Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gone Bananas!

Those of you who visit regularly, know I have a thing about stupid.  And, a thing about labels.  This story has them both, dipped in chocolate.  So, keep reading.

My son, Jonah, likes frozen bananas.  He gets a box as an occasional treat.  You can buy a box of four at Trader Joe's.  Or at least you could, until recently.  Maybe you still can.  I don't know.  The last time I was there, they were clean out.  In their place, were these:

Trader Joe's Frozen Banana Slices. 

Jonah was more than willing to take frozen banana slices in place of a whole banana on a stick.  The boy ain't dumb.  One look at the box and he knew the chocolate to banana ration had gone up considerably.  Or, had the ratio gone down?  This has something to do with fractions, right?  If I could do math, I'd be a doctor, not a lawyer.  The point is, there was gunna be more chocolate.

It wasn't until I got home that I read the label.  Not the back label, with all that boring nutrition information, but the front.  Do you see that line of tiny print across the top of the banana?  It says "serving suggestion."  Really?  You suggest I serve them like dominoes tumbling out of a fresh banana? 

I was about to go off on a screed about stupid marketing people, when I realized it is not their fault.  If you package food, and your packaging shows food that is not in the package, you are required by law to tell the buyer that.  This is because of lawyers.  Or, legislators.  But, they are all lawyers, too.  So, yeah, lawyers.  Stupid lawyers.  Or it is stupid buyers, because they can't tell that a box of frozen bananas won't contain half a fresh banana?

This depressed me.  This, the small box, the disproportionately high price (the ratio of the price to the number of slices in the box).  I was totally off Trader Joe's Frozen Banana Slices.  Then, I ate one.  Then two.  Then three.  Then I had to leave the room until Hubband and the children had finished the box.  (It is a very small box.)

These are so good, I wouldn't care if the "serving suggestion" showed chocolate covered banana slices shooting out the monkey's butt.  They are worth every penny!

So, run, don't walk.  Heck, DRIVE to a Trader Joe's near you and get a box.  GO!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sam, the Adventurous (part 2)

Sam likes to go places.  Right now, our schedule is set up so that he is in school all morning, and stuck at home all afternoon.  The kid would do anything for a nice adventure to the grocery store, where they hand out free cookies, and give him pages to color while I shop.

I took him to Wal-mart the other day.  He got thirsty and I bought him a bottle of water.  He loved that water bottle.  It made him feel like such a big boy.  He was so happy, he carried it around, refilling it, for two days, until I told him it was disgusting and I had to throw it away.  He was so heart broken, that I have promised to take him to Wal-mart next weekend and buy him another bottle.  He is happy again, and will hold me to that promise.

Jonah also likes to go places, but his expectations are a little higher.  He wants to go to LEGOLAND.  He has been working on my mom for six months now, trying to get her to take him, and she probably will.  She is a sucker for Jonah.

The other day, over breakfast, Sam announced that he, too, wanted to go to LEGOLAND, and started lobbying his father.

Sam:  I want to go to LEGOLAND.  I like LEGOs.

Daddy:  Well, Sam, we might go.  It is far away, in San Diego.  And that will be expensive.  We will have to spend money on tickets and food and gas and a hotel room.  So, I don't know, Sam.  We'll see.

Sam:  Oh, okay.  Maybe we could go to McDonald's instead.

I love this boy.  I know some parents might see this as an elaborate plot on Sam's part to go to McDonald's, but that is not how Sam works.  He is not that complicated.  He's never been to LEGOLAND.  In his world, Micky-D's play land is the most fun he can have while eating french fries.  It is a worthy substitute.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sam, the Adventurous (part 1)

Friday night, as I scooped Chinese food out of card board boxes on to paper plates made dinner, I overheard Sam and Hubband make plans for their weekend.

Sam:  I want to go someplace.

Daddy:  Where do you want to go, Sam?

Sam:  A place.

Daddy:  Tomorrow is Saturday.  I'll be home all day.  Do you want to go somewhere with Daddy?

Sam:  Yeah!!

Daddy:  Okay.  We can go for a walk if it doesn't rain too hard.  Do you want to go to the lake?  Or, we could go to the wild life preserve?

Sam:  No.

Daddy:  Well, where do you want to go, Sam?

Sam:  Some place with a door.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Saturday Morning Sociology Lesson

Spend a Saturday morning in my house, and you may learn all you need to know about human nature and the history of man.

Around here, most weekday mornings are a whirlwind of shoes and socks, toothbrushes and hairbrushes, breakfasts half eaten and cups of coffee gone cold.  While Jonah, our eldest, is homeschooled, the other two are not.  Samuel is in school every morning, and Cate is in three mornings a week.  So, pointed in the same direction, we must all be, toward the garage, and the magical grr-woosh of the mini-van door, by 8:30-ish, sharp.

Sundays are the same, except breakfast is bigger, and our destination is church.

It is on Saturdays that things relax, or fall apart, depending on the day and the moods of the children (or their parents, but I admit nothing).  On Saturdays, one of us (whoever lost the Friday night negotiations) gets out of bed, pours cereal and turns on cartoons.  Then goes back to bed, for another thirty minutes of sleep, if we are really, really lucky.  This leaves the children alone.  With each other.  And no supervision.  We are not the kind of parents who hover, but on Saturday mornings, we just let chaos reign.  We think it is good for them.  They learn to stand up for themselves and resolve their own disputes.  At least that is our story.  And if we get to sleep until seven o'clock -- yes, I said seven, like that is late in the day or something -- then what could be the harm, really?

For the last few Saturdays their battle of choice has been over what I call the "four sided piano."  This is a small table like contraption, with a different noise making device on each side.  Only one side is a fake piano.  The other sides are a fake computer, a fake phone, and a fake book.  A book that plays music.  They all play music, I only mention the book because it seems odd to me.  A book that plays a different song with every turn of the page.  Strange, right?

The four sided piano is only the battle ground.  The actual fight is over whose song is going to get played.  You see, every key, button, page turn overrides that one right before it.  So, Jonah might only get to hear four notes of "Froggy Went A-Courtin'" before Cate pushes a button and "Turkey in the Straw" comes on, for a split second, before Sam pushes a button and "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," (Or is  it "The ABC Song"? I always get those two mixed up.) comes on.

Last Saturday, I happened to witness this.  So, I decided to parent.  I went over, sat on the floor next to the four sided piano, and calmly explained to my children that they were going to take turns.  Cate first, since technically, it is her toy.  She pushed a button.  She heard her song.  Then Jonah pushed a button.  He danced a jig to his song.  Then Sam pushed a button, and shook his booty to his song.  And, repeat.  It worked really well.  For about one and half times around.  Once they had to take turns, it stopped being fun.  I kept offering them their turn, but they didn't care anymore.

And then I realized:  They did not want the toy.  They wanted the fight.

This mom thing is pretty awesome.  By simply watching my own children, I was able to sum up human nature and de-mystify centuries of history.  All before I'd had my coffee.

Here is Samuel, dancing at the four legged piano, 
encouraged by his brother Jonah.  
If you are wondering why he is not facing the camera, 
it is because he is looking at this reflection in the fireplace.  
Oh, and excuse the mess.  
Until you have walked a mile with my kids, 
you can not judge.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The View From My Kitchen Sink

Sunday morning:  Three apples and a little (educational, I swear!) television.  Shoes and socks, or any variation thereof, optional.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

An Open Letter to My Sister's First Born

Dear Baby Lucas,

I am your Aunt Tracey.  You may call me Tante.  We have met, once or twice before, but you probably don't remember me.  Who could blame you, really?  You were in the intensive care unit, all plugged into stuff.  It would have been really scary to see, if you had not been the biggest, pinkest, beautiful-est baby in that place.  One look at you, and I knew you would be fine.  But, a word of advice:  Here on the outside, inhaling your own poo is considered tacky.  Just thought you should now.

You probably have questions about the day you were born.  If you want answers, you should ask someone, but not me.  All I can do is tell you the Tante Version.

It started on my birthday.  (Do you see how I took a story about you, and made it about me?  When you have a younger sibling, I will show you how to do this.)  I was on my way to meet your mother at the mall when I got a text message that said, "I am on the second floor of Macy's and I think something is happening."  Not even born yet, and you knew how to interrupt a shopping trip.  You will do this many, many more times before you are even out of diapers.

We gave up on the mall, and spent the rest of the day at the hospital.  Well, not me exactly.  I had to get home to your cousins.  But Mommy, and Daddy, and Nana were there.  And about thirty six hours later, so were you.

Now, a few words about your parents.  They seem like strangers, I know.  But, don't worry.  The feeling is mutual.  You will get used to them, and they you.  That's called a family, and it is awesome.  You'll see.

Since your parents, like most people, are either too humble or too proud to tell the truth about themselves, I will fill you in.  Your father is steadfast and true.  Your mother is patient and capable.  He is calm and kind.  She is, er, colorful and tolerant.  He loves old things, like antiques and rocks.  (In fact, you are probably the newest thing he has ever cared about, though, he'll never admit it.)  She is of her own time; gadgets and food that comes cooked.  They are both smart.  You could do worse than to be like either, or both, of them.

You and your father already have on important thing in common.  I have never seen either one of you without your shirt tucked in.  Your shirts are onsies, which makes it a little easier.  Your father's shirts, I suspect, are not.  Though, I am not really in a position to know.  Much has been made of the fact (mostly by your mother) that all of his shirts are green.  Don't believe it.  Green is too flamboyant a description.  I would call it "orchard drab."  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  There will be plenty of time for you to be just like him in that regard later.  Right now, you stick with blue, and little applique jungle animals.

You and your mother already have one important difference.  She can sleep through the night.  She can sleep through the day.  She can sleep through one full hour of the clock radio playing at top volume, followed by one full hour of the alarm playing that obnoxious baa-baa-baa noise, then get up, throw said alarm clock across the room, and sleep thought that too.  So, little man, it is obvious; your mission is three fold.  One, be more obnoxious than two consecutive hours of alarm clock blasts.  Two, wear a helmet, just in case you are successful.  And, three, develop your mother's sleeping habits, as soon as possible.  In the long run, it will be better for everyone.

As to your upbringing; be gentle with them.  Right now, they think you are a blank slate upon which to write their hopes and dreams for you, molding your personality into a wonderful blend of theirs, only better.  They are completely clueless.

I have tried to tell them that you already have a personality, hard wired by God himself, but they don't believe me.  They just see you as a formless blob of squalling need.  You and I know better.  And so will they, once they have another child to compare you to, or get some sleep, whichever comes first.  If they love you, and feed you (and they will) you will turn out to be just the man God intends you to be.  I look forward to meeting him.

Until then, little man, eat, sleep, poop, eat, sleep, poop.

Love, Tante

Monday, March 14, 2011

(Refused to be) Sleeping Beauty

Don't be charmed by the wistful looking little girl in a tutu.  It is a trap.

She was supposed to be asleep.  So, why is there urine on the floor?

We got Cate a pink frog "potty" for her second birthday.  We are not early potty training people.  But, Cate seemed interested.  And, as I have never trained a girl before, I thought maybe it was time.  Well, maybe it was, but I was/am not ready.  She is so little, she will need assistance at every step of the process, and I am just too busy right now to be held prisoner by the whims of a manipulative two year old.  Our plan is to wait until summer:  fewer clothes for her and fewer classes for her homeschooled brother.

But, we still have the potty.  It lives in the garage, or it is supposed to.  Periodically, she charms us into bringing it back into the house.  She likes to play at going potty.  Okay, I am understating it on purpose.  We will, on a Saturday afternoon, put her in her Dora the Explorer underpants, and let her use her potty.  And she does.  There are accidents.  And, there is still the manipulation issue.  So, the potty goes back out to the garage.  Or, it is supposed to.

Today, at nap time, it was in her room.  Today, at nap time, she would not sleep.  I credited this to the change to daylight savings time.  The clock said 1:30, but her little body said "not tired."  I gave her a while to play and move around in there, then I went in to put her back down, for good this time.

When I entered the room, she was pantless, her lavender fleece pants and diaper in a heap on the floor.

"Catie, why are you naked?" I asked.  Who wouldn't?

"Mess, Mommy," she said, and pointed at the potty.

There was no mess in the potty, though it was a little damp.  A good effort, I supposed, for a rookie who had already wet her diaper.

"Mess, Mommy.  Mess."

"Catie, I don't see a mess."

"Here, Mommy."  She pointed to what would turn out to be a damp spot on the carpet.  The long, 1970's disco style, Yorkie-fur shag carpet that made an ill-advised, do-it-yourself cable decorating show, resurgence in 2002, and was put in by a previous owner.

"Catie, why did you pee on the floor?"

"No, Mommy.  Pee potty.  Dump it."

"You peed in the potty, and then dumped it on the floor."


She sounded so proud of herself, and I was left to ask... Was she proud because she had peed in the potty and then finished the job, by emptying the potty?  Or, was she proud because she had punished me for putting her down for a nap she did not want to take?

The question is still pending.

Good Bye Bad Hair Days

This is what I have been doing instead of blogging.

Tracey was in want of a snood.  So, Tracey put her imagination and her limited crochet skills to work, to create one.

It only cost $3 (including the crochet hook) and took about three hours (including creating the pattern).  I think I'll try a more practical brown one next.

Look out Etsy, here I come.  Well, okay, translating this one little snood into profit may be a bit much to ask, but at least I have a new way to hide a bad hair day. 

Now, onto experimenting with tichels.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Ballad of Yes and No

Don't let the pink smile and dewy eyes fool you.  She's a menace.

This is how it starts. 

Sam, 4, will be playing quietly.  Just minding his own business. 

Cate, 2, will sidle up beside him.  She doesn't start in right away.  She picks her moment. 

Then, with no fanfare and for no particular reason, she says, "No, Sam." 

Then Sam, for no particular reason, loses his mind, and screams.  "Yes!  Not no. Yes."

No.  Yes!  No.  Yes!  No.  YES.  No!  YES.  NO.  YES.  NO.  YES.  NO.  YES.  NO.  YES.  NO.  YES. 

Then, the crescendo.  Simultaneously, pitch perfect, and at top volume.


My children are loud--warning siren loud--with amazing lung capacity.  They may even have the crazy circular breathing of brass players and opera singers.  But, I hope to never find out.  About three seconds in, their father or I, and sometimes both, simultaneously, holler...


I don't know which is worse.  The noise, or that fact that I have a two-year-old daughter who knows how to push her brother's buttons, and does it for fun.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Theological Questions from Jonah

Jonah:  Mom, do we need to sleep in heaven.

Me:  I don't think so.

Jonah:  Then why does God's house have so many rooms?

Me:  Ummmmm....?

In my Father's house are many rooms; 
if it were not so, I would have told you.  
I am going there to prepare a place for you.  
John 14:2

Shrove Tuesday

Mardi Gras is but a week away.  Let this be a cautionary tale.

I suspect these are conservative home-school moms who forgot to make time for themselves during the rest of the year.