Sunday, November 27, 2011

Vet your child's wish to Santa!

We have a favorite Santa we love to see each year.  He's awesome.  In fact, he's the Santa who gave C the coin after the fireworks in the other story.  However, tonight I was remembering another time we saw this Santa.  A very fateful, and as it turns out, auspicious trip. 

C was 3 1/2 years old, and it's a weekend in December.  I had just found out a few days before I was pregnant, and we were pretty happy.  We asked C what she wanted for Christmas, and she had a few ideas...I can't remember what, but they were pretty standard for a 3 year old.  So we get to Santa, take the pic, and he says, "What would you like Santa to bring, little girl?"  She ponders this a moment, silently contemplating a range of options, and says, "I really want....little sisters." 

I'm sorry?  Wha....You can see the shock and confusion on Santa's face.  He's eyeing me sideways and sweating a bit.  Seriously, how does he answer this?  "Ummmm...well, that's not up to me...."  So I step in to rescue Santa.  "Don't worry, Santa, we've got that covered."  I pat my belly.  He looks relieved.  "Well, little girl, we'll see what we can do, but I don't think any little sister or brother will come by Christmas." 

"No, Santa, I want little sisterSSS," she says, stressing the "s."  Little sisters?  I look at my DH, he looks at me.  Uhhh...hmmm...we didn't necessarily PLAN on having any more kids...So Santa hastily offers her a candy cane and shoves her off towards us.  Can you blame the man?  How the heck is he supposed to handle this?  My DH and I aren't sure how to handle it!

It's January, the Monday night before I go in for my ultrasound.  DH and I are excitedly discussing the baby (I was sure we were having a boy).  He looks at me and says, "Heck, let's have twins!  That way we'll have a big family and get it all over with."  I'm sorry, who is this WE business, buddy?  I'm the one who has to carry these.  Twin boys?  No way!!  I am not sure if I can keep up with one!

So it's Tuesday morning, and we're off to the ultrasound.  The tech looks at my belly and says, "You are kind of big for 10 weeks, you know."  So I've gained weight!  Thanks a lot!  Don't you know you get bigger faster the second time around?  I lay down, and look!  There's the baby.  Oh, so cute!  We buzz around the little one.  At 10 weeks we can't know the sex yet, but we can enjoy seeing our child look like...well...a child.  Then she flips the wand to the other side...Startled, I blurt out, "Was that another head?!?" 

DH looks at me, I look at him, blank mirrors of shock.  The tech responds, "Yeah, didn't you know that?  Why else would your uterus be so big at 10 weeks?"  She sees our faces, and says, "Oh...ummm...yes, you're having twins..."  GEEEAAAAAAGH!!!  I tell friends and family.  Everyone is overjoyed, except for one friend, who responds, "Holy S&%$!"  THANK YOU!!  That was exactly what I was thinking!!!

We come home and tell C the news.  She calmly replies, "Of course you're having twins.  I told Santa I wanted little sisterSSSS."  By now we're starting to think again, and I say, "Sweetie, what if you are having little brothers?  Or a sister and a brother."  Smugly she returns to eating her snack.  Hmmm...I'm just hoping she won't be disappointed.  Over a couple of weeks I finally convince her to consider the possibility of at least one brother. 

Two weeks later we're at the perinatalogist.  Once again it's ultrasound time, but fortunately we're better prepared for what we're about to see.  This time C is there, along with Gama.  The pictures on the TV aren't very interesting to her, and she's more concerned about whether or not she'll get a sticker at the end of this.  The tech says, "Do we want to know the sex?"  At 12 weeks?  Is that even possible?  C says, "Yes, I want to know about my little sisters."  The tech looks at her, stunned, looks at me, and says, "You already knew they were girls?"  My jaw drops.  C says, "Well, that's what I asked Santa to bring me, even if it was after Christmas." 

"Are you sure they are girls?" I ask.  "It's so early in the pregnancy."  The tech points to the screen, indicating genitalia.  "If they were boys, there would be something there," she replies.  "Definitely girls."  I look at my crestfallen DH.  In a small voice, he asks, "But...what about my boy?"  We all sit in silence, then tartly I respond, "Honey, when you can carry it, you can have whatever you want!" 

So long story short, the point is this: Be VERY certain you know what your kids will ask of Santa for Christmas.  He's a heck of a lot more powerful than you may realize! 

Oh, and I'm taking my eldest to buy lottery tickets...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Guys may be guys, but BOYS can be idiots!

I have to get this off my chest because I was SO ANNOYED this morning!!  I want to start by saying that when I'm talking about boys here, I'm not talking about the entire male gender.  Nor am I talking about males who are toddlers, pre-adolescents, college age, etc.  I'm talking about that subset and middle-aged males who REALLY shouldn't be know whom I mean.  Those guys who are 47, living at home, and whining because Mom won't let them put a FOURTH X-box in the living room....Definitely not smart enough to appreciate just how little responsibility they have, and how lucky they are that someone ELSE wipes their noses!

This morning C was participating in a Thanksgiving play written by and starring the kids in her enrichment group.  They made their own costumes and props and did all their own research.  I am so impressed with her first grade teacher!  It was just a 3 minute play, but there was a lot of good knowledge in there!  Her teacher has created a very student-centered, technology rich classroom, and I must say she's very inspiring to me!!  The kids love her, too. 

C also wrote an original joke that she was to read on their school news program, so I had to get her in early to be on time.  (Her joke: How does a turkey get into his house?  By using the "key" in his name - Tur-KEY!)  So I dropped her off and decided to head to Starbucks to relax in the intervening 30 minutes.  Can I tell you the last time I've done anything like this?  DH stayed home to sleep in and watch the twins until I returned, so I knew I could have some time to relax.  I take my gift card and buy one of those protein meals (which are really good) and a skinny coffee, and sit down in a comfy chair to relax.  It's about 7:25, so I have 15 minutes. 

To the left of me are a group of four middle-aged "boys" (see above definition).  At first they are talking about God, and how He called families to have at least one parent at home with the kids, because the women who work are destroying America.  Yeah, 'cause there are no families out there with two working parents just to make ends meet.  Of course women work just 'cause they are trying to destroy American society!  Then one guy says, "I mean, I made a CHOICE to stay home with the nanny because I wanted my kids to have ONE parent at home.  I wanted my wife to do it,  but since she's an ATTORNEY she refused." 

...Uh...ummm...I'm sorry?  Did you say NANNY?  You stay at home with the NANNY?!?!?  Because your wife is an ATTORNEY and can afford to have you stay at home AND have a NANNY?!?  What the?????  I want a nanny!!  Can I stay at home with a nanny?  How the heck is that parenting?  And more importantly, how do you think that your wife got that high powered job?  Clearly women's lib is totally destroying this poor man's life! 

The conversation continues in this vein about how these men chose to stay at home with their nannies because this is God's mandate (which book of the Bible, exactly?).  Then one guy sniffs, looks around at the rest of the patrons (some men, some women), and says, "Perhaps if they'd stop buying these fancy lattes they would have the money to stay home."  Dude, you nailed it.  It's clearly the love of fancy lattes that is driving women's lib and destroying this country's morals.  Now, you just go back to your pastry (which is SO manly) and venti coffee drink (oh, wipe the whipped cream off your nose, sweetie), and please tell us what else is ailing this world...

These pasty, pudgy, combed-over middle-aged boys...what do you think they do all day?  Obviously they are home for their kids (oh, except for now, when they are at Starbucks piously invoking the Lord's name while bashing women and whining about how they are only allowed ONE Maserati...).  My DH thinks I'm being unfair.  Every man deserves a chance to sit around all day and watch all of those classic football games he's heard about but ever seen!  Not to mention, do you have any idea how difficult it is to work AND watch soap operas?  He does agree men should get behind women having very high powered, fancy jobs.  He's even offering to stay at home while I become a VP...he said he'll handle the nanny applications...I don't know...perhaps I'm wrong to judge. 

At this point my time is up and I have to pop back over to the school to watch C's play.  As I get up to go, one guy says, "Oh, hey, I have to be home by 9:00 today."  Another guy goes, "Yeah, I have to leave early, too."  So let me get this straight, you sit here for 90 minutes in the morning?  You poor things!!  I left these tragic, troubled souls munching sadly on their pastries as I headed out to spend 10 minutes fighting traffic to go less than a mile.  Oh, the humanity! 

On another note, I'd like to take a moment to say how lucky I am to have so amazing a husband!  He takes responsibility for himself and his family, he gives me time off to see my daughter's play, and he is a REAL MAN! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


We've all done this, right?  You and a number of family members and friends get an email from family member A.  This email is meant to inform you of a potential scam or theft, and is sent because family member A cares about you.  In this case, the email regards the possibility of cashiers at stores like Walmart stealing money by claiming you requested cash back, but not giving you the cash back.  You read the email, and say, "This looks like a hoax."  So you check and discover, yep, it's a hoax.  You love your family, and don't want them to have more anxiety than necessary in this crazy, mad world.  So you send out an email to let everyone know that fortunately in this case there's no need for concern.  In my case, the email sent out to my family and friends looked like this:

"FYI: This is impossible.  The only way you can get cash back is by inputting that request yourself.  Cashiers cannot initiate this - it's a safety.

Not that checking your receipts is a bad idea, or anything!"

Thinking you've now performed your public service, you go about your merry way.  But family member B reads this and lets you know that family member A's feelings might be hurt to have her email so publicly corrected.  You don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, especially since both are doing this out of a sense of love.  So you send an apology.  But you can't just write ANYTHING.  You have to be careful.  You can't offend the offended family member by flippantly apologizing, or writing anything that could look flippant, because you are sincere in your desire not to you carefully craft an apology to let everyone know that you really don't want to upset anyone.  Mine looked like this:

"My apologies to all if the initial email response I sent sounded rude or curt.  I assure you I did not mean to be so.  I know that there are so many concerns about theft, and I was trying to reassure everyone that this is a scam.  I don't get to spend much time online these days, so I spend my evenings trying to shoot through my emails as fast as possible.  If I offended anyone with my words, please forgive me.  Chasing after three kids kind of crimps my internet time!  Much love to you all!"

In most normal worlds, this is the end of it, right?  HAHAHAHAHAHA!  Have you MET us?  Here in follows the email conversation.  Names have been changed to protect the (somewhat) innocent:

First reply (from someone who lives in my house and is the only person of the opposite gender in my house) we'll call Guy 1:
"I would like to apologize if anyone thought I was upset at Colleen's original email.
I also apologize for leaving my socks on the living room floor.
I feel better now.
Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?"

Next reply from another person we'll call Guy I've known all my life: 
"Well I apologize for getting upset, I was thinking this would be the perfect way for me to transition into retirement by working at Wal-Mart as a cashier and being able to generate enough tax free income to truly retire.  Darn another perfectly good plan down the tube socks."

Next reply from another recipient we'll call Winner of Best response: 
"Well!  What a fire-storm!  I was offended by all of you.  Don't send me any more of these e-mails, ever and I mean ever.  My time is much too precious to be spending it reading all these emails.   And now I'm worried about every transaction I make at every store I go to and I'm under so much pressure from these warnings and you know, there are other things out there to be afraid of.  Like spiders and snakes.  and ...what are those little bugs that have those pinchers...they look like small lobsters...yes, stay away from them too!

So glad to be included in this nonsense.  Love y'all"

Last reply from person we'll call Guy I've known all HIS life: 
"The person responsible for sacking the person who has offended the group has been sacked.  Thank you.

--Management" what?  After laughing your butt off, what do you do?  I mean, you really didn't mean to offend any family members (and the good news is for the record no one was offended - this has become a fun family joke).  But at the same time...I mean, did you READ the email thread?  So here's where I decided to go in the end: 
"AAAAAAAAUGH!!  There are insects with little pinchers out there stealing my money from Walmart and stuffing it down people's tube socks?!?  I can't deal with all of this - no more emails!  
To [Winner of Best response]: YOU are hilarious!  Thank goodness you've been fired!"  
Oh your family and friends are NUTS but you love them!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

People can really be amazing...

Today I went to the grocery store with my girls.  It was one of those days that reminds you that people can just be amazing...and not in the good sense.  No worries, I'm still a believer in the goodness of humankind.  But it's one of those days that leaves you shaking your head and thinking, "Just how fast can I get home?..."

I went to the Publix by my house.  It's our "home" grocery store.  Everyone in there knows us (and if you read my "plumber" article, you know they may know more of me than I wish...).  The produce manager regularly comes out with sliced produce for the girls.  The sample lady always gives me a little plate to feed the girls.  The pharmacist and her assistants are always so excited to see us - unless we're picking up antibiotics or something, and then they are always very kind and sympathetic.  It's our favorite store. 

I'm sure it will come as a great shock to learn I'm a creature of habit (please, I'll wait until you can breathe again...)  I always pull into the same row and then back down the next row to park in pretty much the same area.  Today, as I'm pulling into the first row, this lady just suddenly shoots backwards with no warning.  It's not her fault, she can't see me.  However, today I've got this jerk on my tail who simply has to get... SOMETHING from the store RIGHT NOW!!!  So I nearly get rear-ended.  The lovely person behind me starts blowing on his horn.  The lady in front of me (who's got a couple decades on me) freezes.  She doesn't pull into her space.  She doesn't continue backing up.  Her hands alternate between flying up to her face and back to her wheel.  Jerk continues honking.  Lady in front starts CRYING.  My girls start CRYING.  Oh crap, this shopping trip has dissolved before it began...then the lady looks at me.  RIGHT AT ME.  She flips me off.  Seriously?  I'm trying to be patient with two crying girls in the car, and you are going to flip ME off?  Then she finishes backing out and leaves.  You can already tell what a good trip this is going to be, huh? 

I pull around to my usual spot.  The guy takes her spot.  Of course, HIS tag doesn't have a handicapped sticker on it, but why should HE be held to the rules the rest of us must follow?  After all, we are but sheep, and he's...OK, moving on.  So we walk into the store.  Just as we walk into the first set of double doors, a lady and her child walk through the store double doors, so we're facing each other.  The woman has one child, probably around three, and I have the twins.  There's one double shopping care know, the kinds that's designed like a race car with the little steering wheels.  As any mom with two kids of same or similar age knows, you take the double cart when you have more than one child because it's the ONLY cart that fits MORE THAN ONE CHILD.  And how many does she have?  (No peeking, you should have been paying attention!  Bad reader!).  So I say, "Do you mind if I grab the double there?  I can't fit both twins and my groceries into a regular cart."  She looks me up and down and says, "Yeah, I do, I've got stuff to do, and I don't need her fussing."  She grabs the cart and walks off.  Uh...OK, yeah, see, this is a physics problem, and two objects of mass cannot occupy the same space at the same time...

So we head back out so I can scour the parking lot for a potential cart.  I know there's a lot of people there, but I've never come when there wasn't at least ONE cart I could use.  There!  In the back left...WA-A-A-AY in the back left...Eureeka!  I heft one girl on each arm and bust my butt to get out there.  Gasping and wheezing, I shovel each girl into her seat.  Good lord, are they using this parking lot for a football field in their spare time?  I swear it got longer with every step!  What am I feeding these girls?  I digress...

We rumble back into the grocery store.  At least the noise and vibration of the cart going over the asphalt never fails to make them smile!  Now we're in a better mood (I need a shower) and ready to shop.  We head over to the pharmacy to get our prescriptions (and ego boosts).  "All better," as the girls would say!  The shopping goes about like normal.  About 2/3 of the way through, the girls are alternating saying, "All done, Mommy?  All done?  ALL DONE?!?"  Finally, I can say, "YES!  We're all done.  Let's go pay." 

So I get into a ridiculously long line behind these two moms.  Each mom has a child...why, yes, one looks just like...oh, say hello to my lovely friend from the cart incident!  We'll call her Cart-Grabber for short.  So she and the mom in front of her are having a "mompetition."  You know - one of those "conversations" that's really a one-upsmanshp for "My mommy-ing if far superior to your mommy-ing."  So I'm listening (and snickering).  Here's a summary of the transcript:

Unknown mommy (using "I'm being so kind to explain this to a total simpleton voice"): First you need to wash the fruit, then you cut it in half.  But you don't want to transfer the pesticides all throughout the fruit, so you discard THAT knife and get another one to finish cutting the fruit into pieces.  (My thought: I'm sorry, exactly how did you NOT transfer pesticides in the first cut?....)
Cart-Grabber (using her "You are a total moron but I'll suffer through this to show that I can bestow charity on the less fortunate" voice): Oh, well, I suppose that's well and good, but if you use a fruit wash to take the pesticides off in the first place, you've solved the problem.  (My thought: With a mom like you, I think pesticides are the least of the problem...)
Unknown: Yes, but only if you aren't worried about the fats and sugars the wash transfers to the fruit.  I wouldn't want my little sweetie gaining weight!  (My thought: ?!?!?!?  Have you ever read the label?!?)
Cart-Grabber (Sensing blood): My child won't be gaining weight, because I monitor her fat intake VERY carefully.  (No wonder that woman is such a ______ - give her a chocolate bar, stat!  The kid, too.  The kid is what, three?  And a certain amount of fat is needed for normal bodily functions!)
Unknown (triumphantly, as she's about to trounce the mompetition): Well, since we're vegetarians, we don't have to worry about anything like that!  ('Cause there's no meat-eater in the world who could be healthy!  You know, like all of those meat-eating Olympians...clearly riddled with unhealth!) 

(Side note: I'm not making fun of vegetarians at all, just this charmer.  You all have the right to decide what you eat, just like me.  Now pass me a cheeseburger and no one gets hurt!)

At this point, both children begin to whine.  Unknown and Cart-Grabber reach into their diaper bags and pull out drinks and snacks.  I'd like to say before we go any further I am NOT making this up!!  Unknown gives her kid a water.  Child throws water on floor.  Unknown says, "What do you want, sweetie?"  Sweetie wails.  Unknown reaches back into bag and pulls out one of those little blue drinks in a barrel.  You know, the ones FULL of SUGAR?!?  She puts it into a sippy cup and Sweetie begins sipping happily.  Meanwhile, Cart-Grabber pulls out (again, I SWEAR this is the truth) a half-full diet coke, pours some into a sippy, and hands it to Little Darling.  She also gives her a package of those 100 calorie cookies?!?  Let me get this straight, you monitor fat, but NOT sugar?!?  And I'm not vegetarian, so I don't know if those little barrel drinks would fit in that type of regimen, but again...IT'S ALL SUGAR!!!!  There's NOTHING redeeming about those.  You give them to your child at a birthday party, or a special occasion, not in PUBLIX because you're stuck in LINE!  You do understand what happens to sugar in your body when you eat too much, right? 

Unknown begins checking out.  Cart-Grabber turns around and sees me.  She gives me a superior smile and says, "Can you believe that woman?  As if vegetarians don't have to worry about fat!"  Then she looks my girls up and down and says, "You might want to consider monitoring your children's food intake."  I just shook my head and began scolding the twins who were a little too close to the flowers at this point and wanted to "pick some for mommy"...(admirable thought, ladies, but not in the budget).  Yes, I'm so glad you are monitoring their pesticide intake, ladies.  That way they can live a very long life treating their TYPE-II DIABETES or other sugar-related illness!!!

Oh yes, people can really be amazing!