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Showing posts from March, 2008

Sibling Fight Management 101

Aaah - another refreshing night's sleep on the couch. Susie has a cold, so I felt as though I was sleeping between the dueling banjos of snoring until I finally went downstairs for a decent night's sleep.

David and Larry returned from camping unscathed. David had a great time, notwithstanding his extreme reluctance to go on this trip. He found a new best friend, and Larry enjoyed talking with the best friend's dad. It is interesting that, even though they spent a full 24 hours together (including sharing the same tent), Larry never discovered that this guy's kid is homeschooled also. David told me. Because he is only 10, and so has not yet developed the non-communication skills of a true guy. Give it another year, and he wouldn't have known either.

Uncle Matt got tired of the sleep deprivation (hey, that pun wasn't intended, but it's a pretty good one) and packed up and got the heck out of here. But not before we all watched The Man Who Knew Too Littl…

Hemingway Redux

Larry went up to the attic yesterday to find his camping stuff and discovered 3 (count them! 3) full mousetraps. I thought it had been sort of quiet up there lately. As usual, he was quite proud of himself for his hunting prowess. He treated himself to an extra beer after disposing of the bodies. I'm just glad he didn't have them stuffed and hung above the fireplace.

Larry was looking for his camping gear because he and David headed off for a fun Boy Scout camping trip today, David's first. It was sort of touching how excited David was. I mean, if excited means screaming, "I'm not going! I don't want to go!" Larry practically had to carry him out to the car.

Parenting isn't for weaklings, you know.

And lest you think we are cruel for forcing our son to participate, the kid was eager to go until yesterday, when he found out that Uncle Matt was coming to stay for the weekend. David didn't want to miss a second of the visit, though most of tod…

Some Things Bug Me

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Well, I certainly wasn't in a very good mood last night, was I? Chronic pain will do that to a person. And the threat of impending death. Things haven't improved much here today, healthwise - I just keep popping those little magic pills the doctor gave me, which might as well be placebos for all the good they are doing me.

Someone came over to visit with her kids this afternoon, which provided me a little distraction from my medical woes; but, unaware of my tenuous grasp on my Weight Watchers' resolution, she brought a container of chocolate chip cookies to share. They were good cookies. Not quite as good as Trefoils, but beggars can't be choosers. Luckily, the cellulitis seems to be affecting my jaw, so it's been harder to chew; maybe that will all balance out for me, diet-wise.

Oh, dear - now my hypochondriacal brain is whispering the words "gangrene of the jaw" to me. Is that a disease? Should I Google it? Can I live with half a jaw? I don'…

Thoughts From A Whiny Sick Lady

In the comments from yesterday, Anonymous wanted to know what to say when a teen screams, "You hate me!" Tempting as it may be to trot out Rule #5 ("Yes, dear, we do hate you")(or better yet, "Who told you?!"), it may be better to just say, "Cut the crap" - because the kid knows it isn't true. Surprisingly, Anna has never screamed that at us. She has screamed, "I hate myself! I hate my life!" when informed that she is not allowed to go to some social function which she had her heart set on attending, to which we always replied, "Well, we love you, sweetie," just to bug her.

Drama, thy name is girl teenager.

I'm a tad late posting today, as I have been laid low, once again, by cellulitis. Luckily, I remembered what happened when last I Googled this particular disease and so I have stayed far, far away from the search box at the top of my browser. Of course it didn't help to have the doctor talking about MRSA and…

Teen Girl Survival Guide

I've just read yet another blog post about insanely-acting teen/preteen girls. Let me shorten the learning curve for all you people whose daughters have just recently been possessed.

Surviving Teens (and Preteens) of the Female Persuasion

1. Do not, I repeat, do not try to reason with these creatures. You could reason better with a pet iguana. They do not want to see your way of looking at things. Because that would make them as much of a loser as you are.

2. Insist on the outward forms of respect. That is, unless you want to live for a couple of years with a screaming, wall-kicking, door-slamming she-monster....

3. Remember! You are dealing with someone who has regressed to the mental state of a 2-year-old. Treat her as one. Short, simple commands work best.

3. Never does the pain/pleasure principle work so well as it does for teenagers. Making a teen write "I will not hiss at my mother while she is speaking" 200 times has more of a salutatory effect than lecturing …

Looking Forward to a Holiday-Free Week...

Whew! We got through Easter without Rachel spilling the (jelly)beans. You see, last week she informed me that there certainly wasn't an Easter bunny. In her words, "A bunny wouldn't wear clothes and come into our house and leave eggs." Oh, okay - but a fat man from the North Pole does land on our roof and come down our chimney. Apparently, she is very selective in her suspension of disbelief.

I know she's 5 already; but compared to her siblings, Rachel's a little Einstein. Usually, our kids are 8 or 9 before they figure out that we're lying to them. I had to make her promise not to disillusion Brian (who is 2 years older) and little Susie. I threatened her, in fact, with no jellybeans if she ruined the magic of the holiday for her more gullible siblings. We take our fantasy pretty seriously around here.

About a year ago, I was "volunteered" to serve a 3-year stint as president of our townhouse community association. I guess everyone thou…

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I used all my 50% off coupons at Michaels' yesterday - this activity involved purchasing only one item at a time, walking with it out to my car, walking back in, purchasing the next one....seems silly, right? But I saved $6.25 for just 15 minutes worth of effort, which translates into earning $25 an hour. Without taxes. And I got some very nice wool yarn for $2.50 a skein.

Hey, it makes me happy.

Yesterday afternoon, I tried to get out of pushing Susie around the neighborhood on her tricycle by running into the house and telling her that I'd be "right back." I figured she would wander off to play at the tot lot with the other kids. 20 minutes later, Anna reported that Susie was still sitting there on her little pink tricycle, trusting that her mommy would come back as she had promised. Makes me feel sort of bad for forgetting all about her, you know?

Perhaps I should finally invest in one of those trikes with the long handle to push by. I always thought that the …

Involved Parenting and Self-Preservation

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I decided to be an involved parent yesterday and arranged to meet my friend and her kids at a nearby aviation and aerospace museum. This sort of trip, let me note here, is David's idea of heaven. Brian was pretty excited, too; but Rachel was only lured by the promise of pizza afterwards. Susie is cool with anything, as long as we are nice to her (she started shouting that at the dinner table last night, apropos of nothing, as far as I could tell).

And then, as if that weren't enough parental involvement on my part, we made hamantaschen yesterday afternoon. It isn't that difficult: make the dough, chill it, roll it out, cut out the circles, put a dollop of jam in the middle of each circle, and fold the corners up just right (although how we get corners out of circles is beyond me). Of course, it requires nerves of steel to get through these steps while negotiating with 3 children who exactly gets to do what, when. I sort of needed a drink by the end.

If you have survive…

Because The British Are Always Right

I love this article on the BBC website. It's titled "Stressed Parents 'Make Kids Ill.'"

I'll just pause to let that sink in a minute.

Okay, anxious and depressed about being stressed yet? Because the article states that "A University of Rochester study, reported by New Scientist, found sickness levels were higher in children of anxious or depressed parents." Which is fairly ironic, considering that having a sick child makes parents fairly stressed out. Which in turn, according to these scientists, can make your child sicker. So be happy! Be cheerful! Or else!

I am so glad that something else is my fault. I didn't have enough to be worried about already.

The BBC seems to be on a bit of a crusade, actually. Peruse this article also. It's worth it, I promise. I particularly like its Manifesto of Idle Parenting on page 3. Here, I'll copy it out for you lazy ones (and thank you, Mom Bomb, for bringing it to my attention):

Manifesto of …

Rain, Rain....

Lord have mercy, it's raining. And cold. And I don't know what to do with the children. We have already visited Target today, where I bought them a couple of really cheap toys in a pathetic attempt to get through the afternoon. Then I bought us one large popcorn to share and had the nerve to ask the guy for 5 free cups for water. I'm quite the big spender. I'm surprised he didn't assume I was skimping on the kids' food to support a drug habit and call the police.

But if Child Protective Services does show up at my door to investigate charges of malnutrition, I can redeem myself by showing them that Susie actually eats her carrots now, instead of sneaking them onto Brian's plate. Yet another gustatory miracle brought to you by the supernatural powers of ketchup. It's what's for dinner.

One more hour until bathtime. Maybe I'll suit everyone up and send them out to play in the rain. That should impress the authorities.

Parental Advisory

How To Know You May Have Too Many Kids

1. You haven't a clue what developmental milestone your youngest is at.
2. When you call the doctor to tell him that the toddler has croup, and he asks if she's ever had it before, you say, "I don't know, but somebody has."
3. You can't remember who hates which food.
4. You don't bother with logical consequences - a swat on the bottom works just as well.
5. You use candy as a motivational tool.
6. You see a book titled "Siblings Without Rivalry" and break into hysterical laughter in the bookstore. Your husband has to slap you to get you to stop.
7. Going to the grocery store alone counts as "me-time."
8. Birthday cake gets boring.
9. Your teenage daughter threatens to leave home, and you immediately start thinking what to do with the freed-up closet space.
10. You and your spouse are way too tired to fight. (See? Having lots of kids is good for a marriage.)

Howdy!

Oh, my - all these new visitors coming over from Dawn's blog today, and I haven't even tidied up. How embarrassing.

I must say, Dawn's ability to influence people's behavior is a little frightening to me. Thank goodness all she did was to hyperlink to my little blog. Imagine if she had backed, say, a specific presidential candidate - the election would be all but over. And, please, Dawn, don't even think of saying anything negative about the current state of the economy - the resultant crash would make the Great Depression look like a spending spree.

Is it good for one person to have that much power in a democratic society? Maybe some PhD type (I'm talking to you, Kalynne) should write a paper on The Civilization-Altering Potential of Blogospheric Influence.

"But where are the mice?" you ask. After all, you were led to this post believing that there was a mouse saga of epic proportions happening here. Just type "mice" and "mouse&quo…

Animal Farm

Edited to add: all you folks popping over from Dawn's blog to read about mice, just type "mice" in the search box up there at top left. Then read from the bottom if you want the tales (oops! no pun intended) in chronological order.

Larry took the four youngest to a local farm park this morning. Judging from the pictures that I've just edited (and can't show, sorry), they saw a lot of sheep and lambs. A couple of piglets. A horse. And 2 turkeys. It would have looked (from the photos) like a fun family outing, but for the fact that, in every single picture, Susie has an extremely unhappy look on her face. She did tell me, when she came home, that they had seen some very scary animals. I guess any animal looks scary when it's bigger than you.

Exhausted - must go to bed. I've been running on only 4 hours of sleep today, and I am really too old to do that. G'night!

March Madness

I went to bed at 7:30 yesterday evening, in an attempt to catch up on sleep and wake up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (whatever that means) this morning. Instead, I woke up at 10 PM and couldn't get back to sleep until past midnight.

Have I mentioned how much I hate the switch to DST? Oh. Okay, then.

Today I took Anna clothes shopping so she could get a nice dress for Easter. (If this were a horror movie, the scary music would start right now.) But you know, the clothes in the stores were so ugly, there wasn't even anything for us to fight over? We managed to find a pouffy sundress with a not-disgusting pattern that wasn't too short. (JC Penney - women's department - I know someone wants to know). It took us 3 hours. And Anna didn't glare at me once. I mean, that I noticed. I hate to think what her mood would have been like had we come home empty-handed, though. Hell hath no fury like a woman unadorned....

Larry took me out for ice cream this evening. Wa…

Clarification, and Bonus Discussion Question

Ahem - I would like to state here that yesterday's post was directed at the thick-headed male scientists who are trying to develop a female Viagra, not at my remarkably considerate husband. My husband does, in fact, read Curious George to the 4-year-olds, and he does actually help with the dishes (though I truly don't expect him to after a long day at work - honestly!), and sometimes he even has the sense to feed me chocolate.

Not that yesterday's post bothered him or anything...

The keyboard thing, when I call him at work, though? He does that. And I hate it.

And I wasn't saying that men like sex and women don't - I was just saying that men will choose to have sex when they are tired or in a bad mood just to perk themselves up, whereas women will have sex only if they are in a good mood already. Key gender differences, again - ignore at your own risk!

Okay, have we cleared that all up? Good. Whew.

Susie peed all over the front stoop today, and also all over her s…

FYI, Menfolk

I think that if I rarely call my husband at work (and never for stupid things like asking, "Do you still love me?"), then he should have the decency to stop typing at his keyboard for the 45 seconds it takes me to ask him where the corkscrew is. Not that that bothers me, or anything...

And they wonder why women become disinterested in sex. This article says scientists are trying to develop a pill for FSD. That's female sexual dysfunction, for those of you not aware that there is a new epidemic sweeping the nation. A pill? We don't need no stinking pill. We women are a tad more complicated than men when it comes to these matters, in case you all haven't figured that out yet.

For example, the article does not address the relationship between housework and sex. As in, men who do the dishes after dinner may just have a better chance of getting lucky that night than those who watch TV while their lovely sex slave toils away in the kitchen.

Or fatigue and sex - T…

Thankful For The Small Things

I'm thinking that it is hard for a woman to restrict both her food intake and her non-food purchases at the same time. I've lost another pound (thank you, yes, I do feel great, except for this gnawing feeling in my stomach); but I keep buying things online. Things that have been sitting on my Amazon wishlist for 6 months, say...and some more fun workbooks for the kids...and a bunch of educational CD's that put science to music I've been eyeing for years....

(I must say, that until you've learned about DNA to the tune of "Shortnin' Bread," you haven't really lived. This is why I home school.)

I haven't even hit the yarn sites yet; but I can feel it coming. Where do you buy your Cascade 220, Amy? I think I'll be ordering some next time I want a cookie.

You know what? Nothing to complain about today - I lost a pound, I got my 15-minute walk, only one kid wept through dinner, and my husband has not exposed me to a media firestorm of epic p…

For Better or Worse?

I read an interesting article in our paper yesterday about a man who is taking meticulous care of his wife (she has Huntington's Disease). I was telling Larry (on our date last night) how impressed I was by the steadfastness and loyalty of this guy, and Larry said, "Well, he's certainly raising the bar, isn't he?"

I think I had better make sure I have a good long-term care plan lined up, don't you? Just in case...

And to all of you who asked - Yes, thank you, I am feeling better. My mystery disease has finally gone away. The problem with feeling better after being sick for 2 days is that the house is totally trashed. Which makes me feel sick. It's a vicious cycle. I cannot imagine what this place would look like if something happened to me (like, death, say). Actually, yes, I can. And it's not a pretty picture.

It's late. No, it's not. I mean, it wouldn't be late if the powers that be hadn't made us mess with our clocks. But th…

Miscellaneous This and That

I started feeling worse and worse yesterday; so I attempted to take it easy around noontime by sitting in my beloved floral Ektorp and cuddling Susie in my lap. Unfortunately, she was emitting this constant whining sound that reminded me of nothing so much as a dentist's drill. (Why was she doing that? Ha! I know not why.) So I went up to bed (where Larry was already napping) and lay down (yes, we are both pathetic) and Susie followed me. Then she heard someone knocking on the front door, which resulted in her running downstairs to shout, "Mommy and Daddy are in the bed!" to whomever was at the door. Cool. As if our neighbors didn't already think we are a bit too frisky, what with the 6 kids and all...

How often do you think I get invited to a grown-ups only social event? Almost never? You're right! So it would stand to reason that I would be too sick to go yesterday evening to our neighbor's house where she was having a little farewell dinner party …

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

For years, I've battled my kids' predilection to put ketchup on all comestibles. I've read Mrs. Pig's Bulk Buyto the little savages any number of times. To this day I refuse to help them put ketchup on their hotdogs, as I have no wish to aid and abet a culinary crime. And I blame my husband for not nipping this ketchup thing in the bud. If it were up to me, their virgin mouths would never have tasted anything but mustard on their frankfurters.

Anyway, dinner yesterday - baked beans, cauliflower, and salad. No meat, since I'm raising a bunch of Catholics who must be penitent on Fridays in Lent. This restriction makes them more whiny than remorseful, however, as they are used to having hotdogs with their baked beans. Susie, trying to make the best of a bad situation, asked for ketchup for her cauliflower. And, in a moment of weakness, I gave it to her.

You know what? She ate that cauliflower. She said it was, and I quote, "Yum." So, cauliflower an…

Sweet Nothings

Well, yesterday was fun, wasn't it? Let's get back to trivial matters, however. That's what I do best. We just made the teens watch a DVD of Bob Newhart doing all his old comedy routines. I'm not sure whether they will ever forgive us, but I cannot get enough of that guy. The Driving Instructor, King Kong on the Empire State Building (as viewed by a very flustered night guard), President Lincoln's handler convincing him to "keep the beard, Abe; just keep the beard." I heart Bob Newhart. He's not bad-looking for - what? - over 70 years old? And if anyone can remember (or figure out) which season of The Bob Newhart Show had the moo-goo-gai-pan episode in it, please let me know. I want to show that to the kids, too.

See? Trivial...I warned you...

Time change coming right up! Gosh, isn't that a great idea? Trying to drag the kids out of bed an hour earlier than their bodies are used to, and in the dark? Who thought it was smart to get rid …

The Fundamental Things Apply....

5000 steps yesterday (but I started a few hours late); 8000 today. I've got to work on this.

I would like to issue a formal apology to Mental Tessarae for my ranting in her comments today. She posted a thoughtful essay on not wanting people to gender type her little girl; and I went on and on about how the sexes are indeed hardwired differently. I sounded irate. I don't know why. Maybe because I see parents worrying so much over things they have no control over, rather than just enjoying their kids for what they are.

Look - I have 3 boys and 3 girls, and even the least masculine of the boys would never dream of putting his hands on his hips when he gets mad. Girls, however, do this before they are even 2 years old. The girls also do these weird things with their feet when they are just standing around, pointing them while slinging a hip to one side, that boys never do. Girls smile and bat their eyes at strangers; boys, when feeling bashful, run and head butt the intrude…

Steppin' Out

(To the tune of "On top of Old Smokey...")

"The grave will deca-a-a-y you,
And turn you to dust...."

Doesn't that sound like a good verse for a song on a children's CD? And the guy sings it so cheerfully, too...I almost drove the car into a hydrant while trying to (hurriedly) turn the volume way down. I'm surprised the next verse wasn't something like, "The worms and the ma-a-a-ggots, Will eat out your eyes...."

Just finished paying another chunk of money to our local library. I don't really want to talk about it right now. Amazing but true.

I stopped off at the grocery store after my weigh-in this morning (down 2 pounds - go, me!) (even with all those Twix and Girl Scout cookies) and realized at the checkout that I had left my wallet in the car. Normally, I would have been all annoyed at myself, having to waste time to run out there and run back in. But not today! Nope! Because, from now on, inefficiency pays off. I bought myself …

I Can Dream, Can't I?

It's about the mice today. Anna heard scrabbling in the ceiling above her bed - and considering she sleeps in the top bunk, she was a bit freaked out. For some reason Larry was not anxious to climb up into the attic to hunt rodents after a rough day at work (how rough? specifically, "sucky, but not too sucky," whatever the heck that means). Methinks he is losing some of that youthful energy that I so admired when I met him. But, being as that I am not exactly the sweet, energetic girl he married, I can scarcely complain.

Ah, Twix, how I love thee! Is there anything more glorious than having both extra Weight Watchers' points at the end of the week and a bag of Twix in the house? What a marvelous confluence of events! In fact, the only reason I am still awake is that I had to wait until my kids were asleep to break into my chocolate-y stash.

I'm trying to remember what made me happy before I had kids. I'm pretty sure it was something more exciting than…

Quiet as Mice

Quick note to any dieters out there: it may not be in your best interest to leave an open box of Girl Scout cookies (Trefoils) next to your keyboard. Just take my word for it, okay? And did you know that Trefoils are best when you chew them up really well and then just sort of keep them in your mouth for a minute or so? I mean, in theory? Ahem.

During my cleaning frenzy this morning, I decided to go above and beyond by actually cleaning the furnace filter. I entered the furnace closet only to find that apparently Larry has stopped checking the mousetraps nightly. Which means, who knows what might be decomposing in our attic even now? That's a fun thought.

I was complaining to Larry that I couldn't finish writing the stuff that I might actually make money from (as opposed to these blog posts that he sees me wasting time over) because, by the time I sit down to work at 9 PM, I'm too tired to do anything but mindlessly surf the blogosphere. And I can't write during t…