Friday, July 9, 2010

Wield Your Powers for Good

Earlier today while I was hiding in the pantry eating pretzel M&M's* and attempting to ignore the tortured sobbing coming from my child who was in time out for hitting me, I had a thought. Perhaps it is possible to bend the will of the universe. No, no, not bend the will of a toddler. That's an exercise in futility. I'm talking about the universe. You know, the totality of everything that exists. Unlike toddlers, the universe, apparently, has been "governed by the same physical laws and constants throughout most of its history"**. So we have that going for us. And I say "us" because I am enlisting your help with this whole bending-the-will-of-the-universe thing. Now, before you get all twitchy and run away screaming, "No, no! Stop the madness!" let me remind you that a similar experiment already worked for Carla over at Adjustment and Disorder. She got the powers that be (AKA, her readers) to bend the will of the universe and move her placenta. And if we can accomplish that, well, we can for sure get someone to buy our house. You don't even have to know anything about anatomy for this one. So, please, pray, meditate, do Jedi mind tricks -- Whatever is your bag and help us sell our house. Please. By the end of July.

'Kay? Thanks.

* I am not normally a fan of pretzels. I mean, I'll eat them if I'm about to die of starvation. Or if I'm on an airplane. But pretzel M&M's? OH. MY. GOD. Yum.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Club* (Dad, do not read due to unsavory language)

Meal times are often "challenging". By which I mean hellatious. And painful. Literally, physically painful. There is whining. Pouting. Yelling. Full body protesting. And that's only Zoey. Demetri and I also add a certain . . . how to describe it? . . . je ne se qua. Something like angst. And frustration tolerance that is more appropriate for our shoe size than our wizened age.

But then Demetri came up with a brilliant idea: The Clean Plate Club. On night one of the Operation CPC , Demetri and I sold The Clean Plate Club like nobody's business. As I took my last bite of peas Demetri gasped and pointed at my plate, "Look! Mommy is the The Clean Plate Club. That is AMAZING!" I was high-fived and fussed over. And . . . I felt pretty gosh darn proud that I cleaned my plate. Demetri finished his last bite of salad. I clapped my hands, "Daddy's in The Clean Plate Club! He cleaned his plate! Woo-hoo!" High-fives were exchanged again, Daddy's eating abilities were complimented, and I might have even done The Clean Plate Club Dance (and no, you will never see it). Then, once the raucous celebrations had ceased, a small voice from the end of the table said, "Zoey want Clee Plate Club." VICTORY WAS OURS!!!

Thus our lives proceeded for a few wondrous nights in pain-free dinners. There was laughing and smiling. And more dancing. Dinners were eaten. No one was hurt -- emotionally or physically. Clearly, we were genius parents.

And then last night happened. I slaved in a kitchen well over 90 degrees making baked apples, pork chops, and mashed potatoes. Which, BY THE WAY, is a well-known favorite meal of Zoey's. Dinner was served. 30 seconds later my charming child declares, "Zoey in Plate Club NOW!" The fact the she left out the word 'clean' demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding of The Clean Plate Club laws. So I clarified: "To be in The Clean Plate Club you have to eat all the food off your plate." Zoey pointed her finger at me, rolled her eyes, and said, "No. Zoey in Plate Club. NOW." And I swear she spoke slower than usual, like I was too dumb to keep up with normal conversational pace. Demetri clarified. Zoey apparently decided we were too dumb for verbal communication so she she turned around in her chair and put her back to us. "ZOEY ALL DONE. IN PLATE CLUB." And then she covered her mouth with her hand for emphasis. Let me be clear. At this point, Zoey had eaten EXACTLY NOTHING.

Demetri and I ate our dinner. Which was DELICIOUS, by the way. I started eating the mashed potatoes off Zoey's plate because I was too lazy to get more from the stove. And, let's be honest, she was soooo not going to touch them. As I spooned the last bite into my mouth, Zoey whipped around in her chair and screeched, "NOOOOOO! Those ZOEY'S! WAAAAHHHHH" (pause for her to refill her lungs) "Noooooo Mommy!!!!! THOSE! ARE! ZOEY'S! WAAAH!" Demetri got her more from the stove. Which she didn't touch. At this point, driven to insanity by the heat (and maybe by someONE else as well), I muttered, "You are NOT even close to being in The Clean Plate Club, kid. And it's too bad because The Clean Plate Club is FUN. In fact, Daddy and I are going to go have fun and you can sit here and eat your dinner. BY. YOUR. SELF." And, of course, you know what happened next: "ZOEY HAVE FUN TOOOOOOOO! PLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE! WAAAAAH!"

But guess what happened after that. THE KID ATE HER MOTHER FUCKING DINNER.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

No Pictures for Obvious Reasons

We decided to celebrate the 4th of July this year with a triple almost-drowning. Yup, it was super festive! We went to Comet pond, which is legendary in Demetri's family. He grew up swimming there with his sisters and cousins. And now he was going to swim there with his daughter. Comet is great for many reasons. One of which is an extended family member has a house on Comet that sports a huge screened in porch and a private dock. The cooler was packed, a Dora the Explorer life jacket was purchased, and sun block was applied.

We arrived and picked our away along the worn path down to the water. Demetri held Zoey's hand as she tripped over roots and pine cones yelling, "Water! Zoey see water!" At the edge of the path we dumped our stuff and clipped Zoey into her life jacket. We walked to the end of the dock, I held Zoey's hand and looked at Demetri expectantly. For the 5 years I have known Demetri he has talked about Comet. About how great it is. About how he loves swimming there. "Well?" I said. "Aren't you going to get in?" Demetri shuffled his feet, gazed out across the water, and shrugged. "Eh. It might be cold."

Let me pause here and point out that my husband is a native New Englander. He regularly swims in MAINE. Where the average water temperature in July is 60 degrees. SIXTY. I, on the other hand, am used to swimming in South Carolina where the average water temperature in July is 84 degrees. I ask you, WHO SHOULD GET IN FIRST? HM?

My wimpy husband dipped his toe in the water and made an odd, stretchy face which I assumed meant the water was a bit chilly. I rolled my eyes. And I may have muttered something like some New England boy you are, looooooser. But on second thought, no. I probably said something sweet and endearing. Because that's the kind of wife I am.

So I got in. That's right: I GOT IN. Mad props to the non New Englander. Zoey was handed to me. And, let me just say, she handled the water like a true New Englander. Unlike some other people I could mention. I clasped Zoey (and her Dora life vest) to my chest and began to swim towards the floating dock that was a little ways out in the water. Swimming with a 27 pound toddler held to your chest is not as easy as it sounds. I began to sink a bit lower in the water than I would have liked. Zoey began to contemplate panicking. I smiled for Zoey's sake and grunted between gasps for air, "Honey. Get. In. Here. NOW." And to his credit, Demetri got in. And somehow we all 3 made it to the floating dock. But then, our mood disordered toddler decided she did not want get up on the floating dock which moments before she had begged, begged, to swim out to. Cries of "NOOOOOoooooOOOOOOoooooo GOOOOO BAAAAAACCCKKKK" echoed across the pond.

As commanded, we started to head back. At this point I noticed a kayaker near by. Well, that looks fun, I thought. I continued to do a kind of flailing back/side stroke with Zoey held to my chest which, of course, meant I didn't have the use of my arms. About half way back to land I began to go under. "Demetri," I sputtered, "I don't have her." And, then, so as not to alarm Zoey, I spelled out H-E-L-P and took water into my mouth. I hoisted Zoey on to Demetri's back, yelled, "YAY! FUN ON DADDY'S BACK!" just as I slipped further under the pond water. I popped up immediately as my arms were freed. Again, I noticed the kayak which was now within a few strokes of us. Now instead of realizing the kayaker had come closer to offer help as we flailed more and more hopelessly in the water I thought, Geeze, you have a whole pond here HOW ABOUT A LITTLE SPACE. Yup, I'm a few Crayons short of a full box. (sigh). Zoey is on Demetri's back smiling that she gets a pont ride in the water. Meanwhile Demetri is sinking lower and lower in the water, his mouth constantly dipping below the water line. I have one hand pushing Zoey's butt up and out of the water so she feels supported. And so her head remains above water. "MUST. BUY. RAFT." I gasp. Demetri sputters choking on some water, "CAN'T. LAUGH. DROWNING." And we still don't ask the kayaker for help -- WE ARE IDIOTS. We make it to the dock, hoist Zoey up, and pull ourselves up onto the sun-warmed wood. Demetri and I lie gasping for air, exhausted. Zoey laughs and chants, "So funny! That so funny!"

Demetri and I look at each other and, perhaps making the smartest decision we have ever made as parents, decide not to come back to Comet until next summer. At least not without a raft. With sides. Otherwise known as A BOAT.