Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hero(es) of the Week

I hope you're not expecting something truly profound here....  Profound only happens here at The Parenthood Experiment when I least expect it.

I've had an emotionally trying week.  It's payroll week, which is my tremendously busy week in my job.

It also seems to be the week that Murphy shows up in earnest, because it's just not enough for me to have payroll insanity for two days, followed by billing and writing the employee newsletter.  No, no.  Pile on the crises!  (I can't tell you how many monumental events in the timeline of the custody insanity fell into payroll week somewhere.)

This week, I had payroll, a flare-up of family issues relating to the custody of the Fries (I'm still kinda peeved), a billing situation that could only be (charitably) described as a mess that was handed to me today, and a shocking announcement from the private school where I went to elementary, middle and high school, and from which I graduated, that was gut-wrenching when I heard it a week ago.  The emotional response has taken several days to catch up to me, and the increased alumni reaction has only fueled the roiling feelings inside.

I finally broke down and cried tonight, bawling all over Hubby, finally unable to contain it any longer and finished with work.

About quarter to 11p, I realized I hadn't eaten any dinner.  And since I was feeling gloomy, and wanted comfort food, I wanted cheesy fries.  Sonic has cheesy fries....

Favorite spot.
But despite perusing the Sonic website with Mika perched on my shoulder (a challenge), I couldn't find out when our location closed.

And I didn't want Hubby to have to stop his OnDemand movie on his computer to go get me cheesy fries.

Yes, I know it sounds silly.  I was trying to be a nice, unweepy, undemanding wife.

I mentioned it to Hubby, who actually, y'know, called Sonic, right at 11p, to see when they closed.  "Um, now," the employee who answered the phone said.  Hubby thanked them and hung up.

Two minutes later, Hubby's cell phone rings.

It's the Sonic employee!

Who then asked what he wanted.  "Grill's not closed yet."

Hubby smiled, chuckled, told 'em cheesy fries, and grabbed his coat to head out the door.  Then he called back a minute later and asked for a large PB cup Blast.

All of that alone would have been enough.

All of that had already rated that Sonic employee as my hero.

But wait, there's more!

Hubby got home in about fifteen minutes, with my cheesy fries, the PB cup Blast, and a large cherry limeade.  He'd pulled up to the window and the clerk said, "Cherry limeade?"

Then they told him it would be a minute.  "We want to make sure your fries are fresh."

They weren't willing to give out the fries sitting under the warmer...they made them fresh.

Hubby pulled out his debit card to pay.

The clerk wouldn't take it.

Wouldn't. Take. It.

"Just to show you we care," the employee said.

The two employees who worked at my local just earned your location a very loyal customer...and we plan to patronize your Sonic a whole lot more, because of your kindness and generosity.

Thank you.

"Why does it blink?"

I really don't know how to tell this story without grossing anyone out.

Queen Po and the Duckie
Medium Fry is sitting on Hubby's lap.

So is Po, for that matter.

Poor Po.  She suffers so many indignities.

She's about to suffer another one.

To be precise, Po isn't sitting on Hubby's lap.  She's standing.  With, naturally, her rear in Medium's face.

Hubby: Don't touch her there.  She doesn't like to be touched there.

Medium Fry [squeezing her eyes shut and opening them rapidly]: Uncle, why does it blink?
Hubby:  Where?

Medium points right at Po's rear.  Yes, that part of her rear.

And Hubby squeezes his eyes shut tight, slaps his hands over his face, and fails miserably at holding in huge guffaws.

Hubby: Did you touch it?

Medium shakes her head.

Hubby:   It blinks [giggle] because of the muscles moving there.

Something in Medium's face makes him ask again.

Hubby:  Did you touch her there?

Medium shakes her head again.

Hubby:  Because if you touched her there, you need to go wash your hands.  Or get some hand sanitizer.

Po leaves the scene of her most recent indignity and goes to take her usual spot on the couch.

Medium slithers off Hubby's lap.

Hubby:  You touched her there, then?

Medium goes out into the kitchen for hand sanitizer and both of us dissolve into giggles again, with Hubby mimicking Medium's slow blink when she asked, and whispering, "Why does it blink?"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How cool is THIS?

A friend gave me this link.

This is, hands down, one of the coolest ways of recycling books that I've ever seen.

I cannot imagine the time and creativity it took to pull it all together.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Bargainer

Medium Fry [having finished her supper]: Can I have candy?

Hubby: No, you already had candy today.

Medium Fry: Can I have candy?  Please?

Hubby:  No.  I already told you.  You had candy after lunch.

Medium Fry:  Is popsicle candy?

Hubby:  No, popsicle isn't candy.

Medium Fry:  Can I have a popsicle?

Yep, she got a popsicle.  So did her sisters.

How to Tell that You're the Mom of Small Children

  • You can't see your floor because of all the toys.
  • You have a plastic 3-drawer dresser in your living room for jammies.
  • Your cats hide upstairs most of the day to escape the kids.
  • You shuffle as you walk across the floor, to avoid a full-weight stepping-on of any stray Legos.
  • VeggieTales DVDs outnumber the movies that have a greater-than-G rating.
  • You regularly find stuffed animals (which aren't yours) in your bed, left there by the mischievous imps who also reside in your house.
  • You have the level of kitty noseprints and the level of small fingerprints in about the same place on the windows.
  • Your freezer has chicken nuggets and tater tots.  And hotdogs. With more hotdogs in the fridge.
  • You've ever had to shriek at a small person to go get a tissue and wipe the booger off the kitchen playset that she just wiped on there.  (Yes, today.)
  • Your lingerie bag for laundry sees more fuzzy duckies and piggies than it does lingerie.  (Also today.)
All this, and lots of hugs and kisses from pint-sized people.

Not a bad deal, really.

Friday, March 25, 2011

"What was that?" and other imponderables

Rule #2, folks.  It's there for a reason.

Case in point....

We're driving up to Gramma and Boppa's. It's only a 75-minute drive as it is.  We are out of chewable Dramamine.  It's a comfortable temp in the van.

There is an odd noise from the back.  I whip around, very afraid I know exactly what that sound means.

Unfortunately, I'm right.  Large Fry has puked.  (Blast her father's genes.  She's usually the first to get carsick of the three.)

"What was that?" Hubby asks.

Silly Hubby.  He knows Rule #2.

"Large Fry threw up."

He asks her three times and I ask her twice why she didn't let us know she thought she was going to get sick.  Her answer, after my second asking, is a shrug.

Dang it, we keep 32-oz plastic cups in the van for exactly this reason.  If she'd said something about it, we could have prevented the catastrophic event from causing a huge mess.  Then she wouldn't have needed a shower.  And I wouldn't have to bargain with Hubby to have him go pick up dinner while I clean up the kid (it seemed to make more sense, as he has a map in his head and I don't).  And I wouldn't have to wash a load of clothes.  And her carseat straps would stink.

Of course, it's entirely possible she still would have needed the shower, since Large Fry is not what one would call great at keeping her hair tucked into her headband.

So.  Large is showered.  Clothes & towel are washing.

The twin Fries have colds, and the next weird thing I hear is Small Fry shouting my name, followed by, "I got snot on the pillow!"

"How did you get snot on the pillow?" I asked, incredulous.

Silly Auntie.  Rule #2.

"Never mind.  Go get a tissue and wipe your nose."

Small Fry gets a tissue.

And she wipes the pillow instead.

"I got the snot off!"

Well.  Yay.

It's been an interesting morning.

Medium Fry--who had been in our bed when I went up to bed last night--bounced back into our bed about 7:30 this morning.  Not to worry, because Large Fry had been up and playing in our room (I do not know with what, nor do I want to know; she was probably rearranging my books again) before 7.

Small Fry bounced in around 7:45, as Hubby was getting Large Fry ready to go to school.

They started demanding to watch tv.  I put them off until after I'd had a chance for my morning constitutional and had gotten Large Fry some clean pants.  (I have plenty of clean laundry.  It's just not folded yet.  Or put away.)

I crawled back into bed with them and turned the tv on.  Rescue me, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

A bit later, Small Fry moseyed down the hall to the bathroom.  I made note of when the toilet flushed...and determined several minutes later that Something Was Up.

I appeared in the bathroom and Small Fry whipped around to look at me, guilt all over her face.  "I need to wash my hands," she said.

And that's when I noticed that the full mouthwash bottle--full not long ago when I was first in the bathroom--was now extremely empty.  And the lingering odor of minty freshness permeated the air around the sink.

Thankfully, Small Fry readily confessed that she had dumped the mouthwash.

I marched her down the hall to have her actually tell Hubby that she'd dumped his mouthwash.

"Uncle, I'm sowwy," she said, tears beginning to creep into her voice.

"For what?" I prompted.

"Fowr dumping...."

"Dumping what?"  Despite his sleepiness, I was pretty sure we had his attention now.

"Moufwash," Small Fry mumbled.

Hubby looked at me.

"Mouthwash," I supplied.

He looked back at Small Fry.  "MY blue mouthwash?!"

Small Fry reluctantly nodded.

"That's not yours!" Hubby nearly roared.  (This is a persistent issue with Small Fry, her desire to take things and use things and mess with things and pour things that are not hers to take, use, mess with or pour.)

I let him handle the discipline, while I returned to the bathroom for my own reasons and then came back to get dressed.

I had the twins pick out undies, undershirts (it's gotten cold here again...ick), and shirts.  Clean pants, of course, were downstairs.

It was an undertaking to get both of them to actually put their clothes on.  Medium Fry insisted on tattling on Small Fry at every possible turn (I think she even made a few turns up), to the point that I had to holler at her to please put on her undies and her pants.  For about the fifth time.

I got them cereal for breakfast, and decided that drinking a Pediasure after their cereal couldn't hurt.  Medium finished first, and so I opened it up and gave it to her.  Usually, the kids can drink from bottles like that without a problem (although they do get little handlebar mustaches from them).  Not today.

Medium came out into the living room where I was.  "I spee-yulled," she told me.

This was not a small spill.

Chocolate Pediasure was all over her right shoulder, arm, and had splashed down on the front of her shirt in numerous places.  Her white shirt.

Migraine salute.

"Go upstairs and get another shirt," I instructed.

Naturally, this meant "stand in the hallway and pluck at the shirt I'm wearing."

About the time I opened my mouth to tell her to go upstairs, she says, "I need--"

"Go. Upstairs. Get another shirt."

So now I have the dishwasher running (it tripped the circuit on the outlet last night, and stopped before it even hit the main wash cycle), the shirt soaking in the sink, and the twins arguing in the toy room because Small Fry is half-hula-ing and half dancing silly and she's knocked over Medium Fry's "lamp" (a conglomeration of the three big plastic teapots we have) at least twice.

And Keiki, my husband's cat, is over here, tapping me for attention, because I'm the one with the vent under my desk, spilling out hot air.  (She's our heater hog.)

This is the life.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Sound of Silence

I have to say, this is one of my favorite sounds.

The sound of the twin Fries' breathing, coming through the monitor in their bedroom.

They sleep.

They trust that all is well.

I don't know why it pulls so hard on my heartstrings each night.

It just does.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Naps are my friends.

And, sometimes, my enemies.

I went upstairs to take one with the twin Fries because I was afraid I'd jab myself with my embroidery needle if I didn't.  (I'm trying to catch up on cross-stitch work, but I'm still woefully behind.)

At 2:40, I had kicked all of the unfriendly things out of their room, while allowing all the friendly things to stay (as long as they were quiet).

At 3:30, an impishly grinning Small Fry woke me up as she stage-tip-toed into my bedroom.  I know I'm up when I'm not supposed to be was written all over her face.  It was, coincidentally, just about the time the 59-minute sleep on the clock radio in their room would've turned off.

I sent her back to bed.

About five minutes later, I heard crocodile tears.  Which I ignored.

A little after 4, Large Fry came home from school.  She came in and woke me up to get a hug before she went to go nap for a bit.  That I didn't mind.  Any time I can get a hug, it's a good thing.

I had just gotten back to sleep when I heard more stage-tip-toe-ing into my room.

This time it was both twin Fries.

I sent them both back to bed.

I think Large Fry came in again about 4:30, but I'm a little fuzzy on that.  I know, if she did, I sent her back to bed.

Then one of the twins complained that she had to go poopy.  "So go poopy!" I said.

At 5, after repeated shouts from Uncle D to get back in bed, I'd had enough.  Nobody was going to sleep any more, so I herded the twin Fries downstairs.

Uncle D expressed his displeasure at their bad behavior.

Medium Fry suggested that they needed a time out for not listening to me.

He agreed.

And now they get a stern talking-to from me.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It was bound to happen eventually.

We have wood floors in our house.  I can't say they're hardwood floors, because Hubby has a cow every time I do.  They're pine planks, so they're not a hardwood.  And 120+ years old.  And prone to slivering on occasion.  And extremely prone to snagging socks.  And tracked-out kitty litter just migrates around the house.

So I wear slippers around the house.  For three purposes.  One, I hate having kitty litter get stuck to my bare feet.  Or even my socked feet.  Two, wood floors in the winter are cold.  And my bad ankle really hates cold.  And three, I'm tired of my socks getting snagged.  I love my fun socks.  (I have a vast collection.)

I originally bought the slippers back in December of 2009, because I needed to have something to wear on my feet other than my snow boots during the Christmas Eve service at church.  (They did not go with my dress, despite both of them being black.)  My auto accident (cause of the aforementioned bad ankle) was only five months prior, and I still couldn't wear much of anything other than sneakers with an air cast.  There was no way I could even wear dress shoes. was the Christmas Eve service.  It's really important.  I was heavily involved.  I couldn't wear jeans.  So I had to find something I could tolerate for an hour, and would let me wear a simple black ankle brace.

Found!  One pair of black ballet slippers, with little off-white bows that I wasn't thrilled with, but then, beggars can't be choosers, and I didn't have time (or ankle ability) to look for anything else.

It's now to the point where I'm so used to wearing them that I have actually walked out on the porch before realizing I need to go back in and put on my sneakers.

It was inevitable that, some day, I was going to go out in them, completely forgetting that these are house-dwelling slippers.

Today was that day.

We were in our usual Sunday morning rush to get out the door and get the kids in the car.  I grabbed my cane and followed along, stopping at one point to check why it felt like the cane was too tall (it's supposed to come up to about my hip joint).  It was set at the right spot, so I shrugged it off and kept going.
See?  Fun socks.

I didn't even notice until I got to the church and hopped out into the parking lot...which didn't feel right.

I looked down.

I was still wearing my slippers.

I suppose it could be worse.

I could have been wearing these, like Jill Shalvis wore out of the house.  (Sorry, Jill!)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Migraine Salute Moment


Never a dull moment around here.

Medium went to the potty, like usual, before naptime.  She took the kid-proof camera with her. I bought it for all three Fries for Christmas last year, since they were always wanting to take pictures.

I heard her get on the toilet.

I heard her flush.

I heard her turn on the water...ostensibly to wash her hands.

The water went off.

Then I heard it come on again, harder this time.

"What are you doing?" I called.

"Washing my hands," she hollered back.

"That's the second time she's turned the water on," I said.

Hubby immediately got up to go investigate.

Rather than washing her hands...I'm sure you see where this is going...she'd given the camera a bath.

We apparently have made a better kid.  Fisher-Price didn't think of this one, it seems.

Because the camera was so well-bathed that water was pouring out of it.

Needless to say, Medium Fry had a very unpleasant disciplinary experience.  I got paper towels to mop up the mess that the dribbling camera was making.

Medium got sent upstairs to bed, and Small Fry followed.  Hubby shook more water out of the camera and sternly ordered Large Fry to go potty, and to NOT take any toys into the bathroom with her.  Then he went up to tuck the twins in, asking me to send Large up when she was done.

Hubby came back downstairs after everyone was settled in bed, and picked up the camera.

I'll be darned.  The thing turned back on.

It even took a picture.

But when Hubby looked at the LCD display and viewed the picture, it was a picture of Medium's duck.

Every picture was the duck.

Even the one he'd just taken of me.

Sooo...into a bag of rice it goes, and we'll see if it will ever work again.

Stinkin' School!

Hubby is brushing Small Fry's hair.  Because of the Fries' naturally curly (and in Medium's case, naturally very curly), we use a leave-in conditioner and a detangling spray to help brush without too many tears.

And Hubby talks to himself.

"I'm not going to use too much of this," he mutters, "because I'm going to wash it tonight.  They all need B-A-T-Hs desperately."

Large Fry pipes up, "Baths?!"

"Uh-oh."  Hubby looks chagrined.  "Stinkin' school."  He looks at Large Fry.  "Later.  After N-A-P."

"N-A-P?"  Large Fry studies him.  "N-A-P?"

"What is that word?" Hubby asks her.


"Nope."  He looks over at me and grins.  "Whew.  We still got a little while yet."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Overheard through the Monitor

"Uncle!  Dewre's a buggie!"  [whimpering]  "Uncle!"

We're down in the living room.  The kids are in bed.  They're supposed to be sleeping.  And they're supposed to have their eyes closed.

Not Medium Fry.


"Dewre's a buggie!"

"Medium, your eyes are supposed to be closed!"

More whimpering.  "But dewre's a buggie!"

"I'll be up in a minute."

Hubby takes some time to respond to our friend Sir Robin Hood, who has been texting about vehicles and locations and how far it is to where we used to live.

And then he goes upstairs.

Where he does not find the offending buggie.

"Where is it?"

"It went behind da window!"

Hubby looks.  Sort of, I'm sure.  Enough to satisfy Medium Fry.  But the room is dark (despite the nightlight) and the blinds over the windows are dark wood.

He's not downstairs more than a couple minutes before it starts again.

"Da buggie is baaaaaack!"

More whimpering.



"Deawr God, please get da buggie out!"  Pause.  "Please make him go away."

Hubby and I chuckled downstairs, and Hubby observed, "At least we're raising them right!"

Sibling Punishment

"May I be ehskoozed to go potty?" Small Fry asked during dinner.

Hubby nodded, and she pushed back her chair to get down.

Not even two seconds later, Medium Fry is pushing her chair back.

"Where are you going?" Hubby asked her.

"I have to go potty!"

"You can't go potty right now.  Small Fry is going potty.  Get back in your seat."

Medium is in full-on pout mode by the time she climbs back in her chair and gets scooted back up to the table.

Her lower lip starts to protrude.

"And now she's going to pout."  Hubby looks over at me, and we share a we know where this one's going look.

"And now...." Hubby says quietly.

"Small Fwry won't let me go potty!" Medium wails.

"Small Fry is going potty right now.  She's not telling you what to do.  I'm telling you that you have to wait until she's done."

"But when she's done, she won't let me!"

I had to muffle my laughter in Hubby's shoulder....

Parental Expletives

Hubby found the dry erase marker for the fridge whiteboard while I was away for the last couple of days.

Thus, the Fries have been unhappily sharing it and scribbling on the whiteboard.

Until, that is, the marker dried up during Small Fry's turn.

Hubby rolled his eyes when he realized I'd bought new dry erase markers.

And then a lightbulb went off over his head...and he headed for the toy room.  There, he hauled out the easel (one side is a whiteboard) that Gramma and Boppa had given the Fries a couple Christmases ago.

This being the home of small children, and the toy room being...well...the toy room, he either tripped or stubbed his toe or inflicted some manner of injury on himself on his way through the doorway into the toy room.

"Oh, my...fairy godmother!" he grunted, breathing hard.

I sat in here and tried not to laugh.  :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

But are you really?

Hubby:  How did you get this?  Did you get it off the shelf?

Which is, by the way, a shelf high enough that small children cannot reach it, shall we say, unassisted.

Medium Fry:  I fink it waws Smawll Fwry.

Hubby [with highly skeptical look]:  Really?  Are you telling me the truth?

Medium Fry:  I fink it waws Smawll Fwry.

Hubby:  Did she climb on the table to get it?

Medium Fry:  Um....

Hubby:  Did she stand on a chair?

Medium Fry:  Um...Smawll Fwry.

Hubby:  Are you telling me the truth?

Hubby fixes a skeptical, penetrating gaze on Medium Fry, who continues to "um."  I look over at the unfolding drama, and give her a similar look.  She's fidgeting.  And her gaze is waffling between us.  More "ums."  Hubby and I both know this look.

Hubby:  Do you want to tell me the truth?

Medium Fry [wails]:  I don't fink so!

(For the record, she did 'fess up that she had climbed on the table to get the aforementioned high-rise-dwelling toy down.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ruminations on Disasters

The catastrophic events in Japan--first the massive quake (and its equally nasty aftershocks) and then the tsunami-- followed by the tsunami effects felt in Hawaii, California, and Oregon had me wondering just who was going to claim that my God is responsible for these, and that he's somehow passing judgment for some obscure reason.

I knew the Westboro Baptist folks would have something to say about that.  I don't so much mind them running their mouths; they're entitled to say what they want and look like unkind, mean-spirited idiots if they want.  What bothers me about them is that they make the rest of us--the ones who are really trying to live like we believe the bible teaches, the ones who truly want to embody and personify the loving, gracious Christ--look really, really bad.  We're not all like that.  I wish they'd stay out of the public eye and stop drawing nasty stereotypes about the "way" that Christians are.

Nor are we all like Pat Robertson, or other evangelists who have made similar claims in the past regarding natural disasters here on our own soil.

Fact: We live in an imperfect world.  Fact:  This imperfect world will have trouble.

That this is God's horrendous judgment is nothing more than the opinion of those who are speaking loudly and have the microphones in front of them.

Me, I grieve for the people of Japan.  I grieve for those who know their loved ones are among the dead.  I grieve for those who don't know where their loved ones are.  I grieve for those who may never know what happened to their loved ones.  I grieve for those who are overwhelmed with the prospect of rebuilding, for those still in danger, for those feeling lost and without hope.  And I pray for an abundant measure of God's grace to fall on them.

But I'm sure not declaring this is the fault of one specific group of people.  Most of my friends are as grieved as I am.  Some of them work for charitable relief organizations, and they're already starting to draw up plans to help.

Mike Schutz, who was chaplain when I was in college, had this to say: 

The problem is not that some pundits are claiming that God is causing the earthquakes in order to "send a message," the problem is that folks who are followers of Jesus are actually listening to these people.  Generations of folk theology that the world is evil and God wants to destroy it, instead of the truth that God wants to reconcile all of Creation, has led us to this place where folks are willing to believe such drivel.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Grandparental Jealousy

My sister had her second baby in the wee hours of the morning today.  Actually, since she and her husband and son live in Romania, it was still yesterday here when she had him.

I was rather surprised that she was able to get internet access in the hospital, but apparently that wasn't an issue.  She called on Skype this morning to introduce me to my newest nephew.

BIL, big brother R, A, and Sis
This is A.  Isn't he cute?

The twin Fries were delighted to meet their new cousin, Small Fry especially.  She loooooooooooooves babies.  In fact, her definition of a "baby" is pretty broad: any child smaller and/or younger than she is.  So seeing her new baby cousin rated pretty much off the charts for Small Fry...who then had to show off all of her babies (well, five of the dollies, at least).  And say hi to BIL's mom, who was visiting.  And BIL's dad, when he came up to see the baby.  And kept shoving Medium Fry out of the way.

I asked Sis what R thought of his new baby brother.  She said that R had gleefully announced, "He loves me!"  So far, so good.

Innyhoo...A was born at 2-ish a.m., weighed 8 lbs 4 oz (a pound less than his brother at birth), and is 22 inches long.  I love the strawberry blond hair!  He's so cute!

R is a superhero.  Superheroes can stand on the bed.
As we wrapped up our conversation (because, as much as I'd like to stare in delight at my new nephew, people are waiting to be paid here), Sis pointed out that even Mom and Dad hadn't seen baby A yet.

"Oh, really?  I beat out Gramma?" I said.

"She was off getting her hair done," Sis said with a grin.

"Cool!"  I know this means I have bragging rights.  Especially since I've been taking snapshots via Skype as we talked.

Sis laughed.  "First to answer, first to win!"

Of course, being the kind and thoughtful daughter that I am, I sent a text to both of my parents: Neener! I saw A and I have pictures!

Dad's reply was succinct: Dog.

Posted on FB. Go look! I sent back.

Double dog, Dad replied.

I had to laugh, and then I texted back, To quote your younger daughter, "First to answer, first to win."  Dad complained that he was on a deadline.

Mom finally replies, mid-perm at the beauty salon, and asks if I can send a picture to her phone.

I finished up payroll, pulled up the Skype snapshot gallery, and proceeded to take a picture of my computer screen to send to both of my parents (this is important), so they can see their new grandson.  I sent it out via MMS...and waited.

Dad replied first.  Said A is clearly BIL's son and R's brother.  And instructed me to be sure to send the picture to Mom.

My parents have issues.  How dumb do they think I am?  ;)

I replied back that I'd sent it to them both at the same time.  Dad replied that I should know by now that they both feel the need to be sure of these types of things.
The happy gang.

I chuckled.  Next, I'll hear from her that I should be sure to send it to you, I typed back.

Sure enough...fifteen minutes later, Mom has seen the picture, and we have a brief conversation about my aunt in Rochester who wants to crochet hats and gloves for the Fries for next winter.  And then it happens.

Did you send Dad the pic too?

I knew that was coming.

Yes, Mother.

She sent a text back, saying that she was going to send it on to the aforementioned aunt in Rochester, as well as to her sister, but she didn't want to do that if Dad hadn't seen it first.

When I texted Dad to tell him that she'd not only asked if he'd seen the pic, but why she wanted to know, he about fell off his chair laughing.

Monday, March 14, 2011


When the school year first started, we discontinued Large Fry's afternoon naps during the week, because she doesn't get home until 4 p.m.  However, after Christmas break, we noticed a marked crankiness and surliness from Large Fry by suppertime on school days.  We started insisting that she nap for at least an hour after school, and it was amazing how much the crankies and surlies disappeared.

Today, since Hubby was getting his prescription for strep throat filled (yay; Medium Fry has an appointment tomorrow to check for the same thing) when Large Fry got home, I took a break from work and went to meet the bus.

As usual, I sent Large Fry to the potty once we got inside.  The bus was a little late today, so by the time I got her upstairs, it was quarter after 4.

Hubby got home shortly thereafter, and we talked for a bit before he went back downstairs and I went back to work.

Just about 5 p.m., Large Fry's bedroom door opened.  Hubby hollered from downstairs, "Go back to bed!"

"But I have to go p--"

"Go back to bed!  You just went potty before nap!"  Hubby's a smart man.  And, despite being five, Large Fry should be able to maintain bladder control for a little while longer before she absolutely has to go again...given that it's been less than an hour since she last went.

Large Fry went back in her room and closed her door.  I went back to shift verifications for payroll.

About twenty minutes later, I hear footsteps in the hall.  It's one of the twin Fries.  "Why are you out of bed?" I called.

"I have to go potty!"

The potty is the opposite direction from my bedroom.  "Then go potty!"  Small footsteps headed the other way.

Another twenty minutes later, and Large Fry appears in the doorway of my bedroom.

"Auntie," she intones seriously, "I peed my pants because Uncle told me to go back to bed."

"You peed your pants on purpose?"

Large Fry nods.

"So, instead of holding it, you went pee-pee in your pants because Uncle D told you to go back to bed?"

Another nod.

It was a migraine salute moment.

I pinched the bridge of my nose between my thumb and first two fingers.  Really?  She really did this on purpose?

Okay then.

I don't have time to deal with this.

And I'm not the one she tried to manipulate by doing this.

I sent a text to Hubby.  I need you up here.

Hubby comes up and discovers not one but two twin Fries in the bathroom (sigh), and then I call him back to our room.  Large Fry tries to skip away down the hall.  "Come back here, Large!"

When they're both in the bedroom, I fixed a mild glare on Large Fry.  "You want to tell your uncle what you just told me?"

Large Fry looks up at him.  "I peed in my pants because you told me to go back to bed."

"On purpose," I clarified for Hubby.

Hubby's glare is even sterner.  "You mean you didn't hold it because you were mad at me?"

Large Fry nods.

Well, at least she's not lying.

"How far down does it go?" I asked him.  I can't see anything below Large Fry's waist from where I'm sitting on the bed.

"All the way down the inside of her legs.  Which means she stood up to do it."  Hubby looks back at Large Fry.  "Right?"

She nods again.

He sends Large Fry down to her room to change her clothes, and when I hear him join her and close the door, I know judgment is nigh.

As Large Fry goes sniffling and sniveling down the stairs several minutes later, followed by Medium Fry, Hubby pokes his head back into the room.

"By the way," I asked.  "Do I want to know what happened to the toilet paper roll?"  (Six rolls of toilet paper, still in the wrapping plastic, were in the downstairs bath.  Were.)

He gave me a blank look.

I explained, "I found that two rolls were now on the back of the toilet tank, two were on the floor, one more had been put in the tissue tower, filling it up, and then there's one that was soaked."

With a gimlet eye at the Fry still in the hallway, he said, "Someone was playing in the bathroom today, and got punished until she told me what she was doing.  She said she did something bad, but she didn't say what."

"I guess now we know."

He looked back at me and rolled his eyes in long-suffering.

"Miss Personality, eh?" I guessed, just as Small Fry asked if she could take her piggy downstairs.

Hubby nodded.  "No," he said to Small Fry, "you can't take all that."

A plaintive mumble followed.

"You can take your piggy.  I won't make you go without your piggy, but that's all you can take."

Yep, it's been one of those days.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dave Barry on Tax Reform

Here's my proposal, which is based on the TV show Survivor:  We put the entire Congress on an island.  All the food on this island is locked inside a vault, which can be opened only by an ordinary American taxpayer named Bob.  Every day, the congresspersons are given a section of the Tax Code, which they must rewrite so that Bob can understand it.  If he can, he lets them eat that day; if he can't, he doesn't.

I love Dave Barry.

I also have two friends named Bob who would probably cheerfully volunteer for this great service to our nation...and numerous others who aren't, but would volunteer anyway.

Friday, March 11, 2011

More Conversations!

Mom: Uh, R, I got a piece of cardstock stuck in your duplex printer.  And I don't know where it is, and I can't get it out.

Dad: [rolls eyes]

Hubby: Happy wife....

Attention, Certain Novelists

You know who you are.  (Or, at the very least, you will.)

When I read a book in which the heroine has a three-and-a-half-year-old little girl, I don't think it's too much to expect that said little girl actually talks like she's three-and-a-half.

I don't expect to see concise and precise sentence structure.

I certainly don't expect a child of that age to know exactly the right words to say, much less have great syntax.

And I'm quite sure that most small children that age have certain, frequently-used words that sound like they've been completely mangled, but the intent is there.

I have four-year-old twins.  Granted, they had some pretty strong developmental delays, but after a year of therapy, the older twin's language took off.  She soon surpassed her older sister.  And yet, at age 3, her duckie was still her "guckie," and about half the L sounds in her words were pronounced as Ys.  The younger twin's L sounds were all Ys, and sometimes it seemed they had a language all their own.

Now, I have no doubt that there are precocious three-and-a-half-year-olds, who can speak in perfect (or near-perfect) sentences.  My mother tells me that I was correcting older kids' grammar at that age.  But she also told me how, at nearly that same age, I was mangling my own last name for about a week.

In the novel I read the other day (I'm withholding names to protect the guilty), the heroine's three-and-a-half-year-old never spoke a word of flubbed English.

There was not a thing in that book to suggest that the child in question had a superior intellect or understanding of grammar and syntax.  Yes, the child "spoke" in simple sentences.  Seven or eight words, tops. But there wasn't a single word in there that indicated this kid was three.  There wasn't a single hint that this little girl was exceptionally bright and thus was going to have this kind of grammatical tendencies.  There wasn't a nugget of information that showed that the mother had such language skills to have passed them down to her daughter, even just by being within the child's realm.

In other words, this little girl acted like she was five, not a year and a half younger.

It was seriously unbelievable.

It rendered the story itself unbelievable.

I've taken some writing courses.  One thing I remember in particular:  Don't bump your reader.  Don't put something in there that will serve as a speedbump to your reader, make them have to slow down, stop, go back, re-read, break concentration, or have to do a double-take.  The bumps aren't worth it, generally speaking.  You want the reader to keep going, keep reading, and not have to go back and figure out what you just meant.  The reader loses momentum...and at that moment, you risk losing the reader's interest entirely.  If the story is barely at par to begin with, a serious bump can have the reader tossing the book aside in disgust.  That can translate into bad peer reviews to friends ("Oh, you don't want to read that; she's a terrible author"), and thus less books sold, and thus less see how it goes.

And I can tell you, every time that child spoke in that novel, it was a bump.  Her vocabulary and sentence structure and even her phraseology just did not fit with who the author had told me this little girl was.  She was far too well-spoken, in my opinion, for the average three-and-a-half-year-old child.  It just jarred.  It didn't fit.

I remember reading through a friend's manuscript-in-progress.  I mentioned to him an inconsistency that I saw.  One character in particular was a very stuffed-shirt kind of guy.  He never used a nickname for anyone.  Not his wife, not his son.  He rarely used contractions when he spoke.  He was very precise.  My friend had used an abbreviated form of the character's name in a dialogue tag.  I told him, "This is a bump.  Your character is so buttoned-up that even your dialogue tags need to be in congruence with his dialogue.  Use his full name.  It'll sound better."  He thought about that for awhile and had to agree.  That seems like such a little thing, to use a shortened-form of a character's name rather than the full name.  To me, and picky readers everywhere, it would make a world of difference.  The story would flow, and there wouldn't even be that "wait, what?" mental hiccup as the reader tried to digest why such a formally-spoken character would have such an informal dialogue tag.  It wouldn't be much of a mental hiccup, but it would be there.

The little girl's speech patterns, as written, reminded me very much of one of Mark Twain's rules regarding the written word: "Use the right word, not its second cousin."

The irony does not escape me that, three and a half years ago, the dialogue of this small child probably wouldn't have struck me as odd.

Having lived the dialogue of three children of that age, in rapid succession (Large Fry is only 16 months older than the twins), it now rings hollow.

Then again, I suppose not everyone's ear for the written word holds three-year-old gibberish along the lines of fyip-fyops with as much endearment as mine does.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Medium Fry: I'm going to mawry you.

Large Fry: No!  I don't want to marry you!

Medium Fry:  Why not?

Large Fry: Because...I don't like marry you!

Medium Fry: Well, when you get ohwldewr, den you'll like mawry me.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bedtime Prayers

Tonight, during bedtime prayers, after all three Fries and I had listed the things we're thankful for (and prayed for them), it was Hubby's turn.

Small Fry kept interrupting him with the things she thought he should be thankful for.  For the kitties.  For the Fries.  For Gramma Bevvie, and the fact that the car will take us to see her.

"Would you stop?" he said, looking right into Small's face.  She grinned back at him.  "Let me say what I'm thankful for!"

He went on, "And I'm thankful for my meeting tomorrow about a possible new job."

Small Fry met his gaze very seriously.  "I can't do dat, becauwse I'm not a gwown-up."

Quote of the Day

Hubby [to Large Fry]: Large Fry, do not wipe your hand on the table and then lick it.

[Large Fry prepares to do just that...again.]

Hubby: Do not lick your hand!  Wipe it on your napkin.  [sighs]  That's disgusting.  [aside]  I feel like I need to use sanitizer on your tongue now.



In the last two hours, the following taboo things have been done:
  • Small Fry pulled one of the outlet covers off an outlet in the toy room.  She then gave it to Medium Fry, who was using it as a pretend pacifier.  And that was all okay, because Small Fry had given it to her.  After taking it out of the "yellow fing."  Hubby dealt with that one.
  • An unnamed Fry played with toilet paper in the sink.
  • Medium Fry played in the sink (and happily admitted doing so) rather than washing her hands.
  • Small Fry stood on top of the toilet.
  • Not only that, Small Fry stood on top of the toilet in order to reach the liquid soap dispenser, which has been placed up high on a shelf for the expressed purpose of keeping it out of the hands of any Fry.
  • Furthermore, having stood on the toilet and having retrieved the liquid soap dispenser, Small Fry then unscrewed the pump and topped off the soap dispenser with water.  Which is, after all, the reason why the soap dispenser was up high and the Fries were only allowed to use bar soap when washing their hands.  They'd had similar fun at the condo where we stayed when vacationing in Ocean City last August.
  • Medium Fry felt it was better to wear her lunch rather than eat it.  So she has jelly and peanut butter in her hair and lucky Hubby is going to get to give her a bath later.  My sinus icks have started again, and I don't have the energy.
I think I'm taking a nap with them.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Been there!

We scooted out to my folks' place for a quick overnight last night.  One, because I knew that a few hours on Thursday hadn't completely cured 14 days of not seeing the grandchildren, and Mom probably needed another fix.  Two, Mom and Dad's neighbor offered to help us if we had issues with our taxes, and I'd gotten myself good and stumped.  (Mr. M was happy to help, and charged me a whole hug for his assistance.)

Mom got reminded last night of a luncheon at their church today that she was supposed to go to, and invited me to tag along.

While there, my best friend called.  I didn't think it would be polite to take the call, even though I wanted to talk to her.  So I sent it to voicemail.  She knew I'd see the missed call and get back to her.

It wasn't until we got back to Mom and Dad's a couple hours later that I was finally able to call her back.

This was the sum total of our conversation:

Me: You rang?

JJ: Yeah.  I was just wondering if you knew a magic trick to make spring come sooner.  My kids are going stir-crazy.

Me: No, but I wish I did.  I'd use it for my kids!

JJ: [chuckles]  Oh, can I call you back?  I have a kid screaming for no reason, and I have to go kill him.

Me: [chuckles]  Sure.

JJ: Okay, I'll talk to you later.  Bye.

I know she didn't actually kill whichever of her sons was screaming.  It was the nonchalant-ness with which she said it that just cracked me up.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fact of the Day

Mika's wet nose, when pressed against the fabric of my current crib cover project, will cause the wash-out ink to smudge.

Aren't you glad you know that now?

It'd be perfect, if the dye had rubbed off on him and his nose was blue-ish now.

You know, when...

...the rapid strep test turns "so positive" with two minutes still left on the test timer, there's just no doubt.

Large Fry has strep.

I had to prevent Medium Fry from sharing her beloved duckie.  (I still think I'm going to confiscate and wash it.)

And now, we're all taking naps.