Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Why I Don't Like Oreos

When I was a kid, like probably most kids in this country, I liked Oreos. Crunchy chocolate cookies. Creamy filling. Tasty stuff.
I'm not exactly sure how old I was when this happened, but I would guess ten or eleven. I was spending the night with Queen Elizabeth (a.k.a. my oldest friend) and Double Stuff Oreos had just come out. (I think. I don't remember ever having them before. And the weirdest thing about this story is that Queen Elizabeth's mom was always baking so these may be the only store bought cookies I remember ever seeing at her house. Hmmmmm....)
Anyway....we were the only ones up and we found a huge unopened package of Double Stuff Oreos on the table. We got out the milk and a couple of big glasses and proceeded to eat. The entire package! With glass after glass of milk. Bleh! To this day, Oreos gross me out. Oddly enough, I do like Cookies and Cream ice cream. But I always pick out any huge chunks of Oreo.
On a side note...Queen Elizabeth has no problem eating Oreos. She's tougher than I am.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What Not to Say to the 911 Operator

About 11 years ago, when the Saint and I moved into this house, I did a foolish thing. This will not surprise anyone who knows me. I was in the kitchen with the loaded dishwasher open, bottom rack pulled out. I was arranging some decorative items in the space above the upper cabinets. While standing on a swiveling bar stool. Wearing socks. Gosh, what could possibly go wrong???
Predictably to anyone with two brain cells, I fell and my hand collided with the silverware tray in the dishwasher.
(My friend Dr. Doctor, upon hearing this story, just rolled her eyes and laughed. Thank goodness she wasn't in the ER that night. She would have made me stitch myself up on the grounds that I should know better.)
I stood up to find blood pouring down my arm and dripping from my elbow. I screamed like the completely calm and non-hysterical person I am and brought the Saint running down the stairs. We both assumed I had landed on a knife. He called 911 and said..."My wife stabbed herself. It was an accident." To which I am sure the 911 operator said "Yeah right, buddy."
No surprise, the police arrived first. The ambulance guys waiting down the street told our brand new neighbors that they couldn't come up to the house until the cops had "secured the scene". Nice.
Of course, by the time the cops arrived, I had stopped gushing blood and calmed down enough to laugh at my own stupidity. The female officer there to help me with what the police thought was a domestic situation failed to see the humor in the situation. She was not amused.
After the police decided I wasn't in imminent danger from a crazed husband, the Saint took me to the hospital where I got several lovely stitches in the middle of my left hand. It turned out I had landed on the corner of the silverware tray and not a knife. Dr. Doctor helpfully pointed out later that a knife probably would have gone all the way through my hand. Ouch!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Freak Show

Riverfest weekend...the biggest freak show in Arkansas.

A creepy drunk guy walked up to our ice cream booth and asked Little Runner Girl and me "So, do you both go to (Little Runner Girl's high school - we were wearing shirts with the school logo)?
"No, I'm her Mom" I said.
"Oh, so I guess that means you aren't in high school?"

Another drunk guy tried to pick me up with the oh-so-groovy line "I don't know what's melting faster, me or the ice cream." Hawt.

And then there was the very bizarre guy who went on and on and on about getting fired from LR Waste Management. He kept asking how they could fire him since he owned stock in the company. He had been digging through the trash behind the ice cream cart. Every time he found something recyclable, he held it up in the air to show I have no idea who. He then walked over to the cart, put his unwashed hands on the door handles and said "Everything is recyclable, you know. I just have to teach that to LR Waste Management. I have the only truck that can do it all, you know." Well, OK then.

A great deal of money is spent at Riverfest, often by people who don't look in a position to be spending it. Call me judgemental, but I think some of these people might be better off spending their cash on things like dental care. Or soap. Or clothes they didn't buy ten sizes ago.

One always sees quite the fashion show at Riverfest. 300 pound women in size 4 shorts and tiny tank tops. 300 pound men wearing no shirts at all, but lots and lots of back hair. Shudder. And then there was Matrix Boy. Head to toe black (which could have worked had he known how to pull it off) topped off by a too long black coat. The coat had slits cut up the back and had about 5 inches dragging the ground. In the rain on Sunday, with mud and water splashing up from the flapping coattails, the effect was far less dangerous, sexy punk and far more pitiful child caught in a car wash. Everyone he passed was laughing, including the barefooted redneck woman with (I wish I was kidding!) a total of four teeth in her bottom gums. You know you look stupid if the toothless people are laughing at you!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

How To Go To Target with Your Firstborn at the Wheel

Little Runner Girl has been driving almost every day for several weeks now, just long enough to think she knows what she is doing. So, after I back the car out of the garage (because I like my mirrors attached) Little Runner Girl takes the wheel. She is quite giddy with the knowledge that tomorrow is her very last day ever at the school she has attended since Kindergarten. She is talking a mile a minute and also driving. We pull out of the driveway and up to the intersection...
"Turn left, Sweetie."
Right turn signal goes on. "Wait, where are we going? Target? I don't know how to get there."
"I'll tell you, but you need to turn left."
"What? Oh, left." (Says my left-handed daughter!)
Through the neighborhood to a larger street. Stop about fifty feet before stop sign and then roll slowly up to it.
"Turn left here. But look first! LOOK! OK, you can go. Go. GO! NOW!" (She wasn't quite committed to turning. Halfway out into a major roadway seems an excellent place to stop and ask questions?)
"At the next street, turn right. Right. Turn right. Turn. Slow down slow down slow down. GET IN YOUR LANE!!!"
"Sorry. But that guy was still pretty far away anyway." I give her the look of doom.
"Listen to me little girl or you won't be driving my car."
"OK. Sorry. I'm being careful. Why is it only 25 on this street?"
"Because people's front yards are facing this street. 25 is fast enough."
"But it's so slow!"
"Slow down slow down!"
"What was that!!!???"
"Speed bump! Slow down!"
"But I don't know where I'm going."
"Not knowing where you're going is NOT a reason to go faster."
"Why do they have to have so many speed bumps on this street?"
"Perhaps so teenagers don't fly through here going fifty?"
"OK, this intersection is tricky. Pay attention. You have to watch the oncoming traffic because there is no arrow. After we turn, get in the right lane."
"Why can't I just get over while I'm turning?"
"Because you can't change lanes in the intersection."
"Why not?"
"Because it's illegal and this guy next to us might not appreciate it."
"I think he is gonna go straight anyway, so why can't I just get over."
"Because it's illegal."
"But why?"
(And I am suddenly reminded that my 4 year old with her endless whys is also the 14 year old driving my car!)
We turn and switch lanes rather abruptly, immediately after leaving the intersection. And then she slams on the brakes. Driver behind us flashes lights and tries to figure out which lane the child is going to use.
"Get over, get over, get in the right lane."
"Is that OK?"
"I'm telling you to get over. Why would it not be OK?"
"I don't know."
We pull into the parking lot in the left lane.
"Honey, get into your lane."
"But there aren't any lanes."
"Sweetie, just because there aren't lines doesn't mean there aren't lanes. The other people driving can't read your mind. Where are you going?"
"I don't know? Where should I be going?"
"To find a place to park. Down there."
"Why so far down there?"
"Do you really think you need to park next to other cars?"
"Ummmm...probably not. Should I park now?"

My father always says he didn't have grey hair until he taught me to drive. I'm beginning to believe him.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Miracles and Wonders

{I have struggled with posting this for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that human language doesn't begin to cover the way I feel about my children. But I also want to be certain I am sensitive to other parents. I have friends who have dealt with the devastation of infertility, friends whose children grew in the wombs of other women, friends whose children have learning disabilities, friends whose children have special needs, friends whose children will always be children in a sense and a friend whose child may never make it into adulthood. I cannot imagine the journeys they are walking, but I see in each of those lives a miracle, a place that can be filled only by them and a world that is richer for their presence.}

Having babies was not the simple thing for me that it should have been, or that I at least thought it should have been. This isn't really a post about that, but it is useful background information.

In August of 1994, Little Runner Girl made her surprise debut, ten weeks ahead of schedule. {I have typed and retyped for the past 15 minutes and realized I am still not capable of talking about that time without crying. So I will just skip it.}

One of the complications of prematurity that Little Runner Girl suffered was a brain hemorrhage. This isn't unusual in preemies and it has a particular name (that I can't remember) that is usually shortened to initials. [In fact, nearly everything involving preemies is shortened to a set of initials. I don't know why. To save doctors from hearing parents mispronounce Latin? To make the words as small as the babies? To not freak the parents out anymore than they are already completely freaked out?] As brain hemorrhages go, it was fairly minor. One learns quickly in the NICU to be thankful for the minor version of the Very Scary Thing, because it could be oh-so-much worse. Still, it was a brain hemorrhage. Bleeding! In her brain! Aaaaagh!

One of Little Runner Girl's doctors told me that if she had any problems or complications due to the bleeding, they might not be apparent until she was older.

Life with a preemie is one long series of worries, especially early on and there were certainly more urgent problems facing my baby during her toddler and preschool years than her future GPA. I was semi-obsessive about checking her development even after the pediatrician felt she was progressing nicely. Even so, I never realized that I had been holding my metaphorical breath until the first time she took a standardized test. And I was blown away by the results.

The Saint swears she has reverse brain damage. She received national recognition for her score on the ACT test in 7th grade. Her standardized test scores are wildly above average for her age. And today, as we sat watching, our baby girl was named salutatorian of her 8th grade grade class. I think she is a miracle. I know, I know...I'm her mother and I am supposed to think that, but I really, really do think so. Not only have my worst fears not materialized, my wildest dreams for her are coming true. And I am so very, very thankful. And I'm proud, but not in a "look what I did" kind of way. Because I had nothing to do with this. We were given a gift, one we certainly did not deserve. In fact, I know other parents far more deserving of such a gift. There are no words to describe how blessed I feel to be chosen as this child's mother.

And here is the most important thing, despite the fact the Little Runner girl is being awarded for her intellect. In my heart of hearts, I always wanted my kids to be smart. I couldn't imagine it not mattering to me. But here is what I learned during those hours by the isolette, those hours of praying please, please, please just let her live I don't care if she can't ever walk, I don't care if she can never say Mama, just please, please, please don't take her from me. Nothing in the world will rearrange your priorities as quickly as not knowing whether your baby will live or die. I learned that none of the things I thought were important mattered. Smart or not, strong or not, good at school or struggling, running or never even walking...I loved her. I loved her then, I love her now and I will love her always, no matter what and completely beyond all reason. And I know that is easy for me to say from this side of that hill, but it truly is what is in my heart, the one I'm wearing on my sleeve.

Enjoy the children in your life, hug your babies if you can. They are all Miracles and Wonders.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Angel Kisses

This is totally random and I have no clue what made me think of it...
Years ago, when I was teaching preschool in New Mexico, I had an aide named Virginia. Virginia was a sweet girl with tons and tons of freckles.(And considering that I probably have more freckles on one arm than most people have on their entire bodies, I know what tons of freckles means.) One day a little girl asked Virginia what she called "all those spots" and Virginia told her they were angel kisses. At nap the little girl asked me to kiss her hand. I did and she said "NO, Miss Angel! Make kisses on me like on Miss Virginia!"

Monday, May 4, 2009


I've returned, my darlings. Did you miss me? No? Well, don't tell me. I need to hang on to my illusions.
So, the latest entry in my list of things I never expected to explain to an eleven year old boy:

While coloring Easter Eggs, Prince Charming dropped the same egg several times. Annoyed, he dropped the egg in a cup and said "This egg is such a douche bag!!!" Dead silence at the table, though I could tell my Daddy was about to have a stroke trying not to laugh. I said "Son, do you have any idea what a douche bag is?" "" So I explained (using the very accurate anatomical term hoo-hah) because I believe in being honest with my children. And because I knew it would be a long time before he used that word again after he knew what it meant.
Poor child!