Monday, April 30, 2007

My, My, MPI

Okay, fine. Maybe you always drink responsibly and have never polished off an entire bottle of cheap champagne by yourself because you thought it would be lovely to have berries and bubbly on a Saturday afternoon when your kids are napping, but your husband says it “tastes bitter” to him so you’re all “woo hoo, more for me,” and before you know it everything he says is reeeeally funny and charming, and then at your friend’s you drop an entire roll of paper towels into the sink.

Fine, you’ve never done that.

Um, me either.

[furtively glances about]

So then. Uhhh. . . New Subject!

Have you ever woken up with a strange, unexplained pain somewhere? In college we called them MPIs (Mystery Party Injuries) when you found some bruise on your shoulder you couldn’t remember getting, or when you vaguely recalled bashing your foot against something but it didn’t hurt very much at the time (after a half a pitcher of Bud Light) but now you can’t put any weight on it.

The knuckle on my right ring finger started hurting Sunday morning. Do you think I’m developing arthritis?

Wait, maybe this isn’t a new subject after all.

Here are some injuries I can explain:

1. Bump pointed to something on the walk to Aunt Bob’s, and while looking at it I clipped his ankle hard enough to take off his shoe. He limped behind me and the stroller the rest of the way.

2. I tripped coming up the stairs last night while taking out the recycling. I landed with my full body weight on my left arm against the edge of the stair. For a minute, I was sure I had broken my ulna.

Come to think of it, these things are all related. I was operating the stroller after the cheap champagne and before dropping a whole roll of paper towels in the sink. And the recycling was full because of an empty bottle of cheap champagne.

That does it. From now on, only expensive champagne for me.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Suck It, Sarlacc

I got stuck in the fucking foam pit again.

God I'm dumb.

Remember how I warned Bump not to go into the Sarlacc Foam Pit?

Guess who took Lumpyhead to gymnastics class today? And guess what happened at foam pit time. Again.

At least we were both dressed correctly.

I don't know what I was thinking, other than hoping to prove that while yes, I had trouble getting out of the foam pit last time, it was because of the jeans and I'm not a feeble dork.

Turns out I'm just a dimwit who can't learn from experience.

[Bang head on wall] Ow. [Bang head on wall] Ow. [Bang] Ow. [Bang] Ow.

Curse you, Foam Pit!

[Shakes fist]

[Is instantly horrified by the accompanying wobbling of arm flab]

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Everything in Moderation

Hypothetical: Let’s say you have a friend who has taken up a new hobby.

Let’s say it is golf.

He picked up the game recently, and now he is completely obsessed. He spends an hour at the driving range every day before work, juggling responsibilties and having a completely hectic morning because of it.

He plays a round after work, so is never available for happy hours or other socializing. He cuts out of late meetings right at quitting time so he can get to the course in time. He has even taken a second job at a pro shop where he works on the weekends and late into the night - doing inventory and cleaning the bathrooms - in order to get rebates on the best equipment. He occasionally shows up at very special events, but only if he is given enough notice and can find someone to take his shift at the shop.

He can’t hold a conversation without mentioning golf. He talks non-stop about great shots he has seen or made or almost made. He carries around pictures of courses he has played.

Recently, he has gone over the edge. He took a three-month leave of absence to try to qualify for the Tour. He confided in you that he practices his swing every three or four hours, even waking up at night to make sure he doesn’t lose his muscle memory.

You would worry about him, right?

I mean you would really, really worry about him. Maybe you would even confront him, try to help him get a little perspective. Set his priorities straight.

I believe that in general, everything in moderation is good. Whether it is sweets or red meat or video games or booze, a little won’t hurt you, but too much is probably not a good plan.

I've discovered that you can’t parent in moderation.

If I spent as much time with tequila as I do my children, my liver would be the size of a watermelon. If I thought about tequila when I wasn't with it, and talked about it constantly, I would check myself into rehab.

Yet no one stages interventions for people who have taken up parenting as their sole leisure-time activity. No one shakes you by the shoulders and questions your sanity when you mention you have to wake up every four hours or so to tend to a newborn. In fact, people ask about your children and even tolerate pictures and stories. They share their own. They write blogs about their experiences and read yours.

I wonder if that's healthy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Take a Picture of Your Baby on a Table with a Beer Bottle

It's a grand tradition, really.

May I present Aunt Bob's Little Guy:
and Lula:
Thanks to Sarah for helping us continue the tradition. Sorry for the photo quality on ABLG; it's not because the photo was taken that long ago, it's because it was taken with a pocket polaroid camera.

Now send me yours.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Gymnastics Class = Jeez Your Mom Is a Big Fat Idiot

Bump was feeling a little under the weather, and Lula was still not completely recovered, so I took the day off yesterday and brought Lumpyhead to his first gymnastics class.

Lumpyhead is the oldest kid in his group. I knew he would be at the upper end of the age bracket, but Bump and I are obviously uncaring parents who have allowed Lumpyhead to fall behind his peers. I bet that’s why he was waitlisted at preschool.

I hope we’ve caught our failure in time to correct it, and Lumpyhead can still be adequately enriched. This delay could mean he's destined for a lousy kindergarten and a failing elementary school, followed by a mediocre high school and Brown. Or, God forbid, Princeton.


Also, panic!

(okay, not really)


People, toddler gymnastics class is hard. I broke a sweat more than once. And that damn foam pit nearly ate me for lunch.

What I did wrong:

Pedicure. Parents and toddlers are required to be barefoot for the class. I forgot to fix the chipped polish on my right foot, and my toenails are long, skanky talons.

Shut yer yap. I yammered on incessantly at Lumpyhead through the whole thing. I discovered later that non-verbal encouragement is requested, and parental correction and direction is frowned upon (“following the instructors and watching other children is an essential part of the learning process,” or some such.) I was totally That Woman. Sorry, fellow gymnasts, I thought the staff meant they didn’t want the spectator parents yelling down from the balcony, I didn’t realize they meant me.

Nice duds, Dumbass. I dressed incorrectly. I dressed Lumpyhead incorrectly. My first clue was all the little kids in leotards; Lumpyhead and I both wore jeans and tee shirts. When I was struggling mightily to haul my fat ass out of the foam pit, the chirpy instructor offered that “sometimes it’s harder in jeans.” I’m sure she was just being kind.

No kegels. After giving birth to two kids, rigorous jumping can be a little dicey. There’s a procedure in place for when toddlers have an accident, but I doubt the staff would be so understanding if it was me who peed on the trampoline.


Some notes for Bump for next week, so he can learn from my experience:

1. Lumpyhead loves the balance beam, the trampoline, and climbing up the foam pit slide. He hates the hanging bar.

2. The staff recommends no buttons, zippers or snaps for Lumpyhead’s clothing. You will want to wear shorts yourself, because you are going to sweat like some sort of farm animal.

3. See to those toenails.

4. For the love of all that is holy, don’t go into the Sarlacc Foam Pit, because I don’t want to hear your new definition of pain and suffering as it slowly digests you over a thousand years.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

If I'm Not Careful, Lula Will Start Appearing in US Weekly, and I'll Have to Cancel Aunt Bob's Subscription in Shame

Is it any wonder she's sick? Lula was showing signs of problem partying last weekend, if only I’d bothered to notice.

Here she is trying to steal her father’s drink:
Aunt Bob’s Little Guy: Put the chocolate in the bowl!
Aunt Bob: Okay, okay.
Lumpyhead: Whatever ABLG does is awesome. Whatever ABLG does is awesome. Whatever ABLG does is awesome.
Bump: Ahhh, Easter. These children are so charming.
Lula: Closer . . . closer. . .

Next thing I know, she'll be running around with some dumb chick named Paris.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Lula Needs to Lay Off the Long Weekend Benders

A weekend of hard partying has finally caught up with Lula. She's sick.

The poor thing has a runny nose and a little cough. She sounds congested. She didn't sleep much last night (so neither did Bump or I) and will nurse, but resists the bottle. I hope Bump doesn't have a completely miserable day with her.

I'm sure it's just a cold, but I'm still worried about her.

Maybe she shouldn't have stayed up so late playing poker after the Goon Squad playdate on Friday. Perhaps we should have insisted she wear her hat at the park party on Saturday, instead of giving up when she indicated she would rather be bare-headed like all the cool kids.

I should have taken the day off yesterday so she didn't have to go to music class with Lumpyhead. I ought not allow her out of the house again. From this day forward, I promise never to bring germs into the house with me.

Or maybe I should relax, count my blessings that Lumpyhead, Bump and I don't seem to be exhibiting symptoms, and drink some orange juice so Lula gets a little more Vitamin C.

And maybe you had to be there, but this picture cracks me up every time I look at it. Thanks Sarah.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Because I'm an Ogre

On Sunday, I made Aunt Bob's Little Guy cry.

Note: I did not just make him sad. I made him cry. Great big sobbing tears of injustice.

Because I am an ogre.

How did I make him cry?

I threw away his favorite toy. Threw it into the trash.

Because I'm an ogre.

I used the last paper towel, and mistaking the empty paper towel roll for waste, put in in the trash can. ABLG realized what I had done and wailed. Through sputtering outrage, he communicated my crime. His father fished the magnificent toy out of the trash and there was much howling and gasping and rending of garments.

Later I apologized for throwing his "toot toot" into the garbage. I told him I did not realize it was such a fun toy, and asked if he forgave me.

He graciously told me that he did, and we wordlessly vowed never to speak of this matter again.

But I'm still an ogre.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Time Zone Question

So, here's a puzzle:

If it's your birthday on . . . oh, I don't know, let's say April 11 - just for shits and giggles - but you're in another country, when can you start celebrating?

Is it your birthday at midnight local time, where ever you are in the world? Or is it just your birthday once midnight hits your home time zone? Would it matter if the birthday boy in question is only temporarily stationed outside his normal time zone?

Can he squeeze a longer-than-24-hour birthday out of this, starting at midnight Vienna time and ending at midnight Central Daylight Time? Hell, for that matter, could he use Central Standard Time and wrest another hour out of the deal?

Just wondering.

Happy birthday, Electricyoak.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Like Boy George, He'll Tumble 4 Ya

When I registered Lumpyhead for his music class, I also signed him up for a “gymnastics” class. Tumbling.

I’m assuming they mean tumbling as in “falling,” rather than artful somersaults. I think Lumpyhead is small for his age, and he’s not exactly physically advanced. For example, he doesn’t understand that jumping typically means one leaves the ground. He bends his knees and makes the motion of jumping, but his feet stay planted.

(Bump: “Look, he’s got the same vertical as his Papa!”)


There were two types of classes for Lumpyhead’s age group, one billed as “for high-energy toddlers,” which I read as “watch large, spastic demons shove your sweet, doe-eyed boy to the ground.” I signed Lumpyhead up for the other one, which I imagine will become “watch your Destructo-Monster of a toddler run amok over crawling babies, leaving a scorched path of yowling infants in his wake.”

Also, all the convenient time slots for the first class were taken. Decision made.

I’m hoping the gymnastics class lets Lumpyhead burn off some energy and interact with other children. Given his parents’ physical abilities, I don’t expect this class to groom Lumpyhead for his Olympic medal. I have no talent for gymnastics even though I look more like a gymnast than a dancer - well, a fat gymnast who’s not very flexible, I guess I’m just saying I have short legs.

(See also “Jumping,” above.)

I hope that the class is fun for Lumpyhead, and that Bump can manage the “adult participation required” with Lula in the bjorn. I hope I can make it to a couple of classes myself during Maternity Leave, Part II.

I hope at least the class will teach Lumpyhead how to jump, so he can spend the next several years properly annoying the downstairs neighbors.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Everybody Sing Like You’ve Just Been Indicted

Lumpyhead loves singing.

He particularly likes it when a bunch of people sing. He was so psyched when everyone sang Happy Birthday to Aunt Bob’s Little Guy that I had to work that song into the bedtime rotation for the next week and a half.

When Bump listens to CDs in the car, Lumpyhead demands more (“Moh!”) in the pause between song tracks. Lumpyhead expects us to sing along with his favorite numbers on TV, looking at us eagerly when the songs begin and rewarding us with wide grins when we comply. He's crazy about big show tunes but is indifferent to soulful ballads.

He loves singing so much he’ll even abide my horrible crooning.

Since Lumpyhead has shown an interest in everything musical, I’ve been looking for a music class for him. Nothing fancy, just live music for the under-5 set. Bump tried the “Song and Story Hour” or some such at the local Borders, but the performer freaked him out (Bump, not Lumpyhead), and the whole thing was discontinued the subsequent week. Blinding success, that one.

I discovered that Arlington County has several music classes as part of its recreation program, and last week I registered Lumpyhead for a music class. I’m not sure if it will be some hippie kumbaya thing, a mind-numbing session of “I’m a Little Teapot” on continuous repeat, a peppy schoolteacher-type with a canned soundtrack, or something else altogether.

I’m pretty sure Lumpyhead will love it, no matter what it is, but I’m kinda glad I don’t have to take him.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Pumping Room, Schmumping Room

Remember how I was raving about my pumping room?

I’m so over it now.

I resent being interrupted three times a day. I have a million things to do, and the room doesn’t have a computer, and I have to trudge all the way to the end of the hall and up 33 stairs and waaaah.

Then I think of the women who have to pump in a closet or a bathroom or the nurse’s office, and I realize how lucky I am. I’m the only person who uses that room. If I’m feeling lazy, I can leave the pumping equipment in the sink to wash later. I could leave milk in the refrigerator or freezer for weeks. There’s a TV and several comfortable chairs. I could even take the damn elevator.

It’s the whole pumping thing I’m tired of, I guess. I’m thoroughly sick of it, and the end is nowhere in sight. It’s not the room’s fault.

Okay, okay, the forced break is good. It gets me away from my desk and helps clear my head. I’m able to prioritize my to do lists, re-think current challenges, and imagine what nature of aggravation the Tormentors are afflicting on Bump. Sometimes I call them just to hear Lumpyhead holler "Hiya Mama!" in the general direction of the phone.

And sometimes, I turn the TV away from CSPAN or CNN. If I had a computer up there, pumping time would be used to catch up on blogs, but honestly, who wants to read you stupid people when Judge Alex is on?

Okay, it's not so bad. And is it just me, or does "schmumping" sound like something dirty?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jasper's Three Questions

Daddy L over at the Jasper Chronicles started a parenting meme. Here are the questions and my answers:

1) What was your biggest surprise when you became a parent?

The extent to which Lumpyhead looked like me, and how strange it was to bear such a strong physical resemblance to someone. Because I'm adopted and grew up in the land of blue-eyed blondes, this was new to me, and is at the same time unnerving and self-affirming. Lumpyhead looks a lot more like his dad now, and Lula looks exactly like her brother, but there's no denying they both look a lot like me, too. It's a nice way to claim them as mine without saying a word.

2) Name some things you vowed you'd never do, but find yourself doing now.

Asking Bump "Was that you or him/her?" when someone farts, and then actually believing my husband when he claims he didn't do it.

Drinking in moderation.

Talking about my children constantly, even when I'm away from them.

3) What's the one thing you thought you would do, but actually don't.


Also, blame farts on my kids.

I'm tagging Aunt Bob, Sarah, and Em.

Monday, April 02, 2007

A Bulleted List

Things that happened last week:
  • I made a huge mistake at work, and spent from 8:00pm to midnight on Monday night fixing it.
There were no lasting effects, and it's a good thing I caught the mistake in time, but it was still miserable. I blame it on sleep deprivation.

  • Along with a roomful of Members and staff, I sang “Happy Birthday” to the Speaker of the House.
While some people were brave enough to sing happy birthday to "dear Nancy," I sang to "Madam Speaker." When we finished, she told us we sucked.

She said it nicely, though. Something along the lines of, “You all are not in your finest voice this afternoon.” We did, in fact, suck. Our rendition sounded much more like a dirge than it should have. Afterwards the Speaker rewarded our horrible singing with fancy chocolates.

  • I spent over two hours trying to persuade a new Member to vote yes.
I walked out the meeting ranting, “She was a ‘Leaning Yes.’ If we have to spend two hours with every ‘Leaning Yes,’ what the hell are we going to have to do for the ‘Undecideds’?!?” At least the Congresswoman voted the right way.

(Oh, and apparently new Members are no longer called “Freshmen.” They’re called the “Majority Makers.” That’s incredibly hokey, but makes me happy just the same.)

  • I ate dinners prepared by my mother-in-law, after which the kitchen miraculously cleaned itself.
Okay, my mother-in-law cleaned it. God, it was nice to have a servant visiting grandmother, and I'm sad to see her leave.

  • Lula has begun to smile.
Real smiles, not just gas.

Okay, sometimes it's gas.