Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Lesson at the Playground

So I'm at the playground with Zoey. We're having a perfectly lovely time -- strolling from the slide to the swings, pausing to pet a tree. The breeze is gentle, the sun is sunny, and we can smell the ocean (which is about 50 yards away). Zoey is singing 'Do-Re-Mi' from the sound of music as she holds my pointer finger and leads me towards the twisty slide.

In quick succession 3 mini vans pull up. Before the first van is fully stopped the the side door is flung open and 3 boys jump/push/climb out. Zoey and I stop in our tracks, alarmed to see kids launching themselves out of a MOVING VEHICLE. The next two vans pull in and more boys pile out. All 8 boys are now running directly towards us as we are between them and the playground. Zoey is clinging to my leg. The boys are yelling. Mostly just making noise like ARG! and YAAAAA! Except for one boy who is inexplicably yelling, "Die! Die! DIEEEEEEEEEEE!" The boys, none of whom have a sense of personal space, run within 2 inches of us. Zoey hides her face and begins to mutter, "No no no no." Several of the boys pick up large sticks and begin to hit them as hard as they can against the side of the slide. Two of the boys are wresting on the ground. The mothers, wearing over-sized sunglasses and toting ginormous Coach purses, climb out of the vans and teeter across the playground in their high heeled flip-flops.

I pick up Zoey and take her to a part of the playground that is clearly designed for the under 5 set. But the boys swarm us. The boys are running (!) with sticks (!!) pretending they are guns (!!!). One of the other mothers comes over to us. She waves vaguely in the direction of the sweaty mass of running/wresting/yelling boys and sighs. "Three of them are mine." "Wow. They certainly are, um, energetic" I offer. The woman does a half smile and looks longingly down at Zoey. "You sure are lucky to have a girl. You and your daughter are at home having tea parties and my boys are out picking up dead animals." Before I can even think what to say to this, the woman is charging across the sand to one of her boys, "I told you not to hit him on the head or the face! Give. Me. That. Stick. AndImeannowmister!"

I take Zoey's hand and lead her towards the car. She's holding on to me tighter than before and I'm feeling sort of smug. My relatively mellow girl child and I are headed home where she won't pretend that anything is a gun and she won't be roaming the yard for dead animals. I am happy with my one daughter. Who isn't a boy. Or three.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In Which I Fall Off the Face of the Earth

So here's what happened:
Demetri got a job in Boston. But we couldn't tell anyone about it until his current job announced that he was leaving. Which wasn't until last week. But we had to pack up all our crap*, have a garage sale, ship the animals off to generous relatives in New England**, make arrangements to paint the house neutral colors***, and pick out new carpet for the upstairs because the cat ruined the carpet with his razor sharp TALONS. And then Zoey and I had to get the heck out of there while painting and carpeting occurred because, seriously, can you imagine doing all that around nap times and with a toddler under foot? Well, probably you can. We, on the other hand, are wimps. But wimps with options. So now Zoey and I are in South Carolina wreaking havoc at The Grandparents beach pad while Demetri is at home dealing with manufacturally defected carpet and sleeping under 7 sets of sheets because he packed all our blankets into a pod that is now being stored in Nashville. Awesome. Being at the beach is awesome. But being away from Demetri and having a rushed goodbye from good friends and missing our comfortable little routine**** and being sick (sniff sniff) is a little less than awesome. My inner therapist is screaming, TOO MUCH STRESS! POOR CLOSURE! TOO MANY BIG CHANGES! LOTS OF LOSS! And then my inner therapist gets some control and serenely repeats, You do not do well with changes. You do not do well out of your routine. Learn. The. Lesson. But moving is messy. And chaotic. So for now I'm sticking to my primitive defense mechanisms (sleep, denial, passive aggression, etc. etc.). And stealing Internet from a neighbor.

* "Crap" is defined as clutter and excess junk that makes the house less likely to show well. We have a lot of "crap".
**Neither the cat nor the dog puked or pooped in their crate. VICTORY!!!
*** Apparently very few people appreciate a bright yellow kitchen, a red library, a blue dining/play room, and a green bathroom. THHPPPTTTT to them!
**** Have I mentioned that I am big on routines? As in You can pry my routine out of my cold, dead hands.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pretty Good!

Last night we were preparing for our after dinner ritual of ice cream. Ben & Jerry's Creme Brulee anyone? Demetri was scooping out the ice cream into three little bowls. Zoey was hanging off the kitchen counter with her finger tips while bouncing on her toes, "Ice cream! Ice cream!" I was pretending to be a cool, restrained, patient adult. That lasted about 11 seconds. I gave in and joined the chant, "Ice cream! Ice cream!"

Usually, once we all have our bowls, we sit around the kitchen table or sometimes hang out on the couch. But last night, due to some wack-a-doo toddler thought process, Zoey perceived us as a direct threat to her ice cream. She clutched her bowl to her chest with one hand while she waved her other hand in front of her in the universal signal of Get Away From Me. Zoey looked up at us through narrowed eyes and said, "Mommy, Daddy, NO! Zoey ice cream!" And then she fled to the safety of the play room.

Demetri and I sat on the couch, put our feet up, and prepared to enjoy our creamy deliciousness without the presence of The Vulture. The Vulture usually downs her ice cream and then comes and begs for ours. When we offer her a spoon full, she puts it in her mouth, slobbers all over it, but actually doesn't take any ice cream off the spoon. Nice.

So there we sat, Demetri and I on the couch, and Zoey huddled in defensive mode in the playroom, all enjoying our tasty frozen treat. We sat in silence savoring each heavenly spoonful. As the ice cream melted in my mouth I could hear Zoey scraping at the bowl with her spoon and slurping the ice cream into her mouth. She smacked her lips, paused, and yelled out, "Pretty good!" Demetri and I shook with silent laughter. Then, from the play room, a clank, a bang, and "Uh-oh! Mess! Mess! Messsssssssssssssss!"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Art and Victory

Some moms cherish rocking their baby back to sleep at 3 AM -- the quiet of the house, the sweet smell of the baby's neck, a moment of snugly peace. Me? Not so much. I cherish my sleep. I also madly cherish my daughter's refrigerator art. Behold!

And yes, that is in fact the turkey that has been up since Thanksgiving. But it is the very best hand turkey I have ever seen and I can't bear to take it down. Now the turkey has company! Like this abstract interpretation of nap time. Notice how the pink and green work to create a feeling of comfort and sleep while the orange mirrors the loss of missing out on play time.

Next we have a shamrock. A BEDAZZLED shamrock. Do I need to explain the searing brilliance of glitter? I think not.

And, hello! Hand tulips! Note the precise placement of the fingers to mimic petals. GENIUS!

Here is the piece de resistance, "Duck". Notice the vertical placement of the feathers -- a subtle commentary on hope and freedom as represented by flight.

Finally, you are probably wondering, Hey, what is that thing in the upper left corner of the fridge that doesn't look like art? Well, it's a Scrabble score sheet in which I, J, beat my mother-in-law, N. My MIL is also known as The Scrabble Goddess. It is rare that I beat her. It is rare that anyone beats her. So, although this game occurred about 6 months ago, the proof of my amazing Scrabble victory shall remain a prominent feature of our kitchen until the paper disintegrates. Or until I laminate it.

And yes, I am a very gracious winner. For the record, I am a mom who cherishes sleep, my daughter's refrigerator art, and VICTORY.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fight the Power

I am in the front seat of the car anxious and ready to leave because oh-my-god-if-we're-we're-not-at-least-5-minutes-early-we're-LATE. Demetri is attempting to wrangle Zoey into her car seat. Zoey is attempting to negotiate her terms of travel*:

Demetri: Yes, you can bring your baby in the car.
Zoey: (kicking and flailing) Car seat! Bay-BEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!
Demetri: Baby doesn't need to go in a car seat . . . Although you're right, it would be safer for her. And safety is important.
Me: (audible eye roll that, sadly, isn't heard because of all THE SCREAMING)
Demetri: Well, I could put the booster seat in the car and then baby can sit in that!
Me: (massaging temples and whispering) Iamapatientperson . . . Iamapatientperson
Zoey: Baby. Seat. Car.
Demetri: Yeah, I'll put the booster seat in and baby will always have a safe place to sit! And you can put her in her own seat every time we go in the car! Yeah! It'll be so fun!
Me: (swivels around, locks eyes with Demetri) If you put that booster seat in the car We. Are. No. Longer. Friends.

And then I had to explain why I didn't want to booster seat in the car. I HAD TO EXPLAIN. I mean, you get it right? Right?

* I, as the Mean Mommy, do not believe in terms of travel.

Here, baby is being taught to smell the flowers. And fight The Power (aka Mean Mommy)