Thursday, March 29, 2007
Question on Logic
Just a quick post to let you know the PBJ sandwich went over like a lead balloon. Sophie decided that the sandwich I made her the other day, the one she insisted she wanted, would be the benchmark against which she will measure all PB. And PB, people, is something this kid, in her own words, "just doesn't really like." Fair enough. But if she likes bread and she likes chicken, why can't the two come together in the form of a sandwich? If she likes pita pockets and turkey, why not a turkey pita pocket for lunch? And why don't they tell you, either during pregnancy or as you are begging to die while birthing your children, that from there on out, LOGIC just won't be that big a factor in your life anymore?

Work is so busy I hardly have time to breathe. If I don't post for awhile it is because I am trying to complete an entire campaign in a ridiculously short amount of time and the more work we don't get done this week, the more likely it is going to be that I will be working weekends. Gah!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Have you ever seen the movie "Gaslight"? The one where Charles Boyer psychologically tortures his wife, played by Ingrid Bergman, by manipulating her into believing something other than the truth? It's just like that at our house except I think it's the children doing the gaslighting:

While I was giving Sophie a bath last night I was asking questions about her day. How was school? Did you go to the park today? Oh, and by the way, how was the cold slice of leftover pizza I sent for lunch? (She enjoyed it and I was pleased.)

"Tomorrow you'll have peanut--I mean a jelly sandwich."
"No, I'll take peanut butter tomorrow, mom."

Did you hear the rotation of the earth screeching to a halt? Did you hear a loud thunderous boom or feel tectonic plates shift? Because, people, this is a child who'd rather chew glass than eat something so vile, so disgusting as peanut butter.

I had my suspicions and I wasn't falling for it. "But you don't even like peanut butter."

"Yes I do." (See! I told you they're gaslighting me!)

"No, you hate it, remember?"

"No, I'll have it. Really, I will!"

"How about half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich."

"How about you packing me a whole peanut butter and jelly sandwich."

So, I did what any other mother would do. I agreed, didn't bring it up again and carefully constructed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich using just a little PB and the normal amount of J. I slapped the halves together, put it in her favorite sandwich keeper and crossed my fingers.

Monday, March 26, 2007
The Terror of Potatoes
My children think I am a terrorist. They act as if I stand in the kitchen wearing a ski mask and holding a rifle, threatening to take down every school-aged infidel who comes to the table to eat. THAT is reaction I got from the kids when I tried to serve them not only mandarin oranges but broccoli and cheese and mashed potatoes over the weekend.

There were tears. Many of them. We had whine with dinner. There were faces made, protests, crying. There was gorging on peas in an effort to avoid the potatoes. What is wrong with them? I should note that the kids love broccoli and Annie's Mac 'n Cheese and will devour both on an ordinary day. But Sophie likes to get creative and once developed a "recipe" in which she mixed broccoli and Annie's and ate it for dinner and lunch the next day. So why the tears when it was broccoli and cheese without the pasta?

Notice anything different? Yes, I'm using caps. It came to light at my birthday dinner with the family that 1. no one north of Florida that is related to me reads this blog except my husband and even his readership is occasional and 2. the aforementioned husband believes that I fancy myself to be e.e. cummings since I post in all lower-case letters. At least I did until today.

Saturday, March 24, 2007
robberies and oranges
in my last post i wondered which local resident would be interviewed by the news for their coverage of thursday's bank robbery in my neighborhood. i didn't see a story on the broadcast news but the new york times did have a story about it in yesterday's paper.

it seems one local shop worker doesn't think walking into a bank and claiming to have a bomb is anything to be all that concerned about. he regards bank robberies as "nonviolent." that attitude scares me more than the crime itself, especially since this is the fourth robbery in two weeks.

oranges from a can. sweet, sweet oranges, bathed in syrup. what's not to like?

in an effort to work more fruit into my kids diet, i cracked open a can of mandarin oranges and served them at breakfast this morning. perhaps you heard their screams of terror when they saw the little slices of orange heaven on their plates? or maybe your basement was flooded by the river of tears?

Thursday, March 22, 2007
last night's party was a huge hit. my outfit was perfectly appropriate although i wasn't really loving the new pants. whatever. all the company big wigs were there. the clients were so appreciative and very nice. i was even invited to visit them anytime i'm in dc. and the star? the celeb throwing his weight behind this effort on behalf of his dad? so incredibly handsome and just plain nice. the celeb (oh alright...i can't hold it in any was richard gere!) is going to be on ellen two weeks from today (that's 4/5). to plug his new film but they are also supposed to show the tv spot we produced for him. check your local listings and tune in.

today i helped chaperone the kindergarten class trip to the new york aquarium. it was exhausting. the buses were late and the aquarium seemed completely surprised by our arrival despite our reservations and pre-arrangements. that left us little time to see the exhibits, which was fine with me. we visit so often i know each fish by name in coney island. it is only march and this was my second trip to the aquarium this year.

on the bus back to school, i was talking to another mom when i thought to myself "gee, someone's crying. huh. sounds like sophie. omigod! it is sophie!" she somehow managed to bang the gum above her two front teeth on the window frame. how this happened, i've no idea. but with everything going on with her teeth lately i was concerned it was something worse. luckily, the mom i was sitting with is a nurse and fast with the tissues. she is also very reassuring. all was ok, even with the subsequent whining the rest of the way home.

we spent a nice hour in the park after school and while we were walking home we heard helicopters flying fairly low overhead. they just kept circling and circling the neighborhood. then our babysitter told me that the bank around the corner from my daughter's school was robbed. every person in the neighborhood has a version of the story to tell (hostages vs. no hostages, armed vs. unarmed, etc.). i'll wait to see what our local news has to say about it and which village idiot they interviewed for the piece.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
happy birthday to me
yesterday was my birthday. medically speaking it is all downhill from here. doctors are now going to start using the word "baseline test" a lot in my presence. i'm officially 35. woohoo!

until yesterday, i was so non-plussed to this semi-milestone that i just ignored it until the day arrived. then i was all charged up with happiness. it could have just been the chocolate but whatever. i was happy.

how did i mark the day? i went to work. my colleagues gave me chocolate and i ate lots of it. and cake. another co-worker gave me the fixings for cream tea. with "luxury" clotted cream. i don't know what the difference is between luxury clotted cream and regular clotted cream but i love clotted cream so who cares?

when i returned home, the kids were all excited because it was mom's birthday. there were cards and cake. and dancing. sophie had us all up dancing. john and i nearly keeled over because our daughter had us doing a very energetic routine. i thought i tore a ligament.

what else heappened yesterday? oh, yes, i had to turn down an invitation to an awards show because i'm having cocktails tonight with some clients and a celebrity. it is like turning down an invitation to the emmy's because you're having drinks with oprah. i don't know how kosher it is to mention his name or the non-profit client but the celebrity starred in a movie in which his co-star doesn't really know how she prefers her eggs cooked. in one scene she tries every type of egg dish there is. how's that for an obscure hint?

anyway, the celebrity will be there and all the women are twittery. i am wearing new pants for the occasion-black-and will be wearing what i have dubbed my desperate housewives sweater which is just a bright blue sweater with black trim. but if you saw it you'd say "yeah, bree van de kamp." i am properly dyed, plucked, tweezed, scrubbed and exfoliated for tonight. hopefully i don't say anything dumb, spill anything on myself or faint.

Monday, March 19, 2007
you gotta love days like these
our sitter called in sick today with the flu so i am working from home. i wish i could pick two days a month to work from home to play catch up. i am positively amazed how much work i can get done when i'm not actually *at* work.

in a matter of an hour, i was able to complete some paperwork that i just could not get done last week, even with a love-sick two year old by my side. yes, harry is love-sick. he loves to come up to me and hug me, any part of me, and says 'hi mama.' it is pretty cute and he must know it melts me because he usually asks for something five minutes later and then i just give it to him.

i thought the day would have been crazier being at home but i think we've turned the corner. you know which one i'm talking about, right? it's the one your turn after your child begins walking and wreaking havoc around the house and you wonder if you will ever have a spare moment to yourself ever again and then voila! suddenly you find yourself sitting on the couch reading a magazine article and you actually make it to the end before someone comes in and asks you for something. yes, that corner. harry has discovered coloring so he has been sitting for long stretches just quietly coloring and not making a mess while i clean up his previous mess.

sophie had her follow up dental appointment this morning. they pulled two(!) teeth today: the second abcessed tooth and one up front that hadn't had the decency to fall out on its own before the permanent one began growing in. we thought she'd be going to school after but she was kind of freaked out so i ended up keeping her home with me.

both kids are now cuddled up on the sofa under blankets watching "stuart little." and now i'm off to make a cuppa tea and enjoy the rest of a free afternoon with the kiddos.

Friday, March 16, 2007
big hugs to my friend andi who lost her dad sam yesterday. we're thinking of you and keeping your family in our prayers.

night terrors
have your kids ever had night terrors? if you are scratching your head wondering to yourself "what are these night terrors she speaks of?" then the answer is no. but if you nodding then you, my friend, know what i'm talking about.

night terrors are when a child suddenly screams in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. well, maybe they are dreaming but they don't seem to recall the dream. but they scream. loudly. it curdles blood. the screams are terrifying for the parents because 1) they come out of the clear blue 2) you would swear someone is kidnapping them and 3) you heart feels like it will explode out of your chest.

my daughter did not have night terrors. no, she was always a good sleeper. a terrible napper but a great sleeper at night. my son, who is a great sleeper as well, is a night terror kid.

several times last summer harry screamed in the middle of the night and thinking someone was snatching him i bolted from my bed and bounded up a flight of stairs to the opposite end of the house to stop the kidnapping. i don't remember my feet touching the stairs and i think the whole trip took 1.2 seconds. 1.2 seconds of soul-numbing, heart-racing, stomach-clenching fear. but when i reached his room, no one was there and harry was quiet. i wondered if maybe i was sleepwalking. or maybe i was picking up another family on the monitor. just as i turned to leave, he screamed out again.

this happened several more times before i realized he was having night terrors. sometimes i'm a little slow on the uptake.

last night, harry again had night terrors but these actually had us chuckling, despite the ungodly hour of 4:25 am. harry was crying and screaming. then he kept saying "cheerrioooooooooos!! cheerrioooooooooos!! no! no! no! cheerrioooooooooos!!" when i went into his room, he was crying and agitated, then he screamed "no! bagel!"

i rubbed his back and told him "'re having a bad dream. come sleep with mommy."

"no, hawwy seeping!" he said.

and then he just turned over and went right back to sleep.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007
blue's clues the musical
our new fish, toast and carrot, now live on a low table in the living room so the little one can keep sticking his hand in the tank see them. that has freed up space on my daughter's dresser for things like a jewelry box, a lamp and a snow-globe picture frame we bought for her in disney world.

on friday, i uploaded pictures for the frame to the rite aid picture center thinking it would be a good quick project for the weekend except i never actually made it to the store to pick them up.

but on monday the subway was mercifully efficient and i decided to hop off the train a stop early to pick up the pictures before picking up the kids.

if the following encounter was a scene from "blue's clues: the musical", you as an audience would have seen many paw prints all over the stage. those would have been the clues that i failed to notice during this fruitless effort to retrieve my pictures but maybe you could have yelled out "a clue! a clue!" and at some point i could have gone to my thinking chair to figure out what the mystery was.

i patiently waited for the photo clerk at the counter. an older gentleman shuffled out of the office, clearly annoyed that someone would want to pick up pictures from the photo counter. ("a clue! a clue!") i explained what i was there for, gave him my name, etc.

the man placed the stack of cash he had carried out of the office on top of the register, which, had i been less honest i could have quickly reached for and taken. but since my thieving days are behind me and i am completely rehabilitated, i just watched as he searched the photo area for my envelope, puzzled as to where it could be. ("a clue! a clue!") it was not filed away in the proper box and he eventually found it ontop of a large piece of machinery.

there was nothing on the envelope other than my name and phone number so i just told him what was inside. four prints. that's it. four prints at $.19 a print. the man, who was also wearing a vest that had a tag bearing the name "beverly" pinned to it ("a clue! a clue!"), took my $.82 and i was on my way.

except when i looked in the envelope, there were no prints inside. just a photo cd which i hadn't asked for since our year-old pictures are already stored on a cd and it is a bitch to cut the cd's up to fit your frames.

so i walked back to the counter and explained my dilemma.

beverly made me aware that the photo center isn't really his department. ("a clue! a clue!")

"okay," i said. "but aren't there four prints laying around somewhere?"

"miss, this isn't my department. do you have a receipt from when you dropped them off?"

"i didn't drop them off. i uploaded them."

"what?" said beverly. ("a clue! a clue!")

"on the computer. i uploaded them. on friday. these prints should have been ready on saturday."

"i don't know what you mean." ("a clue! a clue!")

"can you please output four pictures from this cd for me? that's all i want."

"i don't know. this really isn't my department." ("a clue! a clue!")

"i know but can i leave this cd here and have prints made from it?"

"i don't know how to do that."

"is there paperwork i could fill out to order prints?"

"i don't know. this isn't really my department."

"is there someone here who does work in this department?" i tried really hard not to sound snotty.

"she left for the day." ("a clue! a clue!")

i didn't stick around to figure out blue's clues but i have a feeling it's this: no matter how many times a man called beverly tells you "this really isn't my department," you can't will him to gain knowledge of digital photography with relentless questions. next time i'll quit while i'm ahead.

Monday, March 12, 2007
things i learned over the weekend
  • the amount of sleep harry needs (or doesn't need) and his energy levels are completely disproportionate
  • federal prison is better than a state-run correctional facilities (or so says the security guard at target)
  • when your child has a birthday on a monday and her restaurant of choice is closed on mondays, you can still get the entire dining room to sing happy birthday to her two months later. all you have to do is just tell the waitress it's your daughter's birthday and she has to take your word for it because you are the mother and you said so.
  • one giggle is enough to give kids hiccups for 15 minutes
  • it takes a full 24 hours to feel the effects of springing forward for daylight savings time

Friday, March 9, 2007
"I'm not a good mayor but I play one on t.v."
if you live in the vicinity of new york city or read the news online, you are well aware of the tragic fire that claimed the lives of nine people in the bronx yesterday. eight of them were children.

this is the deadliest fire the city's had in 17 years.

so, did mayor bloomberg go to comfort the surviving family members of this horrific fire? nope. why not? because he was in miami, baby! that's right. he never once considered cancelling his trip. and what was he doing in miami? riding environmentally friendly buses. and why didn't he stay in new york? he is quoted as saying:
"I'm not a firefighter and I'm not a doctor and I can't find housing for people, but I have people in place to do that."

mike, mike, mike. you forgot to mention that you are not compassionate. of course you're not all those things and of course you have people in place to do that but that doesn't excuse you. maybe your predecessors didn't go to scenes of tragedy but this was a pretty bad and you, sir, ought to be ashamed of yourself.

and now for the public service announcement part of this post:

this weekend, for those of you unfortunate to live in a region that takes part in daylight savings time, we will be turning the clocks ahead this weekend. if you have children, their body clocks will be all screwy and you'll find yourself up at odd hours. do something with that time. you are hereby assigned to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. if you do this i promise to not talk about the news at all next week. scouts honor.

Thursday, March 8, 2007
it's no wonder i have mood swings
this morning, we were up early and at 6am i decided to turn on the news to see what the weather had in store for us today.

on every single station was the report of a terrible housefire in the bronx which took the lives of eight children and one adult. we had to turn the tv off. not only did they have reporters at the scene but there was footage of rescuers racing out of the building with surviving children in their arms. this made me upset and sad and had the potential to really freak out my six year old.

that wasn't the only news to get to me today. since i've left the house, here's what else i've read/watched/listened to:

it appears that denis "one-n" collins (he appears at the end of this daily show clip; jon stewart makes me giggle like a schoolgirl), jury spokesman in the i. lewis "scooter" libby case, has also written for the washington post. and he wrote a book on spying.

now, i've gotten out of jury duty simply because i knew someone who'd been in a fender bender and i know a few people who are cops. so how does a guy who has written for paper that tends to lean to the liberal side serve on a jury in which a top ranking republican official is found guilty of lying about outing a spy?

maybe i don't understand the entire story. maybe i'm oversimplifying it. but really, it makes no sense to me.

as i was in the elevator at work, i saw a few headlines on our elevator's captivate system. from cnn:
The new commander of U.S. troops in Iraq has warned that military force alone will not be enough to quell the country's violent insurgency.
they just figured this out? hello, it hasn't been working for awhile. now i'm annoyed.

in today's metro, there is an interview with brad luna, a spokesman for the gay rights group human rights campaign. it seems our government spends $250 million to $1 billion dollars in taxpayer money to investigate and decommission gays in the military. wtf? surely there are other things that need this much financial attention in our nation like feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, letting kids get art and music classes in school, monitoring our national safety, not letting wounded soldiers live in deplorable housing. frustrating.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007
dear women of new york city,
yes, it is march but it is also snowing today and while i walk behind some of you, i notice some of you stepping carefully and with some degree of difficulty.

as you try not to slip and fall, i have only this to say to you: the best footwear of choice in weather like today, even if it is only an inch of snow, is not spike heels.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007
the road to hell is paved with good intentions. the gutters are filled with guilt.
hi, were you looking for me yesterday? i didn't post because i was on vacation. yep, i took a little trip to guiltville. have you been there? it's a densely populated town just north of parenthood. it is to mothers what
p-town is to gays and lesbians.

while i was there, i stayed in the not good enough motel and visited the hall of shame pavilion. i went for the free breakfast and almost bought a time share.

my guilt trip began on saturday, at the dentist's office.

sophie has cavities. two of them. we noticed them in july and missed our appointment because we were dealing with stomach flu. don't know where the other eight months have gone when i should have had her in the dentist's chair. shame on me.

anyway, last week at the dinner table sophie mentioned that she had a bump on her gum. i looked at it and lo and behold she had a big bump right at her gum line. so, after looking up phrases like "dental boil" and "lump on gum" we read enough medical mumbo-jumbo to decide right then and there to make a dental appointment, no more putting it off.

my husband helped me get both kids settled at the dentist and kept an eye on them while i filled out paperwork before he went off to his own medical appointment. we were called in and i immediately knew bringing both kids for this visit was a bad idea.

the office is in the middle of a move. harry wouldn't sit down. sophie kept talking to him. the room was small, so there was no place for harry to stay except on the world's most uncomfortable stool and he hated it. i explained what was going on with her teeth and the bumps and everything seemed to be going well. then the dentist was all "oh my, haven't you been flossing this child's teeth? what is this? this is terrible. just terrible." while the hygenist took xrays the dentist, who i really do believe has sophie's best interests at heart, pulled me aside and pointed to all her bullet points on sophie's chart as to why i am a terrible mother. i don't floss her teeth as regularly as i should. i skipped the appointment for the fillings. sophie has two, count 'em two, abscesses, they tried contacting me several times but i won't take their calls (this one point is debatable but whatever), she needs to eat better. her teeth are very closely spaced and i must floss her teeth. all this while harry was ramming into my leg and fake fainting on the hallway floor. and crying. and whining. did i mention i don't floss my daughter's teeth? because that is a big bone of contention with the dentist and i ought to point it out in case you, too, would like to find fault with me.

when i left office i was steaming. i was seething. i was mad. my husband, who is not a girlfriend or a mother, didn't know what to say to me so i left and went for a walk. somewhere between cvs and the wine store i realized i was not mad at the dentist i was mad at myself.

mad that i didn't do the right thing and blew off eight months of decaying tooth enamel. mad that after growing a child inside for 38 weeks and breastfeeding her for eight months to give her the best start in life, i'd failed her and let her teeth rot. mad at myself for letting another person make me feel like a bad mom.

then i got mad at myself for being mad at myself. how's that for complex emotional despair? i spent all day saturday and most of sunday analyzing myself and came to the following conclusion: i'm doing the best i can with what i have to work with. period.

in eight months, i was actually very busy doing crazy things like dealing with a five year old who watched two very good friends move far away. one move devastated her so badly i ended up seeing a counselor through our employee assistance program at work because i was at my wit's end. i was also working and enjoying a little success that's been 12 years in the making. my husband, through no fault of his own, puts a lot of hours in at work so most nights, i'm in charge of two kids after working all day. i run myself ragged on the weekends stocking up for the coming week so we can eat home cooked meals everyday. there's laundry. and the fun we're supposed to be having and the quality time. there's homework, baths, dying pets, girl scouts, the terrible twos, family to see. somewhere in between i'm supposed to eat right and exercise thirty minutes a day. i haven't had a haircut in almost a year and my cuticles are ragged. i have acne, gray hair and fine lines around my eyes a the same time. and i'm supposed to floss everyday. everyday!

don't even get me started on things i ought worry about as a concerned citizen. there is a pit in my stomach reserved for global warming alone.

these are not excuses. but there was no reason for the dentist to lecture me (or, to give her the benefit of the doubt, come off as judgmental). i'm already my harshest critic.

Friday, March 2, 2007
happiness and the six year old
on sunday i served my family spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. our daughter, while settling herself in at the table, saw her plate and said "i just love this family. this is the best dinner ever!"

(if only every meal i served was met with such enthusiasm.)

last night, there was more happiness:

"i have homework tonight, mom," said sophie.

"ok, what's your assignment?"

"reading. a 'd' level book!"

"that's great! get the book out of your bag and we'll start."

after she read the 'd' level and a 'c' level book, she asked "want me to read '
fat cat' to you?"


after she read 'fat cat' she asked "want me to read '
five little ducks' to you?"


after she read 'five little ducks' i said "sophie, you read four books to me all by yourself! i'm so proud of you!"

she replied "this is the best night of my life!"

may it always be that easy...

Thursday, March 1, 2007
monkey monkey underpants and baby cakes
a few weeks ago, i was watching the gilmore girls. in this particular episode, the older gilmore (the mom, lorelei) is explaining to her daughter (rory) why she can't sit down and concentrate on writing a character reference for her former fiance.
here is her stream of consciousness:

"Because my brain is a wild jungle full of scary gibberish. 'I'm writing a
letter. I can't write a letter. Why can't I write a letter? I'm wearing a green dress. I wish I was wearing my blue dress. My blue dress is at the cleaners'. 'The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.' Casablanca. Casablanca's such a good movie. Casablanca. The White House. Bush. Why don't I drive a hybrid car? I should really drive a hybrid car. I should really take my bicycle to work.
Bicycle, unicycle, unitard, hockey puck, rattlesnake monkey monkey underpants.' "

people, this is what the inside of my own head looks like. a jumble thoughts that just don't stop. i lie down at night and think about what i should wear to work the next day and before i know it i am writing a note to myself to do a google search on why there isn't a name for a baby platypus, which i arrive at only after wondering about the answer to 54 across in the metro crossword puzzle.

many areas of my life are like this, especially my web surfing life. you see, i went onto not martha to try to find a link to the brownie pan that gives you an optimum number of brownie edges and ended up reading a bunch of other links. that brought me to a site about home building, which brought me to a page within that site about cooking. it was there i saw the link for the annie's mac n' cheese vs. blue box story on from there i googled the writer and found a food blog that discusses the story and also provided a post about this, a cake sculpted in the shape of a baby:

i'm impressed and weirded out at the same time.