An argument so good he almost got his way.

6 Nov

It doesn’t happen everyday, but on occasion my 4-year-old will give me an intellectual run for my money.  On this particular day he wanted a popsicle before dinner.  His first two attempts at persuasion fell flat.  It was the third that slacken my jaw.

A: Can I have a popsicle?

Me: Not before dinner.

A: I can’t eat dinner.  Real food gives me green face.  (We make the distinction between play food/treats which are fun to eat but don’t have any nutritional value and real food which is at least somewhat good for the body and green face=nausea…it is from a book we read to him when he was tiny).

Me: Nice try.

A:  I think I am allergic to real food.  It makes me itchy and crabby.

Me: You are getting more creative my love.

A: You just won’t understand.

Me: You would be surprised how much I understand.  I am pretty smart.

A: Fine.  I can’t eat dinner because then I won’t be hungry.

Me: That is the point of eating dinner.

A: Ugh!  If I am not hungry I won’t want a popsicle.

Me: That is a problem?

A: Yes!  I want to want the popsicle.  If I am not hungry I won’t want the popsicle and it tastes better when I want it.  I want to want it!

Wow.  That is the truth.  There are a number of things in life that are infinitely more satisfying if you get them when you really want them.  Of course, there are things that are better if you wait.  I know that.  Still, that was a damn good argument and I almost fell for it.  Almost.  My brain kicked in and I thought, “He has to be well nourished to be able to reason that well.  It is my responsibility as his parent to see to that.  He thinks well if he eats well.  No popsicle before dinner.”

I won’t relay his reaction when I congratulated him on his rationalization but still said no.  It makes him seem far less charming.

Pregnancy, Death and Fear

5 Nov

Sheila Talbitzer – Fine Art Photography.

Photographic art about pregnancy, death, fear, and more.

I call that “Daddy’s Fault”

4 Nov

I see a lot of myself in my two boys.  They are picky, dramatic, emotional, defiant, and opinionated.  I can own up to those things along with a bunch of their more positive traits.  What I can’t (won’t) claim is their blatant disregard for their own personal physical safety.  I don’t get it.

As the only XX in a house full of XYs, I have come to the non-scientific yet perfectly logical conclusion that the risk-taking behavior is directly associated with that pesky Y chromosome…you know, the one they got from daddy.

Here is some evidence to support my non-scientific yet perfectly logical theory:

-When my husband was little he thought he might like to grow up to be a stuntman.  To prepare, he practiced throwing himself  down the stairs.

-As a teenager he got toxic shock and had to be rushed to the hospital after failing to remove the large splinters in his scalp from a half-pipe skateboarding fall.

-When he joined the Army at 17 he signed up for Field Artillery.  Why?  “I wanted to blow shit up.”

-When the Army did their x-rays upon his enlistment it was discovered he had broken his arms 20+ times.  He has never had a cast.  Direct quote: “Casts are for pussies.”  He said when he was skateboarding and one arm hurt he would just fall on the other one.

-In graduate school while working on a metal sculpture he caught himself in the gut with a grinder and tore up his skin.  Did he go to the hospital? No. He went to Dollar Drink night and then went home numb enough to poor hydrogen peroxide on it and pull out the shrapnel with tweezers.

You are totally on board with me now I bet.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE (yep. all caps.) this guy.  He is an awesome father and the greatest husband.  His mother claims he was the easiest of her children. (I know and love the other two and being the easiest of those kids isn’t really much of an accomplishment.)

I will be there warning those boys over and over to be careful, but Rich is always the first one to comfort them, staunch the bleeding, wipe the tears, fetch the ice, and apply the bandage.  He should be.  After all, it is his fault.

My baby will make you uncomfortable and I might laugh.

3 Nov

There are few things you should know about Ephraim before I explain the title of this post.

1) He only smiles if he is really feeling it.  This particular model of baby did not come with the “Auto-Smile” feature.  It did come with a state-of-the-art “Poker Face/ Blank Stare” factory installed.

2) He talks and laughs a lot, but usually only at home.  If we are in public he will only say a few things and normally only to me, his brother, or his daddy.  (Grandma, Mimi, Aunts, Uncles, and cousins too if they are around.)

3) He is at the age where he is interested in the world but is still leery of unfamiliar adults.  He wants to look, taste, and touch everything.  He does not want to have a conversation with strangers.

4) He is a momma’s boy.

Ephraim is cute.  He can’t help it.  One of his favorite words is “wow”.  He says it all the time.  When we are out at the grocery store or a restaurant he will point at something he thinks is interesting and say it very dramatically.  He will also stare at people.  I understand how this could be confusing to people who don’t know him.  He is cute, he obviously talks a little, and he makes eye contact.  It would be natural to talk to this little guy.  The thing is, he doesn’t want to talk to you.  Look at you? Yes.  Talk to you? Nope.

This is how it goes down.  A stranger (usually one he is staring at) will try to engage him.  He will run to me to be picked up.  I always oblige.  Safe in mommy’s arms, the stranger assumes he will respond to them.  Not going to happen.  He will continue the poker face.  If the person persists, seemingly out of nowhere he will plunge his arm down the front of my shirt and nestle his hand between my breasts…still giving the stranger a blank stare.  The change in expression on the person’s face is typically so pronounced I have a hard time not laughing.  I feel like I can see their internal debate.  Do I continue to try to talk to this baby who is giving me this blank stare with his hand shoved down his mother’s shirt or do I just leave?  It generally ends with a nervous smile and hasty “have a good day”.  If you are going to make Ephraim uncomfortable he is going to give it right back to you.

Walk away. You are not my friend.

2 Nov

I am all about a Montessori education for my little ones.  It may be expensive, but so far it has been totally worth the amount of mac n’ cheese we have had to eat for dinner over the last 3 years.

Leave it to my son to warp their well-intentioned language.

At school every student is called a friend instead of classmate or peer or whatever.  During specified times each friend chooses “work” and takes it to a table or gets out a rug to work on the floor.  If another student would like join them they must ask permission.  The one working has the option to say ‘yes’ or to say ‘no’.  If they say ‘no’ the other student may stay and observe with “watching hands” meaning they can look but cannot touch.  If the one working does not want to be observed they are taught to say, “No thank you, please walk away.” in a calm polite voice.

Over time that language has made its way home…with less sweetness.  A lot less sweetness.

When I say something Alastair disagrees with I am met with an angry expression and a very menacing “walk away!”.  The implied “if you don’t leave now I might explode” was amusing coming from my angel-faced 4-year-old and the first couple of times I garnered this response I thought it was funny.   Not so much anymore…especially since he has now added, “you are not my friend” to his communiqué.

So, Alastair, you are correct.  I am not your friend.  I am your mother and that, my dear, is a time-out.

A Brief History Thanks to Facebook.

1 Nov
Facebook has preserved a lot of what I would have forgotten.  Here are some highlights from the last couple of years. They go in order from newest to oldest and end when Alastair is around 2 I think…
-As if yesterday’s remark about a clean house when he gets home wasn’t ornery enough, this morning Alastair told me he isn’t going to be funny anymore because I laugh too much and it is annoying. Unfortunately for him, I found his declaration hysterical.
-This morning Alastair had the audacity to request that the house be clean by the time he gets home from school.
-I just dropped my kids off at school and then came home and watched videos of them for 20 minutes.
-Last night Alastair declared his love of the Sharpie marker. Today I will hunt down and hide every one of them in our possession. Alastair plus a densely pigmented marker is not a good combination. This is in my best interest considering the last time he “accidentally got marker on me” I looked down to find my entire forearm covered in little brown squiggles. (Yes, he did draw all over my arm while I was awake and I didn’t notice until he confessed.)
-One of my students works for a company that does school pictures. Today he was assigned Alastair’s school. Having to photograph your lighting professor’s kid while currently enrolled her class…no pressure there.
-I would like to know who told Ephraim that I startle easily. Yesterday I put him in our bed to nap. After 10 minutes of stillness I was sure he was asleep. He then yelled “hah” as loud as he could. Of course, I jumped and screamed. He laughed uncontrollably for 5 minutes saying “hah” every once and awhile and laughing harder. I feel like that maybe isn’t normal baby behavior. He is only 16 months. I should get busy worrying about this.
-Alastair says the other camera (the point and shoot) is for babies.
-I absolutely loathe it when people speak to my children like they are puppies with poor hearing.
-Are Rich and I such Game of Thrones geeks that we would convince our kids to dress up like a knight and a dragon for Halloween? Yes. Yes, we are.
-This morning I was showing the kids old Bruce Springsteen videos and talking about how much I like them. He reminds me of my dad so I got a little teary eyed. Alastair looked at me and said, “do you like them or no?” I said, “yes, I do. I am not sad.” He said, “oh, it is happy cry.” (he just came to terms with the fact that I cry when I am happy.) I said, “no, not happy cry.” and then tried to explain that sometimes I just get emotional and tried to keep explaining. He stopped me and said, “I don’t get it. You shouldn’t do that anymore. It is confusing.” Rich agreed with him.
-Rich took the boys to the pumpkin patch last night while I was at work and brought home the most obscene gourd I have ever seen.
-With all the work I have been doing lately with bones, skulls, and skeletons you would think I would be a little less freaked out to find a LARGE dead bird in my backyard. I think the disturbing part is that there are no visible signs of trauma and its eyes are open (they are blue which also seems weird).
-This morning while pumping gas I had that strange feeling somebody was watching. I looked around at the other patrons and they were all doing their own thing so I looked up to see if there was a video camera or something. No video camera, just a GIANT praying mantis with its creepy little alien head cocked to the side glaring at me with contempt.
-There is no question I need glasses. I have been taking the wrong prescription for over a week. In defense of my old lady eyes, the pills are the exact same size and shape and almost the same color.
-Who let this lunatic into my house?
-I touched a real live swimming around in water SHARK this weekend!
-When my children learn to cuss it will not be from Rich or me. Last night at a family dinner my loving mother asked me (quite loudly since I was in an adjacent room playing with my kids) to tell everybody what a bitch I was when I was I a teenager.
-About an hour ago Alastair was seriously frustrating me. Typical kids stuff like yelling, slamming the bathroom door, and being generally disagreeable (apparently Kleenex is NOT a reasonable substitute for toilet paper when you are out.) Anyway, I had to walk away to regain my composure. Rich must have told him to apologize because when I came back he walked right up to me, looked me in the eye and said, “sorry for making you mean.”
-I just moved the couch downstairs to access our storage crawl space. There was a large insect looking thing. In the poor light of the basement I couldn’t tell if it was real (alive or dead) or one of Alastair’s toys. I fled and vow not to return until Rich investigates.
-Because of how I ended up being dressed this morning I jokingly made the remark, “today I will playing the part of heavy metal mom”. Alastair looked at me and said, “more like motel mom”. A little shocked I asked him what that meant. He shrugged and walked away leaving me speechless and Rich laughing and making suggestive comments about motel mom.
-Apparently age 4 is when kids start getting presents that parents like playing with too. Magna-tiles, stomp rocket, marble race = crazy fun.
-Alastair is 4 years old today!
(It is 8 a.m. and he has already rolled his eyes at me twice. I said 4 not 14 right?)
-Feel good moment of the day: There was a woman who paints birdhouses on PBS this morning. Alastair said, “She is an artist. You are an artist too except you make photographs. Her art is boring. Your art is not boring.” I then went on the have an uncomfortable ratio of failure to successes in the studio, but that is beside the point.
-This morning I was making silly faces and sounds to Ephraim and he seemed to be enjoying it. He was giggling and smiling. Then he hit me in face with a remote control and really started laughing.
-5 years ago today at the Tropicana in Las Vegas in front of family and friends and while a heavy metal pool party was raging next to the chapel I married Rich Mansfield.
-Yesterday Ephraim took his first two unassisted steps while we were all at the library. For the sake of the other patrons who came there for quiet time I did my best to control my excitement.
-Alastair to Rich yesterday: “You just don’t know what you are doing, old man.”
-This morning with some impressive evasive driving techniques I successfully thwarted a wild turkey’s “suicide by mini-van” attempt.
-My dog just drank rain water collected in an unused planter and then immediately peed on that same planter. I will never understand boy dogs.
-I learned yesterday that the will my parents wrote when I was a teenager put everything left to me in a trust not to be touched until I was 35 years old! Apparently a trust is for those who can’t be trusted.
-Apparently I annoy Alastair to no end. Sometimes he is polite and says “please”, but most of the time he says, “Mommy, just stop talking.”
-“Maybe Batman is Catwoman’s owner.” -Alastair Mansfield
-I hung some laundry out to dry today and a bird pooped on it. Totally uncool. Unless, of course, they somehow found out I have been shopping for bird skulls on eBay. Then it is understandable…maybe even justifiable.
-Do the big black birds (crows?) just hate squirrels or are they trying to eat them? It is like a horror movie in my back yard right now. I would feel worse for the squirrels if they were not always antagonizing my dog.
-When the baby wakes up in the middle of the night I can usually cuddle him back to sleep. When he is laughing at 3:30 a.m. I know I am getting up.
-Last night Alastair invited me to play a game with him. It was called “smack the face”. I declined the invitation.
-While watching an episode of Community where they were playing Dungeons and Dragons I made a casual remark to Rich that the game looked fun if you were into that kind of thing. He told his brother I said that because Bill was into it as a kid. Yesterday I got a package in the mail from my brother-in-law. It was a D & D starter kit and a note welcoming me to nerd town.
-It was much easier to buy birthday presents for Rich when he was a drinker.
-The 7 am whole family impromptu pajama dance party in the kitchen was the best 15 minutes of my whole week.
-This morning Alastair sang to me what can only be described as the punk rock version of “you are my sunshine”. I was delighted.
-Sleeping like a baby is a misnomer. My baby doesn’t sleep like a baby. He sleeps more like a caffeine addict or a fugitive.
-The answer to final jeopardy today was “Satan”. When they showed the contestants answers on the screen Alastair said, “That is my name!”
-Ephraim’s method of understanding something new: 1) stare at it 2) taste it 3) hit it 4) scream at it…if that doesn’t work try again omitting number 1.
-Ephraim LOVES his Sophie the giraffe. A $22 teether/toy maybe excessive, but I am a sucker and it is French.
-Devilishly handsome is still devilish.
-Listen to The Ramones and eating Andes Mints are a few of my favorite things.
-I cried a little today when I traded in my pretty black jeep for a minivan.
-Mythbusters marathon on today. In the intro they say “don’t try this at home”. We asked Alastair if he knew what that meant. He said, “yes, it means do it outside”. Not really the answer I was looking for.
-This may be the greatest school picture I have ever seen.
-Ephraim thinks I am the funniest person and best singer he knows. Granted, he only knows about 5 people…not much competition but still good for my ego.
-Ephraim’s baby breath smells like powdered sugar and his chubby little body looks like he eats powdered sugar. (20 lbs. @ 4 months old.)
-Every morning Alastair pledges allegiance to the invisible nation under grog.
-I have a dog, 2 kids, and a fish. They are all thriving. Still, I can’t keep a houseplant alive over 4 months
-The repeat button on my Alastair seems to be stuck in the “on” position.
-The NPR story on Freddie Mercury this morning brought back sweet memories of dancing in the living room with my dad to his Queen records. I was 6 or 7 and thought it was embarrassing and fantastic. Now I just think it was fantastic.
-Baby fingernails are like adorable little razor blades.
-Alastair is 3 years old today! Time to teach this kid how to do some yard work. He has been free loading way too long now.
-I want to know who taught Alastair to hiss at me like an angry cat whenever I say something he disagrees with.
-40 weeks for human gestation is unreasonable and tantamount to torture in my opinion.
-Still geeking out on the finale of Lost I recommended that Larry watch the entire series on his way to Japan. Matel then reminded of the premise of the show. I had to rescind my recommendation. One probably doesn’t want to watch show that opens with a violent and deadly plane wreck while spending 14 hours over open ocean.
-Lately the only phrase I can get Alastair to repeat on command is, “I am not a trained monkey.”
-No matter what I am doing, if I am listening to Leonard Cohen I feel like I am in a movie and something bad might happen.
-I don’t think it is unreasonable to wear sweatpants and flip-flops to work if you are 7 months pregnant. If you disagree, I am not really interested in your opinion.
-Yesterday I vowed to be more vigilant about my dental health. Today I ate a cupcake for breakfast.
-Rich got a 100% on his “preventing sexual harassment” quiz for work. I got an 86%.
-Thanks everyone for the congrats on the news of another boy. You all are way more encouraging than Alastair. When I told him he gave me an annoyed look and said, “I am eating apples.”
-Alastair just informed me that he needs a helmet, a rocket, a table saw, a dirt bike, a turtle and a rainbow…and that he will be having sprinkled donuts and pink cake for lunch. please, thank you so much.
-Rich is of the opinion that I LOVE the Betta fish Alastair got for his birthday. All I did was a little research on what habitat would make him happiest and healthiest, buy him some stuff for his home, call him beautiful and give him a name…
-Is convinced after yesterday’s experience that Alastair would eat dirt, soap, or even boiled cabbage if it just had some pastry sprinkles on it.

That is enough for now.

If you don’t want an honest answer, don’t ask a 4 year old.

31 Oct

Last night before bed Alastair tried on a new t-shirt. He showed it off to me and then asked, “Do I look awesome?”. I said, “Yes, absolutely!”. I then asked him if I looked awesome (in my pajamas, 3 days un-showered, hair half in and half out of a ponytail, with sleepy eyes and a computer on my lap). He looked at me like it was the dumbest question I have ever asked him and simply said, “No”. As Rich and Alastair marched up the stairs for book reading and bedtime Rich told him that he always thinks mommy looks awesome. I believe I saw Alastair shrug his shoulders. I was told later that as they rounded the corner and entered his room (out of my earshot) Alastair mumbled that he was just kidding.

As interesting as uninteresting can be.

28 Oct

If you are here on this blog you probably know us.  If you don’t know us, you are probably here by mistake.  Still here? Well, you can read the ABOUT section to find out who we are although I am not sure why you would want to.

It was suggested by a friend that I blog about my life (especially my life as a mom) since I often make apparently amusing status updates on Facebook.  I have a very poor memory and am far too unorganized to keep a scrapbook or journal so I took the suggestion.

Here we go.  I will do my best to make this as interesting as uninteresting can be.

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