Stories from April 2010

Swimming in a Sea of Miscellaneous

Becca Sanders

Sitting on the desk in my office is a wicker basket filled with a mish-mash of things: sidewalk chalk, a toddler-sized sun hat, a plastic object that might be the gangplank of a toy pirate ship, an “Uno” game, two barrettes (one yellow, one pink), a superball, a receipt for a pair of shoes for son H. that I never got around to returning, a swim diaper (unused), a plastic fireman, three orphaned socks, and a Hot Wheels car.

Peering into the basket, I grow weary. It has been sitting in my office for months, since the last time we had a group of people over for a dinner party and I scooped every piece of stray junk that graced our living room into this basket. “I’ll put this stuff away later,” I thought, shoving it into my office.

And there it has sat, looking both benign and accusatory.

There are two more such baskets in my office, each filled with a wearying array of toys, parts of toys, or other kid-related stuff that needs to be dealt with. My children could be tracked through a forest by the trail of miscellanea they leave in their wake – like strange, unearthly creatures that expel Legos and Little People.

This is the kind of thing that causes me to both scoff at and secretly covet those kids’ storage systems sold by certain major retailers. (I won’t name names, but one of them rhymes with “Otter He-Barn.”) The labeled bins, the tidy shelves, the adorable little tots who clean up between activities! “I’m done with the train! Let’s file it under ‘T’,” one says to the other while reaching for a label-maker. (Read more…)

Getting it Perfect is Overrated

Laura De Veau

I have decided that, while perfection was something I once strived for, now being marginal is about all I can muster.  It seems that regardless of how hard I try, I’m going to continue to make the same mistakes, and I need to just get used to them and all the clean-up that goes with it.

So now, in what I am considering a public service, I am going to put some of my more recent failings on the line, and hope that you, my dear readers can forgive me.  And please, while I appreciate the kindness – I don’t need anymore advice.

I’m a lousy shopper.  I don’t buy the right things for the right season … ever.  I’m either so over -stocked that I’m bringing things to the consignment store with tags still on them.  Or, I’m so under-stocked, that I’m using electrical tape to hem my kids pants in an effort to ‘make due’ until the next size fits.

I think that some aspects of motherhood are boring. I have actually fallen asleep while reading a book TO my child only to wake up with Spicy Girl’s face a few centimeters from mine as she is whispering, “Mommy, the book isn’t done yet.”

If I didn’t have a cleaning woman the floor would never get vacuumed. It’s true.

I call all of my child’s teachers at day care the same name. Thankfully, Spicy Girl knows when to correct me. (Read more…)

Can You Call It Dinner if You Don’t Eat?

Kate Chretien

It’s a vague memory, but I can still remember when my husband and I used to have dinner and actually carry on a full conversation. Of course, at the time, we did not have an occupied highchair and booster seat at the table. Occupied by professional Dinner Time Distracters whose missions are a) create the largest zone of destruction by the end of dinner; b) thwart all attempts at any independent being completing a full thought; and c) distract others from actually eating at meal times.

Our typical dinner goes something like this.

“So, remember when I told you that Julie…”

“Excoose me! Excoose me! Mama! Excoose me!”

“Yes, Elise?”

“My boo-boo’s not hurting right now.”

“That’s great….right, so, Julie mentioned…”

“Excoose me! Mama! Excoose me!” (She’s tapping my hand. A hand that wants to deliver a forkful of food into my mouth at some point.)

“What, Elise?”

“The President is Aunt Juner.” (Read more…)

Journals of a Grade School Loser

Angie McCullagh

This week I’ve been reading through some old journals I was forced to write for my 7th grade English class, and then later for Senior Composition. I’m glad I saved them. They give me hope. Because I? Was an idiot.

Okay, maybe I exaggerate a little. In seventh grade I came across as sweet, naïve, concerned about schoolwork, but with a really dumb, undeveloped sense of humor. To be expected, right?

The biggest excitement in my life was sleepovers and getting a new double bed.

And then we come to the Senior year missives. Just seeing my handwriting from 1987 makes me cringe. It’s all big, loopy letters and i’s dotted with hearts. And, if my journals are any indication, all that went through my mind that year can be summed up in one word: Boys. (Read more…)

High School “Musical”

Lisa Kerr

Recently we packed up the family and took a short trip to New York City. What better way to spend a few lovely days in Spring than to stroll the streets of Manhattan, take in a couple of shows, visit a museum or two, eat some good food and do a little shopping?  Just me, the Hub, the Monkey and the Ladybug.

And 100 high school students.

Every couple of years the Hub—a high school choral teacher —and his colleagues gather up their pitch pipes and set off to spread music across the land.  And by “land” I mean touristy places like Orlando and Virginia Beach.  (If there’s an Old Country Buffet and amusement park within 30 miles of one another, you have all the makings of a music festival.)  Since this year’s trip was both close to home and coincided with spring break we decided to tag along.

One might think that time spent with so many kids would inspire a feeling of youth.  One might be wrong.  To my surprise, sometime within the last 20 years I have gotten, well, old. Like some character from a “Cocoon” reunion I found myself reminiscing about the old days and peppering my conversations with my own children with phrases like:

“When you’re in high school, please don’t push in front of old people to get the last two French fries in the warming dish.” (Read more…)

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This Weeks Tip

You would think at our age that we wouldn’t have to worry about these things. But, as Kate will attest, even at *ahem* 27, untimely breakouts can (and will) happen. What to do? Apply an ice cube for 30 second. Then soak a cotton ball in eye drops and press it to the “spot” for 3 minutes. The theory is that the ice and drop combination will cause blood vessels below the surface to contract—leaving you looking, well, a little less like Rudolph.