Tuesday, March 31, 2009

ZACK, THE LIMA BEAN











Kids dissected lima beans today. Who knew that could even be done?

But there they were, cutting them from head to tail. (Again, I say, who knew?)

And then once open, they were to identify the embryo. (I know! No idea here either.)

Evidently, the tip of the embryo is called a "radical" (aka, the baby root). Which, I have to say, just made my whole day being the non-conventional type ourselves. (And no, never knew it existed, let alone had a name.)

So, I told them how cool I thought it was that their little baby roots were little revolutionaries and activists from birth, and how they reminded me so much of them, especially in that early sonogram pic.

And then Chago said, "Mama, this is Zack," gently cradling the tiny embryo to the left. "And he's my baby. And I'm going to take him home and love him and raise him to be big and strong, just like you did with us."

And, yes, I know he's playing me, but I melted just the same.

Monday, March 30, 2009

IF CHAGO WERE PRESIDENT

Okay, so in case you couldn't tell... This is the jumbotron "so the whole world can see me and listen to what I have to say."




And this, naturally, is the speech bubble in which he is pushing his "everyone should love each other and no one should fight anymore" policy.  [Already the hypocritical little politician.]


And just look at that cultish following.  I feel as if I have good reason to be afraid. Very very afraid.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

HOW TO PLANT A GARDEN IN AN HOUR

"Ew, Mama!!  A grub!  A grub!!!"

And what do you know, it was a grub.  So, I scooped it up (oh yeah, I sure did) and held it out for them to see.

Chago was surprisingly way more squeamish than she was about it, but not because he doesn't like bugs -- it's just that it was dirty.  Clean bugs, they're cool.  Dirty bugs, not so much.

But they both at least made an effort to touch and hold, and then...SCHWING! off it went over the hedge.  Lost in transplantation.

And that was just the first 5 minutes of our gardening adventure today.

Strapped for time, but on the chalkboard as item #6 of our things that must get done today was "PLANT THE GARDEN".

Yeah.  Like, from scratch.

And no, I don't know what I was thinking.  Clearly, I'm losing brain cells by the second now.

But swayed by the springy weather and heavily influenced by the pushy, questionably intoxicated, cashier, I'd picked up 6 packets of seeds earlier in the week.  You know, just to have.  For later.  L.A.T.E.R.

But once they saw them lying on the counter, there was just no way out.  Then it was all when? when? when?  And at some point -- maybe drunk again -- I finally said we'd do it on Sunday.

And then Sunday came.  And we hadn't finished a whole slew of regular things yet, let alone attempting a new major project.  But there was no way I was getting out of it, and I was already feeling so weak from lack of chai and the pounding please! please! please! reverberating between my ears that I finally just gave up, and so it made it onto the board:

And off we went.  Bam! Bam! Bam!  One, two, and three all done before 9:45.

Got a little hung up at Starbucks (let's call that #3.5) before hitting the Target vortex, at which point, it of course felt like time stood still, only it was 3 hours later when we finally emerged.  Starving.

Home and a quickie crab pasta salad later, and the Now? Now? Now? began.

It was exactly 4:30 by the time I got all our gardening gear together, got everyone changed into longsleeves, and finally made it to little plot of yard we'd chosen as our victim.

Four-thirty!  How the hell was I ever going to get a quiche in the oven and dessert on the table by 6???

"Alright, troops!" I yelled.  "We have exactly one hour to get this thing cleaned out, dug up, seeds planted, and garden watered!"

"CAN. WE. DO. IT?!?!?" I shouted in my best Private Benjamin voice.

"Mom, who are you yelling at?" Saia says looking around.

"Oh, nevermind. Let's just get to work."


And in case you were wondering...


And yes, we used all the seeds in all five of the packets (despite my mother's warning).

And yes, that WAS only a 4 x 6 area we converted.

And clearly, I have gone completely insane. But won't it be funny in about 3-6 months?

Do you see the lengths to which I go just to keep you entertained?

You're welcome.


Friday, March 27, 2009

BRING ON THE SUN!!!

Yay!! Another blue card week. And really, thank God and all her santitos, because this week has really had its downer moments.

But lo and behold, they pulled it off, and so, as pinky-to-pinky-to-pinky-sworn last week, we would find a new park every Friday while the weather permitted to conquer and destroy. 

And (and here's the part where I must've been drunk) we would stay there as long as they wanted to. [But really, read: until the veins in Mama's temples are pulsating dangerously close to eruption or an hour before dinner time -- whichever comes first.]

So, determined to right all miscommunication, misunderstandings, and my perceived bad mama moments for the week in one fell swoop, I dutifully held up my end of the bargain and off we went.

Click PLAY button below for slideshow
video
Photo stills being uploaded into our GALLERY tab in the header.

And truly, it was just as peaceful and serene as it appears in the slideshow (except for the random but painfully frequent screeching of my own spawn), that I really could've just plopped myself down right there by the side of the lake with an iced chai in one hand and a great book en la otra (or my new must-have, a Kindle, better still!!!).  

Only one thing...

I totally forgot about our little deal as I was getting dressed this morning, as I find it terribly difficult to keep track of time and days since leaving my job back in DecemberNovember. But a promise is a promise.  
So, I did it all in THIS get up.  



In 78-degree weather.  



Yes, with THAT bi-ass lime green 
purse on my arm.


And, in case you missed it, THESE on my little tootsies.

(Aren't they cute? Another fabulous Amy purchase.)

"He-he-he, you sure are brave to hike the trail in those," some scraggly old man jiggling as he jogged around the mountain thought it oh-so-important to impart.

"Did you see her shoes?" faux-whispered some designer sweatsuited women as they speed-walked (or is it sped-walked) past me...for the THIRD time.

And then my personal favorite from the toothless redneck with the bucket of fish and an duct-taped Igloo, "Hot enough for ya?!  Ay?" as I trekked back down the hill trying to tell myself that my face was just glistening, that the heels were making my calves ripple, and that it was just a cool breeze I felt rolling down between my breasts.

[pant. pant. glistening. pant.]

Yeah.  Heh-heh-heh.  Shutthefuckup.

Now, tell me I don't love my children more than my shoes life, dammit!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

THE SAIA AND CHAGO SHOW - EPISODE 4 - JOBS @ SCHOOL

In which the monsters interview one another on the topic of jobs at school and, more specifically, on which are their most faves, least faves, and why.

Catch all episodes of The Saia & Chago Show by clicking on the tab up there in the header anytime, or take a peek at the latest episode by just clicking here:

View Episode 4 - Jobs @ School


I AM SUCH A WITCH

I honestly don't know that I can get through this post without breaking down, so you'll just have to bare with me if I ramble.  Or don't.  I don't care.  I'm feeling utterly ashamed and mortified already.  You can't do me much worse today.

For the last few weeks, Chago's behavior has significantly improved at school.  At home, though, it's been a completely different story.  He's been lashing out at his sister more than ever, ignoring or forgetting specific instructions (to pick this up or put that away), and rolling his eyes or making a series of increasingly disrespectful noises of exasperation when I catch and/or call him on either.

Typically, this leads to a timeout.  Huge infractions that result in, say, bleeding or bruising from a non-accidental whack, result in loss of privileges or favorite books or animals for a set period of time.

But the friggin' eye-rolling and the smart-mouthing has gotten really out of hand lately.  And I will admit, even my best positive-parenting efforts seem to devolve of late into a yelling and finger-wagging spectacle.

Recognizing yesterday, again, that that wasn't getting us anywhere, again, I tried to pull him aside, again, after we'd both calmed down, again, to have, yes, again, another talk.

So, I'm sitting on the floor cross-legged and I've got him in my lap with both my arms wrapped tightly around him and I whisper into his ear how special I think he is and how amazing he is and how everyday he surprises me with something new and fantastic that I didn't know about him.  And he smiles and his eyes fill with tears and he turns and wraps his scrawny little arms around my neck and squeezes with all his might.

"So what are we gonna do about this, bubba," I continue through teary eyes of my own.

And he pulls away and looks downward into his lap.

"What are we gonna do so that we don't end up in that place anymore?"

"I can try to listen when you tell me to do something the first time," he says.

"Sure, babe, but we've been here before, and you've said that before, and here we are again, so maybe we need to think of another way to solve this problem.  Because it really hurts me to be upset with you and to see you so upset with me.  So, what can I do to help us not get there that anymore?"

And this is when he breaks my heart.  Tears it into a million tiny pieces.  Drowns and dissolves it in a pool of my own salty tears.  And it's mostly because in this moment he is exactly like me.  He knows exactly what he needs to say.  He knows how powerful words are. He knows how to use them.  And, most painfully, he knows when.

"Mama," he begins, softly and timidly, but looking me right in the eye.  "Mama, it's that you remind me of a witch when you yell and it scares me so much that I don't know what I should be doing anymore."

And I can no longer breathe.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

WELL-WORLD WEDNESDAY

So, for today's save-the-world tip, we WERE going to recommend boycotting Kleenex.

And why would we ever want to give up the softy soft on our tushy tushes, you ask?

Well, because according to the Greenpeace email I received, Kimberly-Clark, Kleenex’s parent company, "clears ancient forests, essential in fighting climate change and providing a home to wildlife like caribou, wolves, eagles and bears, to make disposable products that are used once and then thrown away."

Clearly, anything that outright harms the wolves and eagles is a no-no in our house.  And that is that, as far as Chago is concerned.  For Amy, Saia, and I, though, well, we've got a little bit of an issue with scraping our noses and tushies with sandpaper.  

And I know some people will argue that it's a small price to pay to help the environment.  But, you know what, there's got to be a better way, and it's NOT such a small price, people.

Greenpeace further recommends purchasing products from companies like Green Forest, Natural Value and Seventh Generation, but suggests shoppers avoid products made from Charmin, Angel Soft and Kimberly–Clark. 

They've even provided a handy-dandy little cheatsheet you can cut out and keep with you for when you go shopping to help you determine for yourself how much your pocket book can absorb to help save the planet.  And wasn't that helpful?

But how am I gonna pay for the recommended paper on which to print the handy-dandy little cheatsheet, let alone purchase the Greenpeace-approved products when they easily cost twice as much, if not more than (when you take into consideration sales and coupons) the oh-so-evil-brand-not-be-mentioned-again-lest-we-appear-to-be-promoting-it? 

And yes, I do understand, logically, why organic products and products that are better and safer and healthier for the world and all its occupants must cost more to make (sorta), but THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT IS MAKING IT SO HARD FOR THE REST OF US TO HOP ON THAT BANDWAGON!!  It's not that we don't want to contribute to the sustainability and energy conservation movement.  It's that it's gonna break us to do so.

So, trying to do my due diligence, I read among a host of statistics on the Kimberly-Clark website that:
By 2009 we anticipate that our use of
fiber from Canada’s Boreal forest will be
reduced by nearly 70 percent from 2007
levels. This substantial reduction is the
result, in large part, of our stated preference
for fiber from Forest Stewardship Council
(FSC) certified suppliers.

So, WTF?? I mean, it's bad enough that choosing those obviously good-for-you products with little green trees or the "all natural" or "organic" stamped all over it already has me bending over at the cash register.  But is it even necessary anymore? 

Are the EPA and watchdog organizations like Greenpeace not doing a good enough job monitoring these big guys that we can now begin to trust that they too are making reasonable efforts to conserve their planet? And even if we don't believe that they're making changes for our sakes and the sake of our children's children, can't we at least recognize that the changes ARE INDEED happening?  That sustainability is now one of most major company's corporate objectives?  That it has become beyond necessary for a company to remain competitive in this market that they MUST include traceable, quantifiable, and significant efforts towards energy and planet conservation?  Or, hell, that they just can't afford the negative publicity and just don't want to be boycotted anymore?

And if they ARE trying to do better, and have shown significant improvement over the years, should we continue to punish them by only buying earthy-crunchy stuff at Whole Paycheck Foods?  I mean, where does positive reinforcement come into play?

So, I guess my central thorn here is that I'm just not sure anymore what I should be doing.  And it irritates me that someone is always lying about something just to one-up someone else.  And yes, I realize this a capitalistic society, but protecting the planet has become a moral imperative.  I mean, HASN'T IT, for f*ck's sake?!?!?

Shouldn't we all be working together right now to educate and advise the global population of the best course of action for our own sustainability (as a whole) regardless of who gets the biggest profit?  Can't we call a competitive truce for 5-7 years?  Develop some sort of Earth Consortium with representatives from all major corporations who agree to a price-freeze for a given period of time?

Alright, I know, nevermind.  Clearly I've gone over the edge.

But my point is, what the hell am I going to shop for on Saturday that's good for my family, helps our environment, and still fits within our dwindling budget?  Where's THAT cheatsheet?  And who's compost do I have to sort through to get to it?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A WHORES IS A WHORES, OF COURSE, OF COURSE

Pardon the really bad play on words, but I could not stop it from looping in my head until I wrote it down.  So, there.  It's out.  Thank you for being there for me.  I owe you a KrispyKreme.

----

"Mama?" he begins last night just as our goodnight ritual is over and I'm about to walk out of the room. [Of course.]

"Yes, son?" I ask from the doorway.

"Mama, can I ask you something?"  Which always means, come a little closer, please, this is serious.

"Of course, son," I monotone, "You can always ask me anything."  [Trying to plant those seeds, baby.]

And as I sidle up to him on the bed and brush the wisps from his face, he makes that look, like he's trying to remember something, which usually means he's been stewing over something for a few days, or weeks, or even months.  And I begin to realize very quickly that I'm not getting out of here anytime soon.

"Mama, what's a concubine?"

[Cut to background info while I stop my head from spinning around.]

Months and months ago, they received Mulan 2.  Maybe it was Christmas.  I really can't keep track anymore.

And somewhere pretty early on in the movie, the 3 guards are singing about "A Girl Worth Fighting For."  Okay, you with me?  Just scene setting here.

And then sometime later when the guys and Mulan are back at the Emperor's palace, all dressed up and disguised as geishas in order to get past the Huns, and right here in the middle of the movie, in a place I still can't believe I missed, given that our obsessive compulsive children have watched it at least -- AT LEAST -- 4500 times in the last 3 months, there, apparently, is a part where one of the guards, successfully tempted by the disguised heroes, says something, like, "Ooooh, concubines!"

CON. CU. BINES!!!!

Disney.  Children's Movies.  Rated less than G for "Gee, you don't really need to worry about anything here 'cause we won't put anything racy in our movies that will require you to, say, have to explain to your 6-year-old child what a morally loose woman is and why that's enticing enough to be used as a tool to lure the men from their posts and save the day."

So, I think I muttered something about that being a specific type of job, set in a specific place and time, that essentially entailed doing whatever they needed to do to make the men happy, and left it at that.

F*ck!!

What would you have said?


Monday, March 23, 2009

BELATED TAHOE PICS POSTING

Totally forgot to post the Tahoe pics from, like, two weeks ago.

For future reference, you can always find recent pics updated under the MORE PICS tab in the header of the blog.

But here's a little taste to tide you over.  

Lots of snow.  Lots of fun.  Lots of sun. 

No vomitous episodes, from either child, from either parent, from neither end.  No cuts, no scrapes, no profuse bleeding traumas.  No broken bones.  No flat tires.  No freezing rain and soaked clothing.  

= a grand time

Amazing how your definition of "success" completely changes once you've got children.

Click here to see the rest of the pics:  Tahoe Trip Slideshow

Saturday, March 21, 2009

ONE GIANT LEAP FOR SAIA

Went to the park on Friday afternoon as a reward for another pretty decent week at school.   

FOUR. HOURS. LATER. and with no wireless anywhere to be found, I was just about ready to pull my hair out.  All of it.  From anywhere.  And I'm Mexican, for crissakes -- I'm covered in it!!! 

And, honestly, I mean, no offense to new moms or moms of toddlers 'cause, Lord knows, I was there -- squared, but it was truly a revelation for me to realize that I no longer have that kind of patience.  Or maybe it's that I have a different kind of patience now.  Like maybe your level of tolerance recalibrates with every new developmental milestone?  It must.  IT MUST!!!  Because right now, I can barely stand 5-to-6-year-olds, let alone the sniveling screaming meamies who, for some karmic reason, were magnetically attracted to me and all my shiny things (Mac, iPhone, camera, keys) all friggin' afternoon.

So, finally, finally, the gods of time let enough of the minutes pass that, hanging on to my very last nervelet, I was able to screech like a demonic banshee holler through gritted teeth that we were leaving in 5 minutes.  And then also informed my kids.

He went running for the slide for one last run.  She ran for the climbing rock.  

And right there, in the last minute-and-a-half of my time in preschool purgatory, the whole damn afternoon proved totally worth the trouble.

video

Totally.  What an awesome little chickie we've got.

Friday, March 20, 2009

TAKE A LITTLE OFF THE TOP, WOULD YA?

Came across another interesting topic on the Momversation site, this one regarding the always controversial To Cut or Not To Cut debate over circumcision.

I was really disturbed by the harsh words many of the anti-circ camp flung at the pro-circs.  And yes, as you may have already guessed, chose to respond.  

Here's mine:

"And the Sneetches on beaches had no stars upon thars."

In the end, we chose not.

Weighed heavily the health and hygiene aspects. Considered briefly the locker room mocking. Have no father to match his member to. By definition, is elective mutilation, and had no medical or religious reason at the time for doing so. And ultimately were swayed most by the removal of his right to choose.

If he decides later that cosmetic surgery is necessary for his own reasons, then we'll revisit that, and likely this list of amazingly helpful advice, if/when that time comes.

But do I judge you for choosing to circumcise your own child? How could I?

I don't want to be judged for not being actively religious, for being gay, for choosing to raise children in a gay family, or for choosing to have children at all when there are so many that need to be adopted and the world is overpopulated as it is, or for not dressing my age, or for breastfeeding my twins til they were two -- in public sometimes, or for putting our kids in a private school, or for choosing not to slather their cupcakes with frosting, or for not volunteering in my community, or for not raising my children in a proper bilingual Spanish household, or for sometimes yelling at my kids, or for sometimes yelling at my partner in front of my kids, or for allowing them to still bathe together at 6, or for co-sleeping for the first 3 months of their lives and realizing I hated it, or for moving across the country to be as far away from my family as possible, or for soy versus 2%, or for brown eggs vs white, or organic vs affordable, or for carnivores vs vegetarians...

So, I guess what it came down to for me was just this:

My Sneetch. His Star. Our Business.

So, what's your feeling on this one?  I mean, besides the fact that we've now got the added future expense of the therapy sessions it's going to take to console the boy about the fact that the whole world now knows more about Chago's jalapeno than he does.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

THE CHAGO & SAIA SHOW - EP 3 - BIRTHDAY

In which the monsters attempt to discuss what they liked most about their birthday this week.

WHEN IS IT OK TO LIE TO YOUR KIDS?

"Do you lie to your kids?" ask the Momversation site this week.

Well, I think we should first take off the table from the get-go the "little white lies" we tell to spare someone's feelings -- like "you always look beautiful" or "of course I can tell that chicken scratch is a loving portrait of our family" or "no, the little bits of green in there are herbs, not spinach, now just eat your pot pie please".

I think we all have versions of the little white lie that we use in our daily lives, some maybe more than others, some maybe not so little, but for the most part, they can't really be considered lies as much as they are buffers to the truth.

Potato, potahto, I know, but there you go.

The rest of the lies we allow ourselves to tell our children seem to me to fall into 3 big buckets.

1) To avoid conversations that make US uncomfortable (sad, awkward, hurtful) -- maybe about death, divorce, transvestite hookers, for instance.

Being a lesbian latina couple born and bred into fairly traditional Mexican Catholic families, we made a concerted decision very early on to not lie to our kids about real-life situations. Too much of our own lives were affected so negatively by "well-intentioned" lies in the past for us to justify the hypocrisy and perpetuate unnecessary pain. It's not always been easy, for certain. And we have to remind each other often that the truth is really okay to say out loud. But children are surprisingly accepting of the world as it is, of people as they are, because truly they don't come with those predefined social filters built in. Those are inherited.

Depending on their age and understanding of the concept, though, we will provide more or less detail about a certain topic. Do they need to understand what HIV and AIDS are? Sure. It's so prevalent in our society today that they are bound to hear about it from one medium or another, from a child at school, or because they know someone or are someone who is infected. But do they need to know what sharing drug needles and having unprotected sex actually entails? God, no. At least, not yet. They're only 6. But we will have to be ready. Which leads me to #2.

2) To protect our children from things they're just not ready for developmentally. This one's a little harder to judge, I think, because very often parents will put lies that actually belong in bucket #1 into bucket #2, at which point I do think it's doing more harm than good because now the parents are actually lying to themselves, too.

That our children's moms have chosen to spend their lives together as a family has nothing to do with sex. Therefore, explaining homosexuality to children is no different than responding to, "Mom, why is Karl's skin so much darker than mine?" Because that's the way they were born, and this is the way I was born, and everyone's different, and that's what makes the world such an amazing place.

And finally...

3) To perpetuate fairy tales we may recall from our own childhood that hold fond memories or warm places in our hearts still. I think Santa, the tooth fairy, and the Easter Bunny all kind of fall into this one. I don't think it's such a big deal either. I do agree with fostering children's imaginations (to a point). Completely disagreed, for instance, when the kids wanted to build a leprechaun trap this week so that they could take his gold. But not because I didn't think it was ok for them to believe in little green men who bring luck and good fortune to the world -- just don't really condone the whole theft and abduction scheme.

But I also agree with the method some moms have alluded to of turning it back around on the children, so that they do determine on their own when it no longer makes sense for them to believe in these imaginary characters. Having been in their shoes, I think most of us can agree that at some point, we do grow out of it. But storytelling and the employment of metaphors and analogies to respond to questions about why the sky is blue, where rainbows come from, how the seasons change, why the wind blows, how the stars got into the sky, or any other infinite number of "why, why, whys" has been a part of most cultures since the beginning of time. They're traditions, customs, rituals. And while I'll concede that they're not always necessarily educational, they're certainly not hurtful. I would insist, however, that they could be more informational, and that we as parents could probably do a better job of providing more background information about the origin of "retail holidays" so that they're not stripped entirely of their true meaning and commercialized just for the sake of commercialization (ala "Festivus" from Seinfeld).

Cultural variations of these myths and fairy tales exist all over the world. Maybe it would be a fun family project to research the way another culture celebrates or recognizes a particular holiday and incorporate some of those customs into our own to create a holiday that isn't just a distant echo of something real, but something new and real that we've created together?

So, lying to our kids? Eh, to each his own, I guess. All I know is I'm not gonna be the one to tell them their birthday wish isn't gonna come true this year. And I'm okay with that.

What do you think?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WELL-WORLD WEDNESDAY

Easy, peasy, lemonade squeezy.
  • microwaves and BBQ grills use less energy than stoves and don't heat up your home when you're trying to stay cool
  • try not to buy products with excessive or unnecessary packaging and buy products in the largest size practical so as to reduce the product:packaging ratio. 
  • try to put off shopping whenever possible -- you may find that you didn't really need it, and you make less trips to the store

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

BUT WHAT IF I DON'T WANT THEM TO GROW UP

I'm overwhelmed today with sadness.  Don't want them to grow up.  Am thinking this is probably what got Nadya Suleman into trouble, though, and need to stop thinking these thoughts.

But six is just so old.  There's just no way to pretend they're still babies now.  At least not any legal way.  

They make their beds every morning (and I use all of those words very loosely), pick out their clothes, dress themselves, brush their own hair and teeth (and sometimes even manage to keep the toothpaste in their mouth and out of their hair).  

They feed and water the dogs, bring the garbage in and out, help put away the laundry and the groceries (under threat of nakedness and starvation, sure, but still).

They're reading and writing and arithmeticking.  Giving presentations, going on field trips, and putting on plays (ok, it was one very lonnnnng act at home, but it had a beginning, a middle, and an end, so it counts).

They're recognizing bullies and mean girls from 20-feet-away now and are arming themselves every single day with more and more witty comebacks and brilliant sarcastic retorts like, "Nu-uh," and "I know you are, but what am I?"

And, of course, I want to see what they're going to be like in 10 years.  Hell, I can't imagine the changes they're going to go through this summer alone.  But the babies they were.  I can't help but miss that.  The way they felt in my belly (all 209 lbs of us at 40 weeks). 

The first time they nursed.  Their furry (and you'll understand this if you're Mexican), round, roly-poly bodies.  The way their tummies jiggled when they laughed.  Their monkey fingers and toes curled around any and every thing within reach.  

The way they smelled in the crooks of the necks.  (And as I write that, my nose crinkles at the thought of my smelly little monsters today.  Sweat and lint and...gunk trapped in crevices and corners and follicles and pores that no amount of bathing or wet wipes seem to be able to alleviate.)  But back to the happy place...

And the quiet peace on their faces as they slept (for that whole two hours at a time).

But mostly today I guess I just feel blessed.  By something, someone greater than myself.  That I could create and grow something -- two somethings -- so magnificent, so perfect, without an instruction manual or survival guide.  And that despite all of my mistakes along the way (feel free to search this site for "another bad mama moment"), and no matter how far they flee as soon as they're able, they still and will always be my babies.  

Monday, March 16, 2009

DOODLING FOR THE GOOGLEDOM

Okay, posting all out of order this week, but I will get everything up by Wednesday, dammit!

Kids submitted their very first attempt at the Doodle for Google contest.  You know how Google changes their logo for every holiday and special occasion?  Well, they also have this annual  contest in which school-age kids compete in a handful of categories for scholarships.  

This year's theme was WHAT I WISH FOR THE WORLD.

After a number of attempts to get them to just try to think of something other than, "I wish the world was a giant ball of jello," or "I wish the whole world was made of whipped cream," I finally got them to draw something that fit within the parameters of the contest rules.  Well, sorta.  At least we could submit it.

See if you can guess which one is Saia's and which one is Chago's.

"I wish everyone could come to a birthday party for the world because then at least there would be one day without war."
"If all the animals and all the people could just live together in peace, it would be a much better world.  So, when your mother tells you to 'STOP ACTING LIKE AN ANIMAL!' you can say, 'But mom, I'm just saving the planet.'"

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

DIVERSITY BY WHO'S DEFINITION?

"Do you care about diversity?" asked a Momversation post recently.  

Momversation.com is kind of a cool (but overly commercialized) site that allows panelists (popular mom bloggers) to chime in on a variety of topics via vlogs.

And as I read the responses, because of course I, too, care about diversity, I realized that there was something missing.

My response to the post follows:
So, I know that diversity in this particular post is more specifically geared toward racial diversity, but when I searched for "gay" or "lesbian" on the momversation site, this was the only real post to which I was directed, which, I have to say is a little disconcerting as a lesbian mother of two 5-year-olds who also happens to be Latina.

And I guess I'm wondering why that is -- why lesbian moms don't appear to have much of a presence on mainstream sites and blogs. Not that we're being EXcluded by anyone, but I guess I'm wondering if there's a general feeling out there from lesbian moms that they would not be as accepted, that their opinions would not be considered as valid, that their contributions to raising our next generation of children would not be as appreciated, let alone welcomed by the straight parenting community?

And so they relegate themselves to gay blogs and communities, creating a sort of plastic bubble around their lives and the experiences of their children, insulated from threats of discrimination and bigotry, that I wonder how could that actually not be more detrimental to a child once they hit public school age and begin to realize for themselves that they are actually in a minority?

And I could just be making sweeping generalizations here, and I apologize in advance if I've offended anyone by doing so, but I think that that's actually intrinsic to this problem. There is just no real lesbian mother voice to speak of -- or listen to -- or learn from -- or share with. Although another commenter began to touch on sexuality as a piece of the diversity conversation, but it never went any further, and I do think it warrants more than that. Is actually crucial to include in conversations about parenting and motherhood and what it means to be a woman.

And not just from the perspective of being gay and raising children in a world that doesn't fully accept us. But also from the perspective of straight parents who's children may be exhibiting "signs" or who may even have children strong enough, brave enough, or raised in an environment open enough to allow them to come out to them.

I love the momversations on this site. I'm a new convert, for sure, but an old blogger. And except for the fact that my partner is also a woman, I can relate to, have experienced personally, or would like more information about almost every single topic discussed on this site to date. And have been blogging about them for years.

We are more alike than we are different. But our differences, like the differences between races, can enrich our culture and broaden our horizons in ways I think we haven't even begun to contemplate because the discussion, just begging to be had, just hasn't...yet.
And, so, I guess what I wanna know is...am I wrong???

WELL-WORLD WEDNESDAY

Okay, so this is only my second WWW post, but that now makes it officially a series, doesn't it?

Well, doesn't it?!?!?

So, in keeping with the last one, I went in search of 3 lesser-known things that you can do to conserve energy / save the planet with little to no out of pocket expense.

Here's what I was able to find this week:
  • turn off the burners / oven before you've finished cooking (obviously, if it's chicken/pork/fish, you'll want to ensure it's done, just not overdone)
  • move a few days worth of frozen food to the fridge (to lessen the times you go into the freezer, sure, but also to help cool the fridge)
  • if you use your dishwasher, turn off the heat-drying and only use it during off-peak hours
For last week's WWW tips, click HERE.

EPISODE 2 - ORAL REPORTS


In which the monsters discuss their kindergarten oral presentations on lions and lambs.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

WHO'S BOOBS? YOUR BOOBS!!!

Have been refusing to post all day today because if I do then I'll have to update my Twitter which will auto-update my Facebook and I don't wanna because I'm still just shell-shocked by the bosom buddies post today at herbadmother, and am dutifully trying to call as much attention to it as my little place in this world will allow.

I was, and still am, completely floored by the reaction she received upon posting that she had breastfed another mother's baby, whom she barely knew but felt she could trust, because she was in excrutiating pain from overengorgement (having left her breastpump at home, traveled to conference without her own baby, and unable to find suitable alternative pump around).  

Well, that's sorta the gist of it, anyway.  But I couldn't possibly do it justice, so please go read it for yourselves at They Shoot Wet Nurses, Don't They?

But for my part, I'm overflowing with questions.  Because the first half of the issue, the would-I-have-nourished-another-child part, doesn't seem all that difficult to answer.  Maybe it would be weird.  Maybe it would have to be a dire situation for the child.  Maybe it would feel totally natural as something we should've always been doing in our society.

But the second part, the would-I-have-volunteered-my-child-to-help-another-mother-in-distress is the part that's causing the big hoopla over there.  And I can't say with all conviction that I don't understand why.  And that surprised me.

I feel ashamed, I think, that I probably would not have allowed another woman that I did not really know (and truly, how can you ever really know anyone) breastfeed my child.  Nor would I allow them to give my child milk from a bottle they pulled from their own diaper bag.  So, I don't think this is a breast issue.  I think, for me, it's a general social mistrust issue that has evolved over decades and feeds on paranoia fanned by the media -- that you just never know anymore who you can trust, and so you trust no one.

And I really am embarrassed to admit that I recognize that limitation in myself.  What kind of woman, mother, human being would I be to just sit there and watch another woman in agony and not help?  How amazing was it that this woman, a virtual stranger, didn't really even think twice about helping another woman, mother, human being in need?  That it was almost knee-jerk.  That someone needed help, and she had the solution.

And I think that it's this feeling, this shame and embarrassment of not being able to say that I, too, would have been that compassionate, that I, too, am selfless enough to give of my flesh, that I, too, would help another without preconditions or disclaimers -- it's this feeling that's making so many other women, mothers, human beings lash out at the one who did.  Insinuating that these women were irresponsible, irrational, uncaring mothers maybe somehow makes them feel better about not being able to be that selfless themselves.

And I know that the breastfeeding issue itself is such a powerfully divisive issue already in this country.  Top that off now with popping your boobie in your friend's baby's mouth and, of course, you've got fireworks.  But what's so awful about this whole deal is that these women -- all of them -- the one who loaned out her child, the one who breastfed, and the one who blasted them on her blog -- were all at a conference for women bloggers.  And that's just sad.  In a place where women should be empowering other women, what resulted was essentially a cyber catfight.  

And, ultimately, the original blogger took her post down.  But what we don't know is why.  She didn't post her reasons, which only left the blogging community to assume she was "bullied" into doing so.  But assumptions is what got us into this predicament in the first place.  I would much rather her have stood by her post and defended it -- because when it comes down to it, she's entitled to whatever opinion she wants to have and share.  And the debate the issue has sparked, I think, is a great moment of self-reflection for women, mothers, bloggers everywhere.  But don't start self-censoring.  And don't cower.  Post an addendum if you must, but stand by what you said or don't post it in the first place.

Anyway...long story short, in my opinion, herbadmother blogger, Catherine, summed it up perfectly:  

"This is my motherhood.  These are my boobs.  Hands off."

Monday, March 09, 2009

AND NOW, FOR A DIFFERENT KIND OF ORAL REPORT

With Pukefest 2009 safely Oxy'd away, we were finally able to get back to putting the finishing touches on our oral reports this afternoon.

The theme was March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb, so Chago chose to do his report on a lion.  Saia chose the lamb.  Their basic requirements were to develop a cover page, answer a few general questions, do a little research and come up with at least two unusual facts about each.  They'll be presenting their reports to their class and to the third grade class sometime this week.

Presenting, people!  At 5 years old! I can't be the only one who thinks this is crazy.

But, naturally, we went overboard.  Yes, WE -- the royal we.  Hey, I don't have a job right now.  What do you THINK I'm gonna be doing if not doting on my children and pageant-momming their every single project?!  Do you not know me at all???

So, they worked really hard all last week to find 10 interesting facts each.  Yes, I know the teacher asked for two.  But ten is a nice round number, too.  Shut up.



And they jotted everything down in their notebooks and then off we went to Michael's on Thursday to find posterboards for her LAMB BINGO and his ODD FACTS ABOUT LIONS (their own titles, by the way).


Then they took each of their facts and annotated them to fit them onto their posters. His under fact wheels. Hers under numbered sticky notes.


And except for standing over them with a whip and and egg timer, I really didn't do anything at all.

Once they've given their presentations at school this week, I'll videotape them at home and post their final products.

So, stay tuned.




Sunday, March 08, 2009

CURSED MUSEUM FOOD!!

Shortly after bedtime (isn't it always), the moans and groans began.

"Mama, my tummy hurts," yells Saia.  And our simultaneous and immediate canned response = "have you gone potty today?"  

[Sadly, with two under six-years-old, this phrase has become so commonplace in our household that Amy and I will often find we do this to each other as well, and, to our own great horror and surprise, no less than 5 times out in public so far.  But that's neither here nor there.]

Then sometime during Saturday Night Live, which we're ever only really half-awake for, we hear "the noises" coming from the downstairs bathroom.  By the time I make it to their bathroom, she's standing in front of the toilet, just completely drenched.  Like...dripping.  Yes, really.

And in this moment I'm grateful for two things.  1) That we happened to braid her hair before bed, and 2) Citrus-scented Fabreze. 

For your part, you should be very grateful I did not take pictures.

To her credit, our poor little baby, she miraculously managed to hold it in as she raced to the bathroom down the hall. There wasn't a single drop or chunklet between the 5-foot-spew zone around her bed and the toilet. Not a trace.

But that's about it for the silver lining.

What there was...was putrid puke soup ALL OVER HER ROOM.  Her pillows were covered, her blankets were soaked.  Her stuffed animals were nearing suffocation.  Her canopy coated in the chunky unidentifiable mess was dressed with stringy gunky things that dangled over her step stool.  But all of that was even....well, manageable.  What we both stood and just stared at in utter disbelief before we began to swoon with the toxic fumes was what used to be the WHITE carpet.

Again, the appreciate for lack of photographic evidence should be overwhelming you right now.

But once we got her all stripped down, cleaned up and changed, sponged and scrubbed and wiped up all remnants, flung open windows, Lysol'd every single inch of the entire downstairs, and emptied out an entire can of carpet cleaning foam onto her floor, we got her comfortably set up on a pull-out mattress on the floor of our bedroom, and, at least for the moment, she seemed to be finally drifting off to sleep.  

When after about, oh, two minutes, we heard "the noises" again from downstairs.

Chago, however, tends to not be so independent about these things.  And, literally, just sat up in his bed and spewed all over his pillow and himself while screaming and crying in between gags that he just didn't want to be sick and couldn't I just make it stop.

Cleaned up, clothes changed, more loads of laundry, more Fabreze.  

Rinse and repeat.

Finally got both monsters settled down on the pull-out bed around 2am.  But that's when the real fun began.  Up and down to the restroom for the next 5 hours.  And yes, of course they took turns (so it felt exactly like it did when they were 3 months old and not yet on a sleeping schedule -- i.e., the second we laid one down, the other one started to cry).  

But by 3:30 or so, we had it down.  We'd laid a trail of towels from the mattress to the bathroom.  On the back of toilet was a bottle of water for rinsing -- NOT DRINKING -- as everyone learned very quickly after chugging it the first time that it only made for a more watery grave for their bile the next time around.  Right next to the toilet was a container of Clorox wipes, so that after each episode, I could wipe down the entire area in the vague hopes that it might be the last time.  On the counter waiting for them, was a capful of their children's mouthwash.  Swish, gargle, spit.  And then onto the Costco-sized bottle of hand sanitizer, which they just hit mechanically as they trudged back to their makeshift bed, already half asleep before they even hit the pillow. 

It was a veritable assembly line of germicides.  But you better bet it was damn-well efficient, baby!

And then sometime on Sunday afternoon, we have no idea what time it was -- because on top of no sleep, no food, seared nostril hairs, and the delirium that had set in, SOMEONE decided it was the best possible day to change the clocks -- we all started crawling out from underneath our blankets.

The rest of our day consisted of chicken broth, napping, unsalted saltines (yes, I realize oxymoronicity of this), napping, bananas, napping, and Gatorade.

Still no idea what exactly they ate on Saturday that could've done this, but am not very happy with the museum today.

And, just a guess, but we're probably staying home tomorrow. 

Saturday, March 07, 2009

HE DID IT! YAY! A BLUE CARD WEEK -- FINALLY!

Although I'm still convinced he was able to negotiate his way out of a couple of potential green cards this week (which, in my book, would probably earn him a few extra brownie points), ultimately he ended the week on an ultra high note -- 5 blue cards!  A phenomenal feat for our little squirmy worm.  Regardless of how he got there.

For his reward, he chose to go to the new California Academy of Science museum, which we've all been dying to see since December, but, well, have been trudging through a sea of green and yellow cards for the last 2 1/2 months!

So, yeah, we made it.  And it was very very cool.  The architecture was truly amazing.  The living roof was visually spectacular and just the pinnacle of the green things the building stands for.  It had an aquarium, a planetarium, a historical museum, and live animals.  My only complaint was that I wanted more.  

Amy says she read that they use it as a night club after hours, which must just be the neatest thing.  Well, unless you're in one of the tanks, I guess, with strobe lights and a disco ball assaulting your senses every Saturday night.  Maybe we can even see the unfortunate epileptic affects live on the 24-hour Penguin Cams.

For the rest of the series, click here: The Monsters' Photo Page

Also, as a side comment -- found it very sad (or not) that my new camera died midway through our day and I had to resort to my iPhone for the rest of the shots...and you can't even tell the difference.  Is this a good thing?

Friday, March 06, 2009

THE TOOTH FAIRY COMETH -- OR ELSE, MOMMY WILL!

Poor baby.

She's got two loose teeth now. And at least 4 people in her class have already lost one of their own. She's ACHING for them to come out, but they are flat out refusing.

She tried doing the apple-a-day thing for a while, but that got old after two days. And both Amy and I are just sick to death of seeing her nasty grubby little hands in her mouth every second of every day fiddling with her pearly whites. But she wants it out. She does. But she's scared, naturally, and starting to feel a little attached (pardon the pun) to it and not really wanting to let go of a part of her body that's been with her "for ALL MY LIFE," she says.

But now, to top it all off, she's got a monster of a tooth (thanks, Mom) protruding from behind her stubborn baby ones. And if she doesn't let her Mommy yank out one of those little wiggly ones with that red thread tied to a doorknob soon, that honker of a tooth is gonna turn around and just eat her own tongue!!!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

PROP 8 HEARINGS TODAY!!

I'll be tweeting up-to-the-minute posts via Twitter (in the sidebar) and on Facebook.

Come join me.

And view the arguments live on CNN.com Live at 9am PST.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

WELL-WORLD WEDNESDAY

Okay, so I'm posting this on Friday for the Wednesday I missed this week, but I wanted to get into the habit of posting some easy things you can do around the house to help conserve energy and minimize your carbon footprint while saving money -- me, being the one without the jobby job, you know, and any source of substantial income (or social interaction, let's not forget).

So, I found this amazing list of stuff you can today -- for free -- and some other stuff you can do for very little -- that will make you feel like you're actually doing something besides just separating the cans from the glass from the plastics.

Granted, most of it is common sense, but I'm totally guilty of being non-sensical on a daily basis, so it doesn't pain me too much to get whacked over the head now and again with a reminder.

At the top of my "who knew?" list, though, are these little gems:
  • Disconnect the microwave bulb (yes, I, too, thought the bulb had something to do with the cooking, but evidently, no)
  • Unbundle wet laundry before placing in dryer (and then use dryer's moisture sensor)
  • Place newspaper under mattress to trap heat (am guessing conservative right-wing papers would retain more hot air, too)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

LET'S GET READY TO BOWWWWWLLLLL!

Really love that they're getting older.  That the things we wouldn't even have dreamed of doing a couple of years ago suddenly become part of our new and regular routine.  Like bowling, for instance.  

We've tried it once or twice before, sure, but on the whole it was waaaay more work than it was worth.  And, truthfully, it was really kinda painful -- particularly without beer in hand. But now that they're strong enough to carry their own balls and can actually make it all the way to the line without just dropping the ball on the floor...or on SOMEone's poor unsuspecting foot...or into the not-so-terribly-pleased neighbor's lane, we don't even miss not having the beer around.  Well, yeah, ok, maybe just a little. But the seasoned curly fries kinda make up for that.

And now that they can actually take instruction and make some genuine attempts to aim and even pick up a spare here and there (with the grateful assistance of bumpers, of course), they're just a whole lot more fun to hang out with. And even the occasional tantrums over missed pins are somewhat tolerable, seeing as how we ALL tend to take turns sharing THAT sentiment throughout the course of a game.

All told, though, we had a great time. Until the bill arrived, that is, and we were shocked to see we hadn't actually spent any less than when we go to the movies or to the museums or to play putt-putt (that's mini-golf to you non-Texans). And I remember when I was a kid that it used to be really cheap to go bowling. And they even had beer there, too! (Was that just a Texas thing, too?) And yes, walking to school uphill in the snow with no shoes on and all that. But seriously, does anyone know of any family activity ideas that won't cost us an arm and a leg? And don't bother with the hiking, biking, outdoorsy things. Just...don't.