Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Z - Y - X - W - V - U - T- S - R - Q - P - O - N ...

"Mama?"

"Mmm-hmm?"

"Mama?"

"Mmm-hmm?"

"Mama, say 'Yes, Chago'," he demands.

I swallow my bagel in one huge clump. "Yes, Chago?"

"Mama, say the ABCs backwards."

[*%&#^#@!]

"Um...C - B - A," I say.

"No, Mama!" he yells. Not at all amused with my clever side-step. "Say the whoooooole alphabet backwards."

[Man, the pressure. It took me a good 4 1/2 minutes to get through the whole thing. What am I gonna do when they need help with trigonometry?!?!?]

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

NO BEES FOR YOU!!!

[cough! cough! cough!]

"MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!"

"What is it, Bubba? Do you have a frog stuck in your throat?"

"Yeth." [sniff, sniff]

"Would you like some water?"

"No, I think only honey will make me feel better."

"Alright, son, but just a tiny bit because the bees made this very special just for you and Saia, so we don't want to use it all up, okay?"

"'kay."

[Next morning. 5:45am. Chago talking to Saia in their beds.]

"And then the bees made me a veeeeeery special honey. And I ate it all up. And it made me feel all better today."

"Saia, Chago, it's time to wake up," calls Mommy from the other room.

"Wait, Mommy," says Saia, "Chago's telling me a story. And then what happened, Chago?"

"And then the bees made me a veeeeeery special honey. And I ate it all up. And it made me feel better," he says. Yes, again.

"Show me," she demands.

[fake cough]

"See?" he says, "all gone."

"Wow. Do the bees have honey for me, too?" she asks.

"Um...nope. Only me."

Friday, May 26, 2006

MAMA, WHAT DOES SQUIRREL TASTE LIKE?


Darn! Maybe next time we should bring the dogs!!


[OFFICIAL MAMA DISCLAIMER: I DID tell them to leave the poor squirrel alone. I DID tell them not to scare him away with "boo" or...um...rocks. I DID ask them to just stop and look (but don't they just look so cute creeping like that?). But lately our monsters are very much into jamming their not-so-tiny fingers into snail shells (while the snail is still inside), and ripping down spider webs with sticks, and shooing ants away by "accidentally" stomping on them. And yes, of course, I'm working on it. At least they're not ripping the wings off butterflies (yet)! Aye! My karma can't endure much more of this.]

If you can't see the video above, click here.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

OOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I'M JUST SO ANNNNGRY!!!

I'm SURE it's an age thing, right? I mean, they're just trying to assert their independence, right? Test their boundaries? Develop their own identities? Right? RIGHT? RIGHT!?!?!?!?

AAAAAGHHHH!@&%*)&%!

I just don't know how many more "NO!" and "I DON'T CARE!" and "I'M NOT TALKING TO YOU ANYMORE!" and "I ALREADY DID THAT, MAMA!" and "NO, I DIDN'T!" and "BUT...BUT...BUT..."s I can take.

And yes, I know all of you been-there-done-thats are chuckling quietly (or maybe not so quietly) because, after all, they're only 3 and I've got, what, at least 15 more years of this to look forward to?

But I just wasn't prepared for it to start this early. When it reached the point where I'd say, "DO YOU WANT TO GO INTO TIMEOUT?!?!?" and they began to answer "yes," I knew I was in trouble. But now they've taken to smirking at one another and even outirght making each other laugh WHILE we're in the middle of getting after them for something. THAT!!!! THAT!!!!! THAT IS DRIVING ME ABSOLUTELY INSANE!!!!!

And yet, as I'm writing this, I'm suddenly realizing that removing them from the situation (i.e., AWAY from the other) would probably help ease some of my escalating frustration and may even allow me to regain (dare I even whisper it) some control.

[breathe. breathe.]

The skies open, the clouds part, the light shines down...

Those little turds have been ganging up on me, haven't they?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

MCDONALD'S UPDATE

So...Mickey D's has actually changed their hiring policy!!! Click here for the whole story.

Thanks for the tip, Peter!

we will return shortly to our regularly scheduled programming...

Sorry for the missed post yesterday. I was out sick and still feeling pretty crappy today, but back and work and swamped with catch-up, so we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming very shortly.

In the meantime, here's a little video of the kids playing dress-up a few weeks ago. I missed the part where they ran down the hall and began losing articles of clothing one piece at a time, but this is cute enough for a Tuesday.

Enjoy.


If you can't see the video above, just click here.

Friday, May 19, 2006

OOPS! SHE DID IT AGAIN!!! (AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN...)

Alright. Now, I'm the last person in the world to feel compassion for a skanky &$*%# like Britney Spears (and I'm certainly not backing off my general feeling that someone might really want to think long and hard about voluntary sterilization -- I'm just saying), but even I can't help but feel bad for the girl at this point.

She's on the front page of all the tabs AGAIN -- this time being photographed nearly dropping her 8-month old son as she trips over her own pant legs.

This is her fourth doucmented "parenting incident" this year, and now the play-by-play coverage is just really beginning to verge on the absurd.

WHAT NOT TO DO - by Britney Spears


#1 - Lap Baby

#2 - Carseat


#3 - Highchair



#4 - Trippin'
Now, don't get me wrong, for two of the four "incidents" (i.e., driving with her baby in her LAP!!!, and driving with her baby in his carseat facing the wrong way!!!) she really should have gotten her a little more than just a hand slap. I mean, what message are we trying to send here? Unfortunately for our doomed tweens and the future of America, she IS a role model.

But beyond that, she's a new parent. Her every step is being scrutinized and criticized by the entire world. She's still high (or low) on the hormone roller coaster. And (presumably), like most parents, she's just trying to figure out how raise this child better than SHE was raised -- which, by all accounts, really doesn't take a rocket scientist to discern -- but let's not completely forget of whom we are speaking.

So, maybe my empathy bone is protruding a little too far out today, but man, I really do think the media needs to just give the poor girl a break. Yes, somebody sign her up for parenting classes -- TODAY!!! And hell yes, somebody have DFS give her a warning. But her baby falling out of his highchair...and her tripping over her own pant legs. I mean, come on! When Saia was a baby, she rolled off the sofa and busted her lip wide open. There was blood everywhere and we cried for a week. And Santiago's shins were battered blue before we realized that the baby swing was too close to the coffee table. And I just knew that the next knock on the door was child protective services coming to take him away. And that was just in the first two months they were home.

A new parent's confidence level is never lower than in that first year. And I can't even begin to imagine what it must feel like to hear and read about what a terrible mother you are everywhere you turn. I mean, chances are pretty high that she'll never be Carol Brady, I know, but let's not inadvertently turn her into Mommy Dearest either.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

WOW, LOOK AT YOUR BALLS!!!

So, I just bought a new purse the other day, which the kids had not yet seen (or approved, apparently), and this morning while I was changing them out, Saia comes into the room and says excitedly, "Mama!! I really like your purse!"

"Why, thank you, Saia. I like it, too," I reply.

"WOW, MAMA!!!" as she picks it up and walks over to the mirror, "I LIKE YOUR BIG BALLS!!!"

"Wha?!?!" I spin around with my mouth hanging open. [Please refer to picture above... and stop laughing!]

"CHAGO!!!! COME LOOK AT MAMA'S BIG BALLS!!!!"

[Oh, alright, go ahead then.]

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

TEACHER IRRITATION WEEK

Now, don't get me wrong. I think I appreciate teachers more than most people, but what I don't really appreciate is being forced (even coerced) into appreciating them.

And I'm the first person to agree that secondary school teachers (especially) are underpaid, underappreciated, and overworked. And I can absolutely remember a handful of teachers (in high school, junior high, and elementary) that had a significant impact on my life.

But my kids are 3 years old. Three. And they've only been in this class for a little over a month.

They're always very gracious (with a little prodding, of course). We always say 'good morning'. We say 'thank you' to whomever is watching them when I pick them up each afternoon. We buy birthday presents, Christmas, Valentine's, and even Easter gifts. And we already donated to the parents' pool to buy gifts for the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon (which I'm also volunteering to help set up).

Now, I'm certainly not saying that teachers don't deserve their fair share, but just as mothers get a Mother's Day and fathers get a Father's Day, teachers do get a National Teacher's Day (May 9th), but how this turned into a week-long event replete with wish lists and designated gift days (i.e., Monday is Bring Your Teacher a Fruit Day - Teacher Rhonda likes apples; Tuesday is Bring Your Teacher a Flower Day - Teacher Monica likes sunfowers; etc.), this I just don't fully understand.

Rather than making me more appreciative of the work they do, I'm becoming more and more irritated by the moment. And it's not like they just have ONE teacher to give gifts to either. No, their classes are double-stacked, so they have two teachers. And, of course, the Director and Assistant Director are on the gift list, too, which is also printed in big bold black and white lettering in the monthly newsletter, and, hell, don't you KNOW you don't want to piss either of them off! So now I feel like I'm just being blackmailed at this point. Fearing that my children might be treated just a little less fairly or maybe subconsciously deprived of some tiny extra amount of attention simply because we did the insufferable and brought Dora the Explorer instead of butterfly stickers on Bring Your Teacher Some Stickers Day.

So, backed into a corner, we're frantically and frustratingly trying to incorporate this over-gratuitous event into our routine. Well, I am, anyway. The kids are loving it.

"What are we giving to Teacher Diane today?" [Ugh. My skin starts to crawl!]

Well...let me tell you...

Tomorrow is Bring Your Teacher a Surprise Day, and I've got half a mind to just regift one of the bezillion gajillion sheets of recycled paper (literally, paper the school has used for administrative stuff, flipped over for the kids to write on) with a random jaggedly pre-cut corner of a Reader's Digest page or a single broken macaroni shell glued to the center that they've so conscientiously sent home.

(And yes, of course I love my kids' artwork. But. Come. On! You can soooo tell the days they were just trying to make the time fly by and not really teaching my children anything.)

Anyway...I guess I'm just a little pissy today as we slide into Day 2 of this debacle. Yes, I'm glad my kids have a safe place to play and grow. Yes, I'm grateful they have teachers who at least attempt to say their names correctly (once in a while) and make two mother's day cards instead of just one. And, yes, I'm glad my kids are happy there -- for the most part -- when they aren't bored out of their minds. But, you know what, NO, I just don't appreciate the manipulation. I really do get enough of that from my kids! AND HAVE I MENTIONED THAT THEY'RE ONLY THREE!!!

Monday, May 15, 2006

FELIZ DIA DE LA MADRES!!!

I know this one has been circulating for a while, but I'm so learning and re-learning #25 these days, that it just seemed appropriate to put it out there one more time for all you mothers (and I mean that in the very best way) on your very special day ('cause the rest of the 364 days begin again on Monday!)

THE THINGS MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME

  1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE: "If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."
  2. My mother taught me RELIGION: "You better pray that will come out of the carpet."
  3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL: "If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"
  4. My mother taught me LOGIC: " Because I said so, that's why."
  5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC: "If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."
  6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT: "Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."
  7. My mother taught me IRONY: "Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."
  8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS: "Shut your mouth and eat your supper."
  9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM: "Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"
  10. My mother taught me about STAMINA: "You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."
  11. My mother taught me about WEATHER: "This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."
  12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY: "If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"
  13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE: "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."
  14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION: "Stop acting like your brother!"
  15. My mother taught me about ENVY: "There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."
  16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION: "Just wait until we get home."
  17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING: "You are going to get it when you get home!"
  18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE: "If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way."
  19. My mother taught me ESP: "Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"
  20. My mother taught me HUMOR: "When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."
  21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT: "If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."
  22. My mother taught me GENETICS: "You're just like your (fill in most annoying relative here)."
  23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS: "Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"
  24. My mother taught me WISDOM: "When you get to be my age, you'll understand."
  25. My mother taught me about JUSTICE: "One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you."

Friday, May 12, 2006

GUESS WHO CAN ROLL HER R'S??? (finally!)

"No, no, it's tiburrrrrón*, Saia," says Chago, rolling his r's like Antonio Aguilar.

"TibuYÓN," she says.

"No, Saia," he says gently, "say Ti..."

"Ti," she repeats.

"Say bu..." he continues.

"Bu," she says.

"Rrrrrrón," he exaggerates. "You have to roll your r's," he reminds her. Again.

"I AM!!" she says, getting more and more exasperated, as she's been trying for almost 2 years now to get her erres right.

"Ti-" she begins again, pouting a little, but persistent. "Bu...RRRRÓN!" she exclaims.

"YAY, SAIA!!" he screams, "You did it!!!"

"Tiburrrón! Tiburrrón! Tiburrón!" she yells.

"I teached you to roll your r's, Saia!" he beams.

"Yes, Bubba, you taught her very well!" I say into the rearview mirror.

"Yes, I did," he agrees. "I taught her very well."

"Thank you, Chago, for teaching me to roll my r's," she says. "I'm going to tell my teacher that I want to be a tiburrrón all day today."

[That you are, baby. That you are.]

[Love, love, love mornings like this.]

*tiburón = shark in Spanish

Thursday, May 11, 2006

THE MEXICAN HAT DANCE...X 2

Okay, so it's a couple of days late, but I promise you...it's totally worth it.

This is what they learned for Cinco de Mayo:






(Be sure to click PLAY on BOTH the video AND the music bar below it to get the full effect.)

If you're having trouble seeing the video, right-click here and Open in New Window because you HAVE to leave the music playing in the background.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

TEA FOR TWO

Tea? What tea?
SSSLLLUURRRPPP!
"Whatcha drinking there, Beauty?" Mommy asks, one gloomy Sunday afternoon.

"Tea with leche," she says very matter-of-factly and continues slurping.

"How 'bout you, Boy? Whatcha got in there?"

"Cerveza," he says.

[whoops!]

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

NATIONWIDE BOYCOTT OF MCDONALD'S

Step away from the McNuggets and join us in a nationwide boycott of McDonald's for knowingly jeopardizing the welfare and safety of your children.

A recent investigation by the NewsChannel 5 in Tennessee revealed a shocking secret about the "family-friendly" golden arches...

One man says some McDonald's knowingly hire sex offenders -- and he may know better than anyone.

He's a convicted sex offender and, until today, he worked at a local McDonald's restaurant.

"Everyone knew I was on probation for statutory rape," Scott Smyers told NewsChannel 5's chief investigative reporter Phil Williams.

Another employee had previously been convicted of soliciting sex from a minor. He was recently re-arrested for possessing child pornography.
Perhaps, most disturbing: on the restaurant's McFamily Nights, Smyers says Aloyo was the one who took care of the children.

"They would allow Nicholas to be the one to be out in the lobby with the kids, set up the little bowling alley for the kids, sing on karaoke with the kids."
And this is happening everywhere, not just in Tennessee, but all over the country at both corporate-owned stores and franchises. No one is currently required to conduct background checks on their employees, but according to a statement released by McDonald's corporate, "Our employment application requires all potential candidates seeking employment to disclose prior sex offenses and felonies. Applications are reviewed and those found not to meet our employment standards or policies are rejected."

Oh, okay. Well, I feel much safer now knowing that you're using the tried and true honor system. Here, take my children, please.

How freaking clueless can you be?

And what's worse is that they have no current plans to change their feeble excuse for hiring practices, which is why hitting them in the pocketbook is the only way to affect a positive change. Boycott McDonald's now, folks!!! And CLICK HERE to tell them how you really feel while you're at it.

Shame on you, Ronald.

BOYCOTT MCDONALD'S NOW -- BOYCOTT MCDONALD'S NOW -- BOYCOTT MCDONALD'S NOW!!!

In an unrelated story, Disney just dissolved their long-standing partnership with Mickey D's because they no longer wanted their characters to be associated with the Happy Meals that have been contributing to childhood obesity.

Kudos for them.

Cross-posted at Mama's Other Blog.

Monday, May 08, 2006

NOT QUITE MICKEY MOUSE...

So, we experienced two more firsts this weekend. 1) They got invited (and we actually made it) to their first birthday party, and 2) it was at Chuck E. Cheese's.

Jammin'

Whack-a-Mole

The Other Mouse

Skeptical
Click on a photo above to enlarge.

All in all, they appeared to have had a pretty great time. We lost Chago for a good 6 minutes in the overhead tunnels, but, of course, once Mommy kicked off her shoes and climbed into the pipes to find him, he had already made his way through to the end and was coming down the slide smiling from ear to ear.

Saia dominated the games, slamming down sledgehammers and throwing basketballs like a pro.

They cashed in all the tickets they won for (collectively) a couple of bling-bling rings, a beetle, a lizard, a sling-shot airplane, and two plastic goldfish.

It was a great afternoon, but honestly, one I don't think I'd like to repeat. That place just scared the bejeezus out of me. Seriously. The mouse, the music, the MTV-like videos, the Vegas-style games, the hundreds of screaming children. I'd take Disneyland any day of the week and twice on Sunday before walking into that place again.

And yes, as I write this, I do realize that they'll be invited to at least 500 more parties there over the next 4 years, so I better just get used to it, take a jug of chamomile tea, and go to my happy place.

Friday, May 05, 2006

THE FAIR IS HERE! THE FAIR IS HERE!

I mean the Scholastic Book Fair, of course. [yes, really!!!]

I remember really fondly the Scholastic Book Fairs at my elementary school back home. I remember all the cafeteria tables lined up end to end out in the yard. I remember all the colorful displays, the flurry of people, the carnival-like atmosphere. I remember getting so excited when spring came around 'cause it was just a matter of time til the next one hit our campus. But most of all, I remember the books.

Man, there were just soooo many books to choose from. Stacks and stacks. Piled high in boxes beside the tables. Fanned atop table cloths. Leaning against "I love to read!" bookends. All begging to be picked up and lovingly paged through, though I was always so careful not to lick my finger as I turned the brand new stiff and shiny leaves.

I LOVED the book fairs. I could just never get enough. I would get to school early, finish my lunch in record time, asked to be excused for restroom breaks a million times throughout the day just so that I could have another opportunity to rifle through the book bins.

Man...good times...good times.

And even today, the smell of brand new books always takes me back to those bright sunny Texas days when I was 10 and the world was my oyster...

Because it never once occurred to me, as I'm sure it doesn't with most children, that there was a --- SIGNIFICANT (some might even say exhorbitant) --- cost involved in making that magnificent memory and satisfying that thirst for knowledge of which I was wholly unaware, but which I've apparently also passed on to our children. [and this is where I yet again apologize profusely to my parents for another one of those lessons you only learn "after you have your own children"]

So the iniquitous book fair has cleverly planted its roots directly in the middle of the preschool and daycare center, so that all students, coming or going, HAVE to pass right by it. Every single day. Four to six times a day. For two weeks straight!

"Ooh, Mama, can I take this one? I saw it at lunch time and I LOOOOOVE it!"

"Mama, Mama, yook at this, yook at this! I don't have this one at home!!!"

"Mama, if you get me this one, I will read it to you at dinnertime. Would you like that?"

"I'm going to tell Mommy about this one. I know she will want me to have this."

"Chago, you take this one and I will take this one. Mama, can you pwease pay for these now?"

"Yook, Mama, what I got for Saia because she's my sister and I love her."

[I just gave the school my credit card on Monday and left a freaking tab open.]

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A MOTHER'$ WORTH?

According to a recent study released by Waltham, Massachusetts-based compensation experts Salary.com:
"a full-time stay-at-home mother would earn $134,121 a year if paid for all her work, an amount similar to a top U.S. ad executive, a marketing director or a judge"
A mom who also works outside the home would earn an extra $85,876 annually on top of her actual wages for the work she does at home.

Salary.com offers a web site (http://www.mom.salary.com) where mothers can calculate what they should be paid, based on how many children they have, where they live and other factors. The site will even produce a printable document that looks like a paycheck.

Unfortunately, it's non-negotiable, just like everything else about being a mom. But the fact that parents continue to do it -- striving to do more and be more and give more than they ever had -- is just the truest testament to how extraordinarily priceless the experience is.

So, here's to all moms -- in all her iterations (and to dads, too, who so often are easily overlooked when the traditional role of mother is the topic of the month).

Thanks for the tip, Jac.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

INSIDE THE ACTOR'S STUDIO

"Mama," says Saia when I picked her up from school.

"Yes, babe?"

"Mama, I was dyyyying today."

"WHAT?!?!?" I say as I glance in the rearview mirror.

"Teacher Monica said I was dyyyying today," she says again, this time with just a tad more dramatic flair as she places the back of her hand on her forehead, "so that's why I don't have my fleece on anymore."

"Oh," I say, "did you get hot on the playground today?"

"Yes, Mom," she says, sounding a little more frustrated now. "That's why I was dyyyying!"

[Aye! The drama! And she's only 3!!!]

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

LOOK OUT, LANCE ARMSTRONG!!!

Alright, alright, so here's the final score...
Chago completed 4 laps (relatively) unassisted.

Saia completed 5 laps.
Overall, they did a really fantastic job. No one threw any tantrums. No one got frustrated. No one gave up.

Bored already

Speed Demon

Are we done yet?
Click on an image above to enlarge.

Thanks again for all your donations (see per lap/flat rate details below)!!! If you haven't yet had a chance, there's still a little time left. Please make your checks payable to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital (with Saia & Chago's name on the memo line) and mail to me before Monday, May 8th.

Monday, May 01, 2006

NO SPENDING $$$ TODAY

In case you were unaware, today is "Un Dia Sin Imigrantes" (A Day Without Immigrants), a collection of nationwide economic protests by immigrants and supporters to prove to Congress how important their contributions are.

So, wear a white shirt and don't spend a single penny today to show your support for fair immigration reform.


Cross-posted at
Mama's Other Blog