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Archive for March, 2008

My Birthday Card

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It was 3/20…known more importantly as the First Day of Spring…

The very best part of this was seeing my husband’s face after he took them off to make this…many hours later. He looked like he’d been hit by a bus–the background story of this clever montage of loving, happy children involved a lot of crying, running away, refusals to participate, collapsing on the ground, and general crankiness. (And that was just the dad–imagine how the children were behaving. Ha, ha.) But out of all of that uncooperative nastiness… Who would have guessed? (Oh, yeah, basically anyone with a small child in her or his life.)

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Trying to get my kids to pick up their toys and put them in the basket usually involves various manipulations: “How many can you put away in the time I count to ten?!” “Who can put the books away the fastest?” and, the unfortunate, “I swear, I will throw all of these out in five seconds if you don’t put them away–here I am going to get a trash bag! Seriously, here I go! I’ll do it!”

But when they saw me scrubbing the kitchen molding with a toothbrush, you would have thought that I was eating fistfuls of jellybeans. “Please, me do that?!” “Mine, mine?” and “Can I help? Can I have a toothbrush? Can I do this part, too? Look at how clean I got this!” And the next day: “Can we clean with toothbrushes again?! Please?!”

Damn right you can…but do you know how weird you guys are?

And two little vacuum cleaners have whipped these children into a daily cleaning frenzy. The dog doesn’t even have time to coat the kitchen floor with fur since these guys have started their vacuuming obsession.

Not that I don’t love this…but I still think they’re weird.

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Although…not really. It’s remarkable how sometimes I see something as a chore while they see an interesting task–pulling weeds, washing the car, picking up sticks from the lawn… I’m really buying into the “practical life” part of the Montessori school that Martin will go to next year after watching them.

I vaguely remember thinking how cute the flashing-light-colorful-plastic toys were when Martin was a baby until he showed me that they might interest him for a minute, but a shovel and some dirt, some soapy water–or a vacuum cleaner–is where it’s at.

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Quirks? What Quirks?

You pegged us, bluemilk–we’ve got quirks. Thanks for tagging me for this meme. I should be writing down my kids’ quirks all the time–I think I’ll never forget this stuff, but then I do…

Right now, our quirkiness includes…

1. Chris says “crocogator” for crocodile and for alligator. Crocodiles are discussed ad nauseum in our house, and never once have I heard him say anything but crocogator. I use the word myself without thinking sometimes…

2. The reason we talk about crocodiles so much is that Martin fancies himself a “creature adventurer.” Every day, he dresses himself in “creature-adventuring” gear; he’ll change to everyday clothes before we go somewhere, and as soon as we come in the back door, he steps into the bathroom to quick-change back to creature-adventurer. A creature-adventuring outfit includes animal-themed shorts and shirts, a giant backpack, creature-adventuring sandals, and often, flippers and a diving mask. Flashlights, sunglasses, nets, a raincoat, and/or head lamps often complete the look.

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*Creature-adventure is a term coined by his creature-adventuring heroes–Martin and Chris Kratt of PBS’s Zooboomafoo and their Be the Creature DVD. And I guess this is an insight into one of my quirks–I have either named my children after Martin and Chris Kratt, or I have commandeered their names for my kids’ blog-names…you decide…

3. Martin vehemently refuses balloons whenever one if offered–then explains that he’s concerned an animal will eat it and choke.

4. Martin’s animal obsession and Chris’ car obsession clash when we’re in the car; Chris yells, “Go cars!” at the passing vehicles, but then Martin yells, “Go animals!” and glares at Chris. An increasingly hostile shouting match breaks out: “Go CARS!” “Go ANIMALS!” They usually wear themselves out; I’m still too dumbfounded by how weird this is to intervene.

5. They both want to wear their boots all the time. All the time. Shorts, t-shirts…and boots. Pajamas…and boots. 90 degrees out? Boots.

6. Martin considers poachers to be responsible for all of the evil in this world. If he sees a truck go by filled with logs–poachers are killing trees. A plastic bottle floating in the pond means that poachers have been littering…

I love hearing about kids’ quirks. I’m going to ask….Radical Mama, Up Popped a Fox, and not that I don’t love my kids…if they’d care to do this. I hope so, because I know we’ll enjoy more stories about hairy butts, cake-salad, and swearing three year olds…(you know who you are!).

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Look! B00bs!

A fun movie–fast-paced action, clever twists, entertaining acting, even a couple thoughtful social commentaries woven in…

And then, an inexplicable scene where the two detectives–one in particular–become so impressed by a witness’ breasts that the entire film disintegrates into a series of Beavis and Butthead moments of, essentially: “Heh, heh, look at her b00bs!” as he stares at her chest. Huh?

I will never get used to idiotic and exploitative scenes involving women in films…and television and advertising… I’m anywhere from affronted to outraged, depending on the situation and its context. In this case, there was a thin reference to the possibility that the bank heist perpetrators might be distinguished from the victims by noting body shape; at least, that would have been the excuse for the staring-at-her-boobs moment, but it doesn’t hold up. It also pretended to be humorous, but it wasn’t. And I’m not above finding humor in even stupid body part jokes, believe me. But it wasn’t there. We tried to figure out how this scene might be less distasteful than it was (Hmm, we must have missed something...), and I was hoping we could, but no; I’m convinced that excuses aside, it was simply yet another shameless, degrading moment for a female character in a film.

I don’t get it.

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I was sitting with my kids in the cafe area of our grocery store the other day. Two women came up the steps, and I noticed them survey the crowded area, then make their way to a table–one stopped by our table first and leaned over to me to say, kindly: “Hello there…did you by chance leave your wallet at the check-out?”

“Probably, and most likely my keys, too, knowing me,” I said, laughing, as I checked my bag, but I had both.

“Well, I’m sorry to bother you, but when I saw you with the kids, well, I know what that’s like,” she said, with a nice smile, and joined her friend again.

I felt a sudden surge of surprise and appreciation–she did not imply that I was the most harried one in the cafe, just a simple acknowledgment that I perhaps had my hands full in a way she understood and was a likely candidate for leaving my keys behind.  In fact, I looked remarkably un-harried: Before she walked up, I had just been thinking that I needed to leave soon because of the almost eerie way my children were being so still and quiet while eating in an exciting environment–this couldn’t last.  (They even had their napkins on their laps–Martin because he thinks it’s funny, and Chris because Martin did it.)

This woman has probably already forgotten that moment of random kindness, but to me, she makes people who might be trolling through supermarkets scowling and judging my “spawn” fizzle up and disappear right out of my consciousness.

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I was quite sick this morning. So as I am literally getting sick, this is what I hear:

“Mom, can I have some grapes now?”

“Mom? Grapes? Me, too!” I feel a tug on my shirt. A more insistent tug.

Then the computer keys start getting pounded.

Then I hear papers ripping.

I’m helpless–but only for seconds. They seem to know I am helpless. More papers rip. More fervent computer keyboard pounding.

Then they’re both behind me, doing something to the back of my pants. What the hell are they doing? I hear: “Tail! Tail!” They scamper away.

They’ve accomplished so much in these seconds, and when I finally straighten up and turn around, I see two little boys holding hands, spinning in a circle, singing Ring Around the Rosy. The picture of suspicious innocence. And I have a mylar balloon floating out of the back of my pants.

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