Monday, July 30, 2012

List Mode

I'm in list mode. This happens several times a year, I feel the strong urge to prioritize and organize with the help of my handy dandy lists. Usually..."I would say I'm a kinda fly by the seat of your pants gal, you know moment to moment. Yeah that's me, that's...yeah." Oh, wait. No. That's Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. That's definitely not me. I'm a planner. For sure. At any given time, in my head, is a list of things needing my attention. I lie in bed at night reviewing and reorganizing my mental do to's. Most months of the year my brain file folder is sufficient, except Christmas, Alice's birthday, and the last month of the summer. On these occasions I do not trust my memory alone to keep it all straight. I bring out the heavy artillery.

"Why the last month of the summer?" you ask.

Very good question, indeed. The last month of the summer is what I refer to as Oh-shit-summers-ending-hurry-and-do-everything. It's when all my hopes and dreams for the summer either come to fruition or crash and burn. It's the month that separates the men from the boys. All that hype takes a bit of planning. Add to that the most awesomely, awesome deadline ever...PRESCHOOL! Let's just take a moment to celebrate. In a month, Alice will be in preschool five days a week. Five. If that doesn't put a smile on your face surely nothing will. Anyway. As excited as I am about preschool starting (did I tell you how excited I am?) it does create added planning on my part. Forms, medical records, teacher meetings, new parent's picnic. Preschool prep has forced me to step up my end of the summer planning a bit. In my head are numbered lists and bullet points galore. All freakin day long. It's like I can't escape the mental organization of my thoughts. So bear with me. I imagine this will not be the only list post you read this week.

In this last month of summer, I will be the proud owner of a new car. I'm getting a new car! I'm getting a new car! My current ride, a Honda Element has been outgrown. As wonderful a vehicle as it is, it only seats four. That's right. Many a times, I have driven around illegally with a fifth seated on the backseat floor or riding in the way back. Add to that, needing new brakes, a new driver side key lock thingamajig, new tires (just guessing,) oh, and the matience required light has been on for...hanging head in shame...years. We've decided now is the time for an upgrade and I've issued the deadline of "by the end of the summer." Without deadlines we do nothing.

Reasons I am stoked about the upcoming new car.

  1. Keyless entry. I've owned 3 cars and have never had the luxury of a magic keychain. Oh, how I've dreamed of keyless entry.
  2. Front passenger seat arm rest. I am usually the driver. My seat has an arm rest. Hatta's seat does not. He is constantly stealing my arm rest.
  3. Funk. My car, being old, has funk embedded deep in all crevices. It screams a child with sticky, crumby fingers lives here. It will be nice to start with a clean slate, you know, to dirty up.
  4. Roof racks. Not needed often, but so helpful.
  5. Keyless entry. At present, I can't even use a key to unlock the drivers side door.
  6. Heated seats. This is not a requirement, but heated seats are such a beautiful invention. What a luxury! I used to nanny and drive a nice Volvo with heated seats. It made leaving the house on a cold morning for an early storytime bearable.
  7. Color. I've never cared about the color of my vehicle. This time, paying very good money, I want to love the color. I'm not settling.
  8. Keyless entry. I hear that some people have the ability to start their car with a push of a button. I just want to unlock my doors. That's all.
  9. Cup holders. Nah, I don't care about cup holders, as long as I have one to fit my coffee, I'm good. I'm not impressed by cup holder count.
  10. Luxury-ish. My Element is the opposite of luxurious. There is no carpet. No cushy leather. I believe I can hose the whole thing down. It's been great for camping and music festivals. It's served it's purpose. I'm ready for a taste of luxury.
  11. Keyless entry. Did I mention that yet?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Technology, Ain't it Great

Growing up, in my family, I was always known as the computer savy one of the bunch. I was the youngest, so computers had been a part of my life longer than my eldest sister. I remember the good old Commodore 64. I loved playing Double Dare and Family Fued on that big clunky machine. My love of computers caused my mother to send me to Computer Science summer camp, or commonly referred to by my sisters as Dork Camp. In high school, as a member of the year book staff, people came to me for Photoshop help. In college, I took a class where our semester long project was to create a website using html. I got an A and enjoyed every freakin moment of it. I was good with technology, you could say.

Let's get back to now, shall we. Somewhere between graduating college and present day I lost my tech savy-ness. And once again, I didn't even know it. I'm starting to think I lost my pre-baby brain when I lost my pre-baby body. See, one day, I was having a conversation with a friend. He was likely on his iPhone and I was likely on a cell phone that flipped and had an antennae. For some reason, the topic of wifi came up. At that moment, I knew as much about wifi as I did about space travel. I suppose I had no need to educate myself about it, my laptop in its condition wasn't even compatible. It was soo old. Like, turn the computer on, go make breakfast, settle down with the paper, enjoy the meal, and when you were done it was finally booted up. Anyway, where was I? Wifi, right. So the friend on his fancy schmancy phone was mocking me for not having wifi in 2011. I ignored him. As you should when someone begins mocking you. Several months later, the same friend asked how the wifi was coming. Yet again, I think he was mocking me. He was on to me and my wifi ignorance, knowing damn well how it was coming. Meanwhile, old laptop died and we inherited a slightly newer hand-me-down model from my in-laws. This one could handle wireless. But still, we remained tethered to the wall. The rest of the free world was sitting on their couches perusing the Internet, skyping with loved ones from the comfort of their beds. Not me, I was standing strong on my refusal to join the 21st century. Then, I got an iPad. You know how awesome it is to buy an iPad, bring home the sleek and sensual, thin piece of power...only to not be able to use it? For two weeks, I "borrowed" wifi from the nearby Radio Shack. It was spotty and in the evenings I was out of luck completely. It was not a good plan. I needed wifi. And I, still, was clueless. Tail between my legs, I crawled to the knowledge of my friend who, for the record, is not smarter than me. Turns out it's pretty damn easy to have your very own wireless connection these days. One simple amazon purchase and I had taken my house into a whole new world.

Since then, my house has exploded with technology. New phones, new tablets, new cameras! All we need to update is the laptop. Someday, when money allows a nice new MacBook.

Today, searching for a picture on my camera, I became lost in picture land. When I found myself looking at pictures of Alice and our dog, Marley, in the snow, it occured to me I have a new technology problem. Pictures. When it's 100 degrees outside I shouldn't have snow pictures on the camera. I loathe our computer, so I never log on to unload the memory card. Never a problem, unless it's Christmas morning and the card is full or until I actually want to do something with these great pictures I take. Who am I kidding? It's a problem. I have years and years worth of pictures just sitting on a hard drive. That's a big problem. One day I'll tackle the task of ordering prints and creating albums. One day. Until then, it turns out it's pretty easy to solve the memory card situation. I didn't even need to ask for live help, that's how smart I am. I just googled. For a low, low price of $30 I can buy an iPad camera connection device.

It's my new goal, I'm putting it out there for the world to hold me accountable, to take more pictures, unload them in a prompt fashion, and use them however I see fit. My mother was a picture taker. She always had her camera with her and took pictures often. She would stage ridiculous photo shoots of my sisters and I. Candids were her thing too. It shocked me, sorting pictures after her death, how many pictures she took of us just riding in the car. She documented everything. If my mother was still alive today, she would fully support this goal.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Relationship with the Jehovah's Witnesses

I have trouble saying no. I'm sure my husband, if he read my blog, would laugh heartily at that statement, but it's true in some respects. When people ask me for a favor, it's like this impossible force within me, I must say yes. Need me to watch your kid? Sure, no problem. Going away and forgot about your dog? No worries, bring him over. I already have a dog and two cats, what's one more? The list goes on. Ordinarily, I don't think it's a big deal, except at 2 o'clock when I hear a knock on the door and I'm not expecting guests. Then my ability to say no is a gargantuan big deal.

What some of you 9-5ers may not know, while you're away at work, people are standing outside your door knocking. It's constant. Every week someone for some reason or another knocks on my door.

That fateful day, four years ago, someone knocked on my door. Itty bitty baby Alice in my arms, I opened it to find a young (17?) male African American...with a book in his hand. Not just a book, The book. In his other hand was The Watchtower. At the bottom of my front porch steps stood his grandmother with her summer hat on. He was nice to me, so I listened to him spread his belief. He gave me the required pamphlets and went about his day. That's where I went wrong. I should have nipped it in the bud that first meeting, but I didn't. I couldn't. He was so kind, I couldn't say no. So he came back. Again and again and, oh my God, again. He knew my name. He knew Alice's name. Always the same, he talked while I nodded and answered his questions, his grandmother always within ear shot. I started to like the kid. I even found myself reading some of the articles in Awake!. I remember the day I realized it had gone too far, I was in the middle of nursing Alice when he knocked. I should have opened the door and said, "Enough's enough already! I'm not buying into your belief! I celebrate Christmas and my birthday!" Not having the required amount of balls to do so, I unlatched a very furious Alice, put my boob away, opened the door and greeted my new friend. I listened, all the while bouncing Alice to keep her whines to a minimum. I didn't want to interrupt his preaching. Then, at the end of this particular visit, he said it.

"Next time, why don't my grandmother and I come inside for some bible study?"

Holy, oh my eff, what had I gotten myself into?! I had no intentions of allowing this kid in my house for bible study, no matter how nice he was. If I had just said no from the get-go, I wouldn't be freaking out about how I was going to politely sever my new friendship.

I consulted my friends. They all said the same, "What? You're meeting with the Jehovah Witnesses on a regular basis? Seriously?" Thanks, guys. Then, my sister in-law told me her mother has regular Bible study with the Jehovah's, even lunch. I knew then and there, I didn't want to be making egg salad and lemonade for this kid and his family. I needed to end it. Maybe I could just leave a note on the door.

Like ripping off a band-aid, I did it on our next meeting. As soon as I opened the door, I told him thank you for the kindness but I liked my faith the way it was. Just like that my many month long problem was gone. I was removed from the list and the Jehovah Witnesses haven't stopped by since.

I learned a very big lesson that day. If you can't say no when you open the door, don't open the door.

I spend quite a bit of time hiding behind my door, glancing through the peep hole to see if the most recent solicitor has vacated my porch yet.

Which brings me to yesterday. There was a knock at the door, and since just last week I had succumb to the temptation to be normal and opened the door to a 15 minute presentation where I wishy-washily told the guy to come back later when the man of the house would be home, I decided it best to go back to what works...don't open the door. Alice came from the kitchen, where we had been painting pre-knock, to find me cowering behind the door. Quickly, I tried to mime to her to get back in the kitchen. It wasn't working. I tried again in that voice that wants to be a whisper but just isn't.

"What Mama? Who's at the door?"

"Shh, Alice. Be quite. See, it's a stranger at the door and we don't open the door for strangers."

"Are we hiding from them so they don't come in our house?"

"They're not gonna come in our house. We just don't want them to know we are here."

I don't know if I'm scarring Alice for life by teaching her that sometimes Mama hides behind the door when people knock. I hope I'm not encouraging her to be a hermit or anything. However, until I grow a backbone and learn to say no to college kids selling magazines to fund their trip to NYC, it's not worth the risk in opening the door. I do love me some Joe Corbi's though, so if you know of anyone selling, send them my way!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Major Accomplishment

Back in May I enrolled Alice in a one week, two and a half hour Fairy Camp at her dance school. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Yesterday morning, trying to get Alice out of the house by 9:15, didn't seem like such a good idea.

What the what was I thinking? Summer mornings are not for rushing to get out of the house by a required time. But there I was, rushing. Being the optimistic person I am, hehehe, I looked at it as a nice trial run for school in the fall. I don't work outside of the home. Alice doesn't go to daycare. We have never had to leave the house five mornings a week and arrive at our destination on time.

Let me tell you, I'm kicking ass at this being on time for ballet camp business. Two days in a row we have walked in the dance school door before camp started. Alice has eaten breakfast both days, I hear that's uber important for school. I managed to remember the dance bag both days, which I have been known to forget in the past. We arrived at camp dressed in proper attire, neither of us in pajamas. And today, not only was her hair brushed, I even decided to be a show off and french braid a section and bun the remaining loose hair up. I made those other moms look like novices today.

If this is a sign for what's to come in the fall when preschool starts, I'd say we're made in shade, baby. Golden.

What is that you veteran mom's are saying? Two days of being on time for camp has nothing to do with being on time for school every single effing day? I hear you, you parade rainers. Can't I just have my moment? Let me bask in the glory of being on time for just a little bit. That, in and of itself, is a major accomplishment. Matter of fact, I'm going to go make myself a cocktail right now to celebrate my achievements!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Mid-Play Pee

"Alice? Do you have to go potty?" I asked. She wasn't holding herself, but she didn't seem right.

"I already did," she stated matter-of-factly. No emotion, no expression, just the words.

"What do you mean, 'you already did?' Pee didn't come out just now, did it?" I couldn't believe I was asking this question. We were at my friend's house and Alice was playing race cars with her son. There was no way my four year old peed in the living room of my friend's house.

"It came out." That was all she said. She was killing me with her lack of concern for peeing mid-play.

"Where did you pee, Alice?"

"Over, there. On the rug."

Oh. Em. Gee. My daughter peed on the rug. At someone else's house. Sigh.

"Alice!! You can't just pee on the rug! What were you thinking? Why didn't you stop playing and go use the potty?"

I contemplated rolling up a newspaper and swatting her on the nose. Or maybe I should have pushed her face down and rubbed her nose in it.

"I don't know. It just came out." That's all she had to say for herself. No shame. No embarrassment. She had peed on the rug in the living room of someone else's house and she didn't even seem phased.

"Alice. You get upstairs and wait for me in the bathroom. I am very upset with you. I can't believe you just peed on the rug! Like a dog!" That's right. I said it. I compared my daughter to a dog.

I can recall a time not too long ago, Alice was forced to poop in the grass near I-95, and she was devastated to be defecating like a dog. But this? Peeing on the carpet? This she's okay with? Just when I think I have a clue about little kids, she makes me realize I haven't the foggiest.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Row Away

I've got problems. I'm not talking about the simple life problems, like why can I not, no matter how many loads of laundry I wash, ever be caught up? Or, why is it as soon as I buy the super, über, family size box of Wheat Thins does Alice decide she doesn't like them anymore?

I'm talking about real problems. The kind of problems that are mind consuming and usually, life altering. We all have them. And if at this very moment, you're thinking to yourself, "Not me. Right now things are great. Problem free." Look out. I guarantee one's coming right around the corner. This is not me being pessimistic, this is me being a realist. Life is full of problems to process and handle appropriately.

Don't you ever wish you could actually run away from your problems? I do. I'd love to get on a plane to Fiji, say, "Sayonara problems, hasta la never! I'm outta here bitches!" Poof! Just like that problems gone. All kinds of awesome. Except, I'm almost a month shy of my thirty second birthday, and I've learned, that's not the way it happens. Evvver. Problems will be here at the gate when you get back holding up a sign with your name on it. You can not run from your problems. Even when you really, really want to.

You know what you can do? Row away from them. I discovered that my temporary escape from my problems is at the gym. Seated on the rowing machine, iPod playing, my mind is not focused on the tunes. Instead, my mind is focused, visualizing individuals, and the problems they've helped cause. And I row. Fast. In my mind, I see him standing on the bank and the distance between me and my problem increases. The distance makes me row harder, craving more space between me and my problem. In that moment it feels real, it feels phenomenal. It feels like I won, I escaped. Then, I open my eyes and I see the treadmills and the squash courts, reality comes rushing back. My problems are still here, right by my side. But for that moment, I gave myself the much needed escape.

I think that's the key I'm learning about problems. They are significantly more manageable if you can escape them every now and then. Not run away per se, just visualize an escape, put distance between you and them and gain perspective. It feels good.

"Pray to God, but row away from the rocks." - Hunter S. Thompson

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Halloween in July

I found this in my mail box yesterday.

Do you know what this is? This is rediculous, is what it is! How dare a company send me a Halloween catalog in July! Blasphemy! It's July for God's sake! July! I can accept Christmas in Target before Thanksgiving, but Halloween catalogs when it's 104 degrees outside I just can not get on board with. How dare they do this to me!

As a mom, can I not get a break? Holidays are crack for kids, wiring them up with excitement, hopping them up on sugar. Summer is my salvation, a break from the crazy. And now this? Don't I even get my summer? Halloween is quite possibly the worst of them all. What with the begging complete strangers to give them candy simply because they are wearing dress up outside. That's all costumes are, fancified dress up. But now the catalogs have started to pour in. They will not stop. And every one will fuel Alice with an extra boost of crazy in anticipation for a holiday that's months away. Each one will be studied by her, as she contemplates which facade she should don.

It's already started. Seated in my lap, flipping through the catalog, she asked the name of each one until she arrived at this costume. She declared, in July mind you, this is what she wants to be for Halloween.

Convient, I tell her. That costume is currently sitting on the top shelf in her closet from last year when she insisted she had to be this exact Aurora for Halloween. The cheaper Aurora from Costume Express would not do for my champagne taste princess. It was a lovely costume and she was a beautiful princess. It was worth every penny we spent on it. And if she wants to wear it again this Halloween, the cost per wear is greatly reduced. Fingers crossed.

She continued thumbing the catalog, studying each perfectly photographed disguise. Then she landed on this gem.

Hearing the news that she already owned the Aurora costume, she insisted this year she would be Alice for Halloween. Funny. This, my friends, is what we wanted her to be last year for Halloween. More than wanted, begged. We promised she could trick-or-treat with her uncle's beagle, the dog she adores, dressed up like the white rabbit. I promised her I would dress up as the Queen of Hearts, if she would please, for the love of all things good, pretty pretty please pick the cheaper, adorable Alice costume.

I don't know what she will decide. It is, after all, MONTHS away! It will certainly be easy for me if she settles on Aurora. All she'll need is a new crown since she broke hers in a fit of rage one day. Alice...well, I think we all know how I feel about Alice. It would be oh so fitting for my Alice to finally be Alice. Nothing would make me happier. It's still too early to place bets yet, it is after all only JULY!! She did stare longingly at the Darth Vader costume. I don't think we can rule anything out yet. I'll let you good readers know how it pans THREE MONTHS FROM NOW!

Friday, July 13, 2012

I Hope You Dance

I witnessed something today that left me without words, silently staring with a million emotions swarming my brain.

It happened at the gym. Thirty minutes into my work out I found myself near the one-way glass windows of the daycare room. Like always, I paused to look inside. This morning they were engrossed in parachute time. I smiled, seeing the excitement on the faces of the children. I looked from kid to kid around the parachute circle, all the while the colorful chute went up and down. I didn't see Alice anywhere. I looked towards the corner she usually plays dolls in, she wasn't there either. Thinking she must have been underneath the parachute, I scanned all the little bodies again until finally I found her. She stood a foot behind the parachute, just watching. A smile on her face, not touching the chute, merely watching the fun taking place.

I was so torn with emotion. My heart broke for her. I knew the fun she would have if she allowed herself to participate. I knew if I was by her side as her security, she could have joined in. And at the same time I was proud of her for knowing her limits, knowing how much she could handle and still feel comfortable and safe. Proud that she was not holed up in a little corner playing alone. She had gotten as close to the action as she could handle, I'm sure. I watched her face as the other kids took turns, obviously having fun, running onto the middle of the parachute as the group continued to raise and lower it. I saw the longing in her smile, though unable to conjure enough bravery to take her turn. One time the parachute brushed her hand, I thought for sure she would take it as a sign and hold on. She didn't, she simply took two steps backwards to ensure it wouldn't happen again.

No mother hopes her child will be the one standing on the sidelines watching life, and the excitement it brings, pass her by. I quote a popular lyric by Lee Ann Womack*, "And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance. I hope you dance."

I hope that for Alice. I watched her through the window having a good time, but not entirely. The rest of the children laughing and squealing with delight at the activity, I couldn't help but wish Alice could experience it the same as them. All chidren are different, though. And this was too far outside of Alice's comfort. I can only hope that I teach her to be brave and step outside her comfort zone every once in a while to experience something exhilarating. It's always worth it.

* Let it be known, this will likely be the only time I quote country music. Growing up on a farm, I was surrounded by country, but proudly my iPod is practically void of it today.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Very Own Picasso

I'm sure I'm not alone when I say, "Oh, how I wish I could get more sleep. Just sleep a little longer." This morning, Hatta and I did just that. I don't know what his excuse was, but I stayed out a little too late catching up with a good friend last night. Alice's whiny delightful sounds woke me too early this morning. Ignoring her, knowing she was awake and heading, unsupervised, downstairs, I rolled onto my stomach and pulled the pillow over my head. I never could fall back asleep. I didn't rise feeling rested. "Sleeping" in was a waste.

Grudgingly, I forced myself out of bed and headed downstairs to be greeted by my lovey daughter and her productive use of her early morning freedom.

She's quite the artist. She took it upon herself to paint a masterpiece on my table using an entire bottle and then some of glitter acrylic paint. I think simultaneously she tried to play games on Hatta's iPad. Luckily he had the cover on. Did you know acrylic paint is not washable? I didn't find a paint brush. Either she used her hands or there's a purple glitter covered paintbrush hidden somewhere in my house. Note to self, check the couch cushions. If I'm being honest, and I am, I fared well this time. She didn't dump the paint on the floor, smearing it around with her hands leaving purple glitter handprints all over the kitchen. Or worse yet, she didn't decide to paint her body, head to toe. There was only minimal damage in and around the sink after she attempted to clean up after herself. I do believe we're making progress. I think, by golly, my little girl is growing up.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Night Time Adventures

I've been über busy recently. Allow me to fill you in on my goings-on.

Last night, I died my hair. I'm a brunette. I've always been a brunette. As much as I have wanted to color and highlight, growing up watching my mother and my two sisters change their hair color to match the phase of life they were in, I'm far too practical. I watched the expensive, money sucking cycle continue month after month, year after year with them and knew, until grey hair forced me to, I had better things to spend my money on. But last night, I chose a very pretty shade of blonde with soft, subtle pink highlights. Pink. I'm sure I will be the talk of the preschool parent association.

The night before, I watched my best friend's girlfriend train a yellow lab puppy. It seems the puppy is destined for hunting trial fame and fortunes. The girlfriend, being an obvious bad ass, killed a duck by clubbing it and ripping it's wing off. She procedded to wrap the wing in tape and throw it for the adorable, black nosed puppy in an attempt to teach it to fetch. Impressive, albeit a bit scary, to watch.

The night preceding that, I took a job on Air Force One. I can not disclose my duties, far too top secret. All I can say is I may or may not be serving the president and his staff refreshments. I was issued my assignment in the middle of the night with no time to prepare, having to quickly pack all my belongings into brand new charcoal colored luggage, say my farewells to dear, sweet Alice, and head off on my way.

As you may have guessed, all this busyness has been occurring while I was sleeping, in my dreams. Every night, while I'm supposed to be recuperating from an exhausting day taming my wild child and her tantrums, I'm off on another nighttime adventure. I don't know what all the randomness of my dreams mean, if you or someone you know is a dream interpreter, feel free to offer your two cents. I do hope tonight I can take the night off and just sleep.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Kanceling the Kardashians

You may remember a few months back, I gave up television for Lent. No tv. At all. I felt compelled to end the addiction when I found myself caring about the Kardashians and Abby Lee and her dance moms. I was no longer just watching the few shows I was invested in, I was watching junk. Worse yet, I was watching said junk On Demand. I was seeking it out.

The weeks without tv were awesome! Seriously. Since I knew it wasn't an option, I replaced my post Alice bedtime addiction with porn reading and writing. It was nice.

After Easter, I slowly resumed watching tv. Weird at first, I didn't know what to do. How I imagine inmates feel when they're released from prison and are expected to reintegrate themselves into society. At first they avoid their old friends, like I did with Whitney, the Broke Girls, and my friends in Genoa City. But it doesn't take long before the old crew comes knocking at your door at 2am with a dime bag in hand.

My friends, I do believe I'm right back where I was. I'm addicted again. To worthless mindless junk. Now let me be clear, if you love watching Snooki that's awesome. She is captivating. It's just not a show I care to be invested in. Nor is Hoarders, Teen Mom, or Jerseylicious. I. Just. Can't. Stop. Watching.

I'm done. I'm throwing in the towel on my addiction. I hope to be transferred to some swanky rehab joint in Southern California where I can spend my days recovering. If that fails to happen, a call will be made to Comcast. It's the only logical decision. I've been left no choice. I must go to my dealer and cut off my supply. I'm canceling cable.

Hi. My name is Nelly and I'm a cable tv addict. It's been 12 minutes since I last used.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Going Commando

I have taught my daughter a lot of things. A LOT!

I taught her to walk by bribing her with a box of off limit small chokey items. I taught her to dress herself. I taught her Spanish. Wait, no. That was Dora. I did teach her the ABC's and her numbers and all that smarty-arty stuff. And let me tell you, she's smart. Too smart sometimes, you know, for being 4. Given all that, I have never been as proud of her as I was today.

A shining moment of motherhood.

Alice and I were preparing to go to the gym. I was sitting on the top step lacing my running shoes while she was going pee. When she finished, she came to join me on the stairs. She stood before me, lifted her sundress and said, "Look, Mama. I put on underwear. Ariel ones."

I smiled so big, a tear of joy almost formed in the corner of my eye. I was ecstatic. I had finally taught her quite possibly the most important life lesson a girl can learn...when you're wearing a skirt or a dress, put on undies before you leave the house.

See, Alice dislikes wearing underwear. She loves underwear! She has more pairs than I could ever dream of. Elmo, Zoe, Dora, Ariel, Cinderella, Aurora, and Rapunzel to name a few. She hates wearing them. It's nothing for her to walk around the house, lift up her dress and surprise! Vagina! Or she'll lay back on the couch and her skirt will fall up and, oops, naked vagina. It's so common place in my house, the surprise, that our close friends aren't even caught off guard anymore. It's a way of life around my house, toys on the floor and naked 4 year old vagina.

With all the nakedness, I've been concerned for future Alice. I think it's technically called the Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton crotch shot phobia. These girls were not taught the life skill I was determined to instill in Alice. To prove this, I contemplated posting pics to these girls exposed out in public crotch shots. But then, this isn't that type of blog. You can google if you don't remember or live under a rock. The last thing I want for my daughter is to be photographed because her vajay-jay is out for all to see. Now, I know the odds of Alice being famous enough for people to care if she's going commando under her mini skirt are low. It doesn't matter. Good girls wear underwear under skirts and dresses. Period.

Unless, of course, you're married and trying to spice things up a bit on a date. Then, maybe the out in public surprise is acceptable.

Until then, I'm glad she finally caught on to my begging and pleading and put on undies unprompted.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Love Hate Relationship

There are two sides to everything. Take for example, the sun. If you're thinking to yourself, the sun is the sun, no two sides about it...then, my friend, you are wrong.

All in one day I was reminded that the sun can be a relaxing, pleasure inducing star or a bright, blinding, headache inducing, bitchass ball of plasma.

This past weekend, we took a trip to the beach town where Hatta and I grew up. I spent hours and hours in the sun, relaxing carefree. Riding on the bow of the boat, basking in the warm glow, surrounded by delightful memories. The moment was perfect. The sunny sun made it perfect. The sun glistened on my skin, tricking me into thinking all my physical flaws were gone. Wonder sun. With family around doting on Alice, I was able to step back fom my full time job and chill. I laid on the tube in the bay, drink in hand, eyes closed, listening to my daughter's sounds of delight, sun shining it's happy rays down upon me. Life was good, courtesy of the brightness in the sky.

Alas, as I said, everything has two sides.

Tonight, car packed with kid, dog, and far too many bags of shit that I would have to unpack upon our arrival, I drove three hours, with traffic, home. In the sun. The mothafokking sun was the bane of my existence for three straight hours, no relief. I drove, Alice and Hatta slept. And by drove I mean did my best to try and block the sun glare without ramming into the car in front of us. Let me break the annoying ass shit down for you (please excuse my language, I'm still a little high-strung from the stressful drive.) Put visor down, flip it to the side, push back to the front, sun still blinding my vision, pull out visor extender, push visor to the side, extender in the way knocking my rearview mirror, pull visor back to the font, flip visor up thinking the sun is finally behind the trees, realize it was a cruel trick, flip visor back down, pull out extender again, push to the side. It carried on like this for hours, three to be exact. Mostly, I enjoy driving. I find it peaceful and cathartic. Tonight, because of the punk ass sun, I hated it. The sun tortured me this evening and seemed to find pleasure in it. It laughed at me as I tried to hide from it. Mocking me as it retreated behind the trees just long enough for me to breath, then bursting back out, snickering as I scrambled to try and block it from my sight so I didn't sideswipe the neighboring car. Tonight, as I drove, the sun sucked. Period.

Every now and again, in this life, you are reminded of life lessons. Some days it's crap about a body at rest staying at rest unless a force acts upon it. Today, the life lesson is there are two sides to every story and one of them is usually sunshine and daydreams while the other side is full of a nasty power hungry star that wants to see you total your car creating a five mile back up leaving you stranded on the side of the road while passerby's rubberneck to see what idiotic, moron was done in by sun glare.