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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round

I am afraid of school buses.

Nothing bad has ever happened to me on a bus (except for being excluded from the "way back" by the cool kids). And, I realize that schools have taken steps to make their buses safer for kids.

But, when I was in grade school in the 70's, I was made to watch a Bus Safety Movie that scarred me for life. It was sort of Scared Straight for 5th graders, minus the jail scenes.

In one scene, a little girl exits the bus and runs in front of it as she crosses the street. Her handmade Valentine card slips from her folder and flutters to the ground, directly in front of the bus' grill. She stops and runs back to grab her Valentine just as the bus driver steps on the gas. Cut to the Valentine blowing away down the street.

Another scene has a group of kids roughhousing as they climb over a snowbank to get onto the bus. The last kid in line slips and slides down the bank. . .under the bus. Buh-bye.

There were other equally horrifying scenes which probably live on in my subconscious somewhere.

So, while I may not remember a lot of what I was taught in school, I have internalized one thought:

Stay away from the bus.

Maybe THAT is why I homeschool.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

You Down with OCD? (yeah you know me)*

Tap (right). Tap (left).

Wait. Did I tap left? Tap (left). That was too hard. Need to tap right again. Tap (right).

OK, better.


Did I shut off the light?

Walk back to room. Light is off.

Turn it on. Turn it off.

Am I ok with that? No? On. Off.

Walk away.

Wait. Need to check that it is definitely off.

Go back and check.


Need to count. Start at zero. Get to twenty and wonder if I thought of the number 17. Start back over at zero.


This was my teen life. I'm not sure what brought it on, or what made it go away.

But, it did go away.

I think.

There are times, though, when I wonder if I have just suppressed it. Like tonight, when I walked into the kids' room and saw stuff everywhere. The rationale side of me said, "go to bed; they can clean it up in the morning". The other side said, "we need to do it now, now, now, now, now, now". So we did it now.

And, then I felt better.

*in spite of the cutesy title, I'm not sure if my behavior qualifies as OCD; I do know it was something I couldn't really control.

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She is Strong, She is Invincible. . .

It has been less than 24 hours since surgery, and my Super Woman sister-in-law is already out of the hospital. Things look very good for her, and I am so very thankful for this. I am also thankful for the lovely notes you all left here, as well as for the unspoken thoughts, prayers and good wishes you sent her way.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

12:30 Today

You may

say a prayer,
wish upon a star,
throw salt over your shoulder,
blow all the seeds off a dandelion,
cross your fingers and toes,
blow a kiss to the wind,

just keep her in your thoughts.

My young, lovely, vibrant sister-in-law is undergoing a double mastectomy today to remove the cancer that has invaded her body and upended her life. She is strong and ready for what is ahead, and I know you can help raise her spirits by keeping her close to your heart today.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Keepin' My Kids Off the Screen

Once again, I am attempting to keep the kids off the screen for a week. Yes, it is TV Turnoff Week (which applies only to the kids in this household; we pull rank when necessary).

Day one down. Six more to go. Last year, I don't think I included the computer in this experiment but, for some reason, I did this time. This means that I have to wait until the kids are totally engrossed before I check my email so as not to out myself as "Not Playing Along".

Now the timing could be better. We finally got our exercise bike set up which means that I need to log some serious peddling time if I'm going to fit into the 2-piece bathing suit I just bought. Normally, I'd just let the kids watch a show while I try to whittle four months of winter inactivity from my body. Not possible now. Instead, they went into the living room and dumped forty pounds of blocks onto the floor, constructed forts out of all the chair cushions AND pulled out all the Polly Pockets for a marathon session of "change Polly's wee clothes".

Then, there was D. After finishing the destruction of my living room, he came into the family room and stood next to me as I huffed and puffed and blew the house down.

"Mommy? Mommy?"

"Yes, D. 10 more minutes. Just 10 minutes!"

"Red Apple Mommy. Mommy?"

"OK! 9 minutes! No problem. Just wait 9 minutes!"

This went on and on and on until I had to crank up the sound in the headphones and close my eyes, lest I leap across the handlebars screaming, "FIVE MINUTES! I JUST NEED FIVE STINKIN' MINUTES!"
Yes, TV Turnoff Week is a wonderful idea. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm missing Intervention.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Normally, I don't let the kids use our digital camera.

"Oh please, Mommy, just one photo! Jilly is being so funny on the stairs!", Belly begged.

As I was too lazy to get up and see what was so funny in the first place, I handed her the camera along with the words, "Don't drop it!".

Not ten seconds later, I heard "THUMP!", followed by Belly yelling at her sister. Who was at fault, I'll never know, although Belly's claim that Jilly karate-chopped her doesn't sound too far fetched.

I grabbed the camera which now had a lens that was stuck halfway between opened and closed. Nothing I did could get it working again.

Here is what ran through my head once I realized the camera was dead, dead, dead:

"Oh CRAP! I shouldn't have let them use the camera! Why did I let them have it? It figures this would happen. Ugh! A new camera is expensive! This one was so great and I had just figured out how to use it! Crap."

Later, I told Fairly Odd Father what happened. Expecting to hear something along the same lines as my internal dialogue, I was surprised to hear instead,

"Oh GOOD! I've been looking at a new camera. . . that one was too slow anyway, and it'll cost too much to fix. I think this new one will be much better. Great!"

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Double, double, toil and trouble. . .


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Good God, They Multiply?

Jilly (my little Superhero) just had her 5-year checkup today. Her kind, patient pediatrician slowly checked her over, looking in her ears, her nose and her throat.

He then asked her to lie back on the exam table. She stretched out, her feet pushing against her little brother, D, who was sitting on the table too, bundled up in the blue winter coat he insists on wearing---zipped to the "tippity top"--- even on sunny spring days.

Dr. H. then made a big deal with Jilly about "counting her belly buttons".

"When you were four, we only counted one belly button. How many will we find now that you are five?"

I heard her giggle, and then I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. It was D. He was silently, frantically struggling with his coat, trying to lift it up over his belly.

He was trying to count his belly buttons.


It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's. . .

. . .Super Jilly!

My sister wrote the following when she sent me a copy of this photo:

"We decided that (jilly's) super powers would be her ability to wield candy as a weapon: shooting gumballs and marshmallows to knock down the bad guys and then tying them up with licorice."

Dedicated to a very special someone in our lives who needs a little super power right now.

C'mon and see what is happening in our quiet little suburb. . .

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Monday, April 14, 2008

I'm Not Wearing It Well

I've been dressing like a mom for too long.

No, I haven't adopted the "track suit" look or started wearing my PJ's out, but I am looking over my shoulder for Stacy and Clinton.

My uniform? Jeans, always jeans (but, NO MOMMY JEANS; those were burned long ago). Single-color crew-neck or v-neck cotton shirt (currently long-sleeved). Plain silver watch and maybe a necklace. No earrings, my holes are closed (insert your own crude joke here).

On my feet? Fun sneakers, from PF Flyers or Converse. In winter, I may opt for black boots and cords. In summer, I'll turn to flip flops with capris.

Here's what I'm thinking: "B-O-R-I-N-G!" Also, this:

"Here I am, a stay-at-home mom with three kids who I am also teaching, cleaning up after, and shuttling from one activity or another. How can I justify dressing nicely when whatever I wear is going to get wrinkled, wiped on, cried into? I shower everyday don't I? And apply (some) makeup. And deodorant."

But, I feel stuck and confused as to what I should do next. I wandered through Ann Taylor Loft a few weeks ago and felt like a fish out of water. A very tall fish, I must say, because none of their pants reached past my ankles.

So, I've decided to lay my dilemma on you all. Please help me since its been years since I've flipped through Lucky or watched the Style Network. I'm also feeling a bit confused since I've turned 40. Can I still shop at The Gap without looking ridiculous? Do I really have to move on to Chicos? Are ballet flats still in? How can I look more put together without spending my children's college savings?

Where the heck are Stacy and Clinton?


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ten More Things About Me

Paula from Rock the Cradle reached out and touched me for this meme.

Here are the VIR (very important rules):

  • Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.

  • Share five random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog. Then,
    share the five top places on your “want to see or want to see again” list.

  • Tag a minimum of five random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment in their blog.

So, here we go:

Random and/or Weird Facts about FOM:

1. My nickname in college was "Beaker", and not because I was a science-experiment geek.

It was for this:

2. I once stood on stage with my sister at a Southern Culture on the Skids show, dancing and throwing fried chicken at people.

3. I hate my teeth and would love to have them whitened but all the products I've tried so far are murder on my sensitive teeth.

4. I can't do a cartwheel. This is no small regret; I feel it is a major goal I have never achieved.

5. I have to sleep with at least a sheet on me and my feet must be covered all the time. I blame Amelia from Trilogy of Terror which I secretly watched from the staircase of our apartment in Illinois. It seriously freaked me out and caused me to never, ever dangle my feet over the edge of the bed in the night. Just rereading the plot is enough to give me the willies.

Places I'd like to visit/revisit:

1. Heaven, or whatever there is for us in the 'afterlife'. But, could I come back afterward to tell everyone?

2. Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. I would be a bad, bad girl and stick my entire head into the chocolate river.

3. Japan, so I can stock up on egg molds and other oddities.

4. A deserted beach somewhere in the South Pacific, with Fairly Odd Father by my side to spread the sunblock and feed me slushy drinks.

5. A college campus, although I don't even want to think about taking classes until the kids are much, MUCH older (and self-sufficient). What would I study? Probably literature, philosophy and creative writing.

Now. . .who to tag, who to tag?

Let's see if Another Mom Creation, Organized Chaos, Whirlwind, Nuttnbunny and Jenny's Journal want to play.

If you live in Massachusetts, come check out the new law affecting kids.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

My Lovely Lady Lumps

Last September, it was the butt. Today, it was the boobs.

In less than a year's time, I've hit two milestones of female aging: the colonoscopy and the mammogram.

I've written about my colonoscopy experience a few times already. Today, I will relay my mammogram experience to those who have not yet gone on that ride.

Unlike the colonoscopy, getting ready for a mammogram is a picnic. I did nothing special beforehand except to shave (to keep the distractions to a minimum) and apply some Tom's of Maine deodorant. This deodorant had to be wiped off in the exam room (thanks, Mammo-Wipes)!

Good news? The exam was super fast and did not cause any bruising (which is truly amazing when you consider what these puppies went through!).

Less-than-thrilling news? Your boobs are going to be flatter than a pancake for a few teeth-gritting (oops, no, RELAX!) seconds. Don't forget to hold your breath! And do not whimper when they come back in and say that they need to redo your right side because you flexed a muscle in your arm (although, it made me the teeniest bit proud that there IS a muscle in my arm, considering the little exercise I've done this winter).

So, now I wait for results. I'm not the praying sort, but I will send one up to the heavens as I open that envelope for the test results.

In the meantime, I will urge my female friends and bloggy visitors to get this exam regularly and to give thanks for the mammories we have.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Hot For Teaching*

For someone who never wanted to be a teacher, I've been doing quite a bit of it lately. Along with this whole homeschooling gig, I am also teaching a class in science for our homeschooling coop, and am a Religious Education teacher for our church.

That last one makes me giggle slightly hysterically. Religious Education? Me? I was the Catholic who never understood what the heck the "Trinity" was. But, now I've gone and joined our local Unitarian Universalist church and decided to take a stab at teaching RE to a bunch of 1st and 2nd graders.

For the past few months, we've been preparing for "THE PLAY". This is a big deal in our church and includes all the children, from the Pre-K group to the Senior class. The theme was 'heroes' and our group decided to focus on 'animal heroes", like Balto the sled dog and Binti Jua the gorilla.

While doing this, I expected to sometimes enjoy the process and sometimes be incredibly frustrated by the distractible nature of seven-year-olds. I knew there would be times I'd think it would never come together. I also knew that I liked these little buggers an awful lot and would be thrilled to see them on stage.

The reaction I received from the parents was awesome too. One sent me an email that said the following,

J. is very excited and it's so good to see him energized by the idea of being in a play. It's a side of him I haven't seen before and it's been great to learn new things about my own child. I'm really looking forward to the 6th!

Another parent hugged me after it was all done; their family has had a helluva couple of years and this gesture touched me.

Admittedly, I can use the title 'teacher' only loosely. I do not have to stand in front of a class of 30 kids every day of the week. I do not have to deal with apathetic parents who expect the school system to raise their child. I do not have standardized tests, progress reports, or a bell ringing to end class in the middle of my sentence. But it has been interesting to see how much I enjoy working with kids, watching their eyes light up when they are interested in their project, coaxing them out of their fragile shell.

I can see why someone would fall in love with teaching.

*I know my sister is groaning at this title, but, as she has been told, I will proclaim my love for David Lee Roth from the highest mountain until the day I die. So there.

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