Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas at the Lumpyheads

We got rid of my family just in time for Bump's family to show up. The arrival of Bump's mom and stepdad as well as his sister, her husband, their three kids and a stray nephew necessitated the use of a Kids Table - a concept we are still working out. Lumpyhead and Lula normally sit in high chairs, which confines them and their mess to a designated spatter area. A Kids Table in another room invites spilling and trouble, and begets constant yelps for "milk!" and "more potatoes!" and "Lula is putting her spoon in my water glass again."

Last night while the rest of the adults were eating their dinner, I parked myself beside the inhabitants of the Kids Table. I'd gotten up from my meal for the fourth time to fill yet another request, and decided to wait the little buggers out and eat after they were finished.

Predictably, Lumpyhead began screwing around in his seat. Even more predictably, he tipped over.

"What was that!?!" came the alarmed cries from adults in the dining room.

"Oh, Lumpyhead just fell out of his chair," I grumbled as I picked him up, "because he wasn't sitting in it."

"What was I sitting on?" Lumpyhead asked earnestly.

I was so surprised by the question I was left to sputter something about not sitting on his bottom in his chair, like he was supposed to, and made a mental note to be more literal in the future with my inadvertent smartass.

Hope your holidays are/were merry.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Two Weeks, Redux

Two weeks from today, I will be back at work.

I have no business complaining. I got way more than the 12 weeks traditionally allowed, and I have a stay-home spouse. We've been living like lottery winners since August (well, lottery winners without a huge wad of cash).

I went back to the office for a couple of days in early December to attend meetings. I found that being at work is much less awful than imagining being at work. Still, I'm dreading it.

In fact, what the hell am I doing talking to you people? I've got a baby to cuddle.

Edited to add: I think all the cuddling pissed the baby off. He seems to be ready for me to go back to work and quit bugging him.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Wish I Knew How To Quit You, Sears Portrait Studio

It's our own fault, really.

We know that taking the kids to Sears to have portraits done is a total crapshoot. Either you will get a very personable photographer who captures great shots of your kids, or you will get some dumbass who can barely push the button on a camera.

Today we rolled snake eyes. We SO lost.

Of course the other photographer on duty was great. She jumped up and down and used silly voices and played peek-a-boo. Our photographer shook a stuffed animal and suggested the kids look at the camera.

The little room was hot. Lumpyhead kept picking at his face. Lula jumped up after the third flash and announced she was all done. Nathan Jr couldn't hold his head up for very long and we couldn't trust the other two to hold him.

Every time I have an experience like this I vow I will never return. But then I realize I got three pictures I can photoshop into a half-way decent portrait for less than $70.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

My Parents Are Visiting Again

When Lumpyhead has fabulous bedhead, his father tells him "Your hair is banging, Buddy."

This morning Lumpyhead was sporting a pretty crazy hairdo, so my mother asked him "What is going on with your hair?"

"It's banging," Lumpyhead told her.

My mother was . . . confused.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bump Is So Proud of Him He Can Hardly Stand It

Yesterday afternoon Lumpyhead was sitting in his high chair when he asked "Can I give you a cuddle?" He raised his arms and waited.

I walked over from the kitchen. "Of course!" I said happily.

He leaned toward me. When I reached him, he grinned and said "I farted."

That announcement was unnecessary; I would have figured it out all by myself a half-second later when I got a face full of stink as I hugged him.

Not only did he set a stink trap, he baited it with affection. And that little "lean" thing? It wasn't to get closer to me like I thought. He was raising one butt cheek so he could really let 'er rip.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Is It Unreasonable to Hate Bangs This Much?

Hey, remember back in February and March when I was complaining that Lula needed a haircut? Guess who still hasn't gotten a haircut?

While part of me recognizes that she needs her first haircut, another part of me screeches "NOOOOOOO don't cut her hair!" at the top of its lungs. The screeching part wins.

The problem? Lula refuses to wear hair accessories. Yanks them out immediately. So I'm left with a kid with hair in her eyes. And a husband who constantly threatens to cut her hair, but backs down when the screeching starts.

I hate bangs. Growing out bangs sucks. Once little girls have bangs, they're stuck with them. I don't want her to have bangs.

I've tried complimenting her. We tell her how lovely she looks every time I put a clip or elastic in her hair. She smiles prettily after I've wrestled something into her unruly mop and she says "Lula booteefew." Then she immediately claws out whatever I've put in there and hands it to me, helpfully pointing out - in case I hadn't noticed - "Lula take it owt."

I've tried scolding her, but then immediately feel like a jerk. Suddenly I'm the asshole yelling at her kid over a damn barrette.

I've tried grabbing her hand, but she's faster than me. And more determined. If I manage to stop her the first time, she'll just pull it out later when I'm not looking.

Instead I plead with her. "Lula, you have to leave that in or Papa is going to cut your hair."

That doesn't keep her hair accessories in, but it's working on Bump. It will probably postpone my baby girl's first haircut for a few more months.
What are you talking about? My hair is fine.
Oh. That.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Post About Doody that has Nothing to do with Poop

In January Bump received a notice that sometime during this calendar year, he would be summoned for jury duty.

He was all "Crap" and I was all "HA hah" and then we found out that if you're the primary caregiver to small children, you can be excused from jury duty.

Then we moved and forgot all about it until a few weeks ago we got the summons forwarded from our old address. Bump sent the form back, informing the court that he had moved out of Arlington County.

We got a call this afternoon, and apparently the Arlington Circuit Court district includes our current non-Arlington address.

And that whole "primary caregiver" thing? With me on maternity leave, he really can't use that excuse.

The nice lady at the courthouse basically said, "See you Monday, Sucker."

Here's the thing: I think the Civic-Minded Geek in him is actually looking forward to serving.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I Love My Mom Too

Problems with irregularity? I suggest you visit the elementary school playground near your house. It seems to work for Lula anyway. Son of a -

Also from the last trip to the playground (you know, something besides the big steaming load Lula left me):
Yeah, that's graffiti.

Sure kid, you gained some badass points by tagging the playground equipment. But you lost points with what you wrote. That would be negative badassery, right there.

So, if you were this child's mother, would you be pleased by this or not?

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Hope Julie and Robert Will Be Very Happy Together

We got a wedding invitation in the mail, addressed to our landlord. Bump and I were all "Pffft, they must be very close - they don't even know he moved." He moved in with his girlfriend, with whom the marrying couple is also obviously very close assuming her given name is "and Guest." The envelope flap had torn off in transit (seriously! Although we are totally not above opening mail that's not ours) so I HAD to check out the invitation and judge. And Boy Howdy did I judge.

Bump and I joked about how we should send a gift. Or (along the lines of sending holiday cards to people we don't know [which! I'm totally up for doing again if you send me a name and address]) rsvp to the invite and show up at the wedding of Julie and Robert - who together with their parents sent a kind of shitty invitation - but then we would have to find sitters and endure a ceremony and rubbery chicken in uncomfortable clothes just to get an open bar and oh hell, I'll just buy some liquor and drink it at home.

The next day the mailman delivered what looks to be two birthday cards from Landlord's grandmothers. I am above opening a man's birthday cards from Grandma and stealing the cash.

So we'll give Landlord all his mail the next time he comes by to change the furnace filter or whatever. But DUDE, tell your Grandma you moved. Tell both of them. You might wanna mention it to your friends, too, or at least let the post office know. Because I'm attending the next wedding you and "and guest" get invited to.

I will always let my grandmothers know my current address.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Lumpyhead's Mom PSA

When your friend comes over and you're talking about your COLOSSAL EPIC FAIL of a morning, do not describe your toddler's huge inconvenient poop as "between the shoulder blades" when in fact it just oozed four inches or so over her waistband.

Because the minute you utter those words, your baby will unleash a gigantic shit that winds up literally between his shoulder blades.

And then the water company will turn off your water for several hours, and you will be stuck with only wipes to clean the baby off and no method of soaking the his clothes - which by volume may now be comprised of more poop than fabric.

Maybe that won't happen every time you make such an exaggeration, but really, once is enough.

You're welcome.

Blogging from the Playground

Today officially begins my Gravy Time (the requisite three months of maternity leave are over, the period between now and the end of the year are all gravy).

I was feeling a little cooped up this morning, so I loaded Lumpyhead and Lula into the stroller, put Nathan Jr in the bjorn, and walked to the playground.

Bump stayed up with the baby and let me sleep all night (All! Night!) so I was feeling energetic. I was also feeling a little critical of Bump for never taking the kids anywhere. I packed some snacks, dressed the kids, and let Bump nap in a quiet house.

Full disclosure: I came up with this idea and started getting ready around 8 am. We finally got underway after 10. I spent none of this prep time on my personal hygiene - I am here with unwashed hair and wearing my pajama bottoms.

I've walked to the playground with Lumpyhead and Lula before, but this morning's trek seemed much harder. I didn't think the addition of 12 lbs. strapped to my chest would make such a difference.

Now Lumpyhead is complaining that he wants to go to the OTHER PLAYGROUND, Lula's nose is running, and Nathan Jr is starting to fuss. I don't have any kleenex or a burp cloth.

And the stroller has a flat tire. Maybe two. The difficult walk here had nothing to do with the addition of the baby.

This is why Bump leaves the house with the kids only when it is absolutely necessary. Because he is a wise man. A wise man who is napping peacefully.

And even on a full night's rest, I am an idiot.


Further update: OF COURSE she stuck her hand down her pants while we were waiting for Bump to come rescue us. OF COURSE SHE DID.

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Monsters Inc Halloween

Last year I made Lumpyhead's Halloween costume by sewing and gluing and borrowing my friend Rich's poker chip case and ruining the finish on our dining room table.

This year, I smartened (that's a word, right?) up about Lumpyhead's Halloween costume and bought that sumbitch online.
Mike Wazowski, from Amazon for about twenty bucks

Bump made the scream canister using a wine gift box and some colored paper. It looks truly amazing. He drilled some holes in the top and added the strap from our video camera bag and TADA! It doubles as a container for candy.
Somewhere along the way, I got the crazy idea to theme the kids' outfits, so I made Lula a Boo costume. It's basically a piece of purple cloth with velcro closures and some shiny silver arms and legs.
I bought the stuff to make mop hair and lamp eyeballs, but ditched them at the last minute. This made the costume more wearable for her and simpler for me.
It needs a little adjusting for trick-or-treating tonight, but I think the overall look is a success.

Then, well. . . then things got a little out of hand. I decided Bump should be Sulley. I looked into buying fur to make a costume, but the cheapest stuff I could find was $22 a yard (that translates into at least $100 to make a costume big enough for Bump) and wasn't the right shade of blue. I found a turquoise tee shirt and purple spray paint at AC Moore for about $10 total. I also got a piece of turquoise cardstock for a mask.
After I futzed around for way too long with fabric horns and fur eyebrows, Bump pulled out the cardstock and made himself a Sulley mask.
I don't know why I even bothered with the fabric stuff.

I needed to fit into the scheme somewhere, and felt my choices were Celia (Mike's girlfriend, which seemed a little icky with my son as Mike) and Roz (the mean administrative official, who is ultimately in charge of everything). Also: Celia = slinky and sexy, Roz = fat and ugly. Choice made.

I sewed a dress. Using a horrendous gold patterned fabric that kind of looks like Roz's skin in the movie, I found an easy pattern and made myself a dress. As is appropriate for anything hand-sewn by me, it is perhaps the ugliest item of clothing I have ever worn. And that's saying something.
Add a sweater and some glasses from ebay.
Um, right. Nathan Jr. Nathan Jr is a CDA agent. I was going to use a star snowsuit I made for Aunt Bob's Little Guy, but we couldn't find it so I ended up sewing a new one. Add some marker decorations, and:
I used so much marker that the baby smells like a Sharpie when he's wearing it. His agent number is 80308, which is his birthday. While the CDA dudes in the movie don't have the agency's name on the front of their uniforms - only the back - I decided to use a little creative license and put it on the front as well.
Still, the whole effect of the costume is only realized when I turn the baby around.

So that's it. A family of costumes. Happy Halloween.
All that's left to do is listen to Lumpyhead and Lula fight constantly over who gets to wear the blue hat. Well, that and go trick-or-treating.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Monkey

Guess where I went today?
Ever since Bump and I saw the Eddie Izzard show in which he repeats "le singe est sur la table," we have referred to the fancy cooking store as The Monkey.

The Monkey was hosting a book signing with Ina Garten. Since Bump had to be in Lumpyhead's preschool class today, I loaded up Lula and Nathan Jr and went to meet the Barefoot Contessa lady.

I will admit it never seemed like the best idea.

When we got there, the line was nearly around the block. At least the store served little cupcakes and samples of angel food cake while we waited in line. The people directly behind me were incredibly sweet, they carried my bag when I had to feed Nathan Jr and held my place in line when the stroller wouldn't fit through the maze of cluttered store aisles.

We waited for an hour and a half, and the kids were great for about an hour and twenty-nine minutes. Just as it was our turn to enter the room where Ms. Garten was signing books, Lula decided she was done. She declined apple juice with extreme prejudice, threw the fruit strip I offered her on the floor, and squealed the Mighty Squeal of Meltdown.

In a flurry of embarrassed activity I dug out the cookbooks, shoved Lula's rejected items back in my bag, and pushed the stroller into the room. I spent about forty-five seconds with Ina Garten while her handlers distracted my child, snapped a photo, and sent us on our way.
What. Ever. I had waited long enough. Plus, that dude with the cupcakes didn't make a second pass. Dickhead.

The author could not personalize the inscription, which was a little disappointing. In hindsight, I should have waited until Lula calmed down to get my books signed - I could have let others in line go first - but I was suddenly anxious to get it all over with. At the very least I should have pulled out the emergency M&Ms, which would have shut off Lula's fit immediately. Plus, the refused apple juice leaked in my bag and now my wallet is wet and my cellphone doesn't work.

While I got what I came for, I wouldn't necessarily call the trip a success. If I had the chance to do it again . . . um, I wouldn't.

But! I got to bring Nathan Jr to Sur la Table wearing this outfit.
Which is amusing only to me.
I gotta take the joy where I can get it from this disaster of a morning.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Yep, Still a Little Bitter About That

Let's say you've agreed to a playdate that turns out to be free babysitting. And let's say the child arrives and she immediately strikes you as, ahem, less than charming. Then she tells you she has to poop.

Here's a little nugget (heh) I learned while toileting another person's child.

Well, first, she called it "cah cah." Bwa ha ha ha hah.

Okay, here it is:

Sure, all poop stinks, but holy moley do my kids produce some heinously foul-smelling bowel movements. After getting a load (heh) of Freeloading Child's cah cah, and comparing it to what Bump and I deal with on a daily basis, let me tell you this: WE DESERVE SOME DAMN MEDALS OVER HERE.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Playdate Not a Playdate

We hosted a playdate yesterday morning. Well, half a playdate.

We had a traditional playdate - wherein a child Lumpyhead's age comes over with a parent, and the child excitedly plays with our kids' toys while Lumpyhead and Lula are suddenly possessive about crap they haven't cared about in months. Meanwhile, Bump and I chat with the parent over coffee or mimosas or martinis.

Bump also got roped into something that was billed as a "playdate" but turned out to be "free childcare," wherein a child was dropped off at our house and picked up six hours later.

So there was that. Don't get me wrong, I'll happily babysit your child - for free, even - just don't call it a playdate.

And there was this: Lumpyhead walked over to where Freeloading Child was sitting, very sweetly bent down so his head was even with hers, and asked if he could play trains too.

"No," she replied, flatly.

Lumpyhead's face crumpled and he chirped "That makes me very sad." Then he started sobbing.

I rolled my eyes and
a) called Freeloading Child a jerk,
b) encouraged sharing, or
c) turned on the TV until everybody shut the hell up.

On the upside, Freeloading Child had to poop while she was here, and she called it "cah cah." That is still cracking me up.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

I had this grand plan to find a farm when my parents were here. On a beautiful, crisp fall day, we would pick apples and frolic happily in a sunlit pumpkin patch. The perfect autumn photo op. Later we would eat a lovely lunch at an underappreciated pub - a kid-friendly place with excellent food and maybe a fireplace - then the children would nap on the drive home.

I didn't really think through how we would negotiate a pumpkin patch with my barely mobile father. Nor did I have any idea where this "farm" was located - I assumed we would just drive west until we found something - ditto for the fictitious pub (which I'm sure has exceptionally reasonable prices, too. And a great selection of draft beer).

I wanted to go on a weekday to avoid crowds. With Lumpyhead's preschool schedule, that gave us four potential mornings for this outing. But when it wasn't threatening to rain, it was approaching 80 degrees, which didn't really put me in the mood for apple picking. (Nothing says "fall" like a photo of your sweaty kids in shorts, holding a pumpkin. Or your rain-drenched kid, crying in front of an apple tree.)

So it didn't happen.

But! Lumpyhead's preschool came through with an autumn event. Bump's mother and stepdad were in town on their annual migration from Maine to Florida, and off we went for pumpkins and a bonfire and a hayride. I got my damn pictures.

With grandparents, even.
I started a pumpkin circle around Lumpyhead, but he got bored with the idea and walked off. So I made my other son sit in my stupid circle.
Even though I got tons of oohs and aahs and squees while I was taking this picture, I think it looks like I'm sacrificing Nathan Jr to a wiccan harvest god. Guess I should have gotten lower to the ground. After I picked him up I saw at least five other families using the pumpkin circle for their photos, so, go me. I totally win Pumpkin Patch.

And even though Lumpyhead and Lula seemed much more into the heavy machinery than the pumpkins, I think they had a good time.

Lumpyhead was stone silent on the hayride from the parking lot to the bonfire site, even though we were accompanied by two of his teachers and saw a deer. Of course, now he won't stop talking about the damn hayride hayride HAYRIDE! and if I learned anything from the outing, it is this: never go to a farm with three children unless you have at least two grandparents and beer.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Never Feel Inclined

I was going over the days of the week with Lumpyhead. (Relax, I wasn't encouraging learning or anything, I was just trying to explain that the weekly potty present he was demanding was several days away.) I said "There's Sunday, then Monday, then Tuesday. Do you know what's next?" I asked him. "What comes after Tuesday?"

"Threesday," he told me, matter-of-factly.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Report from Preschool

Bump had to entertain 12 preschoolers for a few minutes, and selected a game as the method of distraction.

Bump: Simon says touch your nose.
12 Preschoolers: [touch nose]
Bump: Simon says touch your mouth.
12 Preschoolers: [touch mouth]
Bump: Simon says touch your hair.
Preschooler: You don't have any hair.


To his credit, Bump could have responded with "Simon says don't be a douchebag," or "Screw you, Little Shit." Instead, he just kept playing.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thanks, Smartass

My parents are in town for a two-week visit. It is both wonderful and horrible, just as all parental visits are.

My mother hasn't watched Sesame Street since I was little, so did not know who Abby Cadabby was when Lula brought over the doll.

Lula: Abbydabby!
Mom: Who?
Lula: Abbydabby!
Mom: I'm sorry, honey. I don't understand. What is this little girl's name?
Lumpyhead: Her name is Lula.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Steve Songs Is Actually Just Saying Hi to Lula

On Saturday morning we loaded up all three tormentors and headed downtown to the National Book Festival.

a) I love books.
b) I was dying to see Laura Bush.
c) I am a fucking idiot.

C. The answer is C.

I don't hate books - or Laura Bush for that matter - but I won't traipse down to the Mall on a rainy Saturday for either of those things.

Last year, I took Lumpyhead to a PBS reception on the Hill and he met some walk-around characters and had a great time. He has no memory of it, of course, but we pulled out a polaroid of him (a very tiny him - sniff sniff) with SuperWhy and it blew his fricken mind.

We got wind of the PBS characters coming to the Book Festival, so I convinced Bump we should go. "Sid the Science Kid will be there!" "Even Lula loves SuperWhy now!" "It will be a fun family outing!"

Bump dropped off Lumpyhead, Lula and me near the PBS tent and went to go find parking.

It was fairly miserable. We dressed for "cool and rainy," but got "warm and humid." Bump had the baby and the stroller with him, so I was stuck clutching the sweaty hands of two ready-to-bolt children while we waited in line to meet celebrities like Alpha Pig.

Lula was reasonably happy until it was our turn to meet the characters, at which point she became terrified and refused to get anywhere near them. Lumpyhead spent his fleeting moments with the poor bastards in PBS costumes pointing to the other characters and screaming their names. I'm sure there's nothing better than suffering heat stroke in a heavy costume while some kid exclaims that the guy waiting at the end of the other line is better than you.

(Hey, remember when we went to a children's concert and I spent the entire time thinking inappropriate thoughts about the performer? Well, he was there, too.
He's getting up from his chair so I can lick tequila off him more easily.)

After circling for thirty minutes and nearly getting my ID confiscated, Bump gave up, parked in my work lot, and took the metro to meet us. By the time he got to the Mall the kids were ready to go, so he turned right around and got back on the metro.

Once we were back in the air-conditioned comfort of the van, and Nathan Jr had stopped screaming, I thought, "Well, that was fun."

Kick me if I ever try to do something like that again.
At least Lumpyhead thought it was awesome.

Friday, September 19, 2008

It's a Crazy World

Bump and I seem to be jockeying to be the one to stay up with the baby.

For me, it's not about being a thoughtful spouse and saving Bump from being up all night. It's not for the practical reason that I have to pump regularly and will probably be awake anyway, so I might as well tend the infant. It's not even because when I'm on night duty I get a little sleep, but when Bump is on night duty he gets almost no sleep.

With two parents at home, lost sleep at night can be found during the day. If you're up all night with the baby, your partner will grant you a nap later.

So. You can be awake at odd hours with one child, or awake at conventional hours with three children. The kid you're dealing with at odd hours is asleep most of the time, doesn't talk, and is immobile. You can doze or watch a little TV, even surf the web or write a stupid blog post.

Or, while your spouse naps, you can deal with three kids: one who sleeps most of the time but will wake up at the least convenient moment, squeal piteously, and demand to be fed. The other two must be fed regularly too, but require meals more complicated than slapping a nipple on a bottle. They also harbor staunch and constantly fluctuating opinions on what they're served.

You can referee squabbles, impose timeouts, prevent the infant from being trampled, try to keep them all slightly quiet because "Papa is sleeping," then drop everything immediately at the faintest whisper of the word "potty."

See now why one is more desirable?

(Bump is probably taking the night shift because he's a thoughtful spouse trying to save me from being awake all night. Because he is not an asshole.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Two Items On Which We Get Very Little Sleep

We spent a whole lot more than we planned on a bed from Ikea. It's a saga that involves more than one trip to Woodbridge, two backwards elbow-joint thingies that remain uninstalled, and a late-night assembly session that involved lots of banging (not the good kind).

I would love to tell you that 1) it is more wonderful than we ever imagined or even 2) it was a huge rip-off. But I can't. It turns out that if you buy a new bed two days before bringing home a newborn, you will never spend enough time on it to properly evaluate the new purchase. So if either Bump or I manage to find a night's unbroken rest in the new bed, I'll let you know what we think of it.

We also bought a couch, one big enough for Bump to lie down on. This we sleep on quite often, as it is a great place to nap when the baby is wide awake at 4am, and it's a convenient spot to nod off during those drowsy afternoon hours when the television is babysitting.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Note to Self: Keep Both Pieces of Backup Outfit Neutral

I put Lumpyhead in a striped polo shirt and navy shorts yesterday and sent him off to school. The shorts fit when Lumpyhead wore a pull-up or diaper - but apparently do not fit over underpants. By the time he walked through the front door of school, his pants were around his ankles. Not exactly the Young Scholar statement I was going for.

Bump changed him into the backup outfit I packed that morning: plaid shorts and an orange tee shirt.

Then Lumpyhead played with the water table, soaking his orange tee shirt and requiring a change back into the striped polo shirt.

It was . . . a whole lot of look.

I'm sorry I didn't get a photo, but Pete took one look at Lumpyhead on the playground and said to Bump, "I guess you didn't dress him today, huh?"

Yep. My son shows up in a ridiculous outfit and one of my best friends assumes I put him in it.

Which I did, but not on purpose.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Umm. . .

Nathan Jr is asleep.

Lumpyhead is at preschool. It is Bump's day to co-op, so he is there, too.

I was planning to have some one-on-one time with Lula, but she ate a small snack and got sleepy; I put her down for a nap.

What in the sam hill am I supposed to do now, Internet? Huh? I have somewhere between three minutes and two hours with no children to tend. I'm kind of lost.

Monday, September 08, 2008


It's Lumpyhead's first day of preschool tomorrow, and we're not ready.

I don't mean we're all emotional about the start of our little man's second year of preschool, I mean we are actually Not Ready.

The lunchbox I ordered for him over a week ago hasn't arrived. His only pair of closed-toe shoes are a little small. His "Me Page" - the sheet we are supposed to prepare with pictures of his family and things he likes - isn't ready because we ordered photos too late in the day to get them before 11 am tomorrow.

We have two parents at home - full-time - for the moment, and still can't manage to get our shit together. Our AC broke over the weekend, Bump and I are both cranky from lack of sleep, and I still need to register the cars at the new address.

At least Lumpyhead got a haircut today.

Also, I gave Nathan Jr a bath for the first time in like . . . weeks. (I find that whole Floppy Head Thing nerve-wracking, dammit, so he doesn't get a bath until you can smell the neck cheese from three feet away.)

Oh, and what the hell is up with our netflix queue? Why do I put critically acclaimed films on the list, but once they get here I'm all "But where's Nacho Libre?"

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I Was Not Surprised

What would you do if this came up on your caller ID?
I mean, you have to answer it, right?

I answered it.

It was a telemarketer.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Avoiding Couples Counseling by Writing the Date on Some Damn Masking Tape

I've begun labeling things in the refrigerator.

I'm not obsessive, but Bump and I don't overlap much right now. Someone is up with the baby 24 hours, with each of us trying to get at least six hours of sleep. While that technically means we are both awake at the same time for 12 hours a day, those 12 hours seem lost in wrangling three kids and mediating disputes and feeding and cleaning up and baths and toys and laundry and bedtime. It might be 12 hours, but the topic of when I put those peaches in the fridge doesn't seem to come up.

So labeling things is one way to communicate information that would easily get lost in the shuffle.

I'm trying to prevent the scenario in which I stand in front of the fridge yelling "What the hell happened to those peaches I put in here yesterday?" only to have Bump reply that he thought they were two weeks old and threw them out.

Granted, losing leftover peaches is hardly a disaster. But lack of sleeps lends itself to me muttering about the wastefulness of throwing away half a can of perfectly good peaches and Bump thinking I'm a moron for complaining about 79 cents worth of fruit when he was up with the baby until 4am, goddammit, here's a dollar to shut the fuck up about it.

It's not much, but it makes me feel like a genius.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Whenever I'm asked "What would you like for [occasion]?" the first thing that pops into my head is "Time to myself."

Then I feel guilty about it.

But if by some act of charity, or stroke of luck, or multiple dollars paid to a babysitter I DO get some time for myself - away from the kids - the first thing I do is miss the little bastards.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Making Something Totally Not About Me a Little Bit About Me

I got a call from a friend last week, telling me his marriage was ending. I honestly thought when he got to the "I have news" part of the call, he was going to tell me he was going to be a father. I am shocked.

I am also unspeakably sad.

While emotions are still raw, there seems to be very little bitterness and not a lot of blame. I suppose if something is going to end, this is the best way.

At the root of my heartache is this: if you could earn happiness by delighting others, these two would always be smiling. Their words and actions make the lives of their friends and families richer. They are thoughtful, kind, big-hearted people who make rooms cheerier just by entering them. I am a better person for knowing them both.

I hope their sorrow is brief. I hope the joy they both so richly deserve will be theirs soon, and I'm sorry this relationship was not the one to bring it.

I want so badly for them both to be happy, and it seems that's what they want for each other. May you find what you seek, Dear Friends.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Photo is from Last Year

Instead of getting in the car and driving to the Outer Banks today, I woke up at 3:00am and 6:00am with a three-week-old (Bump took the early shift). Later we had waffles with Lumpyhead and Lula - the toaster kind of waffles, not the waffle-iron kind.

I'm a little sad we're not leaving for the beach today, but the thought of taking this show on the road - when I can barely keep it together at home - makes me really happy we're not leaving for the beach today.

Still, I hope the weather is crappy in Corolla all week. Because I'm a bitter, bitter woman.

Somebody come play drinking Chutes and Ladders with me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Two Weeks

I keep thinking of that scene in Total Recall where the fat lady keeps repeating "Two weeks," while her face contorts into twisted expressions and she claws at her mouth. Her head corkscrews off to reveal the Governor of California, then explodes.

Except for the governor thing, that's a lot like how things are going around here.

It occurs to me that if Bump had an office job, a two-week paternity leave would be pretty generous and he would have gone back to work today.

(Keep bringing that up if you really want to make this fat lady's head explode.)

I suppose if that were the case, we would have the two other kids in daycare. I'm really enjoying being home, but must admit that sometimes "the other two kids in daycare" seems like the best idea anyone has ever had.

Mr. Dimples had his two-week appointment today; he's regained his birthweight plus a few ounces. Things are going well, but we will be much happier when his nighttime sleep sessions last longer than two hours.

The nurse practitioner was pleased with the baby's condition in general, but is deeply concerned that the child doesn't have a blog name yet.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Guess who has a belly button? SeƱor Squishyface has a belly button!

I'll spare you the whole "sniff, sniff - this is the last time I'll pass the milestone of having a baby's umbilical stump fall off" because honestly? An umbilical stump is kind of gross.

(Also, WAAAH! My baby is all growns up and can have a tub bath already. WAAAAHHH!)

What he does not have, yet, is a blog name. I'm working on it.

Oh, I also have two other kids.

This seemed like a great idea to fill the time while Bump ran an errand. But the sprinkler is in the back yard and the faucet is in the front, and while I was turning off the water Lumpyhead and Lula found a mud puddle. Mayor McNewNavel chose that moment to wake up and wail pitifully. When I tried to get Lula out of the puddle, she screamed like I was yanking her fingernails out.

It was then that I realized I am really, really bad at this, and I should probably not be left alone with three children.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Book Review

I urged Bump to keep the instruction booklets for the new furniture, so the kids could color on them. He left them in a stack on the floor, where Lumpyhead found one.

Lumpyhead: "I will read this Chair Book."
"Two guys have a box."
". . . "
". . . "
[gets up, wanders off]

I think he found this title a tad disappointing.

I tried to tell him that he gave up before the story got really good. He missed the chapter where you realize you have to undo the previous four steps because you put one slat on backwards. Or the alternate ending where, in a fit of cursing, you realize you are one piece short and have to go back to Ikea for the missing parts.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Two Boxers

It was Bump's birthday on Sunday and I got him . . . absolutely nothing.

I didn't even bake him a cake. Anne came to visit, asked if she could bring anything, and I imposed upon her to pick up a cake at the store. So, if it weren't for the kindness of my friends, all Bump would have to show for his 37th year on the planet is an ice cream cake his mother bought before she left.

That and three children.

Anne even picked up some birthday candles, which was a good thing because 1) I'm not sure we had any and 2) if we did, I'm sure I wouldn't be able to find them.

Here's a new thing: we have reached the age where we need two boxes of candles.
(Bump's mom bought the three and the seven. Note the number of candles in one box. Doh!)

Speaking of boxers, Lumpyhead is finding this neighborhood to be a little tougher than our old one. At least his face is.

He tripped in the living room and landed on a toy, putting a dent in his cheek which turned into a pretty impressive shiner. At least his grandmother was watching him at the time.
Then she took him swimming in the backyard wading pool, and he got bitten by mosquitoes on his eyebrow and cheek, which turned into huge red welts.
Then Lumpyhead shoved Mr. Potato Head's nose up his own nose - giving himself a nosebleed. Oh, then he ran into a doorframe and put another bruise in the middle of his forehead, creating a backwards purple "j" on his face.

Maybe now he'll stop being such a smartass.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Do you remember how it was, after the first couple of times you played Tetris? It's the only thing you wanted to do, you had to start a new game immediately after losing, and you saw little falling blocks in your head before you fell asleep at night?

I've become addicted to the newborn. I can't get enough of his squishy old man face and the powdery smell of his head. If I haven't held him in awhile, I need to go pick him up to get my fix. He furrows his brow and twists his tiny mouth and smiles, showing off a dimple in each cheek.
I marvel at how small he is, at his miniature fingers. I am mindful that this is the last time I will have a four-day-old infant. A six-day-old. A one-week-old.

If Bump takes Lumpyhead and Lula out for a few hours in the morning, I nap with the little guy in our bed. But even when he's not beside me, it's his face I see before drifting off to sleep.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Photo Poll

They look:
a) nothing alike,
b) like siblings,
c) that's three pictures of the same kid.

Sunday, August 03, 2008


Baby arrived this morning at 10:38 am, after two hours of labor, on the second push. Epidural took effect just in the knick of time.

Six pounds, thirteen ounces.

We keep going back and forth as to whether he looks exactly like his siblings, or a little different. In either case, it's pretty clear the same mix of DNA is at work.

Pictures to follow when we are discharged from the hospital. Also a name. Now, where's my percocet?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Getting There

The boxes are slowly turning into empty boxes; we're settling into the house. I have done a fat lot of nothing to get us to this point - Bump has done nearly all the work with some help from Nana. Bump's mother arrived yesterday and both mothers are eager to do whatever they can to help. The to-do list in my head is a billion things long but it's tough to think of tasks for others to perform that aren't "Unpack that box and put its contents in a logical place, meaning we won't be able to find it after you leave so we'll buy a replacement and will end up moving two copies of the damn thing next time."

My homesickness is abating, just like all of you said it would. Considering that 1) moving usually turns me into a basket case anyway, 2) the crazy pregnancy nesting instinct is frustrated by the contractions that start after I unpack one stinking box, and 3) I haven't been able to stress-drink my way through this ordeal; I think I am managing my hormone-addled state quite beautifully.

A few hiccups:
1) Our phone doesn't work. We were supposed to be able to transfer our number to the new house, and while service stopped at the condo, it never started at the new address. When I called to complain, customer service was terribly confused.
Customer Service: The phone number is [cell phone number]?
Me: No, the number is [inoperative home phone number].
Customer Service: Why aren't you calling from that number?
Me: Because that number doesn't work. Which is why I'm calling.
Customer Service: So you can't call us back from the number on the account?
Me: . . . No. I'd love to, but no.

The phone company said they would send someone out as soon as possible: which would be Monday. Sometime between the hours of 8am and 7pm.

What the hell did people do before cell phones?

2) The cable installer never showed up. I think that is shocking to exactly no one. The cable company said the order didn't go through, so on the way to get his mom from the airport Bump went to the office and picked up the boxes. We now have cable on one TV [yay], but because we have no phone line, still don't have Tivo service [boo].

Incidentally, why is everyone using those stupid voice response prompts now instead of touch-tones? It is damn near impossible to complete a call without one of the kids yelling about something, resulting in that annoying "I'm sorry, I didn't understand. Did you say [MAMA! BABY IS PUSHING ME!] [click] [pause] I'm sorry I didn't understand. Did you [baby squeals] [click] [pause] I'm sorry you're having trouble. Would you like to [AAAAHHHHH] [click] . . . "

3) I thought Lumpyhead broke his hand. He got away from Bump's mother's watchful eye long enough to do something - we're not sure what, exactly, but we think he fell off the bed - and then screamed and cried about hurting his hand. He spent the next whiny hour either using his injured hand normally or letting it dangle limply at the end of his wrist. Then he fell asleep. We decided that since his hand wasn't swollen and he was able to use it okay, he was probably fine. Then he woke up hysterical and complaining about his thumb, so I started mapping the route to the emergency room in my head again. He fell back asleep, only to wake up yelling about his index finger hurting, so I don't know what the hell to think. If he's still talking about it this morning (and the pain hasn't moved to yet a different finger) I'll probably take him to the pediatrician.

You know what? I think it's these little disasters that make a place feel like home.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First Night

We made it to the rental house. Later than planned, but we're here.

Just about everything is still in boxes. It's uncomfortably hot as the AC tries to recover from months of vacancy and open doors in the midday heat. The phone isn't on yet, the cable is out, and the water pressure is pitiful. The walls and floors still echo.

All the stuff from the condo, the stuff housed temporarily at Aunt Bob's, and the stuff from both storage units made it here too. It's the first time in months all of our things have been together under one roof.

I'm surrounded by my family and my belongings in the place we will live for the next several months. But all I want to do is go home.

Aunt Bob Rocks and Has Awesome Shoes

Aunt Bob also has wifi.

The kids and I had a wonderful sleepover at Aunt Bob's. Lumpyhead and Lula slept all night, and now Lula is napping. Lumpyhead is parked in front of SuperWhy, which Aunt Bob recorded for him. She also cooked us breakfast sausages before leaving for work.

Bump's experience has been less enchanting. He packed all night and has not slept. The movers are there and he is not done packing the kitchen. Nana just went over to help him finish. Bump has to spend the day directing movers as they collect items from four different locations and then make sure they get it all in the right spot at the rental house. I predict he starts seeing imaginary ants on his arms around 1:30pm.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Last Night

I slept in our condo for the last time. This afternoon the kids and I will head over to Aunt Bob's so Bump can finish packing in peace - well, maybe not peace but at least he can make as much noise as he likes - and we'll spend the day at Aunt Bob's tomorrow while the movers do their thing.

We've lived here for 12 years. It was raining on the day we moved in. We had two incomes and no kids and played golf on the weekends and drank lots of beer.

I'm attached to this place because of the memories we made here, not because there's anything so spectacular about the condo itself, I suppose. But it has served us well. The second bedroom went from a game room to a guest room to a nursery to Lumpyhead and Lula's room.

This new place is only temporary, so it's hard to feel excited. I expect we will find a permanent house in a few months (when we can undertake this whole moving bullshit all over again) and I'll feel differently about the next move.

Temporary. Will we love this new house? What will we hate about it? Will it be just a blip in my family's collective memory, or will "The House Baby 3 Came Home To" be remembered fondly even after we move on?

Monday, July 28, 2008

This Week's Schedule, Brought to You by the Letters OMFG

Today: Pack
Tomorrow: Pack, Nana arrives
Wednesday: Move
Thursday: OB appointment, unpack, Bump's mom arrives
Friday: Unpack
Saturday: Unpack
Sunday: Have baby

Sounds reasonable, doesn't it?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

NOT What We Were Expecting

Today we signed a lease and picked up keys to the rental house.

Our experience with the new landlords has been positive thus far, save the head-shaking wonder with which we watch their realtors flail about. While I hesitate to call the realtors "bumbling incompetents," let's just say that working with them has really made me appreciate our realtor and her ability to get things right on the first try.

For example, the realtors emailed us a copy of the lease that had been faxed too often to be legible. We asked for a better copy, so we could at least make out the name of our new landlord and the address to which we should send a rent check. The realtors re-sent the same document, just as fuzzy as the first time.

After we explained that we wouldn't sign something we couldn't read, one of the realtors suggested we meet at the house. We could sign a less-faxed version of the lease and pick up the keys. She wanted to meet in an hour and a half. We changed our lunch plans and herded the kids out the door.

Maybe I'm being overly critical here, but if you were meeting someone to sign a lease, wouldn't you make sure to bring, oh I don't know - THE LEASE? Because that's what I would do. Maybe that's just me, because this realtor brought several copies of a document that was NOT the lease.

She decided to run to the closest office and print out the correct document. The realtor returned 40 minutes later - with the lease this time! - except it was the same illegible lease we had been emailed. Twice.

This was yesterday. After 45 minutes on my feet in an echoing house with two screaming children and no lunch, I was fried. Bump worked out today's solution with Brilliance the Realtor while I sat on a forlorn coffee table the owners hadn't moved yet and yelled at Lumpyhead to STOP SLAMMING THAT DOOR. That one, too.

This morning we left the tormentors with Aunt Bob and went back to the house. We were greeted by two men: the Richard and James listed on the lease. Bump was expecting a father and son, maybe brothers. I was expecting a couple - I had guessed "Richard," but maybe "Janie" or "Joan" or "Joyce" on the illegible lease - but certainly neither Bump nor I ever imagined our landlords would be younger than us.

They're brothers who bought the house in 2003. One got married and moved out a few years ago, and the other had been living in the house with roommates until his girlfriend demanded they move closer to the city (and I'm guessing away from roommates). It's a great house for a family, and I can see how it would work as a group house, but it's not right for a couple starting out.

Bump, Aunt Bob, Scrubly and I lived in a house not unlike this one many years ago. I wonder if this house has seen the same drinking games and poker nights and beer pong as that house on Quincy Street. While there's an extra fridge in the basement - a beer fridge if I ever saw one - I don't think this basement has seen same the spilled beer and drunken drool that it would have had we lived there right out of college. These boys seem a little too responsible. (It is my theory that if you are a new graduate who can buy a house with your brother, find tenants to help pay the rent, and maintain or even improve the property over the course of several years; you're not drinking as much beer as we did.)

I regret that we cannot show this house how much fun the childless versions of ourselves could have had in it. While I expect Aunt Bob and Pete will come over for beer, pizza, poker and wii bowling; we'll be checking the baby monitor while we demand Aunt Bob finish her beer for throwing a strike. Even if Scrubly can take a weekend away from his job as a corporate lawyer in New York and come see us with his beautiful wife and two children, I bet he won't get drunk and pour water on his own head or tackle a recliner.

Instead this house will hear the echoing laughter of overtired children who slam doors and chase each other in circles until they fall down. Maybe this house prefers that.

Oh, weirdness alert: when we told Aunt Bob the address, the first thing she said was "We almost bought a house on that street." It's not a very long street. In fact, the timing is right, so Aunt Bob and Pete may have made an offer on THIS VERY HOUSE five years ago.

That's almost creepy.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


We've been asked recently - on more than one occasion - if Lumpyhead and Lula are twins. It happens when it's not obvious that Lumpyhead is a head taller than Lula - like when one is being carried or they're both sitting down. Because Lula's head is gigantic and Lumpyhead is so skinny his arms are the same circumference as his sister's, I can understand the confusion. And if you can't hear that Lumpyhead speaks in full sentences and Lula only has a few intelligible words, or you don't notice that Lula is still a BABY for heaven's sake. . .
um, right. Fine. They might look like twins.

But then, doesn't everyone wearing Small Paul pajamas look alike?