Monday, October 26, 2009

STAR STUDENT (like he needed a bigger ego!)

So, he was hand-picked by his teacher to be the first Star Student of the year, which meant he would have to put together a presentation for his class about...well...his all-time favorite subject: himself.

It took all of 10 minutes to pull together.

He knew exactly what he wanted to say (i.e., "The best thing about me is that I'm a great friend!"), exactly what pictures he wanted to include (i.e., "that one of me, Mom, where I'm just soooo cute"), and exactly what he wanted to share that best represented him (i.e., an abridged version of Beowolf because he loves the storyline, is obsessed with the illustrations, and, of course, the sword fighting is just a bonus).

And as if his putting himself up on a soapbox wasn't enough to make him feel uber-special, he then got to sit on one of those big yoga balls all day at school instead of his regular chair, and he could move it around wherever he went, was the line-leader all week, and -- by far his favorite treat -- didn't have to sit on the floor "with the rest of them," but instead got to sit in this special little chair right up front next to the teacher ALL WEEK LONG.

And, yes, of course he insisted on dressing up all week, too. Hey, this boy knows how to shine!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


In which the monsters share their latest discovery, a book called Furry Logic with a chapter called "Children's Property Laws." It should come as no surprise to anyone why they were so tickled by it.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Fully expected to be disappointed.

I mean, come on, it's a classic. A dramatic children's classic, at that. And one that Jim Carrey can't improv. No way. No how. It's just gonna HAVE to suck.

And it did have those moments when I thought, eh...coulda been better there. And...yikes! that was waaaay freaking scary for little ones.

But for the most part, being the huge sucker for teachable moments that I am, it got a big ol' gold star from Mama. From the lessons on sibling rivalry, on standing up for yourself, standing up for others, loneliness, sorrow, anger, pain, resentment, forgiveness, friendship, compassion, dignity, pride, character, and, of course, love, it just covered all the bases.

And as we're driving home discussing the movie and over-analyzing every teensy weensy little detail as we're so often wont to do (and by we, I mean, of course, me -- and Sonia -- or my mother -- whenever they come visit), and I see the light above the kids' heads go on when they finally understand that the monsters represent the emotions within Max that he couldn't or wouldn't deal with, we cross over into what I'm a tad nervous has the potential for being a pretty emotional discussion as I try to draw the similarities between their lives, particularly with regards to our family splitting up, and how that can cause all sorts of emotions to come to the surface unexpectedly, and cause so many other things to be buried, and...

"But Mama?" Saia interjects from the backseat.

And I hold my breath, glancing at Amy out of the corner of my eye, waiting for where this might go, and trying to form the argument in my head that's going to give her the comfort she needs, provide her with the support and security and strength to get through this transition...

And then she says, looking from Amy back to me, and then over at Chago in the seat right next to her...

"When did we split up?"

Sunday, October 18, 2009


All. Damn. Day.

But we got it done.

And they even helped.

A little.

Well, ok, mostly it was Saia. Santiago dug the guts out of the first pumpkin and quit halfway through, moaning and groaning about the eewy and the gooey and the slimy and the gross. And yet, in that wee little time, he still somehow managed to get it all in his hair, inside his ears, and down his pants.

Down his pants, for crissakes?!?!?

And then, after all that work, in between snacks, lunch, homework, reading, dinner, and showers, we finally got them all set out on the sidewalk, got a ton of compliments from the neighborhood over the next 4 days, and then watched them slowly transform, disfigure, melt, and devolve into our own personal little gruesome science experiments. Hairy green gourds-turned-petri dishes shooting mold spores wildly and wantonly into the air, threatening to send every man, woman, child, and dog that walked by into anaphylactic shock at any given moment!!!

Talk about a scary Halloween, man.

So, Benedryl at the ready, and less than a week after their creation, we sadly disposed of the monstrously morose (and now, practically deadly) sextuplets.

And then...

...had to do it all over again... replace them...

...3 days later.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Decided to trek our happy cookies all the way across the water, over the river and through the woods, down to Half Moon Bay for our annual pumpkin patch pilgrimage.

Beat the morning traffic to the pumpkins just fine, but...

...not all the wacko beer-drinking, wine-guzzling, pumpkin-ice-cream-licking, pumpkin-roll-inhaling, pumpkin-pie-slamming crazies who all drove in from 4 hours away and paid $20 each to park in someone's front yard to walk around a string of kiosks selling homemade kaleidoscopes for $750 and blown glass hermit crabs at two for five bucks.

Oh, wait, that was us.

But we ended up with very full bellies, 6 gorgeous pumpkins, and two happy monsters, all before 1pm.

That would be a good day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


So, finally, after 6 years, he got an ear infection. Not "finally!" like I wanted it to come. I mean, I'm crazy, but not sadistic. Well, not about my children, anyway. But I did keep thinking, every winter, and once they started swimming, that it was coming, had to be coming. Every child gets an ear infection. Ours were coming.

But nothing.

For either one of them.

For 6 whole years.

And, man, I just don't think I realized how lucky we were. And am thinking now that I really really need to bottle and sell my breastmilk with a big giant "S" on the label for SUPERLECHE!!!

Well, that is, if I still had breastmilk. Or had thought about it at the time. Or even had the time, for crissakes. Between the double feedings, the double pumping, the bitten and cracked nipples, the no caffeine and no wine and no chocolate for three effing years...


Soooo not gonna happen.


He'd been complaining about the ear for a while, and increasingly holding his nose to pop it. And I was using some homeopathic eardrops on him for a bit, thinking it was just swimmer's ear or something, but then he came down with fever.

And as much as he drives us all absolutely bonkers with his incessant story telling and the guess-what-animal-i-am-today and the constant squirreling and ants-in-the-pants, we all, every single one of us, just hate it when he's down for the count.

So, Saia's nurturing side kicked in automatically, and she helped me soothe, and comfort, and feed the ailing boy. At least long enough to get him to the doctor, get the official "eh...yep...that's an ear infection alright," and the scrip for the antibiotics. Which, honestly, I still don't understand, and can someone please explain to me how you can get things like Sudafed and Nyquil and all the ingredients for Meth right over the counter, but you have to make and appointment, wait in a germ-infested lobby, see a grumpy doctor to get the prescription for the drug you were pretty sure you were gonna have to get anyway, pay a ridiculous bill for the "service," stand in the geriatric line-up at Rite Aid for an hour and a half, and, yes, pay another ridiculous bill so that someone in a lab coat can personally hand-mix the medicine that could've been sitting on the shelf already and in my baby's system two days ago.

Say it with me, people:


[Okay, obviously waaaaaay too much caffeine today, folks.]

Anyway...2 days later, boy was healed, 8 days after that, all the "yucky pink stuff" was gone, and now the monsters are back to tearing each other apart and driving Mama straight to her daily venti-8-pump-no-water-no-foam-extra-hot chais.

Monday, October 12, 2009


"MAMA! MAMA!" he squeals as we set his homework on the table.

"What is it son?"

"MAMA! I'M JUST SO EXCITED!!!" he continues.

"What?!" I laugh. "Why, papa?"


"I don't know, baby," I say, smiling from the contagion. "Is it because you get to draw?"


[How great would it be to feel that way about work everyday? Well, at least until someone called the men in white coats on you.]

Sunday, October 11, 2009


"Mama?" he tentatively calls from his bedroom this morning, and I can hear the slams and bams and crashes, a clear indication that he's been busily looking for something and has come up completely empty-handed.

"Yes, son?" but he hasn't heard me. Slam! Slam! Crash!

"MAMA?!?!" he bellows, frantic now. It must be something really special. Like that tiny little piece off that totally random thing that he got from that off-the-wall place on that totally special day. You know it?

"Yes, son?" I sing-song back.

Tromp. Tromp. Tromp.

And now he's got the frowny, pouty, big-eyed puppy look on.

"Mama, I looked and looked, but I just can't find my little green fish, and I NEEEEEEEED IT!!!"

"Okay, well, where have you looked?"

"No, no, no," and he puts up his hand in that talk-to-the-hand gesture that just annoys the hell out of me. "I already looked EVERYWHERE! The only place it could possibly be is the truck. So, can you go get it? I NEEEEEED it, Mama. PLEASE!" he begs.

"Son. I'm not going out to the truck to look for some tiny little plastic magnetic fish that belongs to that silly little two-dollar fishing game that you don't even have all the parts to, which has been sitting at the bottom of your toy box for the last 3 moves. You'll just have to wait til we go somewhere."

And he just stands there, still pouting. And I'm waiting for him to explode when I suddenly see his face completely change shape. And he morphs right there in front of my very eyes from a whiny little 6-year-old into this grown up boy as he puts his shoulders back, lifts his chin, and says, "Well, then, may I please borrow the keys so that I can go and get it myself?"

And I was just so shocked at the prospect of our little king doing anything for himself that I couldn't even speak, reached down and pulled the keys from purse, and handed them over.

As he trotted happily down the stairs (with me hot on his tail, of course), I called after him to remember to lock...

"Mom," he says. "I got it!"

So, I unlocked the front door and went straight to the kitchen window to watch. Nervously.

But he unlocked the truck with the remote, opened only the back door on his side, reached in and snatched up the little fish, slammed the door shut, and started back up the walk. And just as I was about to yell out, he reached over his right shoulder with the keys and pressed the lock button, as if he did this sort of thing all the time.

He walked right in, shut and locked the front door, handed me the keys, and said, "Thanks, Mom!"

And off he went.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Took Saia to a birthday party at a local swim club. Two seconds after arriving, she'd run into the changing room and was heading for the deep end of the pool where three of her favorite friends were, including the birthday girl. My arms still loaded down with gifts, changing bag, purse, and camera, I scanned the area for the rest of the parents, who were all the way on the other side of the park, and walked over to the side of the pool completely unprepared for what she was about to do.

The little girls, obviously very strong swimmers, were lemming-like plunging off the high dive, easily swimming over to the ladder, and circling back for their next dive. And I remember standing there with my mouth agape at how gracefully they dove, how confidently they cannonballed, how...WHAT THE?!?!? SAIA?????!!!!

And off she went.

And it's not that she can't swim, but she's never ever been off of a diving board before. And that first jump, feet first, had to have sent her at least 6ft down before she realized what was going on and how far away the surface was. And the lifeguard must've seen the look on my face right about that time because he stood up in his chair and gave me the nod -- you know, the you got her? or am gonna actually have to earn my pay today nod? But I was squatting by the edge of the pool now, peering down through the ripples, prepared of course to jump in, high heels and all, should she not come up smiling. But as this was her first big girl party with kids at the new school, I also didn't want to embarrass her unnecessarily. Nothing says, why yes, I do have a crazy overbearing, overprotective, neurotic mother than having her jump into the pool after you fully clothed for no reason at all. Why do you ask?

And when she surfaced, she did look a little frazzled, and seemed to struggle slightly getting to the ladder. But she climbed out and immediately started heading back towards the board.

"Saia?" I called. But she already had her hands on the rail.


"Yes, Mom?!" she said frustratingly.

"Just one more time, okay?" and I nodded at her as much for me as for the lifeguard who was obviously getting annoyed at having to stand for longer than the 5 minutes it takes to change stations.

"Okay, Mama!" she smiled. And off she went.

Friday, October 02, 2009


In which the monsters most painfully attempt to explain how to play the game of Guess Who? (a favorite for the last couple of game nights). Clearly, they only performed for the vlog under duress tonight. And since Mommy ended up winning most of the rounds, I guess I was really really lucky to get anything out of them at all that didn't involve stomping, gritting teeth, or flying game pieces. [Hmm...wonder where they get that from?]

Thursday, October 01, 2009


"MOM!!" he yells one morning as he comes zipping into my bedroom where, nevermind, I am still fast asleep, but he, morning person that he is, is wide awake and raring to go, so really, that's all that matters 'round here.

"Huh?...yes?...wha?...what happened? What's wrong, Bubba?" I mumble, as I sit bolt upright in the middle of the bed, sending about 30 throw pillows flying across the room. (Hey, I get lonely at night. Don't judge.)

"Mama, Mama, did you know we were under attack?!?!?" he stares at me, almost panic-stricken, from the foot of my bed.

"What are you talking about, baby? Who's attacking us?" I ask, groggily rubbing my eyes and reaching for my clock. When does this boy ever sleep???

"We're under attack by invasive pests, Mom. California is. Invasive pests are attacking California. Didn't you know?" he implores, still standing at the foot of my bed, but gesturing wildly now.

"Invasive what?" I ask.

"PESTS, Mom! In-va-sive pests! We have to do something. We just have to. Can we help?"

"Oh, invasive pests, huh? I see." feeling just slighty annoyed as I glance over his shoulder, confirm that, no, in fact, the sun is still not yet up, realize I fell asleep with the TV on, and that he's been watching the infomercial for for the last half hour.


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