Thursday, October 28, 2010

F-Bombs and Other Disasters

I knew it would happen one day. I have a pretty bad mouth myself, so I shouldn't have been so shocked when Marley said her first swear word.

"Christine!" My mom (let's just call her Margaret) yelled, as she marched into my kitchen. "I was playing with Marley in her room and she just said the F-word!"

"Marley said f-ck?'" I asked, bewildered. Really? I thought I had cleaned up my act a little bit. Except for this morning on the way to preschool, when some dumbass pulled out in front of me, resulting in some swearing and a double pump of the finger. "Are you sure?"

"Well, actually, she said f-cky," said Margaret.

"F-cky? With a 'y'? That's not even a word," I declared.

"I know, but Marley said it, and she said it like she knew it was a bad word. She knew." Margaret wasn't backing down.

Hmm. Yes, I've been known to release more than my fair share of expletives. Prime opportunities include (but are not limited to)
-interactions with other drivers on California roadways (as mentioned above)
-accidents posing great physical harm, ie, ramming my toe into the highchair. Mother f-cker!
-accidents creating messes of a large nature, ie, knocking over a full glass of wine. Holy sh-tballs!
-heated conversations with my husband. The house IS clean! I just vacumed! What the f-ck are you talking about?

Clearly, the world offers up a multitude of prime opportunties to engage in the colorful use of language. Among adults. Ahem.

I decided to go straight to the source.

"Marley, did you say f-cky?" I asked, holding her little hands in mine. She looked up at me with a big smile, and said, "Yes Mamma! F-cky!"


I decided to let it pass, and hope that it didn't happen again. But around dinnertime, Marley was jumping up and down in the kitchen, yelling "F-cky, f-cky!"

Then I saw what she was pointing at. The DVD of Disney's Princess and the Frog. She was saying froggy.

"See froggy! See froggy!" she said. She wanted to watch the DVD. So you see, of course my little angel wasn't using the f-word. Now I'll just have to call my mom.

Have any of your kids dropped f-bombs or other bad words? How did you handle it?

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Sharp-Toothed Snail

Marley has a terrible habit. She picks her nose. A lot.

I feel like every time I see her, she's got one or more fingers jammed up her nose, probing for the perfect specimen.

She picks her nose at dance class. She picks her nose at preschool. She picks her nose at the park. She picks her nose in her high chair. She even picks her nose while running, eating, crying, or going down the slide. (A true multi-tasker.)

I tried to get her to stop, but nothing worked! I yelled, "NO!," sent her to time out, I even smacked her hand.

Then, I stumbled upon the perfect remedy. It's actually a poem called "Warning" by Shel Silverstein.


Inside everybody's nose
There lives a sharp-toothed snail.
So if you stick your finger in,
He may bite off your nail.
Stick it further inside,
And he may bite your ring off.
Stick it all the way,
and he might bite the whole darn thing off.
-Shel Silverstein

Now whenever she reaches for her nose, I yell, "SNAIL!" and she stops.

Naturally, now Marley is totally obsessed with the elusive sharp-toothed snail. She brings me the book five times a day and says, "SNAIL, Momma! Read SNAIL please!" She asks me to look up her nose to see if I can find the snail.

"Oh, he's up there alright," I'll answer, squinting into her nose. "Let's see if he's hungry," I'll say, and put my finger by her nose.

"No Momma, don't!" Marley cries. "The SNAIL!"

In addition to helping correct Marley's bad habit, it's helping me as well. God forbid I ever pick or scratch my nose in her presence. "SNAIL MOMMA DON'T THE SNAAIILLL!" She'll yell.

Ahh, the power of the written word!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Car, the Sh-t Mobile

It's true. I'm not exactly a neat freak. In fact, some people (like my husband, my dad, former roomates, good friends, and some acquaintances) would call me downright messy.

Thing is, I think I've really cleaned up my act. Once I had Marley, I found that my whole life orbited in a spastic, semi-chaotic state, so I had to create some order. And once you have a kid, you have to clean your house, otherwise it's just not sanitary.

I now have an arsenal of cleaning supplies under the sink, and wage war on dust and clutter on a regular basis. While our condo doesn't always sparkle, I like to think of it as "fresh," "relaxed," and "relatively uncluttered" considering we reside with a two-year-old.

And then there's my car.

I don't know what it is, but I just can't manage to keep my damn car clean. When I put Marley into her carseat this morning for dance class, I took a cursory look at the back seat and was horrifed.

I spied a bevy of half-eaten crackers, an apple core, and spoon with Kraft mac-n-cheese stuck on it. (No, we don't eat mac-n-cheese in the car. How the spoon got there will remain a mystery.)

I also found some other nice little treasures, in no particular order:

-an old library book with half the cover missing (Ahem)
-a beach bucket with sand in it
-two packages of hot sauce from Taco Bell
-a size 4 diaper (Marley's been in size 5 for months)
-a pair of panties (Marley's, not mine)
-a sippy cup with old juice in it
-a headless Barbie
-A TARGET receipt from last December
-A CD called "Summer 2004."
-An old piece of string cheese.


What is the weirdest thing you've found in your car?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why Does My Husband Want me to Dress Like a Stripper?

Exhibit A.

This is just the sort of classy ensemble my husband will point out in a store window. Or worse, on a live human. "Wow, what a hot dress!" he'll say. "You should wear something like that!"

Last week, we were in Vegas all of two hours before it happened. Ian spies a super slutty dress in a store window, and is mesmerized.

"Wow, what a hot dress," he says. "You should get it!"

Sure, it's flattering Ian thinks I can pull off a dress like that. But I can't. (And shouldn't.) Besides, I already dress up like a slut one day out of the's called HALLOWEEN.

And it's not like I'm a nun! I've been known to rock some pretty short skirts. And back when I had nice boobs, before Marley sucked the life out of them, I was always showing off my cleavage.

Back to the dress.

"Um, that's a little skimpy," I reply.

"But we're in Vegas," he protests. It's true. We are in Vegas. But we are on a family vacation in Vegas. I am pushing my child in a stroller, for Chrissake!

"That dress is ugly," I say.

Case closed.

Anyone else out there have a husband who wants them to dress like a stripper in broad daylight? Please tell me I'm not the only one!

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

While the Cat's Away...

Don't get me wrong. I am always sad when Ian leaves for a business trip. But...sometimes, it's kind of fun, like my own little party! After all, I get to do anything I want! Here are the top 13 things I like to do when Ian leaves town.

1) Don't make the bed. I leave it intentionally messy, like a pillow monster exploded all over it.
2) Eat cold cereal for dinner. With wine, of course.
3) Let animal furballs form in the halls. The vacuum has left the building!
4) Go to Target at night. Something about wheeling Marley through Target after dinner, when everyone else is home hanging out with their families, makes me feel like such a rebel. BADASS!
5) 80s dance party with Marley.
6) Invite other moms to bring their kids over for "happy hour." Make mac-n-cheese for everyone. With wine, of course.
7) Apply scary blue face mask.
8) Watch Devil Wears Prada.
9) Leave all cabinet doors open.
10) Watch reruns of Beverly Hills, 90210 all day. (Only the high school years, of course.)
11) Wear ugly nightgowns around the house.
12) Let Pagoda, white Pekingese, sleep on Ian's side of the bed.
13) Go to bed at 8pm! Wheee!

Good times indeed. the time Ian boards his plane back to San Diego, I am always happy to end the chaos. I am excited to bust out the swiffer, make the bed, do my hair, and fix dinner. And when he walks through the door, I am reminded that I am so lucky to have such a wonderful man in my life...forever.

Ok girls...what do you do when YOUR man leaves town?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Dirty Little Secret

Most people think I'm a pretty laid-back, happy-go-lucky kinda gal. That's true. Except, of course, when it comes to time management. Therein lies my dirty little secret. You see, I'm a SUPER PLANNER.

What is a SUPER PLANNER, you ask? I'll give you an example. I was walking by my neighbor's house the other day. You know, the cool mom with the three little kids. She's hanging out in the front yard, rocking in her porch swing with a glass of ice tea in her hand, watching her kids play in the dirt. She's always doing that, you know. Just sort of swaying in the breeze. I think it's pretty cool.

"Hey Christine!," she calls. "We're heading to the beach later today. You and Marley should come with us!"

I should have been delighted. After all, it was a beautiful day for the beach. Not a cloud in the sky, and barely enough breeze to ruffle Marley's pigtails. But I wasn't delighted. I was appalled. Appalled! Why? Because going to the beach wasn't part of the PLAN.

"Oh, thanks so much!" I reply. "But we have a really busy day. Maybe next time!"

"Oh yeah?" says my neighbor. Clearly, I'm not off the hook. "What are you up to?"

"Well," I respond. "We are going for a little jog, then over to the park. Marley's really into the swings now. Then we're going to the library, because we REALLY need some new books, and I have some old ones to return, and, you know, I don't want to get a fine."

I'm feeling really stupid now, because none of these things are THAT important. I COULD go to the beach and still have time to return the books...but...well...I planned on doing these other things.

"Stop by some other time then," she says. "Just bring Marley over to play. She'll have a blast! Come anytime."

"I will, I will, thanks!" I say, and we are on our way.

Later on, when we're inside the library reading books, I look out the window at the sunny, perfect day. I silently wonder if I'm depriving Marley of a fun day at the beach. I wonder if I'm depriving myself of a fun day at the beach. I vow that in the very near future, I will bring Marley over to my neighbor's house to play. I will be more spontaneous. I will not plan everything, I will let life happen to me!

I guess planning is my nature. It's my way of keeping order out of chaos. I have my special black day planner, and every day is carefully planned out. Most of it is fun stuff--Stroller Strides, Marley's dance classes, playdates, the occasional date night or happy hour with the girls. Of course, I also list work-related items, like updating our real estate website, following up with clients, etc.

And then there's the home-related stuff. Every week, I list what I will make for dinner that night. I also list dumb things like WASH HAIR (les I forget) and VACCUM/SWIFFER (because I do forget.) Once a task is completed, I strike thru it with a blue (not black) pen. If a task is eliminated (ie, playdate cancelled) I mark it out with my special dryline whiteout, so it looks like it never existed, and therefore cannot be mourned.

In short, if it's in my planner, it's probably going to happen. And if it's not in my planner, it probably won't happen.

In many ways, managing my time so well enables me to balance a lot of good stuff. I think it helps me be a good mom, hopefully a good wife, run a business, and still have a pretty rockin' social life. But in other just feels so limiting.

Finally, a few days later, I stop by my neighbor's house, unannounced. I'm doing it! I'm coming over for a spontaneous playdate. At first, I am nervous. I hesitate before I ring the bell. Then I hear three pairs of feet charging the door, and Grace, the oldest, announces with a huge smile of delight, "Marley's here to play!"

And that's how it is. My neighbor and I drink iced tea and sit in the porch swing in the afternoon sun. We watch all the kids playing in the dirt. And it is beautiful.

Is anyone else out there SUPER PLANNER like me? How do you remind yourself to just go with the flow, and let things happen?