Friday, August 29, 2008

Alternative Uses For Bubble Solution

  1. Provides an effective non-toxic lubricant for tightening or loosening nuts and bolts or other mechanical fittings.
  2. Can be applied to fingers to remove a ring that is too tight or has become stuck due to swelling of the hands.
  3. Can be used to detect leaks of inflatable items, such as pool toys or beach balls. Apply solution and bubbles will appear wherever the hole is located allowing air to escape.
  4. Can also be used to detect any possible leaks from gas pipes or fittings, such as the type used for a gas grill or a gas clothes dryer. In similar manner as above, apply to fitting and check for bubbles, indicating a gas leak.
  5. When given to a four year old to pour all over the front steps, for maximum effect, allow his father (who thinks bubble solution will "dry up") to supervise. One hour later it will create a spectacularly colorful bruise on my ass. But not nearly as large and colorful as the one to my ego as my neighbors watch me fly ungracefully on said posterior for no apparent reason.

Tomorrow we will cover alternative uses for bubble gum, including emergency leak patching, and impromptu hair fixative for the baby.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Like Jimmies On A Sundae

"Jimmies" is a Pittsburgh-ese term. At least I think it is. The waitress at Friendly's in Myrtle Beach looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language when I requested them for Jamie's ice cream sundae.

Jimmies are "sprinkles" - those little wax covered sugary things that come in rainbow colors (and indeterminate flavor) or black/brown chocolate flavor that always make the item in question look vaguely like it is covered in ants.

And yet. A soft serve ice cream cone just isn't complete without them.

Early in the summer I absentmindedly swiped at Jamie's face with a baby wipe in a futile attempt to remove some of the grime that always seems to emerge regardless of if he's been rolling in the dirt or sitting quietly on the couch.

I noticed a few spots were more stubborn than others. On closer inspection, I marveled, "Jamie! You've got freckles!"

He'd never had them before you see. This face that I've looked at every single day of his life, all 1509 of those days, has grown, but remained essentially the same baby soft, apple cheeked, pointy chinned face.

Until now.

How very lucky I am to be witness to something as simple as the arrival of his first freckles. We can only hope I won't wax as poetic over his first pimple. And if he takes after his Daddy I may not live long enough to see his first chest hair.

But his freckles only serve as the sprinkled topping on the sweetest boy I could ever ask for.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Privacy Not Included

I wasn't a terribly shy or extremely modest person before I became a Mom. At least I don't think so. It's hard to remember who I was B.K. (Before Kids) sometimes. But now that I have children I have no shame whatsoever.

Children have no desire for privacy therefore they don't see why I should want any. Anyone who can yodel "COME WIPE MY BUM!" at the top of their lungs loud enough that it reaches me in the basement from the bathroom on the second floor just isn't interested in bathroom etiquette.

I've shared these bathroom stories with friends over the years. They always laugh and chuckle and nod, but I think most of them chalk it up to my typical use of exaggeration to tell a good story.

So it was with much delight that I received this email from my best friend Melissa a few weeks ago. Melissa had her first baby shortly after I had my third, and her lovely daughter Leone has entered that delightful stage of toddlerdom where closed doors are not an option.

"Wanted to let you know that all these years when I thought I’d really appreciated what you were on about when you wished you could have a pee in private…..I THOUGHT you meant that it was because you had one or more little people in there with you…What I didn’t realize until lately was that THEY WANT TO LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN TOO!!"

Welcome to my world my dearest old friend. I've been waiting for you to get here for the longest time.

But now I'm pretty sure I've achieved the pinnacle of public displays of urination.

We took the kids to Idlewild Park on Friday. It's a local amusement park in Ligonier, PA and we try to get there once a year. It's a one hour drive so we always take pajamas with us and get everyone changed before we head home so we can put everyone straight to bed.

I took the two girls into the public restroom in the parking lot so I could change Meredith's diaper and Sabrina and I could use the facilities. Meredith was still in the stroller when we entered the bathroom, and I figured this would nicely solve the problem of how to keep her contained while I used the facilities.

But Sabrina decided to use the large handicapped stall and was still in it when I needed to go. I couldn't leave Meredith alone while I went in the stall and of course the stroller wouldn't fit in the stall with me. The stall door will just have to stay open and I'll use the stroller as a shield of sorts.

As I sat down, I realized I was in a stall, with the door wide open, in a brightly back lit public bathroom, in full view of the dark parking lot. Not unlike peeing on stage in the spotlight of a dark theater. But there is a point of no return so to speak once you get started. And of course three people came in as I sat there grinning weakly and hoping they too were Moms.

Did you hear that? That was the last shred of my dignity hitting the floor.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

If You See A Green Guy Wearing Sandals, Tell Him We Need To Talk

These are all of Meredith's shoes that currently fit.

Cute shoes right? So what's wrong with this picture?

Well when I say "all" I do mean ALL.

I have not been able to locate mates for these shoes for about three months. Those sandals have done her loads of good this summer haven't they?

How can these shoes go so completely missing? You read how small my house is. There just aren't that many places to get lost here. The only plausible explanation I can come up with is that either aliens have given up abducting humans and performing sexual experimentation on them and are now just really into shoes, or there is a crack in the space/time continuum located somewhere in between my kitchen and living room.

When my husband and I began living together in 1995, he would frequently lose ONE of his shoes. Since I'm positive I read a headline in the Weekly World News right around then that a woman in the Midwest gave birth to an alien infant, the aliens weren't collecting shoe samples yet. And we lived in an apartment so that shoots down the wrinkle in time theory.

I think I'll have to just accept that it's genetic.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Suspicious Ingredients

"I like fish Mama. Are shrimp fish?"


"Oh. I don't like shrimp. I like hot dogs! Are hot dogs fish?"


"Yeah that's right. They're dogs."

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Like Trying To Put A Bikini On A Pig

We have a small house. No really. It's REALLY REALLY small. Dust mites are moving out because they're feeling a bit cramped.

When Dave and I bought this house a small house was okay. It was just the two of us. And while I had this vague idea that there might be children some day, I think I just figured - kids. Small people. How much room can they take up?

If you already have a child, I'll pause while you finish snorting your beverage out of your nose. If you have no kids (yet) consider this fair warning.


It starts in infancy. Who knew baby stuff could take up so much room? As they grow and change, the toys and gear get bigger and more plentiful. And that's only for ONE child.

We have a 1,088 square foot, two bedroom home. Five people live here. Two full grown adults and three small to medium-sized children. You do the math.

But, the housing market being what it is, and our finances being what they are (can you call them finances when they don't exist?) we're stuck here for awhile.

So the obvious temporary solution was bunk beds. Perfect right? I know I always wanted them as a kid. How cool is it to sleep 5 feet in the air?

Bunk beds are a slightly different experience as a Mom. Eventually those sheets need to be changed. Suddenly 5 feet in the air doesn't seem so cool.

If you are at all familiar with me, you know I am gravitationally challenged. In other words, I fall down a lot. Trying to balance on the bottom bunk holding on with one hand to put the sheets on the top bunk, making brief brave attempts to use both hands before tipping backwards just seems like tempting fate.

Then again me, 5 feet in the air trying to do anything, is a bad idea. But of the two this seemed the option most likely to achieve a made bed and an intact skull.

Have you ever tried to make a bed while you're sitting on it? Go ahead. Try it. I'll wait. It's sort of like trying to put your pants on standing up without lifting your feet.

After wrestling and cursing the first corner on I moved to the next corner, at which time the first corner promptly popped off. This involved more cursing and wrestling and trying to hold the next corner on with my foot while stretching across to the far side corner. Screw the top sheet. What is the point of it anyway?

I finally finished the bed after 30 minutes of sweating, teaching Jamie 5 new words he should not, but will, promptly repeat, and only smacking my head once. In my world, we call that success.

While I was up there I noticed the boldly lettered warning label stating "CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF SIX SHOULD NOT BE PERMITTED ON THE TOP BUNK."

I'm off to type my letter of recommendation to the manufacturer for new wording for the label.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Sometimes A Toilet Beats Out Brad Pitt

"Mama I was having a really good dream and I accidentally wet the bed in my sleep."

What were you dreaming?

"I was dreaming about being on the toilet."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

They Come By It Honestly

The cicadas are singing in the evening and that can only mean one thing. From somewhere deep in my psyche it signals to my brain that school is about to start. Whereas at the age of 11 or 12 this inspired a creeping sense of dread, at 38, it is music to my tired ears.

My ears can only take so much more of the whining.

How does everyone do this? How is it that I go to other people's houses and there are no crayons stuffed into the couch and dirty socks on the front steps. No naked Barbies lying about like tiny prostitutes on display for visiting sailors. No dirty laundry clumped in corners waiting for someone to harvest it. No clean laundry lying about in baskets praying for a home.

How do they manage to get it all cleaned up and still not have to listen to the whining? Or conversely manage fun and educational activities for three different age groups simultaneously without anyone being unsupervised outside where there are child molesters and werewolves and the Ice Cream Man and that weird guy with the beard that lives up the street?

The days that I am the official cruise director and everyone gets out of the house!!!? Everyone gets recommended exercise! Fresh air! FUN! Those days? Well let's just say my house looks worse for wear on those days.

Today I couldn't put it off any longer. The kitchen was no longer suitable for anything intended for human consumption. If I didn't do some laundry we'd all be naked soon and NOBODY wants to see that.

But my God. The horror! The whining!

And my children tell me if I don't stop whining they won't let me go with them to Kennywood.