Friday, July 20, 2007

'Tis the Season

My knuckles will be white and my jaw clenched as I look out over the endless sea of their minivans and SUVs. As far as the eye can see, they will be easy to spot by the luggage carriers strapped to their roofs.

Instinctively I will know that I must relax. I will practice deep breathing exercises - in through the nose, out through the mouth. I will get to know every inch of the vehicles that entrap me. I will memorize their bumper stickers, their magnetic ribbons of support and their license plate holders. I will play my own little version of "spot-the-out-of-state-plates" while trying to figure out what their obscure personalized tags mean. I will even watch parts of the movies they are playing to keep their kids from killing each other.

I will exchange knowing grimaces with other locals as we watch them dangerously weave in and out trying to find the "faster" lane. We will nod at each other because we know that there IS no "faster lane" this time of year.

Like locusts and other scourges, this fleet of mini-vans and SUVs plague us every year at this time. I, and my fellow locals, will get to know their vehicles intimately because for the next HOUR OR MORE we will all be CRAWLING towards the tunnel together. And as always, I will resist the urge to scream out my window,


(NOTE: The post above was scrawled on pieces of a ripped up Happy Meal bag as I "drove" home from work the other day. It took me an HOUR and 50 MINUTES to make the 36 mile trip. I love tourist season. Really.)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Imitation In It's Sincerest Form

Having a teen, a tween and a toddler in the same house all summer has proven interesting. The Baby has always soaked up information like the proverbial sponge. This tends to color his language a bit.

We have been hearing, "whatever" as his response to being asked to pick up his toys or some other task that does not conform to his plans. He has learned the eye roll and has decided that it is cute so he performs this maneuver quite frequently. When he thinks I have lost my mind by asking him to do things like, "get off that chair," "don't stand on the back of the couch," and "For God's Sake, GET THAT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH!" he will look at me and exclaim, "Girl-boo," with a kind of bored disdain in his voice. Of course he has also picked up some rather "colorful" phrases that both of his older siblings SWEAR did not come from them.

My favorite incident came this weekend. We bought a little kid potty a week or so ago, just so he had a place to sit when he follows one of us in there. I am nothing if not considerate. (For those of you without children, one of the neat features of small kids is that you will NEVER get to go to the bathroom alone and uninterrupted again from the time they learn to crawl until they leave for college)

For the record, we're not "Potty Training Nazis" around here at all. I figure they won't go to high school in diapers, so why sweat the small stuff? I have been letting the kid just sit on his throne with a diaper on. It keeps him occupied and he grins like he's been given admission to some secret and exclusive club.

C., on the other hand, decided that if the kid was going to sit there, why not take his diaper off?


The Baby sat there for about a second, got up and took the seat apart. He exclaimed, "hat" when he put the bowl on his head. Not one to be easily thwarted, C. reassembled the pot and sat The Baby back on his throne. Of course the kid sat there for about a half a second, stood up and promptly peed all over the floor. To this he replied:

"OOPS! My bad."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Pot and the Kettle

(I received a comment on a recent post from a fellow Mom, Jen ,that reminded me of an incident from #1 Son's childhood. I thank her for bringing an obviously repressed memory to the surface. )

As a "pre-kid" person, I was a card carrying member of the "MY-CHILD-WILL-NEVER-ACT-LIKE-THAT" club. I just knew that I would be a sensitive, fun, nurturing disciplinarian. My precious children would NEVER disrupt fellow diners or moviegoers. They would NEVER run screaming through clothing racks at retail stores, as if their hair was on fire. They would NEVER reach out to touch someone with sticky, icky hands. I would be the kind of parent that could effortlessly take her children ANYWHERE in public and have said public gush over what well behaved and adorable children I had given birth to.


I really thought like that once.

It was deep into the holiday shopping season late one afternoon when #1 Son (a toddler around the age of 20 months) and I found ourselves at the local Navy Exchange (the ex was military). It was stiflingly hot in the store/makeshift mall. The crowds were enormous and did nothing for my claustrophobia. #1 Son had missed his nap, was hungry and we were in a hurry to get home - a sure recipe for disaster.

The battle began over a size 2T coat. While it was cold outside, #1 Son could not have cared less. He was cranky and determined that I, his rotten Mommy, was NOT going to get that fargin' coat on him. The kid was like a crazed octopus on a crack binge.

Ignoring his kicking and screaming at the top of his lungs, I wrestled him to the ground. It took several minutes of stealth maneuvers and chanting the mantra, "KNOCK IT OFF" before I looked up...

...and saw them standing there with their mouths dropped open and their eyeballs all bugged out. This young couple were stopped in their tracks not more than 10 feet away from me and my little boy who was in the middle of a full meltdown. I made eye contact with the obviously pregnant woman and the look on her face changed from astonished surprise to condemnation. She never said it out loud, but I heard it clearly, "MY child will NEVER act like THAT!"

I did what any self respecting mother would do. I yelled, "OH YEAH?! Well that's what I used to think, too!" I then scooped up the screaming kid, wrapped the offending coat around his upper body and stormed out into the cold parking lot.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

There's a New Sheriff in Town and It Aint Me

I think I might have mentioned before that despite my best efforts, I do not have a green thumb. When we bought our humble home 8 years ago, much of our yard (and one side of the house) was covered with ivy. It has become a constant battle to take back our property from the invasive weed.

We have attempted to eradicate this stuff by many different methods. We've hacked and slashed at it with a machete as if we had been cast in some jungle adventure movie. We have physically ripped it out by the roots. One of my friends (a very talented green thumb kind of gal) suggested that I take disposable pie tins, fill them with "Weed B Gone," shove the ends of the ivy in the plate and wrap the whole thing in a plastic bag. Something about ivy being a "systemic feeder" or something. No joy there. The ivy lived, though I think we may have killed a bird and scared the crap out of our neighbors. We have even resorted to using something called "Total Vegetation Killer." It didn't kill all the ivy, but C. sure had a good time spraying that junk around. There is a "heap-ton" of testosterone in that name, which I guess is why it is such a big seller at the local Home Depot.

Recently, I decided to "take another whack at it" (bad pun intended). The stupid ivy was heading for The Baby's swing set (probably to lie in wait for The Baby himself) and as a matter of safety I went to hacking and slashing and chopping and pulling. About 30 seconds into my task, I felt a sharp pain in my hand and saw a small dot of blood. You may call it a breeze, but I could swear the vines were swaying and reaching towards me.

My friends, it seems we have created some sort of "Super Ivy." After all the frantic "pruning" and nasty chemicals, it has apparently morphed over the years into an aggressive being with THORNS! These are very sneaky, well hidden but very sharp THORNS for cryin' out loud! This stupid stuff never grew THORNS before. Perhaps we have made botanical history. I think I'll call it "Catt Weed."

You know, who really needs to go outside anyway? It's way too hot.

Friday, July 06, 2007

No, Please Don't Help. Really.

The Baby has really become fond of "helping" around here lately. Truth be told, he craves any and all attention. You can get him to do just about anything by applauding. Yes my friends, a few hand claps and a hearty round of, "Yay! What a BIG boy!" and the kid falls all over himself.

Unfortunately, I learned about this personality quirk a little late...or maybe I am just slow. It all started with an innocent trip to the trashcan. The Baby exclaimed "yucky," toddled to the can and threw something away. "How cute" I thought, and having never actually witnessing any other member of this house perform said maneuver, I got overly excited and cheered enthusiastically. Like a crack addict chasing that ever elusive first high, this kid can't seem to lay off the can.

While I can't prove all of it, here is a list of things we are pretty sure have ended up in the trashcan (along with yet another gratuitous weekend kid photo) :
  • The charger from my work cell phone - Yes, the one that my company owns. Did I mention that I work for a state agency? Yeah, that one.

  • My Husband's keys - Of course it is true that he has been known to leave them laying just about anywhere, but I have searched high and low for WEEKS. Yes, I looked in the freezer silly. The last time we saw them, he let The Baby play with them. (OK, so I didn't marry Einstein).

  • "Big Dog Little Dog" - This is The Baby's favorite book of all time. C. and I have read this book in character (C.'s "Big Dog," and of course I play "Little Dog") to the kid almost every night since he was tiny. We have even played our parts over the phone when I was out of town for work. Perhaps The Baby doesn't appreciate great theatre?

  • Several Pieces of Silverware - I think he's taking them out of the dishwasher while it is being loaded. We are down 6 forks, 7 spoons and 3 knives. There is no other explanation. And yes, I have searched the older kid's rooms. That was my first instinct.

  • Numerous Small Toys - This wouldn't be a problem if they were HIS small toys and pieces parts we were talking about. Unfortunately, integral small items are missing from his sibling's rooms. I suppose I might care more if their rooms were actually clean. But alas, I don't.

  • Cell Phones - Fortunately I have been able to catch him disposing of the phones that actually work and I have rescued them. As far as the MANY broken and old phones he has been given, I am not responsible. I cannot save them all.
  • $50 Gift Card - This was for popular Maternity Wear shops. It was a gift for my sister-in-law. I yelled at C. for "losing" it. He, after all, had "cleaned off" the dining room table (read piled everything into a big pile and stashed it). After much searching, we're pretty sure The Baby disposed of it.

  • Mail - Here is the conundrum: Junk mail that ends up in his hands on its way to the garbage is good. We actually give it to him for that purpose. The problem becomes the current bills and correspondence that he gleefully snatches from the table and tosses when I am focused elsewhere. For the record, we are missing a birth certificate and the title to one of the cars.

Sure, those of you without children are probably saying "watch him closer." Whatever. He's faster than anyone else in the house. And he's determined.

(Total photo credit to another C., who is married to my oldest and dear friend P.) Thank you!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Welcome to Hell

I LOATHE going to the dentist. You see, I had a LOT of work done as a child and quite frankly the whole ordeal terrifies me. I am not proud to admit that up until this spring, I had not visited a dentist for years. Then a filling fell out (stupid filling), and I was forced to go. Luckily, I found a dentist right here in my neighborhood who caters to patients like me. He uses nitrous oxide. I love nitrous oxide. I had to go in today for "scaling." This procedure is obviously punishment for neglecting the dental profession for so long. Here is what I remember:

Why is she asking for help? Why can't she find the nitrous thingy? OK, I understand. She's new. WAIT! Has she ever done this before? Surely she has, she's my age. Of course, lots of people change careers later in life. I certainly did. But I am sure Dr. Tooth wouldn't let her practice on me, right? He knows I am a chicken. Oh thank God, she found the nitrous thingy. Yes, yes, I remember - steady breathing.

Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.

Oooo, I'm starting to feel all tingly.

Dr. Tooth: Hi there Catt. How are you today?
Me: I've been better, but you know I love this nitrous thingy.
Dr. Tooth: Just remember to keep taking steady breaths. This will be the worst part. Just a few little pinches.

&%%#$@!! That HURTS! &$%#$@!! Knock it off you psycho!

Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in...

Dr. Tooth: Just a few more pinches, then I'll turn you over to Nurse-Lady. There you go, now real quick, one for each tooth. Breathe steady.

Holy crap, are those tears running down my face? That is so embarrassing. Thank you nice Nurse-Lady for wiping my tears. Sure I will turn my head towards you. I love this nitrous thingy. Sniff.

Breathe in, breathe out...

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, what is that deafening noise? The high pitched screech of your torture device is bouncing around in my skull. I hope I am not suffering permanent hearing loss. Is this what dogs feel like when people blow those whistles?

Breathe in, breathe out...

Crap, my fingers are numb. I can't believe I have been clenching them together so hard. I really need to try to relax. I'm sure this will be over soon.

Breathe in, breathe out...

I think I'm drowning. Oh man, that's drool coming out of my mouth. LADY! Can't you see that water crap is dripping down my face?


Not the left side, NOT THE LEFT SIDE! The left side isn't numb! Oh wait. I guess you are just doing the front of my mouth. Just watch it there, Missy.


Sweet Jesus, what is that horrendous scraping sound?! You better not be scraping the enamel off my teeth. If I come back in here next time and Dr. Tooth says I need to endure some further torture to put the enamel back, someone is going to get hurt.

In... Out... IN...

HEY! Did you just pierce my lip?! We have a no body piercing rule in our house!

IN... Out... In...

WAIT! Why are you taking away my nitrous? Oh, it's over? OK, I can handle that.

Dr. Tooth: Hi Catt, how are you feeling?
Me: Mmmnph (translation: Half of my head is numb, I am drooling, I sound like I have been on a weekend bender, and if I try to smile I look like I have palsy. How the hell do you think I feel?!)
Dr. Tooth: Well you did great! That wasn't so bad was it?
Me: Mmmnph (translation: read about it on my blog you sadist.)

Name: Cattiva
Location: Virginia, United States

About Me: I'm the mom of three: #1 Son (20), The Princess of Wails (17) and their baby brother - The Baby (6). I was a grad-student working on an MA in history until we were surprised - I mean blessed - with The Baby. I'll get back to it...someday (the thesis, not the kid - I have no choice concerning the kid). I am one of only a few people I went to school with who is actually using their history degree in my career (and to think my Father called it Basket-weaving!). I live a very hectic life amongst massive clutter. I call it a good day if we have managed to get home at night without losing one of the kids (no matter how hard I try!). Friends say I have a humorous take on life's happenings. The sad part is that what I write about is true. I laugh to keep from crying.

See my complete profile

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