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Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Christmas List

Our stockings are not hung by the chimney with care, and hopes of Saint Nicholas were almost not going to be here.
I've come to accept that I am, at times, a dysfunctional parent and that is okay. I guess I should have known that when I forgot to take our kids' teeth when they left them under their pillows. But that is an older blog you can read later.
Well I was almost busted by our little curious six-year-old. He made his Christmas list back in November. A 15-item list with pictures he cut out from a Toys R Us booklet that came in the mail. Kids really think money just grows on trees.
Anyway, he asked me to mail it to the round man in the red and white suit. I agreed then put it in my purse. Well I forgot about the list 'till about a week or so ago when I started my Christmas shopping for them. It was a nice little reference to use with the pictures. After I used it to buy a few things from the long list, I put it back in my purse. Then forgot about it.
Last week I was busy on the computer and he asked me if I had anymore gum. Normally I say, "No" and keep moving but I was in a jolly mood and told him I had some more in my purse. Now I know some of you ladies reading this may wonder why I didn't see the list when I changed purses. Well I'm not that into purses. I have about four: black, black, brown and tan. Only one of them is a designer bag that my hubby purchased for me on my birthday: a black Coach bag. I checked, it's authentic; he didn't get if from the trunk of someone's car.
Back to the story... so he goes to get the gum out of my purse. What was I thinking- I have everything in that purse sometimes.
"It shouldn't take you that long to get a piece of gum!" I shouted.
I heard him rambling.
"All I see is a straw or something in a wrapper!" he yells back.
What in the world was he talking about. I didn't keep straws in my purse. I thought for a moment then realized what he probably found- it definitely was not a straw.
I almost broke my toe getting up from the computer to get my purse. When I got to him he was sitting there holding his list.
"Mama. Why is my letter to Santa in here?"
I snatched my purse, my monthly product he discovered, and the letter. I had to think fast.
"I made a copy of it and sent it to Santa," I told him.
He wasn't buying that.
"But now Santa won't know what to get me for Christmas."
"Trust me he will know."
He was sad.
"Look! Everyone knows that Santa doesn't keep up with list very well so all parents make copies of their kids' list in case he loses them!"
His sister started laughing.
He slowly looks up and over at her. "Why is she laughing then?" he asked.
"I don't know but she better hope Santa got a copy of her list too," I said while giving her a threatening look.
"But mama, if you have the list..." he started.
"NOW LOOK! FOR THE LAST TIME HE GOT THE LIST! He called me on my cell phone to let me know."
He was even more puzzled.
"Santa has YOUR cell phone number mama?"
I was going too far.

Brothers and Sisters

Our kids are so competitive! If our son hears me say that his sister has done something well- then he has to try and do it too so he can receive some praises.
And you know as parents we want to encourage our kids as much as we can.
Well we have the best of both worlds in them: our daughter is a great writer and her younger brother is a blossoming artist.
I remember when I was little, around the same age as our daughter- possibly younger- my best friend and I were the same. I was an aspiring author and she was an awesome illustrator/artist. We decided to make a book. It could have been a hit except it stopped as soon as the idea came about. We ended up arguing over whose name would appear first on the book cover.
Well our two little ones need to work together and encourage one another.
I think our big eight-year-old is getting nerves now. And her brother is on them quite a bit.
He made a little picture the other day and smiled as he came to show me. "Look at this mommy," he said. I wasn't quite sure what it was but I told him it was good. He skipped off to share it with his sister. I thought about that for a moment then went back to what I was doing.
"What is that?" she asked him, trying not to laugh. "Well mommy said it was good and she knows what it is!" he told her.
"Duh! That's yo mama. She supposed to tell you that," she said laughing.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Getting Through to Kids

Our little eight-year-old had the worst attitude today after school. Don't worry though I adjusted it.
She sometimes likes to play these little games: you ask her if she wants something and she says no, then tries to change her mind.
Well it didn't work today. I think I have set a precedent now. We got to Jersey Mike's and she says she doesn't like subs. That was new. I told her brother to come on and we ordered salads for Daddy and I and a sub and chips for her brother.
Not a lot was said during the 15 minute drive home. We got home. My son and I washed our hands and sat down to eat.
She sat at the table slowly looking confused.
"Did you get me something?" she asked.
I purposely chomped down on my cucumbers with my mouth open, then smiled and said, "But you said you didn't like subs anymore." I slowly chewed another big bite and asked her if she wanted some Oodles of Noodles or some Frosted Flakes. She loves Frosted Flakes... for breakfast.
"But cereal is for breakfast," she said. "You can eat it anytime really," I told her.
She asked what her other choices were. I informed her that I had not been to the grocery store yet and that is why we grabbed something quick. I offered to make the noodles for her.
She looked in the fridge and freezer as if there were many choices. She then asked if I could make the noodles.
"Sure! Let me take a few more bites!"
"Well who is the other salad (pointing at the fridge) for?" she asked.
"That's your Daddy's."
While the noodles cooked I began grilling her about her attitude and how lucky and fortunate she and her brother were to get the things we give them. I explained how many kids will not get Christmas presents. How excited the little girl at school is who gets the clothes she outgrows sometimes. I looked at our tree in the great room and told her that many families won't have a tree. I told her about some of my students who may get to get a toy or two thanks to some people who will help. And here she is with an attitude?
Oh the tears began to fall. At one point she had a look on her face. I felt led to inform her as many moms from the "old skool" have done before me- "I brought you in this world and I will take you out!"
Well she listened and cried. I gave her some tissues and continued with my speech. Her little brother was looking over his little glasses- taking bites from his turkey sub and looking at his sister and I as if it were a tennis match. He didn't mumble a word.
"When you finish eating your noodles I will check your homework, then you can brush your teeth and head for bed."
Before she went to bed she came to me to give me a quick kiss, then put some money in front of the computer along with a small note.
Once she went upstairs to bed I read it:
Dear Mama,
When you told me what the kids were like and how they had to live I felt sorry
for them. So I gave you this . It's my alloence. You have it and get something for
Love you.

It was $1.51

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Saturdays, as I've mentioned, are my "real" cleaning days usually. Well I went up to help our young ones and made a discovery: found about five shirts stuffed in the back of our son's drawer. When I pulled them out he didn't seem too concerned. Looked like his little nostrils flared a bit. Maybe disappointment? There were no words coming from his mouth.
"We need to wash these so you can wear these again. I'd forgotten about them," I smiled as I shook them out.
As I continued helping, I realized that at least two of those shirts he didn't care for.
"The kids are gonna waugh (still trouble with Ls) at me," he told us one morning before school. Kids these days don't know style. The shirt was "Hot" as they say, to me.
Sitting there in the quiet of his partially cleaned room I thought about it. Then I thought about me... back in the day... when I didn't like something I had to wear.
I would mix up a concoction of whatever I could get my hands on in the kitchen and mix it all up and put it on an area of the hated clothing. And hope that it would be bad enough to not come out. Hoped my mom couldn't "Shout" it out. Most times she couldn't. Or I would stain a dress on the Sunday mornings that the "Old Folks" choir was singing. I think they called them the "Seniors". I didn't want to go those Sundays and watch them rock different ways and sing out the hymnals ALL morning. When they would sing, "I'll Fly Away" for the 200th time I was hoping they would really fly away out that prism glass near the organ. Or "Pass Me Not" for the thousandth time- "Please Jesus don't pass them by. Stop and pick 'em up!" Okay I went on a tangent didn't I. Memories. I tell ya!
So I empathized with our son. I decided to wash them and pass two of them on to someone else. Aren't I the best? He's lucky. My mom woulda gave me a 20-minute spill about how little kids in Africa didn't have any clothes and I should appreciate the thick, wooled, turtlenecks she bought me. I would have lost teeth had I informed her that the little African children didn't need the clothes- they were HOT! Like my neck was in those shirts!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

FREE CLEANING! By Any Means Necessary!

Usually my Saturdays are designated as my thorough cleaning days. Not that I don't clean other days too but I do my "heavier" cleaning on Saturday mornings. This also means that all other dwellers in mi casa must get up and clean too. I'm an equal opportunity type person ya know.

Well I slept in instead. I was so tired from the week. It was hard to not do anything.

Well Hallelujah I got some unexpected help from a stranger!

The doorbell rings around 2pm. The kids were out in the backyard playing and Dude ran out for a quick errand.

I went to the door slowly, wondering who it could be and I had on my around the house wardrobe and hair.

It was a male. Looked to be in his early to mid-20s. He was smiling and thankfully was backed up away from the door. As I got closer to the door I noticed he had a spray bottle.

As soon as I opened the door he started with his pitch.

"Hey ma'am who does your windows?" he asked looking at my front windows.

"Well, when they get done, I do them," I responded.

He began spraying them and wiping them down. "Look at that! No streaks or anything."

Before I could comment he knelt down and began spraying the white wood rails near the steps. And the stuff worked well but my eyes were drawn to something else. Smoke.

I noticed that this guy had been puffing on a cigarette! Trying to sell a product and was smoking. On my porch!

"Hey... are you all selling cigarettes too?" I laughed.

He put the cigarette out. On my steps!

He continued on with his spill about the product- Protek or something. Fast talker he tried to be.

"Do you have carpet?" he asked. "Nope! We have hardwoods," I told him thinking that would be it with his show.

"Who cleans your car?" he asked, looking at my van parked in the garage (the door was up).

"My husband. He will be back in a few minutes," I told him.

As I stepped outside to follow him to my van, he continued on explaining how great the product is because it cleans everything. No need to spend money buying myriad cleaning products.

He asked me if I had any stains in my car. I have two young kids- of course I did!

I slid the doors open and showed him the stained carpet.

"Do you have a white rag?" he asked. And I happened to have one right there in the garage. I was happy to get it for him.

He sprayed the first spot and rubbed it and sure enough it came right up. I inspected it. Folded my arms and said, "Well yes but some of those other stains (pointing them out) are a little tougher to get out. They have been there forever and nothing I've tried will get them out."
He sprayed the spots and got them out. By the time he finished my carpet looked like it had been freshly shampooed!
He was excited! And so was I! I was about to get my van cleaned. He moved on to show me how clean it can get the body of the van. Of course I allowed him.

I still wasn't sold. I kept my arms folded- on guard.

"You see those oil stains there (pointing to the garage floor)?"

I nodded.

He sprayed one and it came up with some elbow action behind it.

"Yes but look how hard you had to do that to get it up," I remarked.

I think he rolled his eyes but then sprayed another spot, then stood back and looked at me.

"Well this IS a garage. As you can see we don't really bother with getting up stains from a GARAGE floor. But let me see how the front window looked again."

We walked back. I kicked the cigarette he put out, from my front steps. Then frowned at the bottom or my shoe- just to remind him of his lack of professionalism.
"Now if that stuff can get this window clean without streaks, then it is some good stuff!" I suggested. He seemed reluctant to do it but he sprayed it and wiped really quickly. How I wished I could get my bathroom cleaned. But I do have limits and great sense. I mean this guy did have a cigarette with him. Can't trust him pass my opened garage. It was a nice day so neighbors were out. Finally we had our back-and-forth session: "See ma'am this product will save you money down the road." "How so?" I asked. He explained that it would save me from having to spend $20 or more per month buying cleaning products. "I may spend $5 a month on cleaning supplies," I corrected him. "Well you can save money and time cleaning your own car and the outside of your house if you buy this than if you paid someone to do it for you." I shook my head. "Why would I clean the outside of my house? It is a house! The rain can do that. And my husband cleans our cars with a special product from one of his friends that we get for free." No we don't have a friend with any products but hey- how would he know that?

I let him go through all that-he worked now- and I did not buy a squirt of that stuff. He looked mad too. He did sell some to the sucker- I mean to our neighbor.
"See. Your neighbor got some from me. You are missing out!" the guy yelled later when I saw him next door.
"Hey... I'll just use some of his!" I smiled. And I don't want any cigarettes!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I Want to Be a Dude!

I want to be a Dude!
They don't have to do much. They get to sit around on Saturdays and watch sports. Then on Sundays they get to watch sports again. They don't have to think about maybe throwing some clothes in the washer and dryer while the games are on. Nope!
They get to talk on the phone to their friends about nothing and surprisingly the friend on the other end- another guy in this case- actually understands. Some kind of guy code.
"Man I'm tellin' you. You know what I'm sayin'?" "Man I was like woahhhh!"
What is that? They can also stay on the phone and talk without anyone interrupting them because we know they cannot talk on a cordless phone and do any other thing.
Oh and they get to do crazy stuff and wonder why they get the responses they get:
While looking in the refrigerator they get to ask, "Honey do we have any milk?"
So when their spouse rolls her eyes and responds, "Hmm... I don't know- check the drawer where we keep the spoons and forks!" They get to mumble, "Here we go. She trippin'."
I mean where else would the MILK be? If it ain't in the fridge where cold things are kept then would that not mean there isn't any? HELLO!!!
They get to speak French at times, "We painted all of this ourselves and We clean the house." But it was a single person doing it.
Oh and Dudes get to come home each day from work and plop on the couch while their spouses come home and put a cape and "S" on and run around and do myriad things.
They also get smiles and kudos when they are out with their own kids. Getting credit for what they are supposed to do. While their wives get weird looks when she is out with the kids at Target just because she has one of the kids in the headlock and the other one in the figure-four because she has had it with them (kids) fighting. I ain't condoning hurting your kids but... I understand.
Dudes don't have to cook but once in a blue moon and when they do they really go all out and make.... HOT DOGS! A real Marshall Stewart!
And guess what? They get to leave the dishes. God forbid they should be expected to wash all the dishes from cooking that meal or, how about this... be expected to put the dishes in the dishwasher. Naw- of course not.
And when it's time to put the kids to bed, if a NFL game is on- the kids on their own with the prayer. "Now I lay me- you can say the rest then cut your lights off and go to sleep!"
Not nare tooth brushed before they go or anything.
I want to be a Dude.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Michael or Michelle

I'd been home about thirty minutes before I noticed. Dude and the kids had been home about an hour before me. Our son noticed about the same time I did.
Michael or Michelle- one of 'em was gone. The kids named one after Michael Jackson when he died and Michelle Obama.
Our son looked stood over top and looked in. He tapped on the glass.
One of the turtles was missing.
How in the world could a turtle be missing from the tank? They were both there that morning when we left. Turtles don't get taken out for walks like dogs.
"One of the turtles is missing!" our son yelled.
I was on the couch. My feet immediately went up. I'm the only one in the house who does NOT handle those little creatures.
The other turtle had been swimming around wildly for a minute. When Dude came downstairs I told him, "I think the other one has been trying to tell us what was up."
Dude turned his lips up at me.
"Hey I don't know what goes on in those tiny heads of theirs," I shrugged my shoulders.
Our daughter came running in all late. She went up to the tank and started talking to the turtle left behind.
She's a turtle whisperer!
So the three of them went off looking for the turtle. I sat right there on the couch and watched Oprah.
After about ten minutes they got flashlights and were looking under couches, behind doors- one of the kids was trying to look under the fridge and stove.
"Um... if Michael can get up under there with that big ole shell he has to carry- then leave him under there," I told them.
"It's MICHELLE!" one of them yelled.
To speed this story up. I sat there laughing because they looked everywhere around the house and could not find the darn thing. The eight-year-old turtle whisperer (can you hear me saying it softly for great effects?) was walking around shaking the container of turtle food. As if the thing would hear it and come out. See what I am dealing with? About an hour later Dude found him- her, whatever. He didn't give up. He was determined to find the little ninja, with that big old camping flashlight. And he did. He looked so happy to have found it too.
"I found it!" he yelled. We all came running out asking, "Where? Where?"
It had managed to crawl back behind some speakers on the floor right up under the television. It was inside its shell. Dude picked it up and was talking to the darn thing like a baby- all in its face. "Whatcha doin'? Just what have you been doin'?"
I rolled my eyes. I almost wished the thang could have coughed at him or something.
"Go on and put it back in the tank. The other one in there is looking like Leftout Lamont," I told him.
I bet it was the same one that has gotten out before. This made the third time we had come home and found a turtle loose.
When he put it back in the tank, it went swimming all frantic. Moving the rocks on the bottom. Yep! It was the same one with the funky attitude problem.
Well this story ain't over. Oh no!
I told Dude to take some water out the tank and lower their floating rock. I think the little smart creature waits until the other one gets up there and basks, then climbs on that one and gets out. I'd love to put up a hidden camera to see what happens. Well I guess it doesn't need to be a hidden camera though. Anywho...Dude didn't listen to me. But do you know what this Dude did?
He took one of those adjustable screens that you put on a window when you don't have screens- on top of the tank. Just laid it up on top of the tank. It ain't the same size or anything. Just laid it up there. Now there is a water filter at the top of the tank too so the screen looks really ridiculous just sitting there. I can't let folks see that!
I'll have to post a picture so people can see what I am having to deal with.
I'm 'bout to be on the show Snapped!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Say Something!

I've had to tell my six-year-old, "umpteen" (my mom used that word a lot when I was younger) times that he weighed almost ten pounds at birth and his sister was almost nine pounds. I mean I'm not gonna have a tiny waist and flat tummy anymore. That area is now referred to as "You two did this!" When I am changing and they make faces.
Well we were watching television and a commercial came on. It was a commercial advertising that product for slimming your stomach and waist areas- kind of like a girdle. Well the little six-year-old with the bad memory immediately looked over at me half-way through the commercial. Before he could say a word, I said, "Say something and I promise you that I will tell all of your little friends that you are afraid of Santa Claus and the Chick-Fil-A cow!"

Monday, October 26, 2009

No Motherly Instincts Tonight

I was not like the protective bear over her cubs tonight. I hate to tell it but here it goes. Please do not judge me until you have been in my shoes.
So I took our daughter to someone's house this evening so she could get her hair braided. Our babysitter tagged along with us.
When we got out of the car, I do what I always do when I go to a new neighborhood... I surveyed to see if a dog was going to come running from behind the house. And I don't discriminate- I look for cats too. They may be small but they are sneaky. Side note* I really hate it when pet owners smile and say, "She won't bite." I mean they have teeth and they won't bite THEM because they know them but I am fair game.
Anywho, I didn't see or hear a dog but when I rang the doorbell I did ask, "Do you have a dog?"
Coast was clear.
Well about an hour later when her hair was finished, we said our goodbyes and thank yous and headed for the car. By this time it was dark. I had my key out ready to get in the car which was parked right in front of the house.
We stepped off the porch and I heard barking. Now if you ask me it sounded like it was coming from a huge dog like a Cujo. It was dark- I couldn't see. Next thing I knew was I was running to the car and was trying to jump on the hood. It had been raining all day and was continuing to, so I could not get a good grip and kept sliding. I must have, for some reason, closed my eyes because I don't remember what I saw and my car is white. Who knows what was going on in my head.
Sounded like the dog was getting closer too. I started yelling for our daughter and the sitter who is seventeen, to get in the car.
"Git in the car! Git in the car!" While I am still sliding and trying to get on the hood so I can get to the top.
"We can't get in!" the sitter yelled back while pulling on the door.
My heart was racing and I realized I had the key in my hand but wasn't pushing the unlock button. I was being one of those women in the scary movies I usually yell at- "Get up stupid and run! Look at this- I tell you what-" Now there I was acting just as crazy.
I finally press the button. The doors are unlocked and I get off the hood and get in first. Then realized I'd left my own eight-year-old daughter and another minor outside for Cujo! They finally get in. I was the only one out of breath.
We finally realize that the dog was still barking but nowhere near the car. He'd been on a chain.
We laughed a little but then I realized that my motherly instincts did not kick in like the car did when I put it in drive. As I drove out of the neighborhood in route to take the sitter home, I processed what had happened. There I was with the front of my clothes soaked from trying to get on the hood of my car in the rain and the dog was not even loose. I would feel bad if I find out the dog was small too.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The "F" Word!

I've previously mentioned that this our kids' first time ever riding the bus to school since I no longer work at their school. I've posted a few stories about my worries about them being on the bus. I have to remember that all kids are not raised the same and people are products of their environment.
I have tried to shield them from as much as possible. Sure at their ages I knew a whole lot more than they did but those were different times (1970s) and my environment was much different. For example, I was all over the neighborhood playing from sun up 'till the street lights flickered on, and my mom did not have to be within eyesight. I learned how to skate and ride a bike simply by getting out there with myriad other kids in our apartment complex. We fell, dusted it off and kept trying until we got it. Don't remember wearing helmets either. Now, our kids better not leave our yard and we are either on the porch, or somewhere nearby.
Well in our house some words have been considered as bad but of course in other homes this may not be the case. Other kids may know the "real" bad words.
So as usual they spring something on me while I am driving. "Mama. This boy said the "F" word, this morning on the bus," our son said from the middle seat. So, being the sometimes paranoid mom that I am, I swerve a bit. Panicking, I first turned the radio up louder instead of down.
"A boy said what?" I yelled. Once the kids took their hands off their ears, his sister chimed in.
"Well actually he said two, bad "F" words!"
I am looking at the road in front of me and looking in the mirror at them- back-and-forth.
"Did the bus driver hear them? What did she do?" I asked them.
"I don't know if she heard him but the other teenagers heard him," our son said.
They are in elementary school so I didn't know what he was talking about when he said teenagers. "What grade were these teenagers in?" I asked. "Oh they were in the fourth or fifth grade," our daughter answered. "They are not teenagers," I told them. "They just probably look big." Our daughter thinks that kids are teens if they are taller than she is.
Finally we get to the meat of the story. I was afraid to ask but I did. "What did the boy say?"
"Mama. I don't want to say it. It's bad," our son said. "You promise I won't get in trouble for saying it?" he asked, closing his eyes. Then our loose-lipped daughter jumped in again. "I'll tell you what he said!" I was on edge. How could little elementary kids on the bus say the "F" word. Where had they learned this? Finally our son rushed in to tell me to beat his sister.
The "F" words were fool and fart. Well... they are bad words in our house.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What a Day!

Today was just one of those days. It started off crazy. Now I will admit I am just one of those people who does things that make you wanna take your finger and make circles around your ear. Well that was our "crazy" sign when I was younger.
So this morning when I started to put on my shirt I noticed something funny about it. The two strings that are inside of some shirts- one at each end- to help hang them, were tied together! It was a tight knot too. I hadn't made Dude mad recently so it had to be one of the two who don't help pay the mortgage!
So I'm on my way to work, listening to the radio, minding my own business. When I get on the highway I hear a noise. Not loud enough to pull over. I turn the radio down and figure I'll check it when I get to work. A little later, I noticed the car beside me staying with me. So I sped up. The car did too. I gave a quick look to the left and saw the blur of a man trying to get my attention. I didn't have time for this. I was on a mission: try to get in Bojangles's drive-thru quickly so I could get a small coffee- extra sugar and cream, bacon, egg and cheese biscuit before it got backed up.
Then I heard a horn. THE SAME GUY! Sweatin' me!
I slowly turn with my "What do you want?" look and he was pointing down at my door. So I'm trying to figure out what could be wrong. It was the belt from my coat. It had been flapping the whole drive.
The laughs don't stop there. Oh no! So I get to work. Walk down the hall to my classroom and unlock my door. Key don't work. I get all worked up, but smile as other staff walk by. In my mind I am fussing. Kept trying the key for about five minutes too. Then realize that my car key won't work for my classroom door.
Finally when I get home this evening, all I want to do is relax. With an eight and six-year-old? Well I plop on the bed- planning to get still for just ten minutes. I yell for the kids to come get THEIR mess out of our bedroom and take it to their rooms. "And get all of your stuff out of the living room too. It doesn't go their either!" I yelled.
As they walk off I hear our six-year-old son tell his sister, "She just gone do nothin' while we do all the work."
The nerve.!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Salvation and Baptism

Yesterday we had a few people get baptized during church. Three of them were youngsters in our daughter's youth class at church. So I brought it up on the way home from church.
"You know three of your friends at church were baptized today."
I saw her expression from my mirror. She was puzzled. "They were what?" she asked.
"Pastor Ken didn't talk to you and the rest of the class about being baptized and getting saved?" I asked her.
She was thinking. But I was quite sure they had gone over that myriad times on Sundays and Wednesday nights. There is no telling what she was doing during these times. Hopefully she wasn't like me when I was her age- sitting in the back of the church and changing the titles of the songs in the Hymnal books. And I wonder why she does some of the things she does.
So I went on to try to explain, on her level, what baptism and salvation meant. Now mind you she is quite intelligent and, as older folk say, "acts as if she's been here before".
"You now what being saved means right?" I asked her. With bodily expression she answers, "Yep! That's when you say 'HELP!' and someone comes to save you."
I rolled my eyes. "You ain't gotta do all of that!" I then adjusted my mirror so I could not see her so clearly anymore.
So I explained what it meant. I then went on to TRY to explain what being baptized meant. I added that, "Some people say it's like you are being cleansed; washing your sins away." I thought I could say that because she clearly understood what sins were. We go over that word a lot with our two.
"Yes Mama," she said as if I should have known she knew that. "I did that this morning when I washed my face. You were right there with me- watching me like you always do."
I give up!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fixing Attitudes

This weekend the men of the house went camping for the first time with the Boys Scouts! "Now you know we could all go as a family. Other women and daughters will be there," Daddy told me.
I smiled and told him, "Oh naw. This will be bonding time for you two and for us (pointing to our daughter)." I just imagined a bunch of walking, no real technology and sleeping outside. So I opted for the house. Besides I really felt like I needed some one-on-one with our daughter. In a few years she may not want to hang out with me.
So I helped the guys to pack and pushed- I mean saw them off!
Friday night we just hung out watching TV and I managed to get some laundry done in between. Of course all she wanted to do was watch Nickelodeon and Boomerang but I sat right there and laughed with her.
We started our day Saturday by going to Target. So I'm looking around in one section while she finds her way to the little music center near the stationery. You know that small, little CD preview spot where you can push the buttons to hear different selections on selected Cd's. So she is there- no harm in that and she loves music. Then I noticed her talking to someone. Another little girl, looked to be about five or six came over. Well out of my periphery I see something kinda flash. Like it was in the air and then gone. In the air then gone. I turned to see the little girl giving our daughter cart wheel lessons. Right there in Target!
"No ma'am! You can't do cart wheels in the store," I told her. The little girl who probably came to my waist was looking at me up-and-down, with her hand on her waist as if she could take me. I gave our daughter the eyebrow raise and walked back to what I was looking at.
"That's my mama. She gots her hair in a bun like mine but that's not her real hair- it's braided," she told the little girl. I noticed a lady shopping near us, smiling. She'd heard her. Nosey lady!
I didn't smile back.
When it was time to go she attempted to pout. Then the little eight-year-old attitude came. When we were at the register I asked her, "Where do you wanna go eat?" "I'm not hungry," she quickly responded.
See this is what she does when she gets mad. Says she doesn't want something-thinking it is hurting us.
"Last time. What do you want to eat?" Her response was the same as she stared out the window of the car.
So I went to Zaxby's and ordered my food in the drive-thru. Then drove home with my music up, singing like it was karaoke! The aroma of my wings-n-things filling the car (windows were up too). I drove by two McDonald's, a Burger King, Subway, and blew the horn at Taco Bell!
Went home put my feet up, flexed my toes, turned to HGTV and ate slowly.
About thirty minutes later she said she was hungry. "Let's see. You got cereal, stuff to make sandwiches, those cheap, tasteless noodles, or find something in the freezer you can mic up!"
Gotta nip that attitude in the bud early!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

No New Food for Michael and Shirley Now!

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, we have two pets. Their names have changed a few times but we have two red-eared slider turtles. When we first got them in May, at our son's request, he named them Myrtle and Skippity! When Michael Jackson passed away a month later, he and his sister named them Michael and Shirley. Don't ask about the name Shirley.
Dude and I have never been interested in turtles or any other reptile but he has actually grown to love those two reps. He talks to them every time he goes by their tank. I may sound a little envious but once I needed an important feminine product and he pouted like a child about going out to get it for me but last week Michael or Shirley (who can tell) ate some gravel and Dude had a fit. He was in the yellow pages calling all the animal hospitals (all two in our small area) trying to get help. I mean this Dude was running out AT NIGHT to get some mineral oil for the little reptile. He was like Bo and Luke Duke jumping in the car that night. He went so far as to try to give the turtle an enema with that darn mineral oil. But Michael wasn't having it! The turtle had head and tail in that shell. See that's why we need a dog. We coulda just led a dog to some grass and called it a day.
Our kids love Michael and Shirley too of course and I don't want anything to happen to them but I don't get all in the tank nor do I pick them up at anytime. But I do feed them sometimes.
They (turtles) have a lot of personality. When we come home they are at the top of the tank moving fast.
Well I went up to the tank and they quickly went back down to the bottom. I didn't really think much about it initially. Then our daughter walked by and casually said, "They don't like you Mama."
I laughed. "What you talkin' about girl. Those turtles don't know who is who."
Well I noticed a few minutes later that they were at the top of the tank and our daughter was looking over the tank talking talking to them. "Hey turtle wurtle wurtle!" she smiled. And Michael and Shirley stayed there.
So I started thinking about that thang. Then later on I noticed that when our son and Dude were at the tank they did the same thing: they didn't go to the bottom.
But I didn't want anyone to know this was giving me a complex. Wouldn't hear the end of it from my family. I walked by when I thought no one was looking.
The darn reptiles went back down to the rocks! I couldn't believe it.
"Told you they didn't like you Mama," our daughter said, sitting at the computer in our bedroom.
"Whatever! Cut some lights on when you in there!" I yelled. But that's okay. I was going to try to find some new turtle food at the pet store to give them some variety. Hope they love their old food.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wilbur Betta Go On!

I thought I hurt Wilbur enough in the car a few months ago, enough that he would not be heard from again. I was wrong.
So Dude (he's been trippin' lately) was helping our daughter with her homework and you really have to meet her and know her to understand our impatience. I mean she really thinks she knows more than us. Do you know how frustrating that can get? I'm just blinking my eyes-just blinking my eyes.
He's helping her and I'll have to admit, he is getting frustrated because he knows she should be getting the concept and his explanation, but she is just looking. No expression. Can't even tell what she is thinking. Then out of nowhere she whispers to Wilbur. "No Wilbur I can't do that. Now cut it out before I get in trouble."
I was on the couch reading just a few feet away from them. I just kept my eyes on my book- scared to look up. "Will Social Services be at our door later?" I thought. This chic had temporarily lost her mind.
Dude didn't respond immediately but then the roar came. "THAT'S IT WITH THIS WILBUR MESS! IF WILBUR CAN'T BE SEEN BY EVERYBODY THEN WILBUR GOTS TO GO!" Putting it in caps just can't put you there but gives you some idea.
"You are too big for Wilbur! I don't wanna hear no mo 'bout Wilbur! You understand me?" He added and had come down just a tad with the volume.
"Yes ma'am," she answered. He was so hot he didn't notice she called him ma'am. I felt my hand going up to inform him but the right side of my brain told my arm that it was not the time.
That just shut everything down. I think he forgot what he was doing. Oh but when she would bring Wilbur out on me, Dude thought it was hilarious.
She sat there quiet for a minute. Then I noticed her blinking and crossing her eyes at the same time, really fast.
"Stop that!" I yelled.
She tried to look innocent.
"Just go to bed girl!" I told her. She moved slowly with her head down, walking toward the stairs. When she hit the first step she perked up like nothing had just happened and asked, "Does anyone know what we are having for lunch tomorrow in the cafeteria?"
"Chicken Butt! That's what!" I yelled and crossed my eyes. "That's what Wilbur said!" I added.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I'm Stayin' Out of the Bathroom at Work

Okay. I was so worried about going back to work today. Friday something embarrassing happened. To me- not Dude this time.
Well there is a bathroom right around the corner from my classroom for staff. Well I don't think you should use bathrooms at work to do nothing pass number one. I know we all eat lunch and whatever but do those things at home. The staff bathroom is basically a closet and there are no windows. Anywho... near the beginning of school, sometime late August, I went to use the bathroom and was immediately hit by a smell. Someone had snuck a dunk! Well I needed to go bad and get back to my room, so I held my breath a few times, did what I needed to do (the basics), quickly washed my hands and got out of there.
Well when I went out, in a hurry and out of breath from holding my breath, there was another teacher. She gave me a quick smile and went right in. I had no time to tell her my side of the story or anything. I didn't know what to do. I needed her to know it was not me that left that smell. I just went on to my room. Never cleared it up and just hoped she let it go- no pun intended.
Well fast forward to October now. I had surgery about a month ago and had to get three incisions. One was right on my bikini line. Well with two huge babies (son was 9 lbs. 11 ounces), metabolism slowing down, and just getting older, I have to work with my tummy to see that particular cut. It had been feeling a little uncomfortable again so I wanted to check it. My hall was pretty much empty Friday- many of the classes were on a field trip, so I just figured I would just dart in and out of the bathroom to check. I didn't lock the door because as I said, I planned to be in and out.
Well... well... well, as soon as I "adjusted" my tummy to check the cut, someone turns the door and opens it. She could- dummy me didn't lock it. Can you just imagine what she thought walking in on me in that position? She said sorry and left. My chin was to my chest and she caught me off guard so I'm not even sure who it was. So all day today I was giving people the stingy caterpillar eyebrows when they spoke.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

No! Not the Stingy Caterpillar Eyebrows!

After all of my many talks about not letting other kids take advantage of them and taking up for one another, our little eight-year-old, compassionate daughter took action!
We went to a birthday/cookout. There were kids there, mostly a little older than our two. They had one of those huge, inflatables that you can jump in set up in the backyard. All of the kids were enjoying that of course. Well apparently when the adults when inside the teens decided to make the younger ones- our two kids and maybe three others- stay out while they jumped.
According to our two, our son tried to get in and that's when one of the teens told him not to come in. He was upset and went to his other mama- his sister who is not quite even two years older- and pouted a bit. Surprisingly she did something.
"Mama. I made my stingy caterpillar eyebrows and looked at that girl and whispered, 'Don't nobody- I mean NObody mess with my baby brother!'"
Now she was telling us this while Daddy was driving us home last night and being the parents we are, we were up front looking at each other, trying not to burst out into laughter.
I turned around and asked her, "What is the stinky caterpillar eyebrows?"
"No Mama it's the STINGY caterpillar eyebrows. Like this (showing me how her eyebrows wrinkle when she makes a mean face)."
I could see Daddy's stomach going in-and-out while he watched the road ahead. I whispered to Daddy while she continued with her story, "She big and bad with the eyebrows but then she whispered."
"I know right," he commented. "She was about to mess somebody up with the stingy caterpillars!" I snickered.
"And Mama I think all of them teenagers were scared, cause they were just standing there looking at me, like they couldn't believe that this (pointing at herself) little girl was looking that mean!"
"Show me the stingy caterpillar eyebrows again baby girl," Daddy said. I slapped his leg.
And of course she showed him. It was a little more fierce this time and she sound like she was growling.
Daddy whispered, "No those looks they were giving her was probably more like somebody betta come get this lil crazy girl."
I gave Daddy the stingy caterpillar eyebrows.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Milking It!

"Mama. What does milk it mean?" our son asked.
My eyebrows wrinkled before answering him. How in the world did he know about that?
"Where did you hear that buddy?" I smiled.
"Remember when you were talkin' to your friend on the phone the last day?" he answered.
Little nosey thang! I had a conversation recently with a friend about how much Daddy had been helping out around the house since having my surgery. She suggested I take advantage of that and "milk it" as much as I could even when I started feeling better.
How could I explain this to our little nosey, six-year-old without encouraging him to do it later and more importantly without making Mommy Dearest look bad of course?
"Well milking it is what Daddy did back when you were born," I began. "Daddy had a surgery right after Mommy had pushed out all nine pounds and eleven ounces of you."
"Yes Mama I know where babies come from," he rolled his eyes. I stopped for a moment. "From our tummies right?" I asked him.
He smiled. "No. I saw the tape," he began to hide his face. I was starting to get nervous. "Where do they come from then?"
"From your hiney," he replied, then pointed down. "I saw on that tape when you were in the hospital when I was being boring."
I tried to remember the tape. I knew Daddy had not recorded too much but wasn't sure how he concluded that it was not my belly. I wasn't ready to go there yet so I ignored that and continued to make Daddy look bad- I mean I continued with my example of "milking it".
"So Daddy had his surgery and Mama was having a hard time getting around after having you," I tried to continue.
"What kind of surgery did Daddy have?" he asked.
"Ummm. It was a surgery to stop his little soldiers from marching," I said without thinking. Now I was going to have to explain that. He was puzzled. Before he could ask I said, "Well ask your Daddy about that."
"Anywho. Daddy had his little, simple surgery that didn't take nearly as long as it did for Mama to have you and he came home."
"Did Daddy cry when he had surgery? Did they use a big, big needle?" he asked.
"No Daddy didn't cry- he was a big boy!"
I tried to wrap up the story. It was six years ago but so vivid to me. After having his "quick" surgery he had come home and told me that he needed to ice "the area" and rest. Well I understood that but we started having problems. First I was not okay with him putting the ice packs he used on "the area" BACK in the freezer once he used it. Naw!
"Uh, did you use this?" I asked him when I saw the ice pack in the freezer.
"Yes but it's not that big a deal. How else am I gonna keep the pack frozen?" he asked.
Holding it by a small corner, I pulled it out and put it in the sink. I just didn't think an ice pack that had been "on the area" should be next to my frozen strawberries. It was just the thought I guess.
"Well Daddy told Mama that he was supposed to not do anything but rest for two weeks once he had the surgery," I continued.
"So Daddy couldn't do nothing?" he asked.
"Well... Mama just happened to find a paper that Daddy forgot about, while she was hobbling around the house trying to help Daddy and take care of you and your active sister (who was two), and the paper said that Daddy was supposed to rest for ONE to TWO days."
"Daddy told a story?"
"Yes! Daddy was going to lay in the recliner, watch ESPN and MILK IT!" I told him.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Lord Help Me!

The kids are going to cause my stress to go up. I'll be pullin' a Fred Sanford- holding my heart and looking up to the sky- but not sure who I will be saying, "I'm coming to join you honey" to cause Dude still here, shaking his head at me when I get all bent out of shape. Well... one of us has to keep it together.
I think I mentioned that this is the first school year the kids have had to ride the bus to school. Well they have been telling us about things that happen on that bus since the first week. They should know by now that their mama can't take it.
They came home Tuesday and told me that some kids were calling our son crazy.
"WHAT?" I asked.
And I guess after my reaction, our daughter thought she was going to make it a little better.
"Well actually they just called him (pointing to her brother) crazy. Not me."
"I don't care! I've told you umpteen times that you stick together. You gotta look out for your younger brother!"
I took a pause for the cause and brought it down a notch before asking, " Why were they calling you crazy?"
His sister answered before he could.
"Well he asked some boys if they eat Kool-Aid packs."
There was silence in the living room.
I mean who just comes out of the blue and ask that?
Now mind you he has sneaked and ate them. Instead of putting them in his water bottles he has just ate them, then had a colored mouth and attempted to say he didn't eat it.
I mean come on!!!
A few weeks ago there was something similar with our daughter.
"Mama. Such-and-such is always looking at me eat then telling other people at the table to look at me too," she told me.
"WHAT? Why is she watching you eat?"
I mean how ridiculous for someone to be watching our daughter eat? She ain't bothering nobody.
"What were you eating?"
She started with her usual word- "Well... that time I was fixing my taco."
Now she loves tacos!
"Okay," I said. "What did you put on it?"
"Well I put my meat, then my greens then my cheese and-"
"Wait. You said greens. Don't you mean lettuce?" I asked.
"Well actually we didn't have any lettuce so I put the greens on it," she answered.
Surely she meant the lettuce was green.
Nope. She meant collard greens.
"NO WONDER THE GIRL LOOKIN' AT YOU! I would too!" I yelled.
Lord help me!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dysfunctional Mom

Okay maybe I need to go on and begin writing my first novel. It would be appropriately titled, Diary of a Dysfunctional Mom.
Here's just one of many reasons why. And believe me... I ain't makin' this stuff up.
With our daughter's little note a few days ago, that she wrote in class, her slackness with Math and her brother's mouth and frowning when we make him read- I came up with an idea: NO TV during the week at all!
"Until you two can get it together you will only see Sponge Bob and Disney Channel on the weekends!" I told them.
They were silent of course. I guess it would have been loud if our over-the-top daughter could have made noise stretching her eyes. Can Disney sign her? She is really good.
"What if Daddy or you are watching it and we walk by," our son asked.
I just stared at him.
"Well (seriously pondering) we could just walk by with our eyes closed if we hear that the TV is on," his sister suggested, as she stood up to demonstrate- bumping into the sofa.
"Sit down!" I told her with my teeth clinched.
"Can we just watch the commercials?" he tried again.
Again, I stared at him.
"What about the TVs in our wooms?" he asked with his hand raised.
I was losing it.
"How 'bout I just take them out your Rooms (emphasizing the R)?" I answered.
He was quiet for all of five seconds then he asked, "Are you gonna sell them Mama?"
Here we go again.
Ever since I had a yard sale and put out some of their old toys, they act like I am "Crack-head Carla" or someone.
"Well you know she did sell some of your dinosaurs and Barney tapes," our daughter said.
"No I didn't. I don't know where your dinosaurs are nor your little Barney tapes!" I told them.
"Well I'll take that back- I gave your Barney tapes to Goodwill because you and your sister are too big for them now," I added.
His sister attempted to smother her laugh.
In a baby voice she pointed to her brother and said, "Well someone still likes Barney and BJ!"
"Okay that is enough!" I shouted.
So for the past few days I had been shocked that they had not complained about not being able to watch television after they finished their homework.
Well today I found out why. I mean I feel completely dysfunctional.
I didn't think about the computer.
I walked into the room to grab a notebook. On the way out I backed up to look at the screen. They were watching True Jackson VP (a Nickelodeon show) on YouTube!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Dude went back to his home town this weekend for his 20-year, high school reunion.
I picked the kids up a little early from school Friday since I was feeling a lot better as I am still in recovery from my surgery two weeks ago.
My plans were to go home for a few minutes then take them to the Dollar store to get two items. It's wonderful having kids who aren't yet "hipped" to many of the things of the world. (Wasn't that a cute little way to put it?) For allowance they earn half of the age: our son is six so he gets three bucks and our daughter is eight so she gets four, and they are content with that. Besides they don't have a lot to do around the house.
So I routinely check their folders to see what they did for the week in school. Before I could open our son's he said, "I didn't pull any dollars (their first grade behavior/reward system) Mama. I always have a good week!"
And he was right.
Well his sister was acting a little peculiar. She was quiet. We normally can't get her to stop talking.
She did poorly on a Math quiz one day- making careless errors. That's what gets me- when she missed simple stuff because she didn't check over her work. I'd rather for her to miss the hard ones and tell me she didn't understand.
Earlier this week I had to get Dude to stop being Jo Jackson during a homework session. He was getting upset about Micheal's- I mean our daughter's lack of attention when he was explaining a problem. He almost falls trying to stand up over her and pull his belt off all in one movement. This was a sight. I think he planned to pull it through easily but as he pulled it through it got stuck and caused him to do a 180 degree turn. Then looked at me to make sure I was not laughing. I pressed my lips together.
Maybe it's just me but what do you expect when you are trying to talk to a child and the television is on. Ten times out of ten the child will find what's on that tube just a little bit more appealing. I'm just sayin'.
So we discuss the quiz. I reiterate how important academics are. Then find a note from her teacher. There is a piece of notebook paper attached to it. She was caught writing a note during instructional time.
I was nervous about opening the note. For a minute my mind drifted back to my days of writing notes. And I knew a lot more than our kids do, back then, so I relaxed.
The note was about a party she and her brother were having on Halloween. She advised the friend to bring her parents since we had not met them yet, so we could "disgust" what we needed to "disgust". The note had a time to come and activities as well.
There was one problem with that note, other than the fact that she shouldn't have been writing it; Dude and I had no clue she and her brother were having a party.
"Hey! How are you gonna have a party without asking the people in charge? The people who pay the mortgage and other bills here?" I asked her.
Our son raised his hand and asked, "Who pay the what?"
"Don't worry about it! You are missing the point!" I yelled. "You have to get permission to have a party," I added.
His hand went up again.
"Put your hand down! Tryin' to be funny! You don't ever raise your hand around here for anything else!"
She looked so sad. Someone else may have felt sorry for her. But I know her and I'd seen this look myriad times. I didn't feel sorry at all.
Later, last night, after dozing for a few minutes, I woke to the sounds of a show on Nickelodeon. As I stretched and sat up our son asked, "Mama. Can you bend down yet?"
Not thinking about the last time he stayed home from church to supposedly, help me out after my surgery, I told him no. "It's still a little hard for me to do that right now."
Without a word he pushed the remote under the sofa chair. He then sat back on the chair with his hands behind his head and watched one of their shows.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mamas Ain't Responsible for Everything

"Mama. What did you do to me while I was in your stomach?" our son asked out of the blue.
"What do you mean? I read to you and took care of myself which means I took care of you," I really didn't know what he was getting at.
When folks say kids say the darndest things- they are right.
"You just thought about yourself when you were pregnated?" his voice went up.
"I really don't know how else to answer your question and why you are asking this," I told him as I began to walk to the kitchen.
"You must have done something to me when I was in your stomach to make me afraid of the Chick-fil-A cow," he said.
So this was where this was going.
I was beginning to feel like I was on the stand and he was the prosecutor.
"I didn't make you afraid of the Chick-fil-A cow or Santa or Chuck-E-Cheese- anyone in a costume," I told him.
His sister was laughing hysterically.
He peered over at her- I was hoping his attention would shift to her so I would be off the hook.
"And you musta did something to her (pointing at his sister) to make her mouth-" he began before I cut him off.
"Look! People are just afraid of some things in life but I didn't do anything to you while you were in my stomach."
I realized there was nothing I could really say to convince him that it was not my fault.
"Mama what did you eat when you were pregnated with me then?"
"She ate healthy foods nitwit!" his sister jumped in.
I warned her about the name calling. Then warned him to watch his mouth as I noticed his nostrils flaring at her.
"Well I probably got afraid of the cow because when you were little you were afraid of Scooby Doo," he stated.
Now he and his sister were both laughing hysterically.
I stopped what I was doing. That was hitting below the belt. And how did he know about that?
I noticed Dude trying to smother a smile.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Helping Mama

Recently I had outpatient surgery. I can't lift anything for six weeks and need to take it easy. Daddy has been a great help to me- staying home with me for the first week and waiting on me 24/7. The kids are usually a little helpful as well. The know that they can't sit on my lap and I think they are cognizant that I can't do a whole lot temporarily.
Well our little six-year-old little joy offered to stay home with me Sunday and opted out of going to church. We knew that our daughter would open up the flood gate of tears had we suggested she stay home to help me, so we didn't bother.
"I'll take care of mama!" our son gleefully offered.
"Okay Daddy's little man. You gotta make sure you help Mama but we won't be gone long," Daddy told him. "Hold down the fort 'till we get back," Daddy added while patting our son on top of his head.
"What's a fort?" our son asked.
"The house. Take care of the house," I answered. I felt like the two police officers on Sanford and Son.
Daddy made sure I didn't need anything before he and our daughter were in route for church.
I reclined my chair a bit and put the remote on the arm of the chair.
I must have dozed for five seconds when I noticed the remote gone. Next thing I knew the television switched from CNN to "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob Squarepants..."
Our son is sitting at the far end of the couch across from me with his legs crossed and the remote on the arm of the couch.
"Now I don't want to watch kids' shows all day- let me get the remote."
"Mama. You know you need to get some rest so I can take care of you," our son suggested.
He didn't seem phased by me struggling to sit up. Keyword being struggling. I guess he knew that I had been in that recliner for the most part, post surgery and was taking full advantage of that.
"Mama. Do you need your medicine?" he asked.
For a minute I thought surely he wouldn't... not over control of the television. Surely not.
"No I don't need any medicine right now. Thanks anyway."
Guess he also picked up on the fact that I usually sleep once I take medicine.
He wasn't planning to help me. He had used me to stay home to watch his shows.
This was just sad.
Yet he forgets that this down time is only temporary. So I will have the last laugh soon enough.
For the next hour I watched this little, yellow sponge talk while glancing over at the little six-year-old with his ankles crossed while stretching his toes.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Pocketbooks and Willys!

"Mama. Do girls have a hiney?" our son asked.
"Yes they do- we all do," I answered.
He seemed so confused. He headed back upstairs, then abruptly turned around.
"But I thought girls had a vagina?"
Dude almost fell to come out of the bedroom now.
"What is all this 'bout hineys and things?" he came in with volume.
He still can't be a big boy about calling body parts their names. He still refers to vaginas as pocket books and penis as privates or Willys. But I don't wanna free Willy!
I motioned with my hand for him (Dude) to bring the volume down.
"It's okay," I told him with a slight smile.
"Girls do have vaginas and boys have a penis," I told our son.
Dude was about to pass out. And he teaches Health!
"I have a penis?" our son asked.
"Yes. You use it every time you go pay your water bill," I giggled. "Every time you pee," I added.
Pointing to his penis, he said, "This is my hiney."
I now understood the confusion.
"No baby that is your penis and your bottom or butt is also called a hiney."
His sister came bopping down.
"I told you!" she laughed.
"Your sister is a female and she does not have a penis like you but she has a hiney."
He laughed so hard, then pointed to his sister.
"Mama called you a female!"
We have some work to do.

Second Week of School

This is the first year our two have had to ride the bus to school. I'll have to admit- I did not want them to ride the bus. And I rode the bus throughout my years of public education. From kindergarten to my junior year of high school. I must not have liked being picked up for daycare though. I got the worst spanking once.
I told the van driver, "My mama said not to pick me up anymore."
Believe it or not I vividly remember smiling in the window, pretending to wait for the van one morning. My mom was pacing, trying to figure out why the driver was so late coming to get me. She was late for work. Poor me. I had to stay home with my grandmother! When my mom found out, I got a spanking but the driver got a lashing for believing a child. I mean come on... he should have gotten the spanking!
Back to our two.
Well the second week there was a problem on the bus. A fifth grader was "not being nice" to them on the bus.
"Mama, he said a bad word," our daughter began to tell me at dinner that evening.
"What did he say," I said between bites.
"He said the S word!" our son answered.
I almost sprayed Dude with my drink. I wasn't prepared for that.
"What in the world did he say?" I asked.
I noticed Dude wasn't getting upset. He'd heard the story when he picked them up from school.
He discretely shook his head.
"He said stupid and the other kids said it was not a bad word," our daughter said.
I had to remember that there are different rules in other households. Besides at their age, when I was growing up, I, unfortunately, probably knew the real S word.
They continued to tell me how the kid was upset about losing his puppy and how he was punching the back of their seat.
"Mama I tried to be nice to him and I told him I was sorry he lost his puppy," our compassionate little girl told us.
We could tell, from her expressions, that she was reliving this experience as she told it to me. Tears were welling up that quick!
"Okay, Hannah NOT Tanna, cut the dramatics!" I quickly told her. You have to with her or she will drag it out. We love her but gee. We say it so much that her younger brother gets in on it.
"Yeah. None of that over-the -top stuff," our son tells her.
"We got it," I stop him. "Let us be the parents okay?
While picking over his food and with great confidence, our little first-grader adds, "I was gonna get that boy Mama."
I heard Dude chuckle a bit.
I just smiled at him.
Our daughter was the first to respond.
"That boy was big and he is a fifth grader!" she said. "You couldn't get him!"
Her brother finished what he was chewing, squinted his eyes and slowly turned to her and said, "You are so naive." Then went back to eating.
I didn't know where he heard the word and was quite shocked that he used it in the right context.
I mean a six-year-old using this word. I had to get him.
"Spell naive since you want to use it!" I told him.
He wiped his mouth and said, "Mama. You don't know how to spell naive?" He seemed so shocked.
We laughed a little then his sister fired back with a good point.
"Well how you gone get that fifth grader when you are afraid of the Chick-fil-a cow?"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Day Back For All

Today was the first day back to school!
It was the first day of third grade for our daughter, first day of first grade for our son, first day of teaching ESL at a new school for me and just the first day back for Daddy!
It was a stress-free day for me. I helped to prepare folders for the myriad new kindergarten students at my new school. Then looked through old files and moved some old files on. I have a lot to look forward to and a great deal to learn about this new area of teaching.
Our school theme is "Wild About the Creek!" The name of our school is Spring Creek Elementary. Perfect theme for me! I can surely get wild about things. We shall see how wild this year gets.
Of course I thought about the two little ones throughout the day. Couldn't wait to see them after school to see how their day went. Oh and Daddy too!
"Mama. The teacher said no tattling!" our son firmly told me just before dinner.
"Okay but there is a difference between tattling and telling, " I told him. "You have to tell if someone hits you or hurts you but you don't need to tell if you see someone with a toy in class or something like that."
"But what if it is a toy that can hurt ya?" he asked.
I was not about to go into these "what ifs" scenarios with him because he can drag them out.
"You know what I mean okay!" I told him.
"Mama do you know who is in my class?" our daughter began.
"I sure don't- who?" I asked.
She began her list. I just pretended to know them all.
"Really? They are in your class?" I entertained.
"Oh and Mama... you know that boy you tutored after-school last time?" she asked. "Well he said his mom misses you working with him."
"Oh okay. Wait- how did you see him?"
She didn't immediately respond.
"Well... I kinda saw him on the bus," she answered.
"But you don't ride the bus," I began to worry.
"I thought we were supposed to ride the bus so I got on the bus," she smiled. Knowing full well that I am about to start swelling.
"And how would you know what bus to get on?"
Come to find out she did think she was supposed to get on the bus- and it didn't help that she and her brother want to ride the bus so badly.
Luckily she got off the bus and Daddy was there to pick her and her brother up.
My heart rate went back down. But I am sure there were mix-ups all over the country with the first day back to school.
One day down... 179 more to go!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Simple Subject for a Six-Year-Old

Daddy and I are just not great at having "serious" discussions with our kids. We have good intentions... believe me. But then that youngest one comes in.
We have started threatening our two about all this bickering they have been doing. I mean they have started hitting one another. When we no longer hear them having "heated fellowship" and we have not intervened yet, then some pushing is going on or hitting. It's like this is their last straw. And ten times out of ten we usually throw in a "when I was little..." when we fuss at them.
They were supposed to be cleaning their rooms yesterday. Then we heard them start up.
This was the second time in the last week so the Cosby family approach (being rational and calm) was out the window.
"LOOK! Y'all can't keep this up! Not in this house!" I told them.
Then my co-signer came in.
"That's right! You can't do that mess in here!" Daddy added.
They both tried to jump in to tell their sides.
"Nope. Both of you close your mouths!" I said.
"When I was a little girl, me and my brothers were not allowed to do this. We got our tails whipped if we would fight."
They were in disbelief.
I reassured them that, "Oh yes- your grandma and papa didn't play around back then. Don't let them two fool ya."
We let them take that thought in for a minute. Guess that was a little hard to digest since my parents are totally different with them. I don't think they have ever much popped them. It is sickening. The kids probably think we are making things up. Wish we could have recorded some of those beat down- drag downs.
"She's talkin' about back in da day," our son told his sister.
They think that we are so old. It could be something we did last year and it is "back in da day" for him.
"We keep telling you that you have to stick together and have each other's back. Can't be fighting each other," Daddy scolded them.
He was trying to take it in and really have them thinking with his next point.
"Now if, God forbid, something happens to (pointing at me) Mama and me, who would be left?"
Our sweet little eight-year-old, with a tear building up in her eye, pressed her lips together and pointed to her brother and her self.
Then her recently, turned six-year-old brother said, "You mean if y'all died? Then we would (laying back with his arms behind his head and now crossing his feet) go live with granmapapa."
He says their names together as if they are one entity.
No compassion for his parents. No worries. It was as simple as that.
"But you could get to go to heaven if you be nice to yo kids," he reassured us.

Friday, August 07, 2009

A Sign That I May Be Losing It!

Lately I have been so busy and school is not back in yet. I mean it's not as if I am not used to being busy but today I got a wake up call! A sign to let me know to slow down, take the S off my chest and cape off as well and just chill!
So I'm doing laundry, dusting, and trying to sit down at the computer every now and again to finish some homework. I keep a check on the time because I needed to be somewhere with the kids soon. Well they are dressed and actually sitting quietly in the living room. Seeing this makes me feel like I am really behind- even though the clock says I have time.
I run to jump in the shower, grabbing undies out of the stack of laundry on the way.
Minutes later I am out, drying off then rushing to put my undies on.
I hear a rip. I attempt to pull them up again. This time I don't hear a rip but they won't go up.
Okay at this point I am losing it. It's like a silent movie. I can't be heard but someone watching could clearly make out what I was saying, "OH MY GOD, NO!!"
Did they shrink that much in the dryer? Some say not to dry your undies.
I knew what it was... I needed to lose some weight.
I stood there in disbelief. Then sat down to take it all in.
As my heart rate went down and the sweating started to dissipate, the rational side stepped back in.
I looked at the green, sherbet-colored undies. I saw Little Mermaid. She seemed to be laughing at me. This was a sign that I may be losing it.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Freeze Pops and Cookie Dough

Usually when our son comes up smiling and saying, "Mama... can I tell you sumptin'?"
He really wants to ask me something. And ten times out of ten it is something he knows I will probably say no to. But my hat goes off to him for his approach.
Well he loves freeze pops and his sister loves cookie dough. I've often told them that they were going to turn into a freeze pop and cookie dough. They like the idea very much.
"I know you really don't want to tell me something- you want to ask me something so out with it," I told him.
"Well, we want to know if we can have a freeze pop and cookie dough?"
So he was designated as the spokesperson. Usually people do send in the smaller one to do the asking or the dirty work.
He kept looking toward the hallway. I already knew his sister was around one of those corners listening.
"Have you already had a freeze pop and cookie dough?"
Whenever he begins with "well" I know the answer.
"Well," he began. By this time he is not making eye contact. "I think she (pointing out at the hallway) had one cookie dough and I had a little freeze pop."
How can you have a little freeze pop?
"Ummm... no. Not this time," I told him.
He walked away slowly with his head down.
"Keep your head up Buddy!" I told him with a smile.
I could hear his sister waiting in the wings.
"I told you that you shoulda waited 'till she was on the computer or you shoulda just asked Daddy," she tried to whisper to him.
"But Daddy is asweep."
"Duh! I know that!"she told him.
About five minutes later he was back. This time alone. He had come up with his own idea.
"Mama. You gone let the devil win!"
These were new skills.
"What?" I asked him.
"The devil is tempting me to eat some freeze pops."
Oh the look was serious. He had his game face on.
"No. If you give into that temptation then you will lose and it will be you gettin' a spankin' not the devil. He will leave you short every time Buddy."
"Okay. I'm gone pway about it then."
He didn't come back.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Brown Sack

Daddy has done a great job of recording the kids over the past eight years. We were not able to record our daughter's intro into the world but he did begin recording her soon after that. I wished someone had recorded it so he could be seen and heard saying,
"Man! It looks like they are hooking up cable!" When they were finally giving me an epidural. And you could see me rolling my eyes at him. He was so excited by that for some reason.
Well as I said, the kids were watching it for the umpteenth time while we were busy doing other things (NO! Not that). So they kept coming to us asking questions about things in the video. Most of the time we, of course, just smiled and patiently answered their questions. But every parent gets a question from their child that they aren't prepared for.
So they are watching and get to our son's birth. This recording is long and somewhat hilarious now- it wasn't when I was in labor six years ago though. Then my epidural did not work so I was on EDGE! I didn't want to be on video and you could tell at a certain point in the video because Daddy was several feel away. He was narrating but it was a whisper. He didn't want to wake the dragon. But I mean come on, I had been in labor more than ten hours and just a little note- our son was nine pounds and eleven ounces. Did I mention my epidural did not work?
So I am in the bed acting like Sybil while Daddy- Dude was laughing with the midwive and other staff. He had let his beard grow out too and if you can picture this: he has a bushy, beard and he is wearing those scrubs- not over his face but over his bald head (the loose fitting cap). He looked like he was part of the Taliban actually.
So I heard the part of the video where our son make his intro- crying of course. Then I heard the kids talking but I really wasn't focused enough to hear what they were discussing. Then I hear little feet. Our son comes running in to ask me, "Mama! What was the brown sack that was on me after they cut me from you?"
I'm thinking, "What is he talkin' about?"
Then I hear snickering from Dude.
"You know Mama that brown sack on me by my privates." He began to walk back into the living room and told me to come see.
Well I figure out what he was talking about but I didn't want to deal with it. It was a teachable moment I know but I figured I would get back to it later.
"Did she (referring to his sister) have a big sack like that when she was boring?" he added.
I lost my breath for a minute.
"It's borN not boring," I told him. That's all I said at that moment. Left it for another conversation... later.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Things That Make Me Lose My Mind!

So... the kids and I were on our way back home from my parents' house Wednesday when my six-year-old says what you don't want to hear on the highway,
"Mama. I gotta go to the bathroom."
"Great. He has to go to the bathroom." I sigh to my friend on my cell phone.
Before I could tell her I would have to call her back, he adds to it.
"I gotta do number two and I gotta do it bad!"
There was complete urgency in his voice and body language and anxiety with a little dab of frustration in mine.
I could hear a smothered laugh on the other end of my phone.
"Mama! I gotta go really bad!"
My daughter was calm but loudly slurping on a straw. At this point I was so stressed I wanted to toss her, the Chick-Fil-A cup, and her brother, who was now holding his bottom as if he would be able to stop the flow, out on the middle of the highway.
So I am going a little bit faster, trying to find an exit, while fussing him out and still holding the phone. I hear the laughter again. This time she is laughing so hard that it weaves in and out almost in syn with me and the other cars.
I finally found an exit with a store not far away.
"Hold on! I found a store!" I told my son.
I don't even remember putting the van in park or taking the keys out.
"You betta not peep a word of this to anyone!" I told my friend. "I'll talk to ya later!"
We ran in the store to the bathroom.
"Mama. This bathroom isn't real clean," my son said, looking all around.
"Okay but I am going to line it for you really good."
"Wook Mama," he said while pointing to the broken knob on the sink. "I don't like this bathroom."
"Well the people who work here ain't gonna like you coming in here and stinkin' it up either. Now do what you gotta do and come on!" I said while attempting to help him pull his pants down.
I felt my daughter tapping me. "Mama... what is in here?" she asked while trying to turn the knob on the Tampax machine.
"Don't worry about that. It's for women!"
"Can we get one?" she smiled.
"No! I said don't worry about that!"
I was about to lose my mind!
We were finally done.
The kids were about to pull the door open when I stopped them. I peeked out. What a relief to see that no one was waiting to use the bathroom.
I got a pack of gum on the way out. It was the least I could do after the bombs my son dropped in that bathroom.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Can Turtles Have Attitudes?

I'm not sure if our two pet turtles are trying to make a break for it, trying to commit turtlecide or what. Well first let me start by saying that since Michael Jackson's passing, the kids have renamed the turtles. No longer are they Myrtle and Skippity but Michael and Shirley. Not sure where Shirley came from but we will roll with it- I mean it's not like they know their names anyway.
I mean we feed them, the kids take them out for some time each week and we talk to them a lot. I feel like we are great owners- we consider them part of the family. So I am not sure what is going on in their little, now-you-see-me, now-you-don't, heads of theirs.
About two weeks ago, Daddy heard a thud and jumped out of bed to see what it was. One of them (heck the adults don't know them apart) had apparently climbed out from the little platform they bask on. He or she, fell in between the bookcase the aquarium is on and the wall. The turtle is lucky Daddy heard him and came to his rescue- otherwise it would have been chillin' in its little shell for some time. When Daddy put it back in the aquarium the darn thing had an attitude! Can you believe that? After dropping it back in the water it went all Chris Brown and started hitting at the other turtle. I'm sorry I don't know if they are cousins, sister and brother, common law mates or what. But I guess it had to take its frustrations out on something- surely couldn't be one of us... we feed them. So it continued its little aggression- taking it's little webbed feet and knocking rocks around. This would have been a good time to see that little bubble overhead and see what it was really thinking.
Well Sunday when we came in from church- guess we'd been gone for about three hours- I walk pass the aquarium, stop then take two steps back to take a closer look.
"Uhhh... call me crazy but it looks like there is only one turtle in there," I pointed out to my family.
The tanks not huge and we don't have caves or things for them to hide in yet.
The kids ran over to see. Daddy confidently went directly to the back of the bookcase.
Daddy was now baffled.
We all quietly and carefully walked around the room- in between the dining area and great room. Daddy spotted it first. Sitting in a corner, inside it's shell.
He picked it up gently.
"What are you doing out here? What are you doing- say?" Daddy said.
"Is it okay?" I asked.
Soon as he dropped it back in the water, it went off again! Swimming really fast, back-and-forth. Swatting at rocks. My eyes were almost crossed watching it go that fast. ATTITUDE!
I know turtles like to get out of the water for a little while each day to bask in the light or heat but those two are up there plotting.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Talking to Our Kids About Michael

Since Michael's passing, I have been in this indescribable funk. "Mama, did you know him? Did you meet him?" one of my kids asked after seeing me tear up while we watched his video, Smooth Criminal, on YouTube. The thought of never having the privilege to meet him caused the tears to come a little stronger. I would now never get to see him. I'd always said he was the one star I would pay big money to see. Now, even if I won a huge lottery I would never get to see him.

I've seen his videos myriad times over the years and thankfully there are Cd's and videos to purchase. My kids have been watching his videos on YouTube and I guess now that will be our nexus to the King of Pop. Watching these videos with them online as well as seeing the videos on television- and I am sure this will go on for months- has allowed me to discover Michael all over again. I watch with appreciation. I see the perfectionist everyone has been talking about. I can see his musical influences like Fred Astaire, while watching Smooth Criminal. Seeing the influence of James Brown in his earlier videos when he performed with his brothers. The artistry, creativity and Broadway abilities in videos like Thriller, which revolutionized music videos and put Michael in the Guinness Book of World Records.

I talked to the kids about him being a philanthropist and how giving he was. He used his celebrity to shed light on problems around the world. I can refer them to videos like We Are the World, The Earth Song and more.

Of course television networks have flooded our screens with videos, discussions and shows about him since Thursday. TV One aired the movie The Jacksons: The American Dream, which debuted in 1992. Daddy and I watched it with our kids. It was their first time watching it but probably our 100th time. We would watch it differently now. Paying precise attention to Michael now in a different way. Interrupting many scenes to point out certain things to our kids- really wanting to submerge them in our world of Michael Jackson Mania. I wanted them to feel the way I feel about him!

"See! See how he sings and dances so well and he didn't have to be taught!" I stressed.

But they weren't as excited as I was- but they didn't grow up in my time.

Then came the scene when Michael's mother, Katherine Jackson, caught his father, Joe, on the phone with another woman. She then walked up on him while he was laid back on the phone. She began yelling and wailing on him!

"Why was she doing that?" our six-year-old son asked.

I looked over at Daddy to see if he wanted to take a stab at that one.

"Well... he (pointing at the screen) was not telling the truth about something. He wasn't doing what was right," Daddy told him.

"Yes, they were husband and wife- married so he was doing something he wasn't supposed to do," I added.

There was silence for about five seconds- we'd hoped it was enough to explain.

"Oh. I thought she did it because her husband was on the phone with another woman," our son nonchalantly replied.

Kids know more than we think.

There will be innumerable opportunities for our kids to see Michael Jackson over the next few days, weeks, months. And opportunities for those of us who grew up during his reign, to Remember the Time when he was Bad. So I assume there are many, like me, in a little funk right now. So I didn't have to meet him, yet I feel like I knew him. I wish I could just "look over my shoulder and "he will be there." I will shed a few more tears, but it is okay to cry... it is just Human Nature.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Memories of MJ

On December 25th, 2006 the Godfather of Soul, James Brown passed on. Believe it or not, two other shining stars were lost on the same day but different months and years. Young star, Aaliyah died in a plane crash on August 25th, 2001- eight months later, April 25th, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopez from the all girl group, TLC died in a car wreck in Honduras. Then two days ago on June 25th the world lost one of the greatest entertainers... Michael Jackson. I was registering kids for the final night of our Vacation Bible School, when I received a text that he had a heart attack and was in "pretty bad shape."
I read it but immediately thought he would be fine- he had access to the best doctors. So I thought. Shortly after that I found out he was not coming back.
It didn't really sink in until yesterday- June 26th. Michael Jackson- who I watched growing up is really gone. So many things have run through my mind. The memories, what happened, did he know he was still loved, what about his family and close friends?
The memories: There are too many to write about. The first time I saw him. I can't remember the very first time- I just remember it was Michael Mania for many years growing up. The videos were some of the most vivid memories. Beat It, Billie Jean, Remember the Time, and the one most talked about... Thriller. Vincent Price's voice gave me chills.
I'll have to be honest, that video scared me. I could not watch it alone when it first came out. I remember being teased by older cousins about that. The Making of Thriller was just as popular as the actual video. It was a video that people never grew tired of. And that red jacket he wore in the video- everyone and their grandma had one. There was a guy at our church who had one just like it. His hair was styled like Michael's and he had the loafers and socks like him. When he came up to the balcony, where all the teens sat, on Sunday mornings- all eyes were on him. As the kids say now, "He was HOT!" And I am almost sure his name was Michael too!
Fast forward to the video Remember The Time! I think this video came out in the Spring of my sophomore year of college. It was an all-star cast! Magic Johnson, Eddie Murphy, Iman, and more. The choreography was so sweet! I could never just watch the video- I had to TRY to do the moves with them. Michael moved like no other in that video and all of his videos.
I cried when he had the accident during the Pepsi commercial. I was on the phone with friends talking about it for days. And I actually begged my mom for a Jheri Curl back then. Well after that mishap I knew, if my mom had considered it, she had changed her mind after that incident.
When MJ showed us the moonwalk during Motown 25.... the world went nuts! It was to be talked about for years. And while others have tried to do it, no one could ever do it as well as him.
Michael was different. He did reinvent the wheel! He seemed to be such a perfectionist. He mastered his craft. He entertained us so much and so well. There is no one like him. He would always say he loved us and I believe he did. That is why it was sad to see how some of the world treated him in the last decade or so. Making a mockery of his looks and behavior.
I think he was a troubled person. He never had a chance to be a child- well not for long. I believe he and his siblings did have a tough upbringing but they also had love from their parents.
I read that he had been having a lot of pain. I think most of his pain was emotional more than physical. The financial struggles I read about were sad. This man who gave myriad times- not just his time to entertain us but he gave financially and shed light on problems such as the poverty in Africa. He did all that and as he grew older and needed help himself, he didn't get it. Now that he has died he gets his flowers and messages of love. I just hope he knew he was still loved. Many close to him say he was troubled and sad. I hope he is at peace now.
I feel sorry for the generations who did not get a chance to see him. I feel blessed to have been able to see him- to have grown up during his time. I saw a message from someone go across the screen while watching some of the many tributes last night. "It was not his time to Beat It!" It read. How do we know that? I do know he will be missed... he was a Thriller!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Boobies, Bookinis and Brows!

I realize it's hot outside and I know you cannot leave your children or pets in your car, but I'd rather take Fido or Cujo in with me instead of my kids!
If you have been keeping up with my blog posts you understand what I have been through with my two- the comedy fests they have when I change with them in the fitting rooms or the random conversations they have while browsing through clothes. I'm not saying that kids should be left in the car but I understand.
I contemplated going into the fitting room this time with them- I really did. I held the outfit up in front of me. I looked at it then looked at my kids. They were being silly as usual- oblivious to what I was thinking about. I thought long and hard. Should I quickly move to the fitting room and just threaten them with their little lives if they make any comments about my body or just take a chance that it would fit and head to the register? Decisions, decisions.
I decided on the first option.
"Hey how are you? Just two please," I smiled at the fitting room attendant.
She handed me a number two and led me to an open room.
"Here you go. You can have this room!" she smiled, leading me to the first room- closest to her.
My heart began to beat faster. My paranoia quickly kicked in. Had she heard the chaos and comments from my little family before? I do come to this store quite a bit. Why did she put us in this room? Why not the one waaaaaaaay in the back- the last one? That way I could continue threatening them and perhaps even physically. I could hang the first one to make a comment, on one of those hooks.
I was smart. I distracted them by talking to them about our vacation time coming up next month, while I quickly changed.
"You ready for our trip in a few weeks?" I asked them- snatching my shirt over my head.
"Oh I'm ready!" my son started dancing.
"Me too! I can't wait to get on the rides!" my daughter added.
It was working!
They continued talking about it and I allowed them to interrupt one another- just as long as the attention was taken off of me.
I was so glad because I could hear more people coming into the fitting room to try on clothes as well.
The outfit didn't work for me. I needed an extra medium. ;o)
Out of breath, I quickly took the outfit off to put my clothes back on.
"Give me my shirt right over there," I pointed for my daughter.
Their conversation now came to a frightening halt.
Instead of just giving me my shirt she put her hands over her mouth and with eyes stretching as if she had never seen me in my undergarments, she pointed to my bra and said to her brother,
"Look at her bookini!"
They both began laughing.
I rolled my eyes and snatched my shirt.
"Just be quiet!" I said with my teeth clenched together tightly. "And it is not a bIkini- it's a bra!" I added.
They couldn't hear me over their laughter.
My son stopped laughing and had the 'mama you may want to put your hand over my mouth right now' look.
"Ewww! She used to feed us milk from her brows," he said and it was not with his inside voice.
I just closed my eyes and thought of the show I Dream of Jeannie. Wishing I could fold my arms- blink and be in my car.
I stood there with my finger over my lips and listened to see if anyone heard it. I was not ready to leave. The comment was too fresh.
When I finally turned to look out of the fitting room, they continued to talk about it.
"Have you seen mama's boobies?" my daughter asked, then put her hands over her mouth.
"I have! They gots brown cir-" he started before I put my hands over his mouth.
After a minute or so of me hiding out in the fitting room, I finally stepped out, playing with my cell phone so I would not have to look up at the attendant.
"Did that work for you ma'am?"she asked.
Without looking up at her I told her, "No. Not this time, but thanks." I continued to be engaged with my cell phone.
As we headed for the door, someone looked at my daughter and said, "She's so pretty and her hair is beautiful!"
I'd just roller set it and styled it the day before.
"Thank you!" I replied.
"Mama. She wasn't talking about you- she was talking about me!" my daughter smiled.
The lady giggled and winked her eye.
"They are so cute," she added.
"You want 'em?" I thought.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Finding Teachable Moments

We try to take advantage of "teachable moments" when they arise. Sometimes we hit and sometimes... I just get frustrated with all the questions, from our two little ones that I just throw my hands up and say, "Just forget it! Maybe I will go back to that one later!"
I'm now cognizant that I really have to be patient and stick to those lessons surrounding biblical issues. We are definitely raising them up in the way they should go but sometimes they get things a little twisted. Now our daughter is sharp enough to use what she learns in church at an appropriate time to bail her out of trouble.
The Genesis of these stories began with our daughter's kindergarten year.
Her teacher began reprimanding her for playing in the mulch after warning the class not to.
"That darn serpent!" she told her teacher.
She was serious! She folded her arms and stomped her feet. She wouldn't make eye contact with her teacher initially. She began talking to herself- shaking her head so much that her two, long ponytails were moving side-to-side.
"What are you talking about?" her teacher asked.
Slapping her forehead with the palm of her hand she responded, "The serpent made me play in that mulch!"
"What serpent?" her teacher asked.
She now made eye contact- she now had her teacher roped.
"You know that serpent who made Eve eat that apple!"
Well her brother, God bless his little soul, either gets things all confused or he may get it but does not want to apply what he learns. He wants to pick and choose what he wants to live by.
He and his sister have racked up with money from their birthdays here recently. He wants to spend it as soon as he gets his but I have made him save it. I mean he can't spend it if we don't take him anywhere to spend it.
So he has been saving it but Lord knows he has been asking for someone to take him to a store to spend it.
I have explained myriad times about tithing. Well it is usually a huge question and answer period with him. Yesterday as we prepared for church I told him that he needed to put some money in church. As we pulled out of the parking lot after church, I asked him if he put any money in offering in his class.
He didn't say anything.
I turned to look at him and his lips were pressed together as if he were keeping a secret- which he is not good at.
This begins our conversation. Which we have had before.
"Now I have told you that when you give it comes back to you."
"But I need my money to get that ATM machine from TJ Maxx," he whined.
"But God blessed you with that money so you can give some of it back in church," I told him.
"Huh? (Looking at his money) Grandma, Papa gave me this money and I got one of these dollars from her (pointing at his sister) room," he replied.
"WHAT? You give it back!" his sister shouted.
I further explained the process of giving and he listened, then looking back at his face I realized he would need more work to be a "cheerful" giver.
We went on to eat. When we left our tip for the server I saw him eyeing the money. Another "teachable" moment.
"Now see Mommy and Daddy are giving and it comes back to us," I told him.
"Daddy gone give her all that money?" he asked.
"Yes! And don't even think about getting any of it!"
On the way out of the restaurant we bumped into our pastor and his family. He always asks our two for hugs. Our son just recently starting complying and the pastor eats this up. He (pastor) gave them both a dollar bill.
When we got in the car our daughter, the appreciative little Saint she is, said, "Look! Pastor Bill gave us some money. I'm gonna save it with my other money!"
Then her brother with dread on his face said, "He probably gave it to us to put in offering."