Thursday, May 29, 2008

Art By Children; Installment #2

One creative toddler who resists sleep
One incredibly complacent and patient cat
Access to big sister's wall decorations


(I would like to point out that this particular work of art was created in the dark. Long after the lights had been turned out, young man!)

Inclusion and Education (notice I didn't say anything about the butthead teacher)

The story of Alex Barton has been circulating for nearly a week; if you have not heard about it then put on your indignant pants and have a read.
I was in tears when I read how his kindergarten teacher, in some sickly misguided Survivor-esque 'council meeting', asked sixteen children in her class to vote on a classmate's inclusion - or, in this case, exclusion.
When Alex, who is in the diagnostic process for Asperger's, was allowed back in the classroom, he was asked to stand at the front of the classroom while the children in his class were encouraged to tell him what they didn't like about him. (Disgusting, annoying...)
(Oh yes, well I actually do think it is disgusting and annoying that that was allowed to happen...but those were the actual insults hurled to Alex's face.)


While this is normally the type of thing I would jump on to rant about, this story made me so incredibly sad that my brain could scarcely wrap itself around the reality of this happening.
I know, I know; terrible things happen every day...but in my very relevant world of having a child the beginning of her school career, this sent me careening.

I think of our little mountain school, the one Supergirl attends. The school in which the entire staff has taken the Tribes training course and implement these methods constantly. The ZERO tolerance for bullying or 'put-downs'. The conflict resolution training for teachers and and for the peers who become playground assistants. The way children are recognized and rewarded for committing kind and respectful acts at lunch or recess by astute monitors, and at each monthly assembly for attributes such as 'integrity' or 'determination'. The way there is a collective and cohesive attitude of 'I've got your back' among nearly all the students.
The school which mocks me with its idyllic offerings, daring me to go through with my move to Hawaii (where my children would surely suffer at the hands of one of the worst public education systems in the US, along with getting their haole asses kicked regularly)...and winning me over enough to postpone the tropics for the sake of my children's educational foundation.

Fourteen out of the sixteen voted Alex off the island out of kindergarten.
I would love to meet the other two children and their parents. The families of the children who, in spite of peer pressure and a clear endorsement from their teacher to let their hate loose, still did not cast their votes against their classmate.

If you would like to show support for Alex and his mother, please follow the link in this update to his new email.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Too Many Punchlines

SO...this is an actual for reals chat conversation that I had with my friend, the Boss Of Seattle. We only talk once or twice each day, so it is with great gratitude towards g-chat that I am able to have contact with my friends throughout the day, so that tidbits like this do not go forgotten.

9:58 AM BOS: kate told me that she gets term papers with emoticons and
OMG's and shit like that
9:59 AM me: no
BOS: yes she had to find out what lol meant and then tell said
student that they needed to write the WHOLE word
10:00 AM and no rotating hearts or happy faces for reals
so fucking funny
10:01 AM then after a little light hearted convo last eve she said
something like this " so change of subject, do you mind? How do I stick my
fingers in Eliot's ass? I mean I try but I just don't really know how to
do it"
10:02 AM any advice? I was busy peeing my pants so I couldn't give
her any advice then she said she had a couple of butt plugs she had never
10:03 AM I suggested she brim them out on a tray with dessert and say
something like "cake? and by the way how Do you use these things?
10:04 AM me: what? what?
BOS: fucking hysterical read it again
me: who is eliot and why fingers in the ass?
BOS: for real that was our conversation
10:05 AM her boyfriend who has erectile dysfunction i guess a
finger in the ass helps keep it up
me: yes so i have heard nice wish i had met her when i was
10:06 AM BOS: I had to stick a dish towel in my pants cause I was laughing
so hard I peed my pants and couldn't make it to the bathroom kitchen to
bath is a long way when midstream.

Obviously, the best morsel of this conversation is hard to determine. Is it the buttplugs on a dessert tray, or is it the dishtowel?

I am going to go with the dishtowel.
Because I have been to the BOS's house, and the kitchen is about this far from the bathroom:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I Drove Eight Hours and All I Got Were Inappropriate Rocks. Then I Touched Them.

The drive to Palm Springs wasn't too bad. I am a far better driver than passenger, and Mr. iPod was happy enough to serve as the children's personal travel attendant, so I ended up driving the whole eight hours. Other than two short-lived but memorable slow-downs, we made fast tracks on 'The Five' to LA, then did the usual SoCal crawl through the Los Angeplexadena area out 'The Ten' towards the desert. The first slowdown was about 6 miles from our house, when the princess that inhabited my daughter's body started complaining that there was a 'pea' in her carseat. Actually, not a pea, but a giant, rough boulder. Actually, not a boulder, but a fierce, angry, tiger chasing a porcupine. Actually, not a tiger, get the idea. There were threats of 'turning this car around right now' as visions of the next eight hours danced in my head. She pulled herself together and was then rewarded with spending the next eight hours in the car.

The next slowdown was about six hours later, somewhere outside San Bernardino, when I drove past a truck that was WAY HUGELY IMPRESSIVELY ON FIRE and my husband was not quick enough to pull out the camera, even though I implored him to do so when the first plumes of black smoke were begging me to look. So things slowed down a bit while I lectured him on the proper etiquette and reponsibilities of being the navigator.

Our first night we checked in to a hotel in Palm Springs that appeared to be in teletubby land. The lawns were freakishly manicured and there were bunnies hopping about all over the place.

Once we were moved to a room on the first floor (dude, a child could climb right up and over their poorly designed climbing walls balcony railings), we found it to be pretty nice...until we slept in the bed. What kind of (non-Hawaiian) resort charges $250 (on weekends), plus a $20 resort fee (?!), plus the $10 Wi-fi charge, plus the mysterious fees for inhaling their vapor and touching their preshus bottled water, and then gives you a king-sized plastic-covered horrific mattress? We played in the six pools, and the kids had a great time swimming and chasing bunnies, but the bed? Seriously. The hell?
(The bath products were nice...)
The next day, after more swimming and yet more bunny chasing, we headed over to Palm Springs' poor cousin, Desert Hot Springs. But not before we stocked up at T Joe's in PS, because from what we had read about this town, we would not want to be leaving the resort. Driving into town was a clear reminder that Palm Springs was on the other side of the tracks highway.
Windy, hot; a town with abandonment issues...and a billboard that almost made me hurl...but we ignored the dustdevils of whirling garbage and drove steadfastly up the hill towards the oasis of palms, eschewing the chlorinated protection of Palm Springs for The Cure: the natural mineral springs in the form of eight lovely pools.

The billboard? For two days the mirage nagged at me, its glaring product burning into my eyes and my stomach acid, until I was able to confirm its actual existence at a real grocery store. And when I did, I was camera-ready!
(WARNING: What you are about to see is not suitable for the weak-stomached, faint-hearted, or for pregnant women.)

Yeah, that's what it says. Budweiser and Clamato. Together. In a can. You were amply warned.

Oh my, I thought I was over it. But really, typing that? The gag reflex is still very much there.

::Deep Breath::

Moving right along....(no good segue for the chelada)...the place turned out to be great. With the wind and the heat and the abundance of chilled alcoholic beverages water, we started calling it 'Fauxwaii'. There was one large pool for playing and swimming, then five other good-sized warmer pools (hot springs), and two more hot tubs. The best part? The pools are open 24 hours! Being a desert, and being a hot spring...this is a very considerate policy. Our room opened directly onto the pool courtyard, so after the babes fell asleep, we were actually able to slip out and soak in the pool right in front of our room.On mother's day, the place cleared out and we had it to ourselves. The management slipped a special offer under our door to extend our stay at 40% off the regular rate, and it was an offer too good to refuse. So I cancelled our intended return/ last night at teletubby land and we stayed at the mineral springs. For another night. And then just one more. It was that awesome.

All you see is Dada, Supergirl, and Bubbles' butt. Our private resort.

We went to a sweet little zoo in Palm Springs which turned out to be the perfect attraction for our children. Bubbles went absolutely mental over the one acre train display.
He finally even got the fact that we meant it when we said that he could not ride it or climb in there.

It was all fine, because just around the bend we saw giraffes!

and zebras!

Zebra front.

Some fabulous zebra ass.

and giant ostriches (is that a redundant use of an adjective?) which scared the crap out of inspired awe within both of my kids!

I got a nervous laugh out of a few zoo guests when I yelled, "Where is the cheetah? OHGOD HAS ANYONE SEEN THE CHEETAH?" and then prattled on about how one could never be Too Careful around Big Cats. And then, just in case the three people who dared to remain standing within crazy-distance of me were still listening, I had to say it.
Because I just don't know when to quit. "Well, let's not forget Christmas Day at the San Francisco Zoo!!!"

Let that be a lesson to all of you, and no, I never did see the damn cheetah. Which, frankly, made me nervous for the rest of the visit.

But we did see these crazy birds. One of them just walked around picking up rocks and then dropping the rock when she found a 'better' rock. It was inordinately funny.

Even better than the zebra butts and gargantuan attack snakes,

was...the freakishly phallic Joshua Tree National Park!

Dude. Seriously. The place was so XXX, and in plain view of the children!

We drove up in the late afternoon, but it was still about a million degrees in the sun, so we romped around for about thirty minutes and then the babes were ready for A Snack. While they were eating their snack, I took a little pee walk.

I was surprised to see this:

But then I saw this:

AND THEN? I noticed these. You couldn't really help but notice those.

But just when you thought nature could not possibly get any! more! happy!

When I walked back from my little pee sojourn, one of my children was having a complete freak-out, no-doubt certain I had been eaten by cheetahs:

So I walked both of the pathetic wimps little desert rats back to the car, handing off the camera to the dada.
When we got home and reviewed the pictures? He had taken the exact same inappropriate rock pictures as I had!
(I will spare you the photo-redundancy details)

Those rocks were STILL up to whatever it is they do; even after we left the scene.

They really should put something on.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Chocolate Will Get Your Kid A's

Believe me, I have WIP about inappropriate rocks AND drinks.

ALL inappropriate! ALL typed to you with ONE LESS FINGER than last eek. (heh)

BUT I have had a few interruptions in the process of writing one single effing post about phallic trees and refreshing beverages which induce the gag reflex.

  1. I work (wahm, wafmm, p/twafhm, etc...). (gdsfomgf*#!!) (too damn busy)

  2. Today, I have been strong armed again into making something scrumptious is the Teachers Appreciation Luncheon...and, well...I really appreciate the teachers...

  3. Goes by Bubbles.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Because They Wouldn't Let Me Say it Over There




caulk sucker

Learn how to make this caulk sucker and other fun projects over at my new blog.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Oh Yes I Did

Yes, we are back home, and yes I have many inappropriate pictures of rocks.
But the day after we got home, I got some insane hair to roast a chicken.
I blame the chicken.
I never had roasted a chicken before, being a relatively new convert to meat and still afraid of bones...and now I doubt I ever will again.
It was the chicken's fault.
Not the fact that I was using one of my new, sharp knives (because listen to me: 'Dull knives injure, dull knives injure!'...I am an idiot!) to slice a lemon, or the fact that I turned my head away from the knife to shake a toddler off of my knee...I still blame the chicken.
Although I am at least glad that it was lemon juice and not chicken juice that was on the knife when it sliced the tip of my finger off.

Pad of my finger?

Have I mentioned my day job?

(I am an idiot.) (I hate being a idiot.)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Breathe them and weep

This morning at around 2:45, I started to get a little anxious.
Why yes, we were up! After spending the last few days crashing by midnight (a complete waste of a luxury hotel, say I), there was some unspoken force that kept us up last night long after the babes were bedded.
It was, perhaps (or of course) the visceral memories of that exact time of this exact day, four years ago.

Four years ago.

Those words are so strange to utter, as it always feels more brutally recent than that.

So there we were, watching some James Bond movie; attracted to the cable like media-deprived moths to a spotlight. There has been a spotty -at best- wifi signal, so we have had to resort to other methods of entertainment. I was inanely interested in the movie - I say this because I never really watched many James Bond movies before. But the combination of not being able to sleep, not being able to stay awake without distraction, and having stayed at a house two doors down the beach from Pierce Brosnan a few years back when our children met on the beach in Hawaii and played...I guess this made it interesting enough to stay up until 4am to watch it.
After the satisfactory typified Bond ending (actually, way before the ending, just as three am passed), my heart was racing and my throat was tight. I remembered some little peach-colored pills that a friend had given me. "Take only half", she had said, "calms you right down."
I knew at least six people who had taken this stuff on a regular basis, so what was the big deal, right? If I can get to sleep, isn't it worth it?
I got up at 12:40 pm.
Oh yes I did.
I mean sure this was after falling asleep around 5 am, being woken up by my little rooster at 6am (and 7, 7:30, 7:52, 8:15, 8:38, 8:54, 9:19, 9:31, etc, etc ,etc...) and putting pillows over my head so I could sleep, but still. No more peach pills for me; if needed, I'll stick with my usual checking out standby of slightly too much wine.

So, this is mother's day 2008.
This is what it feels like to be a mother who has and a mother who has lost. This is what it feels like to be a mother who has lost so much - her child, her brain, her way - and has found her way back to a place in which she can breathe.
A place where less time is spent with my memory, frozen in time forever...gasping little fish-mouthed boy...I couldn't save...I deserve not this title of 'mother' children not deserving me for their pathetic and fearful leader...some time, but less.

More time is spent hugging the tangible children...holding them close...breathing in their little kid scent...wishing I hadn't yelled...wishing I had kissed them more today while they were awake to notice...wishing simply...that they will grow up.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Taking advantage of his articulation for the purpose of my own selfish gleeful entertainment. working on a secret project....
My samples came in the mail today.

Not only is mail delivery damn exciting on our little mountain, but it seemed like a good opportunity for learning a new word.

Always trying to improve our little guy's vocabulary. Now he can get a job at Home Depoo and hang out with the guys.

The whole two birds/one stone thing.

He was warned about the BLOGGING of this...

When HE sleeps in:
  • He had a deadline; had to work all night. End of discussion.
  • I get up, tell the school-aged one to get dressed.
  • I go downstairs to make her breakfast.
  • Bubbles joins us for breakfast after a diaper change
  • Supergirl gets detangler sprayed in her hair while she eats
  • Then brushes
  • Then out the door
  • Backpack, lunch, baby
  • Strap baby into carseat for quick ride to school
  • Drop off Supergirl
  • Come back home, more breakfast, playing, careful to keep Bubbles from jumping on Daddy's head.
  • Daddy gets up around 11:00 and
  • Pisses Mama off by getting immediately in the shower (even if I have been playing for 4 hours and waiting for a shower break).

When I sleep in:

  • I have to work that day; I have to teach and dance and sing for hours, (nobody cares)
  • Bubbles has been chewing on me nursing since 6am, could I please get some sleeeeeeeeeeeep?
  • Whining that sentiment from under the pillow may get the Daddy up, but without fail, he gets up LOUDLY and GRUMPILY,
  • Yells at Supergirl for choosing the wrong outfit, the wrong length of sleeves, the wrong shoes...
  • Makes the fatal error of asking her what she wants for breakfast instead of just preparing it..
  • Yells at Supergirl for not telling him quickly enough what she wants to eat.
  • Leaves Bubbles upstairs to jump on my head,
  • Yells at Bubbles to STOP JUMPING ON MAMA'S HEAD. (not effectively)
  • Daddy TAKES Supergirl to school while leaving Bubbles home upstairs with me, with the gate out of the bedroom WIDE OPEN while I am 'sleeping in'...
  • And when he comes home, he does not even stop to see how the Bubbles is faring (you know, while it is his Mama's turn to 'sleep in') but instead goes directly to his office next door,
  • Which is where he can be found when Mama fully wakes up and realizes that she has been (kind of) sleeping in a house that is completely unsecured and in which HER TWO YEAR OLD has been awake and completely unsupervised .
  • Mama then screams about how THIS SUCKS and HE (her husband, not 2 yr old)SUCKS and HE IS SELFISH.
  • And the next day, the Daddy sleeps in.
  • And for the rest of the week, the Daddy sleeps in.

Which is all true.

Monday, May 05, 2008

I can Haz a gigGles

humorous pictures
more cat pictures


In a daze I spend a portion of the day; hazey daze.
How can my arms ache with emptiness still when I have such a hefty boy to carry around?
How can my hands feel idle when there are noses and butts to be wiped?
Why do my tears fall when they are landing on the fuzzy head beneath my chin?
How can I dream of the boy I do not have, when the one I do sleeps pressed into me, sick and snotty and breathing heavily?
I can't wait for them to go to sleep/watch a video/go to I can be alone to navigate the fog.
(go away so I can mourn my loss, my loneliness and emptiness; go away so I can mourn the child that is not you. It makes no more sense when written than when it is reality.)

The senses are overwhelmed. Everything is just a little too intense. I attribute this to the tsunami-style waves of emotions under which I am constantly ducking. Let it wash over.
One single emotion can rarely come to the surface. They all remain swirling, muddy, inaccessible.

This is not new, this sense of suspension. I am becoming more familiar with it each year.
It is not unlike the original aftermath. The months right after giving up my child to death; after handing over his still warm but lifeless body to a stranger.

Some wise soul said to me that that is how it would be. For a while. The impenetrable fog. There is no way to fight it. So I didn't. I couldn't.
Sitting amidst its swirling confusion, the damp coldness - it was easier that way. If I couldn't navigate through it, perhaps I could sit and wait for a window in which to find my way out.
I still believe this is one way to avoid killing oneself after such a loss. The true impact of such a loss is too much for anyone to process at once. It comes in doses. It comes forever.
This seems cruel, but I have come to accept it (you know, because I have so many choices about that).
The doses come in bolus form at first. Then more of a time-release thing (you never know when it will release though), and eventually I imagine (or I hope) they will come in some more predictable fashion. As they are beginning to now -near his birthday, his death day - I can see that.

So now here I sit, the poster mama for bad parenting, hating myself for wanting everyone to just go away.
Waiting for the fog to clear just a little bit, waiting to go away to the desert and soak in some hotsprings, waiting for Mofo Day to just be over, waiting for 'me' to come back.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Time Lapse Fire Drill

This morning I was helping the first graders write postcards to their families from their virtual-by-way-of-study Australian adventures, and the fire alarm went off.
I was pretty sure it was not a scheduled drill, because first of all Mrs. H usually tells the adults in the room (including me!) if there is one planned, and second, she literally jumped out of her outdated hair-do when the extremely horribly very loud alarm went off right behind the two of us.
The littles were amazing. They stopped. They quieted. They stood and walked slowly. They lined up and filed out. We all walked excitedly but in orderly fashion (sshh!! SSHHH!!!) to the nearby field.
After we were standing and sitting in a quiet and orderly line for about five minutes, we saw the principal approach the teachers, and holyshit was she pissed!
Seems one of the children on the lower campus (all grades over K-1 are on the lower campus) pulled the fire alarm. OMFG YES IT IS TRUE! It was a prank. Apparently the first time it had happened 'accidentally' in almost ten years. Have I mentioned? This is a small mountain school.

This caused quite a stir. The children wanted to know who had done such a bad bad thing! (We didn't yet know, but the perp was soon to be revealed.)
Why would they do that? (many possible answers there; we reserved comment in favor of sharing the story of 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf'.)
We talked about the reasons why that was not a good trick to play.
One child told an elaborate story about how the fire department could not get to another house where someone's birthday cake had caught on fire and everyone perished while eating flaming cake or something thereof.
Point taken.
How would the principal know which child had pulled such a brazen stunt?
The teacher explained that there was dye on the handle of the fire alarm, and when it was pulled, the dye or ink would stain the person's hand and they would not be able to wash it off.
This tripped them out!
Would it ever come off? What color was it? What would the principal do? Would it ever come off?? Would it EVER COME OFF???

Suddenly, Amelia shouted,

( never know where you might have been for the last ten minutes.)