Monday, December 19, 2005 

What were you doing 5 years ago on this night?

I was in labor with my first. I had been in labor for 12 hours already. I was tired, emotional, excited and nervous all in one swoop. I was sure when it was all over things would get "back to normal." Little did I realize you feel like that every second of every day once you have kids.

Cman is a sensitive boy and is whip smart. He loves Star Wars, Harry Potter, video games and his parents. Aw. If only I could keep him like that forever. Oh wait.......Mr. Chaos is still that way, so there is hope. This same boy just brought me a warm chocolate chip cookie because he loves me. What on earth did I do so right, and how did it happen when I wasn't looking?

You are a great kid in spite of me. I wouldn't change one second of the last five years. We've had our share of night terrors, medical scares, and heartache. We've also had our fill of giggles, long walks and tickle fights. You still melt me with those big, brown, puppy dog eyes of yours. It is bittersweet to think you will do it to someone else someday.

Happy almost birthday, Cman. Thank you for all you've taught me. I can only hope I've taught you half as much.

Thursday, December 15, 2005 

Dude, I'm twitching. Hold me.

Everyone has been scarred for life by their parents in one form or another. What I am about to write will be quite painful for all involved, but since I am too cheap for a therapist, I need to get this out. I had flashbacks today....flashbacks of childhood. What you may ask, could be so horrific that it could send a grown woman into the fetal position 25 years later?

*whimper..........* Don't make me say it...........(whisper) A chicken leather coat.

What is chicken leather? Most of society knows it as Pleather, that not quite plastic, not quite leather substance that is NEVER found in nature. Or in any fashionista's closet. It's a horrific substance that squeaks when worn as it rubs up against itself. My family calls it "chicken leather", another substance not readily found in nature. My brother dubbed it thus, and it seemed fitting.

When I was a kid, my dad had a brown chicken leather blazer. I was a child of the 70s, and sadly, chicken leather coats were quite the rage. My dad was quite hip actually, with his sideburns and his brown chicken leather blazer. Still is, but now he wears LL Bean.

Where was I? Sorry.

My family used to go for Sunday drives to see the countryside. This was nowhere near as torturous as it sounds. These afternoons were quite pleasant. We would drive, talk, and make memories.

That is, until the arrival of the chicken leather. As the weather turned cooler, my brother and I secretly began to dread these trips, because it meant a whole Sunday afternoon would be spent with that coat. A coat that had a voice, albeit a squeaky, indescipherable one. My parents would be sitting the front asking us questions and we would be unable to hear them. Things would escalate until my dad would reach around and the coat would say, "Don't make him pull the car over." *shudder*

I was never happier when 80s fashion started. Sure, the colors were bright, the hair was huge, but it didn't TALK to you, fer chrissakes. My dad gave that chicken leather coat away, and we were thrilled to see it go. I immediately repressed those memories, and kept them long since forgotten.

That is, until today. Today it is raining and cold, and LMD insisted on wearing her new raincoat. It's the cutest little thing, bright yellow and shiny. I put it on her, anxious to see how cute she looked in it. We buttoned it up and.......squeak.

Good God, it is Child of Chicken Leather Long Since Forgotten. The whole way to school this morning I heard "*squeak* I'm back, bitch. Thought you *squeak, squelch* had gotten rid of me, huh? Hell, no. *eek* My daddy found a nice Mrs. Leather, they*squawk* settled down, and here I am, daughter of CL revisited, ready *SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEK* to avenge my father's demise."

Never have 3 miles seemed so long. By the time we got to school, my hands were twitching, I had a tic in my eye, and I was popping Paxil like tic-tacs. By the time we got back home I was close to having a seizure. The car had barely rolled to a stop when I leapt out, slammed the door behind me and gasped frantically for air. I ripped the damn thing off LMD and stashed in the back of my closet, where it sits, taunting me. I can hear it's evil squelching on the other side of the house, much like Poe's "Tell Tale Heart."

So, what do I do with it? If I give it away, it'll just come back tenfold. I'll have my own damn farm of chicken leather coats, mocking me, slowly driving me into the depths of insanity. Instead, I think I'll give it a loving, happy home.

My niece will love it for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 

Just push M.

It's what I do when no one is looking. Which one are you?

Be honest.....I know of at least one for sure who is an N, and I know of a possible S. You know who you are.


The One Where the Child Says, "Dammit"

Last night I was watching the news in the living room and surfing the net. LMD was in the kitchen, "helping" me by splashing water and soap everywhere, pretending to wash dishes. I heard the sounds you normally expect to hear: clinking, thumping, splashing and.......

"What did you just say?" Certain my sweet, angelic daughter of two had said she "dropped it".

"Dammit!" I hear Cman in the other room say, "Oh no she didn't.........." with that tone of voice reserved for when a sibling is in trouble.

I stand up and turn around, fully prepared to give her the look that all parents have perfected. You know, the one that drops a child to their knees, quaking with fear. (On a side note, my dad did this wearing his glasses. He would glare at me over the tops. To this day, anyone else who does that to me is nonplussed at my fits of giggles. But, I digress.)

Instead, I stop. This child is standing on the chair, water droplets dripping from her constantly frizzy blonde hair. Her huge blue eyes gaze at me with glee. Her cheeks plump up as she smiles and shouts, "Oh, dammit!"

I try in vain to give her the look, but I know it's too late. She's seen the mirth in my eyes. I bite my cheeks, scowl and say, "That's a bad word! Time out!" I scoop her up from the chair she is standing on, and begin marching her to her room, careful not to let her see me laughing. We meet Mr. Chaos, who has come in to see what the commotion is about, at which she point she starts in.......

"Dammit! (pause) Dammit! (pause) Dammit? dammitdammitdammitdammit..........DAAAAAAAAAAAMMIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!"

I put her on the bed, tell her something lame about using bad words and flee the room. Both Mr. Chaos and I run for the garage door and close it behind us. We dissolve into fits of giggles. We then blame each other in turn for teaching her the word, start laughing again. It was like a laughing fit in church, only worse, because if the kids heard us, they would win. We knew that we may as well have handed over the keys to the kingdom at that point. Letting them hear us would be a HUGE parental disaster, robbing us of any and all authority.

After composing ourselves, we go back in to find Cman in LMD's room scolding her. "That is a bad word! I don't even say it!" LMD is horrfied. She gasps, her hand flies to cover her mouth.

Mr. Chaos and I head back to the garage.


Since my letter to Santa was obviously diverted...

and the snow is going much further north-AGAIN-I decided to make Christmas happen another way today.

How? Well, today LMD and I did something I used to do with my mom. We baked.

It sounds so simple and mundane, doesn't it? Floury hands and noses, kitchen timers ticking, smells of baking bread and cookies....ho hum.

Yet, it wasn't. We popped in "Rat Pack Christmas" and in between sheets of baking golden treats, we jumped, jived and wailed all over that kitchen.

It started with a little bit of toe tapping during "Mistletoe and Holly". LMD seems to be a big fan of Ol' Blue Eyes. (Girl's got my taste at the tender age of two!) By the time Sammy got to "Jingle Bells" we had tangoed, twirled like ballerinas, even jitterbugged a bit. We were both giggling the whole time. Even the youngling got in on the act, giggling at us and kicking his tiny feet in time to the music. Kid has moves! He even looked the part in a red and white striped onesie. My very own candy cane rat-packer was all decked out and ready to groove.

Then, we got crazy. I introduced them both to "Dig That Crazy Christmas" by the Brian Stetzer Orchestra. Man, our joint was hoppin'! Time flew by and before we knew it, we had baked 40 cupcakes, 25 snowmen, 3 plates of fudge, and even made a dozen Chocolate Banana Pops. I felt Christmas today in my heart and saw it in my children's eyes. I even caught myself looking outside for snowflakes.

Maybe Santa did get my letter after all.

Monday, December 12, 2005 

The Diva has spoken.

So I was with the younger two today waiting to pick the oldest up from school. There was a HUGE daddy long legs walking along the brick wall by the school. I pointed it out to the Diva, who said, "He's a daddy. He has long legs." Yes, she probably HAS heard the term before, but let's ignore that for now so this mom may marvel in her daughters wisdom, shall we? Then she said,

"Oh no! Daddy spider broke it!" (The spider was sitting on a broken brick.)

Me: He did! What should we do with him?

Diva: Dunno!

Me: Should we put him in a time out?

Diva: No, he's a daddy. Let's send him to work.

Later on the way home we were listening to a song by They Might Be Giants called "Who Put the Alphabet in Alphabetical Order". Lil Miss Diva decided mommies and doctors did. When I asked her what the daddies do, she said they break bricks at work.

Yep, they do, kiddo. Give your daddy mad props and show him some respect when he gets home tonight, wouldja?

Sunday, December 11, 2005 

Here's the story....

of a lovely lady.....who was one of the best damn role models ever. Happy Birthday, Mom. Wish I could be there with you to share a cup of tea and a lot of giggles.

Why did you have to set the bar so damn high? ;)

Saturday, December 10, 2005 

So THAT'S how it happens.

What will a lazy Saturday afternoon spent reading blogs and playing gameblast in a desperate attempt to ignore the fact that you are functioning on three hours of sleep get you?

In my case, I just channeled Michael Jackson.

As youngling sits in his bouncy seat cooing at ESPN's sportcenter, I quip:

"That's right little man, you ain't bad, you ain't nothin."

I either need a starbucks fix or a nap......STAT.

Friday, December 09, 2005 

Hey. You. Yes, you. Shhhhhhhhh!

Please. For the love of God and all that is holy, click a little quieter. No! Do NOT rustle that chip bag. Are you nuts?!?!?!? How dare you slurp your soda! GOD, NO!!!!!!!!! Don't breathe, don't even move!

We have discovered the source of the youngling's lack of sleep. A tooth is in our midst. Yes, he is only 3 months old. Yes, we have tried Tylenol, teething tabs, and teether toys. No, I had completely forgotten that babies do this when they cut teeth when I was "busy" a year ago. (Hi, Mom!)

Please. I am begging you. He is finally asleep. His longest nap was 30 minutes straight today. I love you and all, but tiptoe away and come back tomorrow.

But wear socks.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 


You must simply forgive me for talking just so
I just re-read the Grinchmas three times in a row
Oh, how I do love this time of the season
Where I begin talking rhymes for simply no reason
Beer in my future I see myself drinking
'Til the gray matter above merely stops thinking
Then the rhymes they will end. Hey! They may even cease
Yet later tonight I will dream of roast beast.

Merry Christmas to loved ones near and afar
May you be granted a wish from a bright shining star
May your days be all merry, may your season be bright.
And please......may I stop this damned rhyming tonight?


I'm dreaming of a.........Snow Day

I grew up in the Great White North. No, not the one Bob & Doug are from where everyone says "eh" and drinks Labatts. Just a tad further south. But not much. Winters growing up were rife with anticipation of snow days. I remember waking up extra early on those days praying for a miracle. Anticipation turned to sheer joy when we heard our school called off. Sometimes we would use our foulest curse words (at eight, probably favorite one still today) when we heard we had late start.

I never understood why snow days were met with great disdain by the grownups in my life. By the time I was old enough to understand, my family had moved further south, where snow days still occasionally happened, but only rarely.

After I graduated from college, I moved just outside of the Twin Cities. For those unfamiliar, this area makes the long harkened "Frozen Tundra" look balmy. My first winter there I managed to get into work during those snow days, and began to get it. "Snow Days" meant more work for grown-ups. It meant waking up at 2:30 in the morning to wade in hip deep snow to the car to make sure the engine was plugged in. It meant shoveling snow that was whirling so madly the effort was futile. It meant nasty, cold yet sweaty work that left you so worn out you needed a nap by the time you had to head in to start your day. Assuming you could still feel all your toes and fingers, that is.

I remember one especially blustery day that long, cold winter the unthinkable happened. Minnesota Highway Patrol closed every single road I took due to dangerous driving conditions. At the age of 25 I was old enough to understand this took miracles. Acts of God, Congress.........not nearly strong enough. We were talking miracles. I felt like a kid again as I strapped on my cross-country skis and set out to enjoy my snow day. I skied a 1/2 mile to the nearest Cub, bought cocoa, schnapps and beer and skied back home to enjoy a lazy, snowy day of movies and napping on the couch. I believed in Santa again that day, and my heart was light.

Today I am dreaming of one of those lazily blissful days. I would dearly love to enjoy a day trapped inside in front of a warm, roaring fire with my loved ones nearby. The kids would squeal with delight watching the snow fall, and Mr. Chaos and I would snuggle while we sip on Baileys & coffee.

*sigh* As you can see by my location, it wouldn't take much. Trust me, a half inch of snowfall would render the entire state shutdown. Alas, the odds of me getting a Pepsi in a local restaurant are probably better. (Did I ever mention I live in Coca-Cola country?)

C'mon Santa, it wouldn't take much. I haven't called in a favor since that cold blustery day almost 10 years ago. I've been exceptionally good. Let me feel like a kid again one last time and play the day away in the snow.

Pretty please? It's all I want for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 

Sleep has a taste.

I was completely unaware of this until I had children. I took sleeping for granted, right along with a moment's silence, taking showers uninterrupted, and using the bathroom with the door closed.

Our youngest is now 3 1/2 months old, and the youngling has decided to follow in the austere footsteps of the older two. Naps are for suckers and sleeping through the night is overrated. We are now on night 3 of partying during the wee hours.

It's hard to be angry when he's being so earnestly cute. But I am yet again reminded that sleep has a taste. With Cman it was a hazelnut coffee; sleep deprivation with Lil Miss Diva tasted like toffee. This go round I daydream of rich, buttery golden caramel. I physically crave it and find myself obsessing over it's tempting goodness.

So......what does your sleep taste like?


Thanks. Ya coulda clued me in.

Today Mr. Chaos and I had our first parent-teacher conference. Our oldest is in pre-K, so we met with his teacher to discuss his progress.

As a kid, I hated parent-teacher conferences. Even though I was generally a model student, I was certain my parents were hearing awful, rotten things about me. When I woke up this morning, that anxiety was amplified. How come no one ever told me the parent-teacher conference was the parental equivalent of a report card?

So how did the Chaos family do? Very well. Overall I would say a B+. Cman is doing extremely well academically. Socially he has some catching up to do, but no big surprises.

The surprise was realizing I was being graded. Even though we had no clue, we did well.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 

At risk of being judged, branded and labelled....

allow me a moment to discuss potty training.

My middle child had a NASTY poo a few weeks ago. This poo came with it's own set of bragging rights, as far as I am concerned. Women sitting around a table regaling one another with birth stories will fall to awed hushes when my daughter walks in and says, "That's nothing. I passed a poo at the age of two that was as big around as a tennis ball, and I did it WITHOUT MEDICATION." Literally. Lest you think I am exaggerating, I pulled on one end while she pushed on the other. Yes, that is now #38 on the list of "Things I Never Knew I Would Do As A Parent."

So, anyway. This poo came with it's own set of issues. At the tender age of two my child was now afraid of the potty. Not a problem, right? So she regresses a bit, she goes in her pants a while, life goes on.

So I thought. She would scream, rend clothing, channel demons and generally be pissy for the full hour leading up to an event. Then, a quiet would settle on the house as she took to the task of taking off her clothes and dumping poo. I would go into the bathroom, totally exasperated with her, only to see her bravely trying to clean up with tears in her eyes. She knew it was wrong, but she just couldn't bring herself to tackle that porcelain hurdle.

I let this go on for three weeks. I was convinced if I didn't make an issue of it, then she would eventually make in the potty. Until last week. That day it became truly ugly. She cried, carried on, and reached a whole new level. I think I can safely define the phrase "shit fit" because what I saw that day definitely qualified. She raised pissiness and divadom to a whole new level. And this went on for a full. 24. hours. straight.

I finally took my child firmly by the hand and did something I swore I would NEVER do as a parent. I held her. Forcibly. On the potty. I used every encouraging word, face and tone known to mankind. I was sure I was scarring her for life. I was evil. Cruel. A heartless wench destining her daughter to a life of therapy. Her hair flew in a crazed nimbus around her reddened, tear stained face and was done. And to her amazement, it didn't hurt.

The next day, she fought me even harder, but after 5 minutes, she sighed, stroked my hair and whispered, "I love you much" as she went. The rest of the day progressed peacefully. Which left me wondering........

Was all of this a desperate act on her part to retain the place of the baby in the family? I have no doubt initially she hurt and was frightened, but after 3 weeks I think this morphed into a classic baby/big girl power struggle. My heart broke and widened for her all at once when I heard her whisper "I love you much." Yet another thing I never knew as a can be sad and proud all at once. I am proud of her for facing her demons and "working them through", yet sorry she had to give up her babydom.

Sweetie........I love you much. Enigma that you are.