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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Two of Belly's favorite people, little six-year-old girls she met last year in preschool, are moving.

For one, it is a done deal---they will be halfway across the country by June. The other family has their house on the market, but no real plans as to where they will go if it sells. All I know is that they want outta here.

I'm sad about this for two reasons: one, I really like the moms and the girls. But the bigger of the two reasons is that I know Belly will be crushed. Tonight, I tried to broach the subject with her but her eyes grew big and filled with tears as she choked out, "But, I will never see them again!"

The sad thing is that she is probably right.

When I was young, it was I who did the moving. Before I was eight, I had lived in four states. I don't recall very much about this time except that the people from the first three states do not factor very much into my present-day memory. Once we moved, we were gone. Sure, I pen-palled with one friend for a few years, but our lives went in such different directions that these letters were more like stories about a shadowy person in a faraway land.

Since the age of eight, though, I've held onto my friends fiercely. I have very few relatives, so friends were my family. I've known some for over thirty years and know we'll be friends for thirty more. And, this is even with miles and miles separating us; with years, not months, passing between visits.

Unfortunately for Belly, she is too young to be able to initiate much correspondence. At her age, I assume she will be sad and hurt when her friends leave, will talk on the phone with them for a little while and then they will fade away. I hope not, but that seems like a more logical conclusion than any others I can invent, such as the thought that maybe, just maybe, she'll be giggling with one, or both, of them at the age of 30, reminiscing about their days together when they were six.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

My Life in Bands

The recent musical meme, along with my trip to see Elton John have made me a bit nostalgic for the days when I used to see bands perform live quite often. A normal person may think back over their life and muse, "I've seen so many concerts, there is no way I could remember them all".

Alas, I am no normal person.

Somewhere along the line, I started to keep a journal of every band I saw. These pages, like in any journal, contain things that make me laugh and things that make me shake my head in shame, as in, "how could you?". I am a sucker for 'free' tickets and will go to just about any show as long as I can find alcohol when things get tough. There are also bands whose shows I totally do not remember.

So, here goes. The complete(ish) list of the bands I have seen perform live in my lifetime (not chronological; I'm not THAT organized). And commentary when it is warranted (and don't be alarmed if there are a ton of bands you have never heard of on this list; there are many Boston/Providence bands because that's where I've spent most of my time):

small factory (sigh, RIP)
Amazing Royal Crowns (double sigh, RIP)
Dambuilders (oh crap, do any bands stay together?)
Scarce (shoot me now; am I a curse that causes bands to implode?)
The Wolfgang Press (surprise! gone!)
Nirvana (you guessed it!)
Foo Fighters (finally! still performing)
Mike Watt (with Eddie Vedder AND Dave Grohl as guest musicians)
Juliana Hatfield
Pearl Jam
Nine Inch Nails
The Band (up on cripple creek, y'all!)
The Swingin' Neckbreakers
Herman the German
The Kinks (my first show! 14 and drunk on peppermint schnapps!)
Bryan Adams
Jesus & Mary Chain
John Cafferty
Bruce Springsteen
They Might Be Giants
The non-pareils
Lionel Ritchie (hanging head in shame)
Gloria Estefan (hiding under chair)
John Denver (running out of room screaming)
Buffalo Tom
Frank Black
King Missile
Indigo Girls
Violent Femmes
Soul Asylum
The Cure
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Dinosaur Jr.
Phantom Surfers
Reverend Horton Heat
The Wedding Present (LOUDEST. . .SHOW. . .EVER)
Concussion Ensemble
The Halo Bit
til Tuesday
The Alarm
The Neighborhoods
Harry Pussy (my most confused show)
Mary Lou Lord
Mary's Danish
Throwing Muses
Angry Salad
Cliffs of Doneen
The Breeders
Robin Hitchcock
Billy Bragg
Velocity Girl
Velvet Crush
Blair's Carriage
Robert Cray
Combustible Edison
Rod Stewart
The Itchies
P.J. Harvey
The Friggs
Gene Loves Jezebel
The Smithereens
Buddy Guy
Rhythm Child
Tuxedo Buck
Black & White
Young Neal & The Vipers
Eight to the Bar
Possum Dixon
Hootie and the Blowfish (oh dear, here we go again)
R.E.M. (really??? was it a good show???)
Flora Street
Sonic Youth
Jesus Lizard
The Fathoms
The Dogmatics
One Ton Shot Gun
Swamp Girl
Plum Factory
Butthole Surfers
The Toadies
Blind Melon
The Specials
NY Loose
Buck & the Black Cats
Soul Coughing
Skavoovie and the Epitones
Big D and the Kids Table
Bim Skala Bim
The Agents
Less Than Jake
Reel Big Fish
Spring Heeled Jack
Save Ferris
Echo and the Bunnymen
Cherry Poppin' Daddies
Southern Culture on the Skids
The Fixx
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Dropkick Murphys
Lords of Acid
My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult
Sex Pistols
Dave Matthews
Elton John
and, how could I forget? The Wiggles

There you have it. 135 bands over 26 years. Definitely not a record, but it's about all my poor, punished ears could handle.

So, anyone I need to add in the next 26 years to rounds out my list and make my concert life complete?

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Friday, March 23, 2007

The Bitch is Back

Last night, I saw Elton John in concert.

This was not exactly my first choice in concert outings, but, when a friend I never get to see anymore offered me a ticket, I thought, "Why not?" It isn't every day that I can see someone perform songs I enjoyed in fourth grade.

Frankly, I was shocked by how many of his songs I could name off the top of my head. And, I was worried only about Candle in the Wind, which would make me want to light myself on fire by leaping onto the lighters held high into the air.

I then found out that the tickets were: a) free! and b) 10th row center! Crap, I've NEVER sat 10th row center for ANYTHING. The closest to the stage I could ever get was at the front of the mosh pit at a Reverend Horton Heat show. And, even then, there was always the sweaty guy without a shirt on to deal with.

So, off I went to my first big arena show in about 100 years. We were a few minutes late due to too much wine drinking beforehand, but, no matter, since the first four songs were unrecognizable to me. I know that he has continued to put out a bunch of music since I was 9, I just haven't kept up.

By the way, did you know how important a cell phone is at a concert? People who could take photos with their phones were clicking away constantly. I did wonder why they kept doing this since Sir Elton performed every song sitting at the piano, so Song #2 and Song #10 will look pretty much the same in a photograph.

Then there is the interesting phenomenon called, "Let's call someone we know and let them hear the music!". Never mind that I clearly remember when my sister called me from a Prince show and all I heard was a bunch of feedback. I got caught up in the moment and dialed my husband, my sister and my mom to let them hear the show. Hey, Mrs Q, when your phone rang at 9:15 last night and all you heard was a mess of noise? That was Benny and the Jets! Did I mention I drank a lot of wine beforehand?

Sir Elton didn't do much jumping around, and he was the most conservative-looking fellow in a band full of Muppets. But hearing Crocodile Rock, Rocket Man and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road live was fun and sounded great.

And thankfully, there was no Candle in the Wind. My vision of hundreds of teary-eyed, middle-aged concert goers waving BIC lighters in the air was not realized. It wouldn't have happened this way anyway since lighters are 'out' as the light of choice.

Instead, during slow songs, the audience merely held up their cell phones so that a little square of light shone above their heads as they swayed to the music. Not exactly "candle in the wind" material, eh?

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Weany, Weany, Whiney, Woe

Otherwise titled, "My Cup Runneth Over"

I have decided to wean my last child, D, who is now 2 1/2 years old. To some, this may sound like an absurd amount of time to nurse (I recall hearing someone say, "If they can ask for it, they are too old"); to others, he is such a little baby and not nearly ready to give up this source of comfort and nourishment.

I know I could easily have kept on going until his next birthday, and beyond, if necessary. I have no squeamishness about toddlers nursing. D was also the easiest of my three to breastfeed, never once needing a supplemental bottle of formula, giving me mastitis or causing me to run to the lactation consultant or pediatrician for constant weigh-ins (all of these things occurred with my girls).

But, the truth is that I'm tired. My boobs are worn out from nearly 6 years of constant use. And, I made a promise to myself that I would be done nursing by the time I was 40, which is now only months away. A planned weekend getaway with a few of my high school friends (high school friends; as in, we were 17 the last time we hung out regularly!) in late June has really kicked me to start the process of weaning.

But, as in many things, I tend to go for drastic rather than gradual. So, I just stopped, cold turkey. D isn't thrilled with this arrangement, but he is getting more accustomed to it.

My boobs, though, are not quite so understanding. One side is like, "Eh? You hardly ever used me anyway, so whatever already". The other side is all, "Say uncle! Say uncle!".

They do look fabulous though. It's too bad that soon I will no longer be so buxom in my 34A's. I can't even look at a deflated balloon without shuddering. Wish me and my bodacious ta-ta's luck. We're going to need it (or the number of a good surgeon).

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Homeschooling is Ruining my Home

We've been homeschooling for a whopping seven months, but my home looks like we've been doing it for much longer.

I really enjoy having Belly home; after being in preschool five days/week last year, I like not having to keep to a school schedule. Plus, she's in kindergarten, which means that things are pretty relaxed here (contrary to what some may think, I am not trying to rush her through her lessons so that she graduates from high school at 12; my God, I know what I did in college, I don't want her going until she is 25!).

If there could be one 'negative' to homeschooling, though, is how 'lived in' my house is every day of the week. I never get a block of time in the day to just clean up my house (I realize that most people don't but I dare to dream). There is evidence of children everywhere. I've been in some homes where the children's things are tucked out of site in their basement playroom. They must have a coronary when they enter my house.

For instance:

I want the kids to have their own space to call their 'school space', where they can display their projects and have access to their crafts, manipulatives, workbooks. Fortunately, I have the space to do this. Unfortunately, it is in my dining room, the first room people see when they enter my front door and glance to the left:

And then look over to the next corner:

Finally, enter the room and look at the other wall:

I'm not a huge 'decorator', nor do I subscribe to any home magazines, but I suspect that my decor would not be featured as the "look for the month".

But I wouldn't change things. After all, with this to look at, who cares what shape my house is in:

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Musical Meme

The awesome Mrs. Chicky tagged me for my third meme (I promise I'll stop counting after 10). The guidelines are: list seven songs you are into right now. No matter what they are. They must be songs you are presently enjoying. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.

Now first a caveat: I have many, many CD's that I no longer listen to because the kiddos are always around. Those Parental Advisor labels all over my collection mean they aren't often the best thing for dance parties in our living room. Of course, I sometimes forget this and, for a while, we were listening to "My Humps" in the car until I really tuned into the lyrics. . .

So, the following is mostly stuff that I listen to with the kids. AND, in breaking news, Fairly Odd Father just presented me with my very own Nano, which means I will join millions of other parents in wandering around the house listening to my favorite songs and ignoring the screams and demands of the little rugrats whose bodies I will be stepping over as I keep the beat.

1. I'm Different by Butterfly Boucher, from For the Kids Too. I'm a sucker for British accents and this is no exception. She happily sings, "I'm different different different, nobody's like me. . .and that's ok with me, yeah, that's ok with me!" and I can almost see her stomping out of the pub all swagger and cockiness. Except that this is a kids' CD, so she is probably just stomping out of Gymboree after ripping the head off of Gymbo. We all sing this as loud as we can in the car.

2. For Boston by the Dropkick Murphys, from their Live on St. Patrick's Day release. Like Mrs. Chicky says, DKM are good anytime but especially pre-St. Patty's Day. Plus, last year Fairly Odd Father & I were able to go to one of their St. Patrick's Day shows and it was amazing. I now want to learn how to play bagpipes (seriously!).

3. Last Night A DJ Saved My Life by Indeep, from the Baby Loves Disco compilation CD. At our second trip to BLD, Belly won a CD in the dance contest (Woo hoo! Way to shake that booty!). We've played it to death already but this song sticks in my head for hours and hours.

4. 25 Irish Favorites. A cheapy CD I found in some bargain bin last year, this has all sorts of Irish tunes. We have had it playing pretty much all week and all the songs are running together in my head. It will go away after Saturday.

5. I Like to Move it by Reel 2 Real, from Ultimate Dance Party. When we named our third child "D', we gave him the initials DJ in case he wanted a nickname when he got older. Well, at the ripe old age of 2, he is already living up to his nickname by completely monopolizing the stereo. He puts this CD in every day, hits play and then---click. . .click. . .click. . .he breezes up to song #6 and stops at this one. He calls it 'Moo it". I think he likes it because he thinks it is a song about nursing which he is loathe to quit.

6. Atari Teenage Riot by ATR, from Burn, Berlin, Burn. This was the first song I tried to get onto my Nano (but I failed because I am inept and hadn't read any directions---heck, I believed those Mac commercials that said they are SOOOOO easy to use and thought I'd just figure it out). Anyway, this song really gets my blood running through my veins; even just thinking about it now makes me all jumpy. I wish I had seen them live but, for now, I'll just have to jump around my house while my children look at me like I've lost my head.

7. Smile by Lily Allen, from Alright, Still. Fairly Odd Father just handed this to me the other day and said, "LISTEN TO THIS!". I was fortunately going out alone because this is not a kid-friendly CD. Oh, I just love the Brits. That accent! I want Lily and I to hold hands and skip down the street and spit and smoke and swear. Think she'd let me? Her lyrics are funny, naughty and make me want to yell, "Hey you motherfuckers! So what if I drive a minivan!!!!"

So, hope I haven't alarmed anyone too much but that is what is on rotation right now.

Now off to tag seven people. . .

OK peoples---play along:

Mom-101 (there must be Journey, yes?),

Mr. Nice Guy (just pop a Percocet and start typing!),

Girl's Gone Child,

Another Mom Creation,

Memoirs of a Dysfunctional Housewife (once you stop puking, of course),

Alpha DogMa and

GingaJoy (who probably has a great accent)!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Weighing My Options

Recently, Fairly Odd Father bought something that I swore I'd never use again. When I saw it, I shouted, "Why do you need that?!?! I thought we would never have that in our house!"

And then, "Oh, the kids! I don't want it near them either!"

He promised he'd hide it. He promised he wouldn't use it in front of me or the kids.

But. . .there was a time I couldn't resist it. It had the power to make me euphoric or despondent. I was an addict. How could I allow it back into my house now? After I had come so far?

In the end, I relented.

I am an adult, after all. I've beaten this. I need to be a role model for my children, not someone afraid to face her nemesis.

So, it was in the house for about four days before I saw it again. Fairly Odd Father is a terrible hider.

I turned my back on it but the curiosity got the best of me. I took it off of the bathroom shelf and put it down.

I got on. Ten pounds heavier than expected. Damn.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Real Moms are Not the Focus

I am the supporting cast to a crew of divas and drama queens.

I spent a good 15 years of my adult life focusing on me, me, me. I was the center of my universe, and I was pretty happy with this.

Now I have three babes, ages 6 and under, and the focus is no longer on me.

MY needs, MY wants, MY thoughts . ..well, let's just say that I can sometimes feel a bit like this picture illustrates.

Thanks to Kristen at the Mom Trap for the tag!

I now will share the love with BlogWhore, Robin & Meena.

(Here's how it works: put up a post "Real Moms [insert what you do here]", followed by an explanation (feel free to use more sentences than just one), a picture, and a "Real Moms. Making ....". Then tag five people (ok, I cheated on this one and only tagged three).


Friday, March 09, 2007

Celebrity Worship

I could never handle being a real celebrity. Sure, I might like the fancy gowns, the maid staff or the stretch limos, but I could not handle the throngs of screaming fans. Day in, day out--people calling your name, trying to get your attention, never giving you a moment's rest or any privacy.

It occurs to me, though, that I am already experiencing this darker side of celebrity . . . in my own home.

Want proof? Let's see:

1) I routinely wake up to find one of my children standing over me, breathing on my face and just watching me sleep. They are apparently unable to resist my star power, even in the dead of night.

2) If I go upstairs and shut the children downstairs behind the beloved, I mean practical, baby gates, they stand at the bottom screaming, "MOMMY!" as if I am Beyonce, standing just out of their reach.

3) The children watch my every move, studying me to find out the latest trends in butt-wiping, nose blowing, and bra removal. They have been even known to rummage through my trash and exclaim, "Mommy, what is this?" as they remove whatever little trinket I am trying to rid myself of.

4) When I am running late for a premiere, or maybe just trying to get dinner on the table, they wrap their arms around my legs, forcing me to drag them around the room, 'ball-and-chain' style. If only I had a body guard. . .

5) Finally, I know I am a celebrity because my fans can so quickly turn on me when things go badly. If I am 'mean mommy' for a day, the tabloids will read, "STOOPID MOMMY" or "UR THE WURST MOMMY". They will sneer when I try to blow kisses or engage them in one of my performance readings of Goodnight Moon.

Fortunately, they soon return to their mommy worship.

And, I think I may be addicted to the limelight.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Let Them Eat Cake

I cannot or will not:

paint ceramics,
make greeting cards,
operate a glue gun,
blow glass, or
make jewelery

BUT! Lookie what I can do!:

Behold the cuteness!

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Four Years and Four Hours

My 'baby girl' is four today. It is so hard for me to wrap my head around this. Four. As in, "yeah, that is me dressing myself, almost reading, going off to classes without even looking back at you, mom. Catch you on the flip side."

When Jilly was born, she was a fat little butterball of a baby. A "chubby little bug" is how Fairly Odd Father phrased it in the email that went out to friends. Our second girl. 10 fingers, 10 toes and all that.

She is still perfect in every way, but not before we worried about everything. Her weight crawled to 17 pounds at a year, 24 pounds at two, 27 at three. If she breaks 30 at her four-year checkup, I'll be shocked. She has always been so wiggly---a squirmy worm---that she quickly burned through any baby fat she may have had at birth to become the skinniest healthy child.

She is at times fearless, trying to keep up with the six year olds who come to visit her big sister. Other times, she is the smallest of small, curled into a tight little ball in my lap, like a cat.

When friends and acquaintances tell me they are considering going from one child to two, I always think about Jilly and how full she makes our lives. I think of her enthusiasm for life, a tiny little spitfire ready to tackle anything but not without a big hug and a kiss first. When she hangs onto my neck and buries her face into my hair, I can almost pretend she is still my little baby, so tiny and light and sweet. But, then she wiggles out of my arms and runs off to try another adventure, and I see the little girl she is becoming before my eyes.
Happy Birthday my sweet girl.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Where the Sidewalk Ends?

In my last post, I mentioned that the title of that entry ("Don't Give a Dose to the One You Love Most") was from a song, and I asked if anyone else knew about this song. Only my sister ventured a guess, and she was right! We both remember hearing the following lyrics during Health Class, probably during the early 80's:

Don't give a Dose
To the One you Love Most
Give me some Marmalade
Give me some Toast
Believe it or not, this song refers to VD, or STD's as they are more commonly called today. Why someone about to infect their girlfriend with say, crabs, would suddenly turn off his raging teenage hormones to give her a piece of toast is beyond me.
Although I've remembered these lyrics for over twenty (cough cough) years, it was only after looking them up online that I found out it was written by none other than Shel Silverstein, that amazing writer of Where the Sidewalk Ends (among other gems). Wikipedia says, "He wrote the lyrics and music for most of the Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show songs, including . . . the cautionary song about VD, "Don't Give a Dose To the One You Love Most".
Yup, from Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout to a song about VD. Sounds about right. . .


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Don't give a dose, to the one you love most. . .*

A couple of months ago, parents in Massachusetts were charged with killing their daughter by overdosing her on prescription medications for ADHD and Bipolar disorder. She was four years old. And, she was diagnosed with these disorders at the ripe old age of two.

The coroner found Clonidine, Valproic Acid, a cough suppressant, and the antihistamine, Chlorpheniramine, in this little girl's system.

As this story has unfolded in the press, I have felt sick at what this little girl went through in her last days. This does not appear to be the case of innocent parents just trying to keep their daughter well and accidentally giving her too much medication.

However, I couldn't help but think about the 'what ifs'. What if a parent, with a doctor's prescription or with over-the-counter medications, screws up and gives their child too much? What if they don't notice their error until it is a fatal one?

I have been thinking about this a lot since I heard the news that over-the-counter cold remedies may be more harmful than beneficial to infants and toddlers (this is not a new story, since warnings have been issued in the past, but this is 'news' to me, since I never really noticed these warnings until last night's newscast).

In fact, "we recommend that families be aware of these risks and not use over-the-counter cough and cold medications for children ages 5 and under," Baltimore officials said.

That is, do "NOT USE . . .medications for children ages 5 and under". Wow.

Last night, D had a cough and stuffy nose. As he lie next to me, I knew I would normally jump up and get him something to help dry out his nose, quiet his cough. Instead, I held him extra close as he slept. And wondered if I was doing the right thing.

(* extra credit if you know the rest of this song and why it was sung)