Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Now, raise your hand if you enjoy cleaning it up from bedding and floors after your family has thrown it up all over your house.
Yeah, that's what I thought.
And before you start pointing fingers, no, it wasn't my cooking.
Baby was the first start spewing sometime between 3 and 4 a.m. Sunday morning. But she seemed to improve as the day wore on. She was still her crazy, little self and never acted like she felt bad. No one else showed symptoms and we thought we were in the clear.
But we were fools. Fools, I tell you.
I knew something was wrong when Sister turned down brownies and ice cream after dinner. Ice cream.
Hubby started in around 11:00 last night. Call me insensitive, but I cleared outta there and let him handle it. He's a big boy, ya know. Around midnight I kept smelling...well, you know...for lack of a better word, puke. It was strongest in Sister's room, but I never heard a peep from her. It was dark, so I couldn't really see, but I didn't need to. She reeked. I sat her up in bed and she said groggily, "I frew up." Yeah. I can see that.
I flipped on the lamp next to her bed to survey the damage and begin the process of cleaning up. The girl was covered, and had slept in it. Imagine, if you will, the combination of Sister's very long hair and...chunks. Suffice it to say, she took a late night bath.
After getting to bed around 1 a.m., I was awakened at 5:00 by Baby. Yup, you guessed it. More spewing.
Brother gets up around 7:00. I give him strict orders to stay away from everyone. He eats some toast and chocolate milk for breakfast. We call it a sick day and put in movies.
Then comes the diarrhea. And then, well, did I mention he had chocolate milk for breakfast?
Without going into detail, here is a basic overview of our day:
Spew. Squirt. Spew. Squirt.
The fun never stops.
Fortunately, I think we're on the down side. And even though I have been down and dirty (literally) in the thick of the battle, I have, by some strange, unknown phenomena, escaped the plague. Knock on wood.
So, anyone hungry?
Thanks again, EM!!
Monday, May 29, 2006
What a lady.
Aunt Beverly had a stroke a couple of years ago, leaving her almost completely incapacitated, only barely able to speak. While she was in the hospital, Uncle Henry, who was not used to being alone and doing things for himself, fell and broke a hip. Since he could not take care of her, Aunt Beverly went to a nursing home.
Saturday, after visiting the cemetery, my parents invited us back to their house. But first, they wanted to visit Aunt Beverly while they were in town.
The nursing home is situated in a very old neighborhood, right across the street from a trailer park. The trailers were shoddy, at best, with signs of life, but barely a pulse. The windows, broken, with tattered curtains, seemed to be sad eyes, looking back at us hopelessly.
The nursing home wasn't in much better condition. I vaguely remembered the long, red brick building. I was there a couple of times with my Camp Fire Girls group. We would go and sing songs for the elderly to earn community patches for our red and blue felt vests. I left Hubby in the van with Brother and Sister while I took Baby with me. "We'll just be a few minutes," I said, closing the door and hoping it really wouldn't be long. Honestly, I didn't want to go in, but my dad is a master of guilt. So I obediently followed him and Mom into the building.
The smell is always the first thing that gets me in a nursing home. It's an old, musty smell mingled with mediciney disinfectent. We pass the lobby, where an elderly man is seated on a couch alongside a younger couple, probably his relatives. He is very thin and very somber. They are engaged in conversation around him, but he isn't involved. His eyes stare blankly ahead, his lips curve downward in an involuntary frown. I notice he has straps around his chest to hold him upright in his seat. An old, black and white movie is playing on the TV.
Now I remember why I don't like nursing homes.
Three little ladies in wheelchairs are outside the lobby next to the desk where we sign in. Their eyes light up at the sight of Baby. They don't have to speak a word. You can tell they are suddenly transported to a time when they are young and strong, holding their own babies on their hips and kissing their soft, baby cheeks. One of them waves to Baby, who returns the greeting with a curious stare.
We walk down the hall to Aunt Beverly's room where she is watching "Cheers" on her TV. Her room is marked by a Happy Easter plaque and a purple construction paper flower, with her name written in black magic marker. It was obviously made by a child. I notice all the rooms have the same flowers, in different colors, with different names. She is overjoyed to see us and greets us with hugs and kisses. I wasn't expecting her to seems so...herself. She was in a wheelchair, and her mouth sagged a bit on the left side, but it was still her. Mom and Dad chatted with her about what she had for dinner. She said she had mashed potatoes, but she didn't want them anymore because she'd had them three times a day and she was tired of them.
But what impressed me most was my own parents.
I stood back a bit and watched them. As they talked to her her roommate began speaking, too. Her voice was very raspy and low. Mom turned to her with a smile, put a hand on her arm and asked her how she liked the potatoes. She patted her arm and even got her to laugh. Dad talked to Aunt Beverly about her new therapist and listened to her complain about the old one. We all raved about how well she looked and how the new therapist must be doing a great job. She told us Uncle Henry and her children had taken her home for the day earlier in the week. She said she didn't usually mind when they brought her back. But on that day she cried. And she was worried she had upset Uncle Henry. Then Dad asked her if she'd like to go to the lobby and she, of course, was ready to get out of her room. My dad got behind her wheelchair and gently pushed her down the hall. Mom and I followed.
We sat and chatted while I tried to keep Baby in my lap, but she was antsy. Aunt Beverly offered to hold her, but Baby wouldn't go for it. So I let her wander the room, with me close behind. She flitted from place to place, glad to break free from my arms. I was worried at first, that she might disturb people. But that wasn't the case. The residents were delighted to watch her, and I suspect, me chasing her.
What is it like? What is it like to be still and quiet, with nothing but your thoughts and a TV to pass the time? What is it like to depend on someone else to bathe you and tend to your every need, no matter how personal or intimate? What is it like to know you will probably never go back to the place you called home? What is it like to be separated from your family...to look forward to their visit but know it will never be long enough? What is it like to know your body is shutting down and tomorrow may give way completely?
That will be my parents one day. That will be me one day. No more noise. No more laundry. No more baby cheeks to kiss.
I scooped Baby into my arms and held her chubby little form close to me, drinking her in. I wanted to savor that day. That day that I would be with both of my parents, who were healthy enough to hold my children, who were still small enough to be held. I wanted to laugh with my family and forget the stupid, petty things that had been keeping me from being close to them.
And that is exactly what I did.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
My little town had turned cosmopolitan.
Well, maybe not so much. Thank goodness it still had just one stoplight.
As we drove through the one stoplight, my mind became flooded with memories. I remembered the night the wonderful, old brick buildings on Main Street had burned down and my parents got me out of bed so we could go down and watch. I remembered walking from my friend, Cathy's house down to the grain elevator where her dad worked, and he would buy us a Coke from the machine. I saw the post office, where I rode my bike every day to get the mail from our P.O. box.
Brother read the sign, "City Park" and, in his excitement, pointed the direction, even though I could get there blindfolded. Even that had changed. It was only a couple of swingsets and some wooden seesaws when I was a child. But a new, blue and yellow jungle gym with slides and monkey bars sat in the middle of the beautifully manicured green grass, shaded by the same lazy maples and elms. My parents were there, along with my aunt, uncle, grandma and brother. They had just finished grilling hot dogs when we arrived.
Each year at Memorial Day my family meets there, eats lunch together and travels about a mile up the road to the cemetery. Though I spent eleven years of my life in this town and consider it to be "where I grew up", it's the only time I ever go back. It's where my grandparents and my sister are buried. It's where my one remaining grandparent will be buried. And where my parents will be buried, too.
After hot dogs, complete with homemade chili, ice cold rootbeer and snickerdoodles, we loaded up the kids, tired and dirty from playing on the playground equipment, and made the trek to the cemetery.
Just next to the park was where the elementary school had been. It was a long, narrow building made of brown and rust colored rocks. I remember the halls and their shiny floors. I remember where Mr. Flemming's room was, next to the gym. I remember his wit, his black framed eyeglasses and his pale green shirt sleeve that flapped like a flag in the breeze because there was no arm to fill it. The school was gone, but the old cafeteria was still there. Now it was an administration building. As we passed it I turned and looked back, remembering how we used to "get married" behind that building at recess. Randy Caldwell had asked me, but I turned him down. I rather enjoyed picking flowers and being the bridesmaid. And I certainly didn't want to have to kiss anybody.
The road to the cemetery was paved. But I remember a brown, dirt road with many holes that bumbed me up and down on my red ten-speed. Many times I made that journey after my sister died. I went there often at first, always alone. Today I noticed the grass next to the road, rippling in the wind like waves of an emerald ocean. I wondered if that grass had watched me then, sad and grieving, as I rode my bike through the black, wrought iron gates to sit with her and cry.
Their graves were at the back, next to the fence. As we parked the van I saw Sister, who had ridden with my parents, emerge from their car, blonde ponytail flying in the wind, holding a heart made of styrofoam and purple, polyester roses. I feel a pang of sorrow, that she never knew my sister, and my sister never knew her. Sister is excited to decorate the gravesite. She tags along behind my parents, who carry more flowers. Mom is wearing her straw hat to sheild her from the hot sun. I haven't been to the cemetery for the past couple of years. I walk by the tombstones decorated similarly and recongnize names, but can't seem to conjure up a face.
And we are there. Reginna's stone is heart-shaped, with a border of purple roses, faded by wind, weather, and twenty years of a mother's touch. There are two angels sitting on the base and another hanging from a shepherd's hook. Mom shows Sister how to place the metal stake in the ground so the purple heart of roses doesn't blow away. Sister sucks in her breath and says, "Mommy! Look!", her fingers touching the angels with fascination and care. Oh, she and Reginna would have been great friends. Mom kneels down, brushing away the dirt that has gathered on the base and says she wishes she had bought flowers for the vases. She sits and looks at Reginna's picture on the stone. It's a wound that will never heal. It's a void that will never be filled. She puts a kiss on her fingertips and rubs it onto the glossy, ceramic photo, as she does each time she visits.
Everyone begins to file back to the vehicles, but Mom and I linger. I know her heart is torn between knowing her daughter isn't there and needing to be close to her. As we stand in silence I can't help but be in awe of how things change.
"Again and again I see my yesterdays in front of me, unfolding like a mystery. You're changing all that is and used to be..." - Garth Brooks "When You Come Back To Me Again"
Friday, May 26, 2006
Yesterday my allergies were going haywire, plugging up my left ear, leaving me on the verge of an ear infection.
Yes, I'm 32 years old and I still get those.
So, I run to the drugstore and get a box of Claritin-D, which seems to help me the most. I don't take it until after dinner because if I take that stuff on an empty stomach it makes me woozy and very nauseous. I get all the kids in bed and decide to get out my bow-making supplies.
Sidenote: I have a hairbow fettish. My girls have a bow for every outfit. Big, poofy, prissy bows in every color imaginable. Way fun.
As I was saying, I had dug out their clothes for the fall so I could decide what we needed bows for. Yes, I know it's only May, but all their summer clothes have bows already and I was in the mood. Long story short, I was up until 12:30 a.m. making hairbows. And I kept asking myself, "Why aren't I tired?"
The decongestant had me wired. I dozed on and off, but kept waking up. I had this stupid song I'd heard on TV playing over and over again in my head. Not even the whole song, just a couple of lines, "Dum, dum, de, dee, dum...." At one point I dreamed Baby was bleeding, which jolted me awake. Then I had to check her all over to make sure she was okay. Needless to say, it was a very restless night.
I heard my alarm go off at 7 a.m., but couldn't move. Brother turned it off for me, God bless his soul. I think he understands the alarm sounding is only a suggested wake up time for mom. He doesn't even tell me anymore. He just turns it off and goes back to his business. Around 8:00 I hear a pounding noise. I want to go see what it is, but I just can't make my body cooperate, so I lay there, hoping it will stop.
I finally drag myself out of bed to investigate. Brother and Sister have dragged out the play tools and are hammering plastic nails into a plastic piece of "wood". Don't they know people are trying to sleep?! "No hammering," I mutter, and head back to bed. But not to be left out of the merry-making, Baby is wide awake now and ready to play. Her little face is all aglow. "Hey, did someone say hammer?!"
No rest for the wicked.
I'm in a stupor. Not even a good, strong cup of coffee can revive me. We read some books, play a rhyming game and do a couple of chores, but we don't get a lot accomplished in the way of school or housework. All I can do is count down the minutes until naptime.
12:30 p.m. Kids are fed, stories are read and all are headed to bed...including me. I lay down on my nice, comfy bed, practically melting into the mattress. Ahhhhhhhh. I close my eyes. No stupid song playing.
Very quiet. And light, too. Did I lock the door? Doesn't matter. I can't move. Did I give Hubby the message I took for him earlier? Man, it's really sunny today. I wish it were cloudier. What are you doing? Shut up and go to sleep! But it's too bright. Wow. I wish I had a video camera behind my eyelids to see what they look like when they're closed. Look at those spots. First a black on then a white one. Weird how I still see stuff when my eyes are closed. What am I going to make to take to the picnic tomorrow? Cookies? Yeah, but what kind? I need to put that on my grocery list. I need to make my menu for next week before I go shopping. What did we have last week? Did we have Chicken Parmesean already? Don't forget bread. WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU, WOMAN?????!!!!! WHY AREN'T YOU SLEEPING?????!!!!!
So, did I get a nap?
Nope. I'm sitting here. Blogging. Drinking more caffeine and feeling more awake than ever. Now, once the kids are up from their naps, I ought to be ready to lay down again.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
To be honest, I think she's just curious.
Here it is. Raw and uncensored:
This is the top of the cabinet I keep all our homeschool stuff in...and on.
This is the laundry pile on my couch, a daily occurrence at Hacienda Supermom.
This is the top of my computer armoire, where clutter abounds. Although I like to refer to it as my "creative muse", giving inspiration for blogging.
Next up we have the dresser in mine and Hubby's room. Allow me to say that most of the stuff there are things Baby dragged out and I have yet to put away. Yeah, that's it. It's the baby's fault.
And last, but not least, is my own personal favorite, the veritable crowdpleaser, the (ahem) Laundry Room:
So, now that I've aired all my dirty laundry - literally - who's next?
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
I saw them at the convenience store, putting hot water from the coffee machine into a styrofoam cup. The man was shirtless, with tatoos all over his arms and torso. His hair was matted and dirty, along with the rest of him. His female companion wore camoflauge cutoffs and a tank top, revealing ample cleavage. Their sunbaked skin was smeared with dirt and sweat, brought on by the sudden onset of summer. I had taken Sister and one of her friends to the restroom. We had just come out when we spotted them. "Ewwwww," said Sister's friend. Sister joined in. More than a little embarrassed, I steered the girls in the opposite direction, glancing to make sure the couple hadn't heard. They didn't appear to have noticed. "Why are you saying that?" I asked them. I was afraid they were going to say something about how dirty the people were. "That man wasn't wearing a shirt," replied Sister's friend. "He was nek-kid!" chimed sister. I felt somehow relieved by their answers. As we were leaving, I held the door open for the couple and a some of their friends, all in similar condition. My gesture was met with something kind of like surprise. The man's eyes met mine and he thanked me. But it wasn't just any "thank you". He looked at me...really looked into my face, with a gaze that spoke volumes, though I found it difficult to return. I looked down and mumbled "you're welcome" as they filed out, all thanking me with sincere appreciation and clutching their cups of hot water.
We loaded up and headed out of the parking lot, passing the group as they got into their car. It was old and dirty, filled with what looked like some clothes and other belongings. In the back window I saw a cardboard sign that read, "Will work for food".
Over the weekend I've seen bits and pieces of "Remember the Titans" and "The War", both set in a time where people were seperated by skin color. Though I find it easy to draw back in horror at segregation in that setting, it strikes a chord about segregation in my own life.
I segregate myself from people who are not like me.
Whether it be, faith, financial standing, physical appearance or marital status, I gravitate to those I find "relate-able". Yeah, it's somewhat natural. We all do, right?
I heard on the radio today that people who live on the North Side (impoverished side) of our city have a shorter life expectancy than those further south. The radio news personality said, "...and what does the city government plan to do about it?"
Why is it the government's responsibility? If you want out of that life, then get out. Move. Sounds simple. But I know it's not.
It got me thinking about why community is important. Why we need to be involved in people's lives. Why if I'm going to say I love God and put my trust in Him I need to share that hope.
But I'm not talking about selling Jesus.
I've read a few blogs lately about "what to wear to church". (Please don't take offense it was your blog I read.) And I'm wondering why we worry so much about this. If some woman walked in wearing next to nothing, how much time would people spend trying to help her see the "error of her ways" and show her how to respect God in his house as opposed to befriending her, caring for her...letting her see Christ in us and let the Holy Spirit convict her of her clothing choice?
What? Let the Holy Spirit convict? As someone who has grown up in a traditional church, I know...this is a novel idea.
Somewhere along the line we have missed the point. We spend so much time looking at people's behavior instead of seeing what lies beneath. We don't see the internal agony. We don't see the struggle of the heart.
If community were working the way it should, the people on the North Side could find a way out. The panhandlers might be living a different life.
All this to say, I'm guilty. I find my comfort zone and park it. But there is something within me that yearns to widen that space to include the world around me. Not to bring them to church. Not to make them moral. To show them if God can love me, He can love anybody.
God, forgive my apathy. Forgive my complacency. Give me brokenness for my neighbor. Give me a heart for people.
Monday, May 22, 2006
A friend invited the kids and I to dinner tonight. I offered to bring dessert.
Now, I'm no gourmet, but I can cook. No one's ever died from eating it, so I take that as a positive.
I decide on cheesecake. A real cheesecake. I mean, who doesn't like cheesecake? I bake it for an hour, according to the recipe. The sides are set but the center is soft. As I remove the sides of the springform pan, a little crack appears along the edge. By some miracle I manage to remove the sides while keeping the cake in tact. Disaster narrowly escaped. I leave it to cool on the top of the stove and go back to chasing my brood of wild monkeys.
I return about ten minutes later to find my perfect cheesecake defiled. The crack gave way to an avalanche of cream cheese filling and buttery, graham cracker crust, laying in a heap on the top of my freshly scrubbed rangetop (See how clean it is? Looks pretty good, huh?).
So what do I do now?
I grab a fork and eat the part that fell off. Occupational hazard, you know.
We take the scarred cheesecake and head out to our friends' house. Dinner was delicious. The cheesecake was scrumptious, even if it wasn' t pretty. We had a great time eating, chatting and playing games. Around 8:00 Baby starts to fall apart. Bedtime. So, after saying I need to go about five times, I finally make it out the door with my traveling circus sometime around 9-ish.
It's almost completely dark when we pull in the driveway. Baby has fallen asleep, of course, and the other two are nice and whiny. All I want to do is get them in the house and put them to bed. I juggle the leftover cheesecake, Baby and my keys, performing a spectacular feat 0f skill and agility to get the door unlocked. The door swings open and I smell it.
It's not just a slight odor. It is thick in the air. I immediately turn and tell the kids to get out in the yard. My heart is racing as my mind plays pictures of my house exploding. I don't know what to do. I go back in, leaving the front door wide open. I enter the kitchen to find one of the knobs turned ever so slightly. No flames. Just gas. I turn it off and head out into the yard with the kids. I call my husband at work, who goes into drill sergeant mode. I go back in and open the back door, as he instructs me to do. He tells me to leave it for three minutes and call him back.
It's dark. It's hot. And we're all being eaten alive by giant, killer mosquitoes. The kids think it's great. They are running up and down the driveway like it's one, big, happy, night at the park. I, on the other hand, am a nervous wreck. I call my friend - the one I just had dinner with - to tell her what has happened. She suggests I call the fire department, just to see what I should do.
Yeah, that would be good.
But instead of just giving me instructions over the phone, they send out the truck. Sirens, lights, the whole shebang. This brings the neighbors out of the woodwork. So I have to tell my story a few hundred times more while the fireman check out my house.
Luckily, I had washed dishes and picked up the living room before we left. However, the litter box needed to be changed. But they probably didn't notice the smell, seeing as the house was filled with deadly, noxious gas and all.
Yet another exciting day in the life of a supermom.
After finally getting the kids all tucked in, I watched the news to what other exciting things were happening in this fine city. Top Story: Woman has her toes licked in Wal-Mart parking lot.
No, I did not make that up.
See, it could always be worse.
Friday, May 19, 2006
- It doesn't matter what you have to eat in your house, your children will always want something else. Scenerio at the breakfast table: "Good morning, my sweet little angelic babies! What wholesome, nutritious breakfast food would you like to eat?" "Cheerios." "Sorry, no Cheerios. How about frosted mini-wheats?" "I don't want that! I want Cheerios!" "Frosted mini-wheats or Rice Chex. Those are your choices." "How about Pop-Tarts?" "We don't have Pop-Tarts." "Don't we have Malt-O-Meal?" "I'm not making Malt-O-Meal. (through gritted teeth) Frosted mini-wheats or Rice Chex." "I want Cheerios!" Mom picks up the table and throws it through the window with a screech of rage and agony. Child picks the mini-wheats. Mother inquires again, "Now, my sweet, how about some juice with that?" "Do you have pineapple-orange?" "Yes, but it's not made. You may have white grape-peach." "But I want pineapple-orange!" Mother has a nervous breakdown and goes on a shooting spree.
- If you go anywhere looking like a bag lady, you will surely run into someone you know. I put on the clothes I hate most this morning, because they were all I had clean. The capri pants that make me look pregnant and the top that has the neck stretched out. My legs, unmoisturized and unshaven. My hair, pulled back in a clip to try to hide the gray roots peeking out, but falling out of the clip because it's not quite long enough to pull back. My face, sans makeup and spotted like a teenage boy's, featuring a huge zit the size of Krakatoa right next to my nose. I try to put on a little concealer, but it's one of those. No amount of concealer can tame it. So, I decide to run to the store really quick. And of course, I see three people I used to go to church with. One is a beautiful mom who is as big around as my thigh and looks 16. She is in shorts, a T-shirt and ponytail, but instead of looking like Ma Kettle's homeless cousin, like me, she looks like Cheerleader Barbie, fresh from practice. I want to say, "I don't really look like this all the time. I'm usually thirty pounds lighter with clear skin." or "I'm sorry, I think you have mistaken me for someone else." Now, had I actually put more than a millisecond into my appearance, I would have seen no one.
- No matter how sleepy your baby is in the car, they are wide awake the minute you lay them down in the bed. On the way home from the store, which is about 15 minutes from home, Baby starts to fall asleep. If she gets her cat nap in the car, she will not want to take a real nap at naptime. So, I swivel my arm around behind me, slapping at her feet, calling her name, trying to coax her from Dreamland. She looks up at me with heavy eyelids and then her neck goes limp and she's out again. I tickle her knee. Nothing. I yell her name. Nothing. The girl cannot be stirred. She doesn't even wake up when I unbuckle her and remove her from the carseat. She's like a dead fish. I carry her in, remove her shoes and lay her gently on the bed. BAM! Her eyes fly open and suddenly she is Speedy Gonzolas, "I don't need no steenking nap!"
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Today has been a much needed day of smiles and laughter within our Fortress of Solitude...minus the solitude part. Hubby was home with us all day long, and it was so nice to have the resemblance of a real live familial unit. (Sidenote: for all you single moms out there, my hat is off to you. I don't know how you do it.) We did some things around the house, played with the kids, ate dinner together, watched a movie...it was so ordinary. And so wonderful.
Sister was cracking me up today. A running list of funny things she said:
- Singing the Kelly Clarkson song Behind These Hazel Eyes, "Here I am, once again, I'm foreign infant geeses..." (it's actually 'torn into pieces')
- While making lentil stew, "Mom, is the mental stew ready?"
- Picking up our children's Bible, "I'm going to read the book of God."
Man, that girl is adorable.
It was nice to be reminded how great my life really is. I love my man. I love my kids. And I'll go to bed tonight with a clean kitchen.
Life is good.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Since becoming a mother seven years ago, I've yet to have a really great Mother's Day. For my first four years we went to see my mother-in-law, where Hubby spent the day visiting with her while I tried to keep the kids from breaking any and all of the various knick knacks that grace her lovely, yet non-kid friendly, home and keep the noise level below 10 decibals.
The next year I put my foot down and said, "Hey, I'm a mom, too! I'm going to do what I want to do!"
You can stop laughing now. I was pretty naive then.
What's even funnier is that I always have somewhat high hopes for each year. I'm not expecting a Caribbean cruise or a diamond tiara (I'm a simple girl...my rhinestone one works just fine), but a card, or even a feather duster would be great. And would it kill you to say "thanks"? After the Mother's Day Eve I had, I figured anything would be fantabulous. But when I find our egg carton garden overturned in the kitchen (after folding five loads of laundry), with dirt all over the place, my dear, sweet husband graciously said, "Don't worry about it...until tomorrow."
My children did make me a sweet magnet with their pictures in the center at church. They have a perfectly lovely teacher. She thinks of everything! Not to mention how she is drop dead gorgeous, smart, funny, talented...
In case you haven't figured it out, that would be me.
So I didn't even have a sweet little surprise homemade gift from the children, because I helped them make it.
A very dear friend got a yucky stomach virus for Mother's Day. I was so glad to get to talk to her tonight and find she is much better. I was busy giving her sympathy as she divulged all the gory details. "I was wiped out!" she said. "My kids asked me, 'Mommy, why did you sleep for two days?' "
Excuse me? You slept for two days??!! Your Mother's Day rocked!!!
In all fairness, my Hubby did work a double on Saturday, so last minute shopping wasn't possible. And he did say I was hot. And he and some other men from church kept all the kids so the mommies could go have dinner together Sunday evening. It was two glorious hours for which I am eternally grateful.
Next year, I'm going to do what I want to do...all day.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Saturday, May 13, 2006
I was up late last night. Or actually, early into the morning, trying to get things ready for Mother's Day. Baby slept fitfully, which means I did, too. I wake around 7:00 and try to come alive for a busy day. First on the agenda: get prints made from my digital camera of kids at church. We're making a Mother's Day craft in the morning and I have to get these pictures developed. No sweat. I can do it online and go to Wal-Mart and pick them up within an hour and get a few other things I need while I'm there. I can be back in plenty of time for my parents to arrive at noon, go to lunch with them, then Brother's soccer game at 2:00. After that, I will have to meet up with a friend who has printed off another part of the Mother's Day craft for me since my printer is broken. Then I can get everything ready for the craft this evening. Sounds simple, right?
So, I get out of the shower and sit down at the computer to order the prints. I click on the "Order Now" button, which I've done many times before. However, I am greeted by the "Verified by Visa" screen, which says I have to verify the Visa I am using before my order can be complete. Have I done this before? I can't remember. It's asking for a password, so I enter one of the two passwords I use for everything. No dice. I enter the other possible password. Nope. So, I try to start a new "Verified by Visa" account, but it says I already have one. Okay. I click on the "forgot your password?" link, which says I should contact them. So I call the number. No one there. I check the hours. They're closed on Saturday. HOW CAN I CONTACT YOU IF YOU'RE CLOSED??!! So, I try my husband's card. Same thing. And then I finally get a screen that says I've had too many failed attempts and cannot complete the transaction. So, I decide to use my church credit card. It's for church, so I may as well. But they need the billing address, which I don't know. So, I call three people to get the number for the person who should know the billing address. But he doesn't know either and our pastor is out of town for a funeral.
Okay, maybe I can put the pictures on a CD and take the CD to Wal-Mart and use their little, picture maker thingie to make the prints. Turns out, I don't have the right kind of CD.
All I need is twelve little pictures. I'm not asking for the Van Gogh exhibit from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
An hour and a half later I am no closer to having my pictures. I'm running out of time to go to Wal-Mart and be back in time to meet my parents. Perhaps I can go to Wal-Mart after the soccer game?
I decide to put in a load of laundry. It's the last of the laundry detergent. I put in light colors and leave it to wash. Mom and Dad are due in about an hour when I tell Brother to go get dressed for the game. He then asks if I have washed his jersey.
I just used the last of the laundry detergent and his jersey was not in that load. Laundry detergent is on my list to get at Wal-Mart, but I haven't made it there yet. When he isn't looking I dig it out of the diry clothes and give it a sniff. It doesn't smell dirty. I toss it his way. "Did you wash it?" he asks. "U-hu," is my reply. It's not a lie. I did wash it...just not recently. I tell him to get his shin guards, socks and cleats and I'll help him put it on. "But, Mom," he says. "I don't have any socks clean."
I open the dryer and frantically dig in the whites I put in there last night, praying to find clean soccer socks in the midst. The entire time I am wondering why this child, who keeps me apprised of the time every fifteen minutes and the status of clean undergarments in his drawer at all times failed to mention earlier that he had no clean soccer socks. Ah Ha! I find one. But only one. One clean soccer sock.
So close, yet so far away.
I go to the hall closet and start digging like a dog digging for a bone, throwing dirty laundry into piles behind me. I find the lost sock. I gather up enough whites for a load and head to the washer. The colors are done. I grab the whites in the dryer, throw them into a laundry basket that already contains three loads that need to be put away, throw the colors in the dryer, and start the washer filling. I look around to see what I can use for detergent. Dishwashing liquid. I grab the bottle, give it a couple of squirts into the tub, throw in some bleach, and VOILA! begin the washing of the prodigal sock.
My parents arrive and we all head out to lunch. Brother, in soccer attire, with one slightly damp, yet lemony fresh, sock.
After lunch we head out to the soccer field. It's hot. Baby hasn't had a nap. Brother played his worst game...ever. My parents drove an hour to come see him play and he was in the game for about five minutes, which were painful to watch. It was almost like he had never played before. So we sat in the hot sun with no sunscreen (because I forgot it) for an hour so Brother could play for five minutes. By the time it was over, Baby was a complete and utter mess. Two hours overdue for her nap. We all get in the van to go home and Baby is screaming. Mom tries to be helpful and buckle her into her carseat, but Baby stiffens and throws a world class fit. I am just trying to get the van started so we can get moving and (hopefully) Baby will konk out.
And she does fall asleep in the van. Dad takes Brother and Sister to the store for root beer float supplies while Mom and I take Baby into the house and put her to bed. It's about 3:00.
The kids go nuts on ice cream and root beer while I have coffee on the porch with Mom and Dad. All I can think about is everything I have left to do. The silence between me and my parents is awkward. I'm feeling stressed and not at all social. They leave around 4:30. Baby wakes up shortly after and I load them all back into the van to see if I can solve my picture dilema.
In front of Wal-Mart we are accosted by kids selling chocolate to fund a mission trip. MeeMaw and PawPaw gave the kids each a dollar before they left and they want to use it to buy candy. Root Beer Floats? Chocolate? All in one day? Why not?! I agree, but make them promise to wait until after we eat. I use the memory card on the digital camera to print pictures on the picture maker at Wal-Mart. (cue ethereal angels singing) But they won't be ready for an hour. It's 5:40. That means I can run over and pick up the things I need from my friend and be back here to get my pictures, as well as laundry detergent, and possibly get the kids home for baths by 7:30. We go by the McDonald's in Wal-Mart to grab dinner, but lo and behold, their credit card machines aren't working and I have zero cash.
Is this really happening?
Plan B. Drive thru at another location. The kids get Happy Meals and we are on our way. Baby eats about a fourth of her hamburger and seems fussy. As I get ready to get on the expressway that will get me to my friend's house in 15 minutes, I see the on-ramp is closed.
I have to go all the way around downtown, which takes me twenty minutes longer. I finally arrive, run in, grab what I need and rush back out. We put it in drive and make the trek back to the Wal-Mart. Baby is really starting to cry. I'm guessing she is still pretty sleepy. I know I am. I let Brother and Sister have their chocolate bars. Brother starts asking me random questions like, "What makes your skin come off?" and I don't have the patience to answer him over Baby's wailing. We are almost there. I am thinking of what I have left to do. What is that smell? Should I buy contact paper to laminate the craft? Man, it kind of smells like...Why is Baby so upset? Better slow down through this construction zone. Yeah, it does smell like...I glance back at Baby.
Oh, please, God. Nooooooooo...
Baby has puked. Bits of McDonald's cheeseburger all coated with that lovely vomit slime are all over her.
It just keeps getting better.
Do I go home and forget the pictures? What will we do for a craft? If Baby is sick, it's a moot point. We won't be going to church tomorrow.
But I am undaunted. I have made it this far. I am so close. I won't admit defeat.
I hotfoot it to Wal-Mart, where I am daring someone to get in front of me and wait for a parking space. Go ahead. Make my day. I get the van parked and start digging for wipes, which have been depleted. I used the last one at the soccer game to wipe Baby's snotty face aquired while throwing a tantrum. I find some napkins in the McDonald's bag and go around to get the kids out and try to clean up the mess. When I open the door, not only am I greeted by a vomit covered Baby, but Sister looks as though she is wearing chocolate clown makeup. She has chocolate from ear to ear and all over her hands. I unbuckle Baby and try to clean up with the napkins. It isn't working. My only option is to strip her.
Have you ever seen people out in public with their children in only a diaper? Have you ever clicked your tongue at someone who had their babies out with dirty faces? That was me in Wal-Mart today. I am pushing that cart so fast Brother can barely keep up. I make a beeline for the baby department, where I find the cheapest little sundress I can find, rip off the tag (yes, I saved it and paid for it) and dress Baby. Then I grab some wipes and clean up Sister. It takes three wipes to remove the chocolate from her sweet (and I mean that literally) little person.
I make it out with clean(er) kids, pictures and laundry soap. We make it home by 7:40. I start running bathwater and put Baby in first, then Sister. Brother is last. I fix Sister's toothbrush and leave it on the sink. I give her instructions to brush her teeth while Brother is in the tub. Baby is lurking around the bathroom, looking for trouble. "You'd better hurry," I say to Sister, "before Baby gets your toothbrush." I go to the kitchen and prepare the nightly drink of water before bedtime. Sister comes in to tell me something. "Did you brush your teeth?" I ask. She looks at me. "Well,no," she says. "Baby has my toothbrush." Just then I hear Brother yell at Baby, then Baby wailing. I run to the bathroom to find her sprawled on the bathroom floor, Sister's toothbrush in her hand. "She was standing on the toilet and fell!" Brother informs me. Then Brother starts crying because he scraped his knee playing soccer and the water is hurting it. Sister is crying because...well, who knows why.
It was all I could take. I vaguely remember throwing Sister's toothbrush and yelling. And Sister was covering her ears.
It wasn't pretty.
Baby was okay. We doctored Brother's knee. And I apologized for losing my temper. Everyone is asleep and I have my Mother's Day craft ready for tomorrow. I survived.
And you know what I kept thinking all day long?
Man, this will make one doozy of a blog.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Well, I don't curse out loud.
I find myself cursing more and more in my head. And it leaves me wondering if there will come a day when all those pent up curse words will come spewing out, scalding and scorching whatever is nearby. @#*!@# I kind of feel like it's inevitable.
Something else that's been running around in my head today: I understand why some animals eat their young.
Yeah, it's been one of those #%*!@# days.
It didn't start out that way. It started out with the best of intentions. Last year we went to the aquarium and Brother took some pictures with his camera. Once we had the film developed and I saw they weren't all pictures of the wall or complete blackness, I bought him a little scrapbook, complete with some cool fish stickers and such. I thought today would be a good day to have him finally put his pictures into it. So I drag everything out and let him get to work. I try to hang back and let him do his own thing. I don't want to squelch his creative fire by saying things like, "You could crop that picture into a fish shape" or "use this color as a mat to bring out the orange in that fish". Seven-year-old boys aren't really into that, you know. Sister who has been happily playing with her Disney Princess play theatre decides she want to scrapbook also. Baby is happy with Daddy, so I find a little mini scrapbook kit I'd been saving for Sister and decide to let her have it. It's got all sorts of @#$%* fun stuff...glitter, jewels, ribbon. Not to mention the very girly stickers.
Now my entire kitchen table is covered with scrapbooking paraphenalia. I had this idea that I could just kind of let them do it themselves and I could unload the dishwasher. Yeah, I might have to stop and help Sister cut something, but for the most part, it should keep them busy for a little while, right? It was all part of my #$%@* plan. Baby was entertained. Brother and Sister were involved in a little creative project. Do a little reading. Maybe play a little game. Just kind of chill out and hang with Daddy today.
Oh, but plans change.
I wonder if it's the bickering, the whining or the children all simultaneously demanding something that drives the mother dingo to eat her children. Perhaps it is the youngest dingo, tired and cranky, clinging to her leg. Or maybe it's because she hasn't left the %$#*! den in a while and is finding herself feeling overworked and underpaid. I relate.
Hubby decides to fix the window in my van, so that leaves me with Baby, trying to help Brother and Sister scrapbook. They both want me to help them with this, help them with that. All the while Baby is not sure what she wants, but knows she wants me to give it to her. I'm feeling like ElastiGirl, being pulled in too many different directions. I'm trying to be patient, and teach my children to do the same. But my stomach knots up and I suddenly feel the urge to scream obscenities and throw something.
@#@##$%*! Bleeeeeeeeep! Bleeeeeeep! #$*%#@!@# Bleeeeeeeeeeep!
There. I'm feeling better now.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
"Free Kettins" - I am asumming they ment "kittens", but won can niver tell.
"Blessed Roofing" - Due to the recent hailstorm, sporting baseball-sized hail, almost every house on my street has had to have some roof work done. So there are lots of signs for roofing companies around. But this one must be extra special...divinely appointed, even. It probably has a guarantee agains baseball-sized hail, as well as large trees, tornadoes, giants falling from beanstalks. Wonder if they're listed in the Shepherd's Guide?
And my personal favorite...
Hey, Jesus loves meth users, too.
You know the type of song. The kind that will leave every mother in the room a sobbing, heaving mess when it is over. I'm stuck! Can someone help me out?
Whoever finds me the best song will get their name in big, bold letters on my blog, along with a link. I know it's not a snazzy gift certificate or a cash reward, but I'm a poor redneck. I have black plastic and duct tape in leu of a window on my van, remember? It's the best I can do.
And please, no Cathy Lee Gifford.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
But there is a part of me that detests that. Probably the part of me that is seeking after God and what it really means to know Him. I hate it that I want all that attention. I hate myself for feeling that way. There are times I fight so hard against that and try to blend. I have to make a very concsious effort to listen to others, to hear them and be honest and genuine and think about their needs before my own. I suppose there is something in me that is even selfish about serving others. If I am sweet and kind and caring then people will think I'm so great. Really, don't we all hear that voice? Don't we all want to be recognized to some degree?
Lately I've been fighting hard against that martyr. That martyr keeps saying things like, "You meet everyone else's needs...who is meeting yours? Why does your husband get to do things without children whenever he wants, but you have can't?" I find myself getting angry and resentful when he tells me he needs a day at school to work on things "without interruptions or distractions".
No distractions? No interruptions? What is that like?
Then I get angry at myself for not being better than that. For not being able to give the man what he needs. For not being more supportive. For not being selfless.
God, I want that. I want to be selfless. I want to be perfect and righteous and holy. I want to care less about myself and more about others. I want my life to be about serving and giving without a thought to my own desires.
But is that possible?
This is a recent struggle I am having. I was raised in a traditional church, where the idea of outreach was to knock on someone's door and invite them to church. To witness to someone was to grab your Bible and take them down Roman's Road. But all that left me feeling more like a door to door salesman, and that has never been my forte. I think all that helped to train me to think mostly about, well...me.
Here, let's have church just the way we like it, surround ourselves with only things we like, wear only the kind of clothes that will make us feel special, sing only songs we enjoy, and custom make this service to our liking. Then we can invite people to come and check out our wonderful thing here and if they don't like it they can go on down the road. Just invite them to church and everything will be fixed if we can just get them in the building and make them good, faithful, church-goers. And in all our classes we'll teach exactly what it means to be a good church-goer, by discussing all the things we should or shouldn't do to live a good, clean life. Then when we go home we will feel good about ourselves and everything we are doing or not doing. Church is all about feeding ourselves and getting fat on God's Word.
But I can't blame it all on the church, because I'm the one that bought into it.
Even on this blog I have found myself becoming obsessed with people reading it. I check that little Site Meter constantly, trying to figure out what I can do to generate more traffic. Oh my gosh, I am really sick.
I want to get past myself. I want to put away that little girl that always needs to be the center of attention. I want to be a mirror, that reflects back to God everything that is wonderful and magnificent about Him. I want my actions to speak volumes about Him when my words can't possibly scratch the surface.
(A note to all my friends in Blog Land: I am not searching for compliments or affirmation. Only being completely honest and voicing my feelings. Please don't feed the Monster today :-)
Friday, May 05, 2006
"As a member of the Cute Girl Sisterhood, I pledge to follow the Rules when wearing sandals and other open-toe shoes:
I promise to always wear sandals that fit. My toes will not hang over and touch the ground, nor will my heels spill over the backs. And the sides and tops of my feet will not pudge out between the straps.
I will go polish-free or vow to keep the polish fresh, intact and chip-free. I will not cheat and just touch up my big toe.
I will sand down any mounds of skin before they turn hard and yellow.
I will shave the hairs off my big toe.
I won't wear pantyhose even if my misinformed girlfriend, coworker, mother, sister tells me the toe seam really will stay under my toes if I tuck it there.
If a strap breaks, I won't duct-tape, pin, glue or tuck it back into place hoping it will stay put. I will get my shoe fixed or toss it.
I will not live in corn denial; rather I will lean on my good friend Dr. Scholl's if my feet need him.
I will resist the urge to buy jelly shoes at Payless for the low, low price of $4.99 even if my feet are small enough to fit into the kids' sizes. This is out of concern for my safety, and the safety of others. No one can walk properly when standing in a pool of sweat and I would hate to take someone down with me as I fall and break my ankle.
I will take my toe ring off toward the end of the day if my toes swell and begin to look like Vienna sausages.
I will be brutally honest with my girlfriend/sister/coworker when she asks me if her feet are too ugly to wear sandals. Someone has to tell her that her toes are as long as my fingers and no sandal makes creepy feet look good.
I will promise if I wear flip flops that I will ensure that they actually flip and flop, making the correct noise while walking and I will swear NOT to slide or drag my feet while wearing them.
I will promise to go my local nail salon at least once per season and have a real pedicure (they are about $20 and worth EVERY penny).
I will promise to throw away any white/off-white sandals that show signs of wear... nothing is tackier than dirty white sandals."
Editorial Comment: This is not an original piece, but was sent to me in email. I found it hysterical. I, however, cannot take the pledge as I have already broken about 7 of those rules. I usually polish my nails once in May, and then add a coat on top of the chipped polish every week until September, when I finally put the sandals away and let the polish wear off. WHO HAS TIME TO PAINT THEIR NAILS??!!
Thursday, May 04, 2006
You can find me playing paper dolls or Barbies with Sister, changing their clothes every 10 seconds, because the storyline changes just as often. I like playing with Brother's trains and building an intricate track, pretending we are on the island of Sodor. And who can resist Legos and Lincoln Logs, just begging to be transformed into houses and parking garages for Hot Wheels and Polly Pockets? When I go shopping alone, I can't help but visit the toy aisles, seeing what's new and wonderful in Toyland. When Christmas and the kids' birthdays roll around, I spend hours looking for the perfect toy...gleefully. You think it's tough for kids to wait to open presents? I have to hide them from myself.
My kids have their fair share. But it would seem that a chilly, rainy day, stuck at home erases their memory of such toys, no matter how beloved they were at Christmas. So today they end up going a little stir crazy, running through the house, jumping on furniture and driving their mom bonkers. Baby was especially ornery, completely ignoring the basketful of toddler friendly toys and opting for her favorites: cat food, the computer, trash, my jewelry box, the DVD's, etc. I decided to do a search online to find some kind of fun game we could all do together. Surely there must be someone out there in CyberSpace to help me tame my crew of wild monkeys! Crafts? Didn't seem smart given their...(ahem)...enthusiasm. Glue and scissors could get ugly. Then I find a site that suggests giving them boxes. Of course! Why didn't I think of that? So, out to the garage I scurry, somewhat trepidacious, given my recent spider attack. But the thought of spending the rest of the day trying to corral three wild varmints into something quiet and productive spurred me on.
My courage was rewarded. I found a long narrow box, perfect for a tunnel. And then a large, square-ish computer box that looked strangely like a cave. When I arrived with my treasures, I instantly became a hero, worthy to be called Supermom. The kids went nuts! They pretended they were in Narnia, hiding in the beavers' house from the bloodthirsty wolves outside. We found a stick and yarn, fashioning a bow for Sister. She donned her white Disney Princess cloak and christened herself Susan, ready to shoot her arrows at the enemy. Brother dug out his sword and found a kid-sized smock, which was transformed into shiny armour, bearing the crest of a brave knight. My stock pot lid became his trusty shield. Soon Peter was ready to take on the White Witch and all her evil minions. Baby just enjoyed the tunnel, rolling her ball back and forth inside it, giggling at finding her brother's face peeking out the other end.
They did this for hours. I had to coax them to stop long enough to eat dinner and peel them away for baths and bedtime. Sister even took her bow to bed.
Next Christmas I am totally rethinking the whole toy thing. Perhaps I'll give them all a box and spend the money on myself. A spa day? A dream date with my husband? A shopping spree?
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Hubby, however, is more meloncholy. He likes to hide in a cave, go to movies alone and have his solitude. He likes being alone.
Brother didn't get much from me. He got his dad's beautiful eyes, his nose, his love of sports, his frame, his hair, and even his fingernails. But when it comes to being alone, Brother would rather die a thousand painful deaths. He loves to be with his friends. Let me rephrase that...he lives to be with his friends. So you can imagine how being homeschooled affects his social life.
There are a few kids in our neighborhood that he has befriended, but each time he plays with them, I am bothered by the things I hear and see. So, I try to keep playtime with these kids limited to our front yard, where I can supervise. But I can't always supervise, and I'm feeling iffy about these kids, so most times I refuse his request. Which doesn't go over well with him.
I understand his feelings. When I don't get to be around other adults, I start to climb the walls. So I feel bad when I see him moping around here, aching for another kid to hang with. Someone other than his sister, who doesn't like to play soccer or baseball. Several times a day I catch him looking out the window or opening the door, straining to see what's going on down the street. In the afternoons this group of kids can be seen jumping on someone's trampoline or riding their bikes down the road. No one invites him.
This breaks my heart.
What can I do? I invite other homeschooled friends over every other week or so. He sees his church friends on Sunday. We meet friends at McDonald's. So, is once or twice a week enough for my little party boy? He would say "no". He would gladly spend all day, every day, just chillin' with his homies. I try to play soccer with him, and encourage him to trade playtime with Sister. You know, play paper dolls with her for a while and she can play soccer with you. But she's no Mia Hamm. The girl has zero athletic ability. And she doesn't like to be pushed or get dirty. He may as well play soccer with the tree out front.
Most times, he and Sister play great together. They put on shows, play with Brother's castle, dress up in their costumes and act out stories. But is it realistic for me to expect that to be enough for him? How do I find the balance that will still allow his family to be the biggest influence in his life while feed his need for peers? What's the answer?
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Warning: The picture you are about to see is very disturbing. It is one of the worst cases of child neglect I have ever seen. Their identity has been hidden to protect the innocent.
Would someone change that poor kid's diaper? Where is her mother? Probably on the computer again. She is even getting the diaper herself, as if to say, "Change me, please?" OH, THE HORROR!
Oh, wait. That one's mine.
Go ahead. Tell me you've never had a diaper look like that. And if you haven't, then you've never had more than one child at a time.
My poor Baby. Hopefully she won't remember this.
Monday, May 01, 2006
- So-called "clearance" price - If an item is $7.96 to begin with, please don't mark it down to $7.46 and call it a "clearance" item. Being an avid bargain shopper, I don't go anywhere without checking out the clearance rack. So when my radar locks onto one of those little red stickers and a "Clearance" sign, I get excited. Imagine my disappointment to discover the price is only fifty cents lower. Please. I have expended fifty cents worth of energy in walking over to the clearance rack. This has caused me to have huge trust issues. Is there no truth in advertising anymore?!
- People who wait for another car to leave a parking space so they can take it - Nothing gets my goat more than this one. There have been people stop and wait for me to unload my groceries, get all three of my kids into their car seats, put my shopping cart in the corral (see #3), get in my car, dig my keys out of my purse and pull out just so they can have my parking space. Oh, the pressure!! I can't take it!!! It's like someone is standing beside me, tapping their foot, whistling the Jeopardy theme song in my ear. And God help us all if I happen to be behind a car waiting for a parking space. Want to see my head pop off?
- Shopping carts left in the parking lot - The other day I was walking through the Wal-Mart parking lot to the entrance and there was a shopping cart smack dab in the middle of a handicap parking space. A handicap space, for the love of God! Have you no shame? I grabbed it and took it inside with me, just as a sweet, feeble little old lady in a Hummer almost ran me over, taking the space I had just emptied for her. Poor little dear. (Okay, it wasn't a Hummer, it was a minivan. But putting her in a Hummer makes it sound funnier, don't you think?)
- People who go the wrong way in the parking lot - The big, gigantic yellow arrows painted on the asphalt? They mean something. Take a clue.
- People who take their small children to Wal-Mart after 10:00 p.m. - I was leaving Wal-Mart at 10:00 p.m. one day last week, while my children were at home with Daddy, snoozing in their beds. There were people walking into the store with toddlers. Hey, to each his own. But if you ask me, I'd rather have a bikini wax than take a tired child to Wal-Mart. They must be massochists.