly and find a seat in the back. Settling in to the cushioned pew, she allowed her eyes to scan the sanctuary. Her eyes settled on the woman in front of her. The woman placed a newborn on her shoulder and proceeded to pat the babe. She guessed the baby couldn't have been more than a month old. Sighing, she began wishing she had picked another spot and yet her eyes remained transfixed on the baby. She watched as the baby slept on. After awhile the baby stirred and the mother lifted the child gently down to her lap and became engrossed in a quiet dialogue with the wee one. She shifted uncomfortably in her seat as the voices filled her head. "When are you having another?" ".....needs a baby brother/sister." "Do you only have one child?" A tear escaped and started cascading down her cheek. She quickly brushed it away hoping nobody had noticed. She and her husband had trouble conceiving their daughter, but after 14 months she had made the happy discovery they would be parents. However, when their daughter was a few years old, they tried again. Fourteen months passed and no baby. Eighteen months. She began dreading that time of the month. Now she was looking at the two year mark with no sucess. No baby to hold. Their third bedroom sat void and eerily quiet. Staring at the baby in front of her became unbearable so she gathered her belongings and made a quiet escape out the closest door. Glancing around the foyer, she gave a quick half-hearted smile at some lurking parishioners, some with busy toddles who would not sit still fo the service, and hurried to her favorite escape- the church library. There was no one else present for which she was grateful. She grabbed a book from the shelf and pretended to read till she heard the organist begin playing once again signaling the end of the service. She shoved the book where she found it and hurried to fetch her daughter and disappear like she had never been there.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Child Lost

Shari stared at the stone not sure how to feel. The stone memorial, placed there by a local organization, marked the small mass grave of several fetuses that never made it to full term. One of those babies, plucked from Shari, had died after settling in Shari's Fallopian Tube. Sudden, uncontrollable bleeding, an unplanned trip to the doctor resulting a visit to the Emergency Delivery Room. One day Shari knew she was carrying a child and the next day the child was gone. Before Shari even had a chance to rejoice in new life, it was snatched away leaving a deep despairing chasm Shari was not even aware existed until that point.

The baby had not been planned. It was not expected. Shari and her husband were leading a full, busy life and the thought of a baby never even had time to cross their minds. When Shari discovered the pregnancy she was not sure if joy was the word she would have described it. She was surprised.... maybe a little shocked. That evening, after sharing the news with her husband, they both retreated to their prospective corners trying to make sense of the news. Shari was still trying to process it the next day when the bleeding started. It was over quickly physically but the process still reigned supreme in Shari's mind. The same woman who could multitask several clients at one time while balancing a home life could not resolve this. While she attended the mass funeral of other miscarried babies, she numbly viewed all of the other moms and some dads sobbing over their unborn lives they lost, she wondered why she could not cry. She did not feel glad or sad. She simply felt nothing and the emptiness was eating away at her. Her husband returned to his normal routine leaving Shari to wonder if it even affected him.

Over the next weeks and months she buried herself in mindless tasks she could perform in her sleep hoping to forget but like an untreated wound, it only manifested itself growing deeper and more painful. As the day the baby would have been born approached, Shari's despair deepened. What would the baby have looked like? Was it a boy or a girl? What would have it been like to hold it and have it suckle milk from her? A older co-worker found her one day in her office, tears cascading down her face. Between sobs, Shari finally told someone about her pain. The co-worker gently took her in her arms and told her own story of unborn life lost. She told Shari how she gave the child a name, of how the pain eventually lessened and how what Shari was feeling was perfectly normal. She assured Shari of the shoulder that woul always be there and Shari thanked her for her kindness.

And now she sat with her legs pulled tightly next to the grave and cried tears of sorrow of what could have been...of what she never even knew she wanted until she lost it. She fingered the stone lovingly and then was suddenly aware of a presence behind her. Startled, she turned to face her husband. He pointed to the ground next to her and asked, "May I sit beside you?" Numbly, she nodded and suddenly he was there holding her. "I see the teddy bear is still there." He pointed to a brown bear beside the grave.

Astonished, she turned to him, "You've been here before?"

"Yes," he sheepishly nodded, "I've come a few times."

"Why didn't you ever tell me?" She questioned. "I thought you didn't care."

"But I did care, Shari." He tightened her in an embrace. "I just didn't want to upset you especially since you never talked about it."

Shari gazed at him a few seconds before turning back to the grave. She snuggled into his ams an they sat there in silence. After several minutes Shari announced, "I want to try for a baby." Her husband tightened his embrace and Shari barely heard his whispered reply, "I was hoping you would want that." Tears were flowing down both cheeks and after another long space of quiet, Shari's husband helped her off the ground. As they turned to walk away, she placed her hand on his arm to stop him, "I am naming the baby Jordan." Her husband nodded and then led her out of the memorial garden toward a future together.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Cool Grandma

Who was the cool grandma in your life?In our family, we have two grandmas. At first it was so easy. We called my parents "Grandma and Papa" and my husband's parents "Nanny and Pappap". That served us well for several years. Then, suddenly when my children were 11, 6 and 2 Confusion entered the picture. When I talked about Nanny or Grandma no one seemed to know which one I was talking about. The system that had worked for over ten years suddenly aborted itself. I couldn't understand what had made the difference but now I was hearing, "Which Nanny are you talking about?" "Which Grandma is that?" I was screaming to myself, "The same Nanny we have had for the past ten years! Why do you not understand who I am talking about?!"
After awhile it became, "Is it the grandma with the dog?" or "Is it the one with the dog or without the dog?" A sigh of relief! A distinguishing fact I could cling to. We found a way to differentiate between the two grandmas. Finally everyone was on the same page..... and then the dog died. Suddenly we were without a viable means of identification again.
Then I was struck with a brainstorm, "Hey! How about if we call my mom Cool Grandma?"Basking in the glow of my brilliant idea I was totally rebuffed by my son's skepticism, "But why?"
Undaunted, I explained my logic, "Because she has the gameboys, the game cubes, the playstation, all those videos and CD's and TWO COMPUTERS! She's one cool grandma!"
My kids sat in the back of the van with blank looks on their faces. Finally my son spoke, "But the other one has a trampoline." That was when I realized my brainstorm lacked the brain part and was merely an electrical storm- all spark and no substance. We finally decided to call my parents "Gameboy Grandma and Gameboy Grandpa" and my husband's parents "Trampoline Grandma and Trampoline Grandpa."
Later, when I told my mother on the phone what her new distinguishing nickname was I was met with a rather long moment of silence. Why was I not surprised?

Monday, January 1, 2007

Assembly Required

Tis the season to be weary.......When I think of how I spend the holidays, one word comes to mind....stress! This year my husband hinted that we should have my family for Christmas. I spent weeks planning, gathering needed items and cleaning my house. Preparing for company can be stressful and I was looking forward to when the last meal was out of the way and behind me.
When the evening was over I thought, "Now I can kick back and enjoy the holidays." Yeah, right. There was still last minute Christmas Cards to send (I had forgotten my husband's friends) and last minute gifts to buy.This year my four year old daughter, Nicole, had graduated from Fisher price to Barbie. My husband and I had bought her all her Barbie items: A house, a stable for her horse, nursery school, supermarket and pet store. I didn't rally read the packages as we wrapped them on Christmas Eve. My husband, Norm, has this thing about only wrapping presents on Christmas Eve, so you can understand the added stress when he wrapped two and I was left with a mountain of presesnts to wrap.
Norm had to work the early shift Christmas morning and he decided that we would open presents that night after supper. Nicole was pretty good all morning about the presents. When my husband came home, she was quite eager to open them, but was forced to use more patience to wait till after we ate. Norm, who is also a volunteer firefighter, got a call and poor Nicole was forced to wait longer. I felt sorry for her and allowed her to open two presents. Upon Norm's return we ate and opened gifts. It was only then that I finally started to realize what was ahead for me. Nicole, who had no nap, was to have gone to bed at 7:30. She was quite eager to have everything assembled immediately. Norm preferred that I do that since it was his habit to assemble first and read directions later. I started the house first which wasn't too difficult. Then I tackled the stable where the directions were slightly more confusing. At 8:30 Norm stuck a video in for Nicole while I started the grocery store. Till then I was tired because I had been awake since 5:15. The store shelves which were largely cardboard began to grate on my nerves as they kept falling apart inmy hands. I could either be heard screaming or murmuring about the woes of cardboard under my breath. Finally at 10:00 I decided to finish the other two in the morning and put Nicole to bed. I still had not even looked at my own presents.
As I hit the shower I thought that surely Nicole would sleep in till at least 8:00 in the morning. WRONG! Nicole was routing me from my bed at 6:30 to assemble her school and pet store. I got up but decided to assemble my new portable phone first and then begun her projects. This time i was going to be smart and use glue. At 9:00 I was finally finished. I cleaned up and sat down on the recliner to relax with the directions to my new curling iron."Mom, can I have pancakes?"