Thursday, April 21, 2011

Luke recently acquired a small American flag. This procurement has brought him much joy and amusement...and a new object of blasphemy.

He's done some adorable things with this flag, like when he put it at the top of the tower he built with legos. He's stood on the curb in front of our house, waving it at the cars passing by, claiming that he was helping the cars "win the race".

A couple of times this week, he's propped the stick of the flag over his ear, in the same manner you would store a pencil. "Look, Mommy," he'd say, "I have an American ear!" I'd give him a hearty courtesy laugh, and he'd be on his merry way to snatch whatever toy was making George happy at that moment.

The fact that he was attaching the flag to any part of his body should have made me very nervous. This is, after all, the same child I found a few weeks ago on our back porch, his pants around his ankles, holding the empty wrapping paper tube he had been sword-fighting with, and urinating into it.

This morning, when Luke was finished with his bath, I helped him dry off and told him to go to his room and put his clothes on. I continued to flat-iron my hair, and a few minutes later, my son, naked as a jaybird, burst into my bathroom.

"Luke," I said, "You are supposed to be getting dressed for Mother Goose!"

"Look at me, Mommy!" he shrieked with glee.

"I see you, you're na-" I was cut off by my utter disbelief.

Luke turned around abruptly to reveal the Stars and Stripes, the subject of our national anthem, nestled snugly between his cheeks.

"Mommy, I have an American..."


As he ran off, I laughed so hard, I nearly had a stroke.

The End

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mother Goose

Yesterday was Thursday, and Thursday is Mother Goose Story Hour day. One time I mentioned MGSH to someone in a conversation, and he stared back at me, all wide-eyed, and asked "Mother Goose Story Hour? WHAT'S THAT?" If you're not as dumb as him, congratulations. You can skip to the next paragraph. If you are as dumb as him, Mother Goose Story Hour is a program at our library where a woman dressed up as Mother Goose reads stories to children.

Honestly, at our library, it is so much more than that. The children have show and tell, they sing songs with hand movements, there are puppets, stories, and at the end, they have a parade through the book shelves to the music room, where they play little instruments. Our Mother Goose is a radiant senior citizen who dresses up in crinolines and pinafores, and a flowered bonnet, and carries a goose. She has gorgeous silver hair that she wears bobbed, a thick Mississippi accent, and ever-present red lipstick. A veteran kindergarten teacher, she sings most of her words, she loves the kids and focuses a lot on manners. In fact, before the children can go in, the boys have to line up opposite the girls, hold out their hands, and ask, "Ladies, would you like to go in first?" To which the girls are supposed to reply "Yes, thank you," with a curtsy.

On Mother Goose Story Hour days, we focus heavily on having our hands and faces scrubbed clean, our hair combed neatly, teeth brushed to a polish, clothes clean and neat, and above everything else, I insist the boys wear their whitest socks. (They have to take their shoes off to sit on the story rug.) We practice "Yes, ma'am" and "Fine, thank you. How are you?" over and over during our drive into town.

As you can imagine, Luke typically uses story hour to make me look like a deadbeat. He never uses "Yes, ma'am" or "Fine thank you, how are you?" He mumbles during show and tell. One day, he was bent on interrupting Mother Goose every two seconds without raising his hand. The most embarrassing time was when Mother Goose read a poem about gum, and she made it pretty clear that she thought gum was disgusting. She went on and on and on about the noise, the germs, how gross it is to find it on the ground, etc. As soon as she was done, Luke blurted out, "MY MOMMY LIKES TO GIVE ME GUM!" The horror!

Yesterday, I got a break from being humiliated during story hour. I got to sit back in my seat while another mother was sold up the river. After Mother Goose handed out Safety Pops, another staple of Thursday mornings, she warned the kids not to open their "suckahs" in the library. "Did you know that last week, there was a little girl who opened hers in the library and started eating it? Mmm, MMM!" she huffed, "Can you believe that?"

"Yes, I can believe it," the woman she was looking at answered, "It was my child."

Mother Goose, being the perfect southern lady, was horrified that she had made such a gaffe. She turned beet red, and apologized and said she should have made the child in her story a boy. All eyes were on the mother of the greedy little rotten child who dares to open suckers in the library. I sat and smiled in my seat, pleased as punch that I had gotten to fly under the radar for a day.

Next week, Luke will surely think of some way to pay me back for the week that he was an angel. I'm anticipating a pants-wetting episode, or nose picking during show and tell.

So now are you totally jealous that your town doesn't have our Mother Goose? Well, you're in luck, because Mother Goose is on YouTube:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bedtime Shenanigans

Tonight, we had leftovers for dinner. The boys had pork chops with Spanish rice (or "Bullfighter Casserole" if you're a toddler in my house), and Chicken Parm for the adults. As I was getting the kids' plates dished up, I asked my husband if he would like me to reheat ours after the children went to bed, affording us a dinner alone--something we've been fantasizing about. He was game for waiting, so that's what we did.

While we were eating, I heard giggling coming from the boys' bedroom. Ignore it, you're having a romantic leftovers dinner alone with your husband, said the little voice in my head. So I ignored it for a while. After a few more minutes, my curiosity overpowered me and I was headed upstairs to check it out.

Standing outside their door, I realized that Luke was not in his bed, but in George's crib. I stood there for a minute listening to them and trying to stifle my own laughter. And then I whipped out my camera phone and started recording (you can't see them, but you can hear them):

And then a minute later, it sounded like this:

If you couldn't understand what you were hearing, Luke was telling George around 12 seconds that we're going to have pancakes in the morning.

Oh fiddlesticks*, I thought, Why did I read Curious George Makes Pancakes to them at bedtime? Now Luke's gone and told George that we're having pancakes in the morning!

You remember when Luke got Curious George Makes Pancakes, right? No? You have your own life? Oh, right.

Anyway, I tiptoed downstairs and finished my dinner while Joe and I laughed over the videos. A few minutes later we heard footsteps upstairs and assumed the fun was over. A few minutes later, while Joe was at the bottom of the stairs getting his coat to take the dog on a walk, he saw Luke standing at the top.

"Can you tell George to quit picking my nose?" he asked with a preemptively grateful smile on his face.

"Can I tell George to quit picking your nose?" Joe repeated.

I butted into the conversation. "George can't pick your nose if you're in YOUR bed," I pointed out.

The smile faded from his face as the wheels started turning and he realized he'd been busted. What did he think, that it was going to go over our heads and we were going to march upstairs and enforce a "No Picking Your Brother's Nose" rule, then go back downstairs and resume picking the bugs out of each other's hair and eating them?

Kids--they're not the brightest.

Well, I hate to cut this short, but it is now two and a half hours after the time I put them to bed, and Luke has just been caught "practicing going up the stairs backwards." Bye.

* Sometimes you have to edit your inner monologue when your mother reads your blog.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lessons Laura's Learned Lately

(Alliteration is so hot right now.)

I'm not the wisest 30-year-old you'll ever encounter, but I do have a few nuggets of sage advice to share. If you're as obtuse as me, I hope you heed my advise, lest you should learn these the hard way.
  • When it is dark outside and you are pulling a wagon full of children, and walking your dog and a friend's dog, be sure to check your friend's dog's pooper scooper bags before you scoop to make sure it's not the kind of bag that you have to tie a knot in the bottom first.
  • When a child requests a candy cane, if said child is bouncing up and down at the time of his request, the answer should be no. Always no.
  • When you go shopping for the perfect New Year's Eve dress, wear the most boring pair of underwear you own. That way, when your three-year-old tells you very loudly in the dressing room that he thinks "those undies look nice on you," and then goes on to describe them in detail, there will be significantly less snickering in the dressing room. Or, perhaps if they're indeed boring, he won't be compelled to mention them in the first place...Better yet, wear your exciting underwear and leave the kids at home.
  • Slight fever, diarrhea, poor sleep, and extreme crankiness are all signs that point to teething in a young toddler. He needs some Tylenol, teething tablets, gum massage, cold things to chew on, and to be held a lot. If these things all fail, you should refocus your attention toward his scalp region. This child is not teething; rather, he is cutting his devil horns. I hear it's a painful process, but what do I know? I only cut a halo.
  • The stamps you buy for your Christmas cards should be kept under lock and key if you have a sticker-crazy child. You should under no circumstances leave your stamps on the counter, unless you wanted to pay $8.80 for your kid's next art project, which frankly wasn't even refrigerator door-worthy.
That's all I've got.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yesterday morning, I received the joyous news that the baby my sister, Meredith, is expecting in April is a girl. We love our boys in this family, but with my two sons and my sister's one, we are all excited for a change of color pace.

"Luke, you're going to have a cousin who's a girl!" I excitedly told Luke.

"Oh," he replied, "Is Jackson going to become a girl?"

I have got to put a filter on our cable box.

Being of the crafty persuasion, my mind wandered immediately toward making hair bows. Not knowing exactly how to make hair bows, I did a quick Google search, and I forever lost my innocence about the seedy underbelly of motherhood. Apparently, it manifests itself in the hair bow subculture.

Any mother who has spent five minutes at the playground has been exposed to the vicious cat fighting surrounding the formula vs breastfeeding argument. You know how uncomfortable that "You shouldn't have had that epidural" talk can be. I don't have to explain to you how violent those stay-at-home mom vs working mom debates can be.

That's nothing.

If you really want to see the gloves come off, go online and read about what happened when TwoPeasInAPodBowtique* plagiarized MaddiesMommy's* instructions on making korker bows. The virtual hair-pulling that resulted from SassyDiva's* stealing HugsNHissyfit's* pictures for her Etsy shop is downright unspeakable. And even the "nice" hairbow mom has to beat you over the head to let you know how generous she's being sharing her instructions on her website.

All the drama has led the hair bow moms to become a secretive bunch. They make Skull and Bones look like a straight up cattle call. You'd have an easier time gaining access to the Colonel's secret blend of eleven herbs and spices before you'll get step by step instructions for BlingBlingBow's* felted beadazzled owl adjustable headband. You can see why they have to be this way--they do have so much to lose.

Whenever girl moms say pitiful things to me regarding the absence of Disney princesses and tutus in my daily life, I used to come back with a standard response: "Yes, it's sad, but at least none of my kids can get pregnant in high school." I think my official standard response has changed to, "Yes, it's sad, but at least I don't have to navigate the murky waters of the hair bow Internet community."

* Names have been changed to protect the innocent/guilty.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Recipe for Disaster

There are plenty of lifestyle bloggers out there who are so good at teaching their audience how to entertain, or cook, or make crafts. Since my blog has given you little more than dead brain cells, I thought I'd share my own how-to with you today.

How To Prove Your Ignorance:

First, load up your children and head to Walmart on a Saturday afternoon during the Christmas season. To add a little flair, plan for your outing to take place when it's too early to serve lunch, but by the time you're about halfway through your list, the kids are riddled with hunger pangs.

Second, be sure your list includes items from just about every single department. This will ensure that you will get a chance to walk down every aisle.

Next, put your one-year-old, of whom you are becoming exponentially more and more terrified with each day that passes as he slips into the blazing inferno of terrible two-hood, into the shopping cart. When he demands "KEYS!" open up your purse and give him your keys as you walk into the store. What's the worst that could happen?

*Tip--if you really want to hit this one out of the ballpark, go through each of these steps on a weekend when your husband is out of town, and your cell phone has been dead at the bottom of your purse for over a week.

And finally, the pièce de résistance, as the shopping trip draws to a close, foolishly, yet seriously, ask your tiny toddler where the keys are, and feel the blood drain from your head as he just blinks at you in return.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Adoption Option

"I'm thinking of getting rid of my facebook account," I told my mom the other day over the phone, "I feel the need to streamline my life, and I waste so much time reading useless facts about people's lives."

"That makes sense," she replied, "But you're going to keep up with your blog, aren't you?"

"Yeah, I love writing little stories about the kids, but I just don't come up with much material these days," I told her.

She questioned me, "You just witnessed the birth of a Cabbage Patch doll and you can't come up with anything to write about?"

Fair enough.

Last weekend we were in the beautiful mountains of Georgia, having a mini family reunion with Joe's immediate family. One of the nearby attractions was Babyland General Hospital, an impressive birthing facility with a zero percent fatality rate. It also happens to be where Cabbage Patch Kids are born.

We pulled up to a picturesque white mansion with stately columns. As we approached the huge wraparound porch, it really did have the feel of an old-timey hospital. "Why are we here? Did George hurt himself?" Luke asked innocently in that chipmunk voice that I want to bottle up and dab behind my ears every day for the rest of my life.

We signed in at the admissions desk--I'm not kidding--with an old woman in a tidy white nurse's uniform and cap. We entered the hospital and toured nurseries full of Cabbage Patch dolls, each one uniquely dressed and named. We looked at original dolls and special dolls that had been re-adopted for thousands and thousands of dollars. There were observation windows that looked into newborn nurseries, full of bassinets occupied by newborn-sized dolls.

A crowd began to gather around a platform, so we followed suit, not wanting to miss anything. The front of the platform was covered in artificial boulders, which were dotted with large fake cabbages, a doll's head in the middle of each one. There was some buzz about a new doll being born any minute. I was expecting someone to come out holding a swaddled up doll. It turns out I'm somewhat limited in the creativity department.

A fifty-something "doctor" and her pimple-faced teenage assistant, both wearing white coats and stethoscopes, came out. The woman welcomed everybody and introduced the adoptive mother, Savannah, aged 13, standing front and center. Then she got right to work.

First, she put her stethoscope up to a swollen cabbage and announced that the baby had a good heart rate. Then she pulled out a large syringe and gave "Mother Cabbage" a dose of "Imagicillin". She revealed that Mother Cabbage was dilated, but she was going to have to perform an "easyotomy". As we heard snipping sounds, my poor husband turned white as a ghost and I began to wonder if they couldn't leave more to the children's imaginations.

"This was a Planned Parenthood," the doctor went on. I found the self control deep within my reserves to keep from shouting out, "Stop bombarding my children with your agenda!" I was irritated at that point, as I've never come across an adopted child who was very planned at conception. I've been told I can take these things a little too seriously, though.

The baby started to come out head first, which the doctor explained was good news, as they didn't want to have to perform a c-section, or "cabbage section". The baby was completely pulled out, and pink lights started flashing. "It's a girl!" the doctor exclaimed as she hung her by her feet and slapped her bottom. Everybody oohed and ahhed over the baby's outtie belly button and Xavier Roberts birth mark.

"Savannah, what will your baby's name be?" asked the doctor.

"Mackenzie Delaney!" Savannah shouted as she signed the birth certificate. Baby Mackenzie was swaddled up in a pink blanket and handed to the little mommy.

"I think I've seen enough," I said to Joe, who frankly should have been breathing in and out of a paper bag at this point. We exited, naturally, through a gift shop, and we had a time explaining to Luke that he was not going to adopt a Cabbage Patch Kid wearing a NASCAR jacket.

"But I want it for George," he wailed.

Nice try, but adoption can be so cost-prohibitive. There are some reputable adoption agencies that prorate fees based on your income. Babyland General is not one of them. Maybe he can do what some of my friends in similar predicaments have done--sell T-shirts, hold yard sales and fundraiser dinners, etc. All I know is that I'm not paying $200 for a doll.