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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Where is the Love?

Our kids want to help do everything, and we usually try and let them help when we can. There have been times when I have been patient enough to let our two help with the dishes. They have water everywhere but in the sink, they fight over who washes and who rinses, and of course they really want to play so they don't get the dishes clean. (We'll see how quick they are to volunteer to help in a few years)
Tonight, we finished up dinner and began cleaning up. We heard water running and a commotion in the kitchen. There they were at the sink, standing on two small stools arguing over who would wash and who would rinse the dishes.
"No! I'm five so I get to do it!" yelled our daughter. "You don't tell me what to do anyway!" our son shouted back. "Well you're still a baby and you go to daycare!" she added. "Well dove," he incorrectly responded. ("Dove" was supposed to be "Duh"- but he's only three)
We finally heard enough and intervened.
"What are you two doing anyway?" I asked. "Mommy," she laughed. "We're gonna wash the dishes."
I hated to disappoint them but I didn't have the patience tonight. "No babies, not tonight," daddy told them. "Thanks anyway, but go on and play for a little bit more before it's time to go to bed."
Surprisingly they left without whining or complaining, but they did stomp off. A minute later they came back into the kitchen looking through drawers.
"What do you need?" I asked. They kept searching as if they didn't hear me. Daddy and I looked at each other and he said, "Did you hear ya mama. What are ya lookin' for?"
They were looking for markers. "Oh here we go!" our daughter smiles. She motions for her shadow (her brother) to come with her. They march off again and on their way upstairs, she says to him, "We need to make them some love cards because they don't have no love in their hearts." Easily persuaded, he joins in and says, "Dey need some love!" as he trips on the stairs.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Is About the Kids

I think I was more excited than the kids about Christmas! I was excited to see the smiles on their faces when they ran downstairs to see what Santa left. They definitely were happy and had more energy than anyone in the house. The adults stayed up 'till the 'wee' hours of the morning setting up the larger toys.
The kids left some cookies that they played with, sneezed on and one of them even bit a cookie to make sure it was good enough for Santa. They made the cutest note: Dear Santat I Like it Win You Bring presents Today. Louve You.
Pretty good note for a kindergartner, a three-year-old and two fifty something aged-grandparents helping them. I made sure Santa wrote them a note back and that the cookies were properly thrown,- I mean properly taken care of.
Daddy (not mad at him now) and my father spent hours setting up our son's Thomas the Train set which consisted of 161 pieces.
The adults finally crawled into bed around 4:00 am then about four hours later we hear the five-year-old, future Oscar contender, "Oh my God! Oh my God! Look at all these toys!" she screamed. She called for her brother, "Come look! I think there is something for you too- look, look, look!"
The sleep deprived adults quickly sprang up- eyes closed, crooked smiles, and still dressed in yesterday's attire (who had enough energy for pajamas).
"Oh boy. Wook at all deez presents from Santa!" our son smiled. "See mommy, I told ya Santa would bring us some presents," he adds with a smirk.
"And I told you that Santa sees everything you do, no matter where you are or who you are with," I told him.
He flared his nostrils and looked as if he wanted to say something until I raised my eyebrows and moved toward him.
"Look at this- Santa wrote you a note back," grandma said.
They ran over to see what the note said: HO, HO, HO! Thank you for the cookies. Love, Santa.
"Wow, mommy Santa 'gots' the same writing like you," my daughter said.
The adults all looked at me. Daddy was the only one laughing. "I told you not to write back."
"How do we have the same handwriting?" I asked.
"You both write like little children," she answered.
I bite my bottom lip.
We finally made it upstairs to see the train set. The men did a great job and thank God they didn't forget batteries. Everyone was hushed with smiles as we watched the trains go around the tracks. After some time we all went back downstairs for breakfast.
Of course the kids weren't very interested in eating, so we talked them into just drinking their orange juice before going back to play.
"I need somebody to come upstairs in the playroom to play with me and my choo-choo train," our son asked.
"I gotta get the dishes," I answered. My mom added, "I'll help you." The men both stretch and yawn. "Wooh! We're still tired from setting it up all night," daddy said. "Besides, I'll get the dishes since you cooked."
"Oh isn't that nice of you- doing something out of character like that, but that's okay," I said condescendingly.
My mom jumps in, "He's gone up there by himself."
About 15 minutes later, he comes downstairs with his Spider-man backpack on and he's dragging his matching suitcase which is half-zipped. All eyes are on him as he begins to unpack his bags. He begins pulling out the tracks from the train set. I close my eyes and begin chocking on my toast.
"What in the-" daddy begins. He looks over at me. "I know he didn't just go up there and destroy that train set."
"Well, destroy isn't a good word- he didn't have anyone to play with up there so he brought it down here to play with," I smiled, as I sat back and finished my toast.
"Uh, you still got the dishes?" I asked with a smile.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

Something told me after last Thursday's rehearsal for the church Christmas Play, to take our daughter out. Now the children practiced for the play for weeks. Last Thursday was the first time I sat in on a rehearsal. Surely since Mommy is in the audience she will be on her best behavior. Wrong! She put her arms, not hands, down in her pants- up to her elbows- I guess her arms were cold. She fidgeted a lot. Did some dancing (not part of the play). While the others were singing, she beat her chest twice with her fist and gave the peace sign. A friend in the audience tried to make me feel better by saying, "Hey, at least it wasn't half a peace sign". Where does she get this stuff from?
I talk to her about it after rehearsal and explain that she will not be able to do the play if she doesn't get it together. She seemed remoarseful but........ you'll see.
On the way home I phone daddy to let him know how practice went. I filled him in on everything she did.
We get home and he tells her he wants to talk to her. "Baby, we need to talk about what happened at practice tonight".
"Uh, didn't you already talk to mommy about it on her 'cegullar' phone?" she asks.
He moves to the edge of the couch and gives me a "Who is she talking to?" look. Then I give him a, "That's your child" look.
He bites his bottom lip and says, "Baby, you need to take it upstairs to your room before I-I- just take it upstairs".
Sunday morning comes and she is excited! I speak to her again about the importance of doing what she is suppossed to do in the play and no playing around. No EXTRAS! She assures me that she understands and will do the right thing. I give her a hug and pray over her:
Lord please help her to do the right things. Lord you know I don't want to go to jail but I clare if this four-footer gets up there on that stage and shows out... amen.
I take her back stage with the other angels in the play and hurry off to the Pre-K classroom to get them ready to go into the sanctuary to see the performance.
We get seated in the front just minutes before the show starts. I take a deep breath and exhale slowly.
All of the angels come on stage and I see her. I thought front row was a bad idea but she is one of the smallest ones. She's smiling and I feel like things may go okay. Then... not soon after the first song, she takes her halo off, leans her head back and flips her hair from side-to-side. She put it back on, then leans over to tie her shoe. She ties that shoe half-way through the next song. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
When it is finally her turn to do her solo (The First Noel) she steps up to the microphone confidently. The music starts and she points sternly at the director, who is seated in front of the stage. The director discreetly, with two fingers, points to her own eyes and points at my daughter- letting her know that she has her eyes on her. Well, my daughter does the same thing and tells the director that she has her eyes on her too. They go back and forth- the director is trying to be discreet and the audience can't see her well but they see the broken angel on stage. The audience is cracking up.
Surprisingly she still mangages to get through her song. She turns to go back to her spot and the audience applauds- someone stood up and clapped on the front row. She turns back to the audience and smiles. She goes back to her spot and bows. I am slumped down in my seat, hoping that people couldn't see her well enough to know she was mine. I didn't get it. I prayed over her. I look up and cry out, "Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?"

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Our daughter is so excited that she has finally, in her mind, mastered something she has wanted to do for some time now. Yes she can now snap her fingers. She shows us every chance she gets. She gets focused. Serious face. Mouth opens and then "SNAP!" It can be a milestone. Her younger brother has achieved one too! I know I am excited about it. He has been standing up when he uses the bathroom now. Can't talk to him while he is in the act or you may get a neat little unidentifiable mural.
I love it when he has to use the bathroom when we are out now. No need to line the toilet for him anymore- he's standing up!
We're out shopping and he had to go, so we quickly dart into the women's bathroom ("Dude" wasn't there to take him). "Look mommy, I'm a big boy," he smiles. "Okay, okay, just watch where you're aiming," I tell him. "Oh my God!" my daughter says. "How'd you do that?" she asks. I quickly realize she has never seen a male use the bathroom. I turn to help her brother who has duck walked to the sink. Then my daughter informs me that she needs to go. I turn to help her line the toilet and she is standing in front of the toilet with her pants down. "What are you doing!" I scream. "I want to try it too," she answers. "No, no, no, girl you can't do that!" I tell her. "Don't go yet, I gotta line it first," I added. She stands there looking confused. I try to explain. "Girls and boys are different and they don't have the same body parts." She laughs, "He's gonna have a hard time making stinky with that crazy lookin' thang."

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I know it's sill but I recently got mad at my husband over a shirt. We both have put on a few pounds since we were married seven years ago and we tease one another about it often. Well he is also a Dallas Cowboys fan. (Don't stop reading my blogs now) The other week Dallas beat the Colts and of course he was elated. Well the next morning he put on one of his Cowboys sweatshirts to wear to work- to boast of course and that's cool. Problem was that it was a little tight. I know he is grown but I had to say something and I tried to be as nice as possible. "You cannot wear that extra medium shirt". He looked in the mirror, then looked at me as if he couldn't see how tight it was. "It's aight," he said. "You are gonna get picked on," I told him. I pulled on the shirt and raised his arms to show him that it was too small. We continued to get ready for work and I thought surely he would look at it again and change it but he didn't. I thought about bumping into him with breakfast, then he would have to change it. He finally got into his car and after a few minutes I expected him to run back in and say, "I gotcha! You know I wasn't gonna wear this tiny shirt". It didn't happen. He did wear that shirt to work. I text him all day about that shirt: Is your breathing okay? Don't eat! The stars will start looking like stripes; Honey who are the OWBOYS? (shirt was so tight that the C was hidden under his arm pit) I don't know why I had such a hard time with it- it was his shirt and his choice. I guess I felt like he was representing us... we are as one.

Using What They Learn

I can never say our kids don't learn. They often tell us what they have learned in school and in church. In church our daughter learned about how God created the first people on earth- Adam and Eve. "Did you learn about the forbidden fruit and how they were tempted to eat it?" I asked. She knew that a serpent tempted them to do the wrong thing. Parents are always proud to know their kids are learning.
I read her folder after school and saw that she was reprimanded for an incident in school. Of course I lecture her about it and talk to her about choosing to do the right things. I finally give her a small chance to speak. She covers her face in shame and begins to cry. "Mommy I am so sorry." She puts her head in her lap and goes over the top with dramatics now. "I dunno why I did that!" "Cut that out, right now!" I said. She sniffs and wipes her tears. Her sadness quickly switches to anger. "That darn serpent!" she says. I'm trying to figure out who she is now. "What serpent?" I asked. She is serious now. "You know that serpent mommy. The one who told Adam and Eve to eat those apples". "That mean old serpent told me to do it, mommy," she adds. She caught me off guard with that one. What was I supposed to do?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Oh You're Going!

What is common sense? Our kids had a birthday party to attend Saturday at 2pm. The invitation has been on the refrigerator all week. I begin getting the kids ready around noon. My husband comes in and asks, "What time are we leaving?" Of course I sarcastically respond, "Uh, how 'bout 4pm!" "But I thought the party started at 2?" he actually asked. I continue to comb our daughter's hair. He smacks his lips and goes back outside. Oh I knew what this was- Dude was trying to get out of going to the party. NOT TODAY!!!
Later around 1:15 pm while I am getting the second child dressed, I hear something outside. This dude is out there on the lawn mower cutting the yard. I stand in the door with my hand on my hips... foot tapping. He rides toward the front door, then scratches his forehead and makes a sharp left. Oh he saw me. He definitely saw me. I continue to get ready. A few minutes later I hear the mower stop. Now I hear him lallygagging with someone in the yard. I peek out and he and a friend are out burning something in the yard. Then I see our son running and chasing the smoke. "Wook mommy!" he says as I come out on the porch. Dude smiles at me and says ever so sweetly, "Honey, what time is it?" I feel half a peace sign coming on but I rebuke it. Dude knows that I will be on my best behavior with company there. "It's a quarter 'till." He and his friend walk toward me. I see his lips moving and his friend laughing. I speak. "Hey how are you?" Our son runs up coughing from the smoke. "Mommy we ready to go to Chuck-E-Cheese for the party?" Dude is fakingly startled. "Oh my God. That's right it is at 2 o'clock itn't it?" I don't say anything I just press my lips. He looks back at what's burning, which I see now is a bush. I then see him falling back into the bush. I snap out of it. I think that would be 72 hours and a record: NOT WORTH IT! This dude then explains that he, "cut the grass because he (pointing to friend) told me how to get rid of that onion grass. So now all I have to do is spray it." They both look at me. I couldn't say much because I did complain about it.... about two months ago when it was hot. But common sense should've told him not to take care of it today. "Oh good, good, good. You can spray it later now that it is cut, but we gotta get going to the party," I smile. Defeated, Dude thanks his friend for stopping by and goes in to get dressed. I knew we would be late but we usually are so the kids and I go wait in the car. I offer a nice gesture, "I'll drive." We pull out the garage and down the driveway and realize the bush is still burning. He gets out to take care of it and gets in smelling of smoke of course. He sits with his lips out. Hey if I gotta run behind two energetic kids and smile at a rat then so does he. We're in this thing [parenting] together. "What's coming that way?" I ask at the stop sign. He doesn't answer, he just reclines his seat back so I can see for myself. You know this dude had the nerve to be mad.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Our son is so proud to be a big boy. When we tell him he is being a big boy, it just puts a smile on his face and a spring in his step! When he's told that he isn't being a big boy, he drops his head and cries. You know kids want to please us. We were in a drive-thru getting food and he and his sister were in the back seat fussing over a toy. Daddy and I intervened and took the toy. Our daughter accepted it, but our son had a fit. He slumped down in the seat and screamed. "You aren't being a big boy," I calmly told him. "You better get it together now," daddy added. He just cried louder. By this time we were at the window to get our food. The person at the window slowly gave us our food and peered in the van. "Awww, what's wrong with the baby?" she asked. In an instant, the crying stopped. He rubbed his eyes, looked toward the window and firmly said, "I'm not a baby, I a big boy!" He mumbled something else but we couldn't make it out. Daddy then told him, "That's it. If you can't get it together we aren't going anywhere else. We'll just go back to the crib!" Then the crying and screaming continued and he added kicking. I cut the radio up. I couldn't believe we had to hear all this over a small toy, that they have played with myriad times. There had to be something else going on in his little head. I looked back at him and asked, "Are you still mad about the toy?" He shook his head no. "You don't want to go home yet?" Daddy did tell him that we were going back to the "crib". He wiped his face and said, "I don't wanna go back to sleeping in the baby bed!" I told daddy that he cannot talk like that around the kids- our son had no idea daddy was talking about the house.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Our Folks

My husband and I often tease one another about our families. We both agree that our parents are from DC.... "Deep Country". They often say things that we used to be embarrassed about. I remember back when we were dating and my mom would say something incorrectly, and usually I knew it was coming, I would just close my eyes and drop my head. That was when I was trying to be impressive of course. When his relatives did it, he would give me the, "Say something!" look. Now we compete to see which side says the funniest thing. My mom is funny because she puts an S on everything and/or changes letters: "I'll call ya back, I gotta run to Walmarks" or "Walmarks didn't have it but Targets might have it". My mom still believes in some superstitions too. I still get dizzy when I see black cats because she thought it was bad luck to look at a black cat that crossed your path, so she told us to close our eyes and turn around ten times. And no, there is nothing wrong with her! Well, don't get to see my father-in-law often. He doesn't live in NC but was about an hour away from us doing some contract work and called my husband to see if we could meet up with him. "What hotel are you staying in?" my husband asked. "Uh, I'm not sure," he answered. "Are you in the hotel?" my husband sarcastically asked. My father-in-law walked outside. "Oh, it's the Random Inn," he said. My husband moved the phone from his ear and looked at me. "I think he is staying at one of those smaller, locally owned hotels." He spoke back to his father, "Well, I'm not sure how to get there, but we will- naw, naw, naw, wait a minute," he said. He moved to the edge of the couch, rubbed his temples and asked, "Pop, how do you spell the name of the hotel?" His father slowly spelled it, "R-A-M-A-D-A". My husband closed his eyes and dropped his head. He knew I was one up on him now.

Monday, November 27, 2006

" My Own Shoes"

I remember getting "whoopings" as we say in the South, and then being so angry afterwards. I was ready to unleash on someone. But I wasn't crazy enough to think for a moment about it being my mom. And she could give 'em [whoopings] too. I really believed what she always said, "I brought ya in this world and I'll take ya out!" She would get me wherever the crime was committed: store, church, playground, skating rink, mall- it didn't matter. My mom would just raise her eyebrows at me and I stood at attention. No, I wouldn't dare think of taking my anger out on any adult, but one of my dolls would get her plastic body tore up. I would whip and talk on beat,"Didn't- I- tell- you-". Oh I vowed then that later when I had children of my own, I was going to whip their little butts as well.
Well as I have mentioned, we have two. When we usually go out shopping it is.... an adventure, for lack of a more suitable word. I put both of them in a cart. Yes people usually look at us and I realize it is probably because they are too big for the carts. Their knees are close to their chests and they can hardly move but it's only temporary. Before my brothers and I went into stores with my mom she gave us the five second warning, "You bet not touch nothing!" And we didn't need a cart for confinement. Well, upon entering Target, I give my warning, "Okay, if you are good, then daddy will take you to McDonald's". Ten minutes in and they are at each other as usual. I get them calm for all of five minutes, so I decide to speed through the store to get my items and think about how I am gonna get 'em when we get home. I finally get to the register. They see candy and beg for it. By this time they have managed to get on their knees and can reach for things. I take the candy and put it back and firmly tell them no. Our youngest begins to whine, while our oldest has her eyes closed, is smiling and humming. There is an older woman behind us, looking over her glasses at me with a look that says, "If you don't get yo' children". I flashback to my mom and try to step into her shoes. I tell them to get it together, then give them the "eyebrow raise", but my mom's shoes don't fit- my daughter raises her eyebrows back and says, without a fear in the world, "Mama why you looking at me like this?"

Sunday, November 26, 2006

"If You Can't Say Amen.... Say Ouch!"

The other day I'm driving along the highway, when an old song comes on the radio. I turn it up and sing along- "It's gettin' hot in here so take off all yo' clothes... I am gettin' so hot I wanna take my clothes off..." Oblivious for a moment that the two little ones are in the back. "Cut it down mama," one said. "That used to be mamma's song," I say while turning it up. They are in the back with their hands over their little ears. Sometimes you just wanna hear something other than Kidz Bop or Nursery Rhymes, ya know?
Then Sunday after church services, I'm chatting with two other moms about how we have to be mindful about what we expose our kids to because their minds are like little sponges. Well we are standing there in the middle of the foyer, being "prim and proper"- sharing how we only do the right things and go by the books when it comes to raising our children. "You know they say our kids are reflections of us," one friend smiles. We all fold our arms, nod and give an, "Amen!" when we hear singing a few short steps away- everyone in the foyer looks at two kids singing and dancing, "It's gettin' hot in here.. so take off all yo' clothes..." then their voices grow louder, "I am gettin' so hot, I wanna take my clothes off." My five-year-old smiles at me and says, "That's my mamma's song." I feel myself melting like the witch in Wizard of Oz. The two women slowly turn and look at me and all I can say is...."ouch!"

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A New Daddy?

Once home from McDonald's, daddy and I put the kids to bed. An hour later, my husband [not mad at him now so "Dude" isn't his name] calls me into the living room. "Listen to them talking," he whispers while pointing upstairs to the kids rooms. We huddle at the bottom step to listen. "Him is ridiculous!" our three-year-old son says. "I not gonna be he friend anymore," he adds. "Lord Jesus," his sister replies. Daddy is smiling and trying not to laugh. "I'm gone get a new daddy," our son adds. "That's it! Let's get a new daddy," our daughter agrees. Oh the smile slowly turns to a frown now. "Why aren't they talkin' about you?" daddy whispers. I shrug my shoulders, "They are used to me gettin' on 'em." We continue to eavesdrop as they come up ways to get a new daddy. Can it be "eavesdropping" if they are minors living in our house? They finally agree that they will ask Santa for a new daddy and, "We can keep mommy for now."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Daddy Knows Best

I got a good laugh today when my husband tried to play the "disciplinarian" with our two kids. Our five-year-old daughter, is great at manipulation already and our three-year-old son is.... well... he is his mother's child as my husband says whenever he gets into something. Today they both had bad days at school. Normally when I tell "Dude" (husband) about them he gives the old, "Now you know better!" OOOOOOOOOOOh, I'm gonna call Social Services if he does that again. GIVE ME A BREAK!!
Later, she is cuttin' up again in front of some other parents. He sees my look (the I'm gonna git ya when we get home look) and he stands up and calls her over- nicely. He then motions for our son who is on my lap. They come to him and he starts acting like Cliff Huxtable- talking to them ever so kindly, slowly and never raises his voice. He explains that they have to be a good boy and girl and how important it is to listen and do the right things. The other parents are smiling with their "oh, that is so sweet" faces. He gives them choices and then warns them that mommy is angry. And I am...pissed!!! For lack of a worse word. He tells them how much he loves them and blah blah blah. The parents look over at me like I stink. And I didn't make it any better by folding my arms and walking out alone. Folks just don't know. Dude then gets them buckled in and starts trying to add on to his Huxtable talk while driving home. Well here is where he messes up- he begins trying to use words in the wrong context. Now our daughter is smart as umm.... him so she corrects him a few times and once she asked him what the meaning of one word was and he got mad. This story ends with her interrupting Dude's lecture with a, "Daddy can we get some McDonald's?" and he firmly replies, "We can get it this time but from now on when you don't do the right things, you don't get treats." As we pull out of the parking lot of McDonalds, Rudy- I mean our daughter and son are fighting over their food. A drink spills and I cross my leg, recline my seat and calmly ask, "You know you cleaning that mess up, right?"