Girls Squeak and Boys Drool

I got a call yesterday morning at 8:40.  8:40?!  My kids aren’t toddlers anymore.  This means that I can sleep in until whenever I want.

Yes, you read that right.

I get to sleep in until whenever I want!  Or until 8:30, whichever comes first.

Ok, ok.  8:30 comes first, so I don’t technically get to sleep in to whenever I want, but 8:30 is stinkin’ sweet!

I sleep in late because I stay up late.  This wasn’t always true.  I used to go to bed early and get up early.  Had to.  If I wanted my bowl of ramen noodles for breakfast before work (and I did), then I had to get up extra early.

And then I had babies, which meant sleep was all mixed up and gotten in bits and pieces.

And now the babies are seven and nine years old.  And they kind of like their free time to play in the morning without Mom interfering.  And I kind of like staying up late writing blogs and reading books and watching tv.

So…I got a call yesterday morning at 8:40.  I was still stumbling around the house trying to find the bathroom at 8:40.  I let the answering machine get it.

It was a request for babysitting for this morning at….(are you ready?)…7:45 a.m.! 

7:45!  I haven’t gotten up at 7:45 since…well, since Sunday.  We go to church early, so I get up at 6:00 on Sunday, but still!  7:45 on a Wednesday?!  That’s just crazy!

I waited to call back about the babysitting until 7:00 that night.  Maybe by then, she’d have gotten someone else to help her.  Because I knew I was going to say yes.  She asked me to watch the kids because she needed blood work done.  You can’t tell someone, “No, I’m so self-centered that I will not watch your three young children while you’re having shards of metal stuck in your arm.”

No one else had stepped up to watch the kids, so I got the job.  Which meant I had to head to bed early.  I wrote The Blog extra fast yesterday, which is why it was just a long story about stinky socks.  I mean, seriously.  An entire post about stinky socks?  Oh, and that butt rash that poor trainee got.  You’re all hoping that I never get asked to babysit at 7:45 in the morning ever again.

And then…what to do with these three kids?  The two oldest were pretty easy to handle.  They’ve been drooling over our Game Cube for a while now.  I sat them down with Boy7 and he taught them how to play on it and they were happily mesmerized by Juan for the entire hour.

But the Girl3?  What to do with her?  I don’t know what to do with a Girl3.  I have a Boy9 and a Boy7.

First I showed her the mouse.  There’s only one left now.  Little Rose died a couple of weeks ago.  I put her in the box that my rose perfume came in.  It seemed fitting for Rose to be buried in the rose perfume box.  I put the box in a bag for us to bury her later, but I forgot about it until now.  (Thursday to do list: bury mouse.)

Girl3 took one look at the mouse and started speaking in the squeakiest voice I’ve ever heard.  Male children cannot duplicate the squeakiness of a female child.  It was a bizarre sound, though I’m sure those of you with daughters are familiar with it.

After she was done squeaking at the mouse I gave her some Playmobil toys to play with.   I heard her saying, “Nay nay,” and thought, “What an archaic way to say ‘no’.”  Then I realized she was holding a horse and it was neighing.

Another difference between boys and girls:  My boys have never said, “Nay” or “Baa” or “Bark.”  They make the actual noise.  And horses don’t make a delicate “Nay” sound.  When I was a child I was always so impressed by how the boys could sound exactly like the animal they were mimicking.  Now that I have boys of my own, I have discovered the secret.  The secret is that boys don’t mind spraying spit everywhere and having strings of drool stuck to their chins.  You can’t make accurate sounds without a lot of spit.

After she squeaked at the mouse and played with the horse, she got hold of one of my boys’ lightsabers.  Boy9, who loves to babysit babies and small children, was idly sitting near Girl3 playing on his DS, so she stabbed at him with the lightsaber and said, “I kill you dead!”  Without taking his eyes from the DS, he hammed up playing dead, so she stabbed him again and said, “I kill you dead.”  Without taking his eyes from the DS, he hammed up playing dead again.

And, I swear I am not exaggerating, she stabbed him and said, “I kill you dead” while he hammed up playing dead, never taking his eyes off the DS, for the next thirty minutes!  And neither one got tired of it.  I tried to rescue Boy9 after 10 minutes of this, but he said, “It’s ok, Mom.  She’s happy.”

I sat in the kitchen eating a pancake and watching Desperate Housewives, relaxing.

What a great morning!

——————–

I didn’t get a picture of all the stabbing.  Instead I got a picture of the rain on the windshield, my umbrella, and my empty bag of sugar snap peas.  It’s a twenty minute ride home from the grocery store.   The peas don’t stand a chance.

If you’ve been following my blog, then you’ll know that it rains, sleets or snows every single time I go grocery shopping.

My Life of Crime Continues, Mustard is Yummy, and Pocket Knives Are Essential

Oooo. Artsy picture. The candle was on the other side of the glass.

I’ve been craving the Beefy Mustardy Cabbage Casserole that Claude makes ever since he served it to us on New Years’ Eve.  Oh wait, you guys don’t know about that because I didn’t start The Blog until New Year’s Day.  Before The Blog, I would post a picture each day on Facebook and write a very short (well, short for me) paragraph about it.  Here was part of the paragraph on the day that Claude made the Mustard Casserole:

“We finally made it to Claude and Kendra’s house for lunch. Claude made a dish for us that his grandfather brought home from Indo-China during the Secret War in Laos. (Yeah, I’ve never heard of it either. That’s why they call it the Secret war.) Cabbage, rice, ground beef, onion, and …. mustard.

It sounded gross. Claude says that everyone thinks it sounds gross, but when they try it they love it.

To Claude’s delight, the cabbage dish is undefeated. We tried it, and I loved it! I had thirds.”

Yup.  I did love it.  And have been thinking about it ever since.  They finally brought us some more today.  I took pictures.

A tables set for dinner with a candle is such a soothing thing, don't you agree?

I provided the desserts:  Dump Cake and Chocolate Bolacha.

Incidentally, this is the second dump cake I’ve made this week.  We took the first one to Vince and Gail’s house on Friday.  Dump cake, chocolate bolacha and minestrone soup are some of Vince’s favorite things that we make for them.  Vince pointed out that our food often comes across as weird or gross but turns out to be really good.  For example, with the dump cake, one of Vince’s 41 kids asked, “What is that?” Vince told him it was dump cake.  This was met with much snickering.  Eleven year old boys tend to see the potty humor in everything.  Dump cake.

And the Chocolate Bolacha sounds a little goofy.  It’s just melted butter, sugar and vanilla, baked over saltine crackers and then topped with melted chocolate chips.  Really?  You’re serving your guests saltine crackers and chocolate chips?  Is this 1965?  Are you going to serve a TV dinner with that?  Sounds bland, but it’s actually pure evil.  Pure evil.  It has an entire stick of butter in it and an entire bag of chocolate chips on it, but it never lasts longer than 12 hours in my house.  No, it’s not Darling Husband or the kids eating it and that’s all I have to say on the subject.

Below are pictures of Vince and the Dump Cake.  In the first one, Vince has given us our generous portions and is planning on keeping the rest of the pan for himself.

This is for you, and you, and you. THIS is for ME!

But Gail only let him have a little bit.  Cholesterol, you know.

Here’s an old picture of the bolacha:

Chocolate Bolacha

It’s not really called Chocolate Bolacha.  We made up that name.  Have I already told you that story?  It’s only March and I’m starting to forget what I’ve already written.  Eh.  I’ll tell that story another day if I haven’t already.

Back to today:

As soon as Claude, Kendra and Baby walked in the door, Baby took one look at us and started wailing again.  This time she only cried for about five minutes.  This is because we’ve begun an aggressive campaign to win back her love.  First of all, we hired a babysitter.  He is very good with children.  He sings songs to them and tells them stories.  His name is Juan.  Here is the baby, mesmerized by Juan.

Juan is sleek and handsome. Even the babies love to look at Juan.

And then, we fed her good wholesome food.  The sort of food her parents don’t give her at home.  Nutritious cheese.  Wholesome grains.  Dayglo orange coloring.  All the good stuff.

I can't believe they're letting me have this stuff!

See, baby, when you come to our house, we feed you Doritos and let you watch at much TV as you want.  You love us.  We’re your favorite people.

See these beautiful flowers?  They were on some trees in my neighborhood.  I was coming home today from an emergency run to the store for chocolate chips and thought, “Huh.  My stolen daffodils are all dead now.  Wouldn’t these blossoms look so lovely in my home?  Too bad I don’t have scissors…”

More stolen flowers.

And ladies, this is where you really need to start carrying a pocket knife with you everywhere you go.  Because I just so happen to carry a pocket knife and I was able to pull over and cut off these little branches from the trees.

The other time pocket knives come in handy is when your kids are trying on cheap sandals at Walmart, but the shoes are stuck together with elastic bands.  When the kid tries on shoes, the elastic stretches while they walk and then snaps back, and the kid topples over.  This is entertaining for a time or two, but after a while it gets old.  My pocket knife comes with some little scissors that’ll take care of that elastic problem for you.

I’ll finish up with another picture of the flowers.  I took 59 shots of the dumb things.  After 59 attempts, I’m posting them whether you want to see them or not.  No, I’m not addicted to taking pictures.  I can stop anytime I want to.

No, actually, I can’t.  The idea of not being able to take pictures leaves me a little shaky.  It’s bad.  I’m already thinking about what I can sell so that I can get another camera next Christmas.  The kids don’t need all those toys, do they?

Fluffy apple blossoms

Pink Puke, Deaf Sound Guys, and Nerf Gun Butt Welts

Went to a kid birthday party today.  Hot dogs, cake, ice cream, piñata, and noise.  And puke.  Pink and spring-green puke with marshmallows in it.  So you know it was a good party.

The picture of the day is pretty much how the day went down. Sorry for the very badly blurred pictures.  (I’m very badly blurred!)   I should have played with the shutter speed a bit more.  Oh well.  Next time I’ll do better.

Back in the olden days when I didn’t have kids, I did not like kid parties.  But you have to understand that the only kid party I ever went to was at Chuck E Cheese.  OooOoooh.  Now you understand.  I left with a roaring headache and Darling Husband left with a tic in his eye that lasted for the next three years.  We vowed that when we had kids, we would have their birthday parties at the library.

You know how I normally don’t like noise.  For example, last Tuesday was a rough day.  It was both Soup Day and the Celtic (hard C) Woman concert.  At the concert, our seats were in row W, so we were far enough away that the people on the stage were the size of houseflies, and the sound wasn’t much louder than a buzzing housefly.  It was perfect.  I was so impressed with the sound guys.

Usually, the only people who become sound guys are the guys who love music and have since they were wee little lads.  When they were young and immortal, they listened to their Nine Inch Nails CDs on their Walkman CD players with their headphones at full volume.  Then, they graduated to MP3 players with earbuds, which is even worse, so by now their hearing is entirely shot.  But they don’t know it.  And then they get jobs as sound guys.  Profoundly deaf sound guys.

Sound is like hot peppers.  A hot pepper can be good, within reason, much the same way that loud music is good, within reason.  If it’s just the right amount of loud, you can hear every little nuance, the music blocks out the background noises and creates its own little space in your head.  It’s fun.

But sometimes the sound is too loud, like a pepper that’s too hot.  And a pepper that’s too hot isn’t fun at all.   When you can no longer taste the pepper and can only feel the monstrous pain, the pepper is too hot.  Too-loud music is much the same way.  When it feels like an ice pick in the top of your head, it’s just not fun anymore.

So, in our row W seats, to the side of the speakers, the concert was awesome.  It was the right kind of loud.  But then, in intermission, we moved closer.  Big mistake.  The people still looked like flies, but now we were in direct line of speaker fire, and the volume was in the too-hot pepper zone.  Good thing I had my earplugs with me.  I take them with me everywhere I go.  They’re in my bag, right next to Clarisse.

And at Soup Day that morning, there was a little girl there who whined the entire time.  She sat right next to me and made a “Uuuuuuuuuuhhhh” noise.  For two hours straight.  Doing her best to be heard over the cackling of eight women.  It was loud and I had to take a number of deep, calming breaths.

I don’t think I’m too good with other people’s kids.  I end up treating them the same way I treat my own kids, and in my household we have a quirky sense of humor not often shared by our friends and their children.

For example, I babysat two brothers on Wednesday.  (Guest7 and Guest5).  All four boys were in the backyard playing with light sabers and Nerf guns.  At one point, Guest7 burst into the playroom, crying noisy tears and wailing.  The sort of wailing that can only mean that his eyeball has been knocked out of its socket and is rolling around in the backyard.  He was followed by his brother, Guest5, who came shuffling into the playroom, sheepishly looking down, hiding his Nerf gun behind his back.

“What’s wrong?” I yell over the wailing.

“I got shot in the head!”  And he stops crying long enough to give a meaningful glare in his brother’s direction.

And here’s where I’m not a good babysitter.  When kids say things like, “I got shot in the head,” and then glare at their little brothers, I find it kinda funny.  I know, I know.  It’s not supposed to be funny.  But it is.

He stood in the playroom, staring at me, crying.  I was right in the middle of composing a blog.  I was busy.  And I could tell that the tears weren’t the result of injury.  These were tears at the indignation of being shot in the head by his little brother.

I stared at him, considering.  He could see I wasn’t moved, so he cried little louder.  I could see he wasn’t going anywhere until I’d addressed his grievance.

“Ok.  Show me the wound.”  I go to look, because I’ve been shot in the butt a lot with Nerf guns (boys), and I know it stings, so maybe I’ve misread the situation. Maybe this was a particularly lucky shot that had actually created a welt.

“Where’d you get hit?  I don’t see a wound.”

“Here.”  He points to his head.  There’s nothing there.  No welt.  Not even a little red mark.  So I said, “There’s no wound and you’re playing with Nerf guns.  You’re gonna get shot.  It’ll happen.”

“But…but…”

“No wound.  Nerf gun.  It’ll happen.”  And I gave him a shrug and a “whatcha gonna do?” look.

And faced with that logic, the boy nodded his head a little, stopped crying, and skipped merrily back outside.  And yes, I told his brother, “Don’t shoot your brother in the head.  Aim for the butt.”

Ok, I didn’t really tell him to aim for the butt.  But I should have.

Again, another blog out of control.  I’d intended on writing about the amazing volumes that can be reached at my sons’ birthday parties, and how much I love whipping the guests into a frenzy at the Opening of the Presents.  But I’m out of creativity for the night, so I’ll just stop here and leave you with a disjointed blog about pink puke and deaf sound guys and Nerf gun butt welts.

That sounds like a good title.

Television is Good for Babies

I babysat an actual baby today for the 3rd time in my life.
My first babysitting job was when I was 15 and I got the job because I was friends with the regular babysitter and the parents were desperate.  They lived in a big old Victorian home.  The father was a dentist and had a human skull (with teeth) on his desk in his home office.  It was creepy sitting in their Victorian house alone with a baby and a skull.

The second babysitting job was when I was 29, and I only agreed to it because I was 8 months pregnant and I thought the babysitting job was a ruse to get me to my own baby shower.  It wasn’t.  Rats.

Today’s job was to help out some friends who have recently moved here and have no one else to ask.  (Again, desperate parents.)

I have to ask, what did babysitters do before television?  Babysitters in the olden days were of hardier stock than I.  We have Netflix so within mere moments of Baby displaying her displeasure at the fact that Mommy and Daddy left, we had her favorite show on the screen, and she was happily glazing over.

I kinda like television.  I have fond memories of sitting with my family from  4:00 until 9:00 every night, watching tv.  My dad would talk through every show and I would finally snap about 3 hours into the viewing experience and say, “SSSHHHH!!!” and then get yelled at by my mother for my efforts, thereby missing the next few minutes of programming.  During the commercial breaks we would argue about whose turn it was to get something from the kitchen for everyone else.  And the dog would be restrained on his leash across the room, lunging toward the television, trying to bite the screen.  (Don’t ask, it’s a long story.)

We watched such gems as Macguyver, The Scarecrow and Mrs. King, and Perfect Strangers and it was good stuff!  Until I tried to rewatch them on Netflix a couple of months ago, and it was bad stuff!  Bad, bad, bad!

Well, they do say you can never go home.  Almost all of the old shows that I watched as a kid and loved have turned out to be duds now that I’m an adult.

So far the only exceptions are:

Star Trek, the original series.  And that’s only marginally.  Mostly I like it out of sentimentality and the fact that I’m doing my best to brainwash the kids into being sci-fi fans like me, so I have someone to go to sci-fi movies with when they get older.  (My husband won’t go to movies with me.  I know!  Isn’t that the saddest thing you’ve heard today?)

The Twilight Zone.  Because seriously people, nothing is better than The Twilight Zone.  The kids are watching it with their dad right now as I type this.

I Love Lucy.  That one surprised me.  Before I rewatched it a few months ago I didn’t think I’d like it.  I was wrong.  I love I Love Lucy!  It’s as funny as The Office (and that’s probably my all-time favorite show so far.)

Anyhoo…I’m posting this early today so that I can finally get around to watching some TV with my husband tonight.  We haven’t sat and watched tv together since December, and we miss it.