Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It's a Brave New World

Forgot to tell you this one....Recently Small Fry was asked the name of the baby doll she was holding, to which she replied: "Her name is Barbiedotcom." O-Kaaaayyyyy.

Ivory Soap Floats

Here's something fun to do: Pitch a tent in the woods and drift in and out of sleep all night while looking at a zillion stars and a brighter-than-bright three-quarter moon. Don't worry about large beetles the size of your fist flying into your lantern. Don't worry about wee girls still giggling in the tent at 10 p.m. Don't worry about the woman who saw you completely nekkid ('cause that's what we say in the woods) when you had to run out of the shower to save your youngest child from being dropped headfirst onto the concrete floor by your oldest child. All that's chicken feed compared to the stars! And a kayak ride on a silent lake at dusk with just the moon and some frogs as your witnesses. And a group of grown-up Boy Scouts from Jacksonville asking you to take their picture and then sharing their bountiful assortment of brownies and flag-shaped cookies with your wide-eyed children. And playing Uno until you've laughed yourself silly. And stuffing yourself with beef stroganoff, which tastes amazingly delish when cooked on a camp stove. Yep, that's a really fun thing to do! Welcome, Summer....

Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Well-Oiled Machine: Kerchunk

Is it possible to have blogger's block? I have nothing worthwhile to write about. So I'll just write about something non-worthwhile. You lucky reader you! Tomorrow is the last day of school for Big Stuff. Yikes! Just yesterday was the First Day of School. How did she learn to read, do math and discuss world events in just one day? It's incredible, I tell you. I must admit I'm rather rattled about the prospect of (dum, dum, dum)... a CHANGE IN MY ROUTINE. For someone who fancies herself to be somewhat carefree and spontaneous, it's a real shock to realize I'm not spontaneous at all. I feel like the world is spinning out of control! How will I be able to form an uninterrupted thought with the gals at my shoulder all day, every day? Where am I going to find my Piece of Quiet? More importantly, what will I do without a new episode of Lost for three whole months?! It boggles the mind. It's like my routine is this gorgeous piece of artwork I have sculpted out of nothing, and it's working like a machine, right? A machine that breaks down once or twice a week, but still. It's MY machine, so don't knock it. And now I have to let it go and start all over again. I don't know why I'm so rattled. There are LOTS of good things happening this summer. Here's one: We're going on vacation soon! I have a feeling that a week of no phone, no TV, no driving to and fro, very little food preparation, a minimum of laundry and the sound of waves will help transition me into a better frame of mind. The hardest decision I have in front of me is what book to take. Yeah, baby! Now that's a change in routine I can get on board with.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Piece of Quiet

When did Mother's Day become more important to me than my birthday, anniversary and Christmas all rolled into one? Oh yeah, six years ago! This one was the sweetest so far as my girls are of the age where they took great pleasure in showering me with gifts, like paintings of their hands made into flower gardens and a "monkey that was a dog but his ears fell off on the bus," and saying Happy Mother's Day to me every 10 minutes or so, a sentiment accompanied by dandelions and lazy susans and any other flower-like species of wildlife they happened to come across. It was the BEST, Jerry. The BEST. Cutie Pie planned (I love him for this) a whole picnic, swimming-in-the-lake, sitting-on-the-fake-lake-beach extravaganza, complete with gifts and child disciplining and decisionmaking for the entire day. I was exhausted, but feeling very appreciated, by day's end. Cutie Pie, as Big Dog in Charge, got the bulk of our usual neverending questions, endless streams of comments, not-always fascinating observations and plethora of circular arguments, all of which started with "Daddy...Daddy... Daddy, hear this..." (usually they start with "Mama....Mama.... Mama, hear this...") He sometimes asks me, "Are they always like this?" Yes, darling, they are. Which is why I'm often sprawled on the couch on my second glass of wine in front of Seinfeld, children banished to some remote part of the house, when you get home. I know. I'm a bad wife. But by 6:30, I'm usually too tired to care. Sometimes, especially in the Silver Bullet after surviving some long, multi-interrupted errand together, I tell them to just Stop Talking, Mama needs some peace and quiet. I know. I'm a bad mother. But they give as good as they get. For example, Big Stuff or I will be saying something to each other when Small Fry suddenly pipes up, "Everyone! Be Calm! I Need A Piece of Quiet." Amen, sister. (Although I think she says this less out of needing quiet time than of needing to be the center of attention). But I'm just sayin'...How can they talk SO much? How can they say the same sentence SO many times? I vaguely remember a time when I was DYING for them to say their first words. Now we have running commentary, all day every day. I also remember being alone with them when they were babies and thinking - geez, hours have gone by, and I haven't spoken words out loud to them (because Mama can easily go for hours without speaking). How will they learn language? I am stunting their growth!! Back then, I always had the TV running, not because we were watching it, but so they could hear someone speaking in the background. I know. I'm a bad mother. Little did I know my girls' verbalization would one day be the least of my worries. Maybe it's all the daytime talk shows they heard when they were babies.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Green Girl

Small Fry and I had a date yesterday. Or more accurately, a "benture." We woke up with nothing to do and no agenda, which is so very rare you know. So, we decided to visit the botanical gardens down in Atlanta. I told her we were going to see some Big Bugs, to which she quite rightly and worriedly asked, "Are they nice bugs, Mama?" I felt like a tourist in a strange, yet strangely familiar, city as we drove by all those tall buildings, one in which I once worked. I was reminded of days many moons ago when I would struggle to get to my lowly intern's desk so I could do my minion bidding for a few hours (for less than minimum wage and far less than minimum treatment) before bursting out the front doors to walk the city streets to Piedmont Park, the gardens, the "cool old house" district and other amazing places (my true purpose for showing up at the lowly intern's desk). Fun lunch hours were followed by the dread of trudging back to the Land of the Idiots only to find my hubcaps stolen or some other such delightful thing. But yesterday. Yesterday, I didn't have to go back to any office full of idiots. Small Fry and I had the whole day to ourselves. She was an awesome escort around the gardens, pointing out every Robin Redbreast, every bug, BIG or normal-sized, every fish and tadpole and smelling every flower, herb and pile of manure in her path. She declared the pink roses her favorite (what do you know?), and she insisted on a picture with every scuplture and fountain. The Green Man, which greets you at the entrance to the children's garden, was one such scupture. Green Man is a mythical half-man, half-plant scuplted with face of kudzu. Yesterday, Small Fry was my Green Girl. And our best new discovery? A splash fountain where little kids are actually encouraged to get drenched, fully clothed. I listened to a group of city moms talking about stuff their kids do - one knowledgeable sort was talking to a newly-transplanted Brit about language lessons. It was a bit of a different world down there. When the kids are small, it's such a hassle to go anywhere that you tend to stay close to home, close to your much-loved buds and ensconced in your comfortable little suburban bubble. Traffic must be avoided at all costs you know. And in the meantime, I forget how much I love the city with its foreign accents and bustling activity and granola moms and business suits and dogs in the park and old houses and Southern charm and everything else. I could imagine us living like a little bohemian family in a high rise overlooking the park and going to art shows on the weekends and walking to the market and going to plays. Not that I'm not perfectly happy in my suburban bubble, but it's fun to try on something new now and then. That's what bentures are all about!

36 Going On 6

Do you remember being 6? I think I can remember it, and it's probably the first year I do remember. Of course, the farther I get away from 6, the less I remember about it. Next year, 7 will be the year of enlightenment. My baby turned 6 recently. A very cool birthday, where you have your own ideas about which friends to invite and what kind of party you want to have. But you're not so opinionated yet that you insist on a party with a thousand kids that will break the bank or the patience of your parents. You still enjoy the simple and the few, the quality versus the quantity. I do know that I was 6 when I met my best friend. When I was 6, I learned to ride a yellow bike down the sidewalk between our house and Aunt Kathleen's house. When I was 6, I wanted to pick everyone's flowers, much to my mom's and neighbors' chagrin, since our whole block and everything in it belonged to me. When I was 6, I think I remember having my birthday party in my parents' garage, and I got to invite friends from school and neighbors down the street... and I think I cried because I didn't get a prize for winning one of the birthday games (I was unswayed by the argument that I was the birthday girl, for crying out loud, and didn't I just get a whole table full of gifts??). Now my girl is 6. And she gets to do all the great things that 6-year-olds do. Man, nothing beats being a kid, does it? And guess what? It's pretty fun doing it all over again too.