Friday, March 31, 2006


This is Chase.

Chase is the son of my best friend Tara and her husband Dusty.

Tara and I have been friends since high school. We became friends because Kim wouldn't take Tara to school anymore because she was moving. Kim moved next door to me and I thought this is ridiculous; Tara only lives a few miles from us. But Kimmie has always valued her sleep: sleep, however, has just never been that important to me. So I took Tara to school everyday. I felt bad for those who didn't have cars. I had a Jeep and I played my music very loudly. Tara's mom told me if I didn't turn it down I wouldn't be allowed to drive Tara to school anymore. I've never been much of a rebel so of course I complied.
Carmella and Beau fight over whose friend Chase is. The both claim him. Technically, Carmella did know him first since I was still pregnant with Beau when Chase was born. Chase and Carmella bonded for four whole months before Beau came around.

"My Chase," Beau will say and Carmella will get her feelings hurt.

"He is my friend too! Mommy, tell Beau Chase is my friend too!" She will demand on the brink of tears.

Siblings; they will fight over anything.

All said the kids really play well together. Well, Beau does sometimes get the short end of the stick:

"Beau why are you crying?"
"Chase. Owe and. Me."
"Carmella did Chase throw sand on Beau?"
"Yes, just a little. It was funny."

Beau got her back though:

I like how they play together. Sure the boys sometimes nearly kill each other but Carmella is there to organize a game of hide and seek.

Or lead them on a bike parade in the cul du sac:
Or the oldie but goodie: boys chase the girl.

At 2, 3, 5 or almost 35 a good friend is a great thing to have.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Because I am going to Kindergarten . . .

. . .I can do ANYTHING!

This is Carmella's new catch phrase. Yesterday I took her to her new school and registered her for kindergarten. She is beyond thrilled. All I have heard since I wrote down the Carmella stats and signed her life away to the county school is how she is going to kindergarten and:
Do IT.
All by herself.
If she had hips and a booty and could snap like Beyonce she would-- that is how sassy she is.

"I don't need help! I'm going to kindergarten."

Beau will chime in, "Me too!"

And I'll ask incredulously, "You're going to kindergarten?"

"No," he sadly admits. "Dardella."

And Carmella will affirm, "Yep, I'm going to kindergarten because I am five and I'm really smart."

"Oh, yeah?" I ask, "Who is the President of the United States of America?"

"George W. Bush!" she answers. "I know THAT because I'm going to kindergarten!

Didn't Robert something with an F foolishly write a book about "Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten?" I'm pretty certain that Carmella has already read it. I think I might have passed on that one. I am still finding there is A LOT of stuff I don't know. I completely missed those chapters on 5 year olds and 2 year olds and husbands. I guess it must have been one of those book jacket reads for me.

But the sequel to that book I have read. Heck, I think I wrote it and it is called: Everything that is fun I learned how to do in college and I am still living it. As a parent though, I am happy if Carmella never reads that one.

In other news we went to the park and enjoyed this most lovely spring day:

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

This post is dedicated to "Steph"

And the Blogger for Best Commentor/Blog Reader of the year goes to . . . "Steph".

Applause! Applause!

Speech! Speech!

Seriously, today I ran for the first time in FOREVER with Beau in the baby jogger. And damn did that ever suck. I forgot how heavy 2 year olds are to push and how much your stride gets thrown off and how much they complain. It was freakin' hard as shit. I swear to God 5 baby jogger miles is like 15 solo miles.

Steph, you are SO much tougher than me and I am so spoiled.

Whacky Wednesday

Today was Whacky Wednesday at Carmella's school. Whacky Wednesday has been on our calendar and I have been preparing Carmella for it all month. When I first told her about it she completely refused to participate but as the month progressed and they discussed it some in class she softened. Yesterday afternoon we spent sometime arranging an outfit for Whacky Wednesday. It is times like this that I realize just how different Carmella is from me.
Had it been me at the age of 5 getting dressed for Whacky Wednesday I would have put underwear on my head, done my hair all crazy, and worn some loud mismatched clothes and just about anything off the wall I could get my hands on. Mom and I would have had a fight about me toning in down. Whacky Wednesday would have been one of the few days where I knew I would excel and I was excited to help Carmella do it up. Carmella, though, before I even started putting outfits together, warned me that she only wanted to be "just a little bit whacky." Sigh, no fun.

One outfit I put together involved three fluffy skirts, a ruffled shirt and a mismatched other shirt, her flowered rainboots, a tiara and butterfly wings. Carmella deemed it too whacky. She said she didn't want people to laugh at her and the girls would think she was weird and wouldn't play with her. Again, she emphasized the wanting to be "just a little bit whacky."

In the end she put the outfit together: a pale pink pleated skirt over light blue denim capris with pink and white appliques, and a white shirt with pink, purple, and blue polka dots. She consented to mismatched hair bows: one pink and one white and multiple braids in her pigtails but they had to be even--- no asymmetrical tails for her. Her shoes were light pink and her socks white with light blue writing that said "Wednesday."

It looks very much like an outfit I might see my sister Pookie in on any given day--hair bows aside but the skirt over the pants look, definitely. It was perfectly color-coordinated pink, white and light blue and overall the outfit looked very well put together. Not very whacky but very cute nonetheless.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


The first time I took Beau to the beach he was 10 months old. I sat him down on the sand and after taking a millisecond of hesitation to process the gritty new sensation of sand he crawled directly into the ocean: waves crashed over him and he, undeterred, trudged ahead like a speedy loggerhead turtle.

And so began his time in baby jail-- aka-- the pac-n-play. Yes, it was a huge pain in the ass to lug the thing down to the beach everyday but it allowed us to actually sit on the beach and build sandcastles with Carmella without fear of Beau going out to sea.

Later that same summer at the pool I turned my head briefly away and he crawled into the pool. He swam for a few feet and then began sinking. I spent the rest of the summer also dragging baby jail down to the pool.

The next summer, when he was almost 2, he had been climbing out of baby jail since he was 15 months so I knew that was no longer an option. I thought maybe I should instill a healthy fear of water in him. Upon our first trip to the pool I put his water-wings on him and tossed him into the pool. There was an audible gasp from mothers around the pool. And then dirty looks when Beau popped back up crying. Beau though, was afraid--- for maybe an hour. He spent the summer swimming all over the pool, going down giant water slides and jumping off diving boards with those water-wings on.

Last night I had a preview of my summer. Ryan was giving Beau a bath and called me upstairs. "Hey, watch this" he said (those famous redneck last words). Beau looked at me, mischievous grin, and ducked under the water. He stared up at me from the bottom of the tub, completely immersed, eyes wide and holding his breath. After what seemed like a minute, he rolled over and came up laughing, so proud of his new trick.

I guess I should have paid more attention when Beau told me Sunday that he wanted to work at the aquarium.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Stars, Sharks and Jellies, Oh my!

We went to the Georgia Aquarium today. We saw some cool fish and, most unusual, we ALL had fun. Generally when I take the kids to the aquarium they have fun and I do not. Today was a good time. If you haven't been you should go. Be warned though: there is NEVER an uncrowded day.
One of two whale sharks in the Ocean Voyager exhibit. This particular exhibit has a moving sidewalk. That always proves to be a fun experiment in physics with a 2 yr old in tow. Today in the Ocean Voyager we saw the rare and mythological scuba diver. The kids found the scuba men way more fascinating than the giant fish and millions of gallons of water that domed over our heads.
Honestly, we were so astounded by them that we failed to take pictures so we would have proof that they really do exist. Sorry. Maybe, if you are lucky, when you go they'll be out cleaning the tank too.Big ugly fish. Grouper, I think. On a side note: Damn! Someone needs to cut that child's hair. Enough with the Rapunzel.
I see it! I see it!
Somebody say "Beluga!"
The Belugas are in the cold water exhibit. It is my favorite and therefore I did not take many pictures. In addition to the Belugas there is also the sea lions, penguins, sea otters, an octopus and . . .
To the left and up is one of the giant crabs in the cold water exhibit. They are the freakiest things I have ever seen. Like giant spiders: very E.T. looking.
Some people, like Carmella, think starfish are a little bit creepy.

The Tropical Reef Exhibit. We had fun in here:

Don da. Don da. donda, dondadonda (---you should be hearing the music from Jaws in your head. I'm a little tone deaf even when just writing it out.)


Beau is pointing to the above shark. Next to scuba divers sharks are his favorite. "I lub harks!"


Carmella swims with the fish.

It never fails and today was no different. At the reef exhibit you will hear:"Mommy,look! It's Dorie!" More silliness:

Hey Beau! Do your best James Dean.

Like I said, it was a fun day. There is also a Georgia Explorer exhibit and a river exhibit. I am less impressed with those and the Georgia one has a kid's playground of sorts so I try to avoid that one--germies and all, you know.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Friday's Diet

On Friday's we often have a close group of friends over. We use to call ourselves the 6 pack but we have expanded, so if you include the kids and other couples that sometimes join the soiree we are a pony keg at the least--or is that what we consume? I'm getting confused again.

Anyway this is always a real low key get-together. It is mostly so we can catch up and the kids can play. The party can get started as early as 3pm and goes on till one of the kids, or spouses, has a melt down. We have a bon fire. We dance, okay I dance-- sometimes the kids join in. We eat crackers and nuts and chips and dip, and drink beer and make smores. Usually we order pizza or grill burgers; in the summer maybe have a boil. Nothing healthy. Everything gluttonous. It is fabulous. I consume more calories on Friday than I do all the other days of the week combined.

Last night was different though. Everyone, well at least half of the pony keg, is on a diet. So the fare was a bit different. One couple brought salmon for themselves and I made grilled chicken, with salad and roasted potatoes. We had shrimp cocktail and hummus and veggies for appetizers. All said pretty healthy, diet-conscious, adult food.

However, I noticed that MANY marshmallows were consumed. As were 3 bottles of wine and at least a 12 pack of beer.

Who are we kidding: "Diet."

Do Not Go Gently Into that Windy Day

I am eternally 12 or whatever the age is right before you really start caring what people think and no longer indulge in ridiculous, immature behavior. Don't get me wrong: I definitely care what people think about me but it never seems that I care enough that I stop doing ridiculous and inappropriate things.

This is nothing new with me. When I was 14, an age when most girls are pretty much into boys, clothes, make-up and whatever is the cool thing du jour; (and by the way, I was into that stuff too. I am not a total freak.) I was wearing my dad's fishing waders and walking with my best friend down the creek to see if we could find where it ended. Lucky for me she was pretty immature too. We had fun that day. We got really dirty. And really wet. We met an artist whose yard we were tromping through when the creek got too deep. She gave us some lemonade and laughed when we told her how old we were. She thought we were 10. Did I also mention that I was a "late bloomer"? I alluded to that here regarding my still waiting for the titty fairy.

Today when I went for my run I got lost. Running when you are lost feels very silly. When lost your first inclination is to stop and walk and get your bearing. And I did that, but then I decided it didn't really make sense. I figured I could get unlost faster, or more lost as proved to be the case, if I ran.

I got lost because I was trying to avoid the wind that is inevitable in March. The wind is always much worse on this one particular road of my 6.6 mile loop. To outwit the wind I thought I would take a sheltered ninja route. I dodged through a new neighborhood of cluster homes and townhomes. I navigated easy enough through the cluster homes but then got confused in the townhomes. They were all so tall and there were so many of them. I was in an endless maze of townhomes and could not figure out how the hell to get out. Worse, they all looked exactly the same. I felt supper silly running up and down the vacant and perfectly manicured townhome streets. I guess everyone who owns a townhome works, or perhaps they were all looking out their windows laughing at me, regardless the reason there was not a soul in there. Not one single person. I kept thinking any second I am going to turn the corner and there will be the Minotaur.

I managed to escape the townhome labryinth and worked my way towards home. I had reversed my loop thinking that the wind would be worse at the beginning of my run and hopefully, at my back on the last part where I would be tired. The wind would then be my friend and push me up those last hills. I found out though that you cannot beat the wind.

It finally got me in the last 2 miles. Anyone who has ever run in the wind, excuse me, against the wind, knows that you just feel and look dumb. You exert so much effort with very little gain and there is just nothing you can do about it. You want to say;just stop for just one second. Please, give me a break, but the wind is unyielding-- it is March after all, the evil month. Running in the wind is like trying to swim in strong current, you just don't feel like you are making much headway.

After fighting the wind for a mile, uphill I should add, "Learning to Fly" by Tom Petty found its way into my ipod's rotation. So inspired by the words, the wind, the exhausting hill, I stretched my arms out like an airplane and finished the last mile of my run like that.

Unlike in the townhome labyrinth, as I drew closer to my home there were people out--landscapers, Bell South men, people walking their dogs. I pretended not to see them as I flew by.

For the record, running into the wind with airplane arms does NOT make it any easier. But to me, if you are going run in the wind, it just makes sense to do it with arms stretched out, sputtering like an airplane. It really gives you a sense of purpose. Tom Petty belting it out in your ears helps too. Talk about theme songs.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Dardella is at Bubbles' House

Dardella is Carmella. Beau, with all his speech problems, still manages to get all the syallbles in.

Beau has told me no less than 5,000 times this morning that Dardella is at Bubbles' house. He will tell me this and then ask me, genuinely perplexed, "Where is Dardella?"

Is he asking to make sure I am paying attention?

Or, perhaps there is something else he wants to discuss about Carmella being at Bubbles house. Like maybe why he is here and she is there; but he just can't quite wrap his 2 year old mind around that complex notion to actually have a conversation about it.

So, instead, we just keep talking about and affirming that Dardella is at Bubbles' house and Beau is at Mommy's house. To. No. End. Do we dicuss. This disscusion is verging on 3 hours.

Poor little guy is smart enough to realize something is amiss in this situation but just can't quite put his pudgy little finger on what that exactly is.

Sometimes he is just so cute it breaks my heart.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Satan's Month of Madness

I hate March. It is the worst month of the year. It is almost spring but, no, it is still winter: Wait, it is hot, no wait, it is cold again. Yippy! It is the first day of spring! Oh, crap: a freeze warning is in effect. Cold/hot, rainy, windy: it all sucks. It is a fucking tease.

Not that I am ready for warm weather anyway. I am still fat and scaly from winter. These legs are not short worthy by any means. After winter though 70 degrees feels like a heatwave. I feel like I should be wearing a bikini. Yet conversely in September, after summer's hellish heat, 70 degrees feels like a cold front and I want a sweater. However, I do like September. September is wonderful and sunny. March, I do not like. At all.

Okay, so the cherry trees are amazing. Beautiful, really. I love them. But the pear trees stink and my allergies kick into high gear. I can go all winter without a cold but as soon as March hits I am sick.

In March I am ugly and the weather sucks and I am sick. Then one day the doorbell will ring and I will open it and there on my doorstep is Satan. Sure he is dressed as a girl scout all cute and chirpy but I see Satan for what he is. Holding out his Samoas and calling me Eve.

Sigh, cute neighbor girl brought me all the girl scout cookies I ordered when I was feeling thin in January and was still running like a Kenyan. But now it is March and I have officially been on a diet for at least a week.

I noticed a few weeks ago that my jeans had been feeling tight. I do not own a scale so unless I go to the doctor I have no idea what I weigh. I do take my measurements though to keep track of things and make sure that I am at least maintaining. Shrinking is okay, growing at this point is not. (Well, that is, unless the titty fairy is finally going to pay me a visit--then growing would be okay.) At any rate, measuring is not a regular habit. Just something I will do when I am having a fat day and I want to see if it is all "really in my head." And, conversely, I will measure on a thin day when I want to boost my ego and wear some clothes in my closet that I am really too old to pull off.

The day I put on my favorite jeans and they felt tight I went scurrying for the tape. To my horror I have gained almost an entire inch on my waist since November. Granted, in November, I was training for a marathon and logging over 50 miles a week, but still an inch!

This called for drastic steps. I cut out my daily popcorn with butter and coke. I cut my nightly wine intake to like, oh, every other day. (It is only an inch-- no need to go crazy.) I cut out ALL fastfood. And I upped my workouts. I tried eating less at all meals and only having one snack a day instead of twelve. I was doing pretty good til Satan showed up with his apples.

I am happy to report that as of today though the Samoas are no longer a temptation. I finished off the last box this morning for breakfast. I can resist the thin mints and tagalongs in the cabinent, so tomorrow I should be back on track.

Next year, when Satan rings my bell I will do the same thing I do when the Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons ring my bell.

Friday, March 17, 2006

St. Paddy's Day Cold

You can still celebrate St. Paddy's when you have a cold: a nice cup of joe topped off with some Bailey's Irish Cream helps the congestion. Cheers!

Now to download some Pogues and we'll get this party started. . .

With underwear this great who needs pants?

At least I think that was Beau's argument today and I think that is what earned me the advice from his teachers that I "really need to fight the battles."

Battles? Beau and I don't have battles. We have WARS! What they perceive as the spoils of the victor are really just a series of negotiations, treaties and compromises.

Today, I suppose it did look like Beau might have won the whole war but that is because they don't know exactly what was at stake and what went down on the battle field. If Beau had really won he would have shown up at school with just his Batman underwear, his soccer shirt and his too small soccer shoes. And of course wielding the blue sword.

Today was wear something green day. So Beau most agreeably put on his green soccer shirt. He wanted to wear his dirty sweat pants but I explained that since they smelled like urine that was probably not the best idea. Then he insisted on wearing his shoes with the light up disco soccer balls. I'll admit it: they are cool shoes and I have tried to find him some in a bigger size but these no longer fit him. At all. They are at least a size, if not 2 sizes, too small. This battle though, I let him win. If forcing his chubby feet into too small shoes is his idea of winning then he won!

After the shoe debacle he decided that he needed to go potty. Beau's idea of going potty is sitting for a few minutes on the potty while not peeing or pooping and then getting off, throwing toilet paper in the potty and flushing. I know he really wants to go on the potty but the magic just hasn't happened for him yet. It happened yesterday in the living room while we did a trial run with the big boy underpants though. Which bring us to why after "going potty" today he said " Na na underwear!"

"Oh no," I told him. "You cannot wear the Batman underwear until you GO on the potty. That was a good try but that was not GOING on the potty. You need to make pee or poo. That is going on the potty."

"Me! potty!" he argued and so ensued a tantrum on the bathroom floor. "Okay," I relented, "you can wear the underwear over your diaper." He agreed to this but not to the pants. He ran from me and I had to chase him all over the house and wrangle him into his pants. I did the belt extra tight for good measure.

After all this it is time to go and Beau grabs his blue sword. Not again, I think. I try to be nice and reasonably explain that he cannot bring his sword to school. I try to get him to willingly leave it at home. When that fails I forcibly wrench it from his hands and fling it up the stairs and rush out of the house with him flailing about like a wild animal. I have to sit on him to get him strapped into his carseat.

He continues his screaming punctuated with: scream "My!" deep breath "Blue!" deep breath "Bord!"

After a few minutes of driving and him screaming I start trying to think how I can get him to stop. I just cannot have the same scene again today as I did on Tuesday. I try music: pisses him off. I try putting his window down: pisses him off.

I make a hand puppet. Handpuppet talks Beau down from the ceiling. I drive with one hand on the wheel and one hand on my headrest. Beau laughs. Carmella laughs. Jackpot! Carmella wants a handpuppet. Beau wants a handpuppet. At the next red light I make handpuppets on their little fists. Carmella's handpuppet tells a knock knock joke. Beau's does nothing. Beau begins to freak out because his puppet isn't working. Sigh. Now we are stuck with permanent black ink faces on our fists.

When I take Beau to his classroom I explain the situation du jour and Beau insists on taking his pants off. I tell him he has to keep his pants on but he can show everyone his cool underwear. This seems to work okay and after a bit of struggle zipping the pants back up he does go into class and play.

I suppose though that his teachers did not appreciate it when inevitably they had to change his diaper as I am certain he tried to put up a fight about putting the pants back on. And I am positive that he tried many times and many ways into tricking them into taking his pants off again. And when that failed I know his next line of action was to take his shoes off. Now, I did send other shoes but they said they didn't feel like wrestling him into his shoes. Fine, I completely understand. I absolutely do not expect them to fight any battle they do not to want to. I have told them this and that they should call me to come get him anytime he becomes too much. Yes, I go running but I always have my phone. Only one time have they ever called me and that was for the coat incident. Which, for the record, is no longer an issue.

So I was a little frustrated at the "talk" I got when picking him up. They cushioned it with: he was great today. He had fun. We LOVE him. He is AWESOME. I don't get what this talk was suppose to accomplish though. I really don't know what more I can do. And after thinking it over I think what his teachers really meant when they said I need to fight the battles was really that I need to WIN all the battles so that they will have no battles at school. That, is a completely unreasonable request. It completely flies in the face of all the parenting advice I have gotten which is: with a strong-willed child you should pick your battles. Even they have said this to me. Trust me, I would like to win every single battle more than anyone--and in my mind I did win the important stuff today-- but I still want Beau to maintain his spirit and feel that he does have some control, some say in his life. I do think Beau is great and funny and very special boy with an incredible personality and imagination. Yes, he can be difficult, yes he is strong-willed but that is what makes him Beau. With any child you take the good with the bad. I think they are absolutely wrong to fault me for him trying to win those same battles again with them that we fight at home. I can fight him all day at home and win but how am I to stop him from trying to fight and win those battles with someone else?

I grew up being the child no one could control. So they put me on Ritalin. And I will not do that to Beau. I feel like I am already getting the "talks" that will some how lead us down that slippery slope and he is only 2. What I learned today was that not only do I have to fight the battles with Beau but I also have to fight the battle for Beau to be Beau.

This parenting stuff; it is hard.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Carmella's Remodeling Plans

Carmella has all the solutions.

She is desperately waiting for Beau to finish his lunch so she can have her treat. Beau is having trouble sitting in his chair and staying on task. He keeps running out of the kitchen to throw all the pillows off the couch. At this point I don't care --there is no treat for me in it either way.

Carmella is getting very impatient with him. She tells me we should put doors in the kitchen. We have an open flow floor plan that usually the children favor. They like to chase each other in circles around the first floor of our house screaming and laughing as loudly as possible. It isn't just my kids that do this. All kids that come over do it. It is as if upon entering my house instinct takes over and they will immediately begin chasing each other around and around, narrowly missing the furniture, counter and wall corners until their parents can stand it no longer and put them in a time out.

Today, Carmella has figured out the downside of this floor plan. But her solution is a good one. She leads me into the kitchen and shows me how we could put double doors at each opening with locks and a little window. That way we can lock Beau in the kitchen but still watch him to make sure he is still eating and not making a mess.

While on the topic of remodeling she says we really need to fence in the backyard so Beau will quit running into the neighbor's yard and that way they can play outside without me. Actually, this one is my idea but she is telling it to me as if I never thought of the reason why we need a fence. Like I only wanted it for aesthetics.

She then tells me that we can get all the stuff we need for the kitchen project and the fence at Home Depot. I am so proud. For those not in the know, my family has been long-time members at the Church of Home Depot. I am pleased that I have passed on my religious values to my daughter.

I ask her how she came up with all this and she shrugs and tells me she was up thinking about it all last night.

Is it a rule. . .

That Beau has to spill mango juice on the floor every time I mop it? This is the second time this week. It is only Wednesday.

Again, remind me why I had to take away the sippy cups?

Oh yeah, so he would talk. I am beginning to think clean floors might be a lot nicer.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Blue Tuesday

The day started out well enough. Sure, I endured the regular morning bickering and getting out the door obstacles but I was completely unprepared for what would happen at school.

Today Beau was supposed to bring something green to school. Everything he wanted to bring was blue. I am beginning to suspect that he might be color blind. He seems to know red, yellow, pink, brown, white, black and blue but he seems not to believe me that anything is the color green. Everything green is also blue. I held up green dragon or green volcano--pick one I said. No, he said and held up blue blanket or blue dinosaur. I tried to explain that we needed GREEN not blue. Finally, he insisted on the volcano, dragon and BLUE dinosaur. After already having the argument about his outfit and negotiating with Carmella about fixing her hair I decided his teacher could be the one to tell him the subtle differences between green and blue.

But Beau continued to complain all the way to school. My general course of action for behavior I don't like is to first ignore it and if it doesn't go away and I can't put him in time out because we are in public or I am driving I threaten a spanking or taking away something--toy, school, etc. For the most part this works pretty well.

Nothing worked today.

We got to the school and Beau refused to get out of the car. I thought he was trying to find the Blue dinosaur (which I had ever so stealthily hidden). I pulled him out of the car and he threw the biggest fit. Ignoring him and thinking it would stop as soon as we got to the school I dragged him kicking and screaming while carrying 2 school bags, 2 lunch boxes, a volcano, and dragon into the church. I lost my grip on him and everything I was carrying as soon as we walked through the doors. Carmella, wisely, was walking about 10 steps ahead of us and stopped to gawk incredulously at Beau and I as all the other mommies and kids were. I am pretty sure she was pretending she wasn't with us. At this moment Beau took the opportunity to bolt to the parking lot. He was slowed by 3 other mommies attempting to block his sprint but he is quite the tight-end and navigated easily past them. I left our stuff and Carmella and raced after him. Once again I drug him back in screaming and crying.

I managed to make it to Carmella's classroom. Her teacher, upon seeing my distress, takes her things and tells me to go on. Not wanting to give his tantrum any more platform than it has already taken: I turn my back on him and quickly kiss Carmella and say goodbye. I lingered too long because Beau was halfway down the hall before I turned around. Again, several Moms tried to stop him but couldn't. I caught him and took him back to pick up our things and try to reason with him. All this is happening in the middle of a busy hall where moms are trying to get their well-behaved children off to their classrooms.

You can always tell between the people who have experienced such a situation as the public tantrum and those that have not just by the looks and comments you get while your child is in the throes of one. Those that have experienced it first hand generally don't even bother to try to help and definitely don't comment. They either ignore him and speak only to me or they smile and pat me on the shoulder and say "you today, me tommorrow" or something sympathetically similar.

While Beau is having his fit one Mom comments to me that I have my hands full today and wants to know if I plan on running and also can Carmella come for a playdate later this week. "Yes. I hope so. And that sounds great!" I answer her and she is gone. Another Mom comments that she remembers those days and that Beau reminds her of her son. I was tempted to ask if he was still alive but thought better of it. Another woman comments to me that he is so cute that she can't believe he is making so much racket. As if only ugly children have fits? Both a man and friend whose child was in Carmella's class last year got down on Beau's level to try and talk to him. For the first time EVER Beau actually stopped crying and got embarrassed and hid behind me. I have to say I was speechless. He wouldn't even look at them. In the past when Beau has had a public tantrum and strangers try to talk to him it generally makes it worse. He never stops crying and usually in response screams even louder to let them know just how pissed off he is. At the very least, today we made some progress since I think what I saw was the first inklings of remorse in Beau. Could just be a fluke though.

Finally I managed to get Beau to his classroom. His teachers were shocked to see him in this state as Beau is ALWAYS happy and very excited about school. I had thought if I could just get him to his classroom then he would be fine. But he kept crying. I gave him a choice: home with Mommy or stay at school. All he wanted was whatever was in the car and kept trying to tell me what it was but it didn't matter because that was not one of his options. I told him whatever it was that he wanted--as I could not understand what he was saying--that it would be there when he was done with school. At this moment he saw his friend come in and he decided to stay. I handed the bags over and left. But then he came running down the hall after me. I went and got his bag and we started to leave but he struggled away from me and ran back to the classroom. We repeated this scenario twice before his teacher said "just go. We'll call you if he doesn't settle down." So I left him screaming. I went to use the restroom and when I walked back by he had calmed down. I went to my car to get something I had forgotten to leave for Carmella. When I walked back past his classroom he was crying again. I decided whatever was so upsetting he was past the point of getting over it so I just took him home.

His teacher suggested maybe separation anxiety was the problem but it wasn't me that he didn't want to be separated from. Neither Beau nor Carmella has ever even had a hint of separation anxiety and it just seems way too late for it to just be starting.

Beau was pretty calm until he realized that he was going home. I think he thought we would go to the car and he would get whatever it was he wanted and get to go back to school. All the way home Beau cried "I want my school! I want my school!" As soon as we got home I sent him to his room and he took a nap. I had to wake him to pick up Carmella. When we got in the car he said "I want my blue bord."

His blue sword.

That is what he wanted the whole time. Not that it would have mattered as he can't take his sword to school anyway but I think he probably would have been less hysterical if someone would have understood him. This has been the hardest part of his speech delay. He knows he is not being understood but is trying to communicate and just gets beyond pissed off when people can't understand him. It really makes the terrible twos that much more terrible for us both.

Machiavellian Kids: How to Crack Mommy

Carmella is funny in what she says. Beau is funny in what he does. My Achilles heel is silliness. I cannot be mad if you make me laugh.

Right this second they are in a war over morning TV. Beau wants to change the channel and keeps bringing me the remote. Carmella tells me "He is out of his mind! This IS kid's TV! Just ignore him Mommy. Let him have his fit. It's good stuff." Carmella wins: she is funnier.

What she says, I know, is not a terribly funny statement but what I am hearing is myself--intonation and exact words-- parroted back to me by my 5 year old. This is how she gets her way with me: she imitates me or talks circles around me. Last night, for example, my little UN President negotiated her way through a dinner of broccoli and brown rice, sweet potatoes and sausage. "Okay, Mommy, how 'bout this: I eat all my sausage; all my rice and broccoli and I'll have 3 bites of the orange stuff. And then I get a brownie.[pause] Can I hear a yes?"

"Whoop Whoop," was my response.

There is rarely conflict with Carmella because she just plainly states her case--no emotion--just rational requests. Requests, as a parent you are not prepared to hear from a small child, that are cushioned between things you want to hear instead of the usual childhood antics of whines and foot-stomping demands. Carmella never does that. Even if you say no to her she won't give you the pleasure of a tantrum or even a "Please Mommy Please!" begging session. She will just say okay, maybe some other time or Bubbles or Lala will get it for me. I admire her confidence and self-assurance. And I know she will eventually get her way because I get completely bamboozzled and brainwashed by her. She can make anything sound logical. Typical Carmella: "Okay Mommy. Here is the plan. I will clean my room, and then the playroom and eat all my dinner and then Alexa can spend the night and you will help us make cookies and take us to get ice cream." I am halfway to agreeing when I realize that she said SPEND THE NIGHT not come over and play. Then we have the argument about 5 being way too young for sleep overs and then she counters with how 5 year olds don't get scared, can brush their own teeth and don't make Mommies crazy like 2 year olds. She ticks her reasons off on her fingers. I'm 34 and still cannot arrange such a focused argument.

Needless to say I need to brush up on my arguing skills if there is any hope for me in the adolescent years.

So I have one child that cracks me with her mental Olympics. Beau on the otherhand has found that absolute silliness is the way to charm Mommy. While Carmella will talk until I am paralyzed and under her spell Beau gets me with his pantomime comedian routine. I swear he must be watching the Pink Panther. I have caught him on several occasions sneaking from time out, the dinner table, whatever--a la Pink Panther-- on tippy toes and long strides with sideway glances. I acutally hear in my head the Pink Pather theme when I see him.

And, of course there is the whole whistling thing. He whistles when he is up to something that he shouldn't be. I can't tell if he is purposely giving himself away and doing it for comedic effect or if he just thinks that you are suppose to whistle when you are up to no good. I don't know but the pantomines crack me up.

I admit it. I have a tough time with discipline and being angry with them because they are so damn funny. They know I am weak and totally crackable. All they have to do is talk fast, make Mommy laugh and punishment is easily averted. They have figured out these unscrupulus and cunning methods to secure their power over me.

I am not worthy [bowing] I am not worthy [bowing].

Thursday, March 09, 2006

If Only. . .

If only new toothpaste made me as happy as it makes Carmella I would be at complete peace with my life.

Forever we have been using Barbie toothpaste, well Carmella and Beau have. Ryan and I use Crest extra whitening-- and extra anything else that can be done to your teeth so you can prolong visits to the dentist for as long as possible. I refuse to buy 3 different kinds of toothpaste for 4 people so today we got Dora the Explorer toothpaste. Dora the Explorer, along with Scooby Doo, are the great compromisers of our house.

Beau always wants Batman, Spiderman or Powerranger stuff and Carmella always wants Barbie, Bratz or princess stuff. But they both agree on Dora the Explorer and Scooby Doo. We have Dora yogurt and Scooby Doo crackers. If only they would make Dora fruit and Scooby Doo veggies I'd have the healthiest kids hand down. They are total suckers for marketing. I can get Beau to drink straight fish oil by telling him it is Batman power juice. Carmella will take any medication endorsed by a Disney princess.

Carmella has been anxiously awaiting dinner so afterwards she could tryout her new toothpaste. She gobbled down dinner in record time and rushed upstairs to brush her teeth. Upon tasting, she exclaimed, "It tastes like banana ice-cream!" and did a little dance. It is bubble flavored-- so I have my doubts. She even got Beau's toothbrush ready and urged him to hurry up and finish his dinner so she could help him brush his teeth. He raced up stairs and eagerly opened his mouth for her.

Upon watching this exchange Ryan commented "See, 5 isn't too young to start babysitting. Let's leave all the kids with Carmella tomorrow and go out." Steph and Dee; Meme and Pat, listen up! We'll leave Max, Livvy, Beau and baby Pat in Carmella's charge and go to the Firehouse! I hope that Mirror is playing tomorrow night.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Blogging the Bike: Or, Why My Ass is Sore

I can now officially say I have ridden a bike further than I have run. I rode 35 miles yesterday and man on man does my ass hurt. And I am sunburned. But I had a blast! I was scared shitless the WHOLE FUCKING time but I had blast.

Let me first give props to the cyclists. They are by far the nicest and most social people EVER. Maybe it is the numbness in their genitals, the pain in their asses or the freedom they feel on a bike wearing all that spandex in public-- I don't know but every single person I met was up beat, helpful and considerate. Just, genuinely nice. And, generally speaking, I get apprehensive when I am in a crowd stocked full of that sort of kindness and support. I am immediately suspicious about the agenda but other than to promote cycling there was no agenda. And I am thinking, ass pain aside, that this is one cult I could join. (--unlike the Cult of Cosmetics, which I attended Monday night. That is a whole other blog entry though. I am still trying to process that one.)

As I mentioned before this Ride to the Capitol was Lala's idea. She even bought us matching outfits: black padded biking shorts, grey t-shirts and flashy pink satin jackets--Barbies on a Bike or Team Slut--whichever.

Before I get too far into my story I want to delve a bit into my background with bikes.Learning to ride a bike was scary for me. I am sure there was a training wheel stage but I don't remember it. I only remember my Dad shoving the back of that bannana seat and me weaving around a parking lot and crashing into parked cars. I was always falling off my bike either from not paying attention or from going too fast and losing control. The mantra of my childhood friend Catherine was: "Are you okay? You want me to take your bike home for you and get your Mom?" The P.E. coach, Mr. Wood, would feel sorry for me the next day when I would show-up at school with band-aids all over my face and let me be first at everything. Sadly, even as I got older my cycling coordination did not improve. The summer I worked in Yellowstone I crashed in the middle of the Old Faithful village. It must have looked funny because everyone around me was laughing until I stood up and they saw the blood on my face and shoulders. It got pretty quiet then.

Obviously, with good reason, I try to stay away from bikes. The only time I ride anymore is on one of my parent's mountain bikes when we are at the beach or in a spin class at the gym. I certainly would NEVER ride on the road with cars.

When Lala asked me to do this ride she asked which bike I wanted. My choices were: her Trek mountain bike--the Beast, her fancy new Trek street bike with toe cages she calls Lance or one of my Dad's old Trek racing bikes with string thin tires and toe clips. I picked the Beast since it had the fattest tires and my dad had removed the toe cages. I figured I'd be most stable on that and no way was I going to risk the added obstacle of toe cages or worse, having my feet physically tethered to a bike with toe clips.

What I learned on this bike excursion is that a mountain bike is not the most ideal choice, nor is going without toe cages, for a long hilly ride on the street. Most ideal, I figured out, are the skinny, lightweight racing bikes where your feet are clipped to the pedals-- my worst nightmare. I will say many of the other cyclists gave me kudos for keeping up while riding the Beast. I pretty much only got these comments when I would catch up to the peloton on the up hill as EVERYONE whizzed past me on the down hill. I don't know if that was because of my fat tires slowing me down or, more likely, my braking because of my fear of reliving my wipe-out at age 8 coming down the big hill in front of my house where I crashed head first into the mailbox.

In addition to my almost nil cycling experience I have even less knowledge on how the gears work. On the Beast there is a set of gears on the right handlebar that has numbers 1-8. I found out that 1 had the least resistance and 8 the most. For the most part I was able to work this except on a few occasions when going up a hill I would switch the gears the wrong way and almost lock the pedals. On the left handlebar there was another set of gears with the numbers 1 2 3. I have no idea what those do as I was afraid to touch them so I left them as I found them set on 1. There were times on the down hills where I could have used some more resistance and thought about trying out 2 or 3 but was just too scared to risk it so I coasted until the resistance was such that I could pedal again.

Despite my lack of bike knowledge and cycling experience I was up for this challenge. And even though it was her idea and she has way more cycling experience Lala proved NOT up for the challenge. And, in her defense, I really should have been more prepared for her bailing. She called the night before whining, "My neck hurts! I don't think I can do it!" Take a Celebrex and get some rest I told her: Degenerative arthritis, smarthritis, I say! Next she called me at 7 am the morning of to say "It is too cold! We can't do it!" I said put some tights on and shut up. Then, of course, she was not ready when I picked her up and complained the whole time about her neck, the cold, how bad of shape of she was in and on and on. She continued to complain even when we were racing up the hill to join the peloton. I was optimistic though as she whizzed past me on the first down hill. I finally caught up to her after we crossed the river and then I passed her. For miles I thought she was right behind me. I stopped at Abernathy because there is a Starbucks there and I knew she wanted to stop for coffee. I waited on the side of the road as cyclist after cyclist passed me; each asking if I needed help or if I was okay. I called Lala: no answer. I began to wonder if this was like the half marathon I ran with my sister and I stopped to wait for her too and she somehow passed me without me seeing her and finished 2 minutes ahead of me. As the last of the peloton passed me I finally got her on the phone. "I quit," she said, "Dad is coming to get me. Go on. I'll find you later."

So BY MYSELF-- meaning no police escort, meaning no blocked off lanes, no sag wagon, no peloton, no nothing but me and the cars-- I headed down Roswell Road to the Capitol. I should mention that I had absolutely NO idea what the actual course was since my plan was to just follow the crowd. Getting separated from the crowd was not part of the plan. As I pedaled ahead, forming a new plan, I assumed that once I got to Peachtree I would just follow the course the marathon had.

In Sandy Springs the congestion was really bad so I hopped on the sidewalk and rode there. This is where I became grateful for choosing the Beast: I hesitated when jumping the curb and on any other bike I would have been picking the pavement out of my face. I was grateful when I got stuck at the light by Caribou Coffee and a cyclist named Heather caught up with me. She had stopped to help a guy change a tire. He would prove the Ride to the Capitol's Rasmussen as he had 4 flat tires. I saw him on the side of the road several times. Anyway, Heather said there was a group ahead of us and we should try to catch them. I stuck with her and in Buckhead we became a group of 4. It was around the Roxy that we learned the route had been changed and the rest of the peloton was on Piedmont, which we had already passed. We decided we would pick up Piedmont at 14th street, forgetting that Piedmont is one way after 14th and not an option.

Following Heather, I climbed those hills out of Buckhead and into Midtown. I was reminded of struggling up them during the marathon and thought how much more manageable and enjoyable they were on a bike. I was really really loving it. People in Buckhead and Midtown came out of their offices and waved and cheered us on. It got a bit dicey by Colony Square when we had to turn left. I was so thankful Heather knew what the left hand signal was for turning because I didn't and was too scared to take one of my hands off the bike anyway to signal even if I did know it. As we navigated our way onto 14th street we saw a group of about 6 cyclists turning onto Juniper. We followed them on down to the capitol. As we rode up on the Capitol the bells of the church rung out that it was noon.

An hour and 45 minutes after starting I finished my ride to the Capitol. I menandered on shaky legs through the crowd of neon spandex, shiny metal and rubber tires and was enamored by the brightness of the day, by the euphoria surrounding me. I was brought out of my daydream by a gratingly familiar voice offering me water. It was a friend of a friend who I will not name any names since I am not terribly fond of her. She forced the water on me and I went and parked my bike and sat in the Church yard while I tried to call my mom.

She was just leaving her house to come get me. I was a little disappointed that she wasn't there since I was pretty much done with the whole biking thing and that the original, now scrapped,plan had been that we would ride to the Capitol and then go have beers. I was still hoping for the beers part, or at least lunch.

We agreed that I would ride halfway back with the crowd and enjoy the police escort that I had not had on the ride down and she would pick me up on Roswell Road. So for the hour til we left I wandered around the capitol, outside and in the church yard and half listened to the politicians rally the crowd. I found another friend and chatted and joked with her to pass the time. I was given some reading paraphanelia on cycling and encouraged to join some cycling group.

It really hurt to get back on the bike after an hour off it. But I managed okay and was quite thankful when I came to our agreed meeting place on Roswell Road. The only problem was that she was on the otherside of the road. So I called her and waited on the MARTA bench for her to come pick me up. In the 15 minutes that I sat there 4 people stopped to ask me if I needed help. Two were other cyclists. Another was a group in a van with bikes on their roof and roared with laughter when I assured them I was fine that I was just having trouble crossing the street. The last was some random guy in a pick-up truck asking what we were all riding for. I told him to raise awareness of cyclists in Georgia in hopes to have new bike paths built. He asked if I was fine and if I wanted to toss my bike in the back and ride with him. I declined and pointed across the street that my Mommy was coming to get me. He left and I was relieved as I was starting to get creeped out. Shortly after Lala did come to pick me up but not before I saw Rasmussen again. We offered him a ride, which he declined. As we drove off and left him in the parking lot I saw him pull out his cell phone and I knew he was as over it as I was-- but probably for different reasons: he was just having an off day; I was tired of being scared and my ass hurt.

So what did The Ride to the Capitol accomplish? The overall goal was to raise awareness in Atlanta for cyclists in hope that city planners will call for more bike paths and routes. Do I think that was accomplished? No, probably not. I don't know, shrug, maybe it raised a few eyebrows. It did raise MY awareness if that counts for anything. I discovered that cycling can be fun. I found that I no longer have the fear of the bike holding me back from trying a triathalon. Will cycling replace running? Never. I just don't get the same high and you can't beat running's zen simplicity. Will you see me out there on the mean streets of Atlanta? Doubt it. I still think the risk of getting hit by a car is too high but you may see me hitting the trails or zooming down the Comet.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Update: Ride to the Capitol

I just called my mom, Lala, about our Ride to the Capitol 2006. Already she is planning craziness.

I think we should wear a costume she says. I think we should not draw any more attention to ourselves than necessary I say. I have a history of falling off bikes I tell her and remind her of her similar history. She wants to get matching outfits and glue horns on our helmets so we can either be devils or unicorns or rhinoceroses.

The plan now is to ride to the capitol and then go to bars and get so drunk someone will have to come get us. So our ride will only be 25 miles. I actually like this plan better but it doesn't really jive with my plan not to punish my liver.

Low Maintenance Vanity

I must look hideous all the time. It is the only thing I can think. People are starting to reach out to me. I get the feeling that there is an intervention in the works. I just know one of these days I am going to come home from a run to find my living room filled with friends, family and aquaintences weilding makeup, tweezers and a hair brush.

Next week I have 2 invitations to attend cosmetic parties for 2 different cosmetic companies. I have even had an invitation to become a cosmetic sales lady--I am sure though employment would be contingent on my cleaning myself up and start looking presentable again.

This is what I get for never wearing make-up and not brushing my hair when I drop the kids off at their school. I'm going running so I figure what is the point. I sweat so much that my hair turns to dreads and any make-up I wore would just slide off my face anyway. Who do I have to impress there? A bunch of other moms? None are on my list of hotties I'd like to do. I will admit that sometimes I do shower if I am going to be wearing shorts. I find stubble truly detestable and would never want another person to suspect that I might actually have hair anywhere on body other than my head.

I have commited myself to one of these parties mostly to maintain good relations with the mother of one of Carmella's friends but the other I have a legit excuse not to attend. Tuesday morning my mom and I have plans to do theRide to the Capitol 2006. For those uninformed this is a roundtrip 50 mile bike ride. I have actually run further than I have ever biked so this should prove intresting--if not down right painful. My ass is aching just thinking about it. However, Lala being Lala there is a high probablity of her flaking out and us not doing the ride.

At any rate, even if I don't do the bike ride, I do have a standing long run scheduled every Tuesday and Thursday so I certainly can't go to any make-up parties. And so yes, again, I will show up at my children's school on Tuesday to register Beau for next year with wild hair and a naked face. On second thought, perhaps I will wear some lipstick, maybe a little bronzer and braid my wild hair. You never know, there could be photograhpers at the race or even TV crews.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Hangover Run: Not Recomended

I read somewhere that the liver is evil and it should be punished. Last night was girl's night out and my friend Stacie and her friend Jennifer also felt their livers needed to be punished. So we went out. I drank a couple of Smithwyck's ales and several glasses of Somona Cutrer.Yum. Double yum at the time. Stacie stuck with her Michelob lites--blah-- and Jennifer, well, she drank 16oz PBR's--- in a can. Blech, but it sure garnered her a lot of male attention. Hot girl drinking PBR does it for a lot of guys. Who knew?

Yeah, it was a fun night. The morning however. . .

Let's just say I think my liver and I have reached a sort of understanding and it promises never to be evil again if I promise to stick to my rule of NEVER having more than 4 drinks.Oh. My. God. I am fucking OLD.

Lucky for me Bubbles and Poppy came and took the kids to park all day. Thank you, thank you. Big Christmas presents for you both next year.

It was an absolutely fabulous day and despite my throbbing headache (for which I wouldn't take anything for as my liver had been punished enough) I felt the need to go running. I definitely could have taken the day off as I have run every day this week. In fact, I cannot remember the last day I did not run. But I feel guilty when given the opportunity to run and I don't take it. I just can't sit in inside on a beautiful day no matter how bad I feel.

From my house my shortest route is 6.5 miles and it is a hilly 6.5. Sure there are shorter ways and I could do point to point but I like sidewalks and I like to do loop runs. What I really wanted was a flat, easy 4 mile run today, but for flat I have to drive at least 30 minutes and that just isn't worth it for a short run.

The first mile was hell. My back was sore from showing off my limberness on the dance floor and my calves ached from dancing in 3" boots (also not recommended). I couldn't find my sunglasses so the sun was killing me and even though it was warm I felt cold. Just miserable and old.

I did warm up after the first mile and enjoyed the next mile and half of downhill. My pace was slow but steady. My head was still throbbing: the little hammer knocking against the backside of my eyes with each footfall convinced me that a brain aneurysm was imminent. Still, I thought, I can do this and inspired myself with my own preserverance. Bill Berry lived, so would I. I am. I am. I am Super[Nat]. And I can do anything. . .

Then I hit my first big up hill. It is long and tough. And so the walking started-- along with the self doubt and stomach queasiness. Down the hill as I went up it came this ultra fit, ultra tan and ultra blond woman. She had headphones on (not earbuds mind you, Walkman headphones) and was walking and reading a book-- out loud and gesturing with her hands. Just not something you see everyday in quiet suburbia. She looked me dead in the eye, never slowing as we passed and said something. What? I have no idea. I really think I might have been hallucinating. It was totally weird.

After that hill I ran the rest of the way and finally around the middle of mile 5 my headache lifted and I began to feel human again. So while the run completely sucked, I finished it in 57 minutes--almost 10 minutes slower than my usual time, it did make me feel better, not great, just better.

Best of all, it put me at 42 miles for the week.

Not too bad for a lush with an evil liver.

Whistling Wonder

Beau. Beau. Beau. My little Dennis the Menance with that cute devilish smirk and angelic blond curls do you have us all fooled?

I have to wonder, am I your biggest fool?

Is it all only a joke that you are playing on me? And one day you will break out, laughing at how you tricked me, and go on talking for endless paragraphs with perfect articulation, hitting every syllable of every tri-syllabic word you can string together?

Listen up Beauman, my boy wonder, Mommy is on to you! You! You who has "Apraxia" yet talks all night long in your sleep. You! Who just yesterday I learned can whistle. Com'on man! How many 2 year olds can whistle? None that I know. Heck, Carmella is 5 and she is so green that you can do it and she can't.

I can't prove it yet but soon. Just know my little whistling wonder I am watching you.