Sunday, September 25, 2011

Halls, I hate you.

Not because of your menthol goodness. Not because I've been hack hack coughing enough to need you in the first place. Because of the stupid little messages on your wrapper.

"Power through!" "Take charge and mean it." "Fire up those engines!" "Tough is your middle name!"

No, actually my middle name is "Hates Going to Work While Hacking Up a Lung." It's a little long for monogram purposes.

Now I am completely late to the party on this because the Interwebs tells me this particular stealth ad campaign has been going on since last year. But I didn't hack this much last year, or else I was, you know, too busy ripping open the wrapper in an attempt to stop a coughing fit to bother seeing what was written on it.

I'm going to guess somewhere, out there, are people who enjoy these little pick-me-up messages. Maybe they even feel inspired. Maybe they also enjoy learning Chinese from the backs of fortune cookie fortunes. (I like the fortunes. But only when everyone reads theirs aloud to each other and then we all mock them.)

All I think of when I read these messages is "I feel lousy and I have no voice and I still have to go to work and potentially conduct business calls while hacking into the phone and everyone around me will recoil in horror in case I'm contagious, even though the doctor said I'm not and shrugged the whole thing off, as in: Sucks to be you, take some Mucinex." And then I kind of want to punch the wrapper.

I'm just not an inspirational-message kind of person. Those messages always seem designed to make people do things they don't want to do, or shouldn't be doing. I don't get inspired by the kitten hanging from the branch. I think, "Why is that kitten in the tree? He's way too young to be climbing trees like that. What if he falls? Where's the fire department?" Partly because I'm a cat person. But mostly because I'm a smartass. Want proof? I thought this was funny.

So I keep taking the Halls and I keep going to work (since calling in sick did absolutely nothing for my cough). Today I seem to be coughing only a little bit. I'm hoping that's some sort of upward trend.

Because otherwise I'm going to have to keep reading those stupid messages.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

And the house is still standing

I suppose when several moms in a row tell you how brave you're being, it probably means they're thinking you poor dumb sap, nice knowing you. But really I didn't think of it as "brave" to host kiddette's 2nd birthday party in our house. There are almost no kids in her school/daycare class, and we weren't sure how many friends of ours with kids were going to show up, so it didn't seem to pay to book a kiddie party place. Plus we tend to invite family and close friends back to the house anyway after one of those shindigs -- which after all are only an hour and a half, and our family/friends are scattered all over several state lines -- meaning we end up holding two parties, basically, with two parties' worth of food. So DH and I shrugged at each other and said, let's just have it here.

We did have a momentary panic when we realized we were expecting 40-plus people, 14 of which were children ages baby to 5. And then we shrugged again. We were going to order pizza anyway, we could figure out some games, we could toss the kids in the back yard if it didn't rain. We have a playroom and a mostly empty living room, on account of we moved here from a condo and are a little light on furniture. It would be fine. And if it wasn't, kiddette wouldn't remember any of it anyway.

Some lessons learned:

• Party hats are a waste of money because they are easily disassembled.

• Pin the Tail on the Donkey is not played at kiddie play places and therefore will not be a hit at your house party.

• Go light on hors d'oeuvres, heavy on juice boxes.

• Your pizza joint may say they'll double-cut a few pies for you, but you will end up doing that yourself with a random kitchen knife -- because you don't own a pizza cutter -- as hungry kids watch.

• The hardest part isn't getting the food, or preparing it; it's serving it to said hungry kids while trying to make sure there's some left for the grownups.

• If your son takes a few buddies upstairs to play in his room, that means they're jumping on the bed.

• If you go to the trouble of creating an iPod playlist for the occasion, the speakers won't work.

We had no particular schedule of events. No clown. No musician. No balloon artist (in fact, no balloons. Kind of a choking hazard). No traveling zoo or costumed pirates/princesses or any of that. Just a bunch of kids running around, and room to run in.

Needless to say, they appeared to have a blast. And the grownups, who were able to mingle and chitchat in a way they can't while watching their kid climb the inflatable slide at a play place, seemed to enjoy themselves as well.

Don't get me wrong -- it was chaos. But the happy kind. I don't think I heard one tantrum or argument (although possibly I was deaf at that point). And since there were adults in nearly every room keeping an eye on things, I was even able to mingle a tiny bit.

I don't think we would do a house party every time. It's definitely more work, in terms of the cleaning and the cooking and the logistics of serving the food. But it was -- dare I say it -- fun.

And as soon as we get the empty gift bags off the floor, toss the tissue paper and boxes and find a spot in kiddette's bedroom for the mini menagerie of plush she got, we'll be back to normal. Ish.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

He makes me proud, and then he makes me nuts

Our fine young kiddo has gotten himself potty trained. To the point of peeing by himself, washing his hands by himself, and five hours later, turning off the faucet by himself. (Just can't wait to see the water bill this month.) I'm still waking him at night for the after-hours bathroom trip, but nine times out of ten, he's still dry when I do it. Then he staggers, blank-eyed, down the hall, and after I prevent him from walking into the wall three or four times, he goes potty. Halfway through this process he wakes up a little more, and gets this grin on his face, like oh, here we are again. And then I guide him back to bed.

We're also still using the suppositories, but some nights he doesn't need them. Sometimes he goes all on his own, like the other day at a restaurant where he and I were eating lunch before our monthly Trader Joe's trip. He announced that he needed to poop, we hurried down to the restroom, he did his business, no problem. Absolutely the opposite of a few months ago.

So all appears more or less well there. Now if only he would, oh, I don't know, listen when I talk. Like if we're at the farmers market and I tell him to stay with me, I would appreciate it if he did not run right into the street. (The street is blocked off for the market. But still.) Or if I tell him not to touch anything, it would be nice if he did not use his hand to compress a loaf of bread into flatbread. Or if I say "no doughnuts," if he would be so kind as to not whine "I want a doughnut I want a doughnut I want a doughnut" until my ears want to crawl right off my head so as not to hear the whining anymore. Or also, if he would not sit on the ground under the produce tent and throw a mini fit because of the no doughnuts.

Really, I think the farm salesfolk dread our visits at this point. I go to pay for my produce and they have this look on their faces like You are a horrible mommy and we hate your child. I would buy produce elsewhere, but support local farmers/get fruits and veggies as fresh as possible/etc.

What's irksome is that the entire reason I bring him with me is for some mommy/son time, since kiddette has gotten especially clingy lately and does not think she needs to share her mommy with anyone on the planet ever. But mommy/son time is getting seriously compromised by the fact that I just want to buy some lettuce and peaches, dammit, without having to run after a small whiny person who seems to have a perverse desire for time outs.

I'm just wondering how long it will take for him to get the message on this one. The message being "No means no and whining annoys Mommy and then there is time out." Considering how long the potty thing took, I guess I shouldn't hold my breath. But you'd think he'd catch on that I don't change my mind and he doesn't control the universe.

While at Trader Joe's, he insisted on holding something, so I gave him a bag of raisins. In the checkout line, he broke into dance, wearing the raisins like a hat, chanting, "I'm a raisinhead! I'm a raisinhead!" Which I tried very hard not to laugh at, since I figured it was annoying the people around us. Then the cashier mentioned how funny he was. And the woman behind me said "He's so cute" and proceeded to tell me about her grandchild.

I know most people (farmers market excepted) find him far more charming than I do. Just a thing for me to keep in mind.