Friday, March 30, 2007

Hey, Dad. Guess what??

It's a nice, beautiful Spring day here in California. And it's been a nice, beautiful Spring day for me and the kids too. Thank goodness. I needed some time outdoors and some excellent behavior...on the kids' part and go with it.

Yesterday, Mam announced that she was potty trained. Uh, yeah. Whatever. I've been working on potty training this child for about a year now. I'm not a pusher. She has not been pushed along the way, but that means the progress has been slow. I assumed she wasn't ready. Apparently, the time has come. And it couldn't be more welcome. She turned 3 a couple of weeks ago. I guess we'll see. A few months ago, things looked this promising for about a week, but it didn't last. It turned into a laundry marathon and she went back to pull-ups.

I had a bad day on Wednesday or my experience would have been posted before now. Let's start at the end of the story.

Husband called and said he was coming home. I was in a funk, lying on the family room floor. I asked where he wanted to go out because I just wasn't motivated to cook. He came home. We piled in the minivan. About halfway to Country Gourmet, my beautiful, sweet little boy piped up. "Dad, Mom got pulled over today."

Uh. Thanks, Smunch. I didn't really think I was going to get away with it, although the oh-so-intimidating police officer didn't give me a ticket in the end. He was still a big jerk while not giving me a ticket for an infraction I've barely even *heard* of anyone getting ticketed for. I ended up in the "Keep Clear" portion of the street because the light was green, but the traffic hadn't moved yet. Whatever. Obviously, it was the coolest thing ever for my little boy to see a police officer close up. I was respectful, but the litany of expletives going on in my head would have been horrifying if it had leaked out. Ugh.

The following is the actual conversation:

Officer: You know, it says "Keep Clear" for a reason
Me: Yes. I know.
In my head: Do you think I'm a moron and I make a habit out of hanging out here?
Officer:What model Toyota is this?
Me: A Sienna
In my head: You pull cars over all the time. It's a Toyota. It's a minivan. What the hell do you think it is?
Officer:You have two kids in the back.
Me: Yes I do.
In my head: Leave my kids out of it. And yes, they're in their 5-point harnesses and they think you're cooler than God. I don't.
Officer: I'm not going to give you a ticket this time, but I'm here a lot and if I see you do that again I *will* ticket you.
Me: I appreciate it. You won't see me do that again.
In my head: Do you think you'll ever even see me go down this street again? You as*hole. It's *so* obvious you just camp out here waiting for people to make this mistake during rush hour, so you can pull them over in the middle of the right turn lane and stop up traffic to piss everyone off!

By the way, there wasn't anything even *resembling* a stutter as my severely dysfluent son announced my transgressions to his daddy. Maybe it's really getting better! Smunch did tell me the next time he sees that officer, he's going to arrest him and put him in jail and never let him out. My little hero.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Keys to a Nightmare

I try hard to hide the fact that I'm a complete dolt when it comes to keeping track of things like car keys, my wallet, my entire purse. I don't miss appointments or lunch dates, but important little things like keys, money and credit cards, well...that's a different story.

Yesterday, I had a brilliant idea. I wanted to get a book for a friend of mine and, to my jubilation, I found out *online* that it was available at Borders in downtown Palo Alto. Smunch had speech therapy at 11am in Palo Alto, so that worked out really well. I put the kids in the car and headed to downtown P.A. We got to Borders, Smunch had to pee, we found the bathroom on the second floor, I did a search at a nearby terminal to figure out which section the book was in. And then accidentally stumbled upon the right section while heading back to the elevator. The book was there. I picked it up.

In the meantime, the kids were pulling books off the shelves in the kiddie section (right next to the section I was in) and sitting on the floor leafing through them. No problem. I let them pick one book each and we headed downstairs with my book and three kiddie books (uh, yeah, right, I only have two kids. Whatever.). I purchased the books, got a latte, headed to the minivan.

No keys.

O.K. I got there somehow, so I obviously *brought* my keys. That *is* my minivan sitting outside. It's not locked, so I put the books in there and go back into Borders to look for my keys. I take the elevator back upstairs. It's 10:30. I look in the kids' section. I look in the parenting section, where I barely spent a minute. I look at the two terminals I used. I go back in the bathroom. No keys. I go back downstairs to the register. I go back to the coffee counter. No keys. I start asking employees if anyone turned in keys. I look in my purse again. I go out to the van. I look in the ignition, on the seats, in the carseats, down the side of all the seats. No keys.

I go back upstairs and retrace my route again. By now it's 10:45. There's a serious possibility we won't make it to speech therapy. I hate missing speech. Smunch has been making progress with his ability to talk without stuttering. I hate to miss even a single helpful moment. In a panic. I call uber-helpful husband at work...about 25 minutes away. He gives me some oh-so-helpful suggestions, but gets in his car to come rescue me. I call the speech therapist's, tell them my quandry and get let off the hook. I feel better, but I still have no keys. I repeat everything in the previous paragraph. Twice.

Husband comes to my rescue. I give up on finding my keys and leave my name and numbers with the information desk. I take husband's van key and drive home. Grrr. Keys, fobs, stupid keyring. Expensive to replace if I never find it.

I get home, get lunch on the table for the kids...who have been really very patient with their idiotic mother and I go back out to clean out my wastebin of a minivan, figuring my keys are probably hiding under *something* out there. On a whim, I pick up my purse and unzip that pocket that I use only to store my "feminine products" and the kids' immunization cards. Keys. Ugh.

I'm irritated as heck with myself, but at least I don't have to replace my keys. I take Smunch to school. The babysitter arrives. I go to work. I feel better. Apparently other parts of my family are scarred by this experience, but I don't know that until...
Cut to this morning...really, really early this morning. It's 5:30. I wake to whimpering down the hallway. I don't know which direction it's coming from or which child it is. I get up and wander towards Mam's room...only because she seems like the most likely culprit. The whimpering has stopped. I open her door and she's sitting in the middle of her bed, looking miserable in the dark. She sees me and what does she say?

Me: WHAT?? No I didn't.
Mam: You did.
Me: That didn't happen, honey.
Mam: You took me to the park and drove away. Gram gave me toys.
Me: I promise I'll never leave you at the park again.
Mam: You LEFT me!!
Me: I DIDN'T! You had a bad dream, honey.
Mam: You did!
Me: I promise, it won't happen again.

Many hugs and kisses. She doesn't go back to sleep. It's like she's waiting for me to bail on her again. Finally, after about 30 minutes, I say "Mommy's going to go back to bed, O.K.?" Surprisingly, she agrees. I go back to bed, shaking my head.

My poor 3-year-old may be forever scarred by her mother. Maybe, when she grows up, she'll even *believe* I left her all alone at the park. Who knows? And all because I couldn't find my freakin' car keys at the bookstore!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Opening Day

I said I wasn't going to start a blog. Likely as not, I can't really *maintain* a blog. See, I write for a living. That means I spend a lot of time writing and editing. If you could read my mind, you'd learn that just because I'm not at my computer doesn't mean my mind isn't busy composing and editing. Over and over. So, my best defense against work is to become a vegetable on the sofa...watching 24 or Heroes or The Amazing Race or Grey's get the picture.

Generally speaking, I don't think my everyday life makes a particularly compelling story. The parts of it that *have* been compelling have stressed me out so much that I could barely think, much less write. Don't get me wrong. I like my life. I have a terrific husband, challenging, but neat kids and something approaching my dream house. But when I put it down in writing, my life is excruciatingly dull. I could bore myself to tears updating a blog daily. So, that's probably not going to happen.

Two of the very brightest spots in my life these days are my kids. I'll be using their nicknames. We've got an unfortunate penchant for nicknames around here. I don't know why and I can barely explain where these ones come from.

Smunch, my little boy, turned 5 a few weeks ago and is the inspiration for today's title. Today was Opening Day for our city's Little League and today was Smunch's very first day as a baseball (well, T-ball) player. He looked *adorable* in his Sidewinders team uniform and he was *so* proud of it! I get choked up about these things. Maybe it's because somewhere in the recesses of my mind, the memory of the days when I wasn't sure he'd make it is still lurking, making me well up with tears at inopportune moments. I'm bound to be a disaster when he starts kindergarten in the Fall, even though I'm psyched about it.

Mam-a-Roo, my little girl, turned 3 a couple of weeks ago. She, like most of the rest of us, was bored out of her mind by Opening Day, although she gamely sported the Sidewinders' colors. Fortunately, one of Smunch's friends is on his team and his friend brought his little sister. Mam (for short) and teammate's little sister had a blast running around and playing "soccer" with a T-ball. Thank goodness. Ma'am's life history also includes a time when I thought she might not stick around to grow up. By all accounts, she should be mentally retarded and have cerebral palsy, but she isn't and she doesn't. Instead, she has glasses. I'll take that instead, thank you very much.