Mountain View Mommy: Sand, Trucks and Testosterone

November 30, 2007

Pet lovers

Filed under: Nathan — by mvmommy @ 3:43 pm

I always thought I was a pet lover until I met Nathan & his family. They are crazy about their pets. And when I say crazy – I mean wildly insane crazy.  I won’t ‘out’ them on their behavior, because I know they read this and I love them dearly.   But even they sometimes admit that they have gone over the top.   (you know you do)  Once I had a friend like this too. I always thought she was a bit crazy about her cat. But figured it was just her personality. Then more & more people started coming out of the wood-works admitting their pet-behaviour to me. I started to realize that maybe I am no pet lover. Maybe I am just a pet tolerator.

My version of owning a pet is taking good care of them by feeding them, bathing them, walking them, and occasionally playing with them throughout the day. I would not plan my day around them. They would not sleep in my bed. They would not be a factor in my vacation plans. I would have no trouble boarding them if I needed to (assuming the place was safe, nice & kind). I would not be buying them a seat on the airplane. I wouldn’t dress them up in clothes. I wouldn’t include them in portraits of the kids and act like they were equal to something that I had birthed myself.  And I certainly wouldn’t talk about them and compare them to my children as if they were the same.

They would be a part of the family that I loved very much. But they would still be pets. Not people. Pets.

When I write it, it sounds cold.

But honestly I loved my pets growing up… I just didn’t obsess over them like they were children. Which is why when Andrew recently took a healthy obsession in Grandma’s cat over Thanksgiving… I started to worry. I could see the longing in my husband’s eyes. That look that says, “oooooh wouldn’t it be nice to put that under the Christmas tree.”

And honestly, yes it would be. For about 2 weeks.

That is how long I give it until the excitement dies down, and I am changing kitty litter. I already have two kids whose poop doesn’t always end up in the toilet. Do I really need a 3rd with four legs running around, with no ability to ever learn that skill on their own?

And what about the furniture? My kids already beat on it enough.  Do I really need it scratched up too?

Or the cat hair? If I can’t keep the peas from our floor…. how will I manage to keep the cat hair from the whole house?

I don’t know… I want pets, but I really want them when the kids are old enough to help. Though on the other hand, the time that they are the most interested is now. Such a tough decision.  And who doesn’t want a cute furry little kitten around?

If someone asked me right now… would you have another baby or a pet. I would say baby. 100 times over… baby.   At least the work you put into a child comes back in spades.

Maybe I am not a pet lover. I am a “pet lover” lover.  I guess that will have to be good enough for now.     Please Santa – don’t send me a kitten for Christmas.  If you do, I will be sure to pay you back in full.

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November 21, 2007

15 lousy minutes

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 8:18 am

Every time we come home from Andrew’s preschool, it’s a mad dash to get lunch on the table. The kids are usually super hungry from being outside & playing. And I am hungry, and trying to get them fed so that I can eat. Usually things are a bit on edge until their bellies are fed. Today was no different. Except for the following 15 minutes…..

When getting out of the car at home, Justin stepped on Andrew’s bear. His bear is his snuggly and he can’t sleep without it. Since Justin’s shoes were full of mud, that meant it had to get washed… but had to be done before nap time which was in 1 hour. Thus that became priority #1 over food. Into the wash it went, then I went off to make lunch.

But I realized that Justin needed his asthma steroids pretty soon. Since it makes him a bit hyper-active… he needed it to take it now so he could wind down in time for his nap. So I got that into him, and proceeded to make lunch.

However then Andrew insisted upon helping me make lunch – so there was an argument about him washing his hands: he didn’t believe me that I would wait until he was finished, thus didn’t want to go to the bathroom. After negotiation, he finally went.

That was when I heard the gagging. Justin was standing over one of the floor rugs, and looked like he was going to hurl. I tried to talk him into taking a few steps to the hardwood floor – to avoid barf on the weave carpet. I didn’t want to run over to him, for fear that me being excited would make him lose it before I got to him.

‘Luckily’ he took 5 steps and hurled everywhere. At that point, I was trying to reach him without touching the mess. But then he slipped in it, and fell down and banged his head on the floor. So now he was bawling because he was hurt, and bawling because he was covered in barf.

So much for keeping myself vomit-free. I ended up plopping myself right down in the middle of it so that I could pick him up off the floor and try to stop him from from crying. While I was doing this, I was trying to stop Andrew from coming over and stepping in it too. Likewise, I am trying to strip Justin & I from all the clothes we are wearing.

Clothes off, time to clean him up … then I realize he has a poopy diaper. So now I have to figure out whether to clean up the poop or the barf first. And I am still yelling over my shoulder at Andrew to stay away from the mess on the floor.

Justin is now getting hosed down in the sink, naked. I am getting wiped down with a paper towel. A diaper and pants are put back on him, and he is placed on the couch. I turn on a show to distract the kids, while I pray that he doesn’t barf again on the couch. Really I just need five seconds to focus on cleaning the floor before anyone else gets hurt.

While I get started, Andrew decides to unload a bucket of sand onto the couch. As I yell at him to stop taking off the shoes covered in sand… sand spills everywhere on the couch and is now sticking to Justin who is still a little wet from his recent hose-down. Now I have to stop cleaning up the barf and focus on cleaning the couch, the floor, and my kid up from the sand.

Sand is now cleaned up, back to the vomit. Justin is now crying because he’s hungry. Floor is cleaned up finally. I am still in my underwear & bra… and I move to the kitchen to finish making lunch.

At this point Andrew remembers that he wanted to help me, and freaks out. He starts running towards me, yelling at me to stop & wait for him. Of course he smacks his head into the cabinet and starts screaming.

It is at this moment when I chose to lose it. It had only been 15 minutes since we arrived home, and frankly everything was demanding Code Red Priority #1 attention. I excused myself from both my screaming kids… walked upstairs… put some clothes on… and came back down in mismatched clothes… still smelling a little like the poop & barf… and finished lunch.

It is moments like these when words don’t do parenthood justice. There is simply no way to make you feel the same way I felt during those 15 minutes: confused, frustrated, disgusted, overwhelmed, desperate, sympathetic, worried, and all together like a failure as an adult who is supposed to be able to handle situations like these – because for goodness sakes I am the MOM.

November 19, 2007

Follow the path

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 4:10 pm

A tip to the wise:

When your children tell you … “don’t come in here, we are building a garage for you & don’t want you to see it”…..Be sure to go in there.

Do not let the hammering in the bathroom continue without checking it out. Do not assume that just because they were hammering on the floor, or on the rubber mat, that they have continued to do so.

So when you go into the bathroom 20 minutes later, and find a hole in your bathroom wall, just know it was your fault.

Do not be surprised to see the plaster on the ground.

You took the shower, all the while patting yourself on the back at how wonderful your kids were playing together without your supervision. You bought them the plastic hammers. They are boys for goodness sake. What did you think would happen? Sure they didn’t do anything in the past year with the hammers; that was because they were storing up their creative juices for one big construction site with your name on it.

So don’t yell. Smile calmly and explain how we don’t make holes in the walls, and then have them clean it up.

And when you ask where else they built… and they reply nowhere. Don’t believe that either. They are just afraid you will make them clean that up too.

Instead, just follow the path:

* the indents in the railings on the stairwell,
* the chipped paint off the banister,
* the holes in the wood next to the carpeted stairs,
* and the grey plastic paint from the hammers… now forever etched in your walls.

Know these were all done in love, to build you the best dang garage a mommy could possibly need.

November 17, 2007

Midnight with my baby

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 3:52 pm

The other night Justin had a cold. This is not unusual, but with his asthma it results in hours of humidifiers, Tylenol, inhalers, nebulizers and oral steroids. This can, and did, go on into the wee hours of the morning.

This particular night though, he remained in quite a good mood. Instead of being upset by all the frantic action to keep him from coughing, and help him to breathe… he revelled in it.

Justin spent those hours when he should have been sleeping, talking up a storm. I think he was taking advantage of the fact that Andrew was asleep & couldn’t talk over him (or for him). He told me about all the things he liked. He particularly listed everything that he was currently ‘in love’ with, which included a stuffed cow, a dresser, a power cord, and the clock with the little numbers. He asked hundreds of questions about all the interesting things he could see in the dark. And particularly liked the lights on the walls when cars would drive by. Frankly I had never heard him talk so much.

Unfortunately, though, he showed no signs of improving from the variety of medicines we were giving him, and showed no signs of sleeping. I was starting to lose steam.

We were rocking in the chair together (trying to calm down after another asthma treatment) when Justin looked at me, held up two fingers, and said: “I am two, Mommy.”

Sure enough I looked at the clock and it was 12:30 am … the morning of his birthday. Yup, he was officially two. How he knew, I am not sure.

For weeks he had been insisting he was one. When asked how old he was going to be – he would hold up both hands, with just one finger, and adamantly say ONE. In fact, he had never even held up two fingers before without help (and that is quite a feat for little hands and uncoordinated fingers).

But at that moment he realized it was his birthday, and he was now officially two. He smiled proudly at me because he KNEW he was right; he wanted to share the moment just with me, while we were quietly sitting on the rocking chair in the dark, hugging each other.

Happy Birthday sweetheart. Sorry you are sick, but I am glad I got to snuggle you on the instant you figured out that you were two. There are so many more things to come, so many things to look forward to, so many things to enjoy right now in this instant. I hope we can talk about it again, just the two of us, at midnight on the rocking chair.

November 15, 2007

Now that’s dedication

Filed under: Stories — by mvmommy @ 8:24 am

When I met my husband, I soon learned of his addiction.

It’s ice cream.

However, I am not sure that I would classify it as an addiction. It’s more a super-power of some sorts. He can consume large volumes of ice cream faster than any human alive. Yet he manages not to get a headache from the cold. AND, his mouth never gets too cold … thus, he is never forced to take breaks from the huge-single-scoop-like-proportions that he calls ‘a spoonful’.

In the early days of our dating, I learned of his ice cream fetish when his roommate would complain that every bowl in the apartment was always dirty because Nathan had ice cream every night. (Let’s not go into why they didn’t just wash them everyday.) And then later, his mother bought him bowls specifically FOR ice cream. And upon further inspection, I noticed that there was never a lack of options in the freezer. There were always ‘choices’ for your ice cream dessert; none were stale, and all were used quickly so that new choices could be brought in.

Impressive I thought to myself: a man who loves his dessert like I do.

In the early days of our marriage I tried to keep up. We would eat out of the carton while watching a show, and for every 2 spoonfuls he got – I could barely scarf down one. And I was trying. Trying HARD. I don’t like to be weaseled out of my fair share of a dessert. I am competitive that way.

So I tried to swallow the large portions, that he called spoonfuls, quickly. They were so huge they would make my mouth cold. And in the time that he shoveled another one down, and was offering me a 2nd, I was still trying to frantically swallow so I could ‘keep up’. In the end we had to agree that he would slow down, because I was watching him & counting. And there was NO WAY he was going to finish that carton by himself just because of his super-human-ice-cream-eating-mouth.

Frankly, I thought no one could rival this obsession.

Until Justin was born.

Justin can put away ice cream faster than we can dish it out. Honestly, if you make the mistake and serve him first… and continue to scoop ice cream for the next person… you have made a fatal flaw. He will be done before you bring the next bowl to the table. And he will be demanding more, and won’t give in until his needs are met. At two years old, he is definitely his father’s son.

But today….

Today he outdid his dad.

He ate his ice cream in record speed. While I savored my first spoonful, he was tilting the bowl to get the little drips that had melted before he could eat them. After successfully wiping it clean, he got up to clear his bowl. He walked to the kitchen, and stopped mid-step. He just stood there, staring at his bowl in horror.

Then he turned around and high-tailed it back to his seat. Threw the bowl on the table, jumped in the chair, and declared….

“THERE IS ONE MORE NUT IN THERE!”

Sure enough. He had missed a quarter of a nut speck that was left over from the Rocky Road he had consumed. And there was no way that little morsel was going to live to tell the tale.

He scraped it out, swallowed it, and got back to clearing his bowl – clearly proud of the work he had done.

I think Nathan has some serious competition. I can just picture them 10 years from now, having an ice-cream-a-thon. You think I am kidding… but you are sadly mistaken. That day will come. Guaranteed. And when they are sick to their bellies from the gallon they consumed in 5 minutes, I will be finishing my first scoop slow and steady, going back for a little more ….. if there is anything left.

November 13, 2007

Drying off

Filed under: Body Parts — by mvmommy @ 9:58 am

There are many moments that occur during my day when I think… wow… I couldn’t have predicted that one. Often they are the funny moments, those moments that I just thought people made up about their kids to get a laugh. Now I know that those stories are true, because someone couldn’t possibly make these things up.

Tonight during bath-time things started off the same.

Whoever gets out of the bath first, gets to pick the book. Predictably, Andrew got out first and I gave him a towel to start drying off.

Andrew: Mom, feel me, I am all dry.

Nope honey, you still have to do your legs.

Andrew: My feel my legs they are all dry now.

Okay sweetheart almost, but you have to do the back of your legs too.

(At this point I have taken Justin out of the tub and he’s laying on the floor next to where Andrew is standing, and I am drying him off as I watch Andrew towel off.)

Andrew: Am I dry now mom?

Yup, good job. The only part you missed was your bottom and your penis. Don’t forget those.

Justin: Andrew has a big penis

It is at this point I notice that Justin’s is lying on the floor, with his head positioned almost straight under Andrew’s bum.    Of course, he is taking the opportunity to size up his brother.   Boys will be boys, it doesn’t matter the age;  size does matter to them.

Andrew finishes drying himself, but is still standing in range of Justin.

Justin takes the opportunity to reach up, grab Andrew’s penis, and say:
“I have Andrew’s penis!”

Andrew swats him away, without a word, and simply goes about getting his underwear on.

I am sitting on the floor at this point trying to compose myself.  Did that just happen?

I try to explain to Justin that we don’t grab our brother’s penis. In fact, we don’t grab anyone’s penis. In fact, we don’t touch anyone in that area, girl or boy. Unless …… oh forget it.

Get your clothes on boys, let’s get in bed. Mommy needs to go downstairs and have a glass of wine and figure out how Daddy is going to explain this all to you tomorrow.

November 11, 2007

Retirement plans

Filed under: Stories — by mvmommy @ 9:48 am

A conversation from today, after Andrew noticed something completely obscure that no adult would have noticed:

Me: Andrew you are getting smarter by the minute! Soon you are going to smarter than Mommy & Daddy.

Andrew: Yeah, I am getting soooo smart. You won’t be smarter anymore, and I will be the smartest!

Me: That is right. If you get smarter than Mommy & Daddy, then maybe you will have to start taking care of us… instead of us taking care of you. (don’t they say you have to start early for retirement planning?)

Andrew: That’ll be GREAT! (with enthusiasm)

Obvious pause

Yes. That will be real great.
(said with an clearly nefarious tone in his voice)

Hummmm… maybe I shouldn’t dream of my kids taking care of me when I am older. I have a feeling that he might already be planning ways to show me how my decision to limit his sugar intake might not have been have been my wisest choice. I can see visions of my chocolate addiction being limited in my 80’s to ‘one half of one piece, and only after I eat my strained veggies and drink my Ensure’.

Payback could be painful.

November 9, 2007

Stupid Silicon Valley

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 10:17 am

Okay, so there is a lot to love here in the Bay Area. The weather, the opportunities, the ocean, the mountains, the country, the city, the shopping, the restaurants, the farmers markets. You name it, it can all be found right here.

I was born here, married here, and still haven’t moved away. So I guess that says about all there is to say about my current position. To all outside appearances, I have loved living here. And that was the truth until about a year ago.

The truth is that I don’t want to live here anymore. I don’t. And it’s for this only reason: the parents here are crazy. And by association, they are making me crazy.

It seems that everyone came here for the jobs. They were competitive. They got paid well. Everyone has some sort of money, and yet everyone seems to want and need more. We live in the land of the ‘haves’ and ‘have mores’. Then all these people had kids. And now they want everything for their kids.

Now what good parent doesn’t want their kid to have everything? I can see the need. I feel the pressure. I fit into that description in one way or another.  However, here in the Bay Area, the opportunities are endless – and so is the pressure and competition it seems. At age two, you can go to drop-off preschool, go to soccer practice, swim practice, art classes, music classes, farm lessons, hiking camps, language class, gymnastics, and the list just goes on.

It sounds ridiculous. And anyone looking in on this warped little scenario would have the perspective to say… yes, that is looney toons. However, most people that I meet here seem to be signed up for about 3 or more of these scheduled activities a week.

Today I took my youngest son his Mommy & me preschool. It’s once a week and only for 2 hours… and all that it involves is parents playing with their kids and learning about 2 year old development. While I was there, I figured that it was time that Justin got some playmates that were his own age (rather than just being dragged to his older brothers play-groups all the time). So I went around the class trying to find someone else who was free on Tuesday mornings.

I am telling you honestly… no one was. They are previously engaged with Spanish class, soccer lessons, french class, daycare, whatever… they were at it. In fact, they rattled their whole week off to me and there was some sort of class or structured activity that they listed for 90% of their days.

I have to say that I left a little disheartened.

I don’t want my kids to grow up in an area where they have to join every stupid class there is, just to feel normal. I want them to be around other kids who value spending time playing in their neighborhoods with the other neighborhood kids, spending time with their siblings, going to a few fun extra-curricular classes… but mostly learning to play without the aid of a teacher or hovering parent.

I had expected this school where the mom’s go with the kids to be different. I figured there would be more people like me in the group… but there wasn’t. And it disappointed me.

I read more & more about people who over-schedule their kids and I try really hard not to get sucked into it. But what do you do when there are no neighbor kids to be found because they are all at gymnastics class? Or what do you do when every preschooler is joining the after school language program, so there are no opportunities for play-dates with class friends?

If we move, how far do we have to go before this isn’t an issue?

Or is this everywhere now? And I just don’t realize it?

Today I am frustrated and disheartened.  Tomorrow I will go back to loving living near my family, who all live here.  But today I want to move and I don’t care to where.

November 8, 2007

Gratuitous Pictures

Filed under: Family — by mvmommy @ 1:28 pm

I know it’s late.

Most people have moved onto Thanksgiving. Some are already Christmas shopping. It is at this time that I remind you that Halloween was only a week ago. One week! Let’s not throw out that candy bag yet.

Here are some pictures to get you in the mood again.

The Family of Oz.

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There was a Tinman too. He will remain nameless & pictureless… for fear of retribution. I am sure you can picture it though.

Here is our friendly lion:

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The silly scarecrow:

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Please feel free to marvel at the fact that I made all these costumes. Yup, I am not above patting myself on the back. You know why? BECAUSE IT TOOK FOREVER. Was it cheaper? no. Was it easier? no. Did my kids get the most Halloween candy because they looked so dang cute? yes. To them… totally worth it. To me… priceless photo opportunities.

November 7, 2007

To my most loyal fan

Filed under: Stuff — by mvmommy @ 4:05 pm

Dear Shawn,

I must sincerely apologize for leaving you high & dry over the past month.

Honestly, blogging has become…. how do I say this….. boring.

It was fun for a while. I liked sharing my stories, irritations, laughs, and personal embarrassments. But now, I find that I am holding on to them and keeping them for myself. Why? I don’t know. I guess I am selfish… or maybe just lazy. Frankly typing it all out on the computer seems like so much effort these days. Maybe the daylight savings thing is screwing me up. I mean seriously…. how come it’s practically dark at 3:30 in the afternoon? What is a girl to do with that nonsense?

I digress.

I came to the realization that I was really being unfair to you Shawn. My most loyal reader, and probably my only reader. How could you survive without hearing more about my kids bodily functions? How would you get through your days without seeing gratuitous pictures of my kids on the Internet? How would you last One. More. Second. without me blogging for 1000 words about something that could be said in 5? How Shawn? HOW?

Well, today I have broken the silence to tell you how much I appreciate you and your readership. Though you are silent, I hear from the whispers of others that you find me hilarious. I think that you might be mocking my situation in life… but I am grateful that you find me funny and will choose to think that it is my wit that you are laughing at… not just simply me.

Please forgive my lack of appreciation of your readership. I will do my best to make it up to you. Just don’t expect me to be banging out posts like in the ‘good ol days’. Those days are gone Shawn. You will have to let them go.

Sincerely,

Michelle

PS> Joel, I know you are my other reader… but it’s too much pressure to live up to the expert writing that you expect from me. You will just have to settle for the crap that I write, and know that it comes from the heart… not the English classes I took back in college.

PPS> Shannon, don’t get all pissed off just because I mentioned Joel & Shawn. You know that I am trying to suck up to the men.

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