Thursday, December 13, 2012

Way Up High

In my house there's a mythical place where toys go called Way Up High. The location often changes without notice, but the laws governing remain the same. In Way Up High land you never know who you may find. One day in my journeys, I stumbled upon quite a large group of inhabitants.

For one activity or another, the toys were banished to Way Up High never to be heard from again until that fateful day when they were given a second chance. I am not entirely sure what causes a toy to go haywire, is it peer pressure or are some toys just inherently misfits. Whatever the reason, the toys that don't conform to society find themselves in Way Up High. Most often they travel in packs, Iike the group above. But it's not unheard of to find a solitary.

On occasion I have even witnessed the natives of Way Up High so outraged at a toys actions, they are banished to the outskirts of the land. A place only whispered in the darkest of times, Way Way Up High. Here they are most usually forgotten about completely.

And sometimes there are repeat offenders. I will not mention any names, eh hem...lightsaber.

These toys are darker than most and stand no chance in normal society. Their forever home is Way Up High. The only hope they have at a new life is a place called Good Will.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Possession of a Deadly Weapon

Ever have one of those moments when you laugh out of fear of another even bigger emotion settling in? Yeah, that's been my day. Except I didn't laugh. But I am now, via letters on a screen. I will not write a sob story. I will tell the only semi funny part of it all.

Alice's school is a five minute drive from home and today after picking her up I had a four minute phone conversation with my doctor that left me worried and concerned and having to make another appointment. It's nothing too alarming yet, but needless to say, I'm not an individual that worries well.

I had one minute to try and process the phone call before I heard Alice's best friend in the back seat say, "Look! The door's open." In the middle of parrel parking, it took me a second to register what he was saying, what he had seen. I turned and saw the front door to my house wide the fuck open. My mind hit overdrive, thoughts racing trying to decide my next move. Why was the front door open? Was there someone inside? Had someone broken into my house? Oh my god, was someone with a gun in my house?! Was is just Hatta? Was he home sick from work? Had Hatta left the front door open?

Not knowing what was inside, to keep them safe, I left the kids in the car and locked the door. I ran up the front steps and was greeted by a scared Marley dog just on the other side of the threshold. Frozen in place, I looked around, tv still there, nothing disturbed. I saw one of two cats lying on the dog bed. There was still an entire house to be checked and with kids in the car I had to be fast. Heart pounding I looked for a weapon, anything I could club a guy over the head with. Pillows, pictures and no. I had nothing. I could have run to the kitchen to get something deadly but in the interest of time, I took off empty handed. In a split second decision, I grabbed the guitar that resides on the first landing up the steps. I can now laugh, my weapon of choice to defend myself was a guitar. And the sad thing, as I was climbing the steps I was mentally preparing myself to use it. I even repositioned it in a way to get better leverage if I needed to start swinging. Thankfully, I didn't need to use it. The house was empty. No intruders. Nothing missing...except one cat.

In a total brainless move, Hatta didn't shut the front door before he left for work. He didn't shut or lock our front door. At all. I was already gone for the day, not to return until after picking Alice up at 11:45. In that time, Ellie cat had wandered out the door in search of adventure. For Hatta's sake, since I was ready to kill him with something more powerful than a guitar, maybe there is a God after all, because Ellie was found within a few hours of searching.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Stranded at the Airport

It was a cold night many, many years ago. Our flight had just landed. We claimed our bags and waited inside the airport for our ride to pick us up. She was a good friend. Hatta and I had been there for her when she needed it and along the way we grew closer. However, there was always an unreliable undercurrent with her. She had disappointed us before and we had managed to overlook it. Every time, every letdown was met with an excuse. Every time, every excuse allowed us to put it in the past and stay friends. Until that snowy night when Hatta and I were left stranded at the airport. With no word from her and far too late in the evening to call anyone else, we took a $75 cab ride home. From that moment on, I recognized the type of person she was and vowed to never allow myself to be disappointed by her again.

"The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them." - Maya Angelou

It's important in life to recognize who a person is. You don't have to like it. You don't have to even be a part of it. But you need to believe it. For me, problems arise when a person shows who they are and I believe it's a rare instance, a one time occurrence, not examples of their true self. I want to see the good, and I convince myself anything less than is not real. I overlook the bad and allow myself to be hurt, disappointed, frustrated, all because I want to believe it will change.

As I grow and learn, it's become easier for me to acknowledge. Take my sisters for example. I love them dearly and they are both extremely unique and different from one another. In the past, I have struggled to maintain a consistent relationship with either. It's been hot and cold for the better part of my life. One minute we are best friends, the next not even speaking. Until I acknowledged who they are, I found myself a victim of disappointment again and again. Now, without surprise and minimal hurt I can say, "that's just her." And I'm quite sure they both say the same about me.

There is, however, a fine line between accepting what a person shows you and allowing yourself to be a doormat, to be taken advantage of, to be hurt with a promise of change. How do you know when to break ties and cut your loses like I did with my friend all those years ago? When is enough enough? When does a person's character become more damaging than, "Ha ha...that's John for ya!" When does the emotional cost of maintaining a friendship become too great? What does it ultimately take for you to believe what a person has been showing you all along?

These are the questions I find myself lying in bed at night thinking about. Wishing I had the ultimate answer.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

When I Grow Up

"When I grow up and get big, I don't wanna be a mama," she told me.

"That's fine. You don't have to be a mama."

"I don't want to have babies in my tummy."

"Well, then, you don't have to," I told her.

"But what if a baby gets in my tummy anyway?"

"It won't. Don't worry. If you don't want to be a mom you don't have to be. You can be whatever you want. But, you might change your mind. I loved having you in my tummy. You would kick my belly every night when I sat down to eat dinner."

"And what'd you do to me?" she asked, perfectly well knowing the answer.

"I'd rub your little bum to calm you down. Alice, why don't you want to be a mama?"

"I don't like how babies get out of the tummy from the vagina."

"I didn't like it either. But you can still be a mama if you want. You don't have to grow the baby in your tummy if you don't want to. You can adopt a baby that needs a mama. Like your Aunts did."

With an upbeat tone she exclaimed, "That's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna get a baby that already has a name."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Your Wants Won't Hurt You

There are a couple people in my life that have asked for my Christmas list. At thirty two years old, this is trickier than it seems. I have a very specific list compiled for Alice, her wants filtered and edited by yours truly. I know exactly what she needs and wants. I know the reaction each item will elicit. I know the gifts that will produce big smiles and giddy sounds of delight and I know the packages that will be more of a letdown. I take this all into account when I give out her list, who can hande being the giver of the letdowns and who really needs to hear shrieks.

But gifts for me?? I'm stuck. I'm not one of those people that keeps a running list on for situations like these. Generally, I buy what I need and forget about the wants. My father had a saying, "You're old enough to know your wants won't hurt you." I guess I took it to heart. I'm not saying I don't want, I do. Since they are merely wants I tend to let them slip out of my thoughts. And the wants that don't slip away over time become needs. Another factor of giving my Christmas list to family is money. I never know how much someone is interested in spending. Do I ask for hand lotion or a new handbag? Huge price differences. I don't want someone to think I'm greedy. See? A gift list as an adult can be a sticky situation.

So far my list includes a 9 x 13 baking pan. And that's it. Period. People want to buy me things and all I can come up with is a $10 cake pan that I should have bought at Target several years ago. In order to get my want juices flowing, I will take a moment and list a few things that come to the front of my brain. You know, the kind of things you wouldn't dare ask a real person for.

  • A garage. I can't ask for a garage, right? I really want one. I would love a convient place to store all things with wheels (strollers, bikes, trikes, wagons, scooters, cars, etc.)
  • A brand new completely stretchy wardrobe to accommodate all the holiday eating and drinking. Think yoga pants for every day of the week.
  • A dishwasher. I'm not referring to the appliance. Ours works fine. I'm talking about a person. I want to hire someone full time to wash all the dishes. And they will never complain about it. It will be awesome.
  • While I'm on the topic of wanting household help, I want someone to be in charge of bathing Alice. I just can't be bothered with it anymore. I'm not greedily asking for a nanny, I'm a stay at home, what would people think? I just want someone to give my kid a bath four days a week. She can do it mostly by herself, I just need someone to be near the bathroom and make sure she is doing a thorough job.
  • Anti aging products. I'm young, I know. But in the last two years my face has aged more than I'm comfortable with. I want the expensive stuff made with bee venom or sterilized placenta powder.
  • Central air conditioning. We live in an old rowhome with steam radiators for the winter and window ac units for the summer. Taking the bitch ass things in and out of the windows every year sucks. Storing them sucks. They just suck. All around suckage.
  • A parking spot. This is completely unrealistic, but I still want it. No matter where I go, I want an empty, free, and legal parking spot to accompany me. Go downtown during busy times, no worries, I'd always have a place to park. Get home late at night and all the street parking's gone, ain't no thing, my spot's always ready. The mall a week before Christmas, the sold out concert, the football you see how magnificent this would be?!
I'm not sure where to go from here. It seems I've gone to the crazy side of wanting. That's the problem with wanting, it can take hold and make people loco. Like kids at Christmas time.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Relish Tray

Thanksgiving came and went. We survived. I mean, really, it's a fairly painless holiday. You eat and drink and eat and watch football and drink and eat and drink and eat and eat.

People talk about the Thanksgiving meal for weeks ahead of time. The proper turkey technique is debated, to brine or not, to stuff or not, to deep fry or not. Recipes are shared. Every morning show and cooking channel attempts to teach you how to prepare the easiest and tastiest Thanksgiving meal. Everyone has their favorite dish, the one aspect that makes it Thanksgiving dinner. For me it's a trifecta: mashed potatoes, stuffing, and dumplings. Without all three, it's just not Thanksgiving.

But, this isn't about me. Surprise,'s about Alice. Wanna know how much she liked Thanksgiving dinner? Wanna know what she ate? Pickles. And a roll. Not a roll with butter. No, she wouldn't try that roll. Just a plain roll. And approximately ten dill pickle slices. To say my daughter is picky is an understatement.

There were twenty four people seated at dinner, all of them piling food on their plates, the waist band on their pants stretched to maximum capacity. People helping themselves to seconds or thirds and Alice is only eating off the relish tray.

How is possible that my child will eat guacamole and hummus and gazpacho, but will not eat mashed potatoes? Or a roll with butter for that matter? When I was three years old, my mother walked into the kitchen one day to find me on the counter eating from a tub of butter. I was eating butter by the fingerful, but my child wouldn't eat a roll because of it.

I'm starting to feel she isn't going to make it in the world, survival of the fittest. She won't eat chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, or french fries. No hot dogs, or fish sticks, or grilled cheese sandwiches. I can't make her try tacos or lasagna. She's never going to be invited to any sleepovers. Her friend's mothers are going to talk about picky Alice. She won't try fish or crab or any other seafood besides shrimp, ergo it won't be long before my family will ostracize her. In no time, she'll be banished from society completely. And to think it could've been avoided if she would've just eaten Thanksgiving dinner when she was four years old.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dazed and Confused

I am too tired to write.

I know I said I wasn't going to give any more excuses for not writing, but I swear, this time it's different. See...I'm writing. Even though I'm so tired my brain is jello, I'm still stringing together letters to make words. Promise kept.

Alice is killing me. Slowly but surely. Autocorrect suggested surly instead, which may be appropriate too.

She's been having bad dreams. I suppose I would have patience for them if they were truly bad dreams, but I kind of feel they are merely less than stellar dreams. Correct me if I'm wrong, but your pink and purple heart Vans being tagless does not constitute a bad dream. It doesn't warrant crying and yet she was. Scream crying in the middle of the night because her shoes didn't have a tag. What tag? I don't have a clue what she's talking about. Yet, I was awake to ponder the thought.

I was awake to listen to the coughing, too. The rediculous coughing. Fifteen minutes of coughing, twenty minutes of rest. Ten minutes of coughing, fifteen minutes of rest. Ten more minutes of coughing, hour of rest. All freaking night long like this. I might have been more sympathetic and motherly if I wasn't already sleep deprived from the previous nights. All she got from me was "Go to the bathroom and get a drink of water, Alice." I vaguely remember telling her to get up and go play even though it was only five o'clock in the morning. Not exactly a shining moment in mom history.

Tonight I will sleep, damn it. I'm making Hatta buy Vicks Vapo-Rub as we speak, hopefully that will calm the coughing from her cold. I'm going to bed early. No Monday night football for me. Hell, I may even drug myself for a restful eight hours of sleep. As I tell a childless friend of mine, if you like sleeping don't ever, ever, ever, ever have kids.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Dreaded Man Cold

I'll be the first to admit, I'm bitter. I don't get sick days. If I'm feeling yucky, I grin and bear it with less emphasis on the grinning. I don't get to call my boss, fake cough, and take to the bed for the rest of the day. Oh how I would love to take to the bed! The last time that happened was when I had my wisdom teeth sliced and ripped from my gums. Drugged and vomiting, I was given two days to recuperate before I was expected to be back to work. Work being a stay at home mom, of course.

That's quite possibly the biggest downside to my job, limited time off. For me to take a sick day, someone else (namely Hatta) has to take the day off from work to cover my shift. And even then I'm not really off. Alice, the helpful sweetie she is, likes to make me better when I'm not feeling well. She climbs in bed with me, armed with books and lovey friends, where she entertains me lest I be bored.

So you can imagine my displeasure this morning when Hatta announced he wasn't feeling well and probably wasn't going to work. Something about a cough, chest pain, blah, blah, blah. Before you get the wrong idea, I'm not mean. I can be very sympathetic for real illnesses, which this isn't. This is a cold.

"How can you be so certain?" you ask. It's simple. Alice and I had the same infliction a few weeks ago. I still wake up every morning with a sore throat, cough up green stuff, and fall asleep at the end of the day with the same sore throat.

"What's it matter to you if he stays home?" you question. Let me tell you. See, I work from home. Hence, when he stays home from work he's really coming to my office, laying around my work space, pretending to be sick. If he was really sick he would get out of my way and take to the bed!

When I picked up Alice from school, she was excited knowing Hatta stayed home from work.

"When I get home, I wanna play with Papa."

"Well, he may not be able to play with you. Remember? He's sick."

"He's not sick," she said. "He just has a cold."

Even at the ripe old age of four, she gets it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Letter to Myself

Dearest Nelly,

I'm not sure how to begin, the nicest way to tell you this. So I'll come right have to write more. You have a million excuses. Frankly, non of them are that good. Life is hard. Yep. Got it. So what?


I know you have ideas swirling around in your head. I'm there at night when you lie awake thinking of them. I'm there when you write bits and pieces of posts in your mind and never manage to let them out. I see the pictures in your photo stream of posts not written.

Just write.

I know somedays you struggle finding the humor. That's okay. Remember, you write for you. Always have. You don't have to force yourself to write funny stories. Remember your post, if you have nothing nice to say, say it brilliantly? Write what you want. But don't forget your purpose, the reason you delved into the dark side, to cathartically chronicle your life with Alice. Write about Alice. The good and the bad. Maybe the battles don't seem as funny as they used to. She's getting smarter, the battles are much more than sharpie on your furniture. Try telling the story anyway.

Allow yourself to grow as a writer. Yes. You are a writer. You type letters to make words and words to make sentences and sentences to tell a story. That makes you a writer. You can't not write just because the material isn't what it used to be. Things change, people change. You have to accept it and embrace where you are now. You have to find a way to write it down. You enjoy writing. It's not work. It's a release. If you need to, use writing prompts or write fiction. Anything. Just start writing again.



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Almost Heart Broken

"Forrest doesn't want to play with me anymore Mama," Alice said with a sad tone.

"What do you mean? Did he tell you that?"

"Uh huh. He said he wouldn't play with me at the potluck dinner after bed tomorrow."

"He said he wasn't going to play with you at the potluck dinner on Saturday? Why? What happened?"


"Well. Did you two have a fight? Were you not nice to him today? Did you guys get in trouble?" I asked trying to make sense of her story.

"No. He just said he wouldn't play with me at the potluck dinner. I'm so sad, Mama. I really like playing with Forrest."

You will be happy to know Forrest played dollhouse with Alice the very next day and even tried to cheer her up when she pricked her finger on a pipe cleaner during craft at the potluck dinner. They are merely four and friends are flighty and temperamental at this age. Even though she was upset and a touch heart broken at the time, no real harm was done.

The episode did, however, make the heartache I know is just ahead on the horizon appear a whole hell of a lot closer. I dread the moment when my girl puts herself out there to someone else only to have them dis her. And worse yet, the moment when a boy she gives her heart to turns around and stomps on it. I know the pain in store for Alice. Childhood can be hard, kids can be mean. Love at its worst is agony.

And what if my daughter's the one causing someone else unnecessary pain. I can remember a time, I was twelve, I was a mean girl. There was this girl my same age, a daughter of a family friend. We had very little in common, yet we often played together out of convenience. One day, with my friends by my side, in the cafeteria, I told this girl I no longer wanted to be her friend. And then, with a flip of our hair, we walked away. At the time I saw nothing wrong with my behavior, now I look back on it and feel awful. I'm sure this girl was very hurt by me. I'm sure I caused her pain. I was mean.

Every day I try to teach my daughter to be nice. I talk to her about bullying and what to do if she sees someone else bullying. I hope with every conversation we have she's one step closer to never being a mean girl. I pray she has the courage to stand up to her friends if they turn out to be mean girls. I want her to make the right choice because she doesn't want others to hurt. I want her to think of how her actions affect the feelings of other people. I want her to be a nice girl. That's the best I can hope for.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Go Vote!

I overheard this conversation and it made me chuckle.

Him: So, Alice. Today's Election Day. That means we get to vote to decide who's going to be our president.

Her: What?

Him: Well. I'm going to vote this morning. I'm going to pick who I want to be president of our country.

Her: Where?

Him: You know the playground near our house?

Her: The one with the spinny blue monkey bars.

Him: What? I don't know the spinny blue monkey bars. I'm talking about the playground at the school near our house.

Her: Uh huh. The one with the spinny blue monkey bars.

Him: Sure. Fine. I guess. Anyway. I'm going there to vote.

Her: You get to go to the playground? I wanna go to the playground!

Him: I'm not going to the playground. I'm going to go to the school to vote.

Her: ..........

Him: So tonight or tomorrow we will find out who's our president for the next four years. It's either going to be Obama who is our current president or Romney.

Her: I think you should pick Romney.

Him: I think you're wrong.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Greetings Friend!

Tonight is my last night here at this gorgeous resort and spa. I really can't believe I have to go home, but sadly my flight leaves in the morning and my bags are packed. It has been the best week of my life!

If you have never vacationed alone, I highly recommend it. No one waking you before your ready. No one begging to be fed. No one else's itinerary to follow. It's just me and it's been divine.

I've never seen a town quite like this one. It's breathtaking really, with its view of the beach on one side and the picturesque mountain on the other. And the weather has been perfect, 80 degrees with a slight breeze during the day and an ideal 69 at night, just enough nip in the air to need a sweater. I'm afraid I can't tell you where I'm staying. If word gets out it will be trendy and overcrowded and no longer the peaceful retreat it is today.

I've spent the week doing nothing and I've loved every minute of it. I've had no agenda. No schedule to follow. No rules. I've done what I wanted every minute of every day. I didn't manage to see any sunrises, since my body was allowed to sleep until it was good and ready to wake. But I saw seven beautiful sunsets, every one better than the night before. The reds and oranges and pinks and purples splashed on the deep blue sky were beyond breathtaking. The images will forever be etched in my mind.

The resort staff has been nothing but exceptional during my stay. I've not heard a single sigh or humph yet. No matter what I request for room service breakfast they deliver it promptly with a smile every time. Even the day I took a vow of silence they were nothing but accommodating.

The beach was a perfect paradise. Comfy lounge chairs and towels ready for me when I meandered down. As soon as my bare feet touched the sand, I knew I was home. There's something about the warm sand between my toes that makes me breath a sigh of relief as a weight is instantly lifted from my shoulders. There's something about it that makes me feel at ease, settled. Some days I'd spend hours lying there doing absolutely nothing. The sun too bright to enjoy reading, I'd lie there and listen to the rhythmic roar of the ocean and feel the heat on my back. Those moments on the beach were probably the closest I've ever come to successful meditation, the sounds and smells blocking out all thought. It's just that peaceful. Add to it the wait staff at my constant beck and call with cucumber margaritas and ice cold coronas and the beach was heaven.

I usually went for a mountain side hike in the late afternoon. Almost as appealing as the beach, equally as peaceful. What can I say, I'll always be a beach girl at heart. I'd walk along, the crunching of the autumn leaves beneath my feet, the sun flickering through the trees as it made its descent. There was a stream that flowed close to the trail. I'd find myself memorized with the rushing water much like a pyromaniac would with a flame. Hiking along, if I didn't have sense, I could have allowed myself to become lost. There's just something about following a trail and seeing it through until an unspoken force pulls you in another direction.

The spa. Oh! Em! Gee! The spa! Truth be told, like an addiction, I could have spent all 8 days at the spa. Every treatment I had was the best I've ever had in my entire life. Every spa hand that touched my skin felt better than any other spa hand had in my entire life. They had the power with every touch to melt my skin like butter. I was an instant puddle there for them to mold and reshape into a better, looser, happier me. And the spa amenities were to die for! I've never seen more beautiful spa water! Spring water infused with perfect blends of fruits and flowers, herbs and vegetables. It was just as much art as it was a beverage. I really can not say enough in this short letter about the spa. The dressing room had the most organic feel and the showers where so clean one day I debated forgoing lunch just to spend another uninterrupted thirty minutes bathing. The raving review goes on, steam room, sauna, outdoor women's only whirlpools...the tiniest details not overlooked in every aspect of the spa.

I have eaten well during my week vacation. I'm not entirely sure what the native cuisine is in this town, but whatever I've craved I've eaten. From simple deli sandwhiches to steamed little neck clams, gourmet soups to spicy fish tacos, if I desired it, it was on the menu. It was like everyone in this town knew my favorite foods and exactly how they should be prepared. It was the best.

The vacation on a whole was the best. It was exactly what I needed. Every mother needs a break from the never ending job that is "mom." A night out here, a trip alone to the grocery store there gets you by. But eventually a mother needs more. Eventually it all adds up, the constant "on-call" of it all weighs you down. Until the moment when you snap free and say enough is enough, I need a break. This vacation was the best break I could have ever asked for. I will go back tomorrow, refreshed with a spring in my step. I will go back a better, more patient mom. But, mostly I will go back remembering I am not just a mom.

My lofty dream, but unfortunately just fiction.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Post of Links

I wrote my first post on December 18th, 2011. Of course, not at A Tea-Tray in the Sky. That first step into the darkside of blogging was somewhere else. I debate linking to old posts all the time. Even though it was only four months, Alice was excellent blog fodder, and I wrote a shit ton of stories about the trials and tribulations of raising her. But ultimately, I decide against it. I don't need my cover to be blown. So, to you fine readers that were fortunate enough to follow along back when Alice wasn't Alice and to the rest of you that have joined in along the way, I say thanks for coming on this journey with me. We've cried. We've laughed. We've drank a lot.

You know when you're watching Young and the Restless and the day's episode is like a wedding or a funeral. You know you're going to spend the whole hour watching a montage of memories. Nothing new is going to happen. You debate not even watching it, why waste an hour of your day, only you do watch it and it sucks. Just like you predicted. It's definitely not a Friday episode where they leave you with a cliffhanger of a car accident, a murder, someone falling through the ice at the lake, and an affair being consummated.

Today's post is kinda like that, a wedding episode. Nothing new, just a bunch of updates.

I love my car. Keyless entry kicks ass. It was everything I'd hoped it would be. And more. You know you've really made it in the world when you can push a button and your car doors unlock. If you happen to be one of those people that can start your car with a push of a button, please just shush. Let me bask in the glory for a little longer. Did I tell you I have heated seats? I warm my ass every chance I get. The hierarchy in my car is quite obvious. Check your ass, if it's cold on the ride to school your ranking in the family is not quite as high as mine.

Remember how I was struggling to get into my book and I wanted to quit but you guys convinced me that giving up was the wrong thing to do? You encouraged me to keep reading and I finally got hooked on Bossypants. Well. I downloaded a book to my iPad the other day. Hangs head in shame. I'm still only 111 pages into Tina Fey's book and I temporarily gave up. I bought Reflected in You by Sylvia Day. Apparently I truly am addicted to trashy novels. I heard the faintest Crossfire chatter on twitter and I was logged into my Amazon account within minutes. Just like that I succumbed to the glorified porn temptation.

As preschool room mom, I'm in charge of the Halloween party. I can't for the life of me understand how I signed up to be room mom, how I agreed to plan parties. I detest planning parties. What was I thinking?! But here I am, planning the hell out of what will be forever known as the best Halloween party the Sprout class ever had. And the Rainbow Potluck Dinner? The Sprout families will be bringing the most purple-est purple food* the school has ever seen. We will put the rest of the classes to shame!

Remember my moss? It's still a sad plot of dirt with random patches of lush green moss. People are not impressed. Oh, but mark my word, they will be. Give it time. Maybe in 2015 people will be impressed. But now, they are all laughing at me. "Crazy Nelly, weeding the dirt again." I'll update you with a new pic so you can have a good laugh as soon as I weed the dirt.

In the northeast we are heading into cold weather. Not there yet, and I'm not rushing it along. But I know with every leaf that falls we are getting a degree closer to cold and snow and ice. He still can't find his coat. And he better not think his absentmindedness gives him the excuse to buy a new one. He's going to have to grin and bear it with lots of layers. Natural consequences of life.

Today marks the fourth day since Alice has had a bath. That's right. She had a bath after swimming class on Monday and she hasn't had one since. Today's Friday. I've noticed paint and yogurt in her hair and it hasn't bothered me one bit. This morning I was finally forced to brush it, the mats were making parts for pigtails impossible. She isn't stinky, yet. I'm sure by tomorrow she will be. You see, it's not a school night so I have no pressing reason to bathe her tonight. It can wait till tomorrow. I guess it's fairly obvious the regular baths I boasted about were just a fad, a novelty to make myself feel like a stellar mom. Really, I'm just average. I still cry there's not enough time in the day.

So there you have it. The wedding episode. A glorious montage of A Tea-Tray in the Sky memories.


*Not me. I'm bringing wine. I'm too lazy to cook.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Only Alice

Hand in hand, I lifted the latch and we entered the tot lot. All around were tricycles, plastic ride on cars, balls, plastic playhouses, and a small playground. I saw the tooth fairy, a bat, Snow White, Anakin Skywalker, a super hero, a baseball player, and numerous other children dressed in their favorite costume. They were all having fun, riding and running, laughing and shrieking. Orange, purple, and black balloons tied to the gazebo greeted us as we walked in. It looked and sounded like a fun birthday party.

Alice, dressed as the most adorable version of one of our favorite characters in Alice in Wonderland, clung to me for dear life. To her the party looked intimidating. Everyone already in play mode, after a long crying fit at home, we were walking in thirty minutes late. After several attempts to ease my daughter out of her shell, I stopped trying. I socialized with the other parents, periodically trying to pry itty bitty fingers from my own. Looking around, all the other children were behaving like "normal" children at a birthday party. Adults were standing around, children were playing together. Not Alice. She bounced from my leg to Hatta's leg, holding tight. Her friends from school called to her.

"Alice! Alice! Come play!"

I encouraged her to play. I reminded her we arrived late and the party would be over before she knew it. I walked with her to the playhouse where her friends were climbing and chatting together. She ignored them and hid further behind my leg. I talked to her friends, hoping she would see me having fun with them and join in. That plan was not successful. Finally as a last ditch effort, I took Alice aside.

"Alice. You know how I tell you that sometimes it's okay to be stubborn and sometimes it's not? How sometimes it gets in the way of you having fun? This is one of those times. You're being stubborn, refusing to play, just because. You know that if you just allow yourself to play you will have fun. These are your friends. You play with them everyday at school. So stop being stubborn and let's play or we are going to have to leave the party early."

I walked with her, holding her hand so she had no choice, to the playground. I made us walk up the steps to the top. And there I encouraged her to go down the slide, promising I would go down right behind her. And finally, just like that, she did it and all was right in the world again. She ran to the steps, climbed to the top, and happily slid down the slide again. She was playing. Upon her insistence, I took my turn down the slide and waited for her at the bottom.

I'm hoping this is what the rest of the party goers saw. My adorable child finally allowing herself to have a good time. You wanna know what I saw?! Naked four year old vagina.

OH! EM! EFFING! GEE! My daughter was dressed head to toe in sparkly tulle, sliding down the slide on her naked ass. I swear, only my child would be devasted because her black bow headband wasn't completely centered on her head but could care less that she was out on the town with her naked parts out there for the world to see. In her crying fit of rage at home, we had neglected underwear. You may remember how my daughter has a fondness for going commando. She wasn't wearing underwear when I helped her dress into her costume and I, just wanting to get out of the house, completely forgot.

Luckily I'm a prepared mom and I had a skort in my bag. I grabbed her hand and walked a bit out of the way of the party, all the while scolding Alice for going out in a dress without underwear. She's four. She has to be aware of these things. I can't possibly be in charge of everything! With the skort slipped discreetly under her costume, Alice was free to run and play.

I have to say, I am a teeny bit worried about Alice's naked vagina showing up in some unsuspecting mother's photo stream. There was this one mom that was blasting her iPhone like she was the paparazzi. Please say my daughter is not on the Lindsay Lohan track.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Strength in Numbers

In everyone's life there are usually a few moments when they feel they can not possibly make it, they can't go on, they just can't do it.

For me, the birth of my daughter comes to mind. By hour twenty I wanted to give up. I didn't think it was humanly possible for me to continue. I didn't know how I was going to endure any more pain, exert any more effort, push any longer. I wanted to quit. I was begging for help. I wanted the doctor to save me from my hell by insisting a caesarean was necessary. I didn't say it out loud, but I wanted to. I imagine many first time marathon runners experience a similar feeling at some point during the race. That point at which you don't think it's even possible to take one more step.

In every scenario it ultimately goes one way or another. Either you take one more step, push one more time or you don't. You either will you body, your mind to go on or you stop.

In my story, the birth of beautiful, stubborn baby Alice was made possible by a wonderful support system. Left to my own devises, I would have quit. I would have waved the white flag insisting someone else do the work I couldn't. Thankfully I had the most supportive and powerful coach in my OB doctor. I can still, four years later, hear her booming voice demanding "Hard as you can! Hard as you can!" She was not allowing me to quit. My doula was at my side just about every minute of the twenty one hours. She made me feel so brave and strong. She showed complete faith in my ability to birth my daughter. Hatta was there, scared and unsure, but in awe of my strength. Together they told me how wonderful I was doing and what an amazing woman I was. I didn't believe them, if I had been doing so wonderful wouldn't she be out by now? But it was still the encouragement I needed to keep pushing. The marathon runner, I imagine if he had to run the race entirely alone completion would be unlikely. Even those that aren't running with friends find strength in the comrades running around them. Together a lot more is possible.

You may remember a few posts ago when I stated I was swimming in heavy, heart crushing thoughts. I'm still there, barely staying afloat. I was informed last night that not everyone enjoys my analogies, and if this is true for you, I really am so sorry, but I'm afraid I'm sticking with the swimming one. For, I am anchored in this pool. All around me, as far as my eye can see is heartache. And I am stuck. I don't know where to go, or even which direction is shortest. I remain where I am, treading water. I know I must swim soon. But where to? I could always swim back to the shallow end, I'll still be stuck in the pool, but at least I know I won't drown. Or I could take a leap and swim toward the edge and hope I make it. Hope I have the strength to swim.

I wish someone else could save me. I want someone to dive in and pull me to safety. End the pain I feel. If only it worked that way. Even though I don't want to, I have to do this on my own as hard is it may be.

What I hope more than anything, is that I have a few people poolside cheering me on, shouting words of encouragement when I need it most. I'm afraid once I start swimming, I may find the journey too treacherous. I may find it easier to quit, allow my head to sink beneath the waterline or swim back to the shallows. I pray that if this happens I have a friend who recognizes the distress I'm in and throw's me a life ring, if even just to momentarily hang on to until I can swim again. I know I will not make it alone.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

For the Love of a Good Book

I always thought I had fantastic followers. I've even bragged a time or two.

Then I go and ask you guys for a favor, a simple request. I needed YouTube help. But did you come to my rescue? No. Write about Alice and her love of bacon and you folks come running out of the woodwork to comment. I guess YouTube is just asking too much. I blame you, and you, but not you cause you did suggest that one video.

I received several responses to the affect of I don't really watch YouTube, don't have the time for it. Well my friends, let me share some facts straight from YouTube's site that make your claim a little shakey.

  • Each minute over 700 YouTube videos are shared on twitter
  • 500 years of YouTube videos are watched every day on Facebook
  • 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • In 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion views or around 140 views from every person on Earth
Suffice it to say, I'm not buying your story. I find it hard to believe you are all just like me, lord help the world if you are. I don't think the cosmos could handle another Nelly. I doubt you delete those YouTube forwards your best friend sends you. You likely click the link when the 140 characters catches your attention. And I'm sure you watched the pig saving the goat once it went viral.

My loyal readers you've left me no choice. You put me in a place I didn't want to be. I have been forced to read my book. It topped the New York Times Best Seller list 5 weeks in a row. It's sold over 1 million copies in the US alone. And yet, I am struggling to get into it. It's not one of those books that finds me in bed at one in the morning fully engrossed, still reading. I can't blame the mound of laundry on my good book. But I think it's on the upswing, page 96 and I'm hearing more mentions of Amy Poehler and Saturday Night Live.

Yes, my book is Tina Fey's, Bossypants. It was on my Christmas list in 2011 and I was quite pleased when my Mother In-law bought it for me. It's sat on the book shelf for, jeesh, 9 whole months begging me to read it. I always had fancied up porn other books that were on my must read list. Finally with the end of 2012 creeping up on me and my faithful followers being of no help in my efforts to procrastinate, I'm going to finish my book.

Want a chance to redeem yourself? I'll need a new book soon enough. This time I want something good. Something so good it's obvious when you walk in my house and see the mayhem, I've been at the mercy of an enthralling read. I'm open to anything, kids hunting down kids, glorified porn, or maybe even something seems to be all the rage and I am in the dark.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Colliding Thoughts

Today is a thinking day. I'm not entirely sure why, but my brain refuses to do, only to think. I really wanted to write, help steer my thoughts into a focused direction...but sadly that doesn't appear to be happening. Instead, I find myself staring out the window thinking. I can hear Alice upstairs singing and playing, not napping like she should be. It's just background noise for my rambling thoughts.

Nothing monumental has happened to cause the obscure mood. My mind is like Alice's favorite DVD, "The Milkshake Band." It's scratched and will continuously play and replay certain clips until someone forces the DVD player to skip over the section. It will resume playing breifly until it hits another scratch, again it will loop around and around. The DVD is really useless at this point, but every now and again I give into Alice's insistent pleas and play it, knowing it won't be long until I'm forced to fast forward and skip the fickle disc. That's my thoughts today, worthless and continuously stuck on repeat.

I'm not getting anything accomplished. Before me sits three packages. Normally I love's like adult Christmas! But today the packages sit on the coffee table and I haven't even cared to open them. Amazon goodies and fall clothes for Alice. In time, I'll get to them.

My thoughts center around the usual pickle of a life I call my own, an email I received from a friend, and an uncalled for comment I made to someone who doesn't deserve it. Each sector running around my brain bumping into each other vying for the forefront. Meanwhile, these thoughts are competing with the standard operating thoughts...dinner, laundry, afternoon arts and crafts, dishes, etc. I need to lighten my brain's workload, cut the dead weight. It's clear to me now, I need to let the contents of the email lie. I do not need to analyze and process everything right now. Doing so will not change a thing, it will not set anything in motion, and honestly, nothing will be clearer. Second, I need to make right a wrong. I don't know what my intentions were in making the spiteful comment, but I know I was at fault. It didn't need to be said, and regardless of whether the person was offended, I need to apologize.

Phew...I already feel better. I do believe, now that I have that sorted, there will be more room for my thoughts to rotate in an orderly fashion. Look at that, writing did help me focus my thoughts after all. I didn't tell you a funny tale or talk about poop and pee, but, hey...everyday can't be a good story.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I need help y'all. Did I really just say y'all? I must be really desperate.

I need your YouTube playlist. I don't even know if it's called a playlist. I don't actually know much about YouTube. Generally, I only use it to watch episodes of Young and the Restless. When people email me YouTube links, I delete them. I'm too cool for YouTube. I've never understood the phenomenon of watching everyone else's homemade videos.

Until now.

It turns out, I'll watch anything. See, I have a window of time nearly everyday where I am stuck warming up on the elliptical for twenty minutes in order to run without my knees buckling, leaving me in a crying heap, sore and bitching for days after. I used to read during this time, until I committed myself to read a book I don't enjoy. Instead of admitting defeat, I looked around at what everyone else was doing. Listening to music...yeah, I really enjoy saving that for my run, reading, seems like cheating on my book, staring at hot girl's asses...nah, not really into that, watching videos on their phone...that's it!

I broke out my phone and set to work entertaining myself. I watched a few music videos before I became stuck. I had nothing to search for, I had no idea what to watch. Maybe this is why I never understood YouTube. What do you people do with it? Lost, I watched a very short clip of Justin Bieber vomiting on stage, a ten minute video of the Ohio State marching band, and footage of a fireball during a lightning storm. Before I knew it, my time was up and my knees were properly loosened. And I was in love with YouTube.

So fine followers, please, I beg of you, what do I need to watch? I want your recommendations. Anything good, leave it in the comments or tweet it to me. Remember, anything goes. If I watched the entire ten minutes of a marching band, I'll watch anything!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Have You Seen My (fill in the blank)

There's a person in my life that loses everything. I won't mention any names. I've already had to join the blogger protection program once before, not looking to do it again.

I don't even know how it's possible to lose some of the shit that disappears. Take for example a winter coat. How in world does a grown person lose a winter coat in your own home? It's only been a handful of months since it was last needed. Yet, it happened. How about a cell phone charger for the brand new iPhone 5? Mine hasn't even been delivered yet and somehow, in a matter of days, this person lost theirs. I could go on and on and on and on...sunglasses, debit cards, keys, concert tickets, shoes, et cetera, et cetera.

I tell you fine readers this saga because it amuses me. It didn't always. It used to drive me batty. Worse than batty. Wars have been fought over this shit. But somewhere in the last few years, I let it go. I realized it wasn't my belongings that were being lost (most of the time,) so I got over it and started laughing more.

I'm not a vindictive bitch, I've tried helping this person rectify the problem. I've put into place systems, a place for everything, everything in its place. Except no matter how I suggest, prompt, or bitch nag things don't end up in their place. And then they disappear. Maybe I'm blaming the wrong person. Possibly, and I'm going out on a limb here, these items all get up and walk away. It's some kind of sick trick they're playing. I dunno. All I know is the misfortune of one is entertainment to another. I am allowed that privilege as compensation for putting up with it for so many years. Retribution, if you will.

I had a good laugh this morning. Remember that iPhone charger? Well, apparently the replacement that was purchased just yesterday, turned up missing. It was only MIA for a few moments, but for those moments I was peeing my pants laughing, in my head of course.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Not Exactly the Hostess with the Mostest

I'm a shitty hostess. I try hard, but when it's all said and done I'm just not cut out for the job. Some people, the Martha Stewart types, live for opportunities to show off their skills. My goal is just to make it through.

I have had overnight house guests for three weekends in a row. Frankly, I'm sick of it. See? That's the kind of statement that would never escape the lips of the hostess with the mostest. I've always suspected I'm a lousy host. Today I confirmed my suspicions.

My brother inlaw and his friend, let's call her Sally, arrived late last night from New York City. This morning I tried my damnedest to be a kick ass host. They were only going to be here for an hour and a half before they had to leave for an all day music concert at a nearby venue. I had ninety minutes to shine. I laid out fresh towels. I baked cinnamon buns. I brewed coffee. I even hand delivered them to Sally while she played with Alice. I was on a roll! When it was time for the duo to leave, I even gave Sally a travel mug for her coffee and sent them on their way. The entire day has now passed and it just occured to me, I served Sally her coffee black...the way I like it. I never offered milk or sugar. It never even crossed my mind. The poor girl, not wanting to trouble me I'm sure, never said a word. I have a very nice handmade sugar bowl and creamer pitcher. The pitcher I use as a vase and I gave the sugar bowl to Alice for her play kitchen. I can't even manage to serve proper coffee.

If this incident was a one time deal, I could forgive myself. But, my friends, it's not. I don't offer my guests a glass of water, even when I myself am drinking one. Most normal people ask, "Can I get you anything? Iced tea? Water?" Not me. It doesn't even enter my brain that my friends may be parched.

I think the saddest thing is that I front like I'm a decent hostess. If you come for Easter breakfast I'll have a kick ass fruit salad, fresh baked croissants, muffins, and mimosas. But if you come for a play date, it's fend for yourself. Don't expect me to offer you anything.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Congrats, I Hope You Like Pee

You know what I hate? Pee. I am sick to death of pee. Not mine of course. My pee is fine. I put it in the appropriate receptacle. I think the next time a friend exclaims in her zealously, novice voice she's pregnant, instead of the traditional congratulatory words, all I'm going to say is, "I hope you like pee."

From the moment you laboriously push the babe from your nether regions you are inundated with urine. I should have expected it. I'd heard the story countless times. The first moment my father held all 8lbs 7oz of beautiful baby me, I peed on him. All down his side and his leg. There's even a picture to prove it.

Alice was no different than any other baby. She peed nearly every time she had her diaper changed. Luckily, she was a she and her pee didn't, um, go anywhere. It still made a puddle to be cleaned.

Potty training brought new mess. Lucky for us, (is the sarcasm font working?) when Alice was 19 months old she wanted to be just like her slightly older best friend who just got an Elmo potty seat and Cookie Monster big boy underwear. Her body wasn't quite ready, but she had made up her stubborn, bullheaded mind. She was getting herself some Zoe big girl underwear and a Dora potty seat. I invested in large quantities of rug cleaner and away we went. We arrived at her two year well check up in said underwear.

After such a momentous achievement, I thought we were in the clear on the urine front. Nope. We still had the night time potty training task ahead of us. Many, many, MANY loads of laundry later and she was done. A bonafide kid. Not a baby. Not a toddler. A real kid.

So the next logical question is why, oh God, why am I still cleaning up pee?! She's four freakin years old! She's been at this for over two years now. It's not hard, really. YOU PUT YOUR MOTHER LOVIN PEE IN THE EFFING POTTY!! One would think, after awhile it would be second nature, like eating and breathing. Never am I tempted to pee in the recliner because I'm too engrossed in Pinterest to get up.

You can imagine my displeasure when Alice woke me up the other night.

"Mama. My shirt's wet."

"Alice. Your shirt's wet because you peed in my bed. You're soaked in pee. Alice. Get up. Go get clean clothes...Alice, please. Get out of my bed. I've got to change the sheets."

That's right she was in my bed. Operation "Big Girls Sleep In Big Girl Beds" has only partially worked. She starts the night out in her own bed and whenever she feels like it, she meanders into my bed. This night she decided to meander into my bed and pee. You know why crib mattresses have a waterproof top surface? Pee. You know who's mattress doesn't have a waterproof top surface? Mine. The next day, when I properly stripped the mattress down it's like a Picaso in pee. My mattress that I once loved so dearly, now belongs in a frat house. Do you know how many loads of laundry I have to do every time she pees in my bed? Four. That's right. The mattress pad, the sheets, the duvet, and finally the cover. I HATE PEE!!

Can you even guess what greeted me when I picked Alice up at school, after I had spent the entire morning trying to sanitize my mattress? A baggie with pee pants inside. She had her first accident at school. On one hand I felt for her. She's made real friends at school and I imagine she didn't enjoy wetting herself in front of them. On the other hand...ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME WITH THE PEE, CHILD!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cubby Time

"I had to sit in my cubby," she told me completely out of the blue.

"Yeah? What do you mean, you had to sit in your cubby?" I asked.

"I was naughty."

"When were you naughty? Today at school?"

"Uh huh. I had to sit in my cubby, at school," she informed me with the same lackadaisical attitude that started the conversation.

"Okay. Well. What did you do that was naughty?"

"I was carrying my chair around."

"You had to sit in your cubby cause you were carrying your chair around? Alice, I'm confused. Why where you carrying your chair around? What were you supposed to be doing?"

"Me and Forrest were carrying our chairs around on our back. I had to sit in my cubby and Forrest had to sit in Jude's cubby. Ricki was carrying her chair around too but Miss Sharon didn't see her so she didn't have to sit in her cubby."

I almost laughed at this part. Already, she senses the unfairness of life.

"Alice, why in the world were you carrying your chair around on your back?" I asked still trying to sort the story out.

"I dunno. I didn't want to clean up. It was funny. Forrest was doing it too."

When Alice told me this story last week I felt two completely different emotions, one was worry and the other was relief. Worry for Alice. She has a lot of strong willed, spirited, defiance in her and I think this initial cubby timeout is only the tip of the iceberg. I predict many incidents like this in her future, for it seems she's of the mindset that rules are made to be broken. While I felt worry, I couldn't help but feel relief. Finally I had the confirmation I needed. It wasn't just me. A little piece of me has always thought maybe her and I butt heads and this is the cause of her defiance. Maybe under someone else's leadership she would toe the line. Ha ha, not the case! It's her!

I was not surprised when we had this conversation in the car the following day.

"I didn't have to sit in my cubby today!" she told me with great exuberance.

"That's awesome Alice! I'm so proud of you! Great job following the rules."

"Oh, wait. I forgot. I did have to sit in my cubby a tiny bit."

"What for?"

"Hehehe...I don't even remember, Mama."


Before the questions begin, since the idea of sitting in her cubby seemed to confuse some family members. Their cubbies are not closets or lockers. They don't have to climb inside, there is no door. It's not cruel punishment and nothing like Harry Potter living in the closet under the stairs.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Getting My Shit Together

Today marks the first day of "Get Your Shit Together."

I need to get my shit together.

When some folks say that, they may be referring to their physical condition, maybe they need to exercise more, finally get in shape, eat healthier. Others may say it in reference to their career. Maybe they are stuck in a dead end job, making far less than they deserve. While an entirely different set of individuals may use that phrase to describe the stage of life they are in, finally stop being a kid and grow up stage. Not me. I mean it in the most literal sense. Well, maybe not quite literal, I'm not trying to organize feces or anything, just the four years of shit I've accumulated since Alice was born. Memorabilia, if you will.

I am not a neat freak. I have no qualms with a minimal amount of clutter. Given the choice between playing games with Alice or cleaning, I'll always choose the game. The dirt will still be here day in day out for the rest of my life, four year old Alice will not. I am, however, organized. I always know where everything is. Hatta loses countless things every week. Not only does this not happen to me, I can usually locate the lost item for him. Now, I'll be the first to admit it doesn't appear that I have a grand organizational system, but clearly I must. I don't lose things. I don't misplace items. On the rare occasion that it happens, sadly, I am merely human, I berate myself to no end. I do not enjoy "pulling a Hatta."

When it was just my shit I was keeping track of, it was easy breezy. Enter Alice and the gawd alfuwl responsibility of preserving her childhood so one day thirty years from now she doesn't criticize me for not saving every freakin memento of her past. I speak from experience. I chastised my mother countless times about my baby book, or lack there of. I know what it felt like to see my older sisters' baby books and know that mine ended well before kindergarten.

So, I've been saving it all. Every birthday card. Every potty sticker chart. Every height/weight card from the pediatrician. Every letter from the Easter Bunny. If it could be saved, I did. Then there's the artwork. I've saved a lot. More than a lot. Samples of her drawing at each stage of her life. Collages, paintings, handprints...saved them all. I tried to remember to date the back, but to be honest I wasn't always successful. Not knowing what to do with all of this shit, I've been creating stacks of it here, paper bags of it there. Four years of Alice's life is starting to take a toll on my sanity. It's always been my crux. In the back of my mind I've tortured myself with the stacks of cards and drawings, the incomplete baby book, all signs of my failure as a mother. Now, I'm smart enough to know a baby book does not measure a mother, nevertheless, it still haunts my thoughts.

Today I started. I began separating and categorizing, organizing and purging. I've simplified my original grand plans to a much more managing filing system. The end outcome will be the same. Alice with have tokens of her childhood to look back on when she's older. She will know I cared.

And to you dear Alice, when you look back on the memorabilia and you come across the photos of you sitting in Santa's lap and you feel a picture is missing and your initial reaction is to blame your mother for losing your two year old Santa picture, think again missy may. I did no such thing. I took you to see Santa. I placed you in his lap. You screamed bloodly murder. Three years in a row. They actually used your one year old crying picture in their advertising. I refused to buy another photo of you crying. We tried on two separate occasions to convince you he wasn't the second coming of Satan. You had your own opinions and now you have a blip in your Santa photo saga.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Addicted to a Certain Kind of Sadness

Bless me followers, for I have strayed. It has been seven days since my last post.

I haven't been able to write. Well, that's not entirely accurate...I haven't been able to write anything nice and as the saying goes, if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.

Over the weekend, I drove to Hershey, Pa to attend the sold out Farm Aid. The line up was stacked with well known artists, young and old. It was an amaaazing festival, a great cause and mostly great music. One act, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, stood out from the rest.

Dave Matthews is a brilliant musician, I don't think anyone can dispute it. I will go above and beyond and say he's far more. He's a captivating storyteller and one hell of a performer. I watched him bare his soul again and again, song after song. Don't misunderstand, I'm not claiming Dave Matthews is all feelings, he has silly songs of fluff just like every artist. But, I found myself mesmerized by his uninhibited emotion as he sang lyrics that clearly meant something to him. And at that moment I realized maybe the saying should be changed.

If you have nothing nice to say, make sure you say it brilliantly.

Life has been hard for me lately. Eh, maybe it's been a little longer than lately. I feel as if the dominating thoughts in my mind are not nice, pleasant, peaches and cream kinds of thoughts. I'm swimming in the heavy, heart crushing ones. I've shared a few with you fine readers, but frankly I'm very concious of drowning my sorrows in my blog. No one enjoys reading a sad, woeful mess day after day.

I have no crystal ball and I haven't met with a physic; I have no knowledge of when my life will flip. But it has to happen. Eventually something has to give. Right? There's a lyric in Gotye's now famous song that concerns me. "You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness." I think there is validity in that thought. I do not enjoy turmoil and drama in my life. I am, without a doubt, sure of this. It is fact. However, when you live something for too long it can become you. I experienced this with my mother's illness and as a new mom, it took a lot for me to pull myself out. As life tries to spin out of control, I do my best to mantain equilibrium staying focused on my sun and my moon. All my daily efforts working towards remaining grounded on her. When I embrace it, Alice can brighten the dreariest of days and I count my lucky stars she's in my life.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

She's a Cutter

Alice is a cutter. No paper is spared. I shit you not, from sun up to sun down my daughter cuts.

If it wasn't so damn annoying, it would be cute. Her current favorite pastime is coloring people in coloring books and then cutting them out. She says she's making her own paper dolls. Cute, huh? Which brings me to the so damn annoying part.

These "paper dolls" are everyfreakingwhere!! She takes them in the car. She takes them to nap. She leaves them on the coffe table. I find them under couch pillows and under tables. I'm up to my ears in "paper dolls." So...I did what any good mom would do. I forced her to purge. She was able to keep ten and the rest would go to other kids who aren't fortunate enough to have their own paper dolls. Hehehe. While she was away at school, ahh school, I recycled the scraps. She arrived home that day, shocked the give away pile was gone, I simply explained what happened. "While you were at school, I saw a few kids walking by and I asked them if they would enjoy playing with the paper dolls. They said yes, so I gave them away." Alice bought it. She actually seemed pleased in herself, like she was helping make mankind better. Let me inform you it lasted a day or two at most.

"So Mama. If the paper dolls are on the couch, you can't give those away. And if you find them on this table, you can't give those away either."

An hour later.

"Mama. These paper dolls that I'm putting here on this shelf, these you can't give away. These are for me to keep. And those over there, I'm keeping too. You can't give any of these away."


My world is full of paper barbies and paper princesses. Paper wings cut from paper fairies and glued to paper mermaids.

Do you know what all of this paper cutting leads to? Little shreds and scraps and strips of paper all over the freakin place. There are so many little pieces of paper on every surface and littering the floor, I hardly see them anymore. No, I still see them. I soo see them. They drive me mad. I wanna scream, "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! PICK UP YOUR TRASH, CHILD!!" But I don't, something about stiffing her creativity or something. I encourage her to clean up after herself, knowing she's four and I'm likely to be doing the majority of it myself. As I'm on all fours pinching bits and pieces, I remind myself, this too shall pass. It's just a phase, an adorable, irritating phase in the creative life of Alice.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Daughter Will Not Be the Dirty Kid at School

Alice is well into her second week of school and things are going swimmingly. She's an ungodly early riser by nature; the transition of getting out of bed for school is a nonissue. She's been rather pleasant and cooperative in regards to the morning procedures of breakfast and dressing. Matter of fact, we've arrived on time all six days. You're clapping for me, right? We really seem to be getting into the swing of things...most things. There is one issue I'm struggling with.


You see, it's considered bad parenting to send your child off into the world dirty. Before preschool was a part of our lives, bath was not a common occurrence in our house. Basically, if she hadn't been swimming in chlorine or coated in sunscreen bath was not on the agenda. I'm a busy woman, there aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish it all...don't judge me. In the winter months when swimming and sweating wasn't a daily concern I bathed Alice twice a week. As I sit here, I'm a teeny bit embarrassed to admit it. Let me reemphasize there aren't enough hours in the day. Given the choice of putting Alice to bed at an appropriate time or bathing her, I don't think it's even a close call. I would always choose bed, knowing I could pull her dreadlocked hair into a ponytail and the rest of the world would be non the wiser.

Enter Miss Sharon, Miss Kelly, and the rest of the kids in the 5 day 4's Sprout class at Alice's preschool. I feel it's my job to give my daughter every advantage I can. And if that's a regular bath I'm willing to roll up my sleeves and get a little wet. The last thing I need is for the teachers to notice the paint on Alice's toes from yesterday is still there today. God forbid her pony tail comes loose and they have to help, tugging and yanking on her tangled mats. As for the other kids, nicknames stick. Look at Pigpen from the Peanuts.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fading Dreams

I've been struggling lately with the notion of dreams and failures and what should have been and what could have been but wasn't. Years ago, when I was younger and full of hope, I imagined my life would turn out a certain way. I dreamed the white picket fence dream.

"Our house is a very, very, very fine house. With two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard. Everything is easy now 'cause of you."

I've been chasing my dream for over ten years. Every decision I've made since college has been working toward the goal, that white picket fence and everything it meant to me. Somewhere between then and now, I felt the dream slipping.

"Don't worry about a thing, 'cause every little thing is gonna be alright."

I continued on in the quest for my ideal life, ignoring the feeling that it was trickling through my grasp like grains of sand. I was so close to fulfilling my dream, if I just persevered I could make it happen. I couldn't admit defeat. This is my dream, after all. If I stop seeking it now...then what?

"You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run."

Is now the time? Is today the day my dream changes? We're supposed to play the hand we're dealt. Maybe I haven't been dealt the white picket fence. Maybe the dream I've been working so hard for isn't intended for me. And if I walk away from my dream, what takes its place?

So...I struggle. It's hard. I see my hand, I know I should fold, but I'm still playing the game. I don't want to give up on my desires. I don't even know how. I've wanted it so long, I simply can't imagine saying "Oh we'll. C'lest la vie," and moving on. Maybe moving on, formulating a new dream is some of the fear. I can't possibly let go of one dream unless I have another waiting in the wing. I can't wander around through life dreamless, an empty hole in my heart where hope used to reside.

I have no idea what's next for me. I have no profound enlightenment. Instead, I have more lyrics...from Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO) a band I've enjoyed listening to since my dream formulation days.

"And in this life we're free to dream whatever we want to
But that doesn't mean that your dreams are gonna come true
Instead as a way of getting us to move
Life dangles your dreams in front of you
And unable to resist the temptation, we continue

And it's clear to me that this life is gonna be
All about the dangling possibilities that keep turning in and turning out
Yes it's clear to me that this life is gonna be
All about the dangling possibilities

The road is long and windy
Full of twists and turns
But before you can rise from the ashes
You've got to burn baby burn

Welcome to your barbeque
Where we roast all the dreams
That never came true
Welcome to your barbeque
Pig out and dream a new"

So...maybe one day soon I will officially invite you, fine friends to a kick ass barbeque. A dream roasting hootenanny!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Initiation Into "the real world"

"How was school? Did you have fun?" I asked Alice.

"Yes. I did the tire swing."

"By yourself or with other kids? Did you swing with Maya again?"

"With Maya and another girl. Not the girl with the ponytail but anther one. I forgot to ask her name...Mama?"


"I don't want to go to school tomorrow," Alice said with a very serious tone.

"Why not? It seems like you have fun playing."

"I do. School should be all playing. I don't like having to do all the stuff Miss Sharon tells me to do."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Not Torture, an Educated Parenting Decision

Monday night I wrote this post. And then I had this twitter conversation.

After that, I proceeded to spend hours lying in bed, not sleeping, second guessing my decision to take Alice to the butterfly conservatory. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I was, in fact, torturing Alice.

Don't worry, even in my sleep deprived state I returned to my senses. I was making an educated parenting decision to follow through with my butterfly conservatory plan. I appreciated the opinions of well-meaning friends, but in this instance I had to go against them.

Let me be clear, when I tell my stories of life and parenting Alice, I do so with a humorous slant. The meat of the stories are true, but I find life easier to handle with a sense of humor. The humor, to some, may have been lost on my most recent post. Please know in everything I do, I absolultely have Alice's best interest at heart.

Case in point, the hours I spent lying awake contemplating why I was taking Alice into a situation I knew full well could have a bad outcome. It's very simple. Alice doesn't just fear butterflies, she fears all insects. This affects her daily life. It's debilitating. In case you hadn't noticed, bugs are everywhere. In the ballet room, in gymnastics, in her house, on the porch, in her playhouse, et cetera, et cetera. If I allowed Alice to succumb to the fear then I would be enabling her. Instead, Hatta and I (and the extended family) take the approach that insects are a part of our life and certainly nothing to be frightened about. And see, the thing is, Alice doesn't enjoy being afraid of bugs. It gets in her way of playing, she's wise enough to realize that. She wants to overcome her phobia. She wants to believe us when we tell her that the majority of the bugs are not looking to harm her. So, I provide Alice with opportunities to test out her insect threshold. In the garden, she's by my side, curious about the worms and the roly polies. Not interested in touching them, she keeps her distance to test the theory.

I saw the butterfly conservatory as merely another step towards Alice's freedom. It was a controlled environment with beautiful, fascinating insects that do not bite. My job was to support Alice and reassure her she would not be harmed. The only way for the experience to be a success was to go. To stay home would be giving into the fear. That was something I was not okay with. I do not think living your life around fear is healthy.

I asked Alice, the morning of the adventure, if she wanted to go.

"Yes. But I might be afraid if they want to land on my head," she replied.

"Well, that's okay. I won't let them land on you."

"Even if they don't, I still might be a little bit scared," she told me.

She wanted to face her fear. And, my friends, it paid off. We entered the greenhouse with her in my arms and we just stood there. I allowed her a few moments to take it all in before we moved. She was hesitant when I knelt down to observe a nearby butterfly and to place her on the ground. But, just like that, her curiosity took over. She didn't want to be unhappy. She trusted me to keep her safe and that allowed her the freedom to check her fear at the door...well, mostly. There was one instance when a butterfly attempted to land on her head and sent her into freak out mode. I quickly handled the situation and she didn't let it ruin her experience.

All in all, the butterfly effect was a success. She's still afraid of bugs...this morning she wouldn't sit still on our front steps for first day of preschool pictures because bugs were flying about. But, I believe each positive insect experience helps her to be one step closer to overcoming her phobia for good.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Man Eating Butterflies

Tomorrow, after preschool orientation, I'm taking Alice on a very special outing. "Where to?" you ask.

Wait for it........wait.......keep waiting.....

The Butterfly Conservatory! Ah hah haha!!

To the average fairy loving, little girl this would be a treat. As you've come to learn, my Alice is anything but average. She's petrified of butterflies. Terrified. Butterflies, spiders, houseflies, mosquitos, fruitflies, bees, ladybugs, wasps, moths, gnats, ants, cockroaches, beetles...the list is endless, my girl's scared of all of them. Bat-shit crazy scared. This is not an aversion, it's a full blown entomophobia!

I took her to the conservatory last year and it was beautiful. The butterflies were stunning and vibrant and everywhere. I had no idea she was going to freak out. I don't know why I didn't expect it, but I was caught off guard. I spent the entire time trying to convince her the butterflies were harmless, when clearly they were MAN EATING BUTTERFLIES! For the love of all things good why was I torturing her! I was persistent if nothing else. After she cried and sobbed, swatted and screamed for the first 30 minutes, the ENTIRE 30 FREAKING MINUTES, we took as break for lunch. Re-energized with a full tummy, I was convinced butterfly hell round 2 would go much smoother. I was wrong. It was every bit as horrendous. My only goal was to capture one moment where she was not visibly panic stricken. Camera shot after shot of Alice with a pained expression.

A well intentioned lady spoke up, "Are these really the pictures you want to have of your little darling? Is this how you really want to remember it?"

Right lady, as if I had some other choice. I was documenting the experience. If I had settled for only capturing smiles, I would have left with a blank memory card. Those fearful shots tell the best story ever!

So, tomorrow I embark on this butterfly adventure. I'm armed with no new tactics. No brilliant advice to help my baby overcome her fear. I am much wiser, though. I know what to expect. I'm not kidding myself into thinking she's going to love it. She's going to hate every freaking moment of it. In my head I will laugh. A lot. Carrying my dear girl, because walking in a butterfly paradise would be too treacherous, I will giggle inside at her rediculous unexplained fear. I can't say I will take pleasure in torturing my daughter, because that's not socially acceptable to say, but come on, it's butterflies! I'm not redecorating her room with clowns or forcing her to have pet snakes.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Preschool. Wednesday. Yay.

Preschool starts on Wednesday. I think maybe I've mentioned it before, but incase you didn't read it on twitter or sprinkled in and out of practically every post I've written since they accepted our application...I'll tell you again, Alice starts her first day of preschool next Wednesday. I'm excited. Alice is excited.

Up until last night that's as much thought as I've given it. "Thank the dear lord this little bitty, blonde hair ball of defiant energy is starting preschool soon! HALLELUJAH! There is a heaven after all and it opens at 8:45 five days a week! Sweet Jesus!"

Then last night it hit me, my baby is going to preschool...five days a week...sigh. Sob. Sob. Sob. For five enitre half days I will miss my baby. Well, maybe I won't miss her all five days. I'm sure that first morning when she's insisting she's not eating breakfast or getting dressed, screaming NO! at me, and throwing her toys...yeah, I imagine I won't miss her much that day. Or the morning I come downstairs to marker on the kitchen floor, it's likely I'll leave drop off skipping and whistling a tune. And the first morning I get to watch Regis and Kelly...wait, I hear since the last time I was able to watch the show Regis left, what is it now, just Live with Kelly? Anyway, I digress. The first morning I can sit peacefully with my coffee and drink it hot without having to microwave it three separate times, I think I'll still be rejoicing that day too. But mostly I'm going to miss my little sidekick.

Since the moment the OB stopped screaming "Hard as you can! Hard as you can! Hard as you can!" and placed the tiny 6lb 15oz baby on my chest we've been inseparable. We do everything together. We go everywhere together. We have a bond that only her and I share. She wants to be just like me, complete with lines on her forehead and the ability to roll her eyes effortlessly. And I want to be like her, to see life as one big playground where the goal is to have as much fun as you can. We've taken on every adventure that comes our way together. Every challenge, together. Together we provide each other with comfort. Together we are strong and can do anything.

And starting Wednesday, all that will be just a little bit different. See, my baby is growing up. She's ready and so am I. We need it. It's time for both of us to spread our wings just a touch. As excited as I am for this next chapter in our mother daughter relationship, I am equal parts sad and maybe even a fraction fearful for what's next. She is too. We will adjust to the newness and who knows, maybe our relationship will flourish with a few hour break from each other every day.

And to Alice, since I know one day you will read these words written about you, you have no idea how much I love you, how proud I am of you. You have become an amazing little girl. You're clever and resourceful, beautiful and sophisticated. You stop a room when you walk in. It's always been that way. When you were a baby, I couldn't go anywhere without complete strangers telling me how beautiful and porcelain doll like you were. The gerber baby people said. At Gymboree your early speech mesmerized the other parents. Your emotional sophistication has always astonished me. You understand complex thoughts and feelings that some adults struggle with. You make me so very proud to say I am your mama. Dear, sweet are my sun and my moon and I thank the heavens every day you are in my life.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Love at First Sight

I have a new car. And not the "new to me" kind of new car. A BRAND NEW car! Wanna see? I know you do. I know you've been at home curiously wondering, twiddling your thumbs anticipating the moment I reveal to you my new car. Wait no it is!

Here for your viewing pleasure is a 2012 Honda Pilot in Bali Blue Pearl. And best of's not a mini-van! Nothing against those of you with mini-vans. Truth be known, part of me wanted one. I was gonna plaster a bumper sticker on it that read "I used to be cool."

I am in love with my new car. Complete love at first sight. I've never had this reaction with a car before. Sure, I loved the oscillating ac vents in my very first car, an old Mazda 626. A novel feature that seemed to amuse my friends when they would ride with me. And I love all the memories I created in my Hyundai Elantra wagon. All the times the car left Hatta and I stranded...all very fun stories. What can I say about my Honda Element? I brought my baby home from the hospital in that car. For that reason alone it holds a special place in my heart. But really, I did not love any of those cars. They were merely cars. They served a purpose. I got from A to B. End of story.

Oh, but my lovely Pilot. We are best friends. Soul mates right from the start. With all the organizational options, she's clearly a girl car. She's smart and sophisticated. And clever, damn she's clever...for a car. You should see the seats fold. Don't be fooled into thinking she's all brains, you should see her classy leather wrapped steering wheel, so sleek and sexy. My new car has it all! Brains and beauty!

I've even toyed with the idea of giving the powerful lady a name of her very own. I've never owned a car with a name. Lots of rednecks people do it, right? She came to me from Georgia, a Southern belle! Maybe Scarlett or Victoria or Anabel?

There is only one thing I do not enjoy about my new car. She's clean. Not like, "oh I took the car to the car wash and was able to remove 2 months of the 5 years of dirt and gunk that built up" clean, but insanely brand new car clean. It's scary. I had a talk with Alice.

"You know we have to try and keep the new car really clean. We can't just leave our trash in here. You can't leave your toys all over the place. We have to try really hard."

"Like I can't stick gummy bunnies to the wall, right?"

This is why I'm scared. Alice actually did that and didn't bother telling me for days, weeks. I'm not even sure how long the gummy fruit snack was stuck to the wall. We will do our best. I will try hard for my new best friend, the new love in my life. For her, I will do anything.