This Wasn’t in the Brochure

May 29, 2007

Raising really little ones, I can deal with.  Teaching middle schoolers, I can deal with.  Jealous two and a half year olds who don’t take naps, don’t listen, and don’t play nicely, I’m not so sure.  Usually I’m pretty confident that I’m at least OKAY as a parent, but today I’m really wondering if Little Red would not be better off with anyone but me.  I feel like I’m only one step away from being the ineffective parent of a teen parent.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.  My discipline trick has always been to keep busy, and tomorrow is jam-packed.


Welcome, Wee One

May 28, 2007

Jess has just welcomed her first little one into the world.  If you have a minute, hop on over and give her some love!

There’s a Lot of Me in that Kid

May 28, 2007

It didn’t bother me that since he was born everyone has marvelled at how much he resembles his father, Little Red and I had a bond that went deeper than looks.  So what if he also has his father’s sleeping habits?  I know he’s mine, too, and knew that someday he’d start showing me that he’s related to me, too.

That day has come.  We got some new toys in a baby gift yesterday.  I inserted the batteries and hung up both magnets and Little Red spent the entire day yesterday (and already this morning) playing both toys’ music simultaneously.  It’s a cacophony of children’s music juxtaposed in a seemingly haphazard way.  I can’t even be annoyed (unless I’m on the phone to my mother, then I took them away) because all I can think is, “this is how my keyboard harmony class felt.” 

I can totally understand how fascinated he is with playing both at the same time.  Maybe there’s hope for the boy after all?  Maybe he’ll be a modern composer, or maybe he’ll just be another math geek, taking after the men in my family?  It doesn’t matter, all that matters now is that he’s acting like me.  That pleases me immensely, even though the tired old lady in me doesn’t like to hear that noise over and over and over and over and over and over.

It’s the Little Things

May 26, 2007

I ventured down to the nearest outlet mall this morning, as Little Red is moving into 3Ts and I didn’t have any clothes for him!  (And I felt like I needed some retail therapy.  To most people retail therapy is dropping a few hundred dollars on the credit card from the mall, to me it is finally getting the things I need to get, on sale.)  I didn’t get as amazing deals as I had hoped, but some good prices, and spent enough money at Carter’s and Old Navy that I wasn’t sad when the bra store wasn’t having a sale on nursing bras.  I was so proud of the boys’ behaviour and proud of myself for sticking to the “has to be the right price” rule.

It was a quick, in and out trip (the best kind, in my book) and we made good time on the drive home.  I reached top speeds of 20 mph going through the 4 mile stretch of the East LA (delay) Interchange — very good given the holiday weekend.  We made the 15 mile drive home in about 35 minutes, which sounds bad to all of you who don’t know what it’s like to drive the I-5 through the city, but it was enough to make me happy.

While my landlord was fixing the toilet (yes, I finally reported that phantom flush) I was playing with the boys on the couch.  Little Red first asked to hold Early Bird, then asked for Early Bird to sit beside him.  Once positioned he directed me, “now take a picture.”  After I snapped a few shots of the two of them, he moved away and told me it was time to take photos of Early Bird by himself.  He cracks me up!

Deposit Drama

May 25, 2007

The only reason I physically enter a bank anymore is if I have a Canadian cheque, as everything else I can do online or at the ATM.  Last week was one such time, and armed with an extra adult (my stepmother) I got in line.  She took Little Red to the comfortable chairs and magically kept him quiet and contained the whole time. 

It was a Monday morning (I should have known better but I wanted that cheque deposited the sooner the better) and the line reflected that.  The computer system was down, adding to everyone’s stress, as the other branch in town was sending customers to our branch, not realizing that the computers were down there, too.  I waited patiently, and eagerly, as I saw that a friend from Sylvan was now working as a teller and I couldn’t wait to see her and to show off Early Bird, contentedly sleeping in the sling.

I didn’t get to Anita’s window, but the one directly to her left, so we still got to say hi between her customers.  My teller was more with-it than most, and when I explained that I had a Canadian cheque that needed to be exchanged he didn’t argue with me and tell me that it was already in dollars.  (ahem, a regular occurance at this bank.)  Fortunately, that part of the computer system was working, so while it took long, at least it was doable.

Meanwhile another customer approached Anita’s window.  He asked for a cash advance from his Master Card and Anita explained that the computers were down but that she’d try a machine at the back and see what she could do.  When she returned unsuccessful she politely explained that the transaction was declined.  He did not respond politely.  He screamed and yelled at her, calling her a liar.  He even said, “if you scratched my card I will sue you.  It is on camera and I have a witness.”  As he said “witness” he turned to me.

I didn’t look at him.  I continued to look straight ahead, trying to stay out of it.  I would never support him in something so ridiculous and rude.

The manager came by, ran the card again, and this time it worked.  Instead of being pacified by the transaction, it fueled his anger and beligerance.  As my own transaction neared it’s completion I was filled with the need to defend Anita, not just because she was my friend, but because he was being completely absurd.  Uncharacteristically emboldened, I spoke up.

“Actually, sir, I’ve worked with a lot of credit card machines.  Sometimes they come up declined when there’s nothing wrong.  It’s no one’s fault, it’s just a mechanical thing.”  I wanted him to know that we’d all been there and that there’s no shame and no blame.  He was livid.  This was none of my concern (although he’d tried to include me when he thought I’d be on his side.)  “I apologize.  I just think you’re being unfair to her.”  Again he reminded me that this was just between him and her.  (Sorry, when you’re that loud, the whole bank is involved.)

I walked away, finished, and he followed me, and again had words.  He was clearly imbalanced and for a moment both Liz and I wondered if he would get violent.  I was very vulnerable, much smaller than him and wearing my infant son.  He continued with words only as we left.  I stayed unemotional and calm, but when I got to the car I was shaking, realizing how scary it was.  I let it bother me for a few minutes, until I realized that I would have felt worse for not saying anything (actually the manager should have asked him to leave — his verbal abuse to her employee was completely inappropriate and he was disrupting the whole bank.)  I couldn’t ignore the feeling I had that I needed to say something, and even if it hadn’t been Anita, but just another anonymous teller, I’d still have voiced the injustice.

Chocolate Desires

May 23, 2007

The chocolate is multiplying.  It’s an organic, asexual specimen that is reproducing itself in my cupboard.  After Easter I felt confident that when the holiday candy was over there’d be no more chocolate in the house and we could get back to eating well.  (Un)fortunately, my in-laws came out and bought us a bag of Harry and David dark chocolate truffles.  Not long after that, my surrogate grandmother, whom I happen to visit teach, gave me a bag of Lindt Truffles and some bonbons for a mother’s day gift.  It was then that I knew I had to move all treats to the top shelf of the cupboard. 

Moving the chocolate from the medicine/vitamin cupboard to the very top shelf with the cocoa mugs was a good move.  Any craving required getting out the step ladder and climbing up.  With that kind of work I am less likely to mindlessly eat more chocolate than I realize, and I can guilt myself out of seconds.  Plus, there’s no way I can sneak on in the day without Little Red knowing.

Dad brought me a box of Lindt chocolates, too.  And I think I have some chocolate from the Cocoa Mill on the way…

I wonder if there’s a shelf even higher.

The Expected and the Unexpected

May 23, 2007

It started out as a short visit in the plans, but when we realized that both of our husbands would be away, my stepmum decided to make her visit down here 9 days long.  She came down on Mother’s Day and left last night. 

She had said she didn’t know much about babies, but still wanted to be helpful, so she would help with the cleaning.  I didn’t care if she helped or not, I was just happy for her company.  She did help, however, making supper nearly every night (and healthy food, too!)  She held Early Bird so I could shower and she played with Little Red while I fed Early Bird.  She helped me organize my cupboards (they had gotten pretty bad with the pregnancy — I stuck out so much that I could only get things into the cupboards by tossing them and hoping for the best, because I couldn’t reach any other way.)  She also took me shopping for some much needed kitchen and wardrobe staples.  Best of all, I had adult conversation and an extra pair of hands to help out with the kids.

On Friday Morning after Little Red went downstairs and greeted her he came back up with some juice.  He said nothing, of course, as he had juice (a real treat as I don’t keep it in the house normally.)  When we went downstairs Liz asked me if he had told me about the surprise.  He hadn’t, of course, with his mind on the juice so I asked what the surprise was.  “Grandad,” she said, simply.  I immediately jumped to the most unlikely scenario in my mind.  “Grandad’s here?” I asked, doubtfully, thinking probably there was a gift from him, or he was on the phone.

There he was, sitting on the couch in the living room -likely wondering how such an airhead could be his daughter.  I was totally shocked.  I was also more pleased than words.  (Once, when I was about 8, he sent me a stuffed animal in a very large box.  Mum was trying to get me to think about what could be in such a big box and I said, “maybe he sent himself!”  It’s all I really want, anyway, I don’t need gifts.)

I couldn’t believe how they had snuck this whole event around me, but in retrospect I can see it: 

* She asked detailed questions about the front gate and intercom system (I thought it was polite curiousity that came from a walk she was going to take during our naps and she wanted to know how to get back in.) 

*  She took Dad’s phone call in the powder room (I didn’t blame her, both of the boys were yelling at me — I thought she just wanted a quiet room.  Besides, who’d blame a wife for wanting a private conversation with her husband?)

*  She insisted that we have supper at Acapulco on Friday night, instead of Thursday as I had suggested (that one I thought was wierd, but I’m flexible and was willing to go with the flow.)

There were other clues, too, and as time goes on I remember more of them.  They totally pulled one over me and I had no idea.  It was a great surprise.  It was really great to have them both here for the weekend (long weekend in Canada.)  Little Red especially took to my Dad, but I guess with Paul out of town, Dad was the next closest thing. 

Dad went back on Monday morning (and looked a bit teary saying goodbye to Little Red — I hope this means it won’t be so long before we see him again), and Liz last evening.  After we dropped her off we came home and the boys and I went through serious withdrawal, having our loudest and longest night ever.  We slept well after we all cried out our woes and this morning we have a long list of little things: post office, vaccuuming, banking, etc.  It’s not as much fun as company, but we do need to get back to normal.