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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ending on a high note

Thirteen hundred miles may separate us, but my Sister-in-Law has been in my thoughts for most of the year. She has taught me so much about how to face adversity with grace and love and courage.

In 2008, she faced a cancer diagnosis, surgery, a canceled honeymoon and chemotherapy.

But, there was a beautiful, intimate wedding, a surprise pregnancy with one determined little baby, and, on Monday, there was a birth.


May the new year bring more and more happiness to her and her family. And, to my newest niece, your aunt cannot wait to get her hands on you.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An angel at last


Oh, thank goodness she was an angel in the Christmas Pageant this year.

Did you not know this was important? Then, let me repost this story from a Christmas past, and you'll understand:

Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a toddler pitching a fit in the middle of the nativity scene.

It happened on Christmas Eve when the Fairly Odd Family all went to our kind, affirming, open-minded Unitarian Universalist Church for their 'family-friendly' 4pm service. Belly and Jilly were in the 'Cherub Choir' which means they got up twice to sing---a rousing version of Jingle Bells and a somewhat confused version of the Twelve Days of Christmas (as one dad said, "They are great until Day Eight; after that, it all falls apart").

After the Choir finished, the Nativity Play began. Other than the parts of Mary & Joseph, all of the other parts in the play are filled as the play is read. For instance, when the story got to the part about the star in the sky, the minister would ask for someone to volunteer to be a star. That person would run to the back of the church, grab their star 'prop' and saunter down the aisle to the 'manger' at the front of the church.

Jilly and D acted quickly, running to the back early in the play to become a donkey and a sheep, respectively (I even teared up to see little D toddling down the aisle with his 'sheep' poster held before his little body). Belly, being the oldest and having done this before, waited and waited until she heard these words: "We need five angels".

With that, she and four other girls tore to the back of the church and were dressed in the mother load of props: a white sheet, fairy wings and an angel's halo. They then floated, er, walked, to the front of the church and were then ushered to stand up in the pulpit high above our heads.

By then, I had crawled on my hands and knees to where Jilly and D were sitting, to make sure they remained quiet and to keep them from knocking over the large candle displays around them. I found Jilly in a major snit.

"I want to be an angel!"

"Yes, dear, but look! You are an adorable donkey!"

"I hate him!" (bonks mommy in head with donkey placard) "I want to be an angel!"

"Don't bonk mommy. You can be an angel next year. Now shhhhh, we need to listen to the minister."


Her cries were pitiful. She was just crushed that she was not an angel like her sister. She was just. . .a donkey.

I did my best to comfort her and, once we were home, she immediately changed into a fairy costume which seemed to cheer her up a bit.

Fairly Odd Father summed up the entire fiasco the best, though, on Christmas Day when we were telling the story to the rest of our family. I had just mentioned that the Director of Religious Education had come over to me during Jilly's meltdown to tell me not to worry; every year a child or two lost it during the Nativity Play.

"Yeah", interrupted Fairly Odd Father, "there is always some jackass that thinks they're an angel".

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thank you for the gifts

What? You didn't know you gave me a gift?

Well, yes you did.

You did by coming here and reading this blog. You did by commenting to something I wrote, either to tell me a story of your own, to say that what I wrote made you laugh or cry, or to offer me encouragement during a tough time.

You gave me an especially big gift in your comments to my last post. Thank you, thank you, thank you (a million times over) for those comments which made me cry and smile and feel glad that I ever started this blog.

And, now, something for you:

Fairly Odd Father's cousin is a police officer. And a riot. I can only imagine how hard she laughed upon being called to investigate the following crime against Santa and his reindeer:




Merry f-ing Christmas, indeed. Keep an eye on those reindeer.

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Monday, December 22, 2008


To the Moms of Jilly's Daisy Scout Troop:

I'm sorry if I was rude the other day.

I wasn't trying to be antisocial by not engaging in idle banter while our five-year-olds walked in single-file through the halls of our local nursing home/rehab center. Those tears brimming to the edge of my eyes, that I willed somehow not to fall, were not because their rendition of "Dreidel, Dreidel" was so beautiful.

You don't know. You just don't know.

You don't know how close I came to becoming completely undone in those hallways.

When I learned that Jilly's troop would be singing holiday carols in a nursing home, I thought we might be standing in the dining room, like we did two years ago with a homeschool group. Then, we had stayed in one place and sung to a dozen or so aged residents who nodded, snapped their fingers and sang along.

This time, though, we were lead through the hallways past room upon room of sick adults. There were a few people in the hallway, sitting in wheelchairs or lying on gurneys, quiet and dazed.

You don't know how hard my heart pounded as I walked. You don't know why I kept my eyes on the ground ahead of me.

Four years ago, I walked halls just like these every couple of days. I held a three-month-old baby boy in a carrier on my chest. I pushed little Jilly, just 21 months, in a stroller while Belly walked beside me. We went to the end of the hall, turned left and walked to the second bed, the one against the window.

"Hi Daddy!", I would say, trying to gauge his state as Belly, my oldest who wasn't quite four, tickled his feet under the sheets; the younger two just watched. Most days in that month of December, he would make a little conversation, but it was hard. He was tired and bone thin. Months of not being able to eat had taken their toll, as had the cancer that was rapidly spreading throughout his body.

The TV would be on and, sometimes, he would get lost in the picture moving on the screen. Sometimes he would shut his eyes and fall asleep. Earlier in his hospitalization, I would read him Dave Barry comics or tell him stories, but not in December. By December, he was ready to go.

And, so, as Jilly loudly caroled in that nursing home on December 16th, I couldn't help but think what life was like four years prior. Our group noisily walked past an old man in a wheelchair. His eyes met mine and he lifted his hand in a sort of low-energy wave. I recognized that wave.

And, then I realized that this might not be an old man. Thinking back to how my dad looked in December '04, people coming into his room might have thought that he was an elderly fellow. I can imagine a troop of little Daisy Scout girls filing into his room to sing a carol. He would've slowly raised his hand in a weak hello, and he would've tried to smile. He was a kind man, even in those last days.

Mothers acompanying those girls may have thought, "What a nice man to wave at the girls, to smile at them. Look at all the adorable pictures drawn on his wall. I wonder if they are by his grandchildren? His great-grandchildren? He looks to be, what, 80, 90? Poor thing, he doesn't look well. I hope he's been able to live a nice, long life".

What they didn't know back then, and what last week's troop didn't know, was that he was not an old man.

He was 63.

And he died four years ago today, December 22, 2004.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Sorry, Honey, it won't be anything like this

If I seem a little quiet as of late, it is because that two weeks after Christmas, I have to be ready to throw my oldest daughter a birthday party.

Two weeks sounds like plenty of time, but for some reason the week between Christmas and New Year's just evaporates, and I'm left staring at a birthday coming straight at me.
And, so, I like to figure out the details like "where, when, who and what" at the same time that I am shopping online, running to stores, addressing Christmas cards, planning holiday meals and. . .well, you know.

Another thing to know: I almost always host the parties in home. For one, I'm a control freak. Second, I'm cheap. So even though an American Girl Doll store opened not a half-hour's drive from my home, the thought of spending $450 to usher my daughter and her friends into her 8th year just blows my mind.

So, we're now leaning toward another DIY event. And, I'm toying with the idea of hosting a good old-fashioned tea party for her and her friends. I'm a bit torn on this because, while I think I could make it fun, it does sounds a bit "quaint" in these days of diva parties. But, I'm pressing forward and looking at as many websites as I can.

Which leads me to the title of this post. I decided to search Google Images for "tea party birthday party" to see how people decorated their tables for these types of events. That was when this photo, from a floral and event decor firm called Botanica, came up:

Whoa. Holy Pink.

But, even better is the copy under the photo which reads:

An 8 year old's Tea Party at the Four Seasons Hotel. Our client wanted to celebrate her daughter's 8th birthday in an uncommonly spectacular way. The theme was a formal English Tea Party. When guests arrived, they were given all the materials needed to create their very own Tea Party hat. When the doors to the party were opened, a Harpist played "Happy Birthday". The table linen was an orange sherbert silk, with an overlay cloth of pink, hand painted silk with orange double faced satin ribbon border. The gold Chiavari chairs were upholstered in Orange Sherbert silk. The back of each chair featured a straw hat adorned with Roses, Hydrangea, and Cymmbidium Orchids. At each place setting, a custom gowned Barbi held her own straw hat covered with seasonal mixed mini flowers (to salute our guest of honor), standing in front of a Topiary of Hydrangea. Napkins were made of Orange Sherbert silk, and placed in a spring colored Manolo Blahnik shoe. The seven main floral arrangements on the guest table, were created off of wig forms which had been covered in hand tinted silk leaves. The hats were made of Ostrich and Maribou feathers, Roses, Hydrangea, Cymbidium Orchids, Peonies, and leaves. To compliment our hat themed floral arrangements, we added 8 hand bags made of woven branches, which had either Pave' Roses or Tulips. On the perimeter of the room, 8 dress forms were custom made as floral arrangements, in eight seperate floral vignettes which featured more Manolo Blahnik pumps, mini dress forms, and over 3,000 Pink Revel Roses. After Tea and Scones were served, a fashion show was held for each guest to model their hat creation. Each little girl was given a gift, and a "Diva in Training Survival Kit". We took children's jewelry, make up and hand bags, and customized the packaging into "Harry Winston", "Chanel" and "Judith Lieber". It was the grandest affair any 8 year old (or adult) has ever seen.

A few things come to mind when I read this:

1) I don't play the harp

2) Did the girls go home with just one Manolo Blahnik pump?

Please feel free to weigh in on any of the above. I'm too stunned to form an intelligent thought.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

When Little Boys Attack

D, my lovely, adorable, "let's kiss Mommy again", son has a dark side.

  • When he gets mad and frustrated, he calls me a dummy. He can't say "cat" intelligibly, but he can say dummy clearly, especially when we're in public and there are lots of old ladies nearby.
  • When he gets REALLY mad and frustrated, he spits. SPITS! If there is any saving grace, it is that he sucks at spitting and really just makes the sound. Plus, he aims at the ground. But, still. . .ick!
  • And then, tonight, he bit Belly in the arm. Really bit her. He has rarely resorted to something so vile as biting, and I'm not sure what ticked him off. According to both him and Belly, he was biting-mad that she put the little figurine of Ariel on top of a plastic chair in the doll house. The nerve.
OK, I joke, but he is really testing my patience. I can handle sibling squabbles, but this went way too far. He may be only four, but he knows he's doing something wrong.

And, he's about to find out that this Mommy is no dummy.


didn't you see what they did to the Abominable Snowman, buddy?

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Monday, December 08, 2008

The frustrations of being second

When I found out I was having a third child, I bought a book about birth order right away. Jilly was going to become a "middle child" (gasp!), and I needed to figure out how to help her deal with this. The interesting thing was the book left me with a feeling that the middle kids usually end up pretty well adjusted, with a better sense of self and stronger social connections than first or last borns. Phew!

What I didn't really consider was how being second, after an Alpha older sister, would affect her. This is a bit ironic since I am an Alpha older sister with a younger sister, and know of plenty of other sister/sister pairs.

I didn't anticipate her frustration.

Frustration that she cannot make her letters too well (yet). That she doesn't color in the lines all the time (yet). That she doesn't sing as loud, jump as high, read as fast as her 2-year-older sister. . .you get the idea.

Even when she doesn't make a fuss, I may find something that hits me right in the gut. She'll destroy something that she's worked hard on, a coloring picture or a page of handwritten letters.

I know that when I gently ask her what's wrong, or why she scribble over her hard work, I'm likely to be met with loud sobs from a little girl who tries hard, but is two years younger, will always be two years younger.

It hurts my heart.


We saw one of our favorite kids' musicians, Justin Roberts, play this past weekend; see what I thought over at Fairly Odd Reviews.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Go Ahead, Make My Day

The post I planned to write Thursday morning was full of woe. As in, "woe is me" because:

* my toe, the one I kicked almost a month ago and (think I) broke, still hurts enough for me to think "TOE!" far too often;

* because of said toe, my planned re-entry into the world of Those Who Exercise has been sidelined, making me feel squishy where I do not want to feel squishy;

* my hair, oh my hair, is looking a bit too "mommish" right now...

You get the picture.

And, then, later in the afternoon, the heavens decided to throw me a bone.

I was in, of all places, a Dermatologist's office getting the once-over by the kind doctor with a thick accent. My bored children rolled around on the floor willing this exam to end.

"OK, now I look at your face", the Doctor said as she peered at my skin. "And you are. . .how old?"

"41", I said and, unexpectedly, I saw her step back with a look of surprise on her face.

"OH! I thought you were, maybe, 29!"

Now, this may be a standard Dermatologist line, one that they use on their 90-year-old clients, as well as the tired-and-rumpled moms who walk through their doors.

But, I'll take it. Yes, I will. She made my day.