Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Problem Parent

You hear about those parents all the time don't you?

Whether it's sports, or school, or extracurricular activities such as Boy Scouts, there's always that one parent that all the others talk about. And there's always that one parent (or...twenty) whose name makes school administrators cringe.

They rock the boat. They speak their mind. They defy authority. They challenge convention.

They are usually not well liked, are they?

Well, I now find myself among their ranks. I also find that I don't really give a rat's ass.

For a lot of years, I tried not to be the boat rocker. But for a lot of years, I didn't understand the nature of my sons' problems. I thought he was simply "spirited". I let things happen that I shouldn't have because I thought that the school and the teachers knew best.

They are educated people, afterall.

I do not have a degree in education. I do not have a degree at all. And I let that stop me from trusting my own instincts.

No more.

You may have read about the incident that ocurred with my youngest son. It's just a couple of posts down if you haven't. In a nutshell, he said "Suck My Balls" in the lunchroom and they brought down the WRATH OF GOD upon him.

He had to eat lunch in the office for five days. He lost recess for five days. He lost Fun Friday that week. He lost the privilege of participating in Field Day.

For words.

He didn't hurt anybody. He didn't threaten to hurt anybody. He was not disrespectful to any of his peers or any member of the staff.

After discussing it with my husband and with Diminutive One's doctor, we agreed that this was unacceptable, for a multitude of reasons. Also, we were extremely displeased with the way he was treated during the course of investigating the incident.

So I wrote a letter to the Principal. I was going to post it for you here, but then I thought better of it. To my knowledge only three people have read that letter, but with my luck, some secretary who picked it up off the floor after the Principal crumpled it up and threw it across the room in a fit of rage, reads this blog.

So anyway, this letter stated unequivocally that we did not consent to these measures and that we considered one consequence at home and one consequence at school to be sufficient.

In addition, due to his ADHD and related disorders (anxiety) he was absolutely NOT to be denied recess.

Specifically, I said:

"Therefore, we expect that he will continue to have recess according to the customary allowances for all students."

I made it very clear that this was a decision that his mental health care provider was completely in agreement with, which she was.

There was a lot more, but you get the gist.

I sent the letter in his backpack this morning, and then spent the interim researching advocacy groups here in Georgia that provide assistance and representation to parents of children with disabilities in these types of situations.

Luckily, I have a friend who is a veritable encyclopedia of state resources of this kind. Her autistic son has been in public school with my oldest son since kindergarten. My experiences are a cake walk compared to what she has been through.

Once, while trying to help a Mom from another state who was relocating to Georgia with her autistic son, I called my friend to ask if she had any advice for this Mom. Her response was:

"Tell her not to."

That should tell give you some small idea of what I'm up against.

The Principal called while Husband was on a conference call. When I got her message, I decided to wait before calling her back to find out if Diminutive One had been denied recess today.

He had.

I saw red.

That was a ballsy move, but I expected it. She is not a pushover this gal.

But neither am I.

Husband and I called her back. I made Husband do the talking because I was so angry I was afraid that I would not be able to articulate my thoughts without coming off as a carping shrew.

I'm good with words and writing letters, (my letter rocked; I really do wish I could share it with you. Thanks for your invaluable insight AA.) but Husband is really better in a face to face confrontation. So I suppose we make a good team.

Basically, it went well. She was pretty tough, but Husband was tougher. At one point, she stated:

"You do not get to dictate what punishments take place here at school."

Husband politely but emphatically disagreed. She was noticeably taken aback at being directly challenged in that manner, and from there on her tune changed somewhat.

We got what we wanted, although the circumstances are slightly different than what we had dictated in the letter. But that's okay. A small concession on our part was worth it to achieve our objective.

All of that is really beside the point, however.

Whether you agree with our stance on this or not...whether you agree with how we handled this or not...(several readers have very politely expressed disagreement, and I truly appreciate their perspective)...what I want you to know is this:

You are your child's only advocate in a world that doesn't yet grant them a voice. If you believe that your child is being treated unfairly, do NOT be afraid to get in there and stir things up. Do not accept the mandates of an authority figure simply because they are in a position of power.

Be your child's voice. Be your child's champion.

You lose nothing by doing so, but gain everything.

I have plenty of regrets in how I have handled Diminutive One's disability. I wish I had had him evaluated sooner. I wish I had gotten him medicated sooner. I wish I had yelled less and listened more. I wish I had fought harder for him those two years he had SUCK ASS teachers who did inestimable damage to his self-esteem and his academic progress.

I don't plan to add any more regrets to that list if I can help it.


I, or rather, we, are the problem parents now. And proud of it.

Goddamn that's a load off.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


We watched "Charlie Wilson's War" this past weekend.

If you haven't seen it, do. It was an excellent movie. But then, I love Tom Hanks.

And I love Philip Seymour Hoffman.

I have a thing for quirky, intelligent, brash and ballsy men. I found him oddly sexy in Charlie Wilson's War, but I would totally have sex with him on given day, in any characterization.

Well, with the possible exception of Truman Capote. The man was brilliant, but unabashedly homosexual. And really, really short.

Here is Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War" as Gust Avrokotos.

I know, that's a little disconcerting, but as I said, I have thing for quirky men. I would totally have sex with Tim Curry too. But only dressed as Frank.

Julie Roberts as an actress is just "meh" for me, and I have trouble listening to her atrocious Southern accent.

But here, she proves herself useful.

Watch what she does at :38.

Did you see? Did you?

Joanne Herring is obviously a woman of class, intelligence, principle and resourcefulness. She is someone we can all admire. So I find myself in fine company; that of otherwise intelligent women who do hopelessly stupid things in the name of vanity.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Date With Destiny

Each Tuesday and Saturday, I pull up a chair next to my greatest fear, and make polite chit chat with my destiny.

He is big, yet small. Ancient, yet infantile. Wise, yet bewildered. Past, yet present.

His body is failing him, but his mind is still bright enough to comprehend that slow and steady extinction.

He scares me to death.

Once, he made love to his wife, tossed his sons high in the air, mowed his lawn, went to work. He lived.

Is he living now?

It seems less like living and more like dying, which of course it is.

But are these last days any less precious to him, than all those that came before? Does he care that he is less than he was? Or does he simply cherish every second that is left to him?

I wish I could ask him. I wish he could answer me in a way that would make me less terrified of what my final days, weeks, years hold.

But I don't ask him.

I remark upon the weather. I offer to move so he can sit in the shade. I try not to stare at the drool on his chin or the tremor in his hand as he wipes it away. I try not to see the bright intelligence in his eyes, becuase that makes him all the more human to me. I don't want to see him as human. I want to see him as a thing that I will never be.

Instead of saying, "You frighten me." I say, "It's a beautiful day for baseball."

So I sit beside my greatest fear and exchange pleasantries with my destiny.

And I wonder if I will ever stop being afraid.

I would like to pat his spotted, quaking hand and tell him that I'm sorry for him. Sorry that he is at the end of his life's journey. Sorry that his body; that machine that has served him so long and so well, has fallen into disrepair. I would like to tell him about my grandmother, whose body stayed strong while her mind splintered into a million useless pieces.

But my pity would not be welcome, I think. It is something for the hopeless and the damned. I do not think he would like to think of himself as either.

So I offer my greatest fear a peanut. My destiny takes it.

And for the moment, we are friends.


When I watch my boys play baseball, I bring my camp chair and set it up next to the bleachers. I'm aware that this makes me seem anti-social, but when I have two and sometimes even three games to sit through, my back just can't take the agony that multiple hours of bleacher sitting imparts.

And though one would think that the amount of padding on my backside would provide ample shock absorption, one would be egregiously wrong about that.

So Saturday, I placed my chair strategically behind home plate and settled in.

Soon, another gentleman set up his chair beside me. I found out that he was the grandfather of one of Diminutive One's teammates, visiting from out of state. Shortly after he sat down, his grandaughter took up residence in his lap and began a steady stream of chatter.

He was very patient with her. I truly admired his werewithal in not only listening, but also responding at appropriate intervals, in a manner that suggested he was thoroughly riveted by what she had to say. And afterall, what kid doesn't love the idea that someone is hanging on their every word? She beamed from the attention being lavished on her. It was very sweet.

Once the game started, I turned my attention to the field, effectively tuning her out.

After a while, there was a lull in the action as a new pitcher warmed up, and my ear wandered to the conversation being had between grandfather and granddaughter. I couldn't help but smile to myself as I witnessed Grandpa getting himself in way over his head.

"Grandpa, is that your belly button?"


"But why does it stick out like that?? Mine doesn't do that"

"Well, you have an innie, some people have outies."

"Brother has an outie, but his doesn't stick out that much. Yours in huge! I'm going to poke it."

Brief silence as poking ensued.

"I like poking your belly button Grandpa!"

"Please don't do that any more dear, it hurts Grandpa."

"But why? It doesn't hurt when I poke my belly button. It tickles!"

Poke, poke. A small grunt of discomfort from Grandpa.

"Well, um....that's not really my bellybutton."

Stunned silence.

"What is it Grandpa?"

Poke. Grunt.

"It's a, um...(quietly) hernia."

"A (loudly) HERNIA? What's THAT?"

"Well,'s a boo-boo."

"A boo-boo! Do you want me to kiss it Grandpa?"

"NO! No, that's okay. It's a boo-boo on the inside."

"What kind of boo-boo? Do you need a band-aid? They have Barbie band-aids at the concession stand. I got one when I skinned my knee. You're a boy, so you probably wouldn't want a Barbie band-aid, but they have Pokemon too. Do you want a Pokemon band-aid Grandpa?"

"No, no, that's okay dear. A band-aid won't help for this kind of boo-boo."

But it was too late. She had already bounded off his lap and was striding purposefully toward the concession stand. Her lilting little girl voice could be heard clearly above the din of the crowd as she called out....


Grandpa turned a shade of deep scarlet and slouched in his chair. I couldn't supress a small chuckle of amusement. He glanced at me and rolled his eyes.

"Well," I said, leaning over, "At least she didn't announce to the whole world that you have your period and need some Crampons."

He laughed, and with that, we formed a truly significant bond; that of adults who have been humiliated and chagrined by proclomations of an exceedingly personal nature on the part of the pint-sized.

Ahhh, kids. If nothing else, they keep us truly humble.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Horse And A Bear

Of A Different Color and A Mama One, that is.

Forgive me for using this blog yet again as a platform for my parental woes.

But I am well and truly riled now, and I need to work through this before I go off half cocked. As with most issues that arise in my life, writing helps to clarify and lend perspective. And, perhaps more importantly, the act of writing gives me a measure of physical comfort and emotional solace, which helps me to see the situation more objectively.

And believe it or not, I do find comments in regard to these kinds of things very helpful. Yesterday, I was wrestling with the issue of whether or not I was overreacting. Your comments helped me to see that I was not.

Also, I guess that I really hope someone will learn something that maybe they can use later on. I don't have anybody to ask about this stuff. It's all guesswork and instinct on my part. Nobody writes books titled "What to Expect When Life Sucks For Your Kid"

I just want somebody to tell me WHAT TO DO.

So, my son told me the following regarding the incident yesterday, after I had already talked with the principal:

1. No adult actually heard him say "Suck My Balls."

2. The two children who levelled the accusation are two that are known to be unkind and antagonistic toward him. For example, at the beginning of the year when Diminutive One was struggling so mightily, one of those children happened to see an F on one of his papers. For the next two weeks, he referred to Diminutive One as "Big Fat F", which cut him to the quick. That's just one example of the kind of thing has been going on all year.

3. The teacher made all the children in the class write a letter of accusation to the principal. WTF?? Talk about a witch hunt. I know how noisy it is in that lunchroom. And the children are seated at two very long tables. There is no way that any of the children but those seated immediately across and beside him heard what he said, if, in fact, he said it, unless he shouted it out, and frankly, my boy is not that stupid.

These things bother me a great deal.

I emailed the teacher last night asking her if she would please give me her perspective on the events as they occurred, and she responded by telling me that I could ask the principal if I had any further questions.

In other words, she has been given a gag order.

I received a form in Diminutive One's backpack stating that I agreed to the punishments discussed. I was to sign and return it. I did not sign it. I jotted a note on it asking the principal to contact me to discuss the matter further.

She called me at noon today. I told her, in what I thought was a very calm and diplomatic manner, that although I do not excuse or condone Diminutive One's behavior, that due to his ADHD and anxiety disorder, I did not feel that denying him recess was a productive course of action, particularly considering the stress of taking CRCT this week.

Her response?

"Well, I understand, but he does have PE, so he is getting an opportunity to run around and expend some energy".

PE is twice a week for 30 minutes.

I told her it wasn't enough. I also told her that he was already teetering on the brink of collapse due to his anxiety (which he is, despite our talk the other day) and that further stress could really be devastating for him. This is all true, although I don't think, likely.

She was very snide and condescending, and I got the feeling she couldn't get me off the phone fast enough. She was not interested in hearing about Diminutive One's issues, she was not interested in hearing my opinion, she was not interested in justice being served.

She was simply indignant at having her authority challenged.

I did manage to get Diminutive One's sentences commuted until CRCT testing is over. But I am not satisfied with that. Husband and I discussed it and we have decided that this is serious enough that it needs to be addressed, and we will go as high as we need to go to get justice for our son.

I spoke with Dimiuntive One about the situation. I explained that the reason I was upset was not that he was having to face the consequences of his actions, but that he was convicted without due process and that others were coerced into bearing witness against him. And also, that his punishment was excessive in proportion to the nature of his crime.

"What would happen if one of my friends got mad at me, and went to the police station, and told them that I shoplifted. Would the police come and arrest me?"

"No...." he said, slowly realizing where I was going. "They would have to have proof. Like video showing you stealing or finding the stuff at our house."

"What if that person got a whole bunch of other friends to say you had stolen too? Would that make a difference?"

"No! Because they could be lying to just to help their friend get revenge!"

"Exactly" I said, proudly. "And even if they had proof and so-called "witnesses" they would have to give you a trial and an opportunity to defend yourself."

He said, "You're right Mom! That's an inalienable right under the Constitution. My Constitutional rights were violated."

Again, he's no dummy.

So that's where it stands right now. Husband and I are researching policy, marshalling support from various sources, and getting our ducks in a row.

Mama Bear is ready to rumble. Here me fucking roar.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Who's Laughing Now?


Remember this?

Well, it has turned out to be the incident that won't go away.

You see, today, my ten year old, who looks terribly cherubic and guileless, which makes it all the more shocking for people when he says or does something...rude...told another child at school, in earshot of several adults to..."Suck My Balls"


See the thing with younger siblings, is that it is so much harder to hold onto their innocence. They pick up stuff from the older ones. There is a gang of boys that hangs around our house that range in age from 9 to 17. And many of Pubescent One's friends have older brothers.

Have you had occasion to listen in on a typical conversation being had by 17 year old boys, recently?

I have.

This past summer at the pool, a group of 3 high school boys sat down only a couple of lounge chairs away from mine and began to have a very ungaurded conversation about all manner of things, but mostly, sex, drugs and rock n' roll.

Either I didn't look like much of a threat, or they didn't realize I could hear them so well. So I heard some pretty vile, vulgar, and disgusting things.

Now, I do realize that half of what they said was sheer, unadulterated bloviation for the benefit of their peers. But bloviation or not, the things they were discussing were things no ten year old should hear.

But there's not much I can do about it. That's just the way it is and it's the way it was when I was a kid as well. I suspect that in the 50's, teenagers were telling their younger siblings about Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis and snickering about tight angora sweaters.

Heck, I remember telling my younger sister all kinds of stuff. I enjoyed shocking her, and I enjoyed feeling worldly and sophisticated; superior in my knowledge of things not spoken of in our home. All matters sexual were of primary interest, because my mother was very closed mouthed about such things. We were pretty clueless, but plenty curious.

We found out what we wanted to know. Unfortunately, much of it was pure bunk.

But what am I going to do? Tell him can't play football with the kids in the street? Tell him he can't play kick the can on summer nights, when the air is balmy and they are frisky as young colts with their newfound freedom? Make him sit inside and watch from the window as everyone else has fun?

Life is hard enough for him. I just can't do it.

And even if I did all that, it wouldn't keep his brother from sharing all his worldy discoveries with him.

And yet, I feel like maybe that is what I should have done.

The principal was quite incenced by his vulgarity. She is a grandmotherly sort, and a staunch Christian to boot.

If you want to know the God's honest truth, I wasn't nearly as incensed as she was, although, I suppose, I probably should have been. But they're just words.

He is a vulnerable kid. His anxiety issues, his social awkwardness, and the feelings of worthlessness that stem from his learning disability, make him extremely sensitive to teasing and unkindness. Words are his only weapon. He wouldn't fight, and he wouldn't respond in kind if someone wounded him with an insult.

Saying "Suck My Balls", frankly, is far more acceptable to me, than punching some kid in the nose.

Regardless, they are coming down hard on him. Very hard. He has lost recess for five days. He has to eat lunch in the principal's office for five days (the incident occurred in the lunch room) AND, he will not be able to participate in field day, which he loves more than anything.

She wanted to suspend him as well, but I pointed out suspension would really be more of a reward than a punishment for Diminutive One. Also, there is the CRCT to consider, so he really dodged a bullett there.

I can't help feeling that his brother should share in his misery somewhat. It was him, afterall, that put this particular wheel in motion.

I'm going to have to give that one some thought. But I do know that YouTube is officially blocked from both computers. I have considered it in the past, but decided that most of what they were looking at was harmless.

That'll teach me to trust the little buggers.

Again...the monster thing? So much easier.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I don't often write pop culture commentary because it's done to death.

And honestly, I don't watch much television and I don't pay much attention to whom is the fame whore du jour. Admittedly there are a couple notable exceptions; those who court fame with such fervor that it's hard to be unaware of them, the way it is hard to be unaware of a boil on one's backside.

But today I'm going to come clean and admit that....I watch Americal Idol.

I know. Shocking, isn't it? So common.

I didn't used to. I really couldn't stomach watching all those poor discordant schlubs being led before the judges like lambs to the slaughter and then mocked mercilessly on national television.

That Lemur guy? I wanted to hug him until his protruberant little eyes popped right out of his head. And the Star Wars girl reminded me of every painful moment I ever had growing up. I wanted to be her friend and put make-up on her.

I still don't watch that part. It makes me squirm. I feel their embarassment. It's hell being so empathetic. It often puts the kibosh on perfectly good opportunities to ridicule stupid people.

But Husband finally sucked me in during Season 5. It was a little embarassing how quickly I succumbed after being so adamantly and vocally opposed to such nonsense. But, it is what it is, and now I watch it without (for the most part) apology.

At first, I was really crushing on Jason Castro. Because, let's be blunt...looking at him is like having sex with angels. It's a transcendant experience.

And I really was impressed with his first performance. He seemed like a natural and his voice, while not powerful, was very pleasing in a Peter, Paul and Mary kind of way. That's not a gibe, by the way. I really like Peter, Paul and Mary.

The Mama in me wanted to take him under my wing and teach him how to speak in a complete sentence, and perhaps take him down to the local soda fountain and buy him a milkshake after elocution lessons.

The hot 20 year old with a tight ass and gravity defying breasts that still lives somewhere deep, deep, deep inside me wanted to climb aboard, grab the reins that he has so oblingingly grown out of his very head and ride that blue eyed bucking bronc til the break of dawn.

But through the course of the competition, he continued to speak. Before long I was forced to admit that, beautiful although he may be, after using him for my own base purposes, there would be very little to hold my attention. Call me particular, but I enjoy a sexual plaything that can conjugate a verb properly.

I needed a new Idol obsession interest, and although David Archuleta is no doubt populating the dreams of pre-pubescent girls everywhere, he is only a few years older than my oldest son, and therefore, the skeeve factor was just too great for me to entertain any satisfyingly prurient thoughts about him.

And then, out of nowhere, came David Cook.

I had pretty much dismissed him at the outset, because I just couldn't get past that nightmare of a hairdo.

Oh I enjoyed his vocals. He has a gritty, soulful, rocksy-bluesy thing that is really appealing. But a rock star without the proper degree of pretty is like a vibrator without the rabbit. It just doesn't get the job done.

So I closed my eyes to the raw material that lay beneath that cock's comb-over.

But eventually somebody backstage got wise and he got a bit of an overhaul.

And all of a sudden I was like...Hello? David Cook? Did you know you were HAWT underneath all that Dippity Do?

I began really paying attention and I realized that he has a lot of qualities that I find truly irresistable; bedroom eyes, full sculpted lips, strong jaw, and a big....brain. The guy has some mad vocab skillz and that makes me extremely libidinous. (See David? We have so much in common!)

So he had all that going for him.

And then...and THEN....

He sang "The Music Of The Night" from Phantom of the Opera.

It's probably the most sensual, the most romantic, the most electrifying song from the entire show. It's amazing as a soaring theatrical production number. As a soft and dreamy rock(ish) ballad that David imbued with his own uniquely smoldering tenderness, it was absolutely SMOKIN.

I don't know if he upstaged Michael Crawford, (the original and best Phantom) but he certainly gave him a run for his money.

By the end of his performance, I was a steaming puddle of girly goo in my ugly teal green recliner. I may or may not have been drooling and chanting "I want your babies" to myself, even though I swore ten years ago that the production line was shutting down for good due to structural damages sustained during the delivery of the second Antagonist child. That kid had a cranium to rival David's own sizeable noggin.

My Husband is aware of my, erm...fondness for Cookie, by the way, as he was my little Jason flirtation. Strangely, he's not at all threatened by that. I could choose to be insulted, but instead I am choosing to see it as a demonstration of his deep, abiding trust in the strength and sanctity of our marriage.


So...Simon can bite me. That was amazing. And Paula needs to keep her thoughts about David's instrument to herself.

I have to add, that aside from the technical prowess of his performance, it's somewhat gratifying and refreshing to realize that he actually comprehends the meaning of words like "unfurls", "tremulous" and "garish".

His fan community, which is pretty rabid but essentially harmless, call themselves "Wordnerds", which is a term he applied to himself in a video interview.

Truly, a guy after my own heart. We would make such beautiful Scrabble together.

Alas, sweet Cookie, I am spoken for. And my Husband is a truly wonderful guy.

But I do hope you find a girl who can appreciate you for what you are. When you're famous, and you will be...don't fall prey to bimbos, skanks and hos. And for God's sake stay the hell away from likes of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian. Her ass isn't all that great anyway.

Mine was better, once upon a time.

Headline In The Making

Diminutive One came home from school today looking unusually glum.

"Duuuuuuuude. "What's up? You look like you lost your best friend."

He sighed heavily and assured me that he hadn't.

"Then what's wrong?"

"CRCT testing is tomorrow." he replied.

There was a fatalism in his voice that I didn't care for. No almost ten year old should be that heavily burdened.

"Yeah. So? You're going to pass with flying colors. Just look at what awesome grades you've been getting!"

He was not reassured.

"But Mom, I just get all...stupid...when I take a test. It's like my brain shuts off or something. I'm going to have to go to summer school! And then I won't be able to play Allstars or go to the pool or do anything!" he wailed.

I felt the blood rushing to my face as I angrily contemplated my stressed out mess of a kid. Goddamned standardized testing.

I sat him down at the table and made him look me in the eye.

"I'm going to tell you a secret. have to promise me that even though you know this secret, you'll still try to do your best on the test. Promise?

He nodded his head solemnly. "Promise."

"I? Do not give a fiddler's fart if you pass that test or not."

His eyes widened in amazement. This piece of intelligence directly contradicted everything I have ever told him in his short life. We've taken care to let our boys know that failure and success are not always the true measure of ability, nor are they the true arbiter of worth when it comes to learning. In other words, if they've truly done their best, we're happy. And sometimes, it's less about the grade that's earned, and more about the lesson learned.

But we've also always told them that they are not "average" students. Which they're not. I don't accept an "F" from a child whose I.Q. is higher than mine.

Perhaps knowing that, you can understand his astonishment.

"You don't??"

He could not hid his incredulity at my pronouncement.



"Well, because I believe that the only thing the CRCT how good you are at taking a test. It has nothing to do with how smart you are. I don't need a test to know that you're smart, and either does your teacher. You prove it every single day."

He brightened for a moment, but then a shadow once again descended upon his freckled face, and doubt clouded his eyes.

"But's the law. I have to pass this test to go to fifth grade. Plus, I'll have to go to summer school."

"No you won't." I said firmly.

"I'll tell them you are not going to summer school under any circumstances, because you have earned your summer vacation through hard work, good grades, and class participation. And I will also tell them that if they don't pass a kid who is obviously more than capable of doing fifth grade work, I'll sue the pants off of them."

"You can do that??"

"Sure I can. And if that doesn't work, I'll alert the press. We'll tell them there is a travesty of justice taking place right under our noses. It'll be the scandal of the century...a media circus!!"

I made a sweeping gesture in front of my face, indicating a newpaper headline.


"And you know what else? Dr. A will help me. She knows all about this stuff and she won't let you be held back. In fact, I already talked to her about it."

He wanted to believe me, but from day one in the public school system, he has been indoctrinated into the belief that school administrators are the ultimate authority.

"But I thought that the school gets to decide everything."

"Hell no. You're my kid. I get to decide everything. They do what I say."

He was beginning to look a little more relaxed, to my relief. He didn't need to know that part of what I had told him was sheer bravado on my part. Oh, I'm quite prepared to butt heads with the powers that be if I need to. But my confidence at emerging the victor was entirely feigned. I sure as hell would give it everything I've got in me, though.

He sat quietly, digesting what I had said.

"So anyway.." I continued, "I want you to do your best, but I don't want you to worry about what's going to happen if you don't pass. Nothing will happen. Okay?"

"Okay. Thanks Mom. I feel better now."

He got up to leave, but hesitated for a moment.

"Could you put the stomache medicine (TUMS) in my backpack anyway...just in case?"


He left then, and went outside to do the things that kids do outside.

And I sat there at the kitchen table and thought about how much easier it was when all I had to do was spray for monsters under the bed.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Cuddle Up A Little Closer

Today, at 7:30 a.m., my Pre-Pubescent One turned 13. I find myself completely befuddled as to how thirteen years flew by so quickly.

I'm not going to write one of those sappy posts about how my little boy is turning into a man. Not to spare you from the treacle of my sentiments, but to prevent myself from turning into a weepy Wilma. I find that I am ridiculously emotional today.

Birthdays don't usually affect me this way, but this birthday is a big milestone. He's a teenager now. And once, his adulthood seemed so very far in the future. But suddenly, it is just a few short years away.

In three years he will be driving.

In five years, he will graduate high school.

And from there, the leaving begins.

He will leave for college. He will leave home to move into his first apartment. He will leave me for another woman. He may leave the town, the state, or even the country of his birth. He will leave behind the identity that we have helped him build and become a new person away from our watchful eyes. He will leave the protective cover of my outstretched wing, and venture out into the world.

I don't want to think about it.

I want to think about him snuggled up in the rocker with his head on my shoulder. I want to think about the squick squick sounds as he sucked his thumb, and the way he used to hum around it while I sang to him.

Cuddle up a little closer, lovey mine. Cuddle up and be my little clinging vine. Those are the words I sang once upon a time. But it doesn't take long for the little clinging vine to grow into a creeping one. And then what?

I don't know. I'm all out of metaphors, botanical or otherwise. What I do know is that it happened way too fast. And the next five years are going to go by faster still.

SIGH. So much for not getting sappy and emotional.

Happy Birthday....Pubescent One

Friday, April 18, 2008

Come to My Windows

I haven't done a lot of travelling in my lifetime. My parents were not well off, so until I was 18, I had only left the state in which I was born and raised a handful of times. And yet I have a powerful wanderlust. There are so many places in this world to see! So many vistas unseen by my eyes. So many people unmet. So many mysteries undiscovered, so many sweetnesses untasted by my tongue.

When we got married, we were on a very tight budget. Our wedding was a bare bones affair that we paid for mostly by ourselves. It wasn't going to be the wedding of my dreams, but it was okay, becuase the man I was marrying was.

He surprised me with a honeymoon to Europe. We spent 4 days in London and 4 days in Paris, and though it was really just enough to whet my appetite for adventure, it was one of the happiest times of my life.

We were young and in love. We were carefree and naieve. We were seeing the world. SIGH.

But there was so much more to come. So, so much more. And though perhaps it wouldn't hold the same romance as a European honeymoon, there was and is plenty of happiness and contentment to be had right at my own doorstep; in the comfort and familiarity of my home and my safe, comfortable little life.

Jen is doing a theme/meme thing she has dubbed "The Seven Windows of My Soul". And though I think that this exercise can be interpreted several different ways, for me it means, a window on places where my soul has soared freely with joy and contenment. A window on times when I was the most happy, the most satisfied.

Come to my windows now. Think of me here, think of me there. Think of me young, think of me old, think of me before children, and think of me in the throes of motherhood. It's all been a part of who I am; a part of filling and nurturing my soul.

1. Paris, Montmartre, September 1993.

My new husband and I stand atop Sacre Coeur at sunset, watching the sun slip behind the Paris skyline. The twinkling lights of the city of love sparkle like diamonds in the the slowly diminishing light. We can see the Eiffel tower soaring proudly above everything else; an iron finger pointing to the heavens, which are streaked with golden fire. We nibble strong tasting fromage that we bought at a small shop at the base of the hill, and we toast our new life with the bottled water we stuffed into our touristy backpacks. Cheesy and perfect, that moment. The happiness that I felt then was pure and untainted by worry. The rest of our lives lay before us like a blank page, our history still unwritten.

2. London, Tower Green, September 1993.

Husband and I stand on the spot where Anne Boleyn, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Lady Jane Gray, Katherine Howard and Lady Jane Rochfort were executed. It's a sobering thought. I am standing where Kings, Queens and foreign dignitaries have stood; William the Conqueror, Charles II, Elizabeth 1 and many other great personages. The day is bright and sunny, but cold fingers from a time long past reach out and coax goosebumps to the surface of my skin. I feel awed and small. It is what we have come here for, to forge some connection with those who went before us; flawed people like us, but great people nonetheless.

3. An April morning, 1995.

Husband is in the shower getting ready for work. He is whistling something I don't recognize. I smell soap and steam. The birds are waking from their slumber and I inhale the green that is slowly staking it's claim on the landscape. The bed is warm, my belly is large. I stretch and roll over to ease the ache in my back. There is a popping sensation and warm fluid gushes forth. It is too early and my first impulse is to call to husband, but something makes me wait. I take a moment to savor my last moments of pregnancy before the agony of labor sets in. Inside me, my baby is still safe, but we will be one for only a short time longer he and I. He squirms in anticipation. And then, when I have satisfied myself that the moment and the feeling is branded into my memory, I summon husband to the bedside. "We are going to meet our baby today." I tell him.

4. A campsite in the Appalachian mountains, Summer 1996.

The remnants of a mid summer rain patters gently on the roof of our tiny pup tent. The air inside the womblike interior is warm with our mingled breaths, my husband is pressed agasint me, toasty and solid. The first brushstrokes of dawn are being painted across the sky and someone in our party is already up stoking the fire and putting on coffee. We have left the baby for the first time with relatives and I do not have to jump up to meet his demands. I revel in my laziness, glad of the freedom. But I appreciate the ache of missing him. Later that day, as we careen down a class 5 rapid and then overturn, I feel very alive. It's that exhiliration that I carry with me in my memory. The sheer gladness of existing.

5. A Doctor's Office, Fall, 1998.

It is chilly, and my deceptively chubby infant wails with distress in his diaper and socks. I wrap him in a blanket and try to comfort him until the doctor arrives. It seems like a long time, but it isn't really. The worry only makes the wait seem interminable. Husband paces nervously. I bounce my fretting baby. When the doctor enters, he holds several sheets of x-ray film in his hand and a long piece of paper with spidery peaks and valleys inscribed upon it. He greets us, coos at the baby and then without preamble he says confidently, "The VSD has closed. He won't need open heart surgery." I'm not sure I've ever been more relieved in my life than I was at that moment. It's that day that I call forth when my patience with him is at an end.

6. Wisconsin, Christmas 2002.

It is snowing, big, fluffy flakes that insulate the air and make it seem as if the world begins and ends right where you stand. My children 7 and 4, have never seen snow like this before. They twirl with their faces tilted upward and tongues outhrust. I see in them all the joy and wonder that I experienced as a child and I cherish the purity of their enjoyment. It's such a simple pleasure, but one they rarely get to experience. I'll remember that trip forever. We went sledding in the park where I played as a child. We must have made a million trips up and down that hill, and even when their legs would scarcely hold them up any longer, they begged for just one more ride down. It's a day that nobody wanted to end. And in my memory, it never does.

7. Charleston, SC, July 2007

My Husband is wrestling with a shark. The boys watch with their breaths held deep in their lungs and their eyes wide with excitement. The fishing line whips from side to side as the shark tries to dislodge the vicious hook in it's mouth. Husband's arms bulge with effort, he is completely focused on the pole in his hands. Finally the shark tires and husband is able to haul him into the boat. It's a bonnet head, about 20 lbs. It looks impossibly large in the small boat, and terribly distressed. It's tail thrashes from side to side and the boys squeal with horrified glee. The captain of the small craft assists husband in weighing the shark, but one powerful swipe of it's tail sends it crashing to the floor of the boat, free from their grasp.

The boys and I shriek and run to the other side of the boat, causing it to list dangerously to port. Husband and Captain Jim struggle to subdue the terrified shark, and Husband sustains a nasty scrape on his calf from the shark's sandpaper like hide. But the shark is exhausted and his struggles subside in just a few moments. Soon the hook is removed from his mouth and he is tossed overboard to freedom. He swims briskly away. The boys cheer. Later, on the ride home, dirty, wet and exhausted, they are full of chatter about their adventure. They say, "That was the best time we EVER had, Dad." And later still, in the small rented condo, I hear them whispering long into the night, far too exhilirated to sleep. I feel proud to have given them such a perfect day, a perfect memory.

So there are seven windows into my soul. Moments that have made me who I am, moments that will be with me until the day that I die. Moments that give me perspective and clarity in times of distress and uncertainty.

What are your seven windows?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Only Me

I was applying mascara yesterday in preparation for an impromptu trip to Wal-Mart. I know, mascara is not a prerequisite for shopping at Wal-Mart. Hell, teeth are not a pre-requisite for shopping at Wal-Mart.

But because we spent all of Spring Break doing home improvement, I hadn't had make-up or decent clothes on in over a week, and my hair had been up in a ponytail for so many days in a row that I was developing a sore spot on top of my head.

Needless to say, I was feeling very frumpy and dishevelled. Plus, I was grouchy and irritable thanks to Eve and her inability to follow one very simple little directive.

I thought putting on some make-up and fixing my hair a little might brighten my outlook.

Alas, my mascara has apparently reached the threshold whereby it stops being all smooth and creamy and becomes the consistency of spackle. When I finished applying it, I realized that I was looking decidedly Tammy Fay-ish.

But rather than take it off and start over, I pulled out my handy dandy safety pin, which I keep at hand for just such an emergency.

As I was using it separate my spiderifficly gummed up lashes, I thought to myself...

Gee, wouldn't it suck if I slipped and poked myself in the eyeball with this thing?

And then I poked myself right in the eyeball with that thing.

My four thousand dollar eyeball.

Well, two thousand, really, cause it was four thousand total for the surgery.

Foolhardy thought it may be, I've been using a pin to separate my lashes since I began wearing mascara 25 years ago, and not once have I poked myself in the eye. Not once have I even considered that I might poke myself in the eye.

And then, as soon as the thought was thunk, it happened. It's as if my brain somehow short circuited right at that very moment.


Only me, People. Only me.

Don't worry, it's fine. Corneas heal quickly thank God, and I didn't like...impale my eyeball.

It's just a little surface scratch, which I've gotten before from getting debris under my contact lenses, games of "Hey! My Mom has an eyeball too!" and various other cosmetic industrial/household accidents.

Right about now, you should be feeling like the smartest person on the planet in comparison.

Superiority. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Time Passages

It's strange how a small thing can suddenly drive home the point that time is passing so swiftly.

I know of course, that time marches relentlessly on. I see my sons changing before my eyes. I launder their ever bigger clothing. I solve their ever bigger problems. I wrestle with ever more complicated issues; ones that I never anticipated when they were small and sweet and had no will of their own beyond filling their bellies and their diapers.

But occasionally a moment or an action or a memory will spark that knowledge until it is a blazing inferno of awareness. And suddenly it's right there in front of us where we can't ignore really is going by dreadfully fast.

It can be a big thing or a small thing; a silly thing, or a serious thing. Usually it isn't the thing itself, but the memories associated with it.

For instance, I remember being heavily pregnant and obsessed with clouds. Yes, clouds.

Pre-Pubescent One was being moved from the nursery in preparation for his brother's arrival. I had a lot of mixed feelings about that, and among them, guilt. Those of you who have more than one child know this feeling. It's not entirely rational, but it's very powerful.

I was deliriously happy about the new baby. But I was sad that the special time I had shared with my firstborn was coming to a close. Never again would he have my undivided attention. Nor would the new baby, for that matter. My boys forever after would have to share; my time, my attention and my love.

I felt somehow as if I had ruined everything.

What a ridiculous notion. But no matter how much I tried to talk myself out of those feelings, they persisted and grew, until I was a seething ball of weepy, hormonal confusion; happy one moment, sad the next, with no discernible emotional middle ground.

To assuage the guilt of evicting Pre-Pubescent from not only his room, but his crib as well, I convinced myself that he needed a new sanctuary; one of transcendant cuteness.

Again, it was a very silly and fanciful notion, but it helped a little.

And so, I became obsessed with creating the perfect room for Pre-Pubescent One.

I found an adorable wall border with Teddy Bears and Dalmations and Firetrucks. It struck me as the epitome of little boy-dom, and I was completely charmed. I planned the decor of the room around the border, which was a fairly simple matter, as most of the colors were bold and bright primary shades.

The problem arose when I decided that I should do a wall treatment to mimic the cloud like background in the border.

We painted the walls white and I found a glaze in the exact shade of blue that I needed. I experimented with every conceivable fabric and every conceivable technique to achieve the perfect degree of "fluiffiness".

"Fluffiness." said Husband skeptically, when I explained. "How do you paint fluffiness?"

I showed him. He was impressed, but dubious about the amount of time and effort it would take to cover all four walls with the required fluffiness.

I figured out pretty quickly that it doesn't work if two people try to do a wall treatment. No two people have the same technique and it became very obvious where his portion ended and mine began. I told him that in order to look just right, it had to be perfectly seamless. I would have to do it myself.

"Look." I pointed out. "See how your clouds are...heavier? Darker? They look like rain clouds. I need light, wispy, summer day clouds."

By this time I think Husband was pretty convinced I had lost my marbles along with my waistline. He looked at me for a moment, contemplating, I'm sure, whether he should humor me, or seek the assistance of a mental health professional.

He decided to humor me. He surrendered his carefully engineered facsimile cloud putter onner, and left me to my own maniacal devices.

It took me an entire week to finish that room. Then I had to go back with a smaller cloud putter onner, because the big one left a line of demarcation along the window and door frames. I painted over some spots because I wasn't happy with them.

And still, I could see where I had started and where I had stopped and I was not at all pleased. The paint was darker where I had used a freshly dipped putter onner and no matter how many times I went back over it, it just didn't seem right. My pursuit of seamlessness was driving me slowly, but surely insane.

They are the hallmark of my pregnancies, these obsessions. Some women get horrible cravings, some women get incredibly er...amorous, some women throw up...I develop obsessions.

Remind me to tell you about the time that I, nearly full term with what would turn out to be a 9 lb., 5 oz. fetus, decided that I absolutely HAD to have a matching robe and nightgown for the hospital and dragged Pre-Pubescent One through the mall for hours in search of one, despite the fact that he was having the mother of all tantrums.

Anyway, this one was a doozy.

But eventually, exhaustion and common sense won out and I had to concede that it was good enough.

Not only was it good enough, but once I was able to stop nitpicking, I realized it was pretty adorable, if I do say so myself.

Ten years have passed since then, and his room has remained unchanged for much of that time. But two years ago, I reluctantly took down the border to appease his growing sense of maturity and ease his embarassment.

Since then, he's endured the cloud walls without much complaint. But we've been promising him for two years that we would redecorate in a more suitably masculine theme and finally, he asked if we might be able to have his room done in time for his 13th birthday, for which he is planning a sleepover.

Husband and I realized we could postpone it no longer and this week, we tackled the job. It was a big one, because everything needed to be sanded, including the walls to insure that the clouds would cover and the texture would not bleed through.

As we worked, I was focused only on getting the job done. We hate to paint, you see. We loathe it with the white hot passion of a thousand suns. It's so tedious, so nitpicky, so BORING and so messy.

But when it came time to put that first stroke of fresh paint on the wispy, azure blue walls, I felt a wave of pure melancholy. I remembered laboring over this room with Diminutive One warm and heavy in my belly. I remembered how small Pre-Pubescent One looked in his enormous new big boy bed. I remembered how he stood before me the next morning wearing a pull-up and a grin as he proudly and earnestly told me he had spent the entire night there and didn't go back to the crib even one time, not even to look.

I wanted it back.

Just for a moment. Just to feel his spindly little limbs folded in my lap, and his bath fresh hair tickling my nose and to breathe in all his perfect innocence, and appreciate it the way I couldn't back then, not knowing how fleeting it really is.

As the cloudy blue walls slowly disappeared, it struck me as remarkably metaphorical, if walls can truly be a metaphor for childhood lost and adulthood not yet gained. They are no longer cloudy, but blank and smooth, waiting for the rest of his life to be inscribed upon them.

They will hold posters, and signs and notes and all kinds of memorabilia. And then, when he leaves home, they will be blank once more.

When we finished I looked around. It felt at once completely familiar and thoroughly alien. This, I thought...this is no little boy's room. This is the room of a young man.

And I realized that I need to stop mourning the little boy who was, and discover the young man who will be. I think I'm going to like him.

And that little boy? He'll always be there, in his cloudy room and his dinosaur pajamas waiting for me to tuck him in. I'm going to give myself permission to visit him there every now and snuggle down in his big tiny bed and hold him close to me while I read him something sweet and silly.

Wait for me there, used to be boy. I'll be back again soon.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

No Matter How Good You Are, They Are Always Better

See, I think one must have kids to maintain one's mental acuity.

It's the constant struggle to stay one step ahead of one's offspring that sharpens our senses, keeps us dancing on the balls of our intellectual toes like a boxer waiting for the next punch, and teaches us to expect the unexpected.

It makes one preternaturally aware of danger, evil, malfeasance and fraud. It hones ones' ability to intuit, assess and avert disaster. Crisis management becomes second nature. We are always watching, always waiting, always prepared, even in moments of repose or reflection.

I've been doing this for 13 years now. I'm awfully good at sniffing out trouble. I don't even make a conscious effort most of the time, it's just this annoyingly pervasive awarness that is always with me. It's an internal voice that whispers constantly in my ear.

Sometimes it suggests in gentle, soothing tones that I go investigate the uncharacteristic quiet that has descended. Sometimes, it shrieks with an urgency to which every cell in my body immediately reacts, even before my mind can comprehend the danger.

And, still? I miss stuff.

Often that which slips beneath my maternal radar is inconsequential. And occasionally it is not. But it all gives me gray hair, because it comes with the horror of "what if?"

This week my children have absconded from the house in great haste each morning lest they be pressed into service. They want no part of the drugery that comes with home improvement, although Diminutive One was very anxious to try his hand at paint rolling.

Our house is sort of the neighborhood gathering place and often I have a crowd of boys in my yard and my home. Yesterday however, we banished the masses so we could work, and my kids disappeared with the rest of the pack.

At lunchtime, Husband called Pre-Pubescent One on his cell phone, which is something we rarely do, just because he's not often away from us for extended periods of time unless he's at school.

He did't answer, but we weren't concerned. He customarily takes it off while he's playing rough and tumble sports such as football. He takes care of that thing with singleminded sense of purpse that I wish he would demonstrate for his room.

What did concern and just stunned both of us, really, was the voice mail greeting he had recorded:

"Hi, this is Pre-Pubescent One. I can't answer the phone right now, please leave a message with your name and number, and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. Oh, and while you're at it...

(cue .wav of Stan Cartman) "HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SUCK MY BALLS?"


Oh no he di-nt.

I can't even figure out how to change the ringtone on my cell phone and my 13 year old kid is uploading dirty .wav files to his voice mail?

I never saw that one coming.

It rankled me something fierce.

As Husband relayed to me his discovery, he strove for a somber, disapproving mein, but the corners of his mouth twitched deceptively.

"It's not funny." I said accusingly.

"I'm not laughing." he said

"You're laughing on the inside" I said.

"Nooooooo. I would never."

Then he snorted. And I snorted. And then we were both laughing. We laughed long and hard. Because South Park is funny. And Cartman hollering "SUCK MY BALLS" through a megaphone at Mr. Garrison is funny. And the way he engineered the file to fit into his message, was funny.

The whole flippin thing was funny EXCEPT the fact, that it was on my 13 year old son's voicemail.

When he came home, he was told that the voicemail would have to go, and that furthermore, his download capability had been curtailed, until such time as he could be more responsible in deciding what is appropriate. He was warned that the next such abuse would result in the loss of his phone.

"Dude, what if Grandma had called you?"

He paled a little bit at that. It was not something he had considered, and truth be told, it's an extremely remote possibility. But it drove the point home. The horror of "what if", always does.

You see? No matter how good you are, they are always better.

SIGH. It's alright. Being on one's toes constantly results in strong shapely metaphorical calves.

Now...what to do about these metaphorical thighs?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Blogs Are Stupid attempt at humor seems to have gone over like a lead balloon (but a truly sincere thanks to those who commented).

I should leave funny to those who are truly gifted comedically, I suppose. It's just that I'm so rarely stricken by an idea for a funny post, that I get really excited when I think I might have something. Don't hold it against me.

Anyway, I have fine blue powder clogging my sinuses, my hair, and my lungs, I am covered in spackle, and my right arm is still tingling an hour after I finished sanding, so my blogging genius (written with a decidedly self-depracating snort) is a little compromised at the moment.

So I thought for fun, I would repost the very first thing I ever put up here at Blogs Are Stupid. At the time, I was poking fun at a particular group of people, who, lemming like, were all starting blogs.

I hadn't really delved into the blogopshere at all, and didn't really understand that there was a community of folks out there interacting, edifying, entertaining and supporting one another.

Now I do.

The dichotomy in thinking between then and now is kind of amusing and somewhat ironic, since Blogging has become, for me, an outlet and a catalyst and a treasured part of my day.

Not long ago, there was a discussion on Miss Britt's blog, where Kimberly from Petroville as a guest poster, talked about hanging up the blog, because it just didn't seem as if people were interested anymore.

This is what I said in my comments there:

I go through this every year and it always follows the same progression.

1. I read some really inane post from one of the a-listers that has like 85 comments.

2. I fume about that.

3. I decide I’m quitting, because if people flock to read schlock like that, while ignoring bloggers who are writing truly meaningful stuff (not me, necessarily, I have lots of blogs in my reader that are incredibly well written but receive few comments) I’ve lost all hope for the intelligence and integrity of women.

4. I quit.

5. I think about blogging every day, but don’t blog. The timeframe on this varies. The longest I’ve ever held out is two weeks.

6. I decided I can’t live without blogging and I will blog only for me and not worry about statcounts or comments or awards.

7. I write a flurry of posts that I have poured my heart and soul into.

8. I pride myself on not caring that these posts didn’t get 85 commetns.

9. I start tailoring my posts to get more comments.

10. I read a completely inane post that has like, 85 comments.

11. I fume.

Lather, rinse, repeat. This year I skipped all that and decided blogging is what it is. And what it is, is extrinsic motivation to write. And that’s okay.

Is that really true? Yes, usually. Except when I write a post that I think is funny and the response indicates that it isn't, in actuality, funny. Then I get kind of bummed. But the truth is, that's just not my forte. But sometimes my blog identity gets kind of staid, and I try to mix it up a bit, with predictably disastrous results.


I guess part of the problem is that I don't really know why people come here. Often the posts that I am most proud of, are the ones that elicit the fewest responses. And sometimes, I throw something out there just to fill space, and get beseiged by comments.

I can't figure it out, so I guess I should stop trying.

Enough meta. Blogging is just...kinda crazy, isn't it? But good crazy and bad crazy and what the hell is going on with this kind of crazy all at once.

I give you now, my first piece ever...

Blogs Are Stupid

According to all the latest web buzz, "blogs" are the newest trend amongst the pseudo-intellectual. Being myself a pseudo intellectual (just ask my detractors) I decided that I should probably get on board with this, or risk being thought hopelessly antideluvian and uncool. I started doing some investigating, as I was plagued by some troubling questions that I felt must be answered before I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be) in an attempt to "blog".

What manner of things does one include in a blog? Are blogs meant to be public opinion pieces, the purpose of which is to be read and commented upon (and lauded for their wit and adroitness with a turn of phrase, of course) by others? Or are they merely the modern equivalent of "Dear Diary", with secret musings and expressions of heart's desire? What sort of person spills the secrets of their soul on the information superhighway? Is this something *I* would be comfortable doing? More importantly, how does one convince one's self that what one has written is not, in fact, french fried tripe, unfit for public consumption? Perhaps the certainty borne of narcsissm is a prerequisite for blogging and if that is so...can one fake it?

With these questions in mind, I set out to unlock the secret of blogging. Misgivings about my aptitude for such a pursuit weighed heavily on my mind. I desperately needed a mentor. I have, in the course of my internet travels, been acquainted with a number of self styled intellectuals; illuminati of such stellar character as to be wholly convinced of their idealogical, moral and philosophical superiority. They struck me immediately as the sort of individual who would indeed, "blog". What better way to gain insight into the mind and qualifications of the seasoned blogger than to avail myself of their wisdom and proficiency? Nothing is quite so edifying as intellectual property, after all.

With great enthusiasm and hopeful fervor, I began to search out and peruse the literary stylings of this generation's greatest thinkers. I read blog after blog hoping for the kind of enlightenment that would allow me to enter the esteemed ranks of bloggers everywhere. Sadly, with each successive blog, I grew more and more disconsolate and disillusioned. I read about recipes. I read about diaper rash. I read about sex lives grown stale, and marital discontent. I read bad poetry and even worse fiction. I read political rantings and religious idealogy. I read self-indulgent lamentations of victimization, and proclomations of rectitude and altruism. Most appallingly, I read endless rambling accounts of day to day minutiae so staggering in their banality as to be nauseating, coma-inducing, and in some cases, both.

Imagine my great shock and dismay to discover that the meaning of life was not to be found in these missives. No, indeed. What I found instead, were rather stale and hackneyed attempts to legitimize and sensationalize the mundane, the ordinary, and the mediocre. To what end, I remain baffled. And I am also left wondering...what is so wrong with ordinary? I myself lead quite an ordinary life, and have in fact cultivated ordinariness with great determination. We are a middle American family with a middle class existence. My children are neither distressingly dim nor disparately bright. Neither my husband nor I am extraordinarily accomplished or attractive, and though we do alright in terms of wit and sagacity, neither of us is discovering new theorems or solving any of the multitude of problems that plague mankind. We are in all ways possible...exceedingly average.

This, apparently, is the antithesis of what one should aspire to, and I find myself somewhat toubleed about what manner and degree of character deficiency accounts for my disturbing lack of concern over it. I do not feel compelled to glorify housewifery. While I have long admired June Cleaver, I do not aspire to be her, and more often than not, my maternal and domestic stylings more resemble those of Roseanne. I am not driven to extoll the virtues of chauffering, food preparation or child care. It is what it is. I am not. Admittedly, sometimes the predictability of my days does lead to random mental meanderings. The act of removing fecal matter from aged porcelain to which it has become eternally bonded does not of its own accord inspire profound thought. Naturally, the mind wanders.

But what kind of person believes these disjointed bursts of marginally coherent thought suitable for anything but the deepest reccesses of their own mind? Certainly not the great thinkers and philosophers that I am acquainted with! Alas, the printed word does not deceive, and I am forced to acknowledge the monumental sham that has been perpetrated and accept the truth. Bloggers, thy name is Fraud! So, duplicitous they may be, but what compels them to importune others with their pointless and irrelevant blather? Perhaps it is the simple fact that misery loves company.

In short, the conclusion that I have reached is this: Blogs are stupid. As a trend, I predict they will go the way of leg warmers, parachute pants, and high waisted jeans. In other words, they will not be a treasured account of one's cerebral self in days gone by, but rather, a source of profound chagrin and endless harassment, much like the visual snapshots that preserve our dubious taste and unfortunate fashion choices for all eternity.

You know the ones I'm talking about...there's that one of you in the teal green satin dress with the dropped waist. Its the one you still secretly think you look hot in, and the one you always give to online acquaintances, professing not to have anything more recent. You're sporting a poodle perm and mile high bangs. Your date is sporting a matching cumberbund and a self-effacing grin. He know he looks foolish, and he knows he is destined to spend eternity looking foolish on your parent's living room wall. If he hadn't been pinning all his simple adolescent hopes on having sex with you on prom night, he would have clued you in to that fact.

So allow me to do what he could not. Bloggers, it is not too late. You can delete all the pretentious and puerile drivel you've foisted upon the world at large in an instant, and no one will be the wiser. Unless of course you've proudly publicized such with all the vainglorious ostentation that you posess and linked to every other blog in the free world. In which case, I'm afraid, you're screwed. The secret is out, and everybody knows you are whining, self-important boor with delusions of grandeur.

For the record, it has not escaped me that I have now placed myself in the same class as those whom I castigate herein. But no matter. My point has been made. I will not lament my lack of productivity in chronicling every mundane musing that crosses my mind. I will not chasten myself as a "bad blogger" and promise to do better. In fact, this may well be my only entry. Or not. If hindsight tells me anything, its that the malevolence and stupidity of others can always be counted on to provide fodder for my own self-indulgent rantings. Stay tuned. But don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Out of the Mouths Of Babes

THE SETTING: A trendy tot shop in an upscale suburban mall.

THE PLAYERS: The Real Charlie Brown (Baby #1-right), Pre-Pubescent One (Baby #2-left)

Baby #1: Dude, how long does it take your Mom to pick out a breast pump?

Baby #2: I don't know man. Frankly, I'm baffled by the whole concept. I mean, I don't want to brag, but I can empty a breast in like, 3 minutes. You cannot improve upon perfection my friend.

Baby #1: Okay, Seriously? Enough. You're breastfed. I get it. We all. Get it.

Baby #2: Geez, who pissed in your Enfamil?

Baby #1: I'm sorry Dude, I'm a little irritable.

Baby #2: You don't say.

Baby #1: It's just that my binky is permanently embedded in my back fat, this diaper has exceeded maximum capacity, and it is definitely past lunch o'clock.

Baby #2: I hear ya. This gay outfit is making me a little cranky too.

Baby #1: It's not that bad.

Baby #2: You're just saying that.

Baby #1: That's what friends are for.

Baby #2: Well at least your lunch is right there in the diaper bag. Thanks to the whole "breasts are sexual objects" thing, I have to wait until we get home.

Baby #1: Sucks to be you Dude.

Baby #2: That's what I'm sayin.

Baby #1: But at least your lunch will be fresh and warm and straight from the source.

Baby #2: Yeah. And it doesn't taste like ass.

Baby #1: Watch it.

Baby #2: Sorry. I forget you're sensitive about that.

Baby #1: I'm not sensitive. I'm discerning.

Baby #2: Oh yeah. That's why you put your toes in your mouth.

Baby #1: They satisfy my need for oral gratification, okay? Not all of us have breasts at our beck and call.

Baby #2: Not my issue, man.

Baby #1: ever do that motorboat thing?

Baby #2: No.

Baby #1: C' never even thought about it?

Baby #2: No.

Baby #1: But your face is riiiiiii-

Baby #2: I said no, Dude. No? means no.

Baby #1: You don't deserve to be breastfed. I would totally do the motorboat thing.

Baby #2: Not unless you wanted to find yourself drinking out of a sippy cup with rainbows on it.

Baby #1: Ouch.

Baby #2: You do not disrespect the milk makers my friend.

Baby #1: Yeah. I see your point. Say, uh...speaking of milk makers....Two babies walk into a titty bar....

Baby #2: .......HAHAHA! Milking it! That? Is Classic. You crack my ass up Dude. I mean, you really slay me.

Baby #1: I messed up the punchline a little. I hate it when I do that.

Baby #2: Doesn't matter, Dude. Titty jokes are always funny. Seriously, I think I pissed myself.

Baby #1: Well you're in good company then. I'm practically floating away over here. But at least I can use my diaper as a life preserver.

Baby #2: No doubt. What's in those things anyway?

Baby #2: I don't know. Some kind of super absorbent petrochemical spongy stuff. We'll probably be sterile someday.

Baby #1: Dude, do not even joke about that.

Baby #1: Sorry. Hey, here come the Moms. Act Natural.

Baby #2: Goo goo. Ga ga.

Baby #1: (Fills diaper explosively)


(Just a note: My kids are on Spring Break, and husband has taken off as well so we can paint, so please forgive my lack of commenting this week.)

Monday, April 07, 2008

What's In A Name?

Weeeeellllll....not only am I bad at following rules, it seems I am also patently transparent.

Number 2 is indeed the falsehood.

However, almost all of it is true. My grandmother's name really was Wilhelmina Ernestina Steinberg. My maiden name is only one letter removed from the word "scrotum". Yeah. My high school years were not at all traumatic. You have to move a couple letters around to make it work, but it was close enough for bitchy queen bee cheerleader types.

My actual middle name is fairly mundane and is almost always used in conjunction with my first name, which is also mundane. So a boring first name, humiliating last it any wonder that I fantasized endlessly about changing my name to something glamorous and sophisticated?

My moniker of choice changed often, and usually reflected my interests or experiences at the time. Some of my choices were:

Alexandra Sommerton (conceived in my soap opera phase)

Chantal Chaurent (completely made up, but it sounded convincingly French to me, and at the time, I was a hardcore francophile)

Lauren Elizabeth (I thought two first names was the ultimate in Sophistication)

Jamie Majors (taken from my profound love of the Bionic Man and Woman)

Sylvia Vincent (created during my deep and melancholoy phase as a tribute to Sylvia Plath and Edna St. Vincent Millay)

There were more, I'm sure, but those are the ones that I loved the most. At one time, I had actually planned to name my girl child Lauren Elizabeth. SIGH.

When I got engaged to Husband, people actually asked me if I was going to keep my maiden name, or perhaps hyphenate. You would have to know the names to appreciate the hilarity of that question. I was most certainly not keeping or hyphenating my name. I had, after all, been waiting my whole life to get rid of it. I had had my fill of nutsack jokes.

My boys have good names. And my husband, unlike his cavalcade of cousins, has a pretty normal name as well. Nobody would guess that he was Southern just from his name. I know that kids will always find something for which to pick on one another, but at least I can remove that temptation from the equation of childhood humiliation.

So, anyway....thanks to those who participated. The winner, chosen at random from those who guessed correctly, is Jaime. Please email me with your information and I'll get your book in the mail.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

It's All About Meme

Antique Mommy who is one of my favorite bloggers ever, tagged me for a Meme, and thank God she did, because I'm having a little bit of bloggers remorse for my Sexy Back post. I need to get that thing off the top of my blog, but I don't really have anything profound to say because my brain is clouded by lust. Now I know how adolescent boys feel.

So, I'm supposed to list 6 unimportant things about myself. Piece O'Cake. of them is not true. You guess, leave your guess in my comments.

I'll reveal the correct answer on Monday.

I'm going to follow in Antique Mommy's footsteps and offer a prize to the winner, whom I will choose randomly from those who guessed correctly. The prize will be a copy of "Running With Scissors" by Augusten Burroughs.

So, here we go:

BTW, yes, there are only five. I had six, but deleted one to reword it and then forgot to reword it. So, we'll stick with five. I never was very good at following the rules.

1. I have 3 cats.

They are a matched set. They are all orange tabbies, they are all male, and they all have human names rather than typical pet names: Chester, Leo, and Bo.

2. My middle name is Wilhelmina.

My maternal great grandmother's name was Wilhelmina Ernestina Steinberg. My mother wanted to give me a family name, but didn't want to burden me with such an unusual first name since I would be saddled with a last name that would lend itself to grievous teasing, as it was disoncertingly similar to a certain male appendage. She thought that Wilhelmina sounded good with the name she did choose as my first name. No, I'm not going to tell you what my first name is. A very few of you know...don't spill the beans.

3. Before I had Lasik surgery, I was legally blind.

The vision in my "bad" eye was 20/1100. The left was marginally better at 20/900. This is just a guesstimate, as it's difficult to quantify when eyesight is as bad as mine. I had to put my glasses on simply to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. After Lasik, my vision is 20/25 in the bad eye, 20/20 in the good eye. I could have the "bad" eye corrected at no additional cost, but I have decided not to.

4. My wedding dress has never been worn.

Because of a snafu on the part of the seamstress, the wrong dress was delivered to the church. The seamstress went to visit her family in Columbia leaving my dress safely locked in her home. I had to wear a store demo dress down the aisle. I did get my own dress, along with a full refund.

5. All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.

In third grade, I had my front two teeth knocked out by a schoolyard bully. They were my adult teeth, and as a result, my two front teeth are bonded. Since they were put in when I was 15, they are very worn and badly need to be replaced. I am very self-conscious about the way they look.

I'm supposed to tag six other bloggers. I'm going to choose six that I think are really great bloggers, but are relatively unknown. You don't have to do the prize thing if you don't want to. I just happened to have something on hand to offer and it's not really all that generous of me since I didn't like the book anyway.

So I tag:

Drowning Pisces - She is a great writer and a really sweet person. She's a lesbian, and just happens to be dating one of my dearest friends. She has been incredibly open and honest both with me and the blogging community about her sexuality.

Baronness VonBloggenschtern - She recently got a luke-warm review from a blog review site, which chastised her for her sense of humor. But I think she's wonderfully quirky and I love her wit.

Reality Testing - Angela is a teacher and has a lot of terriffic insight into the education system, as well as perspective for those of us who don't know what it's like to be in the trenches everyday.

Almost Quintessence - Anne is just a good egg, and I'm totally jealous of her life, although I wouldn't be good at it all since I am way too lazy and I don't like to get dirty. I love reading about her exploits on the farm.

Cocktails With Kevin - He is so dry he makes me pucker. I love his sarcasm. The first post I ever read of his was "Search for Interesting Blogs Yields Few Results". I was hooked immediately.

Middle Girl - I actually met her in person before I read her blog. She is a friend of my friend Nina, and she had dinner with us in Chicago last summer, where a group of us met for a girls' weekend. She was a wonderful conversationalist and I thoroughly enjoyed her company.

So there you go. Let the guessing begin!

Friday, April 04, 2008

I'm Bringing Sexy Back

You know how they say that women peak much later in life than men?

Totally true.

For most of our marriage, Husband and I have had grossly mismatched libidos. As a result, he's been waiting for me to peak for about 10 years. I think he was beginning to suspect that the whole thing was a myth, perpetrated by women to keep their husbands clinging to the hope that someday, someday, wives everywhere would suddenly transform into raging sex maniacs.

But lo and behold, on the verge of my fourth decade, I have suddenly become a raging sex maniac.

Now, I don't think this is strictly a physiological phenomenon.

My kids are becoming increasingly less dependant you see. And no longer is my every waking moment consumed with the care, feeding, and entertainment of an adorable but demanding little taskmaster.

Those years are tough, particularly for stay at home Moms. And they were rougher still for me, during Diminutive One's infancy and toddlerhood. I was emotionally, physically and psychologically drained by his needs.

And that, of course, does not make for a very sexually dynamic Mama.

For years I thought I would be perfectly happy if I never had sex again.

Because sex became a chore and an obligation; just another thing to cross off of my already endless list before I could sleep, eat, or otherwise see to my own needs. I became very resentful when Husband pushed for sex and I became especially resentful when he asked for certain erm..."favors". I felt then that I was nothing more than an object for sexual gratification. I found it demeaning and of course, that only heightened my resentment further.

Poor guy. He couldn't win for losing. I didn't want to be physically intimate with him in a meaningful, emotionally satisfying manner, but I didn't want to give the brother a helping hand,, either.

I realize now how rejected he felt. I just didn't get that for men, sex = love. And I think he realizes now that I was overwhelmed and exhausted. But at the time, neither of us saw what was right in front of us. We were both thinking in a very singular way: I'm not getting enough sex. I'm tired of meeting everyone else's needs. Instead of: We have a problem that needs to be addressed.

Needless to say, this impacted our emotional intimacy in a big way. It was a rough patch for us, those years. We both felt overlooked by the other.

At one point, Husband decided to take the proverbial bull by the horns and purchased a book called "101 Night of Great Sex" by Laura Corn.

I was not amused.

I have to say that the premise of this book is a sound one. The purpose is to take the focus off the minutaie of everyday life and put it back onto fostering romance and intimacy, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, at that point in our lives, it backfired quite profoundly, because it took something that I already viewed as an obligation, and made it even more of a chore. I couldn't embrace or enjoy the spirit of the thing because I felt pressured and resentful.

NOW I think it would be fantastic fun. I know that book is still around here somewhere...I might even go dig it out. But then, oy. If there was already a chill between us, things deteriorated to downright frostiness.

How did we get through that?

You know, I don't know. I wish I had some words of wisdom or some fantastic advice, but really...I just don't know. I guess, because we had a strong relationship beforehand, because we really did love each other very much deep down, and because we were committed to giving our children a stable, loving home to grow up in, we just kind of floundered through it.

Also, I think, we both matured a great deal during those years.

So fast forward to present day... Things are getting easier. My kids are in school all day. They can dress, bathe, feed, wipe and buckle up themselves. Diminutive One's problems have been addressed and he is thriving. Pre-Pubescent One is reaching an age where he is largely independant.

More importantly, my erogenous zones are once again my own. My breasts are just breasts, not instruments of sustenance and comfort. I am not contantly being clung to or sat upon. I have the luxury of spending some time to make myself feel feminine and attractive, where it used to be a great accomplishment simply to get my hair brushed.

All that, combined with the fact that my hormones are what I would tentatively call "normal" for the first time in my entire life, is making me one horny mother.

It's weird.

I think about sex all the time. I have been stricken with a profound and unrelenting urge in the middle of almost every activity at some point; scrubbing toilets, grocery shopping, cooking name it.

After years of looking right through most men, including my poor spouse, I now find myself looking at asses and crotches in the grocery store, on the street, at the ballpark.

Sometimes I can't help but grope my husband, which elicits tongue in cheek remarks such as "Geez, what am I, a piece of meat?" and "Is that all I am to you? An object?"

I have even begun initiating sex. That is huge.

Of course, this does me no absolutely no good when Husband is at work. But you know what's good for that?

Instant Messaging.

I've never been very good at dirty talking. I grew up in a very sexually conservative household and those attitudes are deeply ingrained. Unfortunately, it's kind of a mood killer when your wife croons, "Oooooh yeah baby, have intercourse with me!"

So I've been trying. But it's difficult. However, with instant messageing, I am freeeeeeeeeee. I can say stuff I would never dream of saying to his face. The first time I did it, I was a little hesitant and awkward, but now, I just let it fly. Be forewarned, there is an art to this. There is a fine line between sounding like a sexy, sultry nymph and a clap ridden ghetto whore.

Often these parlays are met with enthusiasm. But occasionally I get..."Baby, I'm in a friggin meeting!"

But that's neither here nor there, really.

The point of this post was to let those of you who are still at that "sex is a chore" juncture know that...your libido will come back.

But in the meantime, throw your husband a boner, I mean, a bone. It will make him feel loved, and even if that's really low on your list of priorities right now, it will help strengthen your marriage. That may seem silly to us, because we interpret love much differently. But it's the reality of the male psyche. And someday, you will reap the benefits.

It's all very funny, of course, that now the shoe is on the other foot. Husband finds it ironic and terribly amusing.

Sometimes, just because he can, he will say snidely, "What...again?"

Yes, again. And again and again and again. God love the recuperative powers of the female erectile tissue.

Now, you'll have to excuse me...I have some chatting to do. It's Friday night and Mama needs some lovin.

Bow chicka bow wow. Bow bow.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Danger Will Robinson

We always meant to have a large family.

One evening shortly after we met, Husband invited me to his apartment for dinner and I happily accepted. By that time, I already had a pretty good idea that he was maybe, possibly, potentially the one. After dinner, (homemade lasagne, quelle impressive, no?) we sipped wine and did that little dance that couples do when they are poised at the edge of deep affection laced with blinding lust. They want to leap into the precipice, but each is afraid the other might not follow. They fear falling on their face, broken and bleeding, alone and foolish.

The truth was, we were panting for one another, but neither wanted to let on. I fully intended to sleep with him that night, (shut up, I was a consenting adult who had been on my own for five years) but I wanted to be sure he understood that I'm not the type for whom casual sex holds any appeal, and that if he debauched me and then tried to blow me off, I would stalk his ass like Alex Forrest and that I would make her little Lapin A La Cocette look like alphabet soup.

No, not really. But I did want him to know that I wasn't looking for a quick lay. I was looking for a serious relationship. I was ready to get married, and it's surprising how effectively one can weed out the man whores and the playboys just by stating that fact preemptorily. Nothing sends a commitment phobe packing more swiftly than a proclomation of that nature.

So I said, directly, "I'd like to get married and have babies."

He waggled his eyebrows at me lasciviously and said "Me too." which made it very clear that it wasn't the having of babies that appealed to him, but rather, the getting of them.

That made me laugh, and then we didn't get much more talking done that night.

Luckily, however, it turned out that he really did want to get married and have a family. And he agreed that 4 or 5 children would be simply fabulous.

Oh, what sweetly naieve fools were we.

Pre-Pubescent One was a very easy baby. Diminutive One was not. His infancy and toddlerhood left me emotionally, physically and psychologically exhausted. Even though I did want another baby, I knew I couldn't handle him and care for an infant. I wanted to wait until I felt sure that the new baby would get as much time and attention as his/her predecessors.

That day was very slow in coming.

When Diminutive One went to kindergarten, I decided it was probably a good time. Except...that for the first time in 9 years, I had some time to myself. Suddenly, I could breathe.

I could shower without worrying about catastrophe striking at the hands of my willful youngest son, who had stopped napping at 18 months (which prompted a very protracted period of mourning on my part). I could grocery shop in half the time, with no melt-downs over trinkets or treats. I could clean without "help".

I was reluctant to give it up, so I gave myself the gift of a year. I was only 35, I had a little time.

Somehow that year stretched into two, and then three and then suddenly, my boys were 7 and 10. 8 and 11. 9 and 12.

And then I realized that the urge was gone. I liked our lives. I liked the freedom, I liked the spontenaiety. I liked sleeping. The logistics of almost every outing and endeavor became immeasurably easier.

Also, by this time, the fiscal realities of raising children were resting heavily on the shoulders of my Husband; the lone wage earner in our household. He expressed, timidly, that he was quite happy to stop at two. And I, reluctantly but pragmatically, agreed.

Husband suggested a vasectomy, but I wasn't quite ready to embrace that kind of permanence. I begged him to give it some time, to let me come around to the idea. To say my good-byes unhurriedly, with fondness instead of resentment.

So in my heart, I bade a sad but resigned farewell to the girl child I would never bear and made my peace with that.

And then I gave my blessing for the old clip and snip.

But somehow, it never happened.

I've always had very sporadic and infrequent periods and we had to try quite concertedly to get pregnant with both boys. So his procrastination didn't concern me overmuch. But then, suddenly, a year or so ago, my periods became exceedingly and surprisingly regular. Whereas before, I could go months and months and months without menstruating, I now have a ridiculously reliable 28 day cycle.

This means, of course, that I am ovulating regulary. So, we have become masters at tactical avoidance. But you know...our luck can only hold out for so long.

And proof of this came last fall in the form of a beautiful baby boy, born to Pre-Pubescent One's Coach and his wife, both of whom are over 40 and have children similar in age to our boys.

What a lovely surprise, but a surprise nonetheless. Coach underwent the "procedure" when his wife was 8 months pregnant. Better late than never, I suppose.

The baby is five months old now. I hold him and play with him at every ballgame. And LORD it feels good to cuddle a little one again. Better than it should. The first time I held him after he was born, I felt my breasts tingle in response to his boneless warmth, his milky smell, his sweet cry. That primal instinct never goes away; to feed, nurture, protect.

Last night, as I held the baby, Diminutive One came over to inspect him. He was shy with the baby but the baby was not shy with him. He reached for Diminutive One's nose and swatted at him with a volley of chubby fisted punches. I took his little hand in mine, bopped Diminutive on the nose three times and said "boom boom boom!"

The baby laughed uproariously.

Is there anything sweeter than that sound? Pure mirth, unabashed joy, achingly innocent glee. A baby's laughter is a balm for any hurt or ill.

We played this game for several minutes, and an awareness began to overtake me as we did so. An awareness of yearning I had thought long dead, since it had not resurrected even when my sister gave birth to a set of beatiful twins four years ago. I was amazed, elated and enamored. But not the slightest bit envious.

So the longing startled me with it's intensity. It was a white hot streak of sheer unadulterated need; the need to create life again. Perhaps it was simply a biological response to the baby, but it disconcerted me.

It disconcerted Husband too.

About that time he happened by on his way to first base to take up his position there. He must have seen something in my face, because he came to the fence, pointed a finger sterntly at the baby's mother sitting next to me and said with mock enmity "You need to quit pawning that baby off on my wife. What the hell're you trying to do to me???"

She laughed, because the two of them have been having the same conversation since the baby was born.

Husband walked away muttering "Danger. Danger, Will Robinson."

Will Robinson take heed. Danger indeed.

Something tells me that Husband will be looking for a good urologist very soon.

And in the meantime? I reserve the right to say "I told you so" should nature bestow upon us a little gift to enjoy in our twilight years.

I like saying "I told you so."