Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'm Talking, and I Can't Shut Up!

I talk a lot. I know this. And, if I didn't know already, enough people have told me that I should take the hint. The thing is, I just can't shut up.

Talking is a defense mechanism for me. I always talk the most in an uncomfortable situation. My goal is to make people laugh. Once that's accomplished, I feel so much better. If no one laughs, I just keep going. Sometimes, even when I'm doing it, in my head I think "STFU!" - but it just gets worse. And then, I just know that, when I leave, the people whose ears I just assaulted are talking amongst themselves about me! "That crazy woman who never shuts up."

I think there are a few reasons for this. I am the youngest of 4 kids, and we all fall into the stereotypical birth order thing. When I was little, I can remember sitting at the dinner table and feeling frustrated that no one was listening to me. They even used to play this "game," including my parents, where they interrupted me every time I tried to say something. Everyone else probably forgot about that. Not me. At my dinner table, all the kids get a turn, and they are NOT allowed to interrupt one another, even if their stories get a little nonsensical. That's how much I remember that "game."

The other reason I talk so much is that I have the world's loneliest job. My days are filled with toddler talk. As a social person by nature, it is amazing that I can spend the whole day without speaking to another grown up until my husband comes home. Most days, the only people I interact with are the grocery checker or, if I am very lucky, my 76 yr old next door neighbor. I tell everyone that the UPS man drops my packages and runs now because he doesn't have time for me. I have had long conversations with my cleaning lady as well as the man who cuts my grass. My husband is "treated" to a constant stream of chatter when he gets home, which thrills him, I'm sure. My best friend is much quieter than I am, which hopefully means she doesn't mind my ramblings too much.

My mother was also a talker. We were good for each other like that. I remember how hurt she was the time she overheard the receptionist at a doctor's office say, "That crazy lady is on the phone." She called me, close to tears, and asked me if people thought she really was a crazy lady. The feeling she had then is exactly how I feel now. In the past couple of weeks, I have had more than one person make some kind of comment about how I talk so much - the passive aggressive way of telling me to STFU, I'm guessing. Those comments always bother me and make me even more self-conscious. I really TRY not to talk so much. Honest.

I've been thinking about this a lot, lately. Why can't I shut up? So I decided that all this talking, blogging, Facebooking - maybe it's my way to keep from being invisible - keeping connected to the world when I rarely leave my house some weeks. Maybe it's my way of finally being heard at the dinner table.

So, bear with me. I promise not to bore you to tears if you promise to let me tell you a funny story now and then.....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Instant Karma's Gonna Get You.....

So, last night I was thinking that it was about time I got outside and got my fat middle aged butt some exercise. I get up fairly early anyway, so maybe I could take the dog for a walk before Toad leaves the house. It's not hot, so the threat of sweat is minimal. The neighborhood is safe, and there are lots of dog walkers out early.

Then I remembered that those dog walkers all carry around these little plastic bags. Sometimes, when I drive down the street, they give me the obligatory neighborhood wave with little baggie in hand - sort of a "dog poop salute" if you will. It seriously lessens the warm fuzzy feeling from the wave when it's done with a handful of dooky.

"I want to walk, but there is NO way I want to get that up close and personal with my dog's doings," I thought to myself. After all, these other walkers have little yippy dogs - probably much like cleaning a cat box. I have a Golden Retriever. That's more like mucking a horse stall - with a Wal-Mart bag..... I was pondering this quandry as I drifted off to sleep, wondering if my dog poop gag reflex was going to keep me from ever walking my beast.

And then, Karma. I was awakened by a bright light and a lumbering man exclaiming, "Well, THAT'S not good." Thankfully the man was Toad, who was up at 4 am to get ready for work. However, what he saw was my undoing. Dog poop. Everywhere. On the carpet. In my bedroom. At 4 freaking a.m.

I cursed loudly and repeatedly. Then I got out my Wal-Mart bag and got to work, one breath away from losing whatever was left of dinner.... Toad says of the dog, "Do you think he's sick?" "Yes," I say. "And I hope it's fatal." Cruel, I know, but it was a LOT of dog dooky. I decided I was done just in time to start waking the hellions up for school. Yippee.....

So, now the carpet needs to be cleaned; the dog should probably go to the vet; and I know I need a full sized garbage bag if I ever want to do my own neighborhood "Dog Poop Salute."

Ain't Karma a bitch?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

So Much More Than Just a Game

It's game day here in New Orleans. I realize that it's game day other places, too. I don't care about them. Our game days are special - especially this year. We are the home of the New Orleans Saints, perhaps the most maligned team in the entire NFL. And, today, we are undefeated, an indication that hell may very well be freezing over.

I was never a huge sports fan growing up. My dad could watch football anytime, anywhere. Sometimes I'd even catch him watching high school football when he couldn't find anything else. In my opinion, many a Thanksgiving was ruined by the blaring of some stupid game in the background. But the Saints were different.

Here in NOLA, we don't care about your hockey team, or your baseball team. We don't care who wins the World Series, and we don't really care about those guys who drive around in circles for hours on end. We care about basketball a bit more than we used to. That's been a sore spot ever since the Jazz ran off to Utah under cover of night all those years ago. Really, the Utah Jazz? There's a phrase that never has made much sense. But then the Hornets came to town and Chris Paul and David West and we thought we might could love us some basketball. This year, however, the Hornets may as well be playing in Timbuktu, because it's all about the Black and Gold.

The Saints started out playing in Tulane Stadium, and I remember going to those games with my Daddy. I must have been about 5 or 6 - small enough to ride in on his shoulders. I'd sit on the wooden bleachers and watch him have a few beers with his friends, trying to figure out when to cheer. I remember watching the Superdome being built - it was the biggest thing I'd ever seen at the time. I remember going there to see the Saints play for the first time. In high school my family had Saints season tickets and Tulane tickets. That meant we went to the Dome twice each weekend. We watched Tulane lose on Saturday, and then watched the Saints lose on Sunday. Those were the days of the people with bags over their heads, the 'Aints. Traitors, every last one of them!

But, you see, in New Orleans, we are a stubborn people. We are used to being a bit disappointed and still managing to smile. Katrina came. The levees broke. The Superdome became a symbol of something awful and tragic. Our Saints had to play in Baton Rouge and San Antonio. The players themselves had lost so much, and yet they still played - and lost. And, at the same time, people around the country had the audacity to suggest we were whiners because our city had been virtually washed away. Some even said we shouldn't rebuild at all - as though ours was a place that should just be shuffled off to anywhere else....

And then, something amazing happened. While we all worked on putting our lives back together, the Dome was being put back together again. And so was our team. And when that day came, when we all watched the Saints, the new and improved Saints, come into that Dome and kick Atlanta's butt - there wasn't a dry eye in town. It was about so much more than football.

We have a winning team. A group of overpaid men in tights who get the crud knocked out of them every weekend, and keep coming back for more. Players who make the news for good reasons, who believe in this town and actually do the right thing. They are fighters - just like the people who cheer them on every weekend. Many thought they were done - too wounded or washed up, not good enough. And many thought the same about this town. And they were wrong on both counts.

We have invested in this team - all of our heart and soul. We have been trying to show the rest of you that we are for real. We deserve respect. We are strong and resilient. We are proud to be from here. It is who we are. New Orleans is as much a part of us as we are a part of it. It means so much to this city - with its corrupt politicians, buffoon of a mayor, abandoned houses and pothole-filled streets - to have something we are proud of. Laugh at us for living below sea level, for getting nervous every time it rains, for being dependent on levees to keep us dry, for our ridiculous crime rate. But, if only for this season, respect us for our team and for all of us who have always BELIEVED.

It is, indeed, so much more than just a game.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Where the Hell Have You Been, Young Lady?

OK, I'm giving it another shot. I like my blog. It's fun to write, and I hope it's fun to read. But, you'll have to pardon me when I don't check in for long periods of time. I can't let blogging interfere with my Facebooking, and, well, I'm supposed to be parenting, too. I'm sure there was something else I needed to do tonight, but Farmville made me forget it.

Anyway, not much has changed lately. I made it through the whole summer with the family intact, which at times did not seem such a certainty. Big D is surviving 4th grade gifted in NEW school even though I'm pretty sure he has never turned in a single assignment that my hands haven't touched at some point. Dubya actually won an award for exceptional behavior, but I didn't quite believe him until I saw it published in the paper with his picture and his name spelled right. His teacher also insisted that he get tested for gifted classes, which makes me wonder where his hidden twin hides when they get home. And, P3 is just, well, she's 2. She talks more, but I am still the only one who understands her most of the time. She's learning how to use the potty just well enough that I put her in big girl panties. Of course, she then promptly pees on the floor. I love potty training.

So, anyway, I'll try and write more often if you promise to read and leave me a comment now and then. I'd like to think my husband isn't the only one reading this - because, if that's the case, I can just walk in the other room and tell him everything. It would be faster, and he'd probably pay just as much attention either way!

Happy thoughts!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Big D's 7 Things.....

It is actually not really fair to give him 7 things. While there are a TON of things about him that drive me crazy, he is also REALLY sensitive and won't see the humor in this one bit if he reads it - which he will - because he's nosy.

Well, there are the first two:

You're too sensitive.

You're REALLY nosy.

Actually, to get a list of the 7 Things That Annoy Me About Big D, follow these instructions.

Go to Wikipedia - look up Asperger's Syndrome - read the symptoms - there's my list.

Big D has a very slight touch of Asperger's, which makes me feel a huge amount of sympathy for the moms of kids with full blown Asperger's. In D's case, AS means he takes everything literally, likes to monologue on his favorite subjects at great length, is currently obsessed with Guitar Hero, is a little uncoordinated, WILL NOT be interrupted, refuses to eat a huge variety of foods because of their texture, talks like a 30 year old, has the handwriting of a kindergartner, has trouble reading social cues and basically wears a sign on his forehead that says "make fun of me" to all the "friendly" kids at school.

On the plus side - he reads constantly - and almost 5 grades above level, is oblivious to the fact that he's a little quirky, is wicked smart, fun to be around, can actually talk to me about a variety of subjects many adults have a hard time with, has a beautiful singing voice, is full of love for his family, and could very well change the world one day.

He is terrible at baseball, but loves to play. This makes it interesting. Like when an over eager dad said, "Does he need some extra practice in the oufield? I don't think he's ever played before." I am pretty sure he didn't expect me to say matter of factly, "Oh no, he's played before - he's just not very good." And, as long as he doesn't care if the kid on the ballfield called him a retard, I'll try not to care either (although I do reserve the right to trip the next kid who does.) In D's literal world, trying to make him feel stupid is so ridiculous, it's not even insulting. As in, "Well, Mom, I'll just tell him that since I am in gifted classes and test 2 standard deviations above the norm, there is certainly no way I am a retard." Yeah, babe, that oughta shut him right up. And let's not even get into the discussion I had to have about use of the word retard at all. I just love elementary school!

He is innocence and wisdom rolled into one. He is undefinable. He is shy one moment and confident the next. He is well-known at school for reasons both good and bad. He is at times my greatest joy and my most difficult puzzle.

So, that's my D in a nutshell. My oldest child, full of heart and love and quirks. And, while he does, indeed, make me crazy sometimes, I confess I wouldn't have him any other way.

And I promise not to let him read this until he's older.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The 7 Things I Hate About You..... Dubya's Turn

So, in the interest of fairness, I now present Dubya's version of the 7 things.... quirks, habits, annoyances, idiosyncrasies....

  1. You change your clothes more often than Kate Moss during Fashion Week. It's not the fashion, so much. It's an itchy tag here, a sleeve too long there.... You make me need to buy stock in Tide.
  2. You were born in 2003, which means you began to talk sometime in 2004. That's at least 5 years of hearing your voice - non-stop. You absolutely never stop talking. There should be a Guinness World Book entry for this, but I don't think there is.
  3. All that talking? It's done at a decibel level that could rival a Metallica concert. When you try, you can break glass with that voice. When you're not trying, you're still loud. One day you will understand why I spend so much time playing the "Whisper Game."
  4. You rarely spend an entire night in your own bed, which is probably the only reason you and your brother have managed to share a room this long. You always crawl in with Dad and me. And then you shove your icicle feet under various parts of me to warm them up. Talk about a rude awakening!
  5. The icy feet belie the real you. Sleeping next to you is like sleeping under a moving electric blanket. Lately, I've been waking up in a sweat. I thought it was early menopause, but then I realized you were next to me each time. Of course, it might help if you did not wrap yourself around me in a full body nocturnal hug.
  6. I am not allowed to throw anything away, especially anything your hands have touched. You actually dig through the trash to make sure no masterpiece has slipped through. My fridge is often covered with crumpled up Dubya artwork that you have rescued after it "accidentally" got in the trash. By the same token, I can only throw broken or old toys away when you are not home. The sound of clanking plastic alerts you to a possible infraction on my part. You are positively apoplectic at the thought of our impending garage sale.
  7. And, lastly, you love to sing, but I am pretty sure you are tone deaf. You also love to dance, but I'm pretty sure you have your father's sense of rhythm, which means none at all. This is not particularly annoying, except when you try to play the drums on Guitar Hero. I am always reaching over with my hand and hitting a drum to the beat so that y'all don't get booed off the stage. I mean, I'm sure you're mine, but this trait definitely did not come from my side of the family.

Phew! I feel better. You are my crazy, funny child. My biggest challenge in many ways, and my sweetest reward. You have an incredible future ahead of you, Sweet Boy - but it's definitely not on American Idol! Love you, Mom

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The 7 Things I Hate About You.....

Look, having kids is an adventure. You really never know what to expect every day. You have one kid, and you think you know what the hell you're doing after a while. Then, perhaps, you add to the chaos by having more. It is at this point you realize you have no earthly idea how to parent. I mean, who knew they'd all have personalities and differences and preferences and be, ya know, INDIVIDUALS? I mean, give a mom a break! I can't remember how I like my own latte at Starbucks, much less which kid likes Wendy's chicken nuggets, but not their fries, or that one kid likes his clothes a little on the small side and another wants to swim in his.....

So, sometimes, they annoy me. The quirks and quibbles. The things I call "idiosyncrasies" when I am being generous. It's easy to make list after list of things I love about them, but today - after 10 days of Spring Break which, for me, included NOT ONE SECOND ALONE, I give you....

The 7 Things I Hate (or strongly dislike) About You - the P3 version
  1. For whatever reason, you refuse to remain clothed, especially when company is over. Please tell me this is not a harbinger of your future profession.
  2. You tell me at least 20 times a day that you have pooped when you haven't. And it's usually in your emergency voice - the one you would use if napalm were burning your butt. Of course, there's rarely anything there.
  3. You like to pull your brothers' hair - a lot. And, rather than just pull, you grip their hair in your fat little hand and hold on like a pit bull on a shih tzu - all the while grinning like something out of The Omen.
  4. When you are finished with anything in your reach, you throw it - HARD. Sippy cup, bowl of spaghetti, spoon, cell phone, remote control. Once this week you just barely missed a poor old lady at Chili's with your spoon....
  5. You have the same unintelligible word for like four different things. Deciphering what you want at any given time can leave us both like quivering, whimpering pools of frustration.
  6. You like to sing yourself lullabies while we rock to sleep. However, you do this at the top of your lungs, thus eliminating any calming factor it might have. LA, LA, LAAAAH!! LA, LA, LAAAH!!! If I close my eyes, I see you at a long table, holding your beer stein high while swaying back and forth with a couple of old guys in Lederhosen....
  7. And, lastly.... Your favorite phrase.... "AHHH DOOOO!" This means you want to do it yourself - no matter what. And, while I recognize that this is a normal and essential developmental stage, you simply cannot drive yourself to the grocery to get your own juice. Having a meltdown about it will not change that. It's the law!
I love you, Little Bit. Everything. Always!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Lies Your Mother Told You.....

OK, OK. First off, I am very sorry to the three people who read me on a regular basis. I have not posted for a long time for a whole bunch of reasons -none of them serious and none of them particularly good. However, I am back, for better or worse.

And, so, here am with some more of my random thoughts.....

As regular readers may know, my mom and I were very close. She was not perfect by any means, but she was a good mother. Only now am I able to understand her better as I try to raise these kids of mine!

Before she died, I was aware of some of the lies she told me, but now I know even more. These were all lies that were "for my own good," but I share them with you here to save you the trouble of figuring them out yourself! Some are big, some just little white lies, but I think we deserve to know the truth:

  • If you swallow gum, it will not form a ball in your stomach and stay there for seven years. Ditto fingernails.
  • If you marry an ugly man, he is not necessarily nicer to you because "he is more grateful."
  • You are not necessarily beautiful to others because your mother says so. You are probably beautiful to her, but I am not guaranteeing it.
  • You were not a perfect baby.
  • If you cross your eyes, they will not stick that way.
  • Your mother loves you all the time, but there are many times she didn't like you much.
  • She always wished your father would be more involved with you.
  • No matter what she said, there were times she questioned whether motherhood was the right choice for her.
  • It does NOT get dark at night so that all the flowers and trees can sleep, too.
  • There are not 365 good ways to use ground beef, no matter how broke you are.
  • She did not want the burnt piece of toast every time.
  • And, here's the biggie.... she did not love all of you the same, and she did have a favorite. The thing is, the favorite changes constantly and the amount of love is the same, she just loves you all for the different ways you are. Well, unless you're a real jerk of a kid, in which case all bets are off.

And, for the record, Big D is usually my favorite to hang out with, but lately Dubya has been a whole heap of fun. I love all of my kids, but each one in a completely different way. And every day there's a different favorite, and I just hope it all evens out in the long run.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Toad!

I know you think you are getting old, but we all disagree. Smile and be happy today! I love you. Your kids love you. Life is so good in our 40s. Who could ask for more?

Hope your day is fabulous.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why My Job is Harder than Yours.....

OK, I know all about the whole "working mother" vs "stay at home mother" controversy. I have been on both sides of this argument, and I am taking a stand. I officially announce that, for me, staying at home is a lot harder. I know I may get some people annoyed, but, as I said, I have seen both sides of this coin.

Let's take, for example, your boss. I have had some really crappy bosses, including the one who was functionally illiterate and asked me to write all of her correspondence so no one would know about her poor skills. She also made comments about how great it was to walk around with all of her male managers because they were so good looking. There was the one who told me that, even though we didn't get paid but minimum wage, working for such a great company was its own reward (doesn't pay the rent, sister). Then there was the one I worked like a dog for during a whole pregnancy, including a whole heap of really physical stuff, only to get FIRED three weeks into my maternity leave for reasons I still don't fully understand - nor really care about, actually. But, really, who in the hell fires someone on maternity leave?!

So, suffice it to say, I have worked for some serious losers - none of whom read this blog (so it's not any of YOU!). As bad as they were, they weren't as tough as my current bosses, my children. And here's why:

  • Your boss has never hit you. Yesterday, I was hit with shoes, little fists, a plastic baseball bat, and a plastic bowl. I was also kicked in the nose.
  • Your boss does not sleep in your bed. I cannot remember the last time I did not wake up to find a kid in between Toad and me.
  • Your boss makes their own meals and snacks. I am the sole provider of all food related items to a household of 5 people and 3 animals. They would all starve if not for me, except perhaps my husband who can indeed microwave a hot dog.
  • Your boss gives you a set work schedule with federally mandated days off. I know you may work long hours as my husband does, but there are days when you don't have to go. And generally speaking, there are stretches of time when you are "off." This does not happen to me. My job starts when the first kid is up, usually by 6 or 6:30 am, and it ends, well, I'm not sure when it ends. Usually I am caring for a child for about 15 hours straight. It's not always the same child, mind you, but still. If the baby takes a nap, I get about a 30 minute break. When they are all asleep, I do household stuff for an hour or two. There are no days off, no weekends off, and my bosses come with us on vacation.
  • No matter how mean your boss is, you can call in sick. If I am hospitalized, perhaps, my husband may be able to take the day off. We do not use this option for colds, flus, etc.
  • Your boss lets you get a lunch break. If you are really lucky, you get to do this away from your office and with other people. I usually eat lunch around 2:00 or when my hands start shaking, whichever comes first. It is never in a restaurant and must always be shared with one of my bosses. I remember my working lunches and what a relief it was just to get away for a little while!
  • You may have to figuratively kiss your boss's butt every now and then, but I know for a fact you don't actually have to wipe it. 'Nuff said about that.

When I was working, my kids were in daycare. It was hard, and I really missed them. However, I had conversations with adults, had a little down time every day and filled our time together with as much fun as I could. In the meantime, at daycare, they were potty trained, weaned from a bottle, learned stuff, and got really tired! I remember the stress of trying to do it all while working. But, now, the stress is even worse. I'm not sure why, really. All I know is, this is definitely the hardest job I've ever had.

That said, although my bosses are all really demanding, they all kissed me goodnight last night and told me they love me. And, this week, I got my very first unsolicited kiss and hug from P3. In the end, the pay may stink, but the rewards are still pretty good. I am glad I am able to be here for them, day in and day out. I am proud of the little people they are becoming and know I am a huge part of it. But, if you see me walking around town looking a little frazzled, why not invite me out to lunch?!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Story of My Life.....

No additional comment necessary....

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy Talk, Keep Talkin' Happy Talk.....

That's a line from South Pacific, in case you were wondering. If you are not familiar with the movie/musical South Pacific, then stop reading now, go over to Netflix and put it in your queue, and then come back.

OK. Done? Let's move on.

I know my last post was a big old downer, and I apologize for being so depressing, but I sure feel better having written it. Of course, if you are expecting Pollyana, you have so clicked in the wrong spot. I can't help you there. But, I must share that we are now approaching my favorite time of year.

I love New Year's because it's such a cathartic thing, full of hope and excitement, kind of a tabula rasa, if you will. (Told you I was smart...) I love turning the page on the calendar to January and planning out things for Mardi Gras leading into Spring. I love that my calendar must always be a real paper one that I can write on with just the right pen. No one else is allowed to mess up my calendar.

Our first event this year will be Toad's 40th birthday, an occasion he is loathe to celebrate. As I mentioned before, he thinks he'll be old at 40, which doesn't help me feel better about turning 44 in February. After our birthdays, comes Mardi Gras, for which we may have visitors this year, which should be great. I love to show off my hometown, warts and all, to first timers. And, then comes March!

I may have neglected to mention this, but all three of our children have March birthdays. I have no idea how this happened really, but all three were born at least two weeks early, and all landed in March. I just know I have never had the misfortune of being pregnant in the Deep South in the summer, and for that I am grateful. Anyway, I am excited about planning some kind of birthday party or parties for them. Because the weather is usually great at that time of year, we have a lot of options. My kids are just lucky to have me, I swear. They better pick a really nice nursing home in my old age....

And, as for resolutions, I have made a few, but I like to keep it simple.

  • I will strive to lead a healthier lifestyle.
  • To that end, I will let go of my stress. I am going to learn to breathe again....
  • And, with that, will come the ability to enjoy my children more rather than get all riled up about the messes they make - and the noise.
  • And, I will organize one annoying closet or space in the house each month. And finally get all the Katrina crap out of the garage because it still smells like mold.

And, so, I wish you all a very Happy New Year! Stick with me, it's going to be fun!