Saturday, May 30, 2009

All the Cliches Are True

I'm waiting for the cupcakes to bake, looking at pictures from four years ago. Bump and I have been so caught up with running errands, making To Do lists for the move, planning a party and enjoying the freedom that visiting grandparents and all their free childcare provide - that we haven't spent as much time with Lumpyhead (or the other two) as we normally do. As we finish the preparations for the birthday party tomorrow, I'm having one of those "remember the reason for the season" moments (only it's not Christmas, and my son is not the Messiah) (as far as I know) (but you know what I mean).

It's hard to believe that four years can pass in the blink of an eye, yet seem so long ago.


The mixer piqued his curiosity, and Lumpyhead the Nighttime Inspector came creeping into the kitchen to see what all the noise was. "You're making a cake for me!" he announced, when I asked him what he was doing out of his bed. I declined his offer of help and sent him back to his room.


Oh, and from the Luxury of Visiting Grandparents Department comes Today's No-Shitter: A three-hour nap in the middle of the afternoon means that at 9pm you're perfectly willing to pick up toys and tidy up the kitchen; instead of staring blankly at the wall, barely able to wipe the exhausted drool from the corner of your mouth.

Friday, May 29, 2009

How to Lose a Baby in 0.75 Seconds

Nathan Jr has begun crawling. He's not crawling in the way you would expect to see a baby wiggling about in quadrupedal motion; instead imagine how an injured drunk might crawl toward a phone. It's more like that. Or maybe a walrus with a bad back flipper.

Bump and I have not been encouraging mobility, because we have two older children and are not that stupid. My mother has been doing this thing where she holds the baby upright by his hands and moves his feet, simulating a walking motion. We're trying to teach Lumpyhead and Lula to tattle on her when she does that. "Daaa-yud," we want them to call, "Gramma is trying to teach Nathan Jr how to walk agaaaaaain."

The tortured forward motion Nathan Jr currently uses morphed quickly from the "rolling with purpose" mode of transportation he used previously. When he began doing that - just a few days ago, I swear - I twice had a heart-stopping moment of panic because I stepped out of the room to grab something and came back to an empty expanse of living room floor. He was gone. Disappeared.

There's that half-second when your mind is racing and you're thinking "Ohmigod, someone broke in and stole the baby while I was in the kitchen." Then you hear a telling THUNK-SQUAWK THUNK-SQUAWK THUNK-SQUAWK of Doesn't Learn From Experience Baby, hitting his head repeatedly on the bottom of the loveseat.
I stuck. Pleaz to halp.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

In Case You Were Wondering What Is Up

Thanks to Jessica, Bump and I took Lumpyhead and Lula to their first real movie on Tuesday.
Hey, you know what? My kids are too young to go to the movies.

It started out promising. Lumpyhead yelled "Look at that big TV!" when we walked into the theater. (Then he added, "I know how to spell TV. Tee. Vee." Our little Poindexter is very into "spelling" right now, and next he graced us all with his ability to spell DVD. He's brilliant, I tell you. Brilliant.) But keeping their yaps shut for the movie was tricky for both Lumpyhead and Lula. Then, about three-quarters of the way through the movie, Lumpyhead started whining because I wouldn't let him lie down on the floor.

(Note to Regal Cinemas at Gallery Place: you have the cleanest floors I have ever experienced in a movie theater. You also have very nice seats, with moveable armrests that can be placed out of the way so a whiney child can lie down across his mother's lap, instead of on your very clean floors. Thank you.)

Lula complained pretty much non-stop that she didn't want to be quiet, so halfway through the movie Bump took her out to get popcorn. She was silent throughout the entire popcorn-buying voyage, only to return to the theater to shout "I DON'T WANT TO BE QUIET."

Bump didn't get to see much of the movie. He was disappointed about that, because he was very excited to 1) see Up and 2) get in on an advance screening.

But I saw the whole thing, and it was great (although young children probably won't understand much of it).

I had this idea - which I admit is stupider than dirt - to take the kids to a dinner theater while my parents are here. I think Lumpyhead would love a musical, my parents would actually love dinner theater and find a Pennsylvania Dutch buffet scrumptious, and we would have to take Lula if we were taking Lumpyhead - because she would throw a fricken fit if we tried to leave without her.

I presented this idea to Bump as "perhaps the dumbest idea I have ever had," an assessment with which he readily agreed. Then I got to the part about him staying home with Nathan Jr while I undertook this Bad Idea and he was all "Wait, I get a night free of Lula, Lumpyhead, and your parents? And I don't have to go to a dinner theater or eat Pennsylvania Dutch food?" and he decided this wasn't such a bad idea after all.

But after our experience with Up, it is clear that Lula would be a disaster at a dinner theater. But honestly? I'm still thinking about taking Lumpyhead.

Sorry if you have the misfortune of being seated next to us.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Make That Four Varieties of God I Now Have to Ignore to Get a Mimosa at Aunt Bob's House

There are lots of churches in my neighborhood, large brick buildings with bells and hordes of worshippers. There's a Catholic church and a multilingual Baptist congregation at the end of the street, and a big Greek Orthodox church a few blocks away. We often vary our usual route home on Sundays to avoid the traffic tie-ups around the parking lot entrances.

I learned this weekend that there are actually four churches in the neighborhood. What I thought was overflow parking for one of the churches - and a huge pain in the butt because there isn't room for two-way traffic when cars are parked along the narrow street - is actually parking for church #4.

Except it's not so much a church as an altar in a garage.

That's kind of weird, right?

Bump suspects it's a cult of some kind, and wonders if one needs a permit to operate a ministry in the garage.

I assume it's an overgrown Bible study, for an underserved sect of a major religion.

But we're totally calling that road the Cult-de-sac now.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rejoice, for the Era of Magnadoodle Dominance Is Over

Lula asked me draw Super Why this morning. I drew a pig in a lone ranger mask.

(In case you're just joining us, Bump can draw all sorts of shit for the children when they demand it. Like elephants. I cannot.)

Then Lula found a printed picture of Super Why and brought it to me. (As if to say, "Hey Dumbass, this is what Super Why is supposed to look like.") Using it as a guide, I tried again. I think I did a pretty good job. You know. Considering.
Bump said Super Why looked like he was suffering from male pattern baldness. I told Bump to shut the hell up.

At least Lula was happy.

Then Bump wondered aloud if one could just place a piece of paper on the magnadoodle and trace it.

Guess what, people?
GUESS. WHAT. (Oh, and that's Lumpyhead, complaining about the shirt his father selected for him. It's striped, you see, which is apparently unacceptable. He continued to scowl at that shirt until we let him choose a different one.)


Here's Princess Presto, as traced by ME, close up. Check me OUT, bitches.
Lula erased the bottom part before I could get a decent photo. Still. Bow to my superior tracing ability. BOW!

And right as I was feeling all uppity, Bump went a drew Wonder Red. Freehand. No tracing.
Fuck you.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Maybe They Were Sending Emails That Said "I'll Be Late. I'm Stuck in an Elevator That's Not Going Anywhere"

I boarded the elevator in the basement with two men. They appeared to know each other but didn't speak; once inside they elevator both started furiously typing on their blackberries.

When we reached my floor, I got off. They didn't.

I assumed we were all going to the same place, since neither of them pressed a floor.

How long you think they stood there, thumbs flying - after the door closed - before they realized one of them had to push a damn button for the elevator to move?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


A couple of weeks ago I broke my right thumbnail. It hurt and it looked funny - all crooked and uneven.

Last week I broke my right pinkie nail. It was very short, but not painful.

On Friday I broke the nail on my right index finger - pretty far below the quick. It hurt like a mutherfucker for two days.

On Saturday I slammed Lula's bedroom door on my middle finger, squashing the nailbed. I swore a lot.

Now, I realize the above is neither interesting nor newsworthy, but here is my problem: HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO PICK MY CHILDREN'S NOSES NOW, INTERNET? HUH?

The boogers dangle there, taunting me.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Yesterday Bump and his mom went on the Post Hunt. They did okay (but would totally have won had I been on their team, obvs), finishing four of the five questions and nearly completing the final clue. Bump's mother proclaimed it "wicked fun" and they can't wait to do it again next year.

Meanwhile, I went to a birthday party for one of Lumpyhead's classmates. Because a dear friend took pity on me and agreed to watch Lula and Nathan Jr, I didn't have to attend this party with all of my children. That's the one bright spot of this incident.

Hey, this just in: birthday parties for children kind of suck.

Let me clarify: birthday parties that are great fun for children kind of suck for the adults.

The event began with me floundering around Falls Church, looking for a tiny unfamiliar strip mall and the damn GPS unit while my cellphone rang.

I drove past the strip mall twice. I left the GPS at home. I pulled into a laundromat parking lot to answer the phone. (It was Bump, who needed me to send a text as part of the game. The reason Bump did not have the text-capable cellphone with him is a whole 'nother eyeroll-worthy long story.)

The birthday boy's parents had the good sense to host this shindig at one of those "activity places" where the 20 kids in attendance run around like crazy, eat cake and ice cream, run around some more, then go away. The party ends at the specified time and you don't have to kick anyone out. Nor do you have to clean up.


Expensive genius, perhaps. But genius nonetheless.

(For Lumpyhead's birthday party later this month, I will not be exhibiting this particular brand of genius. Children are coming to our house, where I hope to entertain them with sugar and loud noises in the comforting confines of our rental backyard. If it rains, I'm totally fucked.)

(I'll have booze for the adults, though.)

Bump is the primary parent at the preschool. He knows all the children, their parents, and their quirks (the kids' and the parents'). The children know him. So, for example, when he offers to help a child with a juicebox, the child does not stare at him silently, with eyes full of fear.

Nothing says "happy birthday" like reminding small children that strangers are scary.

During the cake-and-ice-cream portion of the event, some kid at Lumpyhead's table farted. I noticed the smell and my first instinct was to check everyone's diaper. I'm happy to say that I kept that instinct in check, because the whole room would have looked at me like Terrorized Juice Box Kid had I started pulling at the waistbands of completely potty-trained preschoolers.

Lumpyhead caught a whiff a few seconds later, announcing "It smells like poop in here." It was a good thing he said something, and timed it right, or I would have definitely blamed the fart on him. (Catch the syllabus for the upcoming course offering: Using Smelt It, Dealt It to Your Advantage at Birthday Parties, taught by Professor Lumpyhead.)

There was a Star Wars themed cake with matching plates and tablecloths and napkins, so when some kid requested a fork instead of a spoon, I brought it to him and said "May the forks be with you."

I said it really loud.

None of those little brats gave the Visiting Kidnapping Pedophile so much as a pity chuckle.

At least the mom next to me laughed.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rental Grandparentals

We went to the Aquarium in Baltimore on Saturday. Apparently I didn't pay attention when you warned me that strollers weren't allowed in the building (I probably wasn't paying attention because I was too busy thinking "Yeah, RIGHT. Like I'm going to take my three children on a daytrip to BALTIMORE any time soon. Do you think I'm an eeeediot?") (Or maybe you didn't warn me, in which case WHY DIDN'T YOU WARN ME?), and I nearly died when we approached the door and were told the stroller check was to the right.

Luckily, Bump's uncle and aunt were with us. This whole outing was their idea, so I didn't feel too bad burdening them with a child or a diaper bag or both. Grandchildren are a long way off for Bump's aunt and uncle (their boys are 20 and 22) but they are both jonesing HARD for babies. So they get their grandparent-wannabe fix from our children, our children get daytrips they wouldn't otherwise get, and everybody wins (except Bump and me, who got a touch of some stomach bug while we were there).
Yes, we fed these ducks, because I don't learn from experience. At least these ducks didn't follow us around for the rest of the day.

It was a lovely day - ducks and diarrhea aside - and while I was a little embarrassed by my kids asking for Nemo and Dory instead of the clownfish and blue tang, the Aquarium staff must be used to that by now, right? Besides, I instantly felt better when I heard an older child ask if Spongebob was down there.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Date Night

We've scored a babysitter tonight; Bump and I are going to the movies.

Okay, FINE. Bump and I are going to see Star Trek.


Hey, laugh at me all you want, but I present you with two options:

1) Drinks and dinner at Liberty Tavern, where the food is great and the Happy Hour crowd is young and beautiful.

2) Star Trek in IMAX.

On balance, perhaps those two options seem roughly comparable. Or maybe you don't understand why anyone in their right mind would choose Option 2. But if you want to scan the room and assess who has the best chance of getting laid later, Option 2 is gonna be a lot better for your self-esteem than Option 1.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I'm Not the Math Whiz in the Family

Last year for Mother's Day I made little video compilations for the grandmothers and burned them to DVDs. The grandmothers loved them, my sister-in-law demanded a copy of her very own, and it was a nice (cheap) and very personal (also cheap) Mother's Day gift.

This year I was exceptionally slow on the uptake and started compiling the video on Monday. After several days of squinting at my computer and frantically editing home video, I finished the damn thing this afternoon. I researched shipping options and chose to send the DVDs using the post office's Express Mail.

I decided to burn seven DVDs. I would ship three to get there by Saturday (to my mom, to Nana Vicky, and to Bump's grandmother), and send the others (to Bump's mom, who will be traveling this weekend; and to Bump's sister, who can get her Mother's Day DVD on Monday, goddammit, she's a mother but she ain't my mother) via regular mail. One DVD for us, plus an extra for . . . something = seven.

With ten minutes remaining before the last pickup of the day, I pulled the third DVD out of the burner, ran to the post office, and spent $17.50 per DVD to mail the gifts. Pricey, sure, but cheaper than FedEx or UPS. Plus, with Saturday delivery, the DVDs would definitely get there in time. I figured $17.50 was still a pretty cheap Mother's Day present.

I got back to my computer to finish burning the remaining DVDs. I finished the session and seemed to have . . . um, five DVDs.

Help me out here, but factoring in the three I already burned and put in the mail, I'm pretty sure that five is one too many. I'm reasonably certain I just spent over fifty bucks to ship two fabulous gifts and one blank DVD.

It Encourages Good Posture

What the hell do you mean, "Hold still"?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Friday with Lula, Round II

My plan to take Lula to the Powhatan Springs Park on Friday was foiled by threatening rain, so we went to the Natural History Museum again. Unfortunately I told Lula we were going to see "water" before assessing the weather situation, so got peppered with questions about "water" all the way to the Mall.
Lesson Learned: Do not talk about the place you are going until you are absolutely sure you are going there.

I found a Kojak parking space on Independence Ave and dodged a bullet by taking Lula to the Sculpture Garden before the museum. The Sculpture Garden has a fountain. Hence "water." I let her throw a pretzel goldfish at a duck, and the damn thing followed us around - fixing us squarely with his evil duck glare - until we left.
Lesson Learned: Don't feed the ducks.

After the museum, where we saw the bugs and the elephant and the lion as Lula demanded, we rode the carousel. Lula had a fit when the ride ended, but the fit stopped immediately when I suggested we go again. She got off her horse, stepped away from the ride, and promptly forgot about the carousel.
Lesson Learned: LYING PAYS OFF.

When we got home and Lumpyhead returned from preschool, Lula happily announced that she went to the museum and the water. Lumpyhead cried because he didn't get to go.
Lesson Learned: It's never too early to lord your special day over your brother.