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Random things that are bothering me tonight

I was sitting outside Sophia's room tonight, shushing her, because the child will happily talk until dawn if you don't shut that show down. And later it struck me that one of the things she'd asked was, "Mom? Will GLUE stick to KITTIES?"

And now that question is haunting me.

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Speaking of things Sophia has to say, tonight she followed me into the bathroom and was admiring my panties. Before I had much of a chance to feel pretty, though, she followed that up with the observation that my bottom is fat. 

"Hey," I said mildly, "it's not very nice to talk about someone's body like that."

"Oh," she said, "sorry. But Mom. Look at it."

And that is both true, and very bad advice. Bless her.

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I remember when I was a wee pup of a teen, noticing the scaly feet of non-pup-aged women. Ugh, I would think, in process of laying down some karma to come back to me today, why can't they just put some lotion on their feet? Is it THAT HARD?

Now, as a 42-year-old woman, I can say with authority, yes. It is THAT HARD.

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Hey, would you all like me to tell you the story of Clay's and my courtship? Heh. Makes it sound like he showed up on a Sunday afternoon in his fringe-topped surrey, doesn't it? Anyhow, I realized that I never really talked about it here, and I was wondering if anyone was interested. I'm assuming I'd end up with a book contract, like the Pioneer Woman. Because that's exactly how that works, right?

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Two thing happened a few weeks ago: Raphael turned twelve, and the next day this blog turned ten. TWELVE! And TEN! Blows my mind, both of them. And I need to write up a birthday post about my elderly twelve-year-old son, but the only decent pictures I have of his birthday are on Max's camera, and I don't know how to work it and he's gone at camp. I am a complete failure at pictures. This is probably the main reason I don't have a book contract yet. That and the fact that I've never written any books. 


Everything is wonky.

I can't possibly blog right now, because everything is askew. Last weekend we took Max to camp in New Mexico. Again. Like a bunch of dummies. 

Whatever. He likes it there. Actually, all the boys like it there, and Raphi goes in two weeks. Tre didn't get a counsellor position for the second year in a row, which means he's done with camp and I really want to punch everyone in charge. 

I'm somewhat conflicted about camp is what I meant to say.

So anyhow, Mom went with us over the weekend to take Max to camp. So did Sophia and Raphael, and yet we had a really nice weekend. Wait, that came out wrong. What I meant to say is that everyone was wonderful on the trip, and we really had a great time, despite the sixteen or so hours in the car. 

We spent one night at my aunt's house (which is lovely, and I only sort of considered stealing the rug from the bathroom a little bit), and I shared a room with Sophia. I don't know if I've ever mentioned it, but Sophia can be a little tricky to get to sleep? Have I said something about that in passing? Well, that night I was snuggled up in bed with her, and she asked for a story. So I told her one of her favorite stories, about Sophia, the Queen of the Outside, and the night she decided to sleep outside. My fervent hope is that one day soon Sophia will realize that my stories are all filled with heavy-handed moralization, and she'll ask me to stop. Anyhow, in this story Sophia decides she wants to sleep outside, and then she realizes that the ground is kind of hard, and she doesn't have any blankets, and she doesn't have a pillow...and I got to the part where she misses her stuffed animals, and she burst into agonized sobs.

"I MISS MY DUCKY!" she wailed.

"Oh, honey, it's okay! We'll be home with Ducky tomorrow!" I said. And then, because almost eighteen years of parenting have clearly taught me nothing, I kept talking. "And besides, all your stuffed animals are home to keep Melody company!"

"I MISS MELODY! I MISS DAAAAAAAADDDYYYYY!"

Mother of the year. Again.

Eventually she did go to sleep, and the next morning we took Max to camp, where she burst into tears all over again when it was time to say goodbye. I was totally on her side with that one, because it just doesn't seem fair that the only way to let your baby go to camp is to leave them there. Whose idea was that, anyhow?

So now we get to everything being askew. Max isn't here, even a little bit. Tre recently started working at McDonald's, so he's never here for dinner anymore. I find that I don't know how to cook reasonable portions of food anymore, and I find our dinner table, with four place settings all huddled at one end like refugees, deeply distressing. Raphael is barely at home between doing yard work for the neighbors, baseball, and Totus Tuus at church, which is like VBS, except all Catholic and stuff. Sophia is well and truly irritated with all the gone-ness of her brothers. My dad is painting the house, and our dog Carmi stepped in the paint. She's very sorry.

And I'm sorry as well, but you understand, after all of that, why I can't possibly blog. 

 


Saucy

When Mir was here (did I mention?), she helped me get together Father's Day lunch for the many (two) fine fathers around here. One of the things she did (other than some kick-butt sous chef action at the sink) was to whip up some barbecue sauce. She sauteed stuff and tossed in other stuff and splashed in still more stuff. She assured me that a can of coke would make it all even better, but I gave her Disapproving Eyes of Nutritional Judgement, and so she let that go.

In the end, she'd created this lovely, rich, sticky barbecue sauce. It was like magic. But it LOOKED like cooking, so last night I foolishly thought I could do the same thing. I hedged my bets by looking up recipes, and loosely followed one that claimed it was the ONLY sauce you would ever need ever again. What is it with barbecue and superlatives anyhow?

So *I* sauteed and tossed and splashed and stirred and simmered and simmered and simmered. And in the end, I had...a sauce. Not an offensive sauce, but not exactly lip-smacking either. But then again, I know I can be over critical, seeing faults no one else does, so I started accosting family members with a saucy spoon and demanding their opinion.

Mom tasted it and cocked her head. "Hmm. What is it missing?"

"It's not sweet enough," said Tre.

"It has too much molasses," said Max. Then he slumped against the wall in despair, "WHY can't you just buy the bad kind? High fructose corn syrup is DELICIOUS. That's why everyone else is EATING IT." Barbecue sauce is kind of a way of life for Max. It runs deeper with him.

Right up until dinner, I kept trying to tinker with it. By the time we sat down, I couldn't even remember what barbecue sauce tasted like. But the general consensus was that this was not it, exactly.

"It's not sweet enough."

"Too much salt?"

"I think Mir put jalapenos in hers."

"Too much molasses. Not enough high fructose corn syrup." (This comment was delivered with a baleful stare.)

"Too tangy?"

"Bland?"

Now, part of me is inclined to keep trying until I get the stupid sauce right. It's not cold fusion, right? MOST PEOPLE CAN DO THIS.

But on the other hand, I'm not sure I can take the criticism. Not to put too fine a point on it, they complained less about eating tongue. Obviously, I should just let this one go.

Unless you have a great recipe you want to share...


Fresh air

So Mir and her daughter, Chickadee were here this weekend - I mean, I call it a "weekend" but they arrived on Wednesday, and went home on Sunday. So. A SINCERE weekend.

However, I'm not going to tell you all about the weekend, because it just sounds so lame to try to get across something like that. You end up repeating lines, like trying to convey all of a play by acting out the best bits - "And then she said, 'Hey Kira? You're faaaaaaaaat!'" And it just doesn't work.

I will tell you that this is the first time our kids have met, and they had a freakishly great time together. At times it was best for us to just quietly back away and let what was happening just happen. 

But no, I'm not going to tell you about Mir visiting. No, what I'll tell you about instead is Sophia. Today she spent (rough estimate) seventeen billion hours running around outside. At one point I was gone (I spent seventeen billion hours in the car today), and Tre wanted her to come inside and have some lunch. Sophia, being her father's daughter, suffers from Low Blood Sugar Cranky Butt syndrome, and must be fed when it is time, or suffer the consequences.

So anyhow, there Tre was, trying to shoo the grubby-faced little girl into the house. 

"Sophia. Time to come inside," he repeated. She spun in a balletic circle on the grass and shook her head.

"But I CAN'T," she called back, "I am not the queen of the INSIDE, I'm the queen of the OUTSIDE!"

Now, there is not a thing wrong with being the queen of the outside. I'm alllll for children running around in the sunshine. But this particular queen also seems to have seasonal allergies, and a full day of romping about in the grass makes for one snotty, itchy little girl. This is also a girl who does not naturally sleep well AND is currently being besieged by moths.

Yeah, moths. It's miller moth season, and there really aren't words to describe HOW MANY moths there are right now. The other night she woke up to find a couple dozen of the fluttery little bastards, circling the ceiling in the pool of light from her music box. It creeped her out (sort of creeped me out, to be honest), and she hasn't spent a full night in her bed since. 

Stupid moths.

Anyhow, it occurred to me that the itching/sneezing and the not sleeping issues could be dealt with simultaneously, with a single stone called benedryl. Did that last sentence make any sense? I don't think it did. Anyhow, pushing on.

So tonight I figured a teeny shot of the lovely elixir would usher her happily off to dream world, but as I was pouring it out, I remembered something dimly about Tre, as an allergy-riddled four-year-old, and how he'd reacted? Badly? To benedryl? Did that happen? Ah well, down the hatch, wee itchy one!

It soon became clear that Sophia was not going to respond to benadryl with your standard dopey sleepiness. Within just a few minutes, she was writhing on the couch next to me, unable to sit still.

What followed next was hours of sitting outside her room, trying to help her go to sleep, while she flipped from stem to stern, trying to find a better position, drew pictures on the wall with her feet, whispered to her stuffed bunny about how mean her mommy is, and asked me vital questions like, "What is the name of that dinosaur that flies?" And during this whole time, moths were gathering on the ceiling and walls, amassing for their midnight freak-out attacks.

Just when I was resigning myself to a long and bitter night, Clay came upstairs to relieve me. I toddled off to my room to brush my teeth. Within ten minutes, Sophia had finally succumbed to sleep, and Clay grabbed a flyswatter and decimated the upstairs moth population. And just like that, my night turned around.

Because sometimes, when life seems like it might be a little bit tougher than you are, something comes in from outside to set things right and renew your spirit. And even though it can't last, it's worth it, just for the full breath of air.

And look at that. I ended up writing about Mir's visit after all.

 


Clay has...me - one example

You know on that last post, where I cited examples of difficulties our family members face? And I said "Clay has...me."? Well, when I wrote that, I kind of thought Clay would object to me seeing myself as a problem for him. And he did read that post, just a little while after it was posted. When he got to that part, he said, "Mfff. Mmm-mmmfff!" and he nodded his head. He was brushing his teeth at the time, so I'm not sure exactly what he was saying, but the overall effect was enthusiastic agreement. Harumph.

Shortly after, we went to bed, which meant it was time for - oh hush - it was time for the nightly tug-of-war between the need for sleep and the need to talk over the day. Our window was open, and from the yard we could hear Max and Raphael. Yesterday was one of the first actually hot days of Spring, and they'd opted to sleep on the trampoline in celebration. 

"Hey, honey?" I said,"the boys told me they heard a bat out there earlier."

"Really?"

"Yeah, and I read once that if you ever wake up and find a bat in your room, you should be sure to catch it, so it can be tested for rabies. Because they can bite you without you even waking up."

"Um."

"I know, right?"

silence.

"So...should we make them come inside?"

"No."

"Should you go find that bat?"

"NO."

"But...rabies."

"Kira. I'm sure a bat that comes in a house is a different issue than a bat that just flew overhead, in its natural environment."

"Should I look it up online?"

"NO."

"I love you."

"I love you too."

"You're sure about the bat?"

exaggerated sleep noises.

Well, overnight the temperature outside swivelled back to "freakishly cool for June," and by morning the boys were well and truly chilled. They came inside before 7, and celebrated their surviving the cold with some sort of bacchanalian revelry that required much hot cocoa mix to be flung about. The kitchen was trashed by the time I came downstairs, and it turns out that Clay was right again. Bats were the least of their worries. 


Melody has a bird

This sounds like a cute, unexpected-friendship-between-animals kind of deal, doesn't it? It's not.

Melody's bird is a bluebird, and it lives to torment her. It flies down and perches right under her window, and taunts her.

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She so, SO wants to eat that bird.

Then it flies up to the roof and peeks down at her.

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Oh MAN, does she want to eat that bird.

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Melody's bird flies back and forth, making mocking chirping noises at her, and she watches it, quivering with rage and barely suppressed violence.

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After a while, she starts making the most pitiful, tiny, mewling sounds. Our cat has a bird, and she might also need antidepressants because of it.

I wish I could fix this for her, but at the same time it seems appropriate. I mean, she's a part of this family now, and everyone has their difficulties to face. Sophia struggles with bedtime. Tre's car seems to need repairs weekly. Raphael (as evidenced by the pictures above) still doesn't know how to make his bed. Max ordered a camera online, and it still hasn't arrived after a day and a half. Clay has...me.

So there you go. Welcome to the family, Melody. You have a bird, but that's okay. We all have something.