Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I will tell you what being 30 is about: It is about throwing up.

I have been thirty years old for approximately two days now. Of those two days, fifty percent of my time has been consumed by the stomach flu from hell.

No one tells you that once you turn thirty, half your life will be spent embracing the toilet bowl as though it were a cold porcelain mother that never hugs you back. Well, for those of you still under the age, I offer you TRUTHS that those over thirty NEVER warn you of. Based on my own personal assessments, I have gleaned that when you reach the age of thirty, you will experience:

One chapped lip. Not two, just one. The top one.

Profuse stomach cramps and vomiting (or an urgent, frustrating, unrequited need to puke.)

A profound dislike of birthday cake (unrelated to the flu, most likely related to having eaten half your body weight in cake on the day of celebration.)

Uncontrollable urges to tell other people (in their twenties) that they will understand "when they are thirty."

A frequent need to locate at least two mirrors in your house, in order to ascertain if you have suddenly acquired a "mom butt."

Your tailbone will hurt. This may be due to the fact that you have propped a video rocker on the seat of your desk chair to achieve the height necessary to reach your keyboard, rather than buy an adjustable desk chair. Or it's just because you're thirty. Probably the latter.

You will start thinking things like, "I should probably start doing kegels," and "I wonder how long I will keep all my original teeth?" This is just creepy.

You will face the painful realization that you weren't a teenager "a few years ago," but rather "half your life ago". On the upside, this places more psychological distance between the you of now, and the you with bad eighties bangs.

Your kids will remind you that thirty is REALLY OLD! Then, you will necessarily remind them that you may be old, but they still can't outrun you, and you know where the haircutting paraphernalia is.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I Have Been Science-ing and Have Made Profound Discoveries.

I have always considered science to be an area in which I am less than prone to brilliance. I am turning thirty in couple of weeks, and have been examining myself in all sorts of existential, aesthetic, and aromatic regards.

I have determined that one of the foremost efforts I would like to make in bettering myself concerns my well-roundedness. Not my boobs, tyvm, but my overall knowledge and versatility as a human being.

As such, I spent a length of time today (approximately an hour and a half) engaged in lofty scientific thought and hypothesis and have realized that it is really not that difficult to unearth novel and startling assertions of the nature of scientific stuff.

Thus, I present to you:


1. Tryptophan causes strep throat.

Evidence: Last week, I ate a lot of turkey. Turkey has tryptophan in it. I have strep throat.
Formulaicly: T(tryptophan) + E (eating of it) = ST[cr] (strep throat and possibly crying)

2. Microwave popcorn manufacturers are financially backed by prosthetic arm manufacturers.

Evidence: I was making some popcorn. I opened the bag. Steam poured out and burned my arm, causing me to swing the viciously stinging appendage in a haphazard manner, slamming it into the side of the microwave off of which a large bowl fell, shattering into large, dagger-sharp pieces which could have severed my arm. I would have needed a prosthetic arm, had mine been severed and impossible to reattach. Prosthetic arms are expensive.

Formulaicly: Mp(microwave popcorn) + C (cooking it) + SoAwBfoM (slicing off arm with bowl that fell off microwave) = P (prosthetic arm)

3. George Bush stole the turn signal from my minivan.

Evidence: Someone stole the turn signal off my minivan while it was parked in our driveway. I have seen no reference to Bush's whereabouts at the time my blinker light was stolen. Bush's car seems to have a turn signal. Bush likes to steal things like oil and our children's legacy.

Formulaicly: Mt (missing turn signal) + Nba (no Bush alibi) + Bt (Bush has a turn signal) + Bs (Bush is a stealer) = BsT (Bush stole my turn signal.)

4. I could totally take Condoleeza Rice.

Evidence: I am a lot taller than Condoleeza Rice. I am a lot younger than Condoleeza Rice. I have much cheaper clothing and shoes than Condoleeza Rice, and would not care if they were damaged in a scrap with her.

Formulaicly: T(taller than CR) + Y (younger than CR) Cc (cheaper duds than CR) = Tt (I could totally take Condoleeza Rice.)

5. Changing diapers is a man's job.

Evidence: Diapers, like men, are prone to horrific odors. Diaper changing involves spatial skills (which are typically a male-oriented strength) due to the necessity of proper orientation of the diaper and tabs. Men typically have better arm strength- a necessity for baby butt lifting at the wiping stage of a diaper change.

Formulaicly: O(parallel incidence of male/diaper odors) + S (male spatial skills) + As (superior male arm strength) = Md (men are better designed for the task of changing diapers)

There you have it- scientific delineations of a profound nature from a new, more well-rounded Lara. Tomorrow, I may tackle the intricacies of mathematic principles, using many large numbers and symbols including +, %, /, and my personal favorite, these things: [ ]

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's almost that season; time for gift lists!

Every year, family members request I supply lists of items my spawn would appreciate receiving during holiday gift exchanges. I understand their logic; providing some guidelines for what the kids are presently "in to" or in need of is a helpful way to streamline shopping and assure that purchases are aptly selected.

Nevertheless, every year the kids accumulate a daunting amount of toys, clothes, and other goodies, and ultimately end up favoring items I'd never have expected them to.

This year, I'm reflecting on what my kids REALLY like to do and which things they actually find use for, and I'm basing my lists off these insights. Mom, dad, grandparents, I humbly submit:


-Jeans with rips in the knees and draggy-pieces hanging off the ankles.
-T-shirts that are too small and have extremely ugly dragons on them.
-Socks that have enough elasticity in the ankles to be employed as slingshots, aimed at Sophie's head.
-A jacket without a hood that is entirely insufficient for our winter climate, the use of which will probably result in his sustaining frostbite, frostnip, or some kind of weather-related rash.
-Balls of lint to add to the growing collection under his bed.
-Electrical cords. It doesn't matter what they attach to, he just really likes to have a lot of loose cords laying around his room.
-Any book focused on bodily functions/excrement/flatulence, etc.
-America's Funniest Home Videos on DVD. Somehow the unfunniest show on television NEVER gets old, where he's concerned.
-Tights sufficient to clothe a small dance troupe.
-Underwear that is one size too small.
-Jeans that are about two inches too short. (If they fit appropriately, she will insist they are "too big.")
-Formal gowns (for daily wear).
-My make-up
-My bras
-My scarves, gloves, and hats.
-Naked Barbies
-Glass cleaning wipes.
-Whatever toilet paper is most likely to clog up our plumbing.
-Shoes that can easily be removed and tossed during grocery shopping trips.
-Hats with tassles that can be chewed to a crusty nub.
-Shirts with collars that can be chewed to crusty nubs.
-Pan lids.
-A toilet.
-A box of crackers that can accommodate the size of Jack's head.
-A clothes hamper for throwing garbage in.
-A garbage for throwing clothes in.
-The mailman.

I hope this helps! I wish you the best of luck in your shopping endeavors.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How well do you know Minnesota law?

:the delineation of rules that serve to protect and better us as a society and as individuals.

Without them, chaos would ensue like a game of first-grade dodgeball gone horribly awry. Or like the early-bird sale at Wal-Mart on Black Friday, if the amassed psychotic shoppers were further agitated by meth-laced sugar cookies and promises of dollar-off coupons for Aqua Dots.

How well do you know the laws with which you must comply? In the state of Minnesota, we have many compelling obligations as citizens. I accept, among my responsibilities, the duty to enlighten you, with regard to a few of the most pressing and affecting laws on the books.

In the land of 10,00 lakes:

It is illegal to stand around any building without a good reason to be there.
(People do this ALL the time. Look at their faces; they know they're guilty. They WANT to be helped.)

It is illegal to sleep naked.
(I'm not entirely opposed to this idea applying to the likes of Norm Coleman.)

Citizens may not enter Wisconsin with a chicken on their head.
(This has been a real problem. It is also why I have (unsuccessfully) lobbied for a border patrol presence on the Blatnik and Bong bridges.)

Red cars may not drive down Lake Street. (Minneapolis)
(Maroon is fine, but NOT red. Obviously. Only brazen, garish sorts of people would do this, anyway.)

Driving a truck with dirty tires is considered a public nuisance. (Minnetonka)
(This might be the crowning centerpiece of Michelle Bachmann's legislative efforts.)

Hamburgers may not be eaten on Sundays. (St. Cloud)
(Beef, in general, is an affront to the baby Jesus. Patties are, as well. Put them together and you have HERESY!)

Texas, however offers some equally stringent and important instances of legal prowess:

In the Lonestar state:

It is illegal to sell one's eye.
(Because then someone else could see all your thoughts.)

A program has been created in the state that attempts to control the weather.
(I don't know why this is a "law"; regardless, Texas would like it to rain orange Hi-C, and efforts are underway to make it so.)

Up to a felony charge can be levied for promoting the use of, or owning more than six dildos.
(Five is Godly. Six is just whorish.)

The entire Encyclopedia Britannica is banned in Texas because it contains a formula for making beer at home.
(Also, because it suggests that weather is an uncontrollable phenomenon. Liars!)

It is illegal to dust any public building with a feather duster. (Clarendon)
(This is actually an evil plot between the city of Clarendon and the manufacturer of the Swiffer line of products, to take over the world.)

A recently passed anti-crime law requires criminals to give their victims 24 hours notice, either orally or in writing, and to explain the nature of the crime to be committed.
(It's only polite, really, y'all.)

While some citizens mockingly disregard these legal covenants, that doesn't mean we have to allow the further perpetuation of such egregious behavior, watching helplessly as anarchy commences to overtake our communities. The next time you see someone driving a truck with dirty tires in Minnetonka, do the responsible thing; run them off the road and make a citizen's arrest.

The world can be a better place when we all step up to assure our laws are being respected.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Link to my article in Exceptional Parent Magazine:

I wrote an article for the magazine which was published in the November online edition.
It's not humorous, but a depiction of my experiences as the mom of a child with Downs, from diagnosis to the present. From the link, click on "read more," under "top story".

You can cut and paste the following to access the article:


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

1:30 p.m: Sugar consumption has barely commenced and already, a tearful Sophie has come pleading and sobbing to me with the request that I help her find the detachable cat tail for her costume. Apparently, she was using it to flog Jack, and now it's gone missing. I told her it was karmic retribution. She looked at me funny and said, "no! It's my pink. cat. tail!"

Jack has succeeded in urinating on the collar of his monkey suit. I cleaned it up, despite my inkling that it might actually lend more authenticity to the overall costume effect.

The kids brought small bags of candy home from school; thank goodness, because if they hadn't loaded up on crap at school (although Sophie DID score one pencil,) we wouldn't have enough Laffy Taffy to re-grout the upstairs bathroom floor.

There is a family in my town that routinely hands out religious literature to trick-or-treaters on Halloween. I would really like to counter their persuasive methods by handing out condoms and mini ouija boards, but I didn't have the time to fashion enough boards, this year.

For some time I've been of the opinion that the worst aspect of Halloween is brats running amok in the wee hours of the night, stealing and smashing pumpkins. One year when I was about ten, I hid in my parent's car in their driveway in an attempt to bust the perps. I brought our Casio keyboard with me, and had rehearsed a series of notes that I felt sufficiently simulated the sound of a police siren. I lay in wait, ensconced in the shadows of the upholstered seats, adrenaline pumping, quivering with vengeful anticipation, for about twenty minutes. Then I got bored with the whole idea and went in the house.

Well, I'm off to fornicate with dwarves and castrate baby deer, or whatever we heathens are supposed to do in honor of the "dark forces" of Halloween. (Actually, I was leaning toward cooking some frozen ravioli and finding my "nice butt" pants, but we'll see what the afternoon brings.)

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

There's Paw-lenty to talk about!

In light of his recent shift in stance on state support for the much anticipated Essar steel mill, "some people" are discussing the possibility that our sterling governor is posturing for a spot as a Veep nominee. His forceful, masculine assertions condemning Essar's purported ties to Iran represent the kind of characteristics we Americans want in a Vice President: an aggressive, idiotic, warmongering fascist chest-thumper. Apparently we seek much the same in a president, as well.

I'm going to go out on a proverbial limb here and suggest a Republican Superteam for the right: Thompson/ Pawlenty.

Thompson is reknowned for his frankenstein-ish poise and ability to speak without actually SAYING anything. Pawlenty is well-versed on the art of renaming things and portraying them as being COMPLETELY different from what their synonyms suggest (ie: "taxes" and "fees".)

I feel these gentlemen could get a lot done. Or more likely, get very little done but give the impression that they ARE getting things done, and in fact are straining SO hard to get things done that they may burst a vein or develop a mental hernia, at any moment.

In my opinion, the only thing that could stop a Superteam like Thompson/Pawlenty would be another unfortunate instance of parking lot deer intimidation. On the up-side for us progressives, if we need to stop Pawlenty from breaking a critical tie in the senate, all we'd have to do is usher in a doe, and he'd run for the hills.

I'm thinking about it, and I think it's a good idea. Thompson/Pawlenty. Let's make it happen.

Friday, October 26, 2007

24 hours, two wet floors, one wet ceiling, and a diaper pin...

Apparently, one of the characteristics of Down syndrome that medical literature fails to acknowledge is the ability to execute extensive and almost inconceivable amounts of mischievous wrongdoing.

Yesterday I left Jack upstairs at the computer, happily playing Elmo's "Keyboard-O-Rama" while I made a phone call downstairs. When I hung up the phone, I heard the ominous hissing of water running through the upstairs pipes. I ran upstairs and found Jack in the bathroom. He had turned the water to the sink on full blast, plugged the sink, and flooded the entire bathroom floor.
About an hour, two rugs, eight bath towels, and half a roll of paper towels later, I realized my bedroom ceiling was dripping. I wonder if there is a supplement to home owner's insurance that protects against unnatural acts of preschoolers...

Later in the evening, I heard Noel shrieking in the kitchen. Jack had somehow managed to explode a plastic gallon of milk that was almost entirely full, all over the kitchen floor.

I heaved a massive sigh of relief upon turning Jack in for bed. We slipped on his footy-pajamas and fastened a safety pin at the zipper (necessitated by the fact that Jack had been stripping himself and decorating his room with the contents of his diapers, in weeks past.) I went in to give the little monster a quick check sometime later, and found him asleep buck naked. He had removed the diaper pin, flung it up on top of his dresser, and removed all his clothing again. How a boy who cannot pull up his own pants or get a shoe on by himself can perform the intricate fine motor skills involved in unfastening a diaper pin is beyond my comprehension.

On a side note, Nathaniel informed me that while he could not remember the specifics of the conversation, Sophie had accurately employed the phrase, "touche, Dad" in a recent discussion with him. Yesterday she came home from school decrying the unjustness of the fact that on her "D" worksheet, the teacher made her write the letter D in pencil, then trace over it with marker.
She felt that tracing over the letters a second time was overkill and "was a waste of my time!" Clearly, public school kindergarten teachers are not aware of the time constraints and pressing matters plaguing five-year-old girls.

Noel continues to amaze me. Last night he offered to do bathroom duty with Jack, which entailed him sitting on the edge of the tub for a considerable length of time and entertaining his little brother, while waiting to see if he would pee (which most often, he doesn't.) He also used his own money to buy Sophie a toy from the school store, helped her clean her room, and expounded at length upon how "cute and adorable" his teacher's preschool-age daughter is and how much he wants to "just hug her!" I don't know how he's become such a good human being, but I hope it's an enduring trait. If his predominant accomplishment in life is his own profound sense of humanity, I will be infinitely proud of him.

Friday, October 12, 2007

And so the thermostat war begins...

In his ongoing efforts to bring about my premature demise, Nathaniel is already circumventing my attempts to maintain an indoor temperature that is not conducive to bouts of shivering that resemble minor seizures.

At one point some winters ago, he actually installed a second thermostat in our basement, hooked the furnace up to it, and didn't tell me. I went moderately crazy trying to figure out why I had the temperature upstairs set at 72 and it wouldn't go above 65. Eventually, I called my Dad and he hooked the upstairs thermostat back up (being rather perplexed at why we had a second thermostat hidden in the basement rafters.) When my husband walked in the front door as my Dad was leaving, Dad suddenly stopped, looked at my husband and said, "ohhh.... shit... sorry," (or something to that effect) as the whole situation suddenly made sense.

I have threatened to bust out my electric blanket, hoping that the prospect of its abhorrent radiant heat would provide me a sufficient degree of leverage in our temperature-control negotiations. If that fails, I may have to resort to the pitiful "oops. forget to wash any of your underwear. again." tactic.

I know that there is no God, because if there were, he/she/it would have seen to it that people like my husband maintain a low-grade fever through the winter in order to offset their ridiculous temperature preferences and spare their spouses the cruel and inhuman suffering of frigid limbs and clammy long-underwear back sweat.

On another note, I have been giving some amount of thought to the upcoming election year, specifically regarding the logistics of campaign yard signs. At our former residence, my self-described "Republican" husband and I could easily divide the front yard, since a walkway ran straight up the middle. At our new location, however, we are situated in such a manner that there is no clear division of yard space, and not all areas are equally visible.

I'm thinking about calling dibs on the front yard space and allocating him the area behind the six-foot hedge. It would be a lot less embarrassing. Last time around, he got the side of the yard next to the driveway. That was *unfortunate*, because I'm just so darn bad about pulling into the driveway and "accidentally" running over signs.

I wonder if I could come up with a satisfactory explanation for "accidentally" driving up a four or five foot embankment and taking out a sign?

Well, stranger things have happened.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The horse sense of Sophie.

With Jack and Noel gone all day at school, I had the distinct privilege of engaging at length in conversation with my favorite five-year-old gal. Driving home from the store having procured juice and frozen waffles, the following conversation occurred:

Sophie: On Drake and Josh, Drake finally found out that his girlfriend likes to eat horse meat.
Me: Hmmm.
Sophie: I don't know why somebody eats horse meat; that's not my thing.
Me: It's not my thing, either. I don't even know where you could buy horse meat.
Sophie: Maybe you could buy it at the Chinese restaurant. Maybe emperors eat it, or people who live in RV's because they don't have a house.
Me: People who live in RV's eat horse meat?
Sophie: Sometimes they do.

Later on, Sophie gave me some insight on her own personal journey.

"You know when I knew I was strong? When I thought I could lift a chair, and I COULD. That's when I knew I was a strong girl."

and some insight on geography and culture:

"Chinese is really far away. They eat with chalksticks there. I ate with chalksticks, once. They should just make spoons, in Chinese. They could eat lots more."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

In honor of Bush's declaration of the demise of Nelson Mandela,

(cut and paste this- it's SO worth it!)

I propose that myself and other interested parties seek to establish a fund for research aimed at developing medication or therapies to cure "stupid".

Clearly, it's a condition plaguing humans on all levels of society.
Maybe we can have a bake sale to get things going.

Let's scrap all the primary candidates and start over.

I'm less than thrilled with the pool of democratic candidates for office- specifically those receiving the most intense levels of support. I propose beginning anew with a fresh batch of faces. Naturally, I have a few compelling characters in mind:

Steve Buscemi. I have always respected his versatility as an actor. Additionally, he has a weird face that I feel confident he could contort in such a way as to be intimidating to potentially aggressive entities. I think it would be a definite upgrade to go from a president who truly IS crazy to one who merely looks it.

Gary Coleman. We elected Norm Coleman; I don't see how Gary could be any worse.

Michelle Bachmann. She could hastily bring on the Rapture and I REALLY need a new minivan.

Abraham Lincoln. This is Sophie's suggestion. Apparently she doesn't understand the concept of "dead." Also, she refers to him as "Abraham Lincoln Hamilton".

Samus from Metroid Prime. This is Noel's suggestion.

Ewan MacGregor. With the stipulation that he must wear a kilt for all official events. Who wouldn't mind staring at his pretty face for four years?

Janet Reno. Admittedly, I endorse her solely because I miss seeing Will Ferrell do Reno sketches on SNL. SNL requires a mandate for change and I think electing Reno might be just the catalyst required.

The cousin of the girl who sat behind me in Tuesday night class last semester. I was told he was a chronic meth addict and alcoholic, but was "SO smart about politics and stuff." On second thought, that sounds a bit too much like Bush. With the exception of being smart.

Mari Winsor. She's flexible- that's an important trait in a leader, essential to nurturing compromise between disparate entities.

The girl who invented that microwave bacon apparatus. She's obviously a freaking genius. The government could use a genius.

My first grade teacher, Mrs. Lutkevich. She kept peace in a classroom of seven-year-old children and instilled a sense of motivation and pride in us. She taught me that helping others was rewarding, math could be fun, and hiding on top of file cabinets and making the classroom dolls hump each other was not behaviorally sound.

Clinton, schminton. Let's broaden our prospective pool of candidates and contemplate some REAL contenders, this election year.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mark your calendars RIGHT NOW!

We all know Halloween is coming up, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas, but there are IMPORTANT observances that many of us woefully fail to recognize.

The following is a poignant reminder of some of the most influential observances we should all try a little harder to acknowledge:

National Soup Month: This month, no one is supposed to eat anything but soup. I think some lousy people do not respect this directive. Well, Campbells will have their traitor asses, one day.

(12-17) National Condom Week. EVERYONE but you is wearing a condom. All week. 24/7. Get with it!

(5-7) National Sleep Awareness Week. Be aware of your sleep! It's dreaming about doing really icky things with David Caruso. What's wrong with his head?

Sports Eye Safety Month. Every day, nineteen thousand people's eyes are poked out by medicine balls. You might think that a person almost has to be TRYING, to have this happen.
You think this way because you are IGNORANT about matters of sports eye safety. Educate yourself.

People get really bored this month; that is why it is both Creative Romance Month AND An Affair to Remember Month. Remember, it isn't cheating if it's a semi-officially sanctioned national observance event!

National Turkey Lovers Month: I thought that was November, but apparently, HARD CORE turkey lovers know that it is June. Baste away.

National Anti-Boredom month: Everyone is required to download a copy of Tetris and consume copious quantities of uppers.
*it should be noted that July 2nd is National "I Forgot" Day, so if you lose July 2nd, that's because it was ordained that you would do so by powers beyond your control. It's all good.

National Admit You're Happy Month: You know you are, so just stop lying already. At least for August. If you're really not happy, lie and enthusiastically assert that you are; you might start to believe yourself. Or you might suffer an existential breakdown in the middle of Costco, next to a display of Diamond brand walnuts that seem to be mocking you for the shallow substance that comprises the utter sham of a life that you have constructed for yourself. Walnuts are assholes.

National Preparedness Month: You must be prepared. For things. The government says so. Buy many cans of tuna and stockpile them under your bed.

"Talk About Prescriptions" Month:
This is a month for old people. They love it. When an elderly person standing in line behind you at the grocery store starts a conversation with you about how Detrol has NOT reduced their urge to urinate, AND it's causing painful gas and skin flaking, you are morally obligated to listen politely and not grimace.

(4th) Waiting For the Barbarians day. You may be waiting in vain, but it's only ONE day, so I think you can suck it up. If this day disappoints, remember that November 28th is "Make Your Own Head Day." Apparently, those of us who are displeased with our current heads are encouraged to make new ones on this day. THAT is time well spent!

It's not National SweetBabyJesusDiedForOurSins Month. It's Bingo month. Bust out your dobber and your Virginia Slims ultra-lights, and prepare for some INSANE bingo action.

National "Months!" or "Weeks!" or "Days!"
Observe them or you hate America!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Freedom isn't Free! It's $3 an hour per 4 y/o boy!

I have been waiting. No, I have been WAAAAIIIITING for the start of the new school year.

For me, the resumption of school means two-hundred-and-ten minutes per morning with NO kids at home; three -and-a-half unbroken hours in which I can frolic with unbridled joy, reveling in the solitude that September finally affords me. I can enjoy wild, unabashed, trivial pursuits like bathing and doing my own homework.

My anticipation of free time has proved painfully slow to be realized.

Noel started school last Tuesday. Sophie started Kindergarten on Thursday. I THOUGHT Jack started preschool on Tuesday, but found out he did not start until today.

This morning was hectic and frustrating. Jack screamed and flailed madly when I tried to brush his teeth. Noel lost his shoes. Sophie told me she left her jacket at school. It was about forty degrees, and no one wanted to wear pants.

In the back of my mind a small voice whispered, "it's okay- they're ALL going to school today. You will have your peace. Just shove them in the van and GO!"

And so I did. And as I approached the elementary school, intent on unloading the first two of my three spawn, I wondered why people were walking AWAY from the building. It didn't matter, though. All that mattered was that I was unloading those little suckers and then I was going home ALONE!

And then I saw the sign: "POWER OUTAGE. NO SCHOOL TODAY!"

I shuddered.

The school nurse was standing on the lawn. I rolled down my window.

"Nooooooo!" I hollered, "You HAVE to take them! I brought them here! I will go get candles!"

That earned me little more than guffaws and a friendly wave from the nurse.

And so we went home. And I didn't get my quiet time. Or my shower. And I do believe the leisure time gods are crapping on me from above and laughing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fun With Plagues of the Bible Day '07

received rave reviews from my kids.

We missed the county fair (I'm a little choked up at the missed opportunity for deep fried cheese curds,) so I hosted a private "Fun With Plagues of the Bible" day in our backyard.

We had games, prizes, and ice cream. Noel can now relate seven of the ten plagues. He asserts that the "lake of blood" plague is his favorite.

The merriment consisted of the following games of divine inspiration:

"Lake of blood game": I filled the kids' pool with water, red jello, "dead" fish, and hid coins in the bottom. They had to dig through the "lake" to retrieve the coins, in exchange for prizes. Noel and Sophie did well. Jack sat in the lake.

"Destroy the crops" game: using water balloon "hail," the kids attempted to knock "crops" (carrots from my garden) from a board with holes, in which the carrots sat. It turned out to be harder than expected, in part because Jack kept running away with the water balloons and calling them "babies."

"Pin-the-boil-on-the-plague-victim" game: operated basically like your run-of-the-mill donkey version, but utilized festering boils instead of a tail. Jack rocked at that one. He also stole the boils at the end of the game and stuck them to our deck. I don't know whether that warrants a call to the CDC or a carpenter.

"Frogs and gnats descend" game: used balloon frogs and gnats. I dumped them on the kids from the deck, and they had to dig through the balloons to find a few that I marked, to get a prize.

"Locust hunt": since we have our own little biblical plague of grasshoppers in the yard, this game was begging to be played. I gave the kids nets and told them to catch three grasshoppers. Noel caught a couple and Sophie cried. Jack just poked the grasshoppers and squealed maniacally. That game was a little disappointing.

All in all, it was a good day. The kids loved it, and hopefully they'll remember a few bits of biblical info.

Now I'm on to planning "Getting Crazy With the Qu'ran Day."

Atheists do religion SO much better than the faithful!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

An interview with Noel and Sophie

I spend all day, every day with my kids, but sometimes between chores and other time-sucking activities, I feel as though I don't always get to connect with them. I sat down with my two verbal children and they were enthusiastic participants in my interview session. The following is excerpted from that interview:

Lara: Hi, Sophie. It's great to be with you today. (Sophie looks confused) What do you feel is your "job"?
Sophie: Cleaning the house.
L: Do you find that job fulfilling?
S: Huh?
L: Noel, What is YOUR job?
N: sitting on the couch.
L: Is that fulfilling?
N: Yes.
L: What are your favorite foods?
S: Cheese broccoli.
N: Steak.
L: If you could change each others' names, what would you change them to?
S: Noel is "Michael," and Jack is "John."
N: Sophie could be "Bob," and Jack could be "Betsy."
L: What do you want to be when you grow up?
S: A doctor or a firefighter.
N: A bounty hunter or a tattoo artist.
L: What do you think your siblings should be when they grow up?
N: Sophie should be a fireman and Jack should be a tattoo artist, because he likes to color.
S: Jack can be a cashier at Super One, and Noel can be a gas worker.
L: What does a "gas worker" do?
S: He puts air in your tires.
L: What job should I take when I finish college?
N: A teacher.
S: You should scrub the floor.
L: How do you feel about President Bush's Iraq policy?
N: I don't agree with him.
S: Huh? We should have an enormous rainbow and people can slide up and down on it.
L: What was the most significant news story this year, in your opinion?
N: the bridge collapse.
S: something about candy.
L: If you could go on vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go?
S: Paris. I NEED a vacation, and they have lots of good food there.
N: Mexico. They have tacos for breakfast, there.
L: If you could be any superhero, who would you be?
N: I don't know. Superman and Spiderman are nerdy. I'd just be a regular one.
S: None. Tights get wrinkly in my butt.
L: What should we have for dinner?
S: Cheese broccoli and pork chops. Do I like pork chops?
N: Salmon and potatoes. With gravy. And asparagus. And bread.
L: What do you think each other smells like?
S: Noel smells like turd.
N: Sophie smells like dog butt.
S: No I Dooooon't!
L: Thanks guys, I appreciate you taking the time for the interview. Go eat your macaroni and cheese.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Congrats to Isaiah and Patty! Wedding Highlights!

My brother-in-law and his fiancee were married this weekend. The ceremony was beautiful, the music was great, the reception was awesome. They were a gorgeous couple and we're thrilled for them!

Here are my highlights from the big event, in no particular order:

T-minus one hour from ceremony: Jack begins to make chewing and gagging sounds. I spin him around just in time to position him so that he can hork on Patty's parents front lawn.

Jack goes home to sit with grandma, where he reportedly pukes and dry-heaves his way through the evening.

Sophie attempts to taste the bird food meant to be tossed on the bride and groom during the recessional.

Sophie (flower girl #3,) visibly scratches her butt repeatedly during the ceremony, and then frowns when she sees me looking, as though I have somehow interrupted a private moment.

Dressed immaculately in a sleeveless ensemble, I spend the evening milling around in heels, my gown, and Noel's red Adidas hoody, because it's FREEZING outside.

My sister-in-law and I (but mostly I) plot to keep people from sitting at our reception table, so that we don't have to share our bottle of champagne. People sit there, anyway.

I eat too many spring rolls, then steal a soggy mini corn dog from the kids' table. It's not good, but I eat it anyway, because it's vaguely warm and I'm even more freezing, now.

I leave early, since Jack is at home sick and I don't want to leave him with my mom all night. En route to our house, some (presumably drunk or crazy) asshole tries to run us off the road, for no apparent reason. I can't get his plates down in time to report him to the police. If for some reason the aforementioned asshole happens, by some twist of fate, to be reading this, YOU SUCK, Jerkface! May karma grant you all the side effects of that "Alli" stuff they're marketing. Including the "seepage"issue.

Big congratulations to Patty and Isaiah! Wishing you thousands of happy years together... or at least dozens!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mary Lou Retton had a mouth large enough to accomodate a globe.

I used to take those glitter-filled flexible bracelets, put them in my mouth so they'd stretch my lips back exposing my teeth, and tell my parents I was Mary Lou. That's what I remember about the 1984 Olympics.

My seventh grade math teacher had fat elbows that, when her arm was extended, resembled the face of a Cabbage Patch Kid. That's what I remember about pre-algebra.

My grandparents' house smells of cabbage and Muriel Air Tip cigars, and their linoleum looks like head cheese. That's what I think of when I imagine their home.

I remember the taste of blood and grape popsicle mingling in my mouth, after I stuck my tongue to the monkey bar pole in winter, at the park near my house in Silver Bay.

I recall the way the "Sweet Pickles" books from the library used to smell. The pages were glossy and I wanted to lick them.

I remember gazing at the gowns on princesses in fairy tale stories, and reveling in the beautiful colors and intricacies of their designs. They were so alluring and visually decadent that they almost confused my senses to the point that they seemed to possess flavors.

Every city I lived in had a scent. I can remember them, although I'd be hard-pressed to recall my former addresses. I certainly don't remember my old phone numbers.

I've been told I have a head for useless, inane detail, and not much capacity for recalling tangible, useful information.

Impractical as it might be, I'm content to live in my own brain, haphazard as my thoughts generally are. Would I rather remember where I left my kids' immunization records, or how the crook of their tiny necks smelled when they were infants?

Easy. I can always get new records.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The tooth fairy is a negligent whore.

This morning, I awoke to a tearful Sophie who had lost a tooth yesterday, placed it in an envelope under her pillow, and dutifully drifted off to sleep, awaiting a visit from the tooth fairy.

The tooth fairy stayed up too late watching bad cable tv, and forgot ALL about the tooth.

I tried to comfort Sophie, explaining in my half sleep-intoxicated state that Friday is a busy night for the tooth fairy, and since our last name begins with a "W," she was probably low on the list and the fairy just didn't have time to get to her. I assured her that the fairy would come get her tooth tonight.

She looked at me with what appeared to be a marginal degree of belief, and I proceeded to attempt to distract her with the promises of fruit roll-ups for breakfast and a manicure.

Four years ago I was late to pick up Noel from Kindergarten. He still brings it up.

Parents, don't neglect your tooth fairy duties, or you'll pay for your oversight in spades. Or a heinous shade of purple nail polish.

It's too damn hot, and the house smells like "catholic,"

or so Sophie asserts.
I don't know what that means any more than you do.

Sophie's been sleeping in her thermal underwear, despite inside-temps in the mid-80's at night. She claims that she doesn't mind her own profuse sweating, because it makes her hair exceptionally pretty and curly.

Noel has chosen to combat the taxing heat by instigating assinine fights and arguments with his siblings. This morning, there was an all-out scrap in the dining room over who picked all the yogurt-covered Froot Loops out of the box, leaving only "regular" Froot Loops.

Jack seems to be unaware of the fact that it is uncomfortably hot. He is, however, pleased with the prospect of being able to run around in only a diaper, and has spent a length of time rubbing his belly, saying "ahhhhh," and signing that his skin is very, very soft.

The humidity associated with our high temperatures is what really drives me nuts. The entire house develops phantom odors, and it has been my mission this week to obliviate them. I hauled out my carpet steamer and cleaned the rugs and carpets in the downstairs. I set up fans to dry the residual moisture, and thought myself quite productive and clever, until I found Jack had decided to expedite the drying process by lying on the floor and sucking on the rugs.

I took the kids over to my parents' house last night to pick raspberries. Noel was quite fanatical about hurrying the process, as he *needed* to be home by 7:00, to catch the "Drake and Josh Movie" on Nickelodeon. Sophie and I picked quickly, but Noel kept exclaiming, "God!" and complained that bugs were trying to "eat [his] face," and that bees were coming after him. I don't think he will ever embrace the "mountain man" lifestyle. Last week after soccer practice, he became irate over the fact that I had filled his water bottle with tap, rather than filtered water, and he was appalled.

If I ever doubted the dignity of my role as a stay-at-home mom, my position has been confirmed this week by the length of time I've spent picking dead bugs out of the inflatable pool, shaking an incomprehensible amount of sand out of undergarments, and packing ice on the shiner NoelMN somehow acquired using the garden hose.

Ahhhh... summer...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Alpha Moms creep me out.

I lived next door to a mom, once, who had a couple little boys and a house that was always way too clean.
She was impeccably pulled together, a fabulous cook, and enviably well-organized. She was incredibly ambitious, and the consummate "Type-A" breed of mother.

I think in the two years I knew her, I could count the number of times I saw her kids smile, on one hand.

Perhaps some moms actually enjoy that kind of lifestyle. Maybe it really is what works best for them. Kudos to those moms. I couldn't possibly stomach it or achieve the requisite standards.

I like to cook for company. I prefer my house to look as though it's not an industrial crap factory. I take care of myself physically, and I try to set high standards for my kids. I refuse, however, to freak out because Noel flunked his swimming class last week, or Sophie peed in her princess trash can.

Last week we arrived at the grocery store, and I realized Jack had spaghetti sauce mashed into the back of his hair. I figured as long as it wasn't dripping off him, we were pretty much good.

Once, I went out in public and realized I had two different (completely unmatching) shoes on.
I didn't go home and change them. I just walked around that way. For a long time.

I took Noel to the supermarket and let him wear a full-body spiderman suit and mask. I only took issue with him when he tried to "web" other customers.

Sophie went through a phase in which she drew male genitalia on all of her pictures of people.
I have a very sweet picture somewhere, portraying me with a tremendously disproportionate "unit". It was scribbled with love, so I'll cherish it.

I don't want to know what is under Noel's bed, but it's stuffed so full that items are starting to peek out the sides. Most likely, I will insist that he at least clean up the junk around the periphery of the base. I think if there's no odor emanating from the pile of junk under there, it's probably best that I don't even look any further.

Being a mother is a "job," for certain, but it's much more than that. I can't imagine injecting our lives with the pseudo- corporate mindset that seems characteristic of the "Alpha Mom" role. I enjoy having a measure of spontaneity in our days, and being able to brush off the little aggravations, recognizing that they just don't really matter. It might be the antithesis of the Type-A motto, but I won't strive for perfection; I think it's a whole lot wiser to choose my battles.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mother Nature really effed up the evolutionary process.

We began as amoebas. Or ectoplasm. Or something very small and slimy.
We progressed to our present state, complete with the capacity for higher-level thought processes, profound human empathy, and an innate penchant for cute, strappy sandals.

Why then, after the unfathomable metamorphosis and stunning developmental leaps of the human species, are my children incapable of holding the contents of their bladder, the minute we enter a mall?

Because Mother Nature hosed it ALL UP.

My foremost issues with her "evolutionary accomplishments" are as follows:

*Children have ten times more energy than their parents. I believe the wisdom is that their shorter legs should allow us the ability to speedily intervene when they run in the wrong direction. By late afternoon, I am demonstrating the property of inertia. If my kids REALLY want to chase the rabbit in the yard that has foam seeping out of its mouth, there's about a 40/60 chance I'm going to do more than yell, "stop chasing the rabbit with foam seeping out of it's mouth!"

*There would have been nothing wrong with giving us webbed feet. Flip-flop sandals would be moot, but I think that would've been a fair trade-off.

*We should have had marsupial pouches. If we did, I would not have to carry my monster purse everywhere I go AND my post-baby belly would be sleekly camouflaged. Seems like a no-brainer. I guess not.

*Babies should be born with the ability to hold their own heads up. It's just creepy that they can't. There's something wrong with the design of a creature who could DIE if you absent-mindedly pull your hand away from their neck, in order to scratch your nose. Well, maybe not die, but flip their head back in an extremely off-putting manner, anyway.

*We should be voluntarily able to redistribute our own body fat. I don't know many women who have not expressed this desire. I'm sure that I'm not the only person who would like to try out having a third boob.

*Hormones and other biochemical components in our bodies should be readily controlled by pressing designated freckles or moles. This would allow us to restrain our own behavior and emotions, and lend a useful purpose to otherwise annoying and difficult-to-conceal skin aberrations.

*Individuals beset by the plague of Christian fundamentalism should smell differently than the rest of our species. It would make life infinitely more amusing if we knew who to make pseudo-homosexual advances toward, at the gas station.

As a request, I'd ask Mother Nature to toss us a bone. Allow us some small evolutionary convenience. I don't think it's asking too much for her to evolve our taste buds so that Splenda doesn't taste like crap. If she's feeling generous, maybe she could give us retractable lobster claws. I could use them to scrape the gum off my family room carpet.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Keyboard Confessional: My Maternal Shame

I was once, for a period of time, addicted to playing Sonic the Hedgehog. We bought the game for Noel, but I was playing it, y'know, to bond with him, and was utterly sucked in by its escapist wiles. This also happened with "Spongebob Squarepants, Battle for Bikini Bottom." On one occasion, I made Noel go to bed so that I could jump in and win the golden spatula before he beat me to it.

Tonight, Jack dropped a bagel on the bathroom floor. I'm not really certain when I washed the floor last, but I let him eat the bagel, anyway.

When Noel was little, I let him watch the X-files on a semi-regular basis.

I used up the majority of the ink in Sophie's markers, coloring a five-foot tall tagboard Tower of London, featuring a morose-faced Peter Wentworth at the top (long story.) Then I threw them away, forgot to buy her new ones, and when pressed for the location of her markers, claimed that one of the other kids must have lost them.

I let Sophie eat an entire bag of prunes in one 24-hour period.

I (accidentally) taught Jack the sign for "poop" in place of the sign for "hurt."

I killed the kids' tadpoles. One had just sprouted legs. I changed their water without letting it warm up to room temperature, and within two hours they were dead. That was a couple days ago. The kids haven't noticed, yet...

Whew! My soul feels unburdened! Catch ya' later. Noel has half a kit-kat left on his dresser. It sure would be a shame if some kind of animal crawled in his window and ate it while he was sleeping...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Disney movies: you think Kubrik made some warped films?

Sophie loves Disney princess movies. She watches alot of them. That means that I, at a minimum, overhear alot of them. Overwhelmingly, the characters involved are a bit... dysfunctional.

Cinderella: Allows abusive stepmother and stepsiblings to walk all over her. Gets a makeover and flits off into marriage with a wealthy, studly dude, having fallen in love after dancing with him. once.

What REALLY happens after the glistening pumpkin carriage rolls away with the happy couple? After a brief period of honeymoon bliss, Prince Charming starts spending his free time fox hunting, imbibing excessively from the royal chalice, and investing an inordinate amount of time "helping" the maidstaff "learn to dust properly."

Snow White: Again, allows abusive parent-figure to mistreat her. Runs into the woods after discerning that her stepmom wants to CARVE OUT HER HEART, and takes up residence with seven men. REPEATEDLY falls for stepmother's poorly disguised attempts to KILL her. Marries the first dude who will suck her (presumably dead) face.

Soooo... she hooked up with a guy who's into necrophilia. Not a good start. I'd suggest she keep a close eye on any animal cadavers left unattended in the castle kitchen.

The Little Mermaid: Undergoes the magical equivalent of cosmetic surgery, sacrificing her ability to SPEAK in the process, so she can get in with some dude she's never even MET while he's conscious.

Her husband digs chicks who can't speak or communicate. Perhaps he's listened to a bit too much Dr. Laura. It doesn't bode well. I see wife-beater tees and naked, filthy children running amok, in her future.

I'm not even going to touch the whole "dead mother" phenomenon in Disney movies. I've heard Walt himself wasn't exactly keen on women, which might explain a bit.

Disney: the animated legacy that Bibbity-bobbity-blows.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Euthanizing Mrs. Butterworth.

Jack won't eat anything except toaster waffles.

He has speech delays and can't verbally ask me, so when he wants one, he brings me the bottle of Mrs. Butterworth syrup. He's hoisted that smug plastic hussy into my lap no less than five times, today. What's even worse is that I have to pack him a lunch for preschool, starting tomorrow.

How do I pack a frozen waffle and syrup in a brown paper bag? What will his teachers think if I attempt to make a waffle-and-syrup sandwich? How will they grapple with the apocalyptic hellfire that will rain down if his lunch bag is opened, revealing some abhorrence like a peanut butter sandwich?

On one occasion, I hid Jack's fructose-bellied mistress, in the hopes that he would forget about her and stop demanding waffles constantly. He was so bereaved by her absence that he became borderline manic, and started bringing me random items like hot sauce and selzer from the fridge, seemingly hoping that any bottle vaguely resembling the feminine form would contain syrup.

She might look unassuming and harmless, but Mrs. Butterworth hides a seedy, treacherous secret beneath that plumed plastic skirt. She's as addictive as heroin, with face-sticking properties comparable to cyanoacrylate. She's also non-recyclable in many areas. I think she's trying to populate the world with Mrs. Butterworth bottles. I don't know about you, but that's not the kind of world I want to live in. I think I'm gonna burn Butterworth.

What goes on in those little melons?

Children are full of an amazing amount of knowledge and wisdom about the world. Sophie informed me this afternoon that ramen noodles are made from cows. Noel once suggested that God might be an elf (which in my opinion is every bit as likely as him being some omnipotent, all-seeing entity.) I believe Jack said that I am a "cracker," yesterday. On one occasion, I discerned that Noel believed that firemen went to people's houses to START fires.

I think children must be the bravest people on Earth. Faced with such ideas as people being employed in the business of burning down houses, and, as Sophie once believed, the potential for having a limb sucked down the bathtub drain, they must perceive danger at every turn.

Dealing with the everyday stresses of childcare, mortgage payments, and proper role-modeling seems to pale in comparison to living with the belief that if you touch a caterpillar and rub your eyes, you will instantly go blind.

Sophie has been concerned about her blood sugar being low. She also occasionally decries intermittent back pain when asked to clean her room. Some weeks ago, she had a headache and sadly informed me that it was due to cancer.

The "real world" might be a scary place, but the one in which a child's mind exists seems every bit as intimidating. Still, kids get to climb around in the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese's without getting weird looks. I think it's a trade-off.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Why mama needs a martini.

Somewhere between intervening in my nine and five-year-olds' attempts to taste my garden mulch, and my four-year-old's fervent desire to consume copious quantities of bathroom tissue, I decided to start a blog.


Because I find myself possessed of a need to expound upon the plethora of inane, confounding, frustrating, often amusing tidbits of my daily experience as a woman and a mother.

Also, my friends and family are getting sick of talking to me.

If nothing else, perhaps this blog will provide me a salient bit of evidence which I might wield as blackmail over my children's heads, as they enter their teenage years.

Note to future self: today Noel plugged the upstairs toilet and lied about it. He also spent more time grooming his hair than I did mine. And that's a pretty profound feat.