Some Small Thrills

I know - two posts in one day (go ahead, read the other one, too!), during the busiest week of my recent memory. It's kinda strange how that happens. Maybe I am learning to stop and smell the proverbial roses after all. So of course, I just have to share four things that have thrilled/fascinated me in the last couple days:

1. This little beauty just made me rethink my mental block on breastfeeding and made me have hope that the comfortable, portable, inexpensive maternal bonding bliss that comes so naturally to everyone except me might actually happen. At least I will be covered while trying yet again to make a go of it, which is sometimes half the battle. I think I really must get one. And I really must tip my hat to the woman who developed the idea. Brilliant, really. And funny: "hooter hiders." You just have to love it.

2. I am learning a lot from magazines at the doctor's office these days. Today I discovered a little blurb on interesting ways to learn/see the letters of the alphabet. This naturalist discovered letters and numbers in the patterns on butterfly wings and without harming the creatures, managed some phenomenal photos of every letter of the alphabet and the numbers 0-9. Check it out here. BRowse the gallery and all. Honestly, it's truly fascinating and beautiful. Who knew?

3. When you live with a man like my husband and have a serious thinking son like Calvin, at one point or another you will catch at least a piece of some animal show on TV. And you will learn something you never knew. The other night Calvin and Dad were soaking in some info about "flowingos." The thing that I found fascinating? That flamingos are pink because they eat shrimp - whatever it is that makes shrimp go pink when you cook them is the same thing that makes flamingos' feathers pink because they subsist almost entirely on shrimp. Is that not cool? It does make me wonder what hue I would be if my color represented the mainstays of my diet. But we'll try not to think too much about that.

4. Finally, my favorite awe-inspiring thought of late. Calvin shared it as I was tucking him in bed tonight: "Mom...you know?...At the bottom of outer space...is...more outer space..." Perhaps even more wonderful than that thought is the little boy who can come up with such a thing, out of the blue. And that he likes to tell me about it.

I'm just thrilled with people who think up things that make life easier, people who have learned to see things in nature and share it with everyone else, the marvels and diversity of God's creations, and the immensity of being the mother of my boys.



When I was little, my mom had a few "Silly Sally" stories that she would tell every now and then. They are a tiny bit like Amelia Bedelia, only much shorter, and of an oral tradition rather than in any storybook. They all ended with someone in the story being a bit alarmed about a situation, and the phrase, "But Silly Sally just laughed and laughed. She knew..."

Um, the only one of these little tales I remember is about Sally and her friend coming across a large cow patty that smelled atrociously and had a big spider sitting on the top of it. Sally's friend ran screaming away, both because of the spider and the smell. "But Silly Sally just laaaaughed and laaaaughed. She knew that spider couldn't have made all that poo!"

Yeah, it's a masterpiece, I know. Too bad I can't remember any others. Of course, their punchlines and subject matter are not any more deep than that.

The thing about it, is that my mom couldn't get more than a wry smile out of me when she told these. Although to this day, I do smile inside when I hear or think the cadence in the words, "But Silly Sally just laaaaughed and laaaaughed...She knew..."

I've just always been kind-of a serious soul. Maybe with a little bit of high-brow humor. Or perhaps a humor that just has to be tickled at just the right time and just the right place. Because I have belly-laughed a time or two in my life, and maybe even had liquid come out of my nose over something funny. But I'm definitely not a ROFL type.

Mostly I take things seriously, if not literally. I pride myself on pragmatism and I often catch people's off-the-cuff jokes a little too late - like just after I answer quite seriously or defensively, when I should have just kept it light and fluffy.

Calvin is my child in that respect. He was born with a knitted brow - which Auntie S dubbed his "thinkie" look. And he thinks a lot. And while he does have fun and takes interest in many things, he is literal and serious and approaches play like it's his job. He likes his information and his conversation to be straight-up, undiluted correctness. No nonsense.

He never really liked when I would call his brown eyes purple just so he would correct me, and he doesn't like when we change the words to nursery rhymes or songs he knows. He rolls his eyes and groans when we tell him outlandish things or - heaven forbid - make up answers to questions that don't hold water. He doesn't laugh at the silliness. He hollers in frustration that we aren't getting it right. And I totally understand where he is coming from.

Enter Henry. The kid loves to giggle. He thinks nothing is funnier than when I say, "This little pig went to the beach, this little pig ate hot dogs and macaroni," or tell him that I love his polka-dotted hair.

His latest joke is to insert the word "applesauce" in place of any noun in any sentence: Last night he fell off my lap laughing during prayers because instead of saying, "We thank thee for the beautiful sunshine," he ad-libbed and said, "Thankee for de bootifoh apposauce."

"Mom, I need you to change my apposauce," he'll say with a cackle and a chortle at the end. "Calvin, you're a baby apposauce," nyuknyuknyuk. (Yeah, Calvin loves those comments.) Ask Henry to get in the tub, or pick up his toys and it's, "You pick up your applesauce!" with a big sassy hahahahahaha.

Who knew that applesauce could garner such delight in the mind of a young comedian? Or help his mom live - and let go of herself - a little? I'm learning to laugh along. And to do more silly things with him. It's really quite refreshing. Even Calvin gets in on it now, and can even provide Henry with a punchline, if he can't muster the silliness himself.

I'm learning that even if I don't "get" the humor in any of it, allowing myself to giggle with him instead of demanding serious focus on getting shoes on so we can go already, actually helps me get the spontaneous delight of childhood silliness that I think I never really allowed myself before, even as a child.

Maybe the Silly Sally stories are coming full circle. I'd like to hope that my boys will remember fondly: Our Mommy just laaaaughed and laaaughed...She knew that there is nothing better than a contagious, rolling, gurgling, belly laugh from a bright-eyed, silly 2 1/2-year-old.


Today's Little Joys

This is the face of Little MIU (Man In Utero). I think the little hand saluting is mui cute.

At the sonogram, the technician said MIU was breach right then. Nothing alarming - but that would explain the feeling that something large was invading my trachea and rib cage. Like a head and shoulders, the biggest parts of a baby, even if he is only three pounds right now.

And then a little like magic, I noticed the next day (come to think of it - after a riotous night of wiggling and jiggling inside) that my belly button was not as tight as it was before, that my belly didn't feel like it was in my throat, and when I was laying down, it was VERY obvious that Little MIU was now laying sideways - I have NEVER seen something so clearly from the outside like that before! It was seriously like going from a largish volleyball shape up high to a serious spare tire shape lower down...very cool.

Besides being really awestruck at how it looked, can I even express the relief I feel from the EXTREME heartburn that I have experienced for the last two months - nearly four months earlier than it has happened in the past? It's gone, just because Little Man decided to rearrange himself a little bit.

I've never experienced "lightening", because I went overdue and was induced before the baby was down either time, and even though this is not that, it is a truly lovely thing. Maybe I will now be more tolerant of later heartburn, when MIU can't help but set my esophagus on fire because really, what is a ten-pounder to do in such tight quarters?

And for a couple other little joys, Calvin and Henry have contributed these little sweetnesses recently:

Me: Henry, I guess since Dad is going to paint, that leaves me to the job of changing your poops.
Henry: No! Dad do it! (This is a highly unusual request - it's usually the opposite)
Dad: No, Mom will. I'm going to paint.
Henry: NO! DAD. IS. The changer. (He growled the last word and punched his little fist into his other hand, like he was granting supreme power...)
Me: (sweet smile) You heard him.

Cal: Can I just not put my shoes on?
Me: Weeelllll....(it was a 70 degree spring day)
Cal: It's just been sooooo long since I felt the ground with my feet.


About Arsenic Hour

For one, I think the time between 4 and 6 p.m. with small children is aptly named - it's been a regular occurrence here since Cal was about nine months old. However, I'm never quite sure if it's called that because Mom wants to take arsenic, or because she wants to administer it to the children. Maybe it's both.

Up until recently, arsenic hour at our house has meant an increase in naughty/destructive behavior, general whiny/crabbiness/tantrumming (both Mom and children), and usually culminates in either a minor injury, a moderate mess of some sort, a major altercation between small boys, and one or all of us crying in frustration. All while trying to get dinner on and waiting impatiently for Dad to get his hiney home. (Arsenic hour always makes it seem like he's running terribly late, even when most of the time he is not.)

Lately, though, this wonderful time of day has taken a new turn in the Code Yellow household. For the boys it has turned from whining, crying, teasing, tantrumming - typically sad/mad/ornery/pent up "negative" behaviors and emotions - to laughing, howling, tickling, making up nonsense words and sounds, asking and answering any and all questions in googoo munchkin voices, giggling hysterically, running and screeeeeeaaaaaammmmiiiiiiiinnnngggg intermittently as they make a circle through the living room, through the kitchen, back to the living room, and so forth.

All of this new behavior still has a tendency to result in a minor injury or moderate mess, but for the boys it seems to have achieved a feverish level of incoherent hilarity that they enjoy a little too thoroughly. Thinking sad thoughts will not bring them down, and serving tea on a floating table near the ceiling is not an option around here. (Mary Poppins I am not.)

Honestly, I've been starting to picture it in terms of stereotypical tipsiness - there's the angry mean kind ("Don't ask her on a straight tequila night"), and the happy-go-lucky kind ("Prop me up beside the jukebox"). Only in this case, it's pure preschool endorphins causing it all. And I am feeling a new kind of frustration as I try to decide which kind of silliness is least likely to turn me toward arsenic if Dad doesn't show up at the door. Now.

Night before last I had to slow Calvin down and physically take him (giggling and stumbling and poking at me) up to his room to unwind. He wasn't being "bad" so to speak, just wired to the point of throwing, bashing stuffed animals, laughing like a hyena, causing Henry to hyperventilate in giggling hysterics to to the point that he was slipping and tripping and falling every two seconds (still laughing through all of it, but the kid is covered in bruises!) - all of it was just a little more than I could excuse. And although I (actually quite calmly) explained that he wasn't in trouble, that he just needed to relax and choose something quiet to do for a few minutes, Cal of course lost it and cried disconsolately on his bed.

Before I knew it, Henry had taken his manic giggling self upstairs to taunt and play with Calvin, not wanting his own "high" to end so abruptly, I presume. I went up to get him and bring him away so that they couldn't buy each other any more rounds, and he said in the most earnest munchkin voice he could muster through chortling and while dragging himself from my hand, "But Mom, me naughty! I need to be upstairs, too! Wif Calvin!"

Last night, David got to witness the whirling dervish of fun gone mad since it didn't quite kick in until bath time. I was trying to tune it out in mock lethargy and meditations on arsenic, but the annoying factor was quickly becoming too much, even though David was valiantly dealing with the incoherent imps who were unabashedly mocking his efforts at reason and calm.

Then I remembered a few choice moments from my own childhood when my sister and brother and I were being extremely silly - come to think of it, it was in the hours after school, right around the time Dad arrived home from work - yep, arsenic hour.

We were having the time of our lives acting totally nonsensical and my dad was trying to get us to do something reasonable like finish dinner or get ready for bed. Running, giggling, feeding into each other's antics, tipping chairs, mock fighting and chasing...

Everything Dad said or threatened was deemed positively hilarious, and we had some insanely funny comments (or bodily function noises) to make in response. And then he - very forbearing and patient man that he truly was - would finally get really mad. Spanks were had all around to bring us down from the ceiling, and then I distinctly remember thinking in my child brain, "Why does Dad have to be so serious all the time? Isn't laughing and being funny better than crying?"

That is the newest question of parenthood for me. My only conclusion is that now I know exactly how my dad felt.


And Then Some

Two. Hundred?! Posts.

So this is what it feels like to be prolific. And it just snuck right up on me.

But here I am, writing #201 - which just happens to be a lovely shower of Code Yellow brainfall...


We're on the third of four weeks of community center swim lessons for the boys. Calvin "went under" for the first time today, and was thrilled to find it wasn't as scary as he anticipated. "I just closed my eyes and my mouth and jumped in, and I didn't even know I went under!"

Henry, of course, has spent all of his lessons so far launching off the pool side every time his teacher sets him there and turns to the other little boy in the class. He sputters and giggles and pretty much accomplished the goal of the class for his age group before it even began: overcoming fear of the water.

I have one watcher and one jumper. Never ceases to amaze me how differently two children from the same gene pool approach things.

Meanwhile, I am also wondering if it's possible to do the breaststroke in utero. I feel more convinced of the possibility with every passing day, as I feel simultaneous kicks / pushes in two different areas at the same time. It's not so bad when he tries it sideways, but when he's positioned up and down - yeeeeOOUUUCHHHH! on the ribs. And other things.


We've painted our bedroom and put it back together. Got some bedside lamps this weekend and they are one of those simple things that makes the place feel a little less "still-trying-to-grow -out-of-the-dorm-room" and a little more "real-grownup-home." They please me.

We also painted the boys' bedroom and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of bunk beds. Calvin has wanted them for over a year now and we've delayed their advent until we're reasonably sure a broken collarbone won't happen. We're actually not reasonably sure yet, but in the interest of freeing the crib and settling the boys into their room before the brother baby's arrival, bunk beds - and with them, quintessential childhood - are on their way. I'm excited to see their room pulled together and situated.

Next up is the spare room, and then the fairly large closet that we are going to convert into a nursery. Hopefully this next week or two will see it mostly complete. It's been a long time coming, but there is nothing like paint and a little furniture rearranging to make things feel fresh and new. I need fresh and new.


This week we also have a "4D" ultrasound. At my regular 20 week ultrasound, the office where it was done offered a complimentary 4D - one of the ones that look like photos instead of inkblots and sketchy skeletons...so we get it for free at an actual medical imaging place instead of at one of the newly cropping up everywhere sonogram "studios" around here, where they charge boocoo bucks for a preemptive photo of your baby.

To tell you the truth, I'm a little creeped out by the idea. I mean, I already feel a little like I've peeked at the present early by finding out it's a boy, so it's a little crazy to think about how he actually looks in utero. I feel like I'm really invading the little guy's privacy or something. And I've also had more sonograms this pregnancy than I ever would care to have again.

But the topper was a conversation not too long ago at a church activity in which a lady was talking rather spookily, if you ask me, about how in her culture it is "the kiss of death" to find out boy or girl beforehand or to buy anything for the baby until it is delivered safe and sound. I don't have those kinds of superstitions, really, but being pregnant and all, I'm more inclined to get nutty about all that.

On the other hand, the 4D things I've seen before are pure fascination and totally awe-inspiring, and hey, it's free, so cool. Let's go for it. Calvin has been crazy curious about the baby, so we are taking him along for this one. I think that will actually be the greatest part of it - to see his little gears turn and hear what he has to say about it.


In terms of the family expectation of the baby, Calvin has been talking about all the things he is going to teach his new tiny brother, "Because he won't know how to talk, he won't know how to eat anything but milk, he won't be able to walk or even crawl..." This topic comes up at least once a day, with something new that the baby won't be able to do, and Calvin assuring us that he is going to teach him.

Yesterday, we got Henry's understanding of the baby's initial helplessness, as he has interpreted it from all the things Cal says the baby won't be able to do: "He not gonna have any legs...And he not gonna have any feet...And he not gonna have a mouf...And he not gonna have a face..."


We're looking forward to spring and beyond now. The winter hasn't been harsh here, but it still seems like a long time of bleary stagnation this year.

But now we have visitors coming and my favorite Cherry Blossom / Kite Festival in a couple weeks, Calvin is going to start soccer on Saturdays, I get to go to NYC with David for a weekend in April, a baby is on the way, Henry is on the verge of potty training, and we'll also be waiting to hear in the next couple months about an overseas assignment for next year.

Not to mention a little trip to the beach again, then school in the late summer / early fall for almost everyone in the family - the boys at a little preschool with their cousin Lily, and Dad in language training.

I myself have almost completely gotten my head around going back for the last year of my Master's degree. I'm just trying to gauge at this point whether it will overwhelm me or actually be a sanity-saver postpartum. Saving my sanity is actually quite possible, if I know me with a newborn. The whole reason that it's a consideration amidst everything else right now is that it's the last year I can go back without losing the (expensive) credits I've already earned, but it's tricky timing, so I'm still working it out. And yet it is something to anticipate and plan, so it's good for me.


I'm getting a little spring in my step (if that's possible with sciatica and general tired butt), and I am loving the clear blue skies, my funny little boys, and all the expectations in life right now.

So, happy spring to you, too!


Monday One-Liner: Painting Poet

Calvin, quietly watching a plastic paint tarp blow softly above the floor vent while we were painting:

"I like that...
It looks like whale backs bending..."


Friday High Five

I fell behind on my blog reading again this week, so I just have five things to say:

1. Sanjaya in the top eleven is evidence that too many tweenie girls in America have cell phones / access to text messaging.

2. Happy Birthday to Mommy Dearest at Home Sweet Home!

3. Two weeks from today my friend Angela and her husband and adorable red-headed children are coming to visit for the weekend and I can't hardly wait.

4. A dialogue from this morning's 20-minute drive to David's work:

Me: Do you think he's going to stop talking today at all?
David: Not a chance...The thought did cross my mind that I think I would go insane if I had to keep answering and responding like this much longer...
Me: Gives you a little insight into my state of being upon your arrival home each evening, does it?
David: Uh, yeah...Well, have a good day. (smooch, hops out of the car...)
Calvin: What if a car carrier broke down? Why does that truck have black stripes on the sign on the back? Are we going to get breakfast? What does D-X-R-E-N-O-O spell? Are we on road number 123? How come...? Mom! Mom! I asked you something! Mom!

5. If I could recommend one really thoughtful and meaningful post to go read, it's Karen's Fears and Desires over at The Big Trade-off.

And have a great weekend.


What It Takes to Backtalk

Growing up, I learned the importance of being an example, to say I was sorry, and to not push issues too far. All of this was, I think, the result of being the oldest of seven children, possessing a generally compliant nature and huge sense of responsibility for everyone and everything around me, and being the daughter of a mother with a very dominant personality and a mostly resigned dad.

On some occasions, even when I knew I was right or felt that I did have a point to carry, I was actually told to "be the adult in the situation" or to "take the high road," which often meant apologizing profusely or backpedaling on something I believed in, just to settle a rift that had occurred. Somewhere along the line, the idea of standing up for myself became confused in my mind with being boorish, insensitive, self-centered, aggressive, needlessly argumentative, and immature.

The good thing is that I can (at least on the surface) let a lot of insignificant conflict go and manage to maintain relationships and my own level of politeness and courtesy. The bad news is that I sometimes "stuff" a lot of emotion or opinion, and often even ignore or sacrifice things that I deeply care about or want a LOT - all in the interest of keeping the peace, not being too much trouble for someone else, or not wanting to appear self-centered, aggressive, etc.

Lucky for me, I married a man with a wonderful ability to be boorish. (*smile and wink*) At one time I might have felt a little embarrassed by his insistence that a hostess seat us somewhere other than right by the bustling kitchen door, or exchange my Diet Coke for the regular Coke I actually ordered. And I might have felt a little trod upon by his propensity to play devil's advocate with people we just met who may not know that he actually does have more morality and good humor than his arguments, however brilliant, would imply.

But the truth is that he and I balance each other wonderfully. He is learning to let some things go and not fight an issue just for the sake of being right or showing his intellectual prowess (which he really does have). And I am learning that sometimes, it's good - even vital - for the soul to push back.

This last week, I have had to stand up for myself in two different situations that are for me really, really uncomfortable and difficult. I actually have been known to delegate these kinds of tasks to David. (I can't argue with insurance companies, property management, or the department of taxation without bawling and giving in, so tag - he's it.)

But these two were mine alone to handle: One occasion was with my OBGyn - she wants to induce labor! At 38 weeks! For no good reason! And the second time, just this morning, was with a relative stranger to whom I sold something on Craigslist.

When I told David about my conversation with the OB, he said, "Good for you! I'm so glad you told her everything you did!" And he gave me a big hug. Today I had to call him to read the e-mail I sent to the Craigslist lady, to make sure I was asserting my position without being too wenchy. Again he supported and applauded me.

I know this might all sound very petty and you all are wondering just what kind of mousey little child I am, especially when I can be quite sassy on occasion, but seriously - it takes so much out of me to stand up for myself. I realized that the "confrontation" with the OB last week is probably mostly what made me feel so weepy and out of sorts for a few days, and it still does, when I stop and think.

I get so frustrated and angry that all I can do is cry, and mostly because it's unclear if I'm more upset with the person I'm confronting, or with myself for not being able to do it without apology or emotional blubbering.

All this to say...what? Just that it's something important I'm learning about myself and how I'd like to adjust my ability to make myself matter, to have a little more confidence and strength:

That knowing something is important or right sometimes doesn't always make it any easier to defend. But that every person owes himself the respect of learning and practicing self-assertion, because backing down every single time causes a person to lose not only what they care about, but eventually causes them to lose the sense of who they really are and what they really need or want.

That while there is definitely a balance to find between railroading other people and being railroaded, we weren't meant to turn the other cheek until our head comes unscrewed.

That it's important to find a quiet moment to ask oneself and answer honestly, "Does it really matter?" And when it does really matter, to stand up for self without apology. To hold our ground and learn the skills necessary to kindly, then diplomatically, then forcefully, show others where we stand, even when it doesn't change where they stand and might make things uncomfortable for a while.

That a child might learn more about apologies when they see us respect their position and say we're sorry for overlooking or overstepping than they will by expecting them to always defer to us without question.

That it might be a good thing not to squelch the urge a child has to talk back, but to really listen to what they are trying to say and not deny what they are asserting. That it might be more useful to everyone involved to show them how to change their tone and attitude and make talking back a skill in politely and respectfully leading out, truly taking the high road of choosing right, knowing their true self, and respecting themselves enough to stand up for it.

Meanwhile, the issue with my OB is still open and I am going to have to consult my bravest self to be heard and respected, and right now I'm nothing but a puddle...


A Confession

There were actually some really good moments last week.

I just had to alleviate the guilt of you all feeling inordinately sorry for me. Because aren't they precious?

And while I'm confessing, I may as well admit that I left them sleeping in the car in the driveway once we got home and just checked every few minutes until they woke up and could carry themselves up the stairs.

Let's just chalk it all up to third trimester and the serious grouchies, and move on. Shall we?

In This Skin...

When Morning Glory first announced this week's Woman to Woman topic, she said something like, "Even if you're only twenty-eight, you're not seventeen anymore - you've aged." For some reason, that got me wondering: "If I could go back to any age I've been, which would it be?"

When I look at pictures of myself, the me I love the most is when I was four or five. A fluffy pink cowl-neck sweater and sweet shiny brown hair, all smooth and tucked around my face, a tender little smile, the epitome of childlike innocence and trust and hope. I'd like to have those qualities back. But on the other hand, I don't want to give back the experiences that have made me really value those qualities.

When I think of the ages that everyone stereotypically hearkens back to - seventeen, or twenty-something - they hold no allure to me. I wouldn't go back to my teens for all the money in the world, and twenty-something for me really wasn't all that. It's not that I don't have some fond memories of those times, it's just that I don't think I ever really "arrived" at them, or felt like I was comfortable in my own skin, before they were over and I was on to a new phase of life.

The first and maybe only time I felt really old or like time was passing me by was the months surrounding my twenty-fifth birthday. That year was so difficult on so many levels. I wasn't married yet ("old maid" by Utah standards, where I was going to school), I was "behind" in earning my bachelor's degree because I had taken eighteen months off to serve a mission (I couldn't even see at the time that the mission was priceless and so worth it!), and I had broken off my engagement and felt hopeless about where I was at and what I was accomplishing, and confused about what people expected from me and what I really wanted in life.

To a lesser degree than in that twenty-fifth year, I think I've spent a lot of time in my life being uncomfortable in my own skin, at whatever age I am. Maybe because sometimes I feel emotionally sixteen and physically eighty, or intellectually thirty and socially nine. Since that twenty-fifth birthday, though, I've tried to live more in the moment, to step back from myself and look at what I have accomplished, where I'm really at, and to realize that I'm not being graded on a curve, in relation to all the other thirty-somethings out there. Because what I really want out of age is to find my truest and best self and to be it, right then, in the moment, in the skin I'm in.

My life is not as glamorous as thirty-something is sometimes portrayed. My body is not as fit as what some people say a thirty-something's should be. (Interestingly enough, my seventeen-year-old body was close to ideal, and yet I was so unhappy with it at the time...) But most of all, I am not old, and I look at aging as more of a chance to arrive at my best self.

From a purely physical standpoint, I'm kinda proud of the new row of opalescent stretch marks across the lower part of my belly. Yes, I might feel differently if mine got dark red, but I'm lucky and they don't - they're just very faint reminders of where my body's been and where it's going. I like the laugh lines around my eyes. They show that I've laughed at least a little, even though I take life and myself much too seriously most of the time. I have a few gray hairs, too, but they're all incident to things and events in my life that I would never change.

My one hope about age is to someday arrive at an age when I feel that I'm fully all "there" - when I really feel and know the woman that I really am, when I won't pass a mirror and think, "Whew! That's what I look like?!" because the me I see in my mind's eye is so much more polished and together than the thrown-together model I see in the reflection. I'd like to come to an age when I have a firm grasp on what I am about, when the way I see me and the way people see me isn't so divergent, when I know my real strength and how far I've really come, and how young I really am in the greater scheme of things. And when I'll feel my age in the best, most all-inclusive way and finally know that I've arrived and feel free to be carefree, in this skin.

I think I just haven't lived long enough to yearn for one of the ages I've already past, because I don't . But I believe that once I do arrive at that age and that feeling, it will stay with me, no matter how old I get.

Maybe it will be when I'm forty.

Or maybe when I am seventy-five. I don't know when it will be.

But I do know it starts today, learning to love where I'm at and what I'm doing and knowing that it all makes up the me that's in this skin.


For more Woman to Woman thoughts, skip on over to Morning Glory's Mr. Linky today and read what others have to say about being in this skin.


Monday One-liner: Wifelines

I couldn't choose just one this week...

From Lily, our adorable 3 1/2-year-old cousin:
"Did you know that David is your husband, and that you are his life?"

And from Calvin, recently self-appointed as Mother's Advocate and Exasperated Reprimander, after counting the PBJs David had made for lunch:
"Um, Da-ad...What about one for your wife?"


Friday High Five (that isn't)

Alas, I have not been able to read most of my favorites this week, so I am lavishly bestowing a high five on myself, just for getting through the week.

Not that it's been particularly tough, but you know how sometimes it's just nice to have something finished? That's where I'm at.

With only the tiniest smidgeon of the feeling like babysitter Kari, sitting in the destroyed living room with a fire extinguisher in one hand and a mirror in the other, the name of the game being damage control until the replacement or the Incredibles get home.

So, have a nice weekend. I'll be back after the guy erases my memory and I can go back to enthusiastically feeling like I've got everything under control. And try to get over this annoying weepiness that has descended upon me the last few days for NO APPARENT REASON.

Meanwhile, if you have a nod to give to a post, feel free to leave it in a comment here - I'm gonna hook myself up with something yummy to munch on and get reading as soon as I get home. Point me in a fun direction, will ya?


My Week as a Mother of Six

Auntie S and her husband went to the Bahamas this week to celebrate their wedding anniversary, so we're stepping in to sit on her kids and sit on her house while they are gone.

We live just down the road from each other, so we sleep at her house but I run back and forth a bit in the day since we didn't officially pack suitcases to go live there for the week.

We're having lots of fun with not only my two preschoolers, but her preschooler, elementary schooler, middle schooler, and high schooler. They are all great kids, but it is four different bus/carpool schedules, varying degrees of homework focus, and a few extracurriculars thrown in, just so I can enjoy the total mini-van experience.

Bless my husband's heart - he is doing the 5 a.m. wake-up calls with the older boys so I can sleep in a bit before my day begins with the under-4 crowd.

So far, so good. But whew! It's a good thing I wasn't given six children right off the bat to raise. One at a time, one at a time...

Tomorrow promises to be interesting...Not only do I get to glug glucola and have my blood drawn, but it also looks like there will be enough snow for school to be cancelled.

Yep, it's the total experience for me this week.


Monday One-Liner

This week, from Henry the Disconsolate:

I caan't fiiind Mooommmy! She not in hers bed!


Friday High Five

It's been a week around here, for sure. I have a couple pop culture indulgences before I get to my blogging high five...

Besides the family flu-bug roller coaster and house in disarray, Veronica Mars, you're breaking my heart. Please don't be done forever. You're pretty much my only TV addiction. You can't leave me now.

And then I'm having my own personal standing ovation for Leslie who got voted off American Idol last night - anyone who can make a little joke on herself impromptu like that (right before the end cut) has got personality and spunk. It was funny and endearing. And it's a complete mystery to me why Sundance, Sanjaya and Antonella are still standing. I feel for them, I really do, but America, come on.

My blogging big high five this week goes to the following posts. Some of them are high fives to me because I read them just when I needed them, but they are all good stuff. Go check 'em out and give 'em a high five of your own!

1. From An Island Life - This is a quick but hilarious read: a list of children's book titles you'll never see. I'm still laughing. And the comments will make your sides ache.

2. From Dandelion Mama - Surfacing is a poetic and articulate rendering of motherhood at one of its lowest - and yet finest and most honest - moments. One of those, "I wish I had said that!"

3. From Beck at Frog and Toad are Still Friends - Missing. Loved how she expressed the sentiment here. Brought back feelings of my summer without David, and how nice it really is when the ones who drive you nuts are at home with you.

4. From Jen at Amazing Trips - Toddler Toga Party is one of the most apt analogies I have read in a good long time. Lighthearted but so true. Jen's triplets and her love and energy with them are amazing, but her humor lends such comic relief to my own day.

5. From World of One Thousand Things - Visible Women is a fabulous description of three different women trying to make it to a college degree. I'm seriously soul-searching this whole question in my own life at the moment and haven't been able to blog about it myself because I can't articulate all the things it brings up without bawling most days. This post got me...right there. It is so thoughtful and poignant, it's worth a read by everyone who's ever been an invisible support or tried to find her role or had to choose between two really great things.

And I couldn't stop at just five this week, so...

6. From Superhero Journal - This post offered the sweetest idea of a Pact. Sometimes we really do expect ourselves to be stronger or more fearless than we are, when there are so many friends who would be glad to see us through...

7. From On the Banks of the Rio Grande - Another insight on the phenom of blogging and the occasional insecurity that accompanies it. I giggled at the virtual imagery in this post, and I sooooo related to the feeling.

Happy weekend! Next week can only be better. Right?

Listmaking Again!

Remember Calvin's lists? I thought his listmaking was soooo last year, and have been a little sad about that, because I liked them so much and he used to give me a list of something almost every day. Well, today I got another one! I like how he organizes it all in his head and then reiterates it in different ways. This is what he said to me this morning:

"Mom, if you eat too fast, drink too fast, or laugh too much, you will get hiccups. Soooooo, there are THREE ways to get hiccups: (holding up his three adorable little fingers)

1. Eating too fast;
2. Drinking too fast;
3. Laughing too much.

If you don't do these things, you won't get hiccups."

So there you have it.


What IS This?!?!?

It's everywhere! No one is immune. It has infiltrated every part of America, striking multiple times in individual home, as if once isn't enough...

My husband's coworkers are out in droves with it...My cousins have had it, twice...My real-life friends and their kids have it...My online triplet heroes and their parents have had it...Other online friends and their real-life best friends had it recently...In fact, almost every second blog post I read seems to recount another episode in another home of washing bedding, scrubbing floors, waiting for fevers to subside, washing more bedding, coughing until lungs feel like they have exited one's body...resting deliriously in pajamas because that's all one can do...Sanitizing the house just in time for it to start all over again.

Maybe it is blogging that makes me feel like it is everywhere and inconquerable, since I'm tied in with a lot more people than I normally would have been, but there's got to be something to it. If there is anything that makes me want to become a conspiracy theorist, it's this vicious headcold-stomachvirus-feel better-headcold-stomachvirus-feel better-headcold-stomachvirus cycle that is going around and around.

This is a second time in a month that I've had to cancel preschool at my house (which totally makes me feel like an errant-hooky-playing schoolkid even though I didn't lick my hands or warm my head with a lightbulb) and I just barely returned those pink pajamas to their rightful owner, which has got to be a sign of something seriously amuck.

After waking up at 2 a.m. and helping an inconsolable and restless 4-year-old with no symptoms except that he said he felt really bad, only to get him soothed at about 4 a.m. just in time for the 2-year-old to bolt upright in his bed, announce, "I'm sick too," and actually produce real vomit, then have a sympathy-gagging pregnant mom, bed-changing, rearranging, very grouchy try-to-go-back-to-sleep fest until the 4-year-old also produces evidence of truly not feeling well, I know someone is out to get me, out to get all of us.

The sickest thing of all is that I'm most frustrated that this is delaying my cleaning-sorting-painting-nesting extravaganza that I'm crazy about finishing right now. I want to clean? Truly disturbing.

Forget the Kennedy assassination, Elvis still being alive, and the alien sightings all over America...this needs to be investigated. Pronto. Anything that Lysol, Clorox, virtual isolation, and springtime weather can't combat is bigger than us all. And I am going to get to the bottom of it!

As soon as I clean another bathroom and throw in another load of sheets.

Wearing the Pants

Standing in the kitchen, as I am wont to do, filling another sippy cup, Henry is tugging on the rear pockets of one of my many pairs of pants that will not stay up. I'm about to be really annoyed with the tugging when Henry starts a little song in what I like to call his googoobabyvibrato:

(Right pocket! Tug!) Hmm, hmm
(Left pocket! Tug!) Hmm, hmm
(Both pockets together! Tug!) Pocket pulls a posey!

Nice, huh?

Incidentally, whoever thought "low-rise" and "maternity" were a good combo obviously didn't have a real body or else didn't keep their prototype pants on long enough to know it wasn't possible to keep them on. Even if you don't have a pint-size pocket-pulling singer in the house. Unless you buy them two sizes smaller than you would normally wear. And that just can't be good for a growing uterus, if you ask me.

And while we're on the topic of pants, this little interchange cracked me up:

Cal: I need you to unbutton my pants again! I gotta goooo....

(I get them unbuttoned and he runs to the bathroom - this is the fourth or fifth time that he's needed help with the buttons today. I make a note to myself not to put those pants on him again, not because I mind helping him, but because I know it bugs him not to be independent.)

Cal: (on his way to the bathroom) I'm just going to leave these pants off after I'm done.

(I'm thinking, okie dokie. The day's almost over anyway, we're not going anywhere...)

Cal: (Back at my knee after the bathroom) I need you to button these.

Me: I thought you were just going to leave them off.

Cal: Weeeelllll...I just don't want Dad to come home and say, "Why are you running around half-nekkid?"

Oh dear. I think I might have cared about something like that once. Of course, maybe it's not so much me not caring anymore as David knowing intuitively that he better not pose such a question to me.