Are You KIDDING Me With This???

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Sweet Smell Of Ammonia In The Afternoon

I cleaned my bathroom today.


I haven't cleaned my bathroom since..... Well, let's not dwell. Suffice it to say it's been long enough that we had managed to collect enough cat hair on the floor to build a whole new litter. I would have to say that cleaning the bathroom is my least favorite household chore. And while I know that if I just keep up on it a little more regularly than I have been (that is to say, if I tried cleaning at least once a year as opposed to once a decade) it might not be such an odious task, I just can't muster up enough enthusiasm to do it.

But today, I realized that I probably get dirtier when I step into the shower, as opposed to cleaner, and I have been spending a lot more time sitting on the layer of grime on the bathroom floor (as a result of the gloriousness that is Turtle being potty trained) than makes me comfortable. And thus, it was time to bust out the cleaning products and tackle the multiple layers of dirt, hair and calcium deposits that have been slowly building on every square inch of space.

Not even wearing protective gloves was enough to counteract the overwhelming feeling of "ick" I experienced as I scrubbed and scoured. And believe me, I scrubbed and scoured. And scrubbed and scoured. I probably spent at least 2 hours cleaning a room that takes up, at most, 100 square feet of space. But in the end? It was spotless. Well, okay, not spotless, but a marked improvement. (Not that it would have taken much to achieve that.)

I'm so pleased with how much better the bathroom looks now, I'm almost considering making more of an effort to keep it up. Oh, calm down....I did say ALMOST. Mostly, I'm just proud that I finally made the decision to clean it from top to bottom and I followed through. Now I don't have to think about it for at least another....what?.....6 months, do you figure? I can live with that.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Eat Me

McMama cooked tonight.

I know.

It's probably a good thing I made sure Oscar knew my feelings on living wills, cremation and funeral services before I took this trip. Not that she's THAT bad. Well, okay, yes she is.... But at least she wasn't cooking anything like chicken or pork chops tonight. No, this evening, McMama decided to show off her culinary expertise by fixing us stuffed manicotti.

And actually?

It was pretty damn good.

Which just goes to prove that McMama can boil noodles like a rock star.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Turtle A Go-Go

I think I mentioned that Turtle likes to play go-gos, which is his cutesy little term for running around the house with his plastic guns, pretending to shoot all manner of evil-doers. Well, Turtle has very particular ideas about how this mission should go down, and God forbid you not do exactly as he tells you, because you really don't want to be on the receiving end of a dressing-down from a 2-year-old, war-seasoned-General-wannabe. So this afternoon, when Turtle came up to me during a spirited game of go-gos and started speaking in his rapid-fire, quasi-English, I paid attention. And I was therefore subject to a down and dirty lesson on the proper grip and handling of your basic handgun, complete with visual aids. Oh yeah. My toddler schooled me on how to hold a gun.

As a civilization, we either have new hope, or are completely, utterly, irrevocably doomed.


Okay, so you want to know why I'm too busy to update my damn blog? Right now, I am instant messaging three people while keeping an eye out on Turtle, who is eating a big bowl of applesauce. I'm tuning out Higglytown Heroes because, well, who wouldn't? I'm trying to find the right words to use in an e-mail to my brother, and I just finished an e-mail to another blogger I lurrrrrrrrve (but not in a creepy way.) I also just ran said e-mail by Oscar and Snark's Mistress because I was feeling like a bit of a moron for being 30 years old and writing a fan letter. I'm also updating my budget and balancing my checkbook. Oh, and McMama just called, so I talked to her and then was reminded to call my doctor's office to find out if I need to come in tomorrow for another blood test.

Blog? What blog?

Remember Me?

Oh, looky here! I have a blog! Isn't that fascinating? Did you know I have a blog? Because I think I kind of forgot for a while. Okay, well, I didn't forget so much as "got so tired I wasn't at all interested in doing anything requiring any sort of energy such as writing something that I would obsess over because it wasn't quite funny enough particularly since I have to run to the bathroom every 30 minutes because Turtle has decided that this potty training process is cool, particularly when Mommy says 'YAY! Good job, Buddy!' and gives him a high-five, so he must go potty every time he feels he can eke out even two drops of pee, and who says this is better than changing a diaper, because at least I could do that on my schedule, although it IS nice that Turtle's room doesn't get that vaguely outhouse-y smell when I forget to empty his diaper bin in time." are things with you?

Me? Well, as you may have gathered, we are in the middle of potty training hell. We are also dealing with new neighbors who, while they have not moved in yet, have had wokers doing all sorts of banging and loud landscaping type work at all hours of the day and night. Still, Neighbors 2.0 are a marked improvement over the first versions, who introduced themselves to us solely so they could bitch about the tree we have in the corner of our property. We don't love the tree, either, and I'd love to get rid of it, but getting rid of it costs money and I have other priorities for my money, which they would have known if they'd, say, introduced themselves for the purposes of getting to know us and establishing nice, neighborly relations instead of just to bitch about my tree.

But on the bright side? I've also been busy getting ready for a vacation. Not just any vacation. This is going to be a real vacation. No husband. No Turtle. Just me, flying on a plane for 5 hours by MYSELF, reading, sleeping, and listening to the music I want to listen for as long as I want to listen to it! A five-hour plane ride has never sounded so good. And then? When I get off the plane? I get to hang with McMama for four days! We're going to have long talks, and giggle, and rabble-rouse, and get into all sorts of trouble. much trouble as I can reasonably be expected to get in, considering that I'm a big, fat goody-goody. will still be fun.

Oscar is not so much looking forward to my vacation, considering he will be alone with Turtle for 3 solid days and will have assistance for the other two. But I figure he's about due for some quality time with his son, considering that I've been putting in overtime with the Turtle while Oscar has been putting in overtime with his consulting projects. I was kind of hoping we'd actually get a chance to take a vacation together, sans child, but that is apparently not in the cards. So I'll take what I can get.

Of course, you know what this means right? I'll be away from my computer for a super-extended weekend. And since I will not be checking any luggage, I will not be stopping by to bitch and moan about how I had to go shopping for all new stuff because the flight crews lost my old stuff. So why did I stop by to leave you this blog post if I'm only going to be leaving again and, thus, not updating? Because I have to leave you wanting more, of course! I didn't get a reputation for being a tease for nothing!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Project Runway Episode 10

Oh, I'm I late in posting my post-Project Runway rundown? Huh...that must be because my BRAIN EXPLODED when I saw that Angela and Vincent were back. Of all the twists I could have imagined, bringing back Angela and Vincent wasn't even in the same vicinity of things I considered. Although, really, it was kind of worth it just to see the look on Jeffrey's face when Angie-babe walked in.

Speaking of Jeffrey, how is it possible that he stayed in the game while Kayne was eliminated? I mean, I'll grant you that Kayne's dress had some design flaws, but at least his model looked like she was dressed for a cocktail party. Jeffrey's model looked like a $5 whore on the way to work. Cocktail party? No. Eight ball party? Yes. And I guess the judges must have been sampling those eight balls, because the only excuse for Kayne getting the boot over Jeffrey was that they were high. You can argue all you want that with two wins, Jeffrey had an advantage over Kayne that made them more willing to forgive this misstep, but....again....$5 WHORE! The woman looked like a $5 whore! My inability to fathom how he could escape elimination after sending down a model who looked like a $5 whore should be counted as reason #6,849 why I will never work in fashion.

On the other hand, I have apparently deciphered the producers' complicated editing patterns, because did I CALL the Laura win or did I CALL it????? And I'm so glad. Laura needed that win more than anyone, and it was certainly well deserved. She had some fierce competition with Michael's dress, but she fought it off and came out on top. Good for her...her design was lovely and her execution was, as always, flawless. I love me some Laura.

Know what else I love? Her relationship with Michael. Those two are so adorable. I kind of take it for granted that they are both going to end up in the final 3, and I can't wait to see what they produce and how much they support each other. Their little exchange after Laura was awarded the win made my wee little heart go squish.

But really? The best moment of the whole episode? Hearing Tim Gunn say, in response to Kayne's answer about where the white was in his dress, "Oh, JESUS!" If I had a sound clip of that moment, on my computer, I would wear that thing out. Turtle pees in his pants? Take it away, Tim...."Oh, JESUS!" Kids ringing the doorbell to sell me cheap candy? Say it for me, Tim...."Oh, JESUS!" My whites aren't getting white enough? Tim, if you would?...."Oh, JESUS!" I'm telling you, I would get a lot of mileage out of that. And if I could somehow rig my Tim Gunn bobblehead to play my Tim Gunn "Oh, JESUS!" sound clip? Dear God, the possibilities....

Carry on!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The New Prozac

So, with everything that's been going on in my life in the past 6 months (some of which I've blogged about and some of which I've kept private), my self-esteem has taken a bit of a beating. Not that I'm rocking back and forth in the corner, taking hits off Ben and Jerry's, and dive-bombing other bloggers in an effort to make myself feel better. Things haven't gone THAT far south. But I do occasionally look in the mirror and scrunch up my face in that "Really? THIS is what we have to work with?" kind of way, shrug my shoulders and concede defeat.

I've thought about getting some therapy in an effort to shore up my self-image a bit, but I figured I would try some other things first. I started by going to the gym. That helped, because even though I didn't instantly drop 30 pounds (which would have been fricking OUTSTANDING!, but alas....) I did start feeling thinner, sexier, more beautiful and, you know, like I could crush you between my super-hot thighs of steel. Unfortunately, I got out of the habit of going to the gym when I went on vacation and then there were the health issues, and before I knew it, 3 months had passed and my fledgling muscles became gelatinous blobs once again. So much for that.

Then I thought, well, I'll just blog about it and see if I can't process some of this stuff by getting my thoughts out to the world at large. Except, you know, writing is an interesting process for me, and it's not often that I can set out to write about something and follow it all the way through to completion. More often than not, I start writing about one thing and half-way through I'm talking about something else completely, and I've lost the point and well, at least I found the funny, because God knows I don't remember what I was talking about to begin with. Besides, I don't think I could turn this site into a wallowing pit of self-absorbed despair. I would start to annoy myself way before I started annoying you, and that would kind of defeat the purpose of trying to shore up my self-image, don't you think?

So then I thought it might be a good idea to just start simply and begin to find affirmation in the little things. Like when you see the little "Approved" message after running your debit card? Most people don't give it a second thought. I take it as a compliment. "Congratulations on managing your finances so well. We will reward you by approving your request to buy these feminine hygeine products!" Or when I get comments to one of my posts. I get overwhelmed with my feelings of Sally Field-ness. "They like me, Oscar! They really, really like me!" But the best thing for my self-esteem? Turtle.

We're in the middle of potty training him, which, don't EVEN get me started, because Wow! with the annoying. But when he has a success on the potty, we make a big deal about it. We're not yet to the point of bribing him with the candy, which I've heard is an effective tool. No, we just give him a high-five and tell him what a good job he's doing. Of course, I haven't been convinced that any of this was sinking in, because he still ends up peeing in his pants instead of just telling me he needs to go to the potty. But he has become increasingly fascinated with what happens when Mommy and Daddy go to the bathroom.

Now, mind you, I haven't been able to go to the bathroom by myself since this kid learned to walk, so having him follow me back there is nothing new. It's just that now there's this new level of intensity in his gaze as he tries to figure out what exactly I'm doing there. Today, in fact, he followed me back to the bathroom and silently watched as I pulled down my pants and sat down. And then he listened, attempting to decipher whether I was going number one or number two. And when he figured it out? His whole face lit up and he jumped up and down as he said "Mommy had poop in the potty! Good job, Mommy!" and then gave me a high-five. And can you possibly feel bad about yourself when you have a two-year-old giving you serious props for going poop in the potty? You can't, is all I'm saying. So yeah...low self-esteem problem solved.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Exploding Uterus? Have A Cookie.

One of the great things about having a mother-in-law who bakes for a living is that I always have creative gift options. After all, I can't think of a single life event that wouldn't be made better by a cookie. Pregnant? Congratulations, here's a cookie! Getting married? Here's a toaster! Oh, and a cookie! Someone died? Oh, I'm so sorry. Can I offer you the comfort inherent in this-here cookie? Really, it's the all-purpose gift.

So when I was sitting around, post-Uterus Watch 2006, it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to send a little gift package of (what else?) cookies to my OB/GYN, his nurse and their phlebotomist, to thank them for the gentle care they provided me. I was thinking of something along the lines of this:

9-11-2006 8-15-28 PM

Or perhaps this:

9-11-2006 8-17-08 PM

Or maybe this:

9-11-2006 8-16-00 PM

So I spoke with McMama and she agreed that it would be a very nice gesture and she would be more than happy to whip up some adorable cookies with either a baby or a medical theme. She just needed the address of my doctor and an idea of what to write in the note.



I hadn't thought about that. You mean, they wouldn't just get the package of cookies and immediately think, "Oh, dear....that Cymber is such a sweetheart. I can't believe that with everything that has been going on with her, she would think of doing something like this for us!" I needed to actually articulate why I felt compelled to thank them for everything they had done for me? Well, shoot...

I had to give it a few days before I could come up with something. And even then it took me a few drafts to get it right. But here's what I came up with....maybe you can tell me if you think it strikes the right tone:

Dear Dr. Spreadmylegs, Nurse Kiki and Phiphi the Phearless Phlebotomist,
Thank you so much for the kind care and attention you gave me during Uterus Watch 2006. It wasnt the best of circumstances, but you made it all suck just a little less. Please enjoy these cookies with my compliments (but try to avoid chomping down on the baby heads in front of might unnerve them.) My family and I appreciate you for all you have done.

Friday, September 08, 2006

He's A Tough Crowd, But I Love Him Anyway

When I first started experiencing the singular pleasure of having my girly parts pried apart and investigated by someone with a flashlight, a swab, and (what I perceived as) over-confidence in her spelunking abilities, I did so at my regular doctor's office. They were fully equipped and I was quite comfortable with my regular doctor (who wasn't really a doctor, if you want to get specific about it....she was a Nurse Practitioner) so I didn't see any reason to seek out an OB/GYN. But when I got pregnant with Turtle, I couldn't exactly rely on my NP to deliver our baby, so it was time to be a grown-up and find someone who was specifically licensed to mess around with my reproductive organs.

At first, I thought it might be nice to find a female OB. So I asked my dad, who worked at a nearby hospital, to do some investigating for me and come up with a list of doctors I might see. When he came back with the information I had been seeking, he did have the name of a female doctor on the list, but said that he had actually heard fantastic things about this other doctor....a man. Oscar didn't care one way or another who we decided to see so long as I was comfortable. So I thought about it, and decided, "Hell, I'm not modest" and set up an appointment with the doctor who had come so highly recommended.

I liked the doctor just fine. He's a quiet sort, very unassuming, but obviously competent. But it wasn't until I was ready to deliver Turtle that I fell in love with him. My doctor had assured me that he would be the one delivering my baby, and that is why his office is right across the street from the hospital. It's the only hospital where he delivers babies, and therefore, I could rest easy knowing that I wouldn't be pawned off on a stranger I'd never met when it came time to spread my legs and push the watermelon out the garden hose.

Unfortunately, we weren't counting on the fact that I would go into labor early Sunday morning and continue my labor through the day and into the night. The nurses told me that I shouldn't expect my OB/GYN to deliver Turtle, and that it would likely be the doctor-on-call who would have that task. I was frustrated, and annoyed, and cranky, but what could I do? I couldn't tell Turtle not to arrive yet because it wasn't convenient. Well, I could have, but he wouldn't have listened. So imagine my relief when my quiet, unassuming, but very competent doctor walked in the door as we were nearing the home stretch and coached me through the rest of the delivery. I would have had HIS baby right then if I hadn't been so busy having Oscar's.

I can't tell you how much I appreciated him coming down, despite the lateness of the hour (Turtle was delivered sometime after midnight) and the fact that he could have just as easily let the doctor-on-call take my case. He won me over completely for that alone. And kind of made me forgive him for not laughing at my jokes.

I know...I is it possible that he doesn't realize how funny I am? I'm not quite sure. Maybe he does realize how funny I am, but he's so quiet that he laughs on the inside. I'm not sure. But it is very disconcerting for someone who often wisecracks in order to cover for nervousness or discomfort to have her jokes fall completely flat. Of course, that just means that when I DO get him to react to something I say, it's a special little victory, just for me.

Today, for example, I had to go back to his office for a follow-up appointment. He's still keeping track of me and making sure that everything goes back to normal. So there he is with the ultrasound wand doing his spelunking for him. Now, mind you, this is the first action I've gotten in several weeks, as he banned me from having intercourse until we knew my uterus wasn't going to explode or something. So he's poking around, and pointing out my pieces and parts, and he's having a hard time finding one of my ovaries. Then he pats my knee and says "Can you spread your legs a little wider, please?" And as I do, I tell him "I haven't heard THAT in a few weeks." And do you know what happened? He chuckled, people. He CHUCKLED. Sure, it was an easy shot....obvious even. But I've had better jokes than that get nothing more from him than a blink and a bland stare, so to get a chuckle? Well, let's just say I'll be flying high on that one for a while. It took me a few years, but I'm finally breaking him in.

While We're On The Subject...

I had this dream the other night that I was competing on Project Runway. We were in Mood, looking for fabric. I don't remember the details of the challenge, except that it had something to do with gardens. For some reason, I had decided to quilt a sort of banner, kind of like McMama has displayed in her foyer. I was planning on it being really cute. So, having picked out my fabrics, and decided on my design, I was feeling rather pleased with myself. There was plenty of time left to just wander around and see what else was available.

It wasn't until there was only 7 minutes left to shop that it occurred to me that while the quilted banner was going to be quite adorable, it wouldn't really do any good for my model, who was ostensibly going to be traveling down the runway nude. I ran around Mood like a chicken with her head cut off, looking for something, anything that would complement my quilted banner (how fashion forward am I???). In the meantime, it ran through my mind that I didn't even know how to sew. What was I doing on Project Runway? I mean, I could understand competing on The Amazing Race. "Go here, take this pre-selected taxi and driver to this address, and hand the egg to the sherpa to get your next clue?" I can do THAT. "Update the look of a fashion icon and use a *gasp* sewing machine?" Not so much.

I don't know if I managed to get what I needed before The Gunn called time. I woke up before the end of the challenge. But I'm sure I was fine. The quilted banner really got me off.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Project Runway Episode 9

Well, clearly, I was never meant to work in fashion.

I despised Jeffrey's dress, and I can't blame it solely on my distaste for him, personally. I was very open to it at first. From what I saw of it in the previews, I thought it looked spectacular. And then I saw it full-length from the front, and even worse, from the back. And instead of thinking it was spectacular, I thought it was craptacular. But at least I understood why the judges chose it for the win. It was definitely a show piece. Too bad I would have had no interest in any kind of show featuring that dress.

Kayne's dress though? I was in LOVE with it. I loved the lace up back and the fact that it swept to the side. I loved the black binding (even though I know The Gunn hated it and it pains me to disagree with him.) I loved the flow of the skirt. I loved the color of the skirt. I loved the detail work. I. Loved. That. Dress. And the judges hated it. I'm beginning to wonder if we were watching the same runway presentation.

And then there's Uli... I find it disappointing that the judges praised her so highly for producing the same damn dress she's made every challenge, just without the wild patterns. Don't get me wrong, it was a lovely dress. I've just seen it many, many, MANY times before. Can she do anything else? Can we maybe see that? That would be great.

But really, Vincent was the star of this show. Watching him trip over his tongue on his way to sticking it up Catherine Malandrino's ass was a sight to behold. Kind of like a particularly bloody train wreck. It was compelling and stomach-turning at the same time. And his dress? Meh. If it wasn't glued together, I might have had more appreciation for it, but from a man who claimed to have couture experience, he was certainly not pouring on the "hand-sewn" details. I mean, Michael's dress was kind of a mess, but I certainly had to give him props for his effort. Vincent didn't even try. He seemed to be too busy "getting off." I was not sorry to see him get auf'd.

What I was sorry to see? The previews for next week, showing Laura in full killer-fatigue meltdown mode. I love my girl. I don't want to see her go. But damn, she must be exhausted. Pregnancy is difficult enough without the schedule she's keeping right now. (Not that I would know anything about that, you stupid Uterus!!!) The only thing I can hope for is that she's getting the "red herring" editing, and we'll find out that she actually wins the challenge next week. I can only pray.

Carry on!

Disney Hell

When Turtle started watching Disney movies, I'm sad to say, I got a little excited. I finally had someone with whom I could indulge my love of little animated forest critters bursting into song. And when Turtle decided that his favorite Disney movies were, in fact, Pixar creations? Well, I could have just kissed him for his instinctive brilliance. I mean, with the funny? And the smart? And the funny? It was a beautiful thing.

But then, Turtle started getting bored and he wanted new movies to watch. Even that was okay, at first, because he chose movies like The Little Mermaid and Mulan and The Emperor's New Groove. I could get behind those choices. I am a sucker for any Disney movie with a special father-daughter relationship, or any time a monarch gets turned into a llama. It works for me. So we were fine. We'd pop one of his movies into the VCR and go to town.

But naturally, that special time period was destined not to last long, either. Turtle eventually decided he was bored with all of Mommy's videos and started poaching from other people, like Snark's Mistress and Mama Jo. I would have been okay with it if he'd chosen movies that I don't have, but want to own, like Atlantis. But does Turtle consider Mommy's feelings in all of this? No. So what did he choose? Well, first it was The Fox and the Hound.

I have a very deeply ingrained loathing for The Fox and the Hound. I take it very personally that these two best friends are forced to be at odds because of the circumstances of their births. It makes me think of what would happen if all of a sudden I could never see Snark's Mistress again. I just can't picture a SM-sized hole in my life without getting depressed, so I feel an immense amount of empathy for poor Copper and Tod. Not to mention the fact that Tod really doesn't do anything wrong in that movie, and yet he gets the blamed for everything. That bothers me a lot. Gee, Mr. Hunter Man, maybe your dog wouldn't have gotten hurt if you hadn't constantly sent him out after your next door neighbor's pet. Did you consider that? Well, what about this: Maybe you wouldn't have gotten your leg caught in the trap and been attacked by the bear if you hadn't been trespassing on the game preserve. Did you consider that? It's called personal responsibility, jackass. Look into it.

In any case, I have always hated The Fox and the Hound, but when Turtle borrowed it from Snark's Mistress, I figured "anything to please the little man," and just kind of rolled with it. I'd arrange to be out of the room during the parts that bothered me the most. It wasn't the best system, but it worked. Of course, then he got bored with that movie and borrowed Dumbo from Mama Jo. And started watching it at least three times a day, because he loves it so much. And I finally got to watch it myself, as an adult, with a child of my own.

Now I kind of want to kill anyone associated with that movie, if they are not already dead. I can't STAND that movie. Take this cute little baby elephant with big blue eyes, oversized ears, and an earnest desire to be loved. Now add a bunch of pompous, egotistical, nasty little ninny elephants, a circus director who can't see past the dollar signs in his eyes, and a gaggle of clowns who see the little baby elephant as a prop, not a live animal with a mommy he never gets to see. What do you get? The cute little baby elephant crying big, fat tears out of his big, blue eyes. What else do you get? Me, getting unreasonably angry at everyone who even looked sideways at this cute little baby elephant (who doesn't truly exist....I do get that), and then getting all sad and blubbery when he goes to visit his mommy and she sings "Baby of Mine."

I turn into a basket case if I am in the same room with Turtle when he is watching this movie. Luckily for me, he only seems to want to watch Dumbo in my bedroom, which leaves me to the rest of the house during that time. And that's a good thing. Because really? I have enough drama in my life without having to explain to the therapist that the Disney company should be paying for my Prozac.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Surprise From Above

One of the more interesting things about living in the house in which you grew to adulthood is that when you find something unusual about the house, you have a pretty good idea how it came to be that way/who was responsible for it being that way. For example, when we moved all the furniture out of the master bedroom and prepared to paint it, Oscar and I noticed that on one of the walls, there was a large section of flat paint around which a semi-gloss had been painted, creating a very striking line of demarkation. In discussing it, I was able to tell Oscar exactly why that section of flat paint was still there. My parents had a huge, HUGE king-sized waterbed with a massive headboard. To move it would have taken hours, as they would have had to drain the bed in order to even pull it back a few inches. With two small kids, and considering that my mom was generally left to do any kind of home improvements herself, it was easier to leave the bed where it was and paint around it. Oh well....we were going to use primer when we painted, anyway.

Well, with Oscar and I having lived in the house as a couple for five or so years, now, and having completed a number of home improvement projects in that time, I was pretty sure we had encountered pretty much everything there was to encounter, by this point. Going forward, I had expected that if we had to deal with any more surprises, they would have been a result of things we had done. Oh, how very VERY wrong I was.

Oscar started ripping apart the closet in the front bedroom the other night. We have alread painted the main portions of the room and laid down new baseboards (with only a minimum of cursing) and Oscar has moved in his desk and computer equipment, creating a lovely office for himself. But to complete the look and give the office some added functionality, Oscar wanted to change the layout of the closet. He was hoping to build some additional desk space into that area. He sketched out his design for the finished product, took measurements, and finally brought out the saw and the hammer, to take out some of the existing shelving. Most of it came out pretty easily, but the highest shelf, when it came down, brought a whole host of items onto his head.

One of those items? An old pair of men's underwear, with a very unpleasant surprise in the crotch. Oscar and I knew immediately who was responsible. I called up my brother. "Dude, we just found the underwear you sharted in and hid in the closet. When did you DO that?" My brother, after yelling out the obligatory "GROSS!", wondered how on earth he was supposed to remember something that happened so long ago. Oh, I don't know...I think I'd remember something like sharting in my underwear and hiding the evidence away so my mom didn't force me to start doing my own laundry. (Oh, who am I kidding? If it was me, I'd probably do something like write the date in the waistband, just so when they were finally found, you wouldn't have to carbon date them to figure out how old they were. Consider it a new twist on the time capsule concept.)

Tonight, we joined my brother and his family over at my parents' house for an impromptu birthday party for my nephew. I somehow managed to work the Infamous Underwear into conversation again, which prompted a whole host of questions from my sister-in-law, who had not yet heard about our discovery, among them, "Why did you hide them?" My brother fixed me with an unyielding stare. "I don't know. Maybe because I didn't want the fact that I SHARTED to become a topic for PUBLIC DISCUSSION." Heh....I guess maybe I shouldn't tell him about my blog.

Friday, September 01, 2006

This Is Why We Forget To Order For Him, McMama

So here's the thing: it's fairly widely understood that when you have kids, your days of eating out three nights a week at nice restaurants are pretty much down the drain. Forget how much it costs to have kids, and how little disposable income you have left after you've paid for diapers, clothes, food and toys for the littlest member of your family. You just can't expect a young kid to behave himself in a restaurant for an hour plus while you meander your way through appetizers, salads, entrees, desserts and drinks. I don't care how many crayons the restaurant is nice enough to provide.

But it's also fairly widely understood that if you are ever going to step foot in a nice restaurant again as a family, not just on the random nights when you manage to unearth enough spare change from in between the couch cushions to pay for a babysitter as well as dinner, you have to start taking your little tyke out with you to family-friendly restaurants as soon as they can reasonably be expected to handle it. We have been taking Turtle out to restaurants with us for quite a while now, and he does fairly well. We have the occasional problems of getting him to sit still or use his inside voice, but overall, he's a good kid. Very polite. Always says thank you to the serving staff. Charms the pants off of just about anybody, really. It's a sight to see. It's not a bad situation.

The problem I have is with the kids' menu. I expect that in a nice restaurant, the kids' menu may be a little pricey and might have larger portions of food than my almost-three-year-old can handle. But in a family-friendly restaurant...I don't know....I guess I just expect that having seen their fair share of toddlers, they would have a better idea of their eating habits and would adjust their menu accordingly. I mean, yes, it's great that they have macaroni and cheese, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or chicken nuggets on the kids' menu. For the older kids, particularly, this menu works out really well. For the younger kids, though, or even just the most infuriating of all kiddie-beasts, the "picky eater," or, God forbid, one who is both a toddler AND a picky eater, you should have an alternative menu. A subsection of the kids' menu, if you will.

I'm envisioning a menu upon which you would find, instead of a grilled cheese sandwich, "two slices of cheese, bread optional." Or instead of spaghetti and meatballs, "noodles, no offensive tomato-based sauce included, and one bite of meatball, which is all your child will eat before refusing to open his mouth within a 2 mile radius of the Italian specialty." Or perhaps, instead of bite-sized hamburgers, "one bun, with ketchup only."

I bring this up because we took Turtle to dinner tonight at his favorite restaurant. (Which, naturally, is not his favorite restaurant as a result of the food, but is instead his favorite restaurant because of the video game in the front which comes complete with a set of bright orange rifles, the better to shoot the moose and the bears with.) I have figured out Turtle's pattern enough to know that if he has consumed an item on the menu at any time in the past week, forget about ordering it for him, because he will staunchly refuse to touch it once you've paid $3.45 for it. I also know him well enough to know that if the menu item includes cheese, the likelihood that he will eat it goes up considerably. So in perusing the menu and seeing both macaroni and cheese (which he ate for lunch) and grilled cheese sandwiches (which he hasn't had for weeks), I figured the odds were in favor of him going for the grilled cheese sandwiches.

Things looked good at first. When Oscar and I received our order of cheesy garlic bread, Turtle was all over it, wanting some of it for himself. "Score!" I thought to myself, rather naively. "Bread plus cheese equals Happy Turtle." Then, not too long afterwards, his meal arrived. He picked up his sandwich and appeared to start eating it. I was pleased by my ordering success. A few minutes later, I looked up to find that perhaps I had congratulated myself too soon. Turtle had torn his sandwich apart and was picking the half-melted cheese off the bread, little piece by little piece.

I kept an eye on him throughout our meal. By the time he was done, it looked like he had committed a particularly brutal bread-homicide. Two pitted and mangled pieces of bread sat pitifully in his basket, with a few bits of cheese still desperately clinging to them, undoubtedly in abject terror. It wasn't pretty. Even the most seasoned of investigators would have looked at the bread, shaken his head and said, "Sick." And the fries? Forget it. He ate one and that was it. But that was okay, I guess, because I talked to them later, and they felt like they dodged a bullet. (Why yes, I like to anthropomorphize my food. Don't you?)

It's at moments like those that I wonder why I bother ordering for this kid at all. Except that I know him, and I know that if I don't order for him either a) his grandmother and auntie will be there to point their shame-fingers in my direction for neglecting him so shamefully, b) he'll consume everything off my plate, instead, even if it is filled with items he has avowed to despise until his dying breath, forcing me to make do with the decorative parsley, or c) he'll spend the entire meal talking instead of eating, and let me tell you....there are times when that is a fate worse than death.

So what's my point? (Oh, you mean, I should have one?) I guess it's just that if you're going to cater your restaurant to the ankle-biting crowd and their parents, the least you could do is make an attempt to accommodate them a little bit better. I just can't imagine I'm the only parent of a child whose eating habits change by the second. So just throw me a bone here....if you can't make a "picky eaters" menu as well as a kids' menu, could you at least put on a few a la carte items that would work for those of us whose kids will otherwise deconstruct your perfect grilled cheese sandwich in such a way that your other guests are suppressing their gag reflexes? I say this for your benefit as much as mine. Thanks.