Monday, January 30, 2006

On Strike (Until Mama Goes Nutso)

The Tyrant in her Throne

On Saturday night Ribh unveiled the Tortured Baby Bird Screech of Epic Proportions of AGONY and woke Hubby and me with a start at 4:23 am. She proceeded to flail, weep, gnash her teeth (what there are of 'em), and thrash about wildly, while steadfastly refusing to either a) go to sleep or b) nurse.

That's right folks: It's a NURSING STRIKE!

A nursing strike is an interesting little "phase" in which babies can no longer stand the declining conditions in their difficult work day and protest by constructing tiny placards which read: NO MORE BOOB UNTIL I GET MY OWN REMOTE CONTROL (and I mean a REAL one dammit!) and SEE HOW YOU LIKE ENGORGEMENT, YOU INCESSANT SNOT WIPER (MY NOSE IS MY OWN BID'NESS), and STOP TRYING TO FEED ME THAT HEALTHY CRAP WOMAN, I SEE YOU EATING FUDGE IN THE PANTRY!

Actually, the babies will METAPHORICALLY construct said placards because frankly, their actions (or inactions boobwise) read louder than words. Ribh indicated quite emphatically at 5:00 am that she was NOT HAPPY and my SHOVING MY BOOB IN HER MOUTH was not helping matters. So, we got up and went to the living room to watched cartoons and HGTV until 8:00 am when everyone else got up.

Last night, the protest continued. This time, it began with a blood curdling screech at 1:27 am which I was able to quell (sans nursing, of course! I might have had ACID MILK for all she was interested) by sleeping propped up against the headboard and pat-patting for 15 minutes. But the moment I shifted positions, she reiterated her position against Mamas Who Suck and Cannot Hold Perfectly Still while Traumatizing Their Spines and followed by reciting her position paper (quite loudly) contending that HER mama particularly sucks and should quit thrusting her acidy boob into her mouth because her teeth hurt and she is sick of wearing hand me down clothes. Then she threw up and blew a giant goob of snot into my hair.

We went to the living room again and continued our negotiations in 30 to 45 minute intervals, during which I would drift off to sleep and would awaken spasmodically as she realized she had forgotten to mention that she wants more Baby Einstein Videos and less Dr. Phil in the afternoon and that she would like to be back inside my uterus where nobody bothered her with demands for sign language communication and patty cake.

Hubby replaced me at the negotiation sofa at 6:40 am when he got up to get The Boy ready for school and he must have managed to bridge the communication gap much better in his negotiotiations, (although I shudder to think what he may have promised her to elicit such a response) because when he brought her to me in bed at 8:00, she relented and nursed and slept for two whole hours without screaming or kicking me in the kidneys even once.

Please pray for a speedy resolution or send a skilled arbitrator. Sleep deprivation is stripping me of even my most rudimentary skills and I am likely to recite from The Aristocrats when I go on my job interview later this week or begin grocery shopping in my underwear. Help!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Good Night, Sleep Tight

My Quinlan is growing up oh so quickly. My little Peapod is now chattering away non-stop, dressing and undressing herself ad naseum (to the tune of piles of clothing littering every room in the house. Seriously! Make it stop! She's not even three yet!). And her busiest enterprise of all: mothering every possible "baby" she can find.

She specializes in shepherding Ribh around the house and helping her baby sister achieve levels of mischief heretofor unattained by 12-month-olds. Recently they emptied a plant onto the living room floor and then flooded the delightfully filthy remains with water for the purpose of
A) Science Experiment : to see if plant particles would continue to thrive if water (which likely came from the toilet) was added
B) Creative Expression: a la performance art (for Mama to enjoy).
This creative expression included mud rubbed into Ribh's hair aboriginal style and dirt art on Dr. P's expensive bachelor wide screen TV and precious speakers. (Psst. Don't tell P. He doesn't know about that. I cleaned it up. He'd freak.) I didn't take a photo because while I was thinking about it I threw the girls in the tub and then the phone rang and then the girls wanted OUT and Gabe wanted IN and then I just cleaned it all up really fast while all three kids ran around nude and the phone rang some more.

But Quin's "sleeping babies tableaus" abound. Here is a photographic sampling. Trust me when I assure you that this a mere smattering of the myriad baby beds which crop up on every possible surface all day long.

Quin at "work", putting a few "babies" to bed with a purloined washcloth and dishtowel.

Dora rests with a dirty dishtowel and a bit of "night reading" in the form of "The God Particle", a book about Quantum Physics.

Two Polly Pockets sleep next to a Happy Family Mama doll and her counterpart, Happy Family Daddy, is doing the Brokeback Mountain thang with Storm Shadow of GI Joe fame (Don't Ask, Don't Tell says Joe) around the corner of the communal bed.

And here, Hello Kitties sleep in a bed made entirely of bread crusts.

Overheard Recently:

Quin: (eyeing up Gabe's new Robot Dinosaur, undoubtedly calculating which towel would work best to swaddle him to sleep) Gabe! Your Dinosaur is SOOO CUUUUTE!

Gabe: (scornfully and protectively) He's not CUTE Quin! He's a ROBOT! (Translation: keep your Family Bed, granola eatin' ways OFF my scary new toy!)

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Swiftest Flight

My sweet baby, my last little nursling, is ONE today.

It is so hard to see my last baby leaping from babyhood into toddlerville with such reckless abandonment. She cannot wait to walk and run and jump like her older siblings. She lurches around while clutching my one finger for support, desperate to ambulate like everyone else around her. She wants MY food, MY glass of water, MY bottle of beer. She sometimes has to be pinned down to settle down enough to nurse and finally go to sleep and other times slurps down her milk rapidly while scanning the room for her next opportunity to leap into interesting toddler projects, like flinging my things about the room and stealing her sister's dolls. She cannot bear to miss a single thing.

With your firstborn, you delight in every new accomplishment, from the first smile, the first laugh, and each physical milestone is crowed over and foisted upon every person you meet. "My baby, he sat up today! My baby, he walks!" But the last child grows too fast, too swiftly accomplishing things that once done can never be taken back.

This baby, I want to tie her feet together to keep her from walking, holding her to me forever. I wallow in the smell of her hair and neck and her lingering baby scent. I breathe in her sweet milky breath. I kiss her dippled baby hands and immensely chubby knees. I stroke her immeasurable silky cheeks and cornsilk hair. I let her fall asleep against my chest at night and do not move her sweetly sweaty weight for hours, breathing in rhythmic unity, knowing she will only allow this for such a short time yet. The effortless trust of a baby is a gift only given once and must be cherished above all gifts.

And so today, as I prepare to make her a cake and gather friends and family, I cannot help but cry a little, and hold my birthday girl a little closer, a little tighter, a little longer.

Happy Birthday Baby Bird!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

What's New?

What's new here:

1. Holy Cows! I actually WON the Blogging4Books thingy! If you wanna check out the other winning entries you should go here. You should go read them. But notice who got First Place, people! (Ahem.)

2. I went to go see Brokeback Mountain this weekend. Good movie, but a wee bit uncomfortable. You know what's even more uncomfortable than watching gay cowboys simulate anal sex on the big screen? Watching anal sex simulated on the big screen with your Dad.

Your Dad who is GAY. (Ahem.)

3. You know what's maybe even more uncomfortable than watching Brokeback Mountain with your Gay Dad? Watching 40 Year Old Virgin with your Gay Dad AND your husband. And laughing and laughing while people talk about fucking, on and on and on.

Okay. That's all for now. I gotta go take a Silkwood Shower or something. I feel dirty.

Friday, January 20, 2006

To Whom It May Concern

I might as well admit it: I'm gonna suck for the next week. Or month.

Due to glorious company invading my new home.

And they really are glorious. This week brought Banana Girl and Honey Babe (who walks and talks now and is barely a babe) along with my Dad, Papa Greg. We have been running around like dervishes, sightseeing (the Georgia Aquarium again! That's three times this week! Eeek! And three exclamation marks in a row! Blogging is for alarmists!) and shopping and whatnot.

Papa Greg leaves next week but Banana and Honey Girl stay until Quin's birthday in mid-February. Then Kris will visit for a few days with her little bundle of baby love. And finally my mom, Nonny, will arrive a few days later and be here into early March. Since the computer is located in the guest bedroom, there may be limited blogging. But I will be heaven, hangin' with my Peeps! Whoo hoo!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Whale Poop and Martin Luther the King

Today, in celebration of Martin Luther King Day, we decided to go on a field trip. Since Gabe had no school and Hubby had the day off work, we got up early, packed a bulging diaper bag full of snacks and diapers and toys and headed into the a big city to go to The Georgia Aquarium.

Apparently our bright idea was shared by about every other parent in the tri state area. The Aquarium was...a Zoo (heh). Seriously though people, avoid the Georgia Aquarium during national holidays that let all the kids out of school. Ugh. This is no time to supplement your kid's education. Unless you plan to educate them on curse words and shrieking.

There were fish. A lot of 'em. And other critters, like scuba guys (and gals, let's not be sexist here).

And then we sunk Gabe and Quin in a capsule to the bottom of the deepest tank. Okay, not reea-lly.
And then Gabe petted a sting ray. And some shrimp. And a sea star (star fish thingy). And slid down a slide. And Quin climbed on garbage cans (because they wouldn't allow her on the slide because she was too young. WTF? Hello, it's a covered slide people!).

And then there was this really really huge tank (it can hold the volume of 25 olympic swimming pools) with more fish and whale sharks.

Even Ribh thought that was pretty astounding. She crawled around. And nursed. So that was cool.

And we pointed at stuff and said, "Hey, look at that big fish!" and "Kids, look at how the whale just pooped!" (I couldn't let a whole post slip by without mention of poop. 'Cause whales poop too. Really.)

And then we drove home and all the kids fell asleep in the car. We wanted to sleep too, but alas, MLK day isn't for sissies and the kids ALL woke up the second we entered the driveway and had no use for further sleeping.

And then the Aquarium called me to tell me I'd lost my wallet there. So, I'm going back tomorrow apparently. Wheee!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Saturday Morning Live

This morning, after the kids dragged us out of bed at 7:00am, we set them up in the kitchen with bowls of sugary cereal (it's ORGANIC though!) and cartoons a'blaring and crawled back in bed to see if we could eke out a few more minutes of hibernation.

Within 15 minutes Gabe discovered our dark and silent hiding place and crawled into Hubby's side of the bed.

"Papa! Where's Mama?"

"She went to the store."

"What store?"

"A store you wouldn't want to go to."

"WHAT store?"

"The Poop Store."

(giggling) "Ewwwww!"

Silence reigns for a full 30 seconds. Peace.

"Papa! Let's watch some football. Do you want to watch football with me?"

"You want to watch football? I like watching football with you."

"Yeah. But I think we should watch a few cartoons first. Just like, ten cartoons."

They not only won't let us sleep, but they are forcing cartoons on us. Who's running this zoo?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

King of All Media

Forget Howard Stern. Gabe is The King of All Media.

He can control all of the electronic equipment in the house better than most of his babysitters.

He is so techno-savvy that he seized my camera in the car last week and took a film series I believe he would have titled: "My chronicle of My Sisters Watching Baby Einstein" in which there was a frame by frame accounting for each new scene on the TV interspersed with shots of his sisters in their respective car seats. I didn't even know he did this. (Bad Mama.) Here are a few highlights. I've deleted the shots of the TV screen. Sorry. (You're not missing much. Yellow car. Candle. Kinetic device. Overwrought children leaping about.)

He is a modern genius boy, but that doesn't stop him from enjoying Shark Boy and Lava Girl 3-D old school style with the 3-D glasses and all on a regular basis. (Seen here with Mom.)

And tonight, while waiting for his dinner, he chose to watch a TiVOed performance by U2 and cranked the volume WAAY up without any prompting. He's too smart for his own good. Except he thinks U2's guitarist is called "The Hedge".

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Way We Were

Blogging For Books has issued this challenge: Write about your "Ex". Here is my entry:

We all have significant ex-relationships, ex-friends, former existences which haunt our lives and thrill us with their memories in unexpected times and places. These relationships and experiences are no longer ongoing and cannot be changed or re-lived. They are OVER and yet they still have the power to inspire us and to even intrude in our current pursuits of not only a better and more inspiring life but a nice, normal, stable existence. (At least that's what I'm going for usually. Well, maybe not normal, but stable, yes.)

The most meaningful Ex in my life, the former relationship that constantly intrudes on my current relationship, is my "ex-life", BEFORE CHILDREN.

It is both frightening and maddening the way the past can linger and taunt you with its "grass is greener" nostalgia. The Ghost of My Life Before Children is constantly clamoring to remind me of HOW GREAT IT WAS when my life was mine and mine alone. The BC Ghost fills my memory with taunting images of sleeping in every weekend and not wearing clothes smeared with peanut butter and jelly.

If I were to listen to the BC Ghost, I would be convinced that not only was I 30 pounds lighter before squeezing out my three offspring, but I had shinier hair, whiter teeth, a sharper wit, and less gas. The BC Ghost REALLY likes to wax nostalgic about the convenience of my former life. According to BCG, my life was all about last minute vacations in which I could lie on a chaise lounge while cabana boys brought margaritas, shopping sessions that lasted for days and produced clothes that ALL FLATTERED MY FIGURE, and a romantic life that would make Casanova (not the Heath Ledger one) envious.

Another issue with the BC Ghost, is that Hubby has his own BC Ghost and the two of them conspire together at times to leave us both certain, that not only was life better and more convenient BC, but that our spouse is conspiring to compound the pitiful effects.

For example, my BC Ghost tells me that "back in the day" on the weekend, Hubby would have helped me clean the house and fold laundry (just one load for our tiny family) and then we would snuggle on the sofa and watch TV before making a gourmet meal together, CLEANING THE KITCHEN TOGETHER (please don't laugh yet), and then going to movie at the last minute without ever thinking about babysitters or budgets.

Hubby's BC Ghost tells him that on weekends "back in the day" he would play golf all day Saturday, and then sleep til 10 on Sunday, be served breakfast in bed, watch Sports Center until his svelte and scantily clad wife met him at the sofa with Buffalo wings and beer as the football games started, and then, after the Packers soundly trounced whomever they were playing, he might mow the lawn or go for a run, just for fun.

Now, you can see, dear internet, where these depictions of what a weekend could/should be will create resentment, frustration and even occasionally, despair. We have been DUPED into thinking that our lives BC were a freakin' Disneyland of pleasure and free time and that we were the lords of our own little idyllic fifedoms and had spouses who were more like slaves than partners. Bah!!! YOU KNOW it was never that way. Our Ghosts of our own Ex-lives have done what so many Exes do in the retelling: They Lie.

Because, you know what? My ass IS bigger, but that is MY fault because I don't make time to work out and I eat more crap more often. Period. And my hair is SHINIER because now I can afford to occasionally get it PROFESSIONALLY COLORED rather than just use Nice 'n Easy like when we were poor childless students. And yes, I haven't slept for more than four hours straight in six years due to constant pregnancy and nursing, but I still get enough sleep overall and even take naps sometimes with a snuggly little snoozer tucked under my arms or pressed against my back. And THAT is a heaven of its own.

And poor Hubby has much better golf gear now, even if he goes less often, and he gets to share football with his children who gamely cheer for whomever he cheers for and then steal his Buffalo wings (which he made quite capably by himself) and then afterwards he throws the kids on the bed for a half hour while they giggle hysterically and beg for more.

And when we do (gasp) go to a movie or even out to dinner, we appreciate it ten times more than we did BC. We are like dieters sneaking a pint of Ben and Jerrys, as we sneak off for our moments alone. Ahhh! The anticipation! It's like dating again.

There are trade-offs for every complaint and tirade of parenthood from my saggy boobs to the eight loads of laundry per week. My life is indeed much different from the world I inhabited BC, but I cannot ever adequately quantify the joys and humor and charm brought into my world by the three little ones who have joined us in our own brand of chaos.

As my Grandpa used to say to my Grandma in those crazy moments of solidarity and pride in that chaos which is unique to being a family; "I'm glad we're Us". And by that I certainly mean the WHOLE CLAN of us, warts, saggy boobs, and all.

Because you know that soon enough I will be waxing nostalgic about "when the kids were little" and then "when the kids still lived at home" and then "when the kids DIDN'T live at home AGAIN" and so on. And so I will strive to keep those ghostly exes in the past and try to ignore their persistent reminders of how great it was when I didn't have to clean up 27 Polly Pocket pieces out of my bed before going to sleep or wipe poop off the toilet seat before using it myself. Sigh.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Who Knew Mommy Bloggers Could Be This HOT!

Do you know that I get AT LEAST one hit every day from someone doing a web search for "Slutty Moms"? All because I once mentioned that my other blog was named "Slutty Moms" or some such obnoxious comment.

Think how disappointed the searcher must be when they click over here and get to hear about whatever cute thing my child did or my diatribe on how I was mad at the buttinski lady at the store.

Perhaps I could build up my online following if I mentioned more risque content regularly, like how my teething toddler abuses my nipples and how I enjoy house cleaning naked (ha!) or something.

But instead you just will get to hear about how I had food poisoning last night, delerium, a high fever and some seriously sexy fecal incontinence. Let's see what kind of searchers hit on that phrase!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Who Wants To Go Shopping With Me?

Scene: Old Navy. I have ventured cross-county to a location I have never frequented before because the other Old Navy store is in such a heinous and over-traversed locale, I figured this one would HAVE to be superior.

My Mission: New PJs for Gabe, because his old ones are all at least one size too small and look quite foolish.

My accomplices: Gabe, Quin and Ribh (because shopping with no children or even one child is for sissies.)

My Method: Three children in a grocery cart (a "buggy" to southerners). Ribh sits in the child seat. Quin in the basket (despite stern warnings on cart NOT to do so) and Gabe hanging off the side (despite stern warnings on the cart NOT to do so). I should note that no child is restrained by a "belt". But we'll get into that later. My preferred method involves rapid choosing of clothing and frequent distracting of children before bolting with cheap merchandise.

And now, without further ado, The Debacle:

Strange Woman: Oh! Oh! Your baby! Is standing! He could fall!

Me: (Standing two feet from cart, trying in a sweater over my clothing) Ummm? Oh yeah. Thanks. (Thinking to self: Whatever!)

Strange Woman: Oh! The Baby! The Baby! He could fall!

Me: Thank you! SHE'S fine. Got it! (Removing sweater quickly.)

Strange Woman: But the BABY! Could fall! I've seen a baby fall before! (Not moving any closer to us, but wringing her hands and so on)

Me: Yes. I understand. It's okay. I'm almost done.

Strange Woman: I've seen a baby fall before and HAVE TO GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM!

Me: Yes. SHE'S FINE FOR A MINUTE! (Beginning to be quite annoyed ON PRINCIPLE. Sheesh woman! I have three children. I know what I am doing. Leave me alone!)

Strange Woman: Why don't you have her buckled up? She could fall! And have to go to the Emergency Room!

Me: She just wiggles out of the belt. I'm almost done here. (My other children begin climbing my body while asking questions about what the Emergency Room is and who the weird lady is)

Strange Woman: I saw a child fall and have to go to the EMERGENCY ROOM!

Me: I appreciate your help. We are leaving now!

Strange Woman: That's illegal! (Grumbling and grousing unintelligibly)

Me: Huh? (Get me the Heck outta here!)

I rush to the checkout and quickly purchase my single pair of pajamas. As I replace my check card in my wallet, Ribh leans over to grab the credit card swipey thing while her brother moves the cart away from the counter and.....WHOOOMP! Down she goes!

Everyone near the checkout freezes in HORROR! I grab Ribh, quickly assess the damage (she is scared but not hurt) and try to make a run for it, but......that voice! Here comes the Harbringer Harpy of Horror again.



Strange Woman: (To everyone in the area) I told her to buckle that baby up! That kind of behavior is illegal! She shouldn't be allowed to......

Me: (Running out the door) Dammit! I KNOW she MADE that happen with all her freakin' insistence that the baby would fall. Ribh stands in the cart (buggy) every freakin' day and nothing happens and then this freak comes along and.....! Arrrrgghhhhhhhh!

Another, Nice Woman, In the Parking Lot: Is your baby okay? Oh, Good! That lady was totally crazy! What did she think was illegal? She's nuts!

Me: Sigh. Thank You! I really needed that validation!

So, to sum up: Ribh is totally fine. She fell on her butt mostly (well padded) but we checked her and cleared out any subluxations in her spine when we got home. NO need for a trip to the ER.

Furthermore, I still defend my position as the parent of my own children to know that A) Ribh does not stay seated and secure in the crappy little belts that are meant to secure very small and immobile children in the seats in shopping carts and that in order for me to shop I must occasionally allow her to stand and wiggle around a bit while I stand nearby and do my thing. B) Just because I have small children does not mean I need to stay home in a freakin' padded cell lest my child should bonk themselves somehow in public. C) That woman pretty much MADE the event occur by her insistence that it WOULD occur plus her ability to totally distract me past my ability to listen to my own instincts. D) NO trip to the ER was ever indicated even if I was some doctor-running freak. (Which I'm not.) E) SHE should be illegal. Damn! That really pissed me off!