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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Tip for a happy evening

The time to call your at-home spouse to say, "don't worry about making anything major for dinner, I had a big lunch" would be at 1:30 NOT 6:00 pm.



Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Midnight in the Bedroom of Good and Evil

Last night, Jilly had a nightmare. Actually, it is hard to know if it is a nightmare or just an outburst of some sort. These used to go on almost every night, and my poor ringing ears are testament to how loud and long she can scream. Now, they are infrequent and not so long or loud. However, I still find my brain playing 'angel/devil' when we're in the midst of an episode.

Here's how it went down last night, around 2am. Please note that 'Devil Me' only speaks in my head:

Jilly: cry/scream, cry/scream
Angel Me: "What's wrong honey? Are you having a bad dream? Want to snuggle?"
Devil Me: "UGH! Not this again! Why can't you just sleep?!?"

Jilly: screams louder, start to kick
Angel Me: "Ouch! No kicking sweetie. Let mommy rub your back. You're ok."
Devil Me: "That friggin' hurt! STOP SCREAMING!!!!!!! I'm going to be deaf by 40."

Jilly: quieting down a bit, now just crying. "I want a pink balloon!"
Angel Me: "A pink balloon? Oh, I wish I could give you a pink balloon right now! Wouldn't this room look nice if we had pink balloons everywhere?"
Devil Me: "A pink balloon? At 2am? Are you nuts? What goes on in your head? I shouldn't have had all that coffee when I was pregnant."

Jilly: settles down into my arms and falls asleep, albeit with her head on top of my head.
Angel Me: "Oh, my little munchkin. It's ok now. Go to sleep"
Devil Me: "Your head is heavy! Crap, when will this kid sleep in her own bed?"

I wish I could purge the "Devil Me' completely from my system but, at the very least, I can keep her quiet.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

English as a Second Language

My mother came to this country from Austria when she was 21. She wasn't planning to stay here forever, but as fate would have it, she has. She has assimilated to American culture pretty well although she stubbornly refuses to become a citizen. When my dad was alive, he'd joke that she would be deported to Austria if we ever went to war with them. Every few years, she has to have her green card renewed.

After 40+ years in the U.S., she speaks English very well. Her accent is thick, though, and she can switch into speaking German in an instant (this was very confusing when my sister and I traveled with her to Austria and she would start speaking to us in English, switch to German, and then back to English without batting an eye).

She probably sums up the feelings of many foreigners (and small children) when she insists, "English is a stupid language" when faced with yet another irregular spelling or pronunciation.

My father was born in the states and had a wicked sense of humor, so we learned that many of my mother's speech foibles were quite hilarious. She would 'wacuum' our house with the 'wacuum' cleaner; my first boyfriend was "Powl", not Paul; and she could not make a 'th' sound to save her life. We tried to teach her, "Mom it is thumb, not tongue"! They both sounded the same coming from her mouth. It always amazed me how she just couldn't make a 'th' sound---it looked so hard when she did it and yet was so effortless for me. Then, I took a second language (French) and learned some humility.

We did not live on a diet of Wiener Schnitzel and Bratwurst; my mom learned how to "cook American" and did a good job of it. My favorite dessert in the world is her amazing lemon-chiffon pie that is so light and fluffy, it melts in your mouth. I begged her to share the recipe until, one day, she did. I'm sure she regrets this because my sister and I got to her handwritten line, "Beat egg jokes until dick", fell onto the ground in peals of laughter, and never got through the rest of the recipe.

Another favorite dish from my mom was something she made with Rice-a-roni. I grew up believing it was an Italian dish (sorry, I didn't make the connection that Rice-a-Roni is definitely NOT an Italian ingredient). It was called Porcupini and was made like meatballs (see, the Italian thing makes sense now, huh?) When we knew she was making them, our house would ring out in our faux-Italian accents, "Porcupini! Yay for Porcupinis!"

After I had moved out of the house for college, I came home for a visit and raided the food pantry. I lovingly pulled out the box of Beef Rice-A-Roni and was prepared to ask my mom to use her magic on them, when---what is this?---there was a photo of my beloved dish on the back of the box. Bringing the box closer, I read the name of the recipe: "Porcupines".

As in:

If I could bottle up a feeling from my youth to savor now as I get older, it would be from this moment. There was something so funny, so ridiculous, that it is hard to put a finger on it now. But, one thing I remember is that my mom was laughing with us. And, that is how she was with most of our ribbing. Yes, there were times she got angry at us, but often she laughed too.

I'm sure she never saw this as a lesson she taught me, but it was. The lesson was, 'never take yourself so seriously that you can't laugh at your mistakes'.

Oh, and 'English is a stupid language'.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Kids Optional

When I was in my 20's, I bet a co-worker named Wade one hundred dollars that I would never have kids.

At the time of my bet, I was happily single, working in a major city for a young, fun company and had a group of similarly unattached friends. I also had a mother who harped on me at every family gathering: "When are you going to meet Mr. Right? Aren't you ever going to have children? All my friends are grandmothers by now!"

I did not love children. I had no younger relatives to fawn over and kids just seemed like one big life-sucking responsibility. I was proud to be 20-something, self-supporting and selfish about my time.

Then I met Fairly Odd Boyfriend and knew pretty early on that he would be 'it'. Around that same time, I changed jobs and started working for a company made up mostly of women who also happened to be mothers. The work day ended at 5pm, sharp, and no one went out for drinks afterward. My friends started to move away and/or get married.

I'm not sure when things switched for me (after all, I am now a stay-at-home, homeschooling mother to three!), but I think some of it was curiosity. What would a child of mine be like? Would I be a good mom? I was also itchy for the next 'stage' of my life---it wasn't really that my 'clock was ticking', it was more that my heart was searching for the next big thing.

I just got an email from one of my dearest friends who is going through a 'should I or shouldn't I' discussion with herself and her spouse regarding kids. I have no idea what to say to her. Does having kids change your life? Of course! I used to focus only on all the 'bad ways' kids would change my life: no staying out until 2am every weekend night; no sleeping in until 11am; dirty diapers / tantrums / puberty / college savings. I knew I'd love my kids, but I was totally unprepared for how this would feel.

I love how my kids feel in my arms, the sounds of their voices and what they say to me, how they move around me. Even when they are not with me, I am connected to them, as if by invisible fishing line. I enjoy each stage more than the last, mainly because watching them grow up is so unbelievable.

I would never suggest that having kids is a 'must' to living a fulfilling life. I don't think having children is a good thing for everyone. I know I could have lived an interesting, fun and happy life without children. But, I have never regretted having them and find my life is so much more interesting, fun and happy with them.

Just don't tell Wade where I am. I owe him $300.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Power Yo-OH!-ga

Tonight, I attended a yoga class with a couple of friends. I was lead to believe that this would be a 'beginner' class which sounded just fine, given that most of the yoga I've taken has been of the 'prenatal' variety and thus does not make me a master of the sport.

Once I had parked in front of the studio, I decided to finally read the email my friend had sent with instructions for the class: "Wear a tank top because the studio is heated (80 +), bring water and a towel. The class is 1.25 hours". Oh, shit.

Thankfully, I had worn a tank top under my long-sleeved t-shirt, more as a way to cover my too-white spare tire from exposure to the air, and I never travel anywhere without water. But a towel? I searched the minivan and found a small fleece blanket. Fleece is not the best thing to rub on skin to absorb sweat, but beggars can't be choosers.

Once inside the yoga studio, it was quite obvious that this was not a beginner class. Women with big muscle-y arms surrounded me. The room was so hot it was hard to breathe. The teacher spoke in 'yoga-ese'---forget describing every single pose for the newbie---when she said 'warrior', she meant 'warrior', dammit!

I later found out the room was 100 degrees. One hundred degrees. I sweat so much, I thought I'd drown in "Downward Dog" (hey, did you know there is an 'Upward Dog"? Didn't know that until today!). I laughed when the instructor suggested I try to do the "Crow".

Somehow I made it that entire 1.25 hours. My Tom's of Maine deodorant did not. I decided to type this entry tonight, even though it is way past my bedtime, because I am pretty certain that, tomorrow, I will not be able to move my arms.

The next time I find myself in 100 degree heat, I had better be on a beach with a frozen drink in my hand.



Tuesday, January 09, 2007

What a difference a day makes. . .

On the eve of her sixth birthday, Belly clutched me and wished for a life without marriage, telling me, "I don't want to leave you, mommy!"

Today, in a fit over her sister's doll, she told me she wished I died.

Fickle, fickle youth.

I need a drink.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Happy Birthday! Oh, slow down, years!

mmmmm. . .cake!

Belly is 6 today! My baby!

We had the 'family party' yesterday, and I was lucky enough to be able to hold our friends' new baby. It was sweet to hold a baby, especially so close to the date that I held my first baby in my arms.

This is how big I remember my baby being; now she is big enough for this shiny new bike!

Last night in bed, she was restless. I asked her if she was excited to turn six years old. She said no, she didn't want to grow up. She then said, in a quivering voice, "If I grow up, I'll get married and then I'll leave you! I don't want to leave you, mommy!" She then burst into big sobs and clutched me as if the years were whizzing by her at that moment.

I know what she means. I don't want her to leave either.

Happy Birthday my sweet girl.