Thursday, October 25, 2007

Attempts at learning

BoopaLoop has pre-school three days a week for 3 hours. On the other two days, she hangs out with me. We do some errands. We do some cleaning. We do some playing. We rarely do some teaching.

She is too similar to me in personality, so we get too easily distracted with being silly to dedicate a lot of time to serious learning. However, that does not mean I don't make the odd attempt here or there. Today was such an attempt.

I pulled out an old pre-school book that once belong to LittleMan.

Me - "Okay honey, this is a maze. Do you know what a maze is?"

BoopaLoop - Shakes her head no.

Me - "Okay, you need to find a way to get from the rabbit to the carrot at the end."

BoopaLoop - Starts drawing a straight line from the rabbit to the carrot going through all the walls.

Me - "Yeah, that's the idea, but you have to stay in the walls."

BoopaLoop - Stops drawing to listen to me.

Me - "See the walls? You have to stay in the walls and find a way to the carrot."

BoopaLoop - Starts drawing a straight line to the carrot again - through the walls.

Me - "Honey..."

BoopaLoop - Interrupts me, "I'm flying to the carrot."


End Lesson

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tennis Tomorrow

I have a tennis match tomorrow, so I'll drink lots of fluids and gets lots of rest...

Is it a coinsidence that this is the same prescription for when you are ill?

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Usual Suspects

For those of you unfamiliar with one of the best movies ever, The Usual Suspects, I suggest you go rent it right now, and read this blog afterwards. Otherwise, this blog will mean nothing to you.

Today BoopaLoop and I were singing silly songs like, "My daughter has a turnip head - oooooohh turrrrrrrrrrnip head." Well, it was my daughter's turn to come up with a silly song, so she began:

"My mommy has a bunch of letters... and aaaaaaaa cup... aaaaannnnnddddd... aaaaaa... uh..."

What is she talking about? Letters? Cup?! Where is she getting these references? As she is struggling to come up with other nouns for her song, I notice that she is paying close attention to my shirt. I am wearing an Ireland shirt All Things BD bought me. My daughter was trying to make sense of the LETTERS that spell "Ireland" and various Irish symbols on my shirt - like a mug or CUP of ale. I gave her a hug and told her she did a great silly song, but then it struck me...

BoopaLoop is Kyser Soze.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dead Zone

Whoa... what happened there?!

(cricket noises)

I haven't posted for a over a week, and that is not like me. I am gonna try to come up with a litany of excuses.

First, I was in Austin, TX from the 10th - 14th. Granted, I had Internet access, but All Things BD has a wonderous chaise and a half that reduced my brain to mush. For those of you inexperienced in art of the chaise, you are missing out. Call your friends and find one who owns a chaise chair, invite yourself over, and find a way to get your booty into it. It will change your world for the better.

Second, it was my birthday, and I turned 36... I think.  Let me count: 1971-2007... uh... 30, 31, 32, 33... yup, 36! Automatically, I should be forgiven anything for that fact alone.

Third, I returned home to my beautiful, sweet family (they look better when you have been away a while), but I had to leave half of my family back in Austin. My spirit mourned, and I was not in the best place these last three days.

Uh... that's it. So please forgive my lapse in writing. Cause if you don't... well, there is not really anything you can do about it.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Delaying tactics

For those of you with young children, you know that getting the children to go to sleep at night can be an event all on its own. Oh sure, you have read the books about keeping night-time to a regular schedule. You have gotten their pajamas on, you have read the books, brushed their teeth, said prayers with them, and maybe even gave them a bath or sang a song with them, but still the children have to go potty again or ask for a refill on their water cups.

LittleMan hit upon a most brilliant sleep-delay tactic last night with my Mukor. Our boy asked his father if God was dead. Being an intellectual and Christian, my Mukor was taken aback by the question. Not because it was offensive (oh, please) or unfounded, but because my Mukor couldn't believe LittleMan would ask such an insightful question.

A 1/2 hour later, my Mukor emerged from the kids' room smiling to himself. He then explained to me that eventhough he knew LittleMan had asked a question to delay sleep, the nature of the question gave my Mukor a glimpse of what the future might hold. Our children will challenge our beliefs, ask us whys and hows and cans, and my Mukor is really looking forward to these discussions.

My Mukor walked right into the sleep delay trap my son laid out, and I don't think my Mukor minded getting caught.

I didn't complain. LittleMan was out cold immediately after that.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Irresponsibility versus Heartbreak

For a while, my family has been hanging on to the chest-cold-cough for a while. Friends of ours, who have already gone through this illness, say that it is going to take about 6-8 weeks before the coughing will go away. My Mukor and LittleMan are on week 5, and BoopaLoop is on week 4. So far, (knock on wood) I have avoided this round of colds.

My mother is expected to visit tonight. She is driving 3 hours to come stay the weekend. However, at approximately 3 PM today, BoopaLoop started to act lethargic (thanks to Mama DB for the perfect word to describe her condition). Finally, at 6 PM she started to have a fever. I told my son that Grandma probably won't visit since his sister is sick. This news made my son cry. He loves my mom. I believe she is his best friend. Seeing his reaction, breaks my heart.

So, my mother calls to tell me that she is coming, and I DON'T TELL HER that BoopaLoop has a fever. I am afraid she won't come if I tell her.  I am a BAD, BAD person! My Mukor, sitting next to me, asks me why I didn't tell her about BoopaLoop's condition. I sigh, and say because I am a horrible person. In my gut, I know I just didn't want to break my son's heart.

I pick up the phone and call my mother back. I responsiblity inform her of BoopaLoop's fever, and tell her not to come. She thought about it and decided to come anyway. Apparently my desire to not break my son's heart is hereditary. We are hopeless.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Truth Hurts

My daughter seems to be into everything involving dance at the moment, so I thought it would be fun to expose her to one of my favorite dancing shows, "Riverdance". I started the video curious to see her reaction to it. When we were about 10 minutes into the video and my daughter appeared fully engaged with it, I allowed myself to relax and enjoy the show.

There is one part that has a lot of singing. I asked my children if it was okay for me to fast-forward this part. LittleMan said yes; BoopaLoops said no.

LittleMan - "Why do you want to fast-forward this part, mommy?"

Me - "I think it might be a little boring for you."

LittleMan - [Watches the video a little while] "I don't think it is boring."

I am pleased that my children seemed genuinely interested in this video, so I sat back again to watch.

After a few seconds...

BoopaLoop - "Maybe this video is boring."

She got up and left the room.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I was playing tennis at the invitation of a friend, and she introduced me to this lovely older gentleman. He introduced himself and then proceeded to tell me a joke. He seemed very friendly and nice, so I put on my best 'interested' face fully expecting to not like this joke. Pretty cynical, huh? Here is the joke he told me:

"A husband and wife were laying in bed one night. He was watching TV, and she was absorbed in a book. While the wife was reading, she was dimly aware that her husband was touching her calf. Soon, he was touching her thigh. Smiling, the wife continued to stare at the book. As his hand inched higher, the wife closed her book, but suddenly, the husband stopped. The wife looked at her husband, "Why did you stop?" The husband said, "What? Oh, I found the remote."

I love it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

How does it happen?

I consider myself a relatively neat person - not Grandma-can-come-over clean but the-kitchen-and-bathroom-are-tidy clean.  However, since the children have come along, our house is now littered with toys, and our backyard looks like 500 children deserted their toys at a playground. But, every few days we do a grand cleaning, and it looks relatively normal again.

What I don't understand is how my van goes from clean to "DID A TORNADO LAND HERE?" in under 60 seconds.

I think I have narrowed down my loss of control of the van cleanliness to one question my children always ask me, "Mom, can I please bring this multi-functional toy with many teeny tiny parts with me?"  And I say, "Of course, as long as you promise to pick up very little teeny tiny piece, arrange it properly back into place, and carry it back into our home."

Oh sure, for a while I'm really good about reminding the kids to bring the toy back into the house.  But, all it takes is that one time I forget, and I guess that's when the build up occurs.

Either that or the kids are secretly unloading their toys into the van at night - you know, in case of a toy emergency or to drive me batty.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Knock Knock Joke from a 3 Year Old

After I picked my daughter up from pre-school, she declared that she was tired. I informed her that we were on our way home, and she could nap when we get there. Satisfied with that answer, my daughter tried to fall asleep in the van.  This would be disasterous for both of us.  It takes us about 15 minutes to arrive home, so she'll sleep all of 5 minutes before waking up when we got home.  Chances of going back to sleep for her? Zero.

To keep her awake, I tried to make her laugh.

Me - "Knock knock"

BoopaLoop - "Who's there?"

Me - "Banana"

BoopaLoop - "Bananya who?"

Me - "Knock knock"

If you are familiar with this joke, then you know you keep repeating this until you sense that the child is sick of hearing you say "Banana".  Then, you finish the joke...

Me - "Knock knock"

BoopaLoop - "Who's there?"

Me - "Orange"

BoopaLoop - "Orange who?"

Me - "Orange you glad I didn't say banana!"

Okay, old joke, but my daughter thought it was funny.  She didn't understand the joke, but it seemed silly to her, so she laughed and that kept her awake.  Mission accomplished!

BoopaLoop - "Mommy? Knock knock."

Me - "Who's there?"

BoopaLoop - "Bananya"

Me - Smiling, "Banana who?"

BoopaLoop - "Bananya fawl down and bonk on your head!" She laughed. I laughed at how funny she thought she was. This was a typical knock knock joke from my children. LittleMan originated the [Noun] bonks on your head version, and both kids thought these jokes were hilarious.

BoopaLoop - "Knock knock"

Me - "Who's there?"

BoopaLoop - "Orange"

Me - Surprised, "Orange who?"

BoopaLoop - "Orange you glad bananya bonk on your head?"

Tears rolled down my face, I was laughing so hard.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

How A Child Thinks

There is a very cute baby book called "How Much I Love You". The story revolves around a daddy bunny and his son. Heartwarming bunny conversation ensues.

LittleMan was never a fan of this book, but he's had to suffer through it since it was often read to BoopaLoop. However, the other day at the breakfast table I had this conversation with him.

LittleMan - "Mommy, I love you all the way to here." He puts his hand up to his forehead in a 1/2 salute 1/2 measuring stick gesture.

Me - "Well, I love you all the way to the moon."

LittleMan - Smiling, "Wow, that's really far."

Me - Smiling back, "Yeah."

Music swells. Birds chirp. A magical moment, and I go back to eating my cereal.

LittleMan - "I love you all the way to space."

Me - "Wow, that's really far."

LittleMan - Grinning, "Yeah."

Me - "I love you all the way to the end of the Milky Way."

Some discussion about what the Milky Way is.

LittleMan - "I love you all the way to the robot house."

I tell him that taken literally "to the robot house" has to be really far since we haven't encountered a planet with any robots on it yet.  I know, that's stretching it, but I liked his creativity.

Now, this conversation has clearly lost all of its warm fuzziness and has entered the realm of competition. We are really enjoying ourselves, but I'm hungry and want to eat in some peace. So, I try to think of something that is further than the Milky Way, but that wouldn't require a lot of explanation AND would terminate this conversation - leaving me as the winner, of course.

Me - "I love you all the way to God."

LittleMan - "Where's God?"

Me - "He is all around."

LittleMan - After a little thought, "I love you all the way to the farthest God."


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

We be illin'

Our household is in the midst of the lingering cold. It wasn't bad enough to prevent my husband from missing work, my kids from sleeping, or me from missing tennis, but it just... hangs around. I am on the phone with a girlfriend, and my laugh turns into a cough. My son has succumbed to the tickle torture which quickly turns into a coughing fit. My husband makes it difficult for me to fall back to sleep since he is congested and snoring a little. These aren't painful, debilitating or progressive - it is just annoying.

Unfortunately, this means that we are all kind of annoyed with each other, and tempers will flare more quickly than usual. I have decided that the solution to this problem is to have everyone nap. Usually, this just means that my children end up playing on my bed while I try to nap through it.

After all, napping makes me happy. And a happy mommy is a happy household - right?

Sunday, August 26, 2007


There are some days when jogging in the morning feels effortless - like I could run forever.  An illusion, for certain, but still a nice feeling. There are other days where jogging is so laborious I wonder if the pain is worth it, and I just want to stop and sleep on the concrete.  Today was the latter. However, I have found that some songs on my IPod help me "power through" these moments of near collapse.

Annie Lennox - "Little Bird" - Album: Diva

Bjork - "Earth Intruders" - Album: Volta

Coldplay - "Clocks" - Album: A Rush of Blood to the Head

Duran Duran - "Want You More!" - Album: Astronaut

Jars of Clay - "Fade to Grey" - Album: Much Afraid

Marc Anthony - "I Need to Know" - Album: Marc Anthony

Oingo Boingo - "Dead Man's Party" - Album: Dead Man's Party

Rob Zombie - "Dragula (Hot Rod Herman Remix)" - Album: The Matrix Soundtrack

Rush - "Subdivisions" - Album: Chronicles (Disc 2)

Seal - "Bring It On" - Album: Seal

The Smiths - "How Soon Is Now?" - Album: Hatful of Hollow

Soundgarden - "Spoonman" - Album: Superunknown

Tori Amos - "Raspberry Swirl" - Album: From the Choirgirl Hotel

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Give me justice or give me a headache!

Justice. Everyone wants justice to prevail, and I am the worst at needing justice or my world falls of its axis. But sometimes it isn't practical, and I have to live in an offkilter world until I get over it. Here is a recent example.

I was driving my kids to the grocery store. Most of the time, we take the freeway, and today was no exception. I was cruising at 60 MPH (okay, fine - 66 MPH) in the slow lane, listening to the movie the kids were watching, and thinking about the grocery list. Suddenly, a green car about 4 car lengths in front of me in the 2nd lane decided it needed to take the very next off ramp exit. Green car slammed on the brakes, signaled a right turn, and proceeded to enter my lane! Now remember, this car was 4 car lengths ahead of me before slamming on its brakes and nearly hitting the front left panel of my van in an attempt to get to the exit. So, not only did green car brake so suddenly to allow three cars to zoom past it, but it didn't even to bother looking into its rearview mirror to check to see if there was room for it in my lane. It all happened so quickly. I couldn't brake in time to make room for green car, I couldn't swerve into the 2nd lane since all the cars behind green car had jammed up from braking so suddenly, and there was no shoulder for me to drive onto. So, I did the only thing I could think to do - I leaned on my horn!

I'm not talking about a nice little TOOT TOOT. I mean a full-on lean of the horn sounding like BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP! Fortunately, green car was only 1/2 into my lane before realizing that not only was there another car in the slow lane already (ME!), but that there wasn't enough room for it between me and the car in front of me. The green car stopped coming into my lane allowing me to swerve around it at 50 MPH. The car behind me did the same thing.

Now, the green car was in a pickle. It had slowed to a ridiculous speed - obviously wanting to make the impossible offramp exit, and it was 1/2 way into the slow lane and 2nd lane. The green car decides to forgo the exit and attempts to jam itself back into the 2nd lane.

This is when total chaos erupts. Since the green car had occupied both lanes a little, cars were swerving around it in both lanes to avoid hitting it. So, when green car decides to get back into the 2nd lane, all the cars that were trying to swerve around it are now trying to slam their brakes to avoid hitting it. That's because green car lives in a world where it can do whatever it wants without CHECKING IN THE MIRROR FIRST TO SEE THE OTHER CARS CURRENTLY OCCUPYING LANES!!

To make a long story short, there was a mack truck a few cars behind my van, and he was oblivious that his truck was coming up to Chaosville. The mack truck is going too fast and is too big to manuver around like all of the other cars. I know there is going to be an accident, and I'm powerless to stop it as I watch through my rearview mirror as the fully-loaded mack truck comes barreling down onto the slowed traffic. Miraculously, the mack truck driver managed to manuver around the slow lane cars, he makes it into the 2nd lane to see that the cars were at a stop, and he was not going to be able to stop in time. So, he tries to swerve back into the slow lane, and he hits the back left panel of a silver compact car. All the while, the mack truck driver had been slamming his brakes. There was smoke everywhere.

Thanks to the quick thinking and actions taken by the mack truck driver, there was only a minor accident between he and the silver car, and no injuries. Amazing! I pulled over when I saw the mack truck and compact car doing so, so I could help defend the actions of this great truck driver. Then I realized that the green car (who started this mess in the first place) did not pull over. There it was on the freeway now going a decent speed, turn signal still on, merging nicely into the slow lane traffic to make the next offramp exit - WHICH IS WHAT THE GREEN CAR SHOULD HAVE DONE IN THE FIRST PLACE! Then to top it all off, the green car didn't stop.

I provided the police with the color and description of the green car and the first three digits of its license plate. That's all I could see from that distance. The mack driver informed me that his company will most likely pay for the damage done to the silver car since it was minimal, and they propably won't pursue legal action against the green car if they should find the driver. It wasn't cost effective.

Where is the justice?! It wasn't the truck driver's fault he hit the car. In fact, I believe that swerving the way he did is what saved lives. That driver should be given a medal. Instead, he will get a ding on his work record, and his company had to foot the bill.

And I can say is, ARGH!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Happiness is...

There is something about watching a young child belly laugh that makes me laugh so hard.  This isn't a long video, and the joy starts immediately.

Monday, August 13, 2007

She's Like The Wind

The title of this blog refers to a song in the movie Dirty Dancing - for all the movie buffs out there. But, this entry has nothing to do with the movie.

I love jogging in the morning. Not the part where my alarm goes off or the part where I am fumbling in the dark for my exercies clothes hoping not to wake up my husband, Mukor - but the part where I open the door, dog on leash, and we head out into the crisp morning air. We may live in Southern California, but at 5:30-6:00 AM, the sun is barely up, and the fog has left a sheen of moisture all around. I would call that crisp.

I set my IPod to random, and my dog and I head off around the neighborhood. I begin with walking to give my dog as many potty stops and sniff-investigations he needs before we jog. Running with a dog adds a whole other level of chaos that I could do without if I didn't love my dog so much. Regular exercise is good for him too, and he loves it, so I do it. Plus, when he isn't freaking out over the sudden sprinkler that turned on or startled by the new road sign hanging on the lightpost and hiding under my running legs for protection, we would have a marvelous time.

Watching the world wake up is a rare spectacle, and I smile every time I witness a piece of it: the guy in his bathrobe watering his lawn with a coffee cup in one hand and the hose in another, the lady strolling down her driveway to get her morning paper and smiling as she sees me, the sun rising slowly up and changing the landscape from dark to light, and the stillness and quiet before rush hour begins.  All of these things remind me to slow my life down a little bit and enjoy the little things.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Forts are cool

I loved forts as a kid.  We would pull the cushions off the couches and bring the chairs in from the dining room, and we would have a ball!  Blankets, flashlights, fruit, and anything else we could think of to add to the imaginary experience would get dragged in. I seem to remember our family dog (Muffin, of course) wasn't even safe from our fort pretending. Somehow it was important for the dog to be put into costume too, but the hair clip stayed in the dog's fur for about 2 whole seconds before Muffin twisted (as only a dog can do) sending the clip flying across the room.  The dog was not invited back into our fort.

I was reminded of my childhood fort creations as I assessed my children's fort in the backyard.  No dining room chairs and blankets for them. No, their fort is one of those state-of-the-art, professionally constructed, elaborate, multifunctional forts with slides and swings on it. We inherited the fort when we bought the house. Okay, let's be honest - the fort was one of the major selling points. However, as I stand there looking at the fort, I see that it is leaning... a LOT.

I was worried enough about how much the fort was leaning to call various fort-building companies to see what they could do for me. It turns out that these companies won't come near a fort that they themselves hadn't built. So, my options were to find out which company built the fort, try to fix it ourselves (yeah, right), or pay to completely replace the fort.

After calling the prior owners, my Mukor informed me that the fort was built by the prior owner and a friend, and they didn't lay down concrete first.  Huh. That would certainly explain the leaning.

So, every day I look at it leaning, and I think that we really should do something about it. But back in April, we hosted a going-away party and 20 children and one adult all climbed this fort and posed for pictures, and the fort didn't even sway. Before you ask, I was completely oblivious to this picture being taken. I was busy inside the house doing my hostess duties. I saw the photo later.

But, no one was hurt. No one even thought that this picture was a bad idea! I think this proves that the fort will last another few years, right?

Looking at the fort, I went over to one of our large, potted plants that has a leaning plant inside.  I moved it next to the fort. Perfect.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

No Messages = A Good Day

I just watched yet another movie where the protagonist is depicted as an isolated, work-aholic, who has no friends. And, all movies convey this simple fact the same way: protagonist pushes "Play" on answering machine only to hear the mechanical voice say, "You have no messages." How sad! But, I submit it is NOT sad.  Watching the movie, I think, "Wow, that's great!"

In my opinion, if I happen to remember to press the answering machine button and I have no messages, I'm over the moon! No messages means that my work here is done. I have completed my To Do list.  I have left no one hanging. I am done! Even a simple message from a friend saying that they just called to say hi makes me feel like I should call them back just so they know I got the message.  But, what if my friend really only wanted to say hi and had no other purpose in calling? Then, I've called them back only to have them tell me again what they've already said on the machine. See my point?  What do you mean, no?!

Which reminds me of the new way I have of handling telemarketers.

[Phone rings]

Me - "Hello?"

Caller - "Good Day.  Are you the owner of your house?"

Me - Filled with dread, "yes."


Okay, the caller isn't really yelling at me, but this is how it sounds in my head.

Me - "uh, no."

Ever persistant, increasingly annoying, caller - "Ah, but ma'am what about..."

I hand the phone to BoopaLoop.

BoopaLoop - "Hi. I gotz a pwuppy."

My daughter continues to chatter on the phone a while before hitting random buttons on the phone.  I wince, and I hope that the telemarketer has hung up before the blaring BEEP BEEP noises hurt their ears.  Finally, I suggest to BoopaLoop that she say bye and hang up the phone.  After a few more button presses and a garbled bye, she manages to hit the OFF button.

Now, I recognize that telemarketers are people trying to make a living, which is why it is so hard for me to just hang up on them.  I'm a fan of free enterprise.  But, this method allows my daughter to practice the fine art of phone usage, and the telemarketer, hopefully, gets a BIG FAT CLUE and removes me from the list.

Sigh, okay, I'll work on my phone etiquette.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Pardon moi?

I have a theory.  It is a good one.  No, really.  It goes something like this: If you have an excellent ear for music (singing in tune, hearing when someone else is off key - that kind of thing), then you probably have an excellent ear for doing accents.  I have a so-so ear for singing, but that is only after years of being yelled at by my Choir Director. But, if you ask me to do a British or Austrailian or... really any accent other than Southern Californian, it comes out as a mixture of various accents.  Mukor is amazed at my ability to create an accent for no known Earth-based culture. Actually, it is fairly surprising since you would think that with the shear number of different cultures and accents on this planet I would hit upon at least one of them!

You would think so, but no.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Sometimes I can't explain myself

Don't you ever feel like your best intentions have gotten the best of you? My dilema is located squarely inside my garage. You know, the place where men put a bunch of power tools that are mostly never used, where holiday decorations are in clearly labeled boxes, and bikes are hanging on racks.

Or, in my case, where boxes have taken over (a couple have spilled) labeled "Garage Sale".

We moved into our house two years ago, and I truly believed that within 6 months of moving in, we would hold a garage sale.  But, I soon realized that I had a lot of baby stuff that I was not going to need any longer.  Well, I didn't want to have a garage sale every year, so I decided to wait a few months for my kids to grow out of things... then I waited a few months more... and a few months more.  It has been two years now, and I feel like the job is just too big to handle, and I am too set in my ways to throw away perfectly good stuff.

So, now my garage is bearly

Why don't I go to the Salvation Army or Goodwill,  you might ask?  That is a very good question.  My only lame excuse is that I still have that picturesque image of sitting in my chair, chatting with a friend, drinking lemonade, gleefully watching people pay money for my junk.  Am I greedy? No. I'm just an idiot who can't let go of the idea. It comforts me in some way. It makes me feel connected to my neighbors to see them walking away with something that I once treasured. Sigh... I know. I need to get over it.

Anyone want a diaper genie? Put it in your living room. They make great conversation pieces.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It is just funny.

Tonight, we decided to force our children to experience one of the best Indian restaurants in Los Angeles.  Located in Marina Del Rey, this is a place my husband and I enjoyed frequently before the children arrived. Now that the children are older, we are pushing our culinary snobbery onto them with mixed results.

At the Indian restaurant:

Mukor [to LittleMan] - "Here, try this."

LittleMan - "What does it taste like?"

My head is now exploding because this has become his usual reply when confronted with food he is suspicous of and believes will poison him.  When he first began to ask this question, I was so impressed by his curiosity and scientific mind, but now I know that this was just a ploy to set up his "I don't like that" response.

Mukor - Patiently, "I think you'll like it.  It has vegetables and bread." [It was vegetable samosa.)

Son [inspecting the fork and food with a combination of procrastination and disgust] - "But, what does it taste like?"

Me - "It tastes like monkey brains."

Good parenting, I know, but I so desperately wanted him to understand that there was no point to his question.  We don't know what it tastes like to him! This is the same child that will eat sticks.

LittleMan - "No, I'm serious.  What does it taste like?"

Mukor - "You've never had this before.  If you don't like it, you don't have to have another bite."

LittleMan - Takes bite and declares that he does not like it.


The main course arrives.  We ordered Nan, Chicken Tikka Masala, and some chicken dish my husband thought the kids would enjoy.

Mukor - After seeing LittleMan push the food around his plate a while, "Please try a bite of your food."

LittleMan - "What does it taste like?"

Me - For the love of all that is holy, JUST EAT IT!  Sigh. But, what I actually say is, "Look, it is food.  Just try it."

LittleMan - [looking suspiciously at the food]

Mukor - "It is called Chicken Tikka Masala."

LittleMan - "But, what does it TASTE like?"

Mukor - Calmly while the vein on my forehead is popping, "It is chicken."

Me - Under my breath, "It's right in the name."

BoopaLoop - "I like it."

Me - Beyond exasperated with my son, "Ask your sister what it tastes like. She likes it."

LittleMan - Brightening at the thought that someone will give him a straight answer asks his little sister, "What does it taste like?"

BoopaLoop - "Um...", she seems to be considering this question, which surprised me since she's only 2 years old. "It takes like mawnkey brains."

We all laugh except my son.  Awesome.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Wisdom of a 5 year old

We're driving to the salon, listening to Mommy's music, when I had this discussion with my son.  Sarah McLachlan's "Fear" was playing.

LittleMan - "What is 'Fear-A'?"

Me - "She is singing 'I won't fear love'."

LittleMan - "What does that mean?"

Me [Uh...] - "It means she won't be afraid to love someone... to marry someone." That sounded pretty good.

LittleMan - "Why would she be afraid to marry?"

Me [Oh goodness...] - "Some people are afraid of getting married... to love someone... since some people choose not to stay married and that makes them sad." [Where was I going with this? Hopefully, I lost him halfway through that explanation, so I can think about it later.]

LittleMan [looking out the window]

Silence stretches. I begin to worry that I have said too much, not enough. You know, the usual over-thinking moms do.

LittleMan - Suddenly, "Was Grandma married?"

He has a Grandma who got divorced many years ago.  Wow, did he really connect the dots that fast?

Me - "Yes, she was married to Grandpa.  They made the choice to no longer be married, and now Grandpa is married to someone else."

LittleMan [looking out the window]

I was concerned that he was understanding things a lot more than I realized.

Me - "But, Mommy and Daddy will never choose to NOT be married.  We love each other very much."

LittleMan - Smiling, "Yeah, you have a good marriage."

Wow.  This is one of those moments that I hope and dread that my son understood every word.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Highs and Lows of Parenthood

I gave the kids a bath this evening.  They are still young enough to play together in the bathtub and, more importantly, small enough to fit together in the bathtub.  Usually, I play with the kids while they are taking a bath, but they were having such a grand time entertaining each other, I brought a book in to read while they played.

That was my first mistake.

I am fairly attuned to my children.  For example, when my daughter, who is potty training, suddenly finds a private place to stand, I know that is my cue to ask her potty related questions while sprinting towards the bathroom, child in arms.  But, with my attention focused on the book, I did not notice her sudden stillness.  I think you know where this story is going without me going into graphic detail. Seeing the "problems" floating in the tub, I immediately pulled both children out of the bathtub, grabbed the nearest trashcan, dumped all squirt toys in the trash, and waited for the water to drain - as best it could with... uh... some blockage that I did not catch.

Once most of the water was drained, I cleaned the tub as best I could, and I tried to think rationally.  I wanted to leave an impression on my daughter that this kind of behavior was not acceptable, but I had to recognize that although she is nearly potty trained, accidents happen.  I refilled the bathtub, and I put my son in the tub.  I filled the sink full of water, and I washed my daughter the old fashioned way.  She only asked me once why she wasn't in the tub, and I told her I didn't want to drain the bathtub again if she should have another accident. She told me she was sorry, and I smiled at her and said I know and thanked her.  I finished the bathing, got the kids dressed, and read a book to them.

Seeing that I was still seething but trying to maintain my calm, my son held my face in his little hands and said, "Mommy, I love you.  You do a good job." I smiled into his eyes, and he have me a huge smile in return, and I said, "Honey, thank you.  I love you too." We gave each other a big hug, and he settled into my arms for a bit. After a time, he withdrew just far enough to look at me and said, "Are you happy now?" I laughed and told him that no matter how angry I may get, I am still so happy to have the family I have.

He smiled and sprinted to his bed.  My daughter, having watched the exchange with great interest, gave me a hug and sprinted to her own bed. Children have no idea the joy they can sow, which is why it makes moments like these so special.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Shopping is hard

I am one of the few women I know who hates to shop.  My mother is another.  I don't remember my mother making shopping unbearable, but I do remember wishing that I could just tell the sales clerk what I wanted, have them get it, and I could leave with exactly what I wanted.  The whole process of trying stuff on, pouring over clearance racks, trying to find what I needed... yikes - I get frustrated just thinking about it.  I just don't like it, and I can't for the life of me figure out what the appeal is.

I love online shopping, however.  It is the best use of my time.  So far, the two primary drawbacks of online shopping are that you can't 100% trust what the picture shows, and sometimes your order is messed up.  I once purchased jeans on clearance from a website, and I received 54 waist jeans.  I thought I could make clown pants out of them, but they were 40 inches long.  I'm only 5'7".  I suppose I could have returned them, but I deem my time more valuable than spending it waiting at the post office with a box containing a clearance item.  So, the pants are still sitting in my closet somewhere.  I don't know for what use.

The only feature missing from online shopping is being able to download a virtual "me" into the store.  Then, as I select items, I would be informed by an online helper whether or not I'm making a good choice for my body type. Or, I could download the dimensions of my home and see if the piece of furniture I'm interested in would fit.

Anything that makes the whole process more efficient would probably guarantee me spending more money.  Now that I think about it... that would be bad.  Never mind.  Why was I complaining?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

It boggles the mind

After college, I worked at a Fortune 500 company.  Although it was not the most exciting job, I loved that the company rewarded employees who invented new ways of completing tasks. If the new method was more efficient or prone to less errors than the old method, then the company was saving money.  All employees who helped create the new method would receive a bonus or reward for doing so - in proportion to how much money the new method saved the company. Most of the meetings I attended focused on creating new, money-saving processes.  It was a thrilling experience.

In contrast, one of my relatives worked for a government-run company. During a visit to the office, I mentioned how much more efficient the department could be run by having things automated.  I was shocked when I was told that employees were discouraged to make their tasks more efficient.  What?!  Did I hear that correctly?  How can this be?  Doesn't the government want to save money? I was then reminded that the government allocates only so much money to each program.  If a program is running more efficiently (therefore saving money), then that program will be given less money the next quarter, and the saved money would go somewhere else. So, there is no benefit to saving money. No rewards. No bonuses. Instead, all the employee did was put not only their job but the entire program at risk of closure. Less money means lower salaries and an increase in layoffs. The irony being that the more inefficient the program, the more money they could convince the government to give them. And of course the money would come from the programs that managed to find ways to save money.

How totally ludicrous.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Airplane Travel and Children

I try not to care too much about what other people think when I am disciplining my children in public. After all, these people don't have to live with the child.  But, how I respond to my children's trantrums or whiny pleas will help mold their future interactions with me.  I realize that from a stranger's perspective minimizing the noise by giving into the children's demands seems like an obvious problem solver.  However, for that stranger, it is the solution to their noise problem - not the solution to minimizing future tantrums.  Moms know that giving in will only make the next go-around that much harder to not cave into.

There was only one time in recent memory that I was remotely tempted to give into my 2 year old child's demands in order to minimze noise, and that was on an airplane.  Senario:  BoopaLoop wants to drop everything she has onto the floor of the plane.  I don't want to continue to pick up items dropped on the floor since I have to unbuckle my seat belt to do so.  I tell my daughter to stop dropping the items, or I won't give them back to her. BoopaLoop defiantly drops one last item, and I unbuckle myself to pick up the item and put said item away in the carry-on bag.  My daughter begins to whine for the item, and I remind her of the consequences of her actions, and I end the discussion by going back to my book.

Of course in my head, I am praying that she will quietly accept this result and discover the joys of napping. Instead, BoopaLoop goes from whining to crying to howling.  Now, what do I do?

I am certain most people on the plane were thinking, "For the love of all that is holy, please give her whatever she wants to keep her quiet!"  The reason I am certain of this is because we boarded the 7:20 AM flight out of LAX, and most people around me were trying to sleep. But, what I am thinking is that I can't continue to play the drop/pick-up game since the "Weat Seat Belts" sign is on, and I want my children to obey that sign, so I have to show my compliance with it.  I can't just give her back the item, or I'll be in the same situation again in 1 minute, and her cries will be even louder when I take it away again.  Children learn quickly that if something works once, try it again with more intensity and it will work again. Proof that history repeats itself.

I considered just giving her the item again and then ignoring her when she inevitably drops it, but I know her requests for me to pick up the item will grow in "shrill-ish" quality until I either pick up the item or threaten her with an even bigger consequence, which would create an even bigger scene.

So, I decided to let her cry for about 30 seconds (which seemed like an ETERNITY) before telling her that if she calmed down and played with the item nicely, I'll let her have it back. But, I emphasized that this was her last chance. If she dropped the item again, I will take it away for good. Well, I don't know why this worked, but it did. She immediately calmed down, I praised her for doing so, I gave her back the item with a stern reminder of what happens if she drops it again, and she took it happily without further incident.

And an airplance full of people signed with relief... while her mother shook with it.