Monthly Archives: December 2009

Peace and Quiet and Bridge Trolls

This is something I struggle with as a mom.  It seems that I have been rewarded in life with children who are abnormally extroverted and talkative, the exact and polar opposite of myself.  (Except for Jacob, bless him, who can have an entire conversation with one word or even a grunt.  Now, that’s my kind of conversation!)

I love my family dearly, and yet there are some days when I just need to hear the quiet.  I need to know that no one needs any answers and no one needs my input in their extremely critical conversations.  Sometimes moms just need to vegetate, to chill, to let the world pass by—even just for 5 minutes.

Five WHOLE minutes would be so nice.  So last night, I made it through all the various crises and meltdowns that everyone was having, and I was so looking forward to a few precious minutes of nothing.  And that’s when it started.

Evidently, Jason is of the same thinking as the kids and is abnormally social and extroverted and well…human.  Some of us, however, are not.  There was this strange sequence of events that led up to him wanting to do some complicated paperwork, empty the dishwasher, replace the roof, and steam clean the carpet—all at the very same time. 

Ok, well maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but here’s what I have to explain.  Those of us who live in the anti-social, introverted world of gnomes and bridge trolls need to have quiet and dark and peace every once in a while.  If social activities like basic conversation and interaction continue without a break here and there, our heads could actually explode.  And the pressure that explosion would release would actually be welcome.

So, from the bridge trolls to the tap-dancing socialites, chill for a few minutes every now and then.  It’ll be a happier world for all of us if we can find a peaceful land somewhere in between cocktail parties and darkened basement corners.

Ghetto-Chic—Finding Your Holiday Style

It takes a discerning and critical eye to mold one’s home into the fine ghetto-chic style we have recently accomplished, and since I am so happy with the recent makeover our home has undergone for the holidays, I would like to share the secrets to our success with anyone who would like to learn them.

First, you have to start with a lot of odd pieces of furniture.  It really helps if none of them match whatsoever, but if you must coordinate, do it minimally.  For example, we are quite proud of the decorator’s touch we surely must have had to come up with the black & white striped couch/white couch/tan recliner combo.  Most homes are never able to reach this pinnacle of ghetto chic.

But furniture alone will not be the answer to your decorating dilemma.  No, you must accessorize, and by accessorize, I mean add as much crap to the background and fringe areas of the room as possible.  For example, Christmas is the perfect time of year to bring every decoration you have ever owned out of storage.

Our mantel proudly boasts seven stockings, a Nativity, and plenty of snowmen…you know, to stand by the Wise Men and Baby Jesus.  And you can’t forget the lighted garland.  This can be wrapped around banisters and railings and along walls at your will.  There can never be too much garland, so get busy!

Our tree is a decorator’s delight in itself.  We recently went to a tall, skinny tree so that we could save space, but the downfall has been that it is not nearly as conducive to cats playing hide and seek in it.  It was always so entertaining to watch the entire tree tremble as cats ran from branch to branch.  However, this has saved many ornaments that I’m sure would have otherwise met an untimely demise.

Instead of the cats, however, we have a different sort of untamed tree trimmer in the house.  The Christmas tree should be afraid.  If I were the tree, I would be very afraid.  There are two little people (not naming any names) who insist on redecorating the tree every chance they get.  Just yesterday, Jordan (Ok, now I’m mentioning names) decapitated the reindeer in my Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer ornament, and this is only the latest in a series of toddler-induced ornament deaths.

All of this leads up to the fact that the ornaments have slowly been migrating toward the top of the tree, leaving us with a delightful rendition of Cousin Eddy’s dream tree.  From the waist down, the tree is naked, and from there upward, it is blinged out beyond imagination.  It looks sort of like a club rat that doesn’t have a full-length mirror. 

The cats have not been left with nothing, however.  They have taken quite a liking to our lovely tree skirt, which spends most of the day looking like a rumpled paper bag under which they wrestle and do various cat things.  It is a beautiful star-shaped tree skirt, but in its current crinkled state, I have to say, it goes well with the overall look of the rest of the tree.

In keeping with our ghetto-chic styling, have I mentioned that we now have a couch with no legs.  Yes, a midget couch.  Jason evidently got tired of the one loose leg falling off all the time, so he simply removed them all.  Great.  Except that now it looks like we run a home for wayward Munchkins from Oz.  I secretly think he did this because it would be hilarious to see any of our parents try to get up from this ankle-height couch.

With all this said, ghetto-chic is a style that takes time and practice.  Don’t get frustrated if you can’t achieve this look over time.  In order to get a natural look, you must allow the furniture to be trampled over time by human steam rollers who carry dripping cups of juice in their sticky little hands.  You also must amass a large collection of knick-knacks that do not coordinate with each other at all.  This can be expensive and time-consuming, but it’s oh, so worth it.  Don’t give up—you, too, can achieve ghetto-chic over time.

Jadon’s Newest Words

Pants (sounds a lot like pi**)

Break (in reference to the ornaments on our tree…which happen to be breaking at an alarming rate this year, thanks to little toddler hands that love to rearrange them)

Me, Me, Me (as in ‘me too’ or ‘take me with you’)

Potty (Halleluiah—we are going to the potty, but you have to listen carefully because it sounds like paw-ee)

Wash (as in ‘if I throw it in the sink, Mommy will wash it.’

Cold (Welcome to Midwest winters, little guy, it’s chilly!)

Jo-Jo (in reference to Jordan, the one he loves and antagonizes every day)

Jay-Jay (when referring to himself—as in ‘give some of that to Jay-Jay’)

Stinky (what Mommy says when it’s time for a bath—sounds like ‘tinky’)

Cocoa Puff (the best one yet—usually comes out with a few too many ‘cocoas’ and one really accentuated ‘puff’—something like co-co-co-co-co-big pause-PUFF!)

Mouse In the House

I will admit to losing my cool just a bit.  Ok, well maybe more than a bit.  But the furry little creature was the last thing I expected to see when I went into my garage last night.  True, it was somewhere around a sweltering 5 degrees outside, so the little rodent was probably looking for a safe haven.  Guess what, little buddy?  Didn’t find it here, did ya?  Nope.

As soon as the fuzzy gray blur darted out of the box I was moving and across the floor, my body took on a mind of its own.  No longer was I the strong, multi-tasking, ‘I can spread peanut butter while I change a diaper’ mommy.  Nope.  I wilted into a quivering mass of jello—except it was an extremely loud mass of jello.

My screams reverberated through the house, and I began jumping up and down and flapping my hands like the backseat driver of the short bus.  I’m surprised my eyes didn’t roll back in my head and that my mouth didn’t begin frothing—I was that close to an actual possession by the devil.  (The devil, in this story, is a little furry creature that has the uncanny ability to move at the speed of light.)

Now, this little fit is all fine and dandy…unless you are a mommy who has been given the supreme responsibility of convincing her kids that there are no monsters in the closet, no spiders lurking in the basement, and no chainsaw-wielding men in the garage.  Last night, if asked, my children would most certainly say they thought mommy was being hacked into pieces in the garage, so piercing were my screams.

They gathered at the door to the garage, eyes wide in either fear or fascination as they witnessed the spectacle of me being attacked—by nothing they could see.  By the time they saw me, I was fighting off my unseen attacker with every free-moving portion of my body, and I’m pretty sure that, had they been older, they might have considered having me committed.

No big deal.  We all have our demons.  One of mine happens to be mice.  I’ve shrugged it off, and today I’ve only had to take a few hits off of my inhaler to preemptively strike against any anxiety-induced asthma attacks.  Evidently though, it’s my fault that Marissa has a newly discovered fear of retrieving her shoes from the garage.  Watch out for the garage monster, kids…it’s lurking in the shadows.  Good mommy…wonder what I can traumatize them with next???

So. Not. Cool.

That’s me.  I have been forced to confront the harsh fact that I am no longer cool in my 12-year-old’s eyes.  Even though I can do a mean dance to 80’s music…and even though I attempt to sing along with Lady Gaga…and even though I try really hard not to embarrass her on Facebook…I have been branded with the uncool status.

A couple of weeks ago, I picked Micaela up after practice on a Saturday, and we had a nice girls’ afternoon out.  We picked out her dress for the dance (a cute little number in a size 5…a size I don’t believe I have ever owned), and we got all the accessories.  Cute matching shoes.  Some trendy bling with which to accessorize.

At the end of the day, I felt proud that we had agreed on the entire ensemble, and we’d had FUN in the process.  Yeah!  What a good mom/daughter bonding day.  She was looking forward to the dance, and I was excited to help her get ready for her first big middle school shindig.

Until yesterday.  Yesterday, as soon as I walked in the door from work, she asked, “Hey Mom, is it ok if I go to Alli’s house to get ready for the dance?”

What?  Noooooo, I was screaming in my head, but outwardly I showed none of the signs of a middle-aged breakdown.  Instead I smiled, breathed deeply, and remembered the days when my parents were uncool.  I suppose this is one of the hazards of the job.

I said to her, “Sure, just as long as I get to take pictures.”  And that was that.

I didn’t realize how quickly the days would go.  It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was helping her with her hair and putting cute little bows in her pigtails. I wonder if—just this once—she’d wear pigtails to the dance so I wouldn’t feel so uncool.