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December 2003
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February 2004

I was in a Linens

I was in a Linens n’ Baththings Beyond Store the other day (er…something like that…I get them mixed up) with Raphael. We were browsing, which means I’d actually gotten lost in the warren-like aisles of that monstrosity of a store, and was wandering around, trying to look thoughtful, not panicky.
Anyhow, I came around a corner and spied a bed that was all decked out in their most sumptuous sheets and such. Now, my bed is decked with things that can be tossed in the washing machine whenever they get puked on by young children. Not what you’d call sumptuous. Oh, but this bed was beautiful. All raw silk with shimmering golden threads woven through. Above the bed was a canopy, a simple rectangle of gauzy stuff with a fringe of sparkling glass beads. The canopy just took my breath away. I mean, what a stupid thing to hang above your bed…I know. But it was so pretty. So girly.
I stood there in the aisle and sighed at the canopy. “Isn’t that pretty?” I remarked to Raphael. He looked up at it in silence for a moment.
“Can ah ride it?” he asked.
“No, it’s not for riding.”
“Is it for Mama ride it?” he wondered.
“No, it’s Not For Riding.”
“Why, den?”
“Because it’s pretty.”
He gazed at it a while longer, then shook his head in bewilderment and went back to trying to knock towels of shelves.
Ah well. Someday I suppose I can hang any stupid thing I want to in the house and no one will try to ride it. But for now, best to stick with simple, sturdy, and washable.

Oh, geez, guys. I don’t

Oh, geez, guys. I don’t know what to write. I’ve been sitting here for an hour, trying to come up with a decent blog. Claire (our beautiful stupid cat) has been sitting next to my keyboard, looking at the screen with deep distain. And she’s right.
I made one good stab at it, got at least four paragraphs in, but I kept nodding off because it was so freakin’ boooooring.
So I kept clicking back over to the internet, visiting many of the blogs I love. Looking for inspiration. Y’all rock. But the vast sea of blogging talent out there only served to leave me feeling even less capable of producing a readable blog. Yeesh.
So I kept trying to access the TLC site to apply to be on “While You Were Out.” However, their site crashed my browser like three times, so I gave up. I’d really love to surprise my mom with a lovely back yard retreat…an oasis, if you will…
Ok - what I’d actually like to do is follow Andrew Dan-Jumbo, the carpenter, around for two days, stroking his sweaty biceps and purring.
Ahem. That, I suppose, is neither here nor there.
The point I’m trying to make is…I have nothing to say. Sorry. My life just isn’t all that interesting. Um…I saw the movie Calendar Girls today. Very cute. And…I said to Raphael this evening, “What did Appa say about playing the piano with your truck?” which I bet is a sentence that I’m the only person in the world to have used.
Oh, I found a picture for you. Here.
So I suppose I should just give up. Throw in the towel. I probably should quit blogging altogether. (In case you didn’t notice, that was a clear plea for flattering remarks about how much you’d miss me.)
Alright I’m calling it a night. What have we learned here, people?
1 - Don’t always expect stellar bloggage from Kira.
2 – Go see Calendar Girls
3 – Andrew Dan-Jumbo is undeniably attractive.
4 – Kira should possibly consider getting out more. Or disconnecting the cable.
5 – Claire, our beautiful stupid cat, may be stupid, but she recognizes a boring blog when she sees one.

Raphael has taken to swearing.

Raphael has taken to swearing. Now, I have my weaknesses as a mother, but foul language is not one of them. I can’t even think in four letter words anymore. So he’s not using actual swear words, just “bad” words of his understanding. His favorite is “stupid.” So whenever anything irritates him – his brothers, the cat, his sock, the alignment of the planets – anything, he glares at it and mutters, “Stoopid.” This is followed up by a sticking out of the tongue, complete with tongue sticking out noise, “mmmmmmmm.” He spends so much time declaring things stupid that he’s been forbidden to say the word.
This afternoon he was annoyed with Tre. Tre had done nothing other than exist between the area Raphael was in and the area he wanted to be in. Raphi was stopped, mid-charge, by Tre’s indisputable solid existence, so he responded by shrieking at him, “Stoopid Tre! Mmmmmmmmm!”
“Raphael Joseph!” If I say his first and middle name in the right tone I don’t even have to follow it up with, “go sit on the stairs in time out.” He whipped around at the sound of my voice and his shoulders sagged at the injustice of it all. Sorrowfully he stomped down the hallway and plopped down on the stairs.
After a suitable period of time, I announced he was free to leave the stairs. He leaped up, only to step on a block right in front of the bottom stair.
“Ow!” he hollered, “Stoopid block!”
Any letters to Raphael in the near future can be addressed to
“Master Raphael Joseph,
C/o The Stairs.”
Speaking of bad words, I found a letter from Max the other day. I’ll spare you the spelling, although I made Mom and Dad read it several times. It’s just so cool. Anyhow, the letter said, “Dear Mom, I know a lot of bad words. But I shouldn’t say it. Love, Max.”
I showed Max the letter and asked if he’d tell me what the bad words are. He looked around furtively for a moment, then leaned in and whispered, “Booger.”
I had to smile, relishing how innocent their lives still are in many ways. Just then he piped up again, “Oh, and Mama? What’s gay mean?”

I woke up this morning

I woke up this morning miserable. Not just morning cranky, that’s a given. No, this morning I was truly unhappy. I hadn’t slept enough. The night had started with hours of nameless anxiety, staring at the ceiling in the dark. Remembering things that make me sad, that I haven’t bothered with in a long time. I don’t know why. Then the morning came too early, with Raphael climbing out of bed before the sun to wake his brothers.
They were tired, I was tired.
It was not a good morning.
I gritted my teeth through breakfast. I carried the boys’ school books to the table like they weighed a thousand pounds. I was quiet, and slow to respond when the kids talked to me. I just wanted to get through the day, and keep all this rottenness away from them.
But I snapped at them. And I sighed at things I should have laughed at.
This served to ratchet up the tension that extra half turn.
Not a good day.
Let me say that I’m not experiencing a crisis here. I have no good reason to feel bad. I just woke up leaden and sad and that’s how it was. I didn’t want to do dishes, I didn’t want to change diapers, and I didn’t want to correct math papers. I didn’t want to do anything, except maybe go back to bed.
We all survived the day and looking back on it, one moment stands out. We were settled in at the table, doing school. It’s our first day back from Christmas break, and so it took a while to get everyone going. But Tre was toiling away over cursive practice, Max was scowlingly laboring over his math workbook, and Raphael was contentedly making a zillion green carrots out of play-dough. I sat in the midst and just watched them all in silence. They are so beautiful sometimes they take my breath away. Max finished his last page for the day and leaned against me with a sigh. I put an arm around him and just drank it all in.
Some days I love almost every bit of mothering. I love the songs and the chores and the toys I pick up a zillion times a day. I enjoy cutting their toast just the right way and knowing from the look on their faces if they will eat one or two pieces. Some days it’s all a joy.
But then some days I don’t like any of it. Some days the only thing I like about motherhood is my boys.
But that’s enough.

Saturday the boys got to

Saturday the boys got to open their Christmas presents from their great-grandparents. Tre and Max got sleds from Grandpa Joe and Nana Alyce (Raphael got a Hot Wheels carrying case with cars, but he hasn’t opened that yet. Shhh. Don’t tell him, ok?), and all three boys got new gloves from Grandma Vivian.
As a quick aside, how fortunate are my boys to have three great grandparents whom they actually know? I’d never thought about that before, but it’s amazing. Huh.
Anyhow, the reason we let them open those particular gifts on Saturday was that it was snowing. Time to break out the snow gear and hit the slopes! In this case, the slope being our front yard. The only problem was there wasn’t enough snow.
It had snowed overnight, but only two inches or so, not nearly enough for sledding. I worried the boys might be disappointed. I shouldn’t have worried. Tre woke up long before I did, and by the time I had dragged my reluctant self out of bed, he and Dad had been at work on a project.
They had been shoveling snow and moving it to a sledding track down the front yard. Dad had cleared the driveway, the sidewalk, and the neighbor’s sidewalk. I stood looking out the front window in amazement as my dad and my boy vigorously hauled shovelful after shovelful of snow to the front yard. They built a good sized track that, together with the inch of snow that came down that morning, made a fine base for hours of sledding.
As I stood at the window, shaking my head at the two of them, I realized that this is why my sons are so lucky to have Dad around. I would simply never go out and relocate snow for the purpose of sledding. I would shake my head sympathetically and wish them better luck next snowstorm. Mom came and stood beside me and together we observed them in disbelief. Dad was using a piece of plywood to form some sort of ramp at the bottom of the run. “You know what he’s doing, don’t you?” I asked.
“He’s teaching Tre to be the kind of person who saved Galveston.”
Last year we went on vacation to Galveston Island, TX. I don’t know how many of you know the history of Galveston (except you, Tori :-) ), but the story can be read here.
Basically, in 1900, a huge hurricane destroyed Galveston. Over 6,000 people died. After the whole-sale destruction and staggering loss of human life, the people of Galveston decided to rebuild. Not just the buildings, but the island. They actually raised the level of the island and built a sea wall to protect it from being swamped by future hurricanes.
And it worked.
Now, I don’t know for sure who first thought of raising the island, but I’m fairly certain it wasn’t a woman. I tried to imagine being there, in the aftermath of that overwhelming devastation. Men were conscripted at gunpoint to haul bodies to pyres because there were so many dead people lying around it was a health hazard. As a mother I don’t think my response would be, “Hey, we can fix this! What we need is to raise the island a bit. Perhaps some sort of retaining wall.”
Noooo. My response would have been, “Pack up whoever and whatever’s left, I wanna live inland. Like, Kansas, maybe.”
Perhaps I’m oversimplifying. It may not be a clear male/female distinction. I’m sure there are people who think I’m being sexist – or even an idiot. But that spirit of forging ahead and constructing a solution – there’s something distinctly male about it. And although it can be annoying at times (I’m thinking of trying to enjoy a leisurely shopping trip), it can also build sledding tracks on low-snow days. And I’m glad my boys have such a fine representation of it in their lives.

I know I’m chiming in

I know I’m chiming in late on this, but I wanted to share my thoughts on resolutions. There’s been much talk about people’s goals for the new year on the email list I’m on. I only read half of the emails on the subject. I can’t stand to read that stuff too closely. It just seems too personal, to innocently hopeful.
Not that personal and innocently hopeful is bad. After all, I’m perfectly happy to reveal quite a bit about myself here, to you. But not my goals. Not my earnestly felt resolutions, the stepping stones I’ve flung before me to find my way through ’04. I don’t tell anyone those. As a matter of fact, when asked if I’ve made any resolutions for the new year my response has always been either a flippant promise to attempt to eat more chocolate, or a shrug and, “I don’t do resolutions.”
But I do do resolutions. I just don’t share them. So instead I thought I’d share a conversation I had with Tre and Max on the subject of resolutions. They were eating their scrambled eggs New Year’s Eve, a high-protein dinner in preparation for an evening with friends and their party foods. Max was sitting on my lap, doing his amazing food-ignoring act. Tre was taking a bite, asking me if he really had to eat all of it, taking another bite. Raphael had a hard-boiled egg, and was turning it around and around, taking small nibbles out of it. I explained the custom of New Year’s resolutions, and asked them if they thought they’d like to make any.
“Why?” Tre asked.
“Well, I guess people feel like if they set goals for themselves they’re more likely to try harder…to accomplish more,” I replied.
“Do I have to eat all of this?” Tre asked.
“Did you make any of those…revolutions?” Max wanted to know. Raphael was seeing if any of the divots in his egg was the right size to stick his nose in.
“Resolutions honey. And…I’m still thinking about it.”
Max leaned back against me and gazed off into the dreamy distance.
“Well, I think I want to make a resolution…” he trailed off, clearly thinking hard. We all waited. Even Raphael stopped his egg/nose experiment. “…to put these scrambled eggs in my pants!” Tre burst out laughing, spraying the table with scrambled and chewed eggs. Max chuckled, pleased to have made the big brother laugh. And Raphael took all the hilarity as a sign to start pretending to burp. Loudly.
I resolve not to talk to the boys when they’re eating scrambled eggs anymore. Yeesh.