Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

And Now We Are Ten

Last year, when our oldest turned nine, I agreed to a “Night at the Museum” slumber party. It seemed like it would be a cake walk (small pun intended) compared to the eighth birthday “let’s invite the free world to Pump It Up” throwdown, which followed the seventh birthday “let’s invite the free world to Rollerland West” shindig. Some of our parent friends wanted to hang around for awhile and offered to assist in chauffeuring guests the scant five blocks that stand between our house and IMAX. Such a short drive, but such a loooooong one. It’s amazing how much armpit noisemaking, burping, etc. a nine year-old boy can fit into a two-minute car ride. Then there was the whole fight over who got to sit next to Birthday Child once we arrived at IMAX. The slumber party portion of the evening wasn’t much more fun. I made a mental note after the last guest departed that our slumber party days were over.

Then I lost the note. My father told me once that a goldfish’s power of mental retention is roughly one lap around its bowl. Thus, it passes the treasure chest, thinks, “Hey, a treasure chest,” swims another lap, says, “Hey, a treasure chest,” and on and on ad infinitum – like Tom Hanks in that “Mister Short-Term Memory” skit on Saturday Night Live. (“HEY! TONY RANDALL!”)

Apparently, one lap around my personal goldfish bowl translates into, roughly, 365 days. Every year, I leave my annual “mole biopsy party” swearing that I’ll die of skin cancer before I go back. A year later, I find myself thinking, “I really need to schedule a dermatologist appointment.” Ditto childbirth: after my first (unplanned) C section, I swore I wasn’t going through THAT again . . . but it wasn’t long before I was considering a second one.

So I agreed to a tenth birthday slumber party. And hilarious hijinks ensued. Here’s the blow-by-blow:

Week before party: Stuff bags of party favor LEGOs into treat bags. Count 200 more LEGOs, purchased from the “bulk bin” at the LEGO Store, into one of the tumblers in which they package bulk bin LEGOs at the LEGO Store. Notice that tumbler looks like a martini shaker, but with a LEGO button on the top. Chuckle. Wonder if design is meant to make parents chuckle – and buy more LEGOs. Stuff treat bags into pinata shaped like Darth Vader’s head. Worry that suddenly too-cool-for-school Birthday Child will object to fact that pinata is of the toddler “pull string” variety. World-weary Birthday Child informs me that they market it that way to big kids, “because you only want to tear the bottom out of the pinata – so you can wear it on your head.”

Day before party, 3:00 pm: Birthday Child sees me putting candy LEGOs and LEGO Star Wars figure key chains on turkey pull-apart cupcake cake, and asks, “Wait, is that for me?” Birthday Child begins crying and tells me that he thought cupcake cake was “a fake-out.” Remind him that we celebrated his eighth birthday “Aloha Scooby Doo” party with turkey pull-apart cupcake cakes embellished with icing leis. (Apparently, a turkey pull-apart cupcake cake is my go-to when Birthday Child – born on Thanksgiving Day – selects a party theme that is commercially unavailable.)

3:01 pm: Birthday Child answers: “Yeah, but Mom, we were EIGHT then.”

3:02 pm: Go all attorney on Birthday Child: “So, what you’re telling me is that you all are two years older but somehow LESS MATURE than you were when you were eight? Because no one made tacky comments about your cake when you were eight – so if you think that they’ll be tacky now, then you all must be regressing.”

3:03 pm: Birthday Child glares at me – but concedes the battle.

Morning before party, 9:45 am: Show Birthday Child place cards for party, pieced from scrapbook paper to look like LEGOs, with jokes like: “What did Obi Wan say when his apprentice had trouble mastering chopsticks? ‘Use the fork, Luke.’” Birthday Child rolls eyes, reminds me for umpteenth time that he is TEN. YEARS. OLD.

10:00 am – 4:00 pm: Pick up toys/put up laundry/carefully dust and arrange tchotchkes/vacuum/decorate for party.

4:00 pm: Discover gnatlike insects swarming in vicinity of kitchen sink. Spouse Googles gnat infestations. Google advises spouse that gnatlike insects most assuredly have been attracted by scent of aging fruit. Note that gnats seem to be everywhere in the kitchen except in the vicinity of the three, perfectly-in-their-prime oranges that are sitting on the counter. Remove oranges anyway. Google further advises that ammonia or bleach down the drain will take care of gnatlike insect problem. Confirm suspicion that do not own ammonia or bleach.

4:30 pm: Spouse decides to move Wii to living room and hook up Beatles Rock Band instruments . . . a scant two hours before the party. Carefully dusted and arranged tchotchkes are dumped in pile on sofa to allow for rewiring of TV/DVR/DVD player. Dust gets discharged everywhere.

4:50 pm: Leave for trip to Best Buy and grocery store to purchase LEGO Rock Band (which, Birthday Child advises, must be procured lest party be “TOTALLY RUINED”), a USB hub, ammonia and bleach.

5:00 pm: Fight with Best Buy manager, who assures me that we don’t need a USB hub. Call spouse, who reads blurb from back of Beatles Rock Band carton, advising us that we need a USB hub. Best Buy manager and spouse agree to leave things at a stalemate. Purchase USB hub and party-success-ensuring LEGO Rock Band software.

5:15 pm: Purchase (lemon-scented) ammonia and (linen-scented; who knew?) bleach. Dither over whether to purchase same or different scents. Decide to give self options.

5:30 pm: Stop at Central Market. Find self distracted by orange cherry tomatoes/new line of frozen pizzas/gruyere dessert cheeseballs/etc. Get head back in game and purchase more candy LEGOs. Also orange cherry tomatoes. And a cold coffee/tea beverage that looks like pure caffeine in a bottle.

5:50 pm: Arrive home to discover that several party guests have arrived an hour before published party start date. Not surprised to find spouse still hooking up Rock Band instruments.

5:55 pm: Discover that lemon-scented ammonia still smells 100% “ammonia-y.”

5:56 pm: Discover that gnatlike insects also have taken up occupation over bathroom drains. Abandon fruit theory in favor of hypothesis that plumber’s recent snaking of sewer line out to easement unclogged blockage, created superhighway for gnats. Apologize in my head to the unfairly maligned oranges. Spouse and I agree to plan of aggressive gnat genocide in interest of disrupting breeding cycle. Opt to pour (linen-scented; who knew?) bleach down bathroom drains. Birthday Child drifts by, sniffs and asks if maid came today. Because, evidently, we now associate “the smell of clean” with “not Mom.”

6:00 pm: Granddad arrives with Bruschetta pizzas that did not fit in our freezer and that grandparents graciously agreed to babysit and deliver. Carefully arrange pepperoni slices into grid on square pizzas to resemble oversized LEGOs.

6:10 pm: Spend a minute and a half talking to parent on front porch; discover that pizzas (which have only been in the oven for half of the published cook time) are burning.

6:11 pm: Dispatch spouse to Domino’s to pick up pizza.

6:15 pm: Guests begin playing LEGO Rock Band. Marvel at odds that ALL of Birthday Child’s friends would be tone deaf.

6:16 pm: Two hundredth “dude” is uttered by party guests. (Many “dudes” will follow.) Notice that Birthday Child is introducing newcomers to guests that they don’t know. Pat self on back for not raising total Philistine.

6:20 pm: Ask Little Brother to sign card for Birthday Child. Little Brother immediately opens card and holds up to ear, assuming that all cards are musical. (Same child always asks to see photo immediately after it is taken and is thrown for complete loop when someone explains to him that their camera is not digital.)

6:25 pm: Walk parent outside; hear loud crash. Boys learn the hard way that three people cannot bang on the drum set without things vibrating off of the armoire. Boys spend next five minutes picking up potpourri and returning it to bowl that was wedding present and is, evidently, indestructible.

6:35 pm: Start pouring drinks in anticipation of pizza arrival. Birthday Child comes into kitchen crying, announces that two guests have informed him that he must endure ten “birthday stomach punches” from each. Take guests to task. One mumbles, “I only punched him a little bit.”

6:40 pm: Serve pizza and drinks.

6:40 pm and ten seconds: Little Brother spills drink.

6:45 pm: Party guests compliment joke place cards. Birthday Child takes credit for joke place cards and follows with, “Wait until you see my cake. It’s awesome.”

6:50 pm: Lead guests in “Happy Birthday to You.” Guests add two verses, invoking monkeys, etc.

6:51 pm: Serve cake. Begin to empathize with flight attendants: “Coke, Sprite or Sunkist? Cheese or pepperoni? Yellow cupcake with chocolate icing, yellow cupcake with colored icing, or chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing?”

7:00 pm: Birthday Child opens his gifts . . . in five seconds. Haul includes LEGOs, a Star Wars: The Clone Wars encyclopedia, Air Hogs, many Nerf weapons, clothes and a card with $20. Birthday Child counts money, claims only $19 is accounted for, and asks gifter to explain himself. Missing dollar found in bottom of bag. Reconsider Philistine thing.

7:05 pm: One of clothing items is an Ed Hardy t-shirt. Spouse heard to mutter: “Great – a douchebag starter kit.”

7:06 pm: Accidentally refer to Ed Hardy as “John Hardy,” as in the jewelry designer. More muttering from spouse: “Yeah, that’s a Freudian slip I’d expect from you.”

7:10 pm: Spend ten minutes scrubbing icing out of the crevices of LEGO Star Wars figure key chains with a potato brush.

7:15 pm: Entire party relocates to Connor’s room to build giant LEGO Star Wars: The Clone Wars ship that Mom selected solely because it features Mace Windu and his bad-bohiney purple Light Saber.TM

7:35 pm: Rock Band resumes. Admire Birthday Child’s mediation skills. “Cameron hasn’t gotten to play, so he gets to pick an instrument first. Parker, Garrett gets to be band leader this time.” Re-reassess “not a Philistine” world view.

7:36 pm – 8:15 pm: Reason with Little Brother that Rock Band gets to stay at his house, so he should be generous in allowing guests to play. Find “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” online game to play one on one with Little Brother.

8:16 pm – 9:15 pm: Begin blogging as coping mechanism. Endure sixty five renditions of “Kung Fu Fighting,” “Ghostbusters” and David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.”

9:16 pm: Spouse drifts in from den, asks “How are you holding up?”

9:30 pm: Second wave of guests arrive, fresh from TCU game. Mom not so fresh.

9:45 pm: Stop blogging to videotape Little Brother’s inspired vocal performance of “We Are the Champions.”

10:00 pm: Threaten to send children of good friends back to good friends. Repeatedly.

10:05 pm: Little Brother evicted from Birthday Child’s bedroom. Nature of his transgression: repeated mooning. Consider dropping Little Brother off with good friends’ children as package deal.

10:15 pm: Finally convince guests to collect in one room for pinata thing, because one guest (yup, ONE, darn the luck!) isn’t spending the night, and his parents are en route. Birthday Child threatens to go through with the “pinata on the head” routine. Spouse explains that when he sees a pinata, his natural tendency is to whack it, really hard, with a big stick. Birthday Child rethinks “pinata on the head routine.”

10:20 pm: Dump LEGOs that did not fit into Darth Vader into pile on floor. Guests build LEGO vehicles for awhile.

10:30 pm: Brief respite from craziness ends. Previous rules about not swinging/throwing/destroying things/people/animals apparently totally forgotten.

10:35 pm: Start cleaning/doing dishes/collecting trash to take focus off of craziness. Manage to have a couple of good one-on-one discussions with guests about their new pets, favorite subjects at school, etc. Faith in humanity restored.

10:40 pm: One of conversation partners attempts to re-break Birthday Child’s oh-so-recent broken elbow. Faith in humanity back offline.

10:50 pm: Remember that we never played the “guess how many LEGOs” game. Realize that I never assigned a prize to the game. Decide to use game to raffle off first choice of sleeping arrangements. Guesses range from forty to four hundred. One of the guests (math whiz like Birthday Child, and one-third of Birthday Child’s team that won district history fair) looks at the tumbler and says “200.” Award him the prize, expecting him to call dibs on Birthday Child’s top bunk/Little Brother’s loft (Little Brother is, by now, passed out on couch in den, and plans are to leave him there, as far away from craziness as possible)/couch/leather recliner. Winner calls “floor.”

10:55 pm: Spouse finishes viewing “TIVO delayed” TCU game. Negotiate handoff of “parent in charge” duties.

11:00 pm: Off duty, but still mediating disputes/locating pillows and blankets/fetching beverages.

11:05 pm: Remind spouse of handoff.

11:30 pm: Guest who’s supposed to be going home still on the premises. Too-cool-for-school ten year-olds who Birthday Boy worried would diss a turkey pull-apart cupcake cake have moved on to playing with Little Brother’s Imaginext Batcave and Rescue Heroes.

11:45 pm: Noise level from living room is DEAFENING. Walk to den, ask spouse exactly how he interprets role of being “parent in charge.” Spouse promises to be more “diligent” and “hands on” and closes door to our bedroom, where I have sought refuge.

11:50 pm: Door ALMOST blocks out the sound of what could be swordfighting.

11:55 pm: Decide that eleventh birthday celebration will involve no more than two guests and will be held offsite. Make mental note not to discard mental note.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fall Into Fun

Connor and Parker initially wanted to be Clone Troopers for Halloween. Like most boy costumes, the ones at Super Target were incomplete, so the sticker price was misleading: once you factored in the blaster and other add-on accessories, you're talking about a pretty expensive proposition, particularly when you are multiplying by two! While the boys were evaluating blaster options, I found this Area 51-ish "Alien Commander" costume (all accessories included for $13.99, less 10% because I had an all-day shopping pass) and made them a proposition: if Parker would agree to wear the astronaut flight suit that Santa brought him last year as his Halloween costume, and Connor agreed to the alien getup, I would spring for an alien costume for the dog (Ruby gets into the Halloween spirit!) AND I would buy them a Wii. (Okay, truth be told, the Wii was coming home with us anyway, because Mom and Dad really wanted to get Beatles Rock Band - plus I had the aforementioned 10% pass - but the boys didn't know that, and I why not exploit a teachable moment about budgeting and choices?)

Connor immediately saw this as the opportunity that it was, seized his brother by the shoulders and started shaking him and shouting, "TAKE THE DEAL! TAKE THE DEAL!" (For a minute I thought I had been transported into an episode of "Law and Order.") Parker balked, raising the objection that "Connor gets a new costume, and I don't." (Never mind that he'd never actually worn the astronaut costume in public - apparently, it was the principle of the thing.) I missed the full negotiation that followed, but I do believe that future consideration was offered. Long story short, they went with the astronaut and the alien, and it was kind of fun - Parker particularly enjoyed telling people that he was taking Connor "to President Obama" (because, you know, they always ask for an audience with the leader). Connor enjoyed having a costume that disguised the cast on his broken elbow.

And everyone is enjoying the Wii . . . . Win!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Beauty Blog

So one of my Junior Club departments had its fundraising auction, one of our members donated an obscene quantity of high-end makeup, and Ruth, Robyn and I formed a “makeup syndicate” and purchased it, dividing the spoils thereafter . . . . It’s a testament to our friendship that there was zero squabbling during the divvying – although it didn’t hurt that I have green eyes, Ruth’s are blue and Robyn’s are hazel, and we all tend to gravitate to different shades.

I’ve had a lot of fun playing with my new toys, and I’ve found some definite keepers that I’m adding to my daily repertoire:

Lancome eye shadow in “Vue”: A nice pink-y neutral with a bit of a plummy cast; nice against green eyes.
Philosophy “Bare Your Soul” (peach-pink) cream blush and “Honest” and “True” powder blushes: “Honest” is great for contouring, and “True” blends in nicely over the cream stuff.
MAC “Naked Honey” Lipglass in “Buzz”: Nude with a hint of pink. This may be my new default lip gloss.

Also, some of the avant garde stuff proved to be surprisingly wearable:

MAC “Star Flash” eye shadow in “Fashion Groupie” and “Rated R”: The former is purple, the latter is acid green, and – while I wouldn’t wear either one over the entire eyelid – both of these look pretty fabulous as a liner.
MAC “Veluxe Pearl” eye shadow in “Bright Future”: Wouldn’t have tried a yellow eye shadow on my own in a million years. Glad I did. Very yellow in the pot, but really gorgeous on the eye.
MAC Greasepaint Stick in “Black”: A dark black-purple kohl eyeliner. Maybe not something I will wear every day, but I will be rocking it. A lot.
Benefit “Almost Famous” lip gloss: Rosy bronze with amber bronze glitter. Watermelon-flavored, a little on the grainy side – like a watermelon, come to think of it. Color, shine and flavor make up for the grit.
MAC “Style Warrior” lipstick in “Purple Rite”: A wearable purple (particularly pretty with “Blackware” over it; see below). The “Style Warrior” collection has great packaging, too – bronze and gold exterior, zebra-striped interior.
MAC Style Black Glimmerglass “Blackware”: Gray/black-tinged gloss. Looks plum when you put it on. Seriously, I swear. Major shine. LOVE THIS PRODUCT!
MAC “Style Warrior” nail lacquer in “Mercenary”: Described as a “frosted blackened bronze,” and that’s an excellent description. I don’t do color on my fingers, and I can’t see myself ever wearing a true black polish on my toes, but this is pretty edgy without going over.

While I’m in review mode, here are my other current product obsessions:

Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Mask: Gel mask with bitter orange, hops, rosemary and horsetail. Can be used on the eye area. Recommended by an aesthetician at Perfect Touch Spa.
Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner: Alcohol-free. Contains allantoin, a compound found in comfrey root that is known to be a bacteria inhibitor.
Dermalogica Gentle Soothing Booster: When put under moisturizer, reduces irritation and redness while adding to skin’s hydration.
Lancome Primordiale Skin Recharge, Absolue Premium Bx and Absolue Night Premium Bx: Love these moisturizers. REALLY love the way that they smell!
Blue Q Boss Lady SPF 18 Honeysuckle Nectar Lip Balm: Delish. Put it on morning and night. Gift to me from Robyn, who presented it as a “just because” present along with a koozie emblazoned with “Stressed Ladies Unwinding Together” – and the accompanying acronym.
Lancome Cils Booster XL and Hypnose Black: Great lash conditioner and mascara combo. I get the same level of “Are those your real lashes?” comments with these two as I do with Diorshow.
Anything J. R. Watkins: Thanks to the same auction, I have added to my Watkins collection the lemon oil (so invigorating!) and the lavender hand and cuticle salve. Thumbs up to both. (Ooh, bad pun.)
Aveda Beautifying Composition Moisturizing Oil: Rosemary and bergamot – yum! I work this into the ends of my hair after blow-drying to lock in moisture, but you can also use it in the bathtub or massage it into your temples. I’m thinking of layering it over the lemon oil as a fragrance?
Van Cleef & Arpels “Feerie” Fragrance: Violets, blackcurrant, Italian mandarin, Bulgarian rose, Egyptian jasmine and iris butter. I have no idea how one gets butter from irises, but the result is spectacular. And the bottle is a work of art. I stalked this perfume for a year before I broke down and purchased it. Worth. Every. Penny.

The Rants

The evening started out GREAT. Things are busy at work (a very good thing, given the current economy), and in addition to having lots to do for current clients I have brought in several new ones over the past couple of weeks, which is always a good feeling. (“Socially useful” and “fully employed” – both high on my list of turn-ons.) Saw Marjorie Bellomy, Hair Goddess, after lunch and received multiple compliments on my cute bob (went with Mena Suvari’s bangs this time in lieu of Katie Holmes) and gradually darkening color. Received phone call from husband that Connor’s physical therapist reports progress on the “elbow-returning-to-normal” front and – oh – Connor also won the fourth grade division at the district History Fair. (Not at all surprising, as a scheduling conflict prevented us from actually attending .)

We talked about going somewhere for a celebratory dinner, but Uncle Alex and Aunt Dahna had dropped off Wii games for both boys’ birthdays, along with a belated birthday gift for Mom (it’s okay – I still owe Dahna her present from January). Bath salts, body wash, lotion and body splash, full of grapefruit-y and bitter orange-y goodness! Boys instantly requested a change in plans – PIZZA AND WII PARTY! – and I gleefully headed off for a rare Friday night tub soak. (Love those rare occasions when what they want and what I want coincide.)

Daddy went off to forage for pizza. (He’s anti-delivery. LONG story.) Mom tried the first of two crazy-dark and (for me) quite subversive and extreme MAC nail polishes with edgy names, acquired as part of a major makeup score at the Benessere auction. Discovered that I am not “Seriously Hip” but – apparently – I AM “Mercenary.”

That’s when the bottom dropped out of Hades.

Parker was enjoying playing his LEGO Batman game “Parker-style,” blowing up everything in sight and cackling gleefully, with no thought given to racking up any actual points. When he ran out of inanimate objects and villains to blow up, he set out to blow up Robin. This did not sit well with law-and-order big brother, who believes that rules are meant to be slavishly adhered to. If the object of the game is X, you had better accomplish X, notwithstanding the fact that you are having a HECK of a good time doing Y. Because, you know, we don’t play games to have fun. (Oh, wait . . . .)

So Connor starts his running commentary: “GREAT, Parker. 1.2% efficiency. That’s just AMAZING. By the way, you said that you were going to play for ten minutes, and it’s been twenty. Way to follow through on your promise.” Yeah, at nine-going-on-ten, we have the jaded, passive-aggressive act down pat. Then the Wii signaled that the remote needed new batteries, and Connor pushed the pause button on the box and went off in search of double A’s. Pushing pause did. NOT. SIT. WELL. WITH. PARKER. The next part was a blur, but there was some wrestling, a whole lot of screaming, and Connor surfaced from the rugby scrum and half-cried, half-screamed:

“Mom, can I break his legs?”


“PLEASE, can I break his legs?”


“Please, MAY I break his legs?”

“It’s not a matter of how you are phrasing the question. You may not break your brother’s legs.” (Note how I skirted the issue of whether he COULD break his legs; given how easily limbs seem to break around here, I’m fairly sure that the deed is doable.)

I was then regaled with the laundry list of grievances: “He hit me. Then he threw a granola bar at me. IN MY FACE. Then he called me a name. Then he bit me.” Okay, okay. I get it.

I advised Parker that he needed to go to his room and wait for his dad to return. (I estimated that Dad would be walking in the door shortly – not realizing that Pizza Hut had screwed up our order. He wasn’t delayed by much – maybe five minutes – but under the circumstances, it was a pretty LONG five minutes.) Mister Five-Going-On-Fifteen started in on one of his patented teenager-ish rants:

“I want to move to a NEW family, because THIS family doesn't LOVE ME. You don’t want to give me my OWN LIFE. You just want to BREAK MY HEART. If I go to my room, I could DISAPPEAR. I might be LOST, or KIDNAPPED, or in BIG TROUBLE, or . . . or DISAPPEARED. And who’s going to be on the lookout for me? Nobody. NOBODY will be on the lookout for me. Because nobody cares about me. NO. BODY.”

Let me assure you: this is a condensed version. I had just turned on my laptop when the rant began, and because I wanted to (1) keep myself from reacting inappropriately (by screaming, or – more likely – by busting a gut laughing) and (2) share the rant verbatim with Daddy when he returned, I started typing out the rant in real time – like I was taking dictation. But he was going too fast, and I got behind, so mid-rant I interrupted him:

“I’m sorry. What did you say about your heart? That we’re breaking it, or that it’s already broken?”

Mister Red-Faced Ball of Fury stilled to a stop. “Are you writing down what I’m saying?”

“Well, yeah. I might blog it later.”

In the “you learn something every day” category: more powerful than threats of spankings or time-outs, apparently the threat of having your rant BLOGGED TO THE PUBLIC BY YOUR MOTHER is the end-all, be-all of threatened punishments.

“Mom, NO! STOP TYPING! And you’re saying it WRONG. I didn’t say ANYTHING about my HEART! NOTH. ING.”

At this point, he started manhandling “Mr. Pumpkin Legs.” Mr. Pumpkin Legs is an oversized, pumpkin-shaped papier-mache treat bucket standing about two feet tall on green-and-yellow striped witch legs and black witch shoes. (Okay, so “Mr.” technically is a “Mrs.” – them ain’t warlock shoes – but for some reason we have assigned "him" the male gender.) The pumpkin part bears the slogan “Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet” across the front. Mr. Pumpkin Legs was purchased at Super Target several years ago (when Connor was a toddler) and holds a metric ton of candy. Mr. Pumpkin Legs is awesome and has survived MULTIPLE HALLOWEENS – until Parker focused his attention on him and made it his mission to tear him apart like the sort-of-pinata that he is. After Halloween, the now-empty MPL was relegated to a corner pending his return to the carriage house along with the rest of the Halloween decorations that Mom is SLOOOOOOOWLY taking down. (Hey, there’s a lot of them. I have to pace myself.) MPL stayed in the corner for maybe a nanosecond before Parker appropriated him and started torturing him – leaning on him, tipping him on his side and standing on his fairly fragile legs, carrying him around, upside-down, on Parker’s head, etc. I have warned Parker multiple times that he’s going to be the undoing of MPL, and I swear that –while some of his fiddling with MPL is of the unconscious, “it’s there and I can’t seem to stop touching it” variety – tonight’s bout of manhandling was 100% in retaliation against my threatened blogging.

So I took a page from passive-aggressive big brother: “Okay, so I guess I might as well take Mr. Pumpkin Legs out to the trash, because it’s clear that he’s going to end up there eventually.”

The inevitable Parker response (remember, we’re still ranting):

“You just don’t want to give people candy. So, FINE. DON’T give people candy. People just WON’T. HAVE. CANDY. Connor and I will have candy, because we’ll go out and get some, but you guys won’t get ANY. Because we WON’T share with YOU, and you will have. NO. CANDY. Because you won’t have a place to PUT the candy. And you won’t have a place to put candy for OTHER PEOPLE, EITHER. So, THERE.”

Does Guinness publish a record for suppressing inappropriate laughter? Because I swear I hold the title. I just kept typing.

Dad arrived at home, the ranter ultimately lost steam, torturing Mr. Pumpkin Legs was abandoned in favor of pizza consumption, batteries were located, and, at press time, big brother has control of the Wii, little brother is watching him play “Star Wars, The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels” (funny game – CGI Jedis talking sci fi geek smack to CGI Sith lords), and all is right in Mudville. Until someone breathes wrong around the five year-old, and a new rant commences.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mother of the Year

Trying to pick what my submission for M.O.T.Y. is going to be . . . . (You know, like the "For your consideration" clips that the studios send out to all of the Academy voters.) So very many possible submissions to choose from these days! Among the front runners:

1) Nine year-old won his school's history fair (with a little help from Dad on the typing side, since we're still dealing with a cast, and a little visual design assistance from Mom - but the concept and research were his). Just discovered that the district judging and awards are scheduled for this Thursday . . . problem being that one of my Junior Woman's Club departments is having its auction fundraiser that evening, and Dad is committed to being the auctioneer. So option #1 is to staff out history fair night to a babysitter (although we don't actually have a babysitter lined up at press time, SOOOOOOOOO . . . ); option #2 is to skip history fair night, on the theory that - knowing Connor - if he attends and does not win, he will complain mercilessly about the evening being a colossal waste of his time, but if he finds out that he won after the fact, he might be pleasantly surprised and pleased? No doubt either option will be overlaid with a (pick one) trip to Purple Cow/trip to Putt-Putt/trip to Gamestop.

2) Did such a good job of planning aforementioned nine year-old's LEGO Star Wars-themed tenth birthday party in my head that I failed to actually implement any part of said plan in the real world. Realized last night that party date is fast approaching, and I had yet to take any action in terms of inviting (theoretical) guests.

Invitation Plan A was to build one of Connor's LEGO Star Wars ships and photograph a scene with the little droids coming down the back ramp, carrying a birthday candle on their shoulders. (NOT an original idea – totally stole it from an Internet site.) We were going to glue the pictures onto cardstock, and I downloaded a Star Wars font to my computer (okay, so I did that much!), with the intent of printing out text for the back of the card that would scrolldown the page a la the opening of Star Wars #4 (which I consider #1, because I actually saw it in the theater the first go-round in 1977 - let's just agree to call it "A New Hope" and move on). You know: "LONG, LONG AGO, IN A GALAXY NOT SO FAR AWAY,CONNOR SCOTT WAS BORN . . . ." Something to that effect.

I was going to include a joke, too:

How did Obi-Wan know what Darth Vader was getting for his birthday?
He felt his presents.

So what am I actually sending out? Something that I commissioned a very nice lady in another state to create and E-MAIL to me, and for which I paid with PAYPAL. Nothing like the nice, homey touch, huh?

The good news is that my child is about to turn ten, and when I told him that we were going with Plan B for the invites, he advised me that he doesn’t care if we do invites at all – he’s perfectly capable of inviting people in person. “Or, you know, Mom, you could just call or e-mail people.” Once upon a time, I was afraid that when we got to the point where he didn’t care about his invitations, I might get all weepy over the fact that he’s growing up. Nope, no weeping – just pure joy.
I do have to say that the ticket-style invitations kind of rock - much cooler than what I would have pulled together. And I have to give it up for Jennifer, proprietress of the "Baby Bundles Boutique" eBay storefront. Ordered the invites (snippet below) quite late last night, had a proof in my inbox before lunch, and the Montgomery Plaza Super Target is printing those bad boys as we speak:

Oh, and because we had accumulated purchasing credits through eBay or Paypal (not sure how, but confident that my husband's "enthusiastic" eBay patronage is being rewarded - we have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy re: his eBay obsession!), one of those giants of the Internet paid my tab with Jennifer - I only have to pay for the cost of the one-hour printing.

Concerned that this "phone-in parenting" thing might get addicting . . . . It certainly is convenient!