The Plot

Before I begin: Yes, my mother really has an antique stove on the front porch of her 1910 house. During the trip to New Mexico last week, the Honorable Mention Redneck Comment Award of the Day was given when I gave my brother directions to get to my Grandpa's house that included the line, "Turn between the big onion barn and Weeping Jesus on the Cross."

On to my tale.

We have been traveling a good bit lately. We drove in to Abilene to see my parents for a few days over Christmas, then drove to Salem, New Mexico for Grandpa's 90th birthday party. (If you know where Salem is, leave a comment. Unless you're related to me, because that doesn't really count, now does it???) Now we're back in Abilene to see a few more relatives and have a New Year's party before heading home tomorrow.

The girls, having ridden 500+ miles in the car yesterday, were cranky and reluctant to go to sleep. They also had opted to play with the many Christmas gifts they'd been cruelly parted from for entire days while we'd made the trip, and thus decided that toys were WAY cooler than supper could ever be. So they were quite upset when it came to going to sleep.

I tried having them lay on the living room floor and watch SpongeBob. When I woke up after several episodes and they were still awake, I turned it off and told them to go to bed. This was when Daddy appeared, successfully returning from shopping after only 3x the length of time he'd predicted. They begged him into telling at least three stories that I heard from the next room before he left and told them to go to bed.

Then Dixie decided that her tummy was 'hurting, hurting' and so Dowlan, assuming that a little calcium never killed anyone, gave them each a Tums, which Dixie rapidly gobbled and begged for more and Melody stared at as if it were poison. I called from the other room to remind Melody that she used to follow me around while I was pregnant with Charlie and bum them off of me. She consented to consuming it.

So, for a third time, the girls are left alone to fight, kick and scream their way to a peaceful slumber.

They begin by alternating their sobs. One screams DAAAAAAAAAA-DDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! and then hitches a breath. The other one is poised, ready to scream DAAAAAAAA-DDEEEEEE! as soon as the first lets up. Their artful timing allowed for no respite between wails and pleas.

Realizing that this is getting nowhere, I hear Dixie tell Melody, "You rest while I scream for him." I can only imagine Melody laying, draped across a pillow, wearied from her howls and Dixie warmly and lovingly patting her on the shoulder in reassurance before taking up her shift.

At this point I holler to the other room to make them aware of the fact that DAAAA-DDEEEE is downstairs and cannot hear them.

Dixie: Then I must yell LOUDER.
Melody: Yes. You must. It is the only way.
D: It isn't working. He is never coming.
M: Well I am NOT going to sleep.
D: Me neither. We must continue yelling.
M: Yes, we must. Daddy will hear us and will help.
D: Yes. Mommy will never help us. She will only tell us to stop yelling and go to bed.
M: Then we must continue yelling. DAAAAAA-DEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

And, thusly, it continues for about another four minutes until they succumb to their exhaustion, and fall asleep. I go into my Mom's room, where I find my mother paralyzed with laughter. Dowlan comes up the stairs to join us in our muffled howls.

I guess it is a sign that the adoption is going well, that the girls have declared peace within the ranks and are now uniting against a common enemy: Their Parents.

I thought that wasn't supposed to happen until they turned fourteen.


Redneck Comment of the Day Award

goes to my mother, for this conversation:

Gretchen: Do you have a cookie sheet I can use?
Lora Lynn: Yes, go out on the front porch.
G: Mom, I need a COOKIE SHEET.
LL: Yes, go out to the front porch to the stove. The bottom left drawer has cookie sheets, but they may need to be washed out because of the cobwebs. You may have to move the wooden angel that is on the stake because I think it is through the drawer pulls on that side.
G: Wow. Those are very, uh, detailed directions.
LL: Yeah, I have to give them to your father all the time.

Yeah. Just, well, yeah.


Melody Says:

(on the subject of 'what Mommy would like for Christmas')

I could get you a necklace that is glow-in-the-dark and you could wear it in your bedroom at night and that way daddy could see if he had to get up in the middle of the night and then he could walk around and that way he won't step on you. Daddy could use it to see to go pee! Or if he needs to blow his nose he can see where you are and blow his nose without getting any of it on you.

And it could glow in the daytime, too, and look really pretty when you go to the gym and it can sparkle and match your leotard*.

* I never let on to the girls that I go swimming while at the gym, so they think my swimsuit is my leotard. After all, that is what they wear in gymnastics at their gym. And if I have to go into the Kids' Club to change Charlie's diaper and my leotard is wet and dripping, they tell me, "Mommy, you exercised so hard! You are allll wet and sweaty!" If they knew I was swimming, I would have a van full of very short mutineers to contend with.

Dixie says:

Mommy, your dishwasher is hard to break and i hurt my hand every time i try.

Mommy, do you wish you had a magic carpet for your cats?

Mommy, I want to eat a necklace for breakfast. Nah, just kiddin'!

But what my kid says has NOTHING on this blogger:


I am officially tired of being a grown-up

The washing machine just spewed forth gallons of water onto the kitchen floor. Parenting is fine, marriage is great, it is adulthood that I am not too fond of. Can I just quit that job?


Is it too early to introduce the term 'gender neutral?'

So I am tired of being on public display every time I change my clothes. So I have determined that it is high time I introduced a door-locking policy. It isn't going over well with the 'under 5' crowd.

Mommy: Okay, guys, I'm going to go get dressed while you guys finish your breakfast.
(I go in my room, lock the door, then go into the bathroom, and, well, go. Melody begins banging at my bedroom door and hollering.)
Melody: Mommy! Open! This! Door! Right! Now!
Mommy: I can't! I can be there in two minutes!
Melody: Now! I! Need! You! Right! Now!
Mommy: I'm coming, I'm coming! Give me just a second!
Melody: Hurry!
(Expecting catastrophe, I open the door.)
Mommy: What?
Melody: We're not boys! We're womans!
Mommy: What?
Melody: We're womans! We're! Not! Guys! You! Called! Us! Guys!
Mommy: Oh. Sorry. You Womans go eat breakfast, I am going to get dressed.
(Two minutes pass.)
Melody: MommyMommyMommyMommyMommy!
Mommy: I still need two minutes!
Melody: But hurry! Dixie stood on the table and THAT is a TROUBLE THING. She needs to go to time out RIGHT NOW but she CAN'T because time out is in your room and YOU LOCKED THE DOOR.

So I sit down to blog this the instant I am dressed, of course, because who could risk forgetting material of this caliber, right?

Melody: Mommy! Get Charlie!
Mommy: Dixie, go turn on the robot to distract Charlie.
Melody: Mommy! He is tearing down the castle I built that has a tall tower that is a smoke factory and makes smoke and steam and clouds go very up high in the sky but it won't be able to go up high if you let Charlie tear it down. We do not need a baby like that. That is not the kind of baby we need.
Dixie: She's right. That is not the baby we need for our home.
Mommy: So go turn on the robot so he'll move. (But what Mommy is thinking is 'Leave me the ($&# alone so I can write down the precious *#^#(@ memories of your magical *#&#%^#(% childhood.')
Melody: Mommy! Charlie is opening a present!

Yeah, I guess this is the point where I leave, but I must return later to tell you about the most fabulous tantrum in human history. There are no adequate adjectives.


Just in case I never actually print/mail them, Merry Christmas

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Yes, they're cut off, but I can't fix it.


Melody Says:

Mommy, I need a tissue because I am all out of places on my shirt. I used them all up to wipe my nose with.


Daddy, please tell a story.

Melody: Daddy, please tell a story to us.
Daddy: When I was a boy . . .
M: No, Daddy! Tell us a story!
D: I am trying to! When I was a boy . . .
M: Stories begin. "Once upon a time" or "Once in a far away land."
D: Once in a far away Oklahoma.
M: NO!


What college do you go to for that?


Mommy, when I grow up I want to be a Christmas Tree. So I can be sparkly and shiny. I don't want to be an elephant anymore, because elephants get shots with big needles. Is that okay? Does it make you sad that I want to be a Christmas tree and not an elephant?


Mel, I love you. Really I do.

But for the sake of memories, I must blog that you have thrice pooped in the bathtub. The first time, I was taking a bath with you. It was not solid. There were lots of toys that were almost thrown away instead of cleaned. It was weeks before I could take a bath in that tub again.

Th second time, Oma was visiting. We were both sitting next to the tub and you smiled and pooped all over the place. I was very proud of my quick response and how I didn't freak out and got everything ship shape very quickly while my mom was watching. It felt like, "See? I really am a Mommy and can handle this parenting gig just fine."

The third time you were potty training and the rule was that you had to potty before getting in the tub. You were not hip to the pottying lifestyle, so your rebellious streak inspired you to peepee in the potty chair then hop in the tub,where you promptly pooped. Thanks, kid.

Once again, I think that you really can't help it. i, too, have pooped in the tub. My mom used to make me and Trey (I can hear her voice right now saying, "Trey and me") take a bath together. Trey, being the obnoxious twit that he was/is/will evermore be took great delight in telling me that he peed in the bathtub. I never could tell if he was lying or not and it completely grossed me out. He would usually wait to tell me this until after I'd submerged my head in the water in order to wash my hair.

Reciprocating the act by telling him I'd peed in the tub had no ill-effect. Fed up, I let a floater loose in the tub one day when he wasn't looking. Then gently swished the water to drift it over to him. He didn't notice until it was bumping up against him.

He jumped out, screaming for dad. I was scarred for life because dad made me pick it up WITH MY BARE HANDS and transport it to the toilet.

But it was effective: if Trey ever again peed in the bathtub, he never told me about it.


The Poop Family Tree

Melody went through a stage when Charlie was born and then repeated it when Dixie came to live with us. It was, and still often is, important to her to assign familial roles to EVERYTHING.

At the zoo she has to know which giraffe is the Mommy and which is the Daddy. If there is a big monkey and a small monkey, she gets sad that there is only a Mommy and Baby, but nooooo Daddy! And if there is a poor zebra that has only a Mommy and Daddy but no Big Sister? Shocking and heartbreaking. At the turtle pond, she has entire extended families of Omas, Papas, Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Aunts, Cousins, Sisters, Brothers, Mothers and Fathers for the turtle lucky enough to be deemed Baby.

I know that the family unit is the most important structure of her life. It can be extremely confusing to her that Trey is my Brother, but Oma's Son, her Uncle and Big Sara's Daddy. So sorting things out is confusing. I grant her that. Especially when you go to Oma's for Christmas one year and the tall people start saying, "Hey, Melody! You want a kid to come play? Do you like this kid? Would you like to take this kid home as a sister who is taller than you, older stronger, knows more and will suddenly have a completely equal share in your toys, books, games, pets and parents?" Especially when the Baby In Mommy's Tummy had recently proved to not be a mere fairy tale but an actual pooping, peeing, eating, crying, attention-demanding real-life Baby Brother.

I can see why she needs to analyze this. I can see why she needs her dollies to have familial constructs and why a poor hyena at the zoo would be sad far away from his Mommy. It is irritating that every cage at the zoo or family at Wal*Mart without exactly four members filling in the four proper categories, but she is a child trying to understand her world. Fine. I get it.

I knew things had been taken waaaay too far the day that she started looking in the bowl after pooping and making sure that there were appropriate members of the Poop Family before she sent them swimmingly along their merry way. If there was a Mommy Poop and a Baby Poop, she sent them happily off to go find Daddy. The occasional grouping of large numbers of Baby Poops was merely Friends Playing.

One day I hear sobbing from the bathroom. Not sniffling, not whining--all-out sobbing. Expecting to find out that she accidentally flushed down her favorite animal or that she had just had an accident of momentous proportions, I race in.

There was a Baby Poop. All alone. And it didn't have a Mommy or Daddy Poop to flush down with it and it was going to be So Scared. She wanted to me Please, Oh, Please Mommy--make a Mommy Poop to send along so the Baby won't Cry and Cry and Cry. But Mommy, you Have To. Please?!!??!?!?!



The sore throat and eight loads of laundry i did today have successfully banded together to prevent me from telling you the fabulous poop story I had planned for today.

Contributing factors also included that Charlie screamed whenever set down, the entire day. He is having some respiratory problems again. He and the nebulizer are bonding again, despite his many clever means of protesting. Also the fact that the second half of the adoption home study is tomorrow and much cleaning needed to occur.

See you tomorrow. Really. I mean it this time.


Panty Pockets

Melody went through a phase at about age two-and-a-half where she was obsessed with having pockets. All of her clothes had to have pockets, or she wouldn't wear them. She had a few sundresses that had little pockets, and a few pairs of jeans, but most kids' clothing somehow left out this valuable aspect to clothing design.

We had these things called Onesie Extenders. They are a square of fabric that is about three inches by three inches that has snaps on two sides. You snap one end on each end of the onesie's crotch snaps and a kid can wear that item of clothing for about two more inches in height. Since Melody was (and is) a ridiculously tiny child, we got a lot of mileage out of those because, trust me--she has never gotten to wide for anything in her life. Only too tall.

Melody began tucking these little pieces of fabric into the waistband of pants that didn't have pockets and would get mad if Mommy's fashion sensibilities didn't allow her to wear them in public. She would wrap a belt around herself to hold them in place when wearing dresses. Mommy began to hide them.

So this lead Melody to seek out the pocket she never knew she had--the Panty Pocket. She would sometimes stick so much stuff in there that I would go to put her in her car seat and she would squeak in surprise at the unpleasant sensation of sitting on whatever she just sat on. I would make her empty her panties before leaving the house.

But my favorite was the look on someone's face when she would hand them something and they would realize where it came from. Or they would ask for something and she would say, "I've got it in my Panty Pocket."

As I write this, I realize that Melody simply cannot help it. She is genetically inclined to use undergarments for purposes that their manufacturer's never fathomed. I was about that age when I helped my Uncle Nathan wash his truck. About halfway through he realized that in lieu of a sponge i was using, you guessed it--my panties. He freaked and washed his truck again.

I have no tales to tell on my mother (although I am sure at least one exists) but MY grandmother, finding her dentures uncomfortable, would put them in her bra, nestled securely, and would fish them out when the phone rang or someone came to the door. This practice went on for a good time until the day she bit herself. Yes, you read that correctly.

So she sewed pockets in all her dresses instead of using her former storage location. Melody would approve.


Get ready, kids!

Next week's theme is:

Embarrassing stories to save for the future. I figure I need a collection to pull out for meeting their prom date.


This Week's Favorite Child Award goes to . . .


1. In a hurry to leave for Ladies' Bible Class on Wednesday, I grab peanut butter, bread, jelly, a knife and a package of juice boxes. At lunch time I am making sandwiches. I get to Charlie's and Melody says, "Mommy! Charlie is allergic to strawberries and that is strawberry jelly!" I thought I'd grabbed the cherry, but I had Melody to save the day.

2. Today Melody walks into the pediatrician's office and climbs onto the exam table. She shows me 'how a lady sits in a dress' then lifts her skirt to carefully reveal her thighs, but not her panties. "I am ready for my shot!" she announces.

When the time for the shot comes, she is calm and ready. While the nurse frets over her, she just replies with, "I am very brave." Even during the shot, she does not flinch, let alone cry.

The nurse, impressed with her braveness, gives her five large stickers instead of one. She proclaims that she is glad she has five because she then has enough for everyone in the family. We go home and she shares the stickers. She even lets Dixie pick her own instead of giving her the one she wants her to have.

3. Yesterday, Melody very excitedly explains:
"Mommy! Your back is called your back because it is the back of your tummy! And you have a back of your foot--it is called a heel. And a back of your leg and back of your tummy and it is called your back because it is in the back!"

Dixie gets an honorable mention for referring to her big toe as her 'thumb toe.'

4. Melody was quiet today. When I went to investigate why, I discovered she had gotten out one Clorox wipe, shut the lid on the package, then went to the bathroom to clean the counter, sink, bathtub and toilet. Why? "I'm Cinderella!"

5. Later I was making supper and feeding Charlie a snack when screaming erupted from my bedroom. I go in to find two hysterical little girls. Melody explained that Dixie kept telling her how to play and she didn't want to do it that way, but Dixie kept telling her over and over so Melody hit her in the face.

I asked Dixie what she had done to make Melody cry. "Nothing." I asked if this was the truth and she said that it was. I asked Melody why she was crying " Because I was so mean to my sister! And I don't like to be mean!"


Gretchen: Melody, eat your cereal.
Melody: But I want real food!
G: It is real food.
M: No, it's not! It's pretend food. I want real food, not pretend food
G: But it is real food, see? (crunch)
M: But I want HEALTHY food.
G: What do you want?
M: You get to pick!
G: I pick cereal.


Dixie asks:

Mommy, when will I be bigger than a banana?



brief update (with very little punctuation)

the kids behaved, mostly. the lady was there for about 2.5 hours, which is a really long time to keep two little girls behaving, especially after a week with a houseful of people, weather so cold that they havent been out for awhile and on a day when special programs at church were canceled so they had to sit through all of church.

dixie was so incredibly silly. the social worker asked how old she was, she answered seven. she was asked to spell her name and spelled it LACEEY. uh-huh. the entire time she was pretending to be a baby kitty or a baby. for a bit there in the middle she forgot to be goofy long enough to be regular dixie. but the poor kid had been required to be good so much in the past week. it is always hard when grandma comes and goes and it is also hard when strange people come to her house and want her mommy and daddy's attention, especially for a really long time.

i think it went well. she didnt seem appalled by any of our answers and seemed very positive. she interacted with the girls a bit at first, then sent them off to play while talking to us as we fed charlie. then i went in with the girls while she talked to dowlan alone. then she gave us a mountain of paperwork and took the girls in individually to talk to them.

she'll be back next tuesday for a follow-up and to talk to me individually. it will be while dixie is at school and charlie is napping, so we will just have melody to contend with and i will stick her on the little mermaid game or something.

after she left i realized how completely exhausted i am. i spent three days baking and cleaning, then three days entertaining and cooking and cleaning for about fifteen people. then a day decorating for christmas and a day cleaning for this event.

i realized i havent slept a good nights' sleep in a really long time. before the week of thanksgiving was week after week of illness, and before that, perpetual catastrophe.

so i fully intend to sleep for at least a week the children learn that they really do need a mommy as they attempt to care for themselves.


Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

Is our adoption homestudy at 2:30.

The house is almost clean. The kids got to bed early tonight. Hopefully, disaster will not strike.


I've been issued a challenge!

"Tag! You're it! 8 Interesting/Random things about yourself....and.....go!"

1. I can pick my nose with my tongue.
2. Yes, I am an opera singer.
3. I once pierced my own ear with a safety pin. Not recommended, BTW.
4. I was voted "Girl Most Changed Since High School" at my 10th reunion this month. I guess no one had me pegged as a suburban housewife.
5. I only had three wisdom teeth.
6. I have twice rented my body out for the sake of science.
7. I am very skilled with power tools AND sewing machines.
8. I am the only person Chuck Norris fears.
9. I have difficulty conforming to society's rules.

I swear to you that Dixie just sang:

Yes I know the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man.
Yes I know the Muffin Man, and he's made in China.

So on top to providing Thanksgiving Perfection for 15

I have to clean up when it is done. Oh, dear.

The social worker called and our Adoption Homestudy is Sunday at 2:30. Say a prayer, light a candle, cross the fingers, take the pins out of the voodoo doll--do whatever it is you do.

See Dixie has a tendency to say the most perfectly inappropriate thing fathomable. One day, as I was clicking her into her car seat, we had the following conversation:

Dixie: Mommy, why do you hurt me ALL the time? You are so mean to me and make me cry?
Mommy: How do I hurt you? How am I mean?
Dixie: When you click me into my car seat you pinch me with the clicker. And you hurt me EVERY DAY! Your fingernails scratch.
Mommy: If you can sit still while I click you into your car seat it wouldn't pinch. It only pinches when you are wriggling around and I have to use the car seat straps like a lasso. And if you would get your straps on yourself, which I know you can do, then you don't risk me scratching you with my finger nails because I don't have to dig around looking.
Dixie: Harumph. Well. Well. You're mean.

This was another favorite that happened when Dixie slipped climbing out of Charlie's crib:

Dixie: Dammit!
Mommy: What did you say?
D: Dammit.
M: Where on earth did you learn that word? We NEVER say that word!
D: Oh, it's my grandma's favorite word. She says it all the time.
M: I have known your grandmother since I was twelve years old and I have never once heard her say that word.
D: Oh, it is her favorite. She loves to hear me say it. I say it every day because it makes her laugh and smile so much!

See what I mean? So I can just imagine the conversation with the social worker:

Social Worker: How do you like your new home?
Dixie: Mommy hurts me EVERY DAY.
SW: How does she hurt you?
D: She pinches my bottom and scratches me with her fingernails. Every day.
SW: How does that make you feel?
D: Like saying, "Dammit." I say dammit every day.


My Husband Has Terrible Taste

Which I can prove beyond all reasonable doubt with the following paragraph:

Dowlan is Buffy The Vampire Slayer fan. But wait, there's more. There was a special musical episode of Buffy that was known as "Once More, With Feeling." Not only did he record it and watch it on multiple occasions, he then recorded himself a CD of the songs on it. But here's the true kicker: within a few days of its broadcast, I took him to see a touring Broadway group's rendition of Les Miserables. It was fantastic, beautiful, moving and perfect in every way. When I asked him what he thought after the show he made some ridiculous noise about it being okay, but not as good as "Once More, With Feeling."


I say all this because there is an aspect to the story line of the Buffy Musical that is seeming quite familiar. A spell is cast that makes the characters dance more and more wildly until they are so out of control that they spontaneously combust.

See, I am a little worried that this might happen to my girls.

Not due to dancing, but because of the insane amounts of escalating giggling. Here is a recent example:

Melody comes up to me and asks for juice. Being the lazy parent I am, I tell her that I forgot how to make it. So she tells me. I tell her, "Nope, that doesn't sound familiar. I don't think I can do that."

She giggles, and climbs on top of me while I'm doing my Kakuro puzzle. (Kakuro is like Sudoku, only hard and interesting.) I take the logical next step and draw a smiley face on the bottom of her big toe. This triggers more giggling and a request for the complementing toe on the other foot to be smiling likewise. I acquiesce.

Then I draw one of those little puppet faces on the side of my hand. Each girl wants one as well. We start making our hands be Ursula, Ariel and Eric. Then they start kissing and biting each other. Then Charlie decides to climb atop the fray.

Charlie does not smell good.

Mommy: Girls, get off me. I need to change your brother's stinky bottom.
Melody: His stinky bottom? His binky doddum?
Dixie: His stinky booty? His dinkie dootie?
Please tell me I don't have to spell out the rest of that portion of the conversation.

Mommy: Yes. Please, get off me now.
You can imagine how well that worked.

Finally, I had to bodily remove them under threat of imminent and lasting psychological harm. Melody's feet hit the ground running as she sprinted into the closet/nursery and hurled herself upon the changing table.

Again with the threats and throwing the kid about a bit. Lucky for me she doesn't weigh much.

So the giggling continues to escalate into pitches that left the neighborhood dogs whimpering. I begin changing the foul gift that Charlie had prepared for me when it suddenly became very dark.

Mommy: Melody, turn that light on right now!
Melody: I can't.
Mommy: Why not?
Melody: Because it is dark and I cannot find the light switch.

So I have a few choices. Stand and wait until Melody finds the switch in the dark and hope that Charlie doesn't decide to create further gifts or explore the current selections with both hands. Leave a poop smeared baby alone on the changing table to go across the small space and reach for the light switch and hope that he doesn't take this moment to explore the wondrous sport of diving. Pick up the partially-covered foul stench that is my infant son and take it with me to turn on the light.

As I am contemplating, Melody's hand manages to bump the dimmer switch enough for me to see what I am doing. The giggling continues to grow as she climbs into the crib. I finish the diaper duty, shut off the light and close the door. Melody does not appreciate my gesture.

So the girls then begin to run in screaming giggling circles throughout the house until they begin falling over themselves, and fall into one giggle-infested heap of girly-ness.

I think I distinctly smell smoke.


Lost: One Easygoing Baby Boy

If you have found him, please return him to me. You know where to find me.

I have to offer in exchange this duplicate child who is like Charlie in every way, but they totally screwed up the personality on this model. I know it isn't exactly a fair swap, but I have plenty of diaper coupons to sweeten the deal and help in the care of Post-Croup And -Rotovirus Charlie [PCARC].

I am pretty sure I lost him in the hospital, because he is not at all the baby I arrived with. That baby was easygoing and virtually effortless. As long as food was provided on a regular basis and the diaper was quickly changed on an as needed basis, life was fabulous. You could take that kid anywhere. He was self-entertaining, semi-self-feeding and one champ of a sleeper.

This model is none of these things. PCARC wants to be held all day long. And only by a standing person of his choosing. Only he gets really bored hovering 4-ish feet over all the toys so he make movements to indicate that he wants to be set down. Setting him down triggers the little switch mechanisms on the bottom of his feet that activate screaming mode. The only solution to screaming mode is to again pick up said boy child. Who then wants down. Who then forgets why he wanted down in the first place and, thus, the cycle continues. Quite vicious, that cycle.

Additionally, the putting-him-in-the-highchair-with-a-heap-o'- food-mode is no longer working. PCARC wants bottles and lots of them. Sippy cups are no longer an acceptable means of containing liquids (unless they belong to a sister of the original Charlie). He prefers baby food spooned directly into his mouth over little chopped up bits but will accept little chopped up bits as long as only one food item is offered at a time and you do not walk more than eight inches away from the chair, address another person verbally or allow your gaze to wander. PCARC will instantly reject the initial food offering if a second appears, even if it is less pleasing than the first. PCARC will only pick up bits of food for consumption if holding a utensil of his choosing in one hand, even though it is often in no way involved in the actual eating process.

PCARC also finds a great deal of joy in chewing food and adding to that food without actually ever swallowing it. At some point his capacity threshold is reached and his capability to swallow is exceeded, so the food come tumbling and oozing back out of his mouth in a slow grin.

The inability to pinpoint his exact food allergies are not helping any of this.

The last defect of the current inhabitant of my closet is in regards to his sleeping pattern. Charlie is a Cry-It-Out success story. They should put this child on a plaque somewhere. You lay him down, he is asleep. No fuss, no muss, no bother. He sleeps so long and so well that it is actually quite easy to forget his very existence. PCARC begins fussing the moment he sees the hand of the adult carrying him reach for the knob of the closet/nursery because he has wised up to the fact that nothing good happens in that room. That is where the tall people take him to change his clothes, wipe his face, clean his bottom or entrap him heartlessly in the prison they refer to mockingly as a crib.

If you have seen Original Charlie, please return him. My sanity depends on it.

I really AM the Greatest!

Dixie told me this and i had to share:

Dixie: Mommy, I love you. I just always wanted a mom like you. Mommy of my dreams. I wanted this home for a long time.


Hey, I didn't say it.

Making sandwiches with Dixie:

Mommy, be careful not to cut that messy. Because if you cut that messy, you won't be a wife, you'll be a husband!

Those of you not from Texas may not get this . . .

My 10th high school reunion was this past weekend. I had a really great time and enjoyed catching up with people.

Right after high school, I moved to Austin to go to the University of Texas. I am a proud Texas Longhorn and I have the tattoo and student loans to prove it.

So we are at the after party from the reunion and we are standing in some guy's garage at 1:00 a.m. and a lot of drinking has occurred in the last six hours. Jeff comes up to me, gives me a huge hug, and we start chatting. I see his Texas A&M ring and we start talking smack like any good rivals should. Then Just comes up to see what we're talking about. So I am a Longhorn, Just is a Red Raider and Jeff is an Aggie.

I told them, "Hey, if we all walk into the bar, are we the start of a joke?"

Even better: the Aggie didn't get it.


At least her dog didn't explode on fire

You may remember me writing about teaching the girls about 9-1-1. Clearly, Melody has a firm grasp of when and how to call, based on this exchange she has on her Fisher Price phone:

Melody: Mommy, what's the 'mergency number again? 911?
Mommy: Yes, 911
Melody: 'Mergency? Help! I'm stuck to an elephant. Yes, we got glued together. And monsters are cooking me. Yes. I have called Eric to come help, but I need 'Mergency because they're both very big 'mergencies.

100,000 words by the end of breakfsast

I have heard the statistic that men speak 20,000 words a day and women speak 100,000 words a day.

I have something to add to that. I have no empirical data to back me up,but would feel quite comfortable betting large amounts of money on the statistic that my little girls have easily spoken 100,000 words by the end of breakfast. Daddy has spoken 100, Charlie about 10 and I have spoken five: 'Please make me some coffee.' On a rare occasion I will also throw in the phrase 'Hey, don't touch my coffee' thereby doubling my count.

We did get the blinds hung yesterday, and the girls sparked off the day with commentary on the blinds. Melody's assessment was: Mommy! I touched them and they didn't make me blind!

Sorry, but I haven't actually had the aforementioned coffee so there will be no pic.

Then we moved to working on the project that we are making the Grandmothers for Christmas. I dutifully manned my paintbrush and steered the girls away from the table cloth and onto the item the paint brush was intended for while Dixie asked why we are making these, when is it Christmas, if people will like them, why hers isn't as neat as mommies and about four thousand questions. I didn't actually have to answer any of them because there was no pause between thoughts.

Sorry, but I am awake enough, Grandmothers, to know better than to include pics.

The discussion du jour was on the punishment fitting the crime. What will happen if you say 'stupid.' What will happen if you stick your bottom out. What about sticking your tongue out. What if you do all three and what if you do all three one hundred times. After much speculation I told them that this was not a penal system with mandatory sentencing laws and the only way to really know was to try it and see if Judge Mommy was in a good enough mood to offer probation.

Have I mentioned that I need coffee?


Oh, Dear.

So I went to Lowe's with my friend to buy plantation blinds for my living room and *kind of* come back with almost $400 worth of stuff.

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(No, I did not buy a man. I already had that one. Look behind he couch.)

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My ultimate scheme is to get one more three drawer unit and one more two door/one drawer unit and have five units of alternating types along that whole wall. Then build bookshelves to install on top that will be flanking the painting on each side and have a top that runs all the way across.

Who could have a problem with such a glorious scheme in home improvement and organization? Not to mention the over $250 I saved? Apparently my husband. He has this insane notion that earmarked funds should be only used to buy the HDTV that they are earmarked for.

I tried to explain to him that we'd be even further from our goal if the disorganization, clutter and takeover of our home by large plastic objects in primary colors caused me to snap and pull a Milton (If I have to pick up this toy one more time I think I'll just set the building on fire. Have you seen my stapler?.)

I think this argument might get me further if I hadn't brought this all home at 8:30 and those photos weren't finally taken till around 2:00 a.m. But really! He didn't have to leave for work until eight.

As for the windows that needed the blinds that started it all?
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Yup, you guessed it.


If I am still around tomorrow

I will explain to you why a $400 impulse buy does NOT contribute to marital bliss.


Of elbows and armpits

About a year ago, Melody became fascinated with her elbows. Specifically, she wanted to know "Where my elbow went." She would bend it and there it was. She would straighten her arm and *poof* it disappeared.

Now it is Dixie's turn to ponder armpits.
Dixie: Papa, why do your armpits have lots of fur on them?
Papa: Because I water them, and they grow.
Dixie: Really?
Papa: Yes, if you water yours, they will someday grow when you get older . . . oh, nevermind. You will be a delicate lady. Men are just hairy sometimes.

Now this explanation of my father's clearly goes against my parenting style of giving them incredibly complicated scientific information so factually presented that it might encourage them to simply, well, shut up about it. I would have started to answer that question with a detailed function of the pituitary gland.

Dixie again this evening broached the subject of pits at the dinner table. During the fine dining experience of eating eggs already clad in your jammies, she declared that she will never, ever take them off. They are her favorite, and her best. And she will never, ever take them off except then she might get sweaty. And then they might make her armpits itch. And then she might have to scratch a lot and if she scratches too much, she might bleed. Then there would be blood allllllll over her favorite jammies. And that would be bad.

So she decided that she might change in the morning after all.


How many questions can a girl ask in ten minutes?


Mommy? Am I magic? mommy, I have to go pee. Veryveryveryveryvery bad. Mommy, can you take me to the grocery store? Mommy, can you tell me a joke? Mommy, that joke wasn't funny because you didn't say knock knock. Mommy? Do you wish you were Cinderella? Mommy, please tell me your middle name. That isn't your middle name. No it isn't. Because I don't like it. Mommy, if that is your middle name, then I won't be your kid anymore. Mommy, when will baby Charlie turn one hundred? What is bigger than one hundred? What is bigger than one hundred and one? And then what is next? Mommy, how many is sixty-forty-twelve? Mommy, do you like blue? Mommy, how long until the Fourth of July? Why can't it be sooner?


Mommy, it's broken

Dixie: Mommy, it's broken!
Mommy: What is?
D: My magic wand.
M: Lemme see. It doesn't look broken to me. What is wrong with it?
D: When I say the magic words and do this (waving wildly) nothing happens.
M: Silly, girl, nothing is going to happen.
D: But my magic wand! It's supposed to do magic and it won't work!
M: Well, magic is just pretend, honey.
D: No, magic is NOT pretend. I will just wait until daddy comes home. HE will fix it for me if YOU won't.


We're out of people to vomit next

Charlie had his turn all day and I just started my round.


Dixie had been asleep tonight for about an hour when a bad dream woke her up. So she came to snuggle in with me. Dowlan was finishing up his project du jour and was standing in the kitchen with tools. Dixie whispered to me: "Mommy! Do you think Daddy is building a whole new house?"

She overheard a woman's voice on the TV and asked me, "Mommy, is that God's wife talking?"

She is also not quite recovered from Halloween. She only refers to Dowlan as Scarecrow and me as Ursula. Tonight's Dinner Conversation:

Dixie: Scarecrow, why did you want to marry Ursula?
Dowlan: Because I don't have a brain. (Quickly Backtracking) So I needed to marry someone who had one.
Gretchen: So are you saying that you married the sea witch because she bewitched you or she b****ed at you until you gave in?
Dowlan: I didn't say that. I am going to stop talking now.


Charlie is already hiding his drinking from his mother

Keeping Charlie happy in a tiny room for four days was even less fun that you'd imagine. Especially when you consider that he had to be in a crib under an oxygen tent for much of that time. Most sick babies are compliant and make things easy on their poor dear mothers by lolling about and staring listlessly. Not Charlie. He was happy, chipper, awake, and alert through most of the ordeal.

I did make one initial error. We hadn't been there but a few hours when I whipped out his Christmas present that had been hiding at Oma's. By whipping out the big guns, I taught him that acting bored and pretending to be hearty, healthy and hale between bouts of gasping for air will only result in the scrambling of the tall people in frantic efforts to find him more cool toys.

I realize that I am ascribing large motives to a small boy, but you have to remember that this is Charlie we're talking about here. Until this point, his needs have never been considered. Not once. He has never had this much time with this much attention focused on him. Nothing has ever once belonged solely to him. He realizes that he is finally getting his due and that the pesky sisters are nowhere near to thwart his plans. Sure, Melody tries her best with this puking-all-night bit, but not even Dixie's getting-hit-in-the-face-by-a-rope scheme comes close to 'Hey! I'm the baby and I can't breathe!"

Charlie has finally found a winning plan and is not letting it go.

He was actually really good during all the breathing treatments, poking, prodding, listening and measuring he endured during his, uh, unfortunate incarceration. And I will soon have the pics of him doing all the cute things he did to share, including games of hide-n-seek.

Which brings me back to the subject that is concerning me: Charlie is hiding his drinking from me.

As we were waiting to be discharged, he was walking around the room with a bottle of God-Knows-What. The ENTIRE bottle. Between nips, he kept opening the little cabinet door, setting it on the shelf, closing the door and looking at me with this big innocent grin. He showed me all six teeth.

Then he'd toddle around the room some more. Play with the buttons, go into his little hiding spots. As soon as he'd walked it off, he'd check to see if I was looking and return to where he hid the good stuff.

Pretty soon he was so desperate that he just stayed at the door, trying to not let me see him. He would open the door and stand behind it. I would hear the sound of him chugging from the nipple. As soon as the squeaking stopped, blue eyes and that same 'What, me???' grin would appear from nowhere, only to pop back behind the door, seeking more of the crazy juice.

It is the hospital's fault you know. Putting him on steriods, then bring him such horrible food at such long intervals that his tummy had no choice but to turn to it's former habit. I guess we'll be hitting the rehab hospital next.


I need a Kick Me sign

Melody has strep. Her tonsils are the size of grapes.

I promise all you, however, that I will be posting again soon with my normal stuff. Really, I well.



got here at 3:55 a.m. i got four hours sleep before charlie's nebulizer treatment. then dowlan went to work and now it is just me and the three short people

dixie and melody played with the perfume. this triggered a migraine.

my current goal is to remain upright as much as possible to minimize the possibility of me falling asleep.



Charlie was released from the hospital today and is currently playing on the stairs in Papa and Oma's house.

Dowlan and Melody threw up all night.

I have a nasty sinus headache.

Dixie is just fine.


Charlie gets out on Sunday!

Sorry for no updates--there is a computer I can get to at the hospital, but it is pretty limited as far as what it will allow you to access on the internet.

Charlie had a much better night last night and was off of the oxygen most of the day. If he can make it through the night tonight without being on oxygen, he gets released. We'll have to bring home a nebulizer and continue treatments. He is still cruddy and wheezy, but no longer barking constantly.

The girls spent a lot of today at Grandma Jane's house. Jane called me about five to tell me that Melody was throwing up. It is 7:30 now and she has thrown up three times. So now my mom is at the hospital with Charlie so that I can be with pukey girl until she goes to sleep.

I am tired. So freaking tired.


There's not much funny to share

with a baby in the hospital. He has croup and has been in an oxygen/humidity tent since yesterday morning.

We got into Abilene on Wednesday night, went to a Halloween Carnival, went Trick-or Treating at Aunt B's house, and came to Oma and Papa's and then tried to get Charlie to bed. He stayed up until 11:30, happy and playing.

He woke up at 4:30, crying, screaming and miserable. Coughing and snotty. We swapped off bouncing and snuggling. He finally ate something at 7:30. Charlie never skips a meal. By 9:30, he was struggling with every breath. So I took him to see Dr. Maslanka, who I used to see as a kid.

I expected that it was more bronchiolitis, which he has had a couple of times and just needed an allbuterol treatment. However, it is croup. When he had his first good nap, the oxygen rate dropped to 88%. Normal is 94-96%. So they put one of those hoses on his nose, which he loved, of course.

He has been in the hospital for a day now and will definitely be in till Saturday. He can't go home until he can go all night without oxygen. Last night his pulse oxygen rates kept dipping and they had to double the amount of oxygen going through his nose tub. So I am afraid this may take longer than anyone wants it to.

Between bouts of torture, he plays pretty happily in his little crib and has finally started eating. Mostly he is just grumpy because he is a very, very tired boy.

We have our cell phone with us there if you need to find us.


Where have you been, Gretchen?

2 loads of dishes
5 loads of laundry
cooking dinner
baking cookies
packing boxes for a church project
cleaning the bathrooms
mopping the floors
cleaning out the cabinet i opened yesterday and had to duck from the ensuing avalanche
unearthing my counters from the piles of whatever that is
waiting for my husband to come home

and packing so that tomorrow i can experience the joys of three kids with diarrhea on a 250 mile road trip . . . . and Dixie just started throwing up.

The kids have had 'squishy poop' for days now. In fact, Melody was already pooping when Dixie ran in to go and couldn't make it to the other bathroom so she pooped, get this, in the trash can. I would have chalked it up to ingenuity and quick thinking and declared that it was proof positive of Annie's Treatise on Scatalogical Urgency ("When ya gotta go, ya gotta go.") if she hadn't enjoyed how completely horrified and traumatized that her sister was by this act.


I sleep with a small piece of velcro in my bed

I swear it is not there when I get in at night. But inevitably, at some point, I awaken and there it is. Clinging to me. I am never sure where it will pop up--at my head, my feet, between my knees, under my back. It wraps it's little talon-like things around me, digs in and attaches. Every time I move, it comes even closer. Many nights I can hardly sleep because I wake up every time it moves between my body and that of my husbands. Some nights it brings a sister velcro along.

Each night, before bed, I swear I read it a story, give it a hug and kiss and tuck it into its own bed. This doesn't seem to matter, though, as it is not content to stay there. Some invisible noise or silent vision startles it awake, signaling mommy-seeking behavior. Yet it hunts me down.

It would not be so bad were it content to just stay close to me. But every time I wiggle, it wriggles in closer and if I get on my knees and hands a bit to try to change positions or move to a different spots, the suction power of its tentacles pulls it underneath me and then I really am stuck with no place to sleep. Especially on nights when the velcro, her sister, myself, my husband and a variety of household pets are all sharing the same full-sized bed. I am just glad that the smallest piece cannot yet climb out of its crib or open the door.

And now that winter-ish weather has presented itself, those little clingers are COLD and shock me awake with their warmth-seeking behavior.

So I retreat. I retreat to the couch before I am found. One time, I even went to the guest room/dump and cleared a spot. I have briefly considered discovering if I can sleep in a Velcro-sized bed because I am confident that that would be the one place it didn't try to find me.


things to tell you about tomorrow:

Eecky, Becky, Shrecky and Trekkie
I sleep with a small piece of velcro in my bed.
Where Dixie pooped last

sorry for the cliff hangers. but it is 12:10 a.m.


Things I overheard in the car today

Dixie: Melody, do you know why Daddy is going to be Scarecrow for Halloween?
Melody: Why?
Dixie: Because he doesn't have a brain!

(On our way to a party, in costume, with James in the car)
Melody: James, Mommy is Ursula. She is a witch. That i why she has to have a nipple on her face.
James: Aunt Gretchen, why do witches have nipples on their faces?
Gretchen: It is a mole.
Dixie: No it iiiiisssssssn't. It's a Niiiippppllleeeee.
James: But why do you have one on your face?
Gretchen: To be ugly enough to scare small children. Is it working?


We went to three Halloween parties today. We went to one yesterday and have one tomorrow.

Disaster struck between parties one and two today. I left Dowlan with two sleeping children and one groggy child. I went to Hobby Lobby to get raffia for his costume. Dixie, my particularly creative and destructive child gave herself her third haircut today. On the first two, she didn't have time to do much damage because Mommy is well aware of the fact that Quiet + Dixie = Trouble, or Q+D=T. Daddy is not as suave to this. In the ten minutes I had to spare while attempting to dress us all and finish Dowlan's scarecrow get-up, I did my best to even up her haircut. It is very cute, very boyish, and makes me want to cry every time I see it.

It was particularly fun at our church party because I had at least ten Ariels to chase after and shriek with laughter as I mocked them and claimed to have stolen their voice. One little girl in particular had fun screeching every single time she saw me.

I can tell that we have finally gotten cozy here because I actually knew enough people to have a good time seeing their kids dressed up and playing with my kids.


Dixie: Mommy, my eyes are crying and watering just a little bit and I don't know why.
Melody: Is it because mommy is so ugly she scared you just a little bit?
Dixie: Yes, that must be it.
Daddy: Is it Mommy that is scary-ugly or Ursula that scares you because she's so ugly.
Dixie: Mommy-Ursula.

The first time I put on my costume and put the seashell necklace around my neck, the girls started ripping at my tentacles to steal back 'Ariel's Voice.'

Speaking of tentacles:

Melody: Mommy, why do you need so many tendigls?
Dixie: Oh, Mommy! Silly Melody is little and can't talk. She called your Tegnackles tendigls! Melody, can you say Teg-nack-les?



The Ariel's Married Dress is complete.

Dixie's Dorothy only needs sleeves.

Charlie's Sebastian the crab arrived in the mail.

Mommy's Ursula costume . . . at least I've purchased the components.

And Daddy's Scarecrow costume can stuff it.


Ms. Melody

Something the kids were doing this morning reminded me of this one.

Melody had never cared that the TV was on or off until she was 22 months old and had strep so badly that she couldn't do anything but sit up on the couch and watch cartoons. Fortunately, we'd just gotten a DVR (think TIVO) and had a few episodes of JoJo's Circus and Charlie and Lola captured.

For those of you who have not yet seen JoJo's Circus, it is about a young clown girl named JoJo who is in a clown family and attends clown school. The show is done in claymation and is stinkin' adorable. She learns a lesson every day and everything has a circus twist. For instance, in their garden they grow squirting flowers and her kite is a giggle kite that needs not wind but laughter in order to soar.

So spending about 48 straight hours watching television hooks her for life and it is months before we can convince her that this is not the normal way that she should live. Even though the access is far more limited than it was that weekend, JoJo and Charlie and Lola remain her favorite programs to this day.

So last summer, Melody wanted to play Teacher. But she doesn't read a book or point out things on a board and ask questions. Nope, she stands up and says, "Boys and Girls! Boys and Girls! Put your bunny ears on and hop! Hop! Hop!" Which is exactly How Mrs. Kersplatski does it on Jojo. Except it takes us weeks to figure this out.

Don't you wish your teachers had only expected that from you?


A Name Change.

I was up most of the night with Diarrhea Boy, as he has now been officially renamed. We're just awaiting the new birth certificate, really. Diarrhea Boy likes being held in a certain upright position these days. And nights.

So I was the lucky girl who got to hold him upright over my left shoulder and pat him on the back with my right hand from 3:00 a.m. to around 7:00. My neck and shoulders are in absolute agony.

To help matters, fall arrived with our first cold snap night before last. Cold=Pain. And everyone is grumpy. At one point this afternoon, Melody was crying loudly because she didn't want to be up from her nap and was equally not a fan of the prospect of going to sleep. Dixie was squalling because she was upset that Melody didn't want to play. And Charlie was crying . . . I dunno. Sympathy? Fear? Surprise at his crying sisters? Because he just realized that he'd been renamed Diarrhea Boy? There are so many possibilities.

Charlie, I mean Diarrhea Boy, did learn his first phrase today. He was helping me pat Melody on the back and say "There, There." This is Dowlan's official solution to all uncontrolled female emotions. And that DB is so smart that he even translated it into German before repeating it: Da, da!

Whoever said I only adopted Dixie for the Blog material she provides

may have been on to something.

I was parked on the street last night, so the first thing I did on the way to school this morning was made a U-turn at the wide spot about half a block down the street. Dixie shouts out: "That was a safety violation!"

Kid, I love you. And you're brilliant. But if you have to cube your age before you're old enough to drive, I am NOT taking advice from you.

It reminds me of Melody at about 2 years old. She would point from the backseat and demand to go 'tat way!' The fact that I had no idea which way she was pointing was immaterial--I was not letting someone under three feet tall navigate. She would get so incredibly upset if I did not comply. I would try to explain to her that we aren't going that way because it wouldn't get us where we wanted to be, but this did no good.

It did amaze me though. Within about 2 months of starting this, she got very good at telling me the right way to go to church, Daddy's work and Shelly's (Shelley was the baby-sitter at the time. And did you catch the way in which I cleverly spelled her name with one E the first time and one E the second time so that, if she happens upon this, it isn't completely evident that I still don't know how to spell her name despite having known her a decade because I can point to one of the spellings and say "See, I knew it. I just had a typo.")

Back to Driving Miss Dixie . . .

In the van each morning, we talk about what day it is, what the next day will be, what yesterday was, what the season and month are and what the plans entail for that day. Today's conversation went something like this:
Mommy: What day is today?
Girls: Uhhh . . . . Friday? Yes! Friday!
M: It isn't Friday, it's Tuesday.
Angry Dixie: Nuh-uh! It can't be Tuesday because we had one of those last week!
M: Yes, we had one last week. And we have one today and we'll have next week. We have a Tuesday every week.
Angry Dixie: Harumph.

Oh wait! There's more!

Dixie: Mommy, you make me crazy! You are one crazy girl! (Turning to Daddy) Daddy, your wife makes me craaaaaa-zeeee!
Mommy: No, Dixie. I didn't put jelly on your sandwich this time, either.
Dixie: You didn't??? Oh. Well, you're still crazy.


Oh, Dixie. Dixie, Dixie, Dixie . . .

Mommy: What do you want to eat?
Dixie: A peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Mommy: Okay.
D: But I just want the peanut butter. No jelly.
M: So you want a peanut butter sandwich?
D: No, I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but just peanut butter. No jelly.



Dixie, in the car on the way to church yesterday:
I wish I could just reach into the TV and pick up Piglet and take him out and squeeze him and play with him because he's so little and would be so much fun.


Mommy: Dixie, hurry, hurry! Come get in the van!
Dixie, plodding along at a snail's pace: I am hurrying! I am just hurrying a little slower than you're hurrying! My legs are so little and short and can't go fast at all!
(Yeah. Except when you're in trouble and running away.)


Dixie is also obsessed with the idea of spankings. I really can't remember the last spanking that was issued around here and I promise that it isn't because they are so common place that they happen hourly and don't stand out in memory.

A few days ago my hand was sore from cutting out fabric for the Halloween costumes. Dixie asks, "Is your hand sore from giving soooo many spankings?"

And then yesterday, she had broken a toy and hidden it in the trash because she was mad about being told to put it away. I made her dig it out and tell me the truth, and then asked what she felt like her punishment should be. "Yucky hard spankings. One hundred of them. And then you should send me to my room and lock me in in time out and make me stay there for one hundred years until I die."

This girl has some imagination, no?


If You Ever Hear Me Say

"Hey, let's just have this birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese"

then, please, shoot me. I am only happy to report right now that we have lived through the day.

There should never be that many children wandering around losing tickets and shoving coins into games they don't know how to play while being harassed by a giant rat. Charlie's face had a disturbing glazed-over look from all the visual stimulation and there was a never ending serious of whining, screaming kids being dragged through the door.


I think it was last summer during my 2 months of bedrest that Dowlan first introduced the concept of Hide-N-Seek to Melody. She was a great hider, and being a tiny twenty-one pounds really helped. She could squeeze into tiny spots and, after the first few games, got pretty good at not always hiding in the same spot. However, she thought the game so exciting that her entire body would shiver in anticipation of being found and if Daddy took too long she couldn't stand it. It went something like this:

Daddy: Where's Melody? Is she in the couch cushions?
Melody, not realizing that this did not contribute to the spirit of the game, in this tiny little voice, answers: No.
D: Is she under Mommy's foot?
M: No.
D: Is she under Mommy's other foot?
M: No! I'm right here!

And Melody would hop out and Daddy would chase her down. Often, Melody would hide with me and would tremble as she said, "Ooh! Scawy, scawy!"

What was even more hysterical to witness was Daddy's turn to hide. Melody, being quite small, could only count to 2. So she would put her hands over her eyes without warning, rapidly say, "OneTwoOneTwo" and take off. Dowlan would leap and bound into a hiding spot. The entire house would shake. Melody never had trouble finding him, as she would just follow the noise. I would be laughing so hard that it is a wonder that Charlie wasn't born sooner.

Hide-N-Seek has actually regressed in quality since Dixie came around. She always hides in the same spot:
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And, although I don't have any pictures of this, Melody's hiding has gone downhill as well. It isn't helped by the fact that often Melody will hide and then Dixie will come stand next to her and talk to her.

We may have some redemption in our family game: Charlie has learned to play. Dowlan will sit cross-legged on the floor and say, "Hide, Charlie! Hide!" and the little guy will crawl off and round a corner and sit, waiting to be found


And Melody Saves the Day

I have something to post!

I am making dinner and Melody is playing with the all-time standard favorite toy of little girls world-wide: the pirate ship. The gist of her imaginary play is this--the baby calf (a true pirate standard) is eating the pirates. At first I thought it was the other way around, but I was corrected promptly by Melody. The Carnivorous Calf is eating the perishing pirates because his Mommy and Daddy went on a date and aren't there to stop him.

Better yet, his Oma has been left in charge, but won't tell him to stop that because she thinks it is soooo cute to see baby calf eat the mean old pirates.

The pressure in my sinuses

has caused them to expand into my brain. They are crushing the funny parts. So I have nothing for you. Sorry, sportsfans.


Sometimes I just don't know how to answer . . .

I am making dinner. I find a bag of grapes in the bottom of the crisper. They are not, shall we say, a recent purchase. However, they look as if they might have some redeeming qualities.

Dixie: Mommy, are those grapes?
Mommy: Yes they are.
D: What are you doing with them?
M: Oh, I'm just going through them to see which ones are good and which ones need to be thrown away.
D: Like grown-ups do with children sometimes?

I already know that I am going to regret teaching them this.

My only hope is that the policeman who comes to our door as a direct result has small children and is an understanding soul.

I recently heard tale of a three-year-old whose mommy was experiencing a seizure, stroke, aneurysm, something. This child knew to call 911 and tell the operator that Mommy's sick. Help was on it's way and all ended well.

So in the van on the way home from gymnastics, we learned about the emergency number. Each girl said it around fourteen times. I also made sure that they remembered our address and city. It was all good.

Until we delved into a specific definition of emergency. I told them that a good time to call would be if something were on fire, or if Mommy or Daddy were very sick and so sick that we couldn't talk to them or be woken up. I then asked for examples of an emergency and got the following:

* When you reallllllllly have to pee-pee.
* When your dog explodes on fire. (We don't have a dog.)
* When your sister is hurt really badly from doing a dangerous thing.

By the third one, I felt like they might have possibly caught on. Until the girls are going up the steps to the house and melody gets an idea. She hops down the stairs on one foot saying, 'Look, I'm doing a dangerous thing!' to which Dixie responds 'Mommy, where's the phone?'

My Dearest Melody,

You are now 3.5 years old. You have been going to sleep at least twice a day for that entire time. In a very short lifetime, you have fallen asleep thousands of times.

Do you think that, with all this practice, you might could possibly learn how to do it without screaming, begging, sobbing and drama every single time? Or is it still a surprise each day and each night that sleep is expected of you?


More advice from Dixie

"Mommy, do not drive into the gym. You will hurt the van and the gym and then people won't be able to go there to exercise and they will all be so sad."

This reminds me of the day this summer that the kids and I were at the pool for playgroup. A sudden storm blows in. The temp drops, the wind is strong and it starts to rain. Everyone jumps out and is getting dressed. It naturally takes us forever to get dried, dressed, a bottle for Charlie, and to the car.

The girls are taking their sweet time getting into their car seats and their straps around them. I tell them to hurry, because I am still getting rained on. Dixie tells me, "Mommy, hurry, hurry, don't get wet because then you'll melt and die and I will have to drive us all home and I am not a very good driver and I will hit the other cars with our car and everyone will be so sad."

This is the most logical sequence of events to come out me getting rained on, right?

So I am telling this story to my good friend Brendan (Hi, Brendan!) who wants to know where she got the idea of me melting. I assumed that it came from the Wizard of Oz, because she loves that movie.

Brendan looks at me and says, "So, does that make you the Wicked Witch? What exactly was Dixie trying to say about you there?"


Dixie Just Announced

that she wants to be Lucifer.

I was quite concerned, until I remembered that Lucifer is the cat in Cinderella.



Melody tells it how it is

I love the stage the girls are in now. They're trying to understand all the 'rules' of society and how things work. Melody just told me, "You have to share with people, or people don't want to share with you. People don't like people who don't share. And if someone else doesn't share with me, I won't share with them, except maybe if I share with them they will learn to be nice and will want to share with me so I WILL share with them."

See what I mean? She's trying to figure out the way things work.

A couple of months ago, she got on the subject of pottying. After a lengthy explanation of big potties and little potties and which people should use which potties, she then delved wholeheartedly into the subject of urine itself with this little gem:

"Grown ups pee-pee. Little girls potty. I am a Princess. I tinkle, which is like pee-pee, only magic."



For those of you considering having large numbers of small children:

I did eight loads of laundry today and mopped the kitchen floor 3 times that I can remember. This is only slightly above average.


I had to come back and add to this post, because it got me thinking about the 'How many kids are you guys going to have' question. See, I get this question a lot. I don't know if it is that everyone of child-bearing age is constantly peppered with it, or just that we have managed to acquire so many children in such a short time that people wonder if we will ever actually stop.

I used to answer that I can't have anymore kids because my car is full. Then I had a dream the night before I bought Penny Mackineroni Girl that the very act of purchasing a seven-seat minivan caused me to become spontaneously and instantaneously pregnant with twins.

So now I stick to a safer answer: we already have three fish, three cats, three children and two grown-ups. If we're adding anything to this household, it will be another grown-up.

As it is, the pressure of keeping 11 creatures alive, healthy, fed, clothed, maintained, cleaned-up-after and at the right place in the right time can be fairly exhausting. When you add to that job list the fact that I am not only responsible for their physical bodies, but also feeding, nourishing and guiding their souls, it can be daunting.

Not as daunting, however as the reality that somehow the job title of Mommy includes the need to know the exact location of every possession of all eleven members of the household at any given time, as well as said object's status of clean, dirty, broken, fixed or irreparably harmed. Add to that mix the insane quantity of nearly-identical items that are accrued by two girls so very close in age and it is amazing that I have room left in my head at all.

For instance, laundry. I know, by sight, which shirt, pants, shorts, socks and panties belong to which girl. I know which drawer they belong in, what they match with, and I can often still recite to you either where I bought them and how much they cost or the name of the giver and the gifting occasion. While I find this to be rather spectacular a feat, no one ever seems impressed.

I know that the blue puppy is Dixie's while the pink is Melody's, that they were purchased at Walgreen's at Easter time by Granny, but that there were so many other gifts that they were sent home in a silver gift bag to be distributed later. They sat on my sewing machine table for three months, and were gifted by the Sleep Fairy to the girls. They are both named Tumble-bumble, Roly-Poly, Pell-Mell To The Bottom Of The Hill and Dixie's is missing it's blue ribbon with the white polka-dots because she was upset at nap time one day in September and tore it off in her dramatic upset. I also know that the ribbon is in a pink basket behind the printer, where it has been for several weeks, because I keep forgetting to put it back until Dixie has gone to bed, at which time RPTBPMTTBOTH is safely tucked under her arm for the duration of the slumber.

See, only the fellow mothers are impressed with this. Am I right?

So it all boils down to the real reason that I can't have any more kids: my brain is full.

*sniff* What a big boy

So you may have noticed that Charlie does not get mentioned all that much around here. That is mainly because he, well, doesn't really say much. Mamma, Boof and Da are all cute, yes, but lack some of the witty flair that my readers have grown accustomed to.

I spent a good deal of this evening packing away his clothing that he is rapidly outgrowing and getting out the next bigger size. Yes, it is rather laughable to think that I just put away the 6-9 month clothes and dug around for the 9-12s when you think about Charlie being 14.5 months old. But it still makes mommy a little teary and sentimental.

Especially because it seems like I am putting away baby clothes and getting out big boy clothes. These clothes don't have little embroidered and appliqu├ęd puppies and bears. They do not have snaps running from neck to toe. They are not soft and fuzzy. These are the things I put away and have replaced with khakis, Hawaiian shirts and shirts that are either striped, solid or printed with bugs.

It was also a little funny to be getting out hoodies and blanket sleepers in my house with the a/c running and still not stopping the sweat from dripping. I don't know if other people feel this way, but when I am wearing shorts and a tank top, I find it hard to imagine that winter will ever actually come again.

As for Charlie, he decided today to put his foot in firmly with the walking people camp. He has been able to take steps since August, but hasn't really seemed all that impressed with what walking can do for him. Today, however, he has walked across the room several times and actually made some attempts to play games with his sisters while on his feet.

He walks like he's had way too much to drink, but I figure I should cut the boy some slack. He does have only six teeth, after all.

There is also this notion in parenting that babies should be off the bottle with no looking back by the magical age of 1. This is all well and good for those whose babies were actually capable of drinking in any other fashion at that point. Charlie at 12 months, despite having worked on the sippy concept and having made attempts with every known type of cup on the market for six solid months, has just recently been able to get the fluid from inside the cup to inside his body. Well, today he started taking more than just juice from the sippy and was down to just the night time bottle.

I guess my Little Boofers is growing up.


Oma Swears that this Is NOT True

Melody: Mommy, why do you stop at red lights?
Mommy: Because that's what you're supposed to do.
Melody: But Oma doesn't. She speeds up and goes faster, faster, faster!


When Dixie came to live with us last January, the first month was like a honeymoon. The girls played together happily, endlessly, perfectly. After the novelty wore off and Dixie realized that she was in for the long haul, she with through a rough patch that I like to refer to as the "Can I be bad enough that you let me go back home to grandma" stage.

Melody also had her moments where she found this to be officially Not a Good Idea. They occurred about as frequently as, say, breathing in or out. During the midst of this time, we had the following conversation.

Melody: Mommy, why is Dixie so mean?
Mommy: She's having a hard time. Can you imagine how hard it would be if I went away and you never got to see me again?
Melody: But you can't go away! If you go away, who is going to drive us places?

I guess it is important to know your role, eh?


Someone should start watching these kids

This morning was officially Not Pretty around here.

I work one morning a week at our church. I watch the kids while the mommies have Ladies' Bible Class. I do get paid for this gig, which is cool considering that I supply a considerable number of the children that I am paid to watch. However, being a family of five, it takes us substantially longer to go through a round of illness than it did when there were only three of us. As a result, I have missed the last two Wednesdays with some various combination of sick people at home.

So this morning I awaken, determined to go. As I am making lunches, I feed the cat and fail to place the can on the other side of the baby gate. Charlie's Trouble Sensor instantaneously alerts him to this fact, and off he goes. I see this, but I am in the middle of something else and, being the third child, I am just glad it is the cat's food dish and not the litter box for once.

Evidently canned cat food is not as delightful as dry, because Charlie proceeds to vomit all over himself. Great.

I clean him up, clean up the floor, and go back to making lunch. I pause periodically to toss churnks of food at the breakfast-seeking children. I get Charlie strapped into his high chair, his bib is on, his tray is snapped into place and food is set out. Silly me--I think this is sufficient. I go into my room to change.

Just as I am stark-naked and grabbing my pants off their hanger I hear THUNK. pause. wail. Charlie Houdini has escaped and landed face-first on the floor. I scoop up my baby, retreat to the couch, and hold his sobbing baby body.

Dixie: Mommy, why are you naked?
Melody: Why is Charlie crying?
D: Grown ups are not supposed to be naked.
M: Can you put this dress on Belle?
D: Does Charlie know that you are naked?
M: But mommy! I can't put the dress on my self. I. Need. Your. Help.
D: Charlie is too loud mommy.
M: Mommy, why won't you help me?

I set down the screaming helpless wounded boy long enough to throw clothes on, grab lunch boxes, turn off lights, and scoop him up to head out the door. I get him buckled into the carseat and am (probably not all that kindly and gently at this point) telling the girls to get into their carseats. Melody does. Dixie is in the back row of the van and pops up behind Melody's head with an old cup of juice and asks her if she wants it.

I tell her that it is old, that she doesn't want it and to get in her seat now. So Dixie drops the juice. Unfortunately, Melody's head happens to be right underneath where Dixie happens to be holding it when she happens to let go of it. Stinking apple juice splashes and cascades down Melody's fluffy dress, the carseat, the bench of the van, and finds its way onto Charlie. Charlie has been wearing these clothes for almost eighteen minutes.

I am already late to a job I haven't been to in two weeks. So I grab some cloth diapers, shove them onto the most drenched spots, and take off. In all the pandemonium, I forget to check out my boy's skull status. He falls asleep in the car, I move him in in the infant carrier, put him in the dark quiet corner of the room and get on with watching the myriad of other children present. This grouping includes one child 6 weeks younger than Charlie who screamed, I kid you not, for 3 hours with no more than a 2 minute pause at a stretch. Quiet was restored only because his mother finally took him away. For all I know, he is still screaming.

At some point in the morning, Charlie awakens. I finally check out his face and discover a very large egg on one corner of his forehead, a bruise on his eye socket and another on his cheek bone, all resulting from the high-chair face-plant. Poor Charlie.

***Halloween Update***

I went to Wal*Mart today and spent $40 on fabric and notions for a Dorothy pinafore, hair ribbons and sash for Dixie and an Ariel's Married Dress for Melody. I cannot believe I just bought 6 yards of fabric to swathe my 25 lb. child in. It should be a complete bear to sew that slippery, shiny stuff.

But when I brought it home and saw Melody's eyes sparkle at the thought of being wrapped and frocked in this 'Fluff and Stuff' it was not as insane an idea after all, to make a wedding dress for a child who is not yet four.

I even ordered an Ariel wig from Disney.com today and threw in a Sebastian the Crab costume for Charlie while I was there. If I get the girls' costumes done in time, I am contemplating making myself an Ursula the Sea Witch get-up.



As part of the Divine Right of being a Stay-at-home-Mommy

I get to make the Halloween costumes. I love to sew, am very creative, but hardly ever get a good chance to anymore, so I am thrilled.

Dixie wants to be Dorothy. Blue plaid pinafore over a white shirt, braids, basket, socks and ruby slippers. I can do that.

To complement her, we will have Charlie the Cowardly Lion, Daddy the Scarecrow (no brain jokes, please!), Melody/Glenda the Good Witch and Mommy, the Wicked Witch of the West. (Please don't ask me why I'm not dressing up this year.)

I figure Melody will enjoy the Glenda gig. She gets to wear the biggest, fanciest, fluffiest dress of her lifetime, shiny shoes, a tiara and carry a magic wand.

No. I figure wrong. Melody wants to be Ariel. But not Mermaid Ariel. No, that would be too easy. She wants to be 'Married Dress Ariel.' That's right--she wants me to sew her a full wedding dress. I offered to make her a seashell bra and a green fin, but this will not do. I offered to make her a red flowing yarn wig. She said something along the lines that that will go really nicely with Ariel's Married Dress, and that she would expect no less.

I have some really impressive sewing skills, and a good bit of time on my hands, but sewing an extensively fluffy wedding dress with a fitted bodice and puff sleeves is beyond how far I am willing to go with this holiday.

Especially since I run full risk of her deciding at 8 minutes till dusk on Oct 31st that she really wants to be Glenda instead.


Sometimes they just know too much

Sundays in October, Dowlan and I are assisting the teacher in 2s and 3s worship, so Dixie, even though she is four, comes along. Otherwise, she would be in church all by herself, which is clearly NOT a good idea.

So we're talking baby Moses. Cool. They hear a story. They play a game. Then they get a little naked baby doll and a little blanket and pretend that this is their baby. They talk about what babies need. They wrap the baby up, the hug the baby, they kiss the baby, they rock it to sleep. Then it is time to feed the baby.

Teacher: Let's give baby a bottle. What do babies drink in their bottle?
Melody: Oil. (Inexplicably, Mel has always referred to formula as oil.)
Teacher: Do babies like to drink their bottles?
Dixie: Oh yes, but they also like to drink chi-chi milk from their mommies' (pointing) these.

Great, kids. Just great. I'm just glad Dixie couldn't get the dress up fast enough to really show her where the milk came from.


And at the zoo today?

Melody: Mommy! That monkey is a boy! It has a penis! Can you see the moneky's penis? Why is that monkey trying to touch the other monkey with his penis?

Sometimes, there is just no good answer.


I had to come back this morning to add that Melody once told me, "I am a girl. I have a chinny-chin-chin. I do not have a penis, or a beard."


Princess Baby Monkey Girl

Melody once had it perfect. She had a Blanklet. She had a Silly Sucky Thing. She had the convenience of diapers 24/7. She had all-day access to Daddy. Mommy, the overbearing rule-maker and authoritarian dictator went to work for 8 hours a day. It was great.

Then, one day, her horrible Mommy decided to play host to a second parasite. 'Decided' actually might not be all that accurate. More like 'experienced further proof that birth control pills lie to you.' The exact details matter not to Melody. The important thing is that she was being replaced as Baby.

Mommy did horrible things to her. Like make her use the potty. Give up the bottle. Take away the Silly Sucky Thing. Restrict the use of Blanklet to only the bed. Oh, and I forgot to describe the horrors of being expected to sleep through the night in an actual bed. Alone. In the Dark.

It only gets worse. Instead of being carried, she walked. Instead of using the tall people as pack mules, she was expected to carry her own things. She was expected to use things like forks and words like 'please' and 'thank you.'

And then, as the Interloper within Mommy's tummy grew, Mommy became confined to the couch for two months. Mommy became distinctly Not Fun and insisted on watching countless hours of Law and Order. This part, however, had some benefits. There was a lot more 'chicken and a playground' (a.k.a. Chick-Fil-A) and a lot fewer vegetables. The whole bedtime thing became a total joke and Melody did as she pleased.

Then it happened. She was shuffled off to James' house for three whole days and only allowed to see Mommy at the hospital. And there was this pink squirmy mewling thing that she insisted upon holding endlessly. See the following photographic evidence:
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To make matters worse, the thing came home and commandeered the lap of mommy. At bedtime one night, Melody claimed that Mommy couldn't read her a book because, "Mommy's lap is full."

Then Daddy went back to work--a phenomena never before known in the life of Melody. She not only had to share mommy, but to relinquish daddy was a horror beyond all horrors. She screamed each day as she left, for an hour each day. She was inconsolable. Sure, Mommy pretended to be fun. Mommy pretended to love her. But if mommy truly loved her, then why did she insist upon dragging that thing everywhere they went?

Fine, Melody said. If you insist on bringing along the baby born from your tummy, then I must have mine too. And Sabrina the Cat came along everywhere (until she was lost in the parking lot between Target and Chick-Fil-A, that is.) Like Charlie, Sabrina was also breastfed.
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To deal with all this, Melody pronounced herself Big Sister. And she really was fine.

But a few months later (five, to be exact) Mommy and Daddy had another Great Idea.
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A big sister. To be fun. To play with. To share with.

Suddenly, Melody wasn't the biggest. She tried being the baby,
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but that job was already filled. What role was left? There was no princess!

So Melody became Princess Baby Monkey Girl. She wears fluffy, fancy dresses every day. She wears tiaras to the grocery store.
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Little Gymnasts

These are from the end of August. Apparently, I had my camera set to 'extra fuzzy.'

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looks far more graceful than
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and Charlie really wants a turn
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The girls, in their ever-present quest for knowledge, have been fascinated by numbers as of late. Every time a number is mentioned, they have to count to that number to see how many it is. They are also making efforts to count to 100, the ultimate number in little girl counting.

So I hear a lot of things like this:

How many minutes am I in time out? One, Two, Three, Four, Five mintues?

How many spankings does my sister get? One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve spankings?

How many months until I get that toy back? One, Two, Three, Four months?

Um. Wait. Those weren't the quotes I was supposed to share. More like things about how many fish fingers, blocks and days until we go to the zoo. Not to mention efforts to count to 100 that only skip about 82 numbers in the middle and end with "One hundred! Mommy, did I count to 100, or did I miss a few in the middle?"

This morning I awoke to Dixie, running into the room for the third or fourth time that day, this time announcing, "Mommy! I counted-ed to Eleventeen!"


Melody will someday have trouble with race relations

Melody is not white. She is yellow. Actually, to hear it from her, she is Lello.

Her hands were covered in blue ink. She washes them, then comes to show me, "Look, mommy! My Lello hands are Lello again!"

Her hair is not blonde, it is Lello. One day, she gets out of the bathtub, looks into the mirror, and breaks down in sobs. "Mommy, why isn't my Lello hair Lello anymore? Where did my Lello go?"

Now, I can answer a lot of questions. For instance, when I get asked "Mommy, why is it dark?"
I can succinctly answer "Because the Earth rotates as it revolves around the sun and requires 24 hours for each rotation. The part of the Earth that we happen to be on happens to be pointing away from the sun right now." If I am asked "Mommy, why is it hot?" I know to blame it on the fact that the earth is at a slight tilt on its rotational axis, which allows for seasons. Since our hemisphere is currently tilted towards the sun, we are experiencing summer.

See? I am prepared for most things. But I had no idea how to tell her where her Lello went and the reassurance that it would return once the hair dried was NOT going over well.

Who can come to the rescue? Who is better at minutae and useless trivia than even Mommy? That's right kids--Oma, who is just a phone call away.

Melody: Oma, where did my Lello go?
Oma: Things change color when they get wet. What color is your shirt?
M: Pink.
O: Get it wet. What color is it now?
M: Pink.
O: But is it darker pink?
M: Yes.
O: See, your hair got darker when it got wet, too.


Now this all occurred over a year ago now. But she still thinks that she is Lello. And some day, some punk kid is going to come along and ruin it for her, and teach her all about how stupid people can be and that makes me sad. Still, I hope that some day she will be filling out college applications and check the box for Other so that she can write in Lello.


Dixie and Titles

One of the funniest things about Dixie is that she doesn't get the concept of a title. Examples:

Mommy, I want to watch "Cinderelly, Cinderelly, Night and Day It's Cinderelly"

Can you please sing "What a lovely little bride you'll make I'm sure you'll look divine things are working out according to my ultimate design soon I'll have that little mermaid and the ocean will be mine ha ha ha ha ha" ? Without even the slightest pause, intonation or implied punctuation.

I want to read "brownbearbrownbearwhatdoyousee-iseearedbirdlookingatme-redbirdredbirdwhatdoyousee . . ."She will recite the entire book, pausing only for breath occasionally, which she hitches quickly and dramatically. When she is finished, I can ask, "Oh, you want to read Brown Bear?" and she will reply, "Yes I want to read 'brownbearbrownbearwhatdoyousee-iseearedbirdlookingatme-redbirdredbirdwhatdoyousee . . .' "


Thanks, Ariel

The Little Mermaid has created a bra-fascination amongst the demographic of girls ages 3-4 in this house. It is just what we needed to continue this obsession with mommy's body once Charlie was weaned. Take this conversation:

Dixie: Are you getting dressed?
Mommy: What do you think? Does it look like I'm getting dressed?*
*by the way--this wasn't sarcastic (shocking, i know!) My means of combatting incessant questions about the obvious is to ask the asker what she thinks about the question and what the answer is.
Dixie: Yes. Mommy, are your bras to hold your chi-chis up or down?
Mommy: Um. Up.
Dixie: Why did Charlie drink all the milk in them?
M: Oh, I guess he was very thirsty.
D: Does your bra keep your chi-chi-s from bothering you?
M: Uhm. Something like that.
Melody: Why do you wear a shirt over your bra?
M: To prevent sudden blindness and traffic accidents.
D: But Ariel NEVER wears a shirt over her bras.
M: Yes, she does when she's a human.
D: Do you wear a shirt over your bras when you're a human?
M: What do you think Dixie?
Dixie skips the question entirely and goes on a 15 minute tirade about bras and mermaids that I was laughing too hard to catch most of.


Apparently my illness is stirring up the ranks

Dixie: Mommy, how old are you going to be when you die?
Mommy: Very old. Probably 100.
Dixie, bringing me a calendar: On which day are you going to die? This one?
Mommy: Yes. January 10th.

***days later***

Melody: Mommy, when you die, do I get a new mommy?
Mommy: Yes, maybe. But she'll be a stepmother, and probably wicked.
Melody: But then I can be Cinderella?
Mommy: Yes. Lots of cleaning and misery. And I feel that I should warn you that there is a severe shortage of fairy godmothers in the Central Texas Region. They aren't finding all that many handsome princes or glass slippers, either.
Melody: But why?
Mommy: It is like most of the other jobs--NAFTA moved them all south of the border. Between that and the unionization of sewing mice, well, I just wouldn't count on it working out for you like it did for her.


I'm calling in sick today

and am hoping to be able to type tomorrow without snotting on the keyboard.


The inevitable doom has come to pass . . .

I put it off as long as I could, but I knew that, once the third child arrived, it would be inevitable.

Tonight I got an 03 Dodge Grand Caravan with 62k miles on it for 9k. That's right, kid's--I'm a Minivan Mama. Her name is Pennyvan, the way Mel says it, so she'll likely go by Penny. She's silver with grey interior, has the bench in the middle and seats three in the back. Great a/c and rear air.No gizmos--no automatic doors (sniff) no keyless entry (sigh) and no DVD player (thank the Lord Jesus). Just a good, solid van with low mileage and NO PAYMENTS!

So I feel like things are looking up. As of yesterday, we all have health insurance. I was particularly glad about this when I went to look in on the kids while chopping up veggies for fajitas only to find Dixie giving Charlie the last of the almost-new bottle of Triaminic. According to Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) the amount wasn't too much for his 19 lb. body to process and, as long as there was no fever, tremors or aggressive behavior, he was likely fine and didn't need to go to the ER. He was completely, thoroughly decongested to boot.

So other than the 3rd attempt this week on Charlie's young life, things are looking up. I have a new cell phone to replace the lost one, a van to replace the wrecked car, good health insurance for everyone, a really lovely raise for Dowlan, and I can once again breathe out of both nostrils. My a/c and washer/dryer are working.

And I made some incredibly good pork chops for dinner.

I'd like to register a complaint

Melody: Dixie hit me back harder
Dowlan: So you hit your sister?
M: Yes, but I just hurt her a little bit. She hit me back hard. And two times.