Archives for February 2008

Parenting 101

I’ve been meaning to post about this for awhile but keep forgetting. Lee and I went to the best play last Sunday. Actually, I saw it a couple of weeks ago and liked it so much I took Lee back to see it with me and he loved it. It’s called Parenting 101: A Musical Guide to Raising Parents. For all you St. Louis people, you should really go see it. It’s at the Westport Playhouse, which is an awesome theater. It’s really small so there’s not a bad seat in the house. You can get tickets through MetroTix. Anyway, the play is made up of four actors, two guys and two girls and they sing songs about parenthood to the tunes of popular songs. Sample lyrics that I can remember:
(This is a girl singing about labor to the tune of Somewhere Over the Rainbow)
Oh God, when will the pain end?
Wish I were high.
Natural childbirth was clearly
Thought up by some dumb guy.

She later sings “It’s My Potty and I’ll Try if I want to” about potty training and “I Will Always Hate You,” as a bratty ten year old who is mad at her mother. They sing Stayin’ Alive as they attempt to teach a sixteen year old to drive a car and We will Rock you to a newborn that won’t stop crying. They cover every topic imaginable from puberty (a hilarious number) to the death of a pet (Another Pet Bites the Dust) to finding out Santa Clause isn’t real. The singing is awesome, the actors’ comedic timing is perfect and it’s all around a great show. I want to go see it a third time!
Here’s another link that actually lets you watch a little of it. You have to click on the watch vidoe button. It’s not the exact same show they do at Westport but it’s close.

Still four…always four

I took Sloan to the dentist yesterday to have his teeth cleaned. He walked right into her office and hopped up in the chair, informing her that he didn’t like the spicy toothpaste so could they please give him something sweeter.
“Will bubble gum do?” she asked.
“Oh sure!” Sloan said. “Go on ahead.”
Looking at me with an amused smile she asked Sloan, “How old are you?”
“Well, I’m just four,” Sloan said with exasperation. “I’m still four. I’m four everyday!”
“Are you ready to be five?” she asked.
“No,” he said. “I just want to be six.”
Why are they alwasy in a rush to grow up?

Umbrella’s in Heaven

There are many things I love about St. Louis. The free Zoo. The pretty scenery. The Arch. The fact that there are parks on nearly every corner and there are so many free things to do for families. What do I not love about St. Louis. The freakin’ weather! We get a conglomeration of all the crappy weather from around the country. Case in point, the flash blizzard that sprung up on Monday morning. At breakfast, the sun was shining and the air was bitter cold. At 8:10, I look outside and literally it was a white out. Snow was flying everywhere. I’ve never seen anything like it. The wind was whipping and little tornadoes of snow flakes swirled around our house. After about 15 minutes it stopped and the sun came back out. It was then that we discovered that our umbrella was missing off our back porch. Sloan was very concerned about this and wanted me to go out and look for it. I matter of factly informed him that I do not go traipsing about in 20 degree weather. He wanted to know what traipsing meant…Anyway, when we left later, I did scan our backyard and our neighbors backyards for the missing umbrella and it was nowhere to be seen. As we pulled out of the driveway, Sloan came up with the solution. “I guess it flew up to heaven,” he said with a shrug of his shoulders. “Why would an umbrella go up to heaven?” I asked. “Well,” Sloan replied, “God just needed to protect his head.” And with that satisfactory answer, we went on our way, though I must admit I was still perplexed about that actual whereabouts of that umbrella. Later that day, however, my neighbor solved the mystery when she emailed me and said, “Hey did you know you have an umbrella on your roof?” Ah ha! I walked outside to the other side of the house and low and behold there was the missing umbrella. When I told Sloan later that it was on the roof he furrowed his brow up at me. “Oh. Well, I guess God was all done with it and just threw it back down on our house,” he said. And because we’re hoosier and it’s cold outside, the umbrella is still sitting up there because Lee doesn’t want to climb up and get it.

Speech Therapy

I take Sloan to speech therapy on Thursdays to work on a minor dysfluency problem. That’s fancy talk for stuttering. The boy can sometimes bump painfully through his sentences. Anyway, nearly every Thursday, Tia and I sit in the little library of the preschool while we wait for Sloan to finish. It’s an interesting experience, I must say. When we first get there, it is usually blissfully quiet, but that does not last long as the children are let out of school about half way through Sloan’s lesson. When that happens, the library fills up with noisy, rambunctious children and their parents. There are two groups of moms that have been especially interesting to observe. The first I like to refer to as the Harried Mom’s Club. This group is made up of three mom’s and a grandma who come in, plop themselves down in the little miniature chairs, their knees up at their chests, and gossip for a half an hour while their children wreak havoc on the joint. The head honcho of the group is particularly amusing. She usually comes in with her youngest tucked under her arm, and yelling at her oldest to stop running or else. Or else what she’s never said, though I think both her son and I would be interested to hear her actually finish that sentence. Once she’s assumed her position around the table, she shows very little interest in what her children are doing behind her and rarely acknowledges them unless they happen to get in her direct line of sight (something that’s hard to do since she usually has her back to the room. If, however, she does happen to notice her children, she just opens her naturally beady eyes so wide that they almost swallow her face in what I’m assuming is her “stop it now or else” look. She then makes some kind of threat in a form of a question: “Do you want to leave right now and go take a nap with no lunch?” What she doesn’t know is that her child essentially laughs at her as soon as she turns back around. Needless to say, her children are the worst kids in the area. This last week, I had to physically pick up her youngest and remove him from my side as he was constantly trying to pick Landon up out of the car seat.

The grandma of the group is a hoot. Her favorite phrase in “Cut it out,” which she yells constantly at her grandson, who, incidentally, never cuts it out.

Then there is the soccer mom. This is the lady who comes in with four children under about the age of five and spends most of her time dolling out snacks to keep them happy, which only starts fights as every kid in the library then wants their snacks. It’s a wonder she doesn’t feel a hole burning in the back of her head as the rest of us glare at her for sending our children into a frenzy over snacks that they can’t have.

Finally, there is the follower. This is the woman who actually attempts to keep her child in line but always ends up fighting a losing battle as her son gets riled up by the other hooligans. Poor woman usually gives up about 5 minutes in realizing that she’s not going to win.

The second group I like to call the West County Whities. These are the ladies that have oodles of money and wear it. One of them honestly has such big implants that it’s hard not to stare at her bulging chest. Their hair is piled high on their head and their kids come in dressed in pristine smocked dresses. They are adorable, but bless their hearts, they are hardly allowed to breath for fear of messing up those fancy outfits. These women sit next to each other talking animatedly, their huge diamond rings blinding the rest of us. Their topics range from the latest spa treatment to the plot of Desperate Housewives. I know this because they talk really loud as if they want to make sure the rest of us know that they have money. We get it ladies, we really do.

Then there are the middle grounders like me who take great delight in observing these stereotypes in action. We have a special bond built through silent headshakes and sympathetic smiles.

It’s a unique group of people, all meshed together in a little area. I find myself fighting off laughter a lot of the time, and sheer annoyance the rest of the time. You gotta love speech therapy!

God is good

It’s been a tough weekend…for reasons that I don’t feel it appropriate to share on this blog. All I will say is that while I was not directly affected by the events of this past week, people that I love dearly were directly affected and their pain has impacted me. I have been reminded once again that life is fragile and that God is good. Hug your babies. Love the Lord. And know, that no matter what comes your way, He is Sovereign, Holy and giving us all the strength to endure. Sometimes that’s all we can cling to.

The demasculinization of my son…

First of all, I have no idea if I spelled demasculinization right…
Happy Valentines day to everyone! This morning, I laid out my gifts for the kids so when they woke up they’d find them on the table. Such a mom thing to do. I bought both of them these little stuffed dogs that cost $5 at Walmart. The dogs have pink visors and pink and red back packs on. The kids loved them. Seriously loved them. Sloan came running up to me and gave me a big hug, thanking me profusely. It may have had more to do with the little heart shaped box of M&Ms than the toy, but whatever…Anyway, they both clutched those little dogs all through breakfast. Lee, however, was not too thrilled with the purchases. As he watched Sloan pet and talk with his little doggy he asked, “You couldn’t have gotten him a G.I. Joe or something?” Yes, my dear husband, I could have. But then he and Tia would have spent the entire day fighting over the dog so I decided to minimize my battle and get them the same thing. I did get Sloan a black one and Tia a pink one. That should count for something. But if giving my son a toy that’s better suited for a girl makes my day easier, then count me in man!

Set the record straight…

Okay, I was wrong. Sloan’s bowling high score on the Wii was 247, not 289. Hey, I’m a mom, I can exaggerate a little right? Anyway, we actually took a picture of it and I went back to check the picture to see exactly what his score was. He’s freaky good at bowling. Here’s his record score…

Short Story

So, I recently found out that I won a short story contest that I entered a few months ago. The premise was to take one line of a song that you liked and craft a story around that song. This is what I came up with. It’s not a brilliant story by any means, but it was fun to write. Now, unfortunately I didn’t win the grand prize, which would have been more fun because you get cash, but three first prize entries were chosen for publication in a short story anthology that comes out sometime…I have to find out when. Anyway, I thought I’d share my random short story with my blogger friends. Enjoy!

“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…”
“Ahh, Katie. They’re playing our song,” Ed said looking lazily at his wife as Rosemary Clooney’s sultry voice filled the room. Leaning further back in his lounge chair, Ed grabbed his wine glass and took a long, slow drink.
“You sure you don’t want any wine, baby?” Ed asked, his words slurring slightly.
Katie smiled gently at her husband and shook her head. “You say every song is our song, dear,” she said, chuckling softly.
Ed returned his wife’s smile and shrugged. “God, you’re beautiful tonight honey,” he mumbled.
Katie blushed and lowered her head, her dark, curly hair falling over her face. “Ed, please, you’ve said that a hundred times tonight. I’m feeling embarrassed.”
“Ah, I’m sorry darlin’. But I can’t help it. You’re just gorgeous.” Ed smiled again – a goofy, lopsided grin that caused Katie to melt into laughter.
“I think you’re drunk, my dear,” she said, her vibrant green eyes sparkling.
“I wouldn’t be if you would help me with this bottle of wine,” Ed replied, pouring himself another generous glass.
“God, I love Rosemary,” he said. Ed closed his eyes for a brief moment and let the music fill his soul. Suddenly a deep sadness washed over him. A lump formed in his throat.
Hearing no reply, Ed opened his eyes and looked over to the couch where his wife sat. She was not there.
“Katie?” Ed looked around wildly.
“Right here, honey,” Katie said from behind him.
“Oh, baby, you scared me,” Ed said. “I didn’t know where you were.”
Katie laughed. “I was wondering, Mr. Stevens, if I might be able to request a dance,” she said to her husband.
Fumbling slightly, Ed pulled himself out of his chair and walked unsteadily to his wife. “I’ve had a little too much to drink to be dancin’ baby,” he said slowly.
Katie stepped up and put her head on her husbands’ chest. “We don’t have to move much,” she whispered. “I just want to hear your heart beating.”
Ed wrapped his arms around his wife’s small frame. Suddenly wishing that he would have stuck to that diet, Ed found himself trying to suck in his protruding gut as he swayed back and forth.
Ed jumped and pulled back from Katie as Travis entered the room.
“What are you doing?” Travis asked, his face slightly red.
“I’m dancin’ with your mother, Trav. It’s nothin’ to be embarrassed about,” Ed warbled.
Travis looked uncertainly at his father. “Okay,” he said slowly. “Um…Well, I’m going out with the guys tonight so I’ll be back later.” Travis turned quickly to leave.
“Travis, wait!” Ed bellowed. “Get back here.”
Travis turned back to face his father. “First you say hello to your mother, then you ask properly if you may go out.” Ed grabbed hold of the back of his lounge chair for support as the room spun slightly. He did not see the look of confusion, followed by anger that swept across his son’s face.
“Uh, hi mom, sorry,” Travis said, looking down at his feet. “So, can I go out with the guys?”
“Ed, let him go,” Katie whispered to her husband.
“Okay, you can go, but be home by midnight, got it?”
Travis nodded and stared at his father for a brief moment before turning to leave.
“Katie, I’m sorry he is so rude to you. That boy needs manners!” Ed said as he scooped his wife into his arms once again.
“Oh Ed,” Katie sighed, “Travis is sixteen. He’s at a very confusing time in his life. Give him a little space to figure things out, alright?”
Ed nodded, then stopped as Frank Sinatra’s voice greeted them through the speakers.
I fall in love with you, every day…
“Listen baby, they’re playin’ our song.”
Katie threw her head back and laughed out loud. “Okay, it’s time for you to get some rest,” she said. She took Ed’s arm and guided his back to his chair.
“I don’t want to sleep,” Ed slurred. “I want to be with you.”
“Yes, well I’m tired and I do want to sleep. You rest awhile and I will see you soon, okay?”
Ed nodded slowly and leaned back in his chair.
“Okay, baby,” he mumbled. “But don’t go far…” Before he could finish speaking, Ed was asleep.
Five hours later, Ed awoke with a jolt. Rubbing his eyes he squinted at the clock, trying to make out the time. 2:00 a.m.
“What woke me up?” Ed grumbled, his head still spinning. Then he heard the creak of the stairs behind him.
“Travis?” Ed called. The creaking stopped. “Travis get in here!” Ed yelled, stumbling out of his chair.
Seconds later, Travis appeared in the doorway. “Yes dad?” he asked slowly.
Ed pulled himself up tall. “Come here,” he said.
Travis walked slowly forward, tripping over the corner of the end table.
“Do you know what time it is son?” Ed asked.
Travis shrugged.
“Answer me, Travis!”
“It’s 2:00, dad, okay?”
“Have you been drinking?” Ed asked leaning in closer to his son.
“No more than you have,” Travis mumbled.
“Did you drive yourself home?” Ed asked, his face growing red.
Travis did not answer.
“What the hell is the matter with you Travis? Do you have any idea what a stupid stunt that is? You could have killed someone!” Ed was yelling now, his face inches from his son’s.
“Oh, well gee, Dad. I’m glad you’re so concerned about everyone else’s well being. But don’t worry about me, alright?” Travis yelled back.
“Oh shut up, Travis. And lower your voice. I don’t want to wake up your mother. After the way you treated her tonight, she would be devastated to know that you came in drunk.”
Travis looked up at his dad, fury flashing in his eyes.
“What are you talking about, Dad? What the hell are you talking about?” Travis shouted.
“What do you mean, what am I talking about?” Ed replied. “I’m talking about showing your mother a little respect from time to time.”
“Mom is DEAD, Dad! She’s been dead for over a year!” Travis trembled violently as he glared at his father.
Before Ed could stop himself he felt his arm lurch back and swing around with a crack across Travis’ face. A thin line of blood immediately trickled from the corner of his son’s eye.
“Oh, God. Oh Trav, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me son,” Ed cried softly as Travis spun on his heel and ran from the room.
“Travis! Oh Travis, forgive me!” Ed wailed. He was answered by the slam of the back door. A few seconds later he heard squealing tires and watched through the window as his son pulled out of the driveway. Ed collapsed in his chair and covered his face.
“Oh, God forgive me. Forgive me,” Ed said the words over and over. He closed his eyes and leaned back. He felt another wave of sadness press upon his chest. It was a deep, suffocating sense of dread and doom. He needed his wife.
“Katie?” he said, opening his eyes and looking around the room. “Katie?” He looked behind his chair where she had stood before. “Katie?” the voice coming from his throat did not sound like his own.
Once again, Frank Sinatra’s smooth voice jumped out of the still playing stereo.
Fly me to the moon…
“They’re playing our song, Katie,” Ed said, tears dripping onto his cheeks. He waited for his wife’s magnetic laugh, but was met with nothing but the calm, melodic sound of the music.
“Okay, Katie. Let’s get some rest,” Ed said softly. He wiped his eyes and leaned back. “I’ll see you soon, baby.”

Yoga Baby

Lee has taken up yoga in an effort to stretch himself out a little since he and I have signed up to run in a marathon relay in a couple of months. Why have we done that? No one really knows. Perhaps we are glutten for punishment. Either way, since Lee is likely the most unfleixble person in the entire world, he thought it would be a good idea to stretch more frequently. As you can see, Tia likes to keep him company.

Ode to McDonalds

Oh McDonald’s, you’re so grand
Your food is oh so good-oh
I can find you anywhere
From Rodeo to the hood-oh

How I love your value meals
I get them super size-oh
Because I just can’t get enough
Of your greasy fries-oh

My darling children go crazy
When they see your golden arch-oh
Their wild screams pierce the air
As I drive the car-oh

How they love your Happy Meals
With the cheapy toy-oh
Apple dippers, Chocolate milk
One for girl and boy-oh

Yes I love you fast food joint
You’re easy and you’re fast-oh
And now it’s even easier
‘Cause I don’t need no cash-oh

Then there is the Playplace
Where my shoes, they always stick-oh
But that place stinks ’cause when we leave
My kids are always sick-OH!