Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The 5 Pranks I Pulled Over On My Monsters This Morning

So, it definitely took some concerted effort this year, and even a couple of back-up plans, but I finally got my little April Fools!!

  • Cellophaned the Entrance to their Bedrooms

    And put a sign on the floor on the other side to distract them enough that they (hopefully) wouldn't notice the shimmering. Was actually hoping they'd wake in the middle of the night to go pee, but they totally slept thru. Of course. Then my alarm goes off this morning and the dawn begins shining through, and I'm thinking that I'm completely screwed because now I have to leave all the lights off instead of 1-2-3'ing their lights on for their regular morning wake-up call. AND nevermind that I can't go into their rooms to kiss them awake because...yes, I've saran wrapped myself out. They're totally gonna figure this one out! Good thinking there, Mama.

    So, I called them awake...a couple of times...from the hallway...from the kitchen. And they both just yelled at me from their beds that they thought I was playing a previous year's joke on them again where I moved all the clocks forward but it was really only four in the morning, so everyone refused to budge! Ugh. Finally convinced Saia to confirm the time on her iPod and she took the plunge, and like a giddy toddler on Christmas morning, I waited patiently in the dark hallway between their two rooms with my hand over my mouth as she turned her light on and stumbled toward the door.

    It worked like a charm. She reached for the note on the other side of the invisible "door" and brushed up against it with her bedhead. She jumped back with a squeal, the delicate curtain static-clinging to her arms, legs, and head, as she tumbled backward onto her chaise, arms flailing about as though she were caught in a giant spiderweb. I nearly peed my pants. I had to rush in to cover her mouth quickly, laughing under my breath and whispering in her ear, "Happy April Fools' Day, babygirl!" but pointing down the hall to alert her that her brother hadn't yet fallen for the prank. Then she was all in!

    The two of us danced on our tippy toes with our hands wringing at the thought of the boy plowing into the saran wrap on his sleepy way to the bathroom. We sprinted down the hallway as I faked hollered for him to hurry up and come to breakfast. And when his light went on, finally, we both nearly squeeeeeed. And then he says, as he carefully maneuvers his way off his bunk, "Hey, what's with the plastic curtain thingy?"

    Ugh. Darn boy. Onto Plan B.

  • Baking Soda in the Potty

    Once he hobbled his way to the kitchen, I realized in all the excitement and retelling of Plan A that he hadn't yet gone to the restroom, so I hurriedly poured some baking soda into my hand and casually went down the hall to drop it into the toilet bowl. About 30 seconds later, he remembered, and click-slide, click-slide, made his way back down the hall. As soon as he shut the door, I told Saia, and then we both stood outside the bathroom door...listening. (I know, I know. So not right.) But when he didn't react right away, even though the...er...sound clearly indicated that the chemical reaction should be in full effect, I scooted back towards the kitchen and yelled, "Everything okay in there?" Very inconspicuous like. Shut up. Yes, it was. But he just said, "What!? Uh, yeah, mom."

    Darn oblivious monkey. Onto Plan C.

  • Extraterrestrial Cereal

    Zooming back into the kitchen, I reached for my food coloring and stealthily added a few drops of green and blue at the bottom of their cereal bowls. Once they sat down (him first this time, thank goodness) and they poured the milk in, about 10 seconds later their cheerios, bananas and strawberries were all swimming in an ocean of teal colored milk.

    "Hey!" he said with a huge smile on his face. "What in the world happened to my cereal?" :)

    Okay, okay, so it was definitely something, but I still wasn't completely satisfied. Better throw in Plan D.

  • Salty Toothbrushes

  • By the time they finished breakfast, they were suspicious of every move I made. So, of course, I played it all cool and nonchalant and told them it was snowing outside (which is one I've used on them every single year since they were 2 and really thought it would just throw them off my scent). Surprisingly, because of the hail we had yesterday, they both rushed to the window to see. Too distracted to revel in that mini victory, I slunk down the hallway with a handful of salt, took their toothbrushes and rubbed it in. But good.

    After the disappointment of no snow fell away and they began to believe that maybe they were safe again, I pounced into our 15-minutes-to-get-out-the-door routine, which drove them instantly to their toothbrushes. And then...ahhhh...music to my prankster ears..."MAAAMMMMMMAAAAAAA!!!!!!!"

    Gotcha, babies! :)
But just for good measure, I carefully opened two leftover ringpops from Halloween, replaced the rings with baby carrots and broccoli florets, and superglued them closed to pop into their lunches this afternoon. Because duh!

Thursday, February 06, 2014


So…about the Olympics tonight…

I’m a self-admitted Olympics addict. I download the apps. I check for updates throughout the day at work. I watch from the moment the Today Show anchors travel to the games to every single interview and this-is-their-life story post-games. I adore them. All. And for all the reasons you’d expect. For those same reasons, in fact, I follow NASA posts, Nobel Prize nominations, research and development discoveries, and humanitarian / political / agricultural / and environmental activism. Because these folks were blessed with something by whatever God or fate or chance you believe in. They’ve got skills and talents that I could never possess. And they know how to wield them. They represent the best in all of us. And the games themselves still encourage a healthy level of international competition that always makes me feel idealistically encouraged and globally connected to the whole human race in a way that the horror stories on the world nightly news just can’t.

That being said, I can hardly believe how horrific things are in Russia today, and I’m genuinely finding it increasingly difficult to support not only the host choice, but the financial benefits they and the sponsors will reap because of this event.

BUT...were it not for the Olympics, we might not all have seen the reality of the situation come to light there. The rug has been pulled back; the closet doors flung open, as it were, and all their inhumane and culturally tyrannical skeletons are falling out all over the place. So, with the spotlight squarely on them now, and all those truths no longer secrets, maybe now some level of global social awareness and political activism can and will lead to change?

But at what cost? To those in harm’s way. To our children. To those who signed up to be athletes, not soldiers, who are suddenly thrust into a dangerous and tumultuous situation. Who are knowingly and willingly standing up for what is right in spite of what terror may rain down upon them. They’re kids. And this isn’t The Hunger Games.

But it's hard not to recall Jesse Owens in 1936 or the Black Power Salute in 1968 (which Tommie Smith himself later wrote was actually a "Human Rights Salute"). How frightened they must've been. The courage that must have taken. And the strength they had to pull from in order to not only continue to represent their country with character and integrity, but still excel as athletes! It was impressive and amazing and inspirational. And our current LGBT athletes and all of their supporters and allies are no less of an inspiration. But the dangers should not be diminished by the pomp and circumstance of the opening ceremonies tonight.

The FAA terrorist threats are real. The Black Widow suicidal bombers are true. The brutal mass killing of stray dogs is absolutely reprehensible. But that's all really just a microcosm of the larger cultural dogma by which they govern their society. The constant, condoned, and public threats, the violence and the torture of the LGBT community in Russia is intolerable, unjustifiable, and impermissible. And it has to be stopped.

So, do we not watch the games? Does that stop anything? Does anyone care that I don’t have my TV on? No, of course not. Because we HAVE to watch the games. We have athletes to support. We have a country to support. We have to rise above the chaos and bigotry in our own nation, as well as others, in order to truly be the Americans represented by the Statue of Liberty. We have a great and powerful history of doing just that. But, and more importantly, we HAVE to continue to be vocal -- more active – louder, stronger -- and on social media, especially. No, walls haven't fallen because of Twitter, but we have more social activists now than ever before – with greater reach – and greater influence – and in greater numbers on a global scale than at any other time in history. And no, I don't know what the next steps should be or could be with Russia. Human rights tribunals? (at a minimum) An embargo? (oh, no, not the vodka!!), but something…SOMETHING…needs to happen...and will, with irrefutable certainty, ONLY happen if we raise our voices!

This is the most politically charged Olympics in some time. And while I agree that politics itself should not be the focus of the games, human rights and equality should -- always -- without a doubt.

Because the risks being wagered today are no less. And the message we were sending in ’36 and ‘68 is the same message we should be sending now. There are no sub-humans, no second-class citizens, no lesser thans. We are one in the same, and in many cases, yes, really terrifying versions of one another. But we. are. all. equal. And we won't be silenced.


Speak up. Tweet, post, blog. Often. And encourage others to do so.
Change is viral. Infect someone today.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Passing down the tongs...

So, after experiencing what seemed like an inordinate amount of illnesses and critical medical conditions and deaths this past holiday season and all the way into the new year, even, either too close for comfort, virtually through FB, or on TV, it's been sitting like a ball of acid in my belly, churning and grinding, hissing and spitting...

What if tomorrow never comes?

And although I'm not really emotionally ready to deal with the actual possibility of that all too inevitable reality, I decided that at the very least...

I could teach them how to cook. 

Full meals. Great meals. Family meals. Because food is home. And sharing. And moments. And holidays. And love, and arguments, and weddings, and funerals. And that's what I want them to remember. All the levels and flavors and depths of love.

So tonight, Saita decided she would make Mama's Chicken Tacos. From scratch. On her own. And she did!!  Three hours later, we're sitting down to the absolute best chicken taco meal I have ever had in my whole. entire. life. 

And all I can taste...is her love.

When being alarmed is not so bad...


I sat bolt upright in bed. What the hell was that?


It was getting louder.

It was coming from Chago's room.

It was an...I think that's an...oh, dear God, I think he actually set his alarm!

And sure enough, in one fluid movement, he pops right off his top bunk, slams the snooze, flicks on his light without a second's hesitation that we normally have to 1-2-3, snatches his book off his desk, and hops right back into bed.

"Uhhhhh...Bubba? What's going on, babe?"

"Morning, Mama!!" says Chipper Charlie.

"What are you doing, son? It's 5:45 in the morning!"

"Huh?" he says without even lifting his eyes off the page.

"Son!" I say. "What. Are. You. Doing?"

"Oh," he finally acknowledges, "well, I didn't get to finish my book last night and it's really, really good, and I only have *this* much to go, and..."

I put my palm up. Smile from every little place inside me and out.  And go back to bed.